ame of Business: Live It Ventures (the Live It brand includes Live It Unlimited (www.liveit.com), Live It Training (www.liveittraining.co.uk) and Live It Publishing (www.liveitpublishing.com)
Your Name and Age: Murielle Maupoint (37)
Tell us about your family :
I live in Buckinghamshire with my partner and 6 month old baby girl, Amelie Grace. Together with 2 hyperactive miniature dachshunds – it gets a bit manic at times!
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
My journey to ‘mumpreneurship’ has been a long one! I started my career as a Petroleum Engineer. My first assignment was to oversee an aspect of a well-testing division in the Syrian oil fields. There I was, a young girl, working in the middle of the desert in 40c+ temperatures, wearing oversized overalls and giant steel toe capped boots, dodging scorpions and working my back side off to win the respect of the team of local men I was managing. It’s at challenging times like these, when you find yourself completely outside of your comfort zone, that you can truly tap into your resources and inner power. It’s amazing what we can do when we set our minds to it and how we can succeed even in the most difficult of times. Whilst I learnt a lot during my stint in Syria, most significantly I realised that I did not want to be a Petroleum Engineer. What had fascinated me the most during the whole experience was people – their behaviours, attitudes and how they responded to the challenges they faced. On that basis, I quit and went off to retrain as a Psychologist. After a few years working with a range of people with dysfunctional behaviours and playing around with a few business start-ups on the side, I took a job as Chief Exec of a youth homelessness charity on the verge of bankruptcy. Despite the lack of funding, staffing problems, young people taking overdoses, buildings being vandalised, and everyone I knew thinking I had finally lost my marbles… I knew in the depth of my soul that I could make a difference. Everyone can. By developing a great team and fostering an atmosphere of innovation, slowly but surely over the two years, the organisation started to reverse its fortunes…
Which gave me time to start playing again. This time inspiration came from afar… an opportunity to buy a 125 hectares of rainforest land in Bolivia… Within 4 weeks, I had prepared a business plan, remortgaged my home and flown out and bought the land. There were so many technical issues that we had to quickly become experts in: solar power, composting toilets, hydroelectric turbines, everything that we take for granted in day to day Western life had to be reproduced in the jungle in the most ecological way. Nevertheless, over the following 12 months the ecolodge was built, a mean feat in the middle of the jungle where the only access to the land is by canoe over the river. Running the lodge from the UK was an even bigger logistical nightmare and the whole project ended up costing me a lot of money. Although it didn’t quite turn out how I had planned, I relish every second of that experience… the people I met, what I learnt, the things I saw… invaluable experiences that have shaped who I am today. As Mastercard would say… priceless!
When did you launch?
When I look back at all the businesses I have been involved in, there was always a common theme – enabling people to unleash their potential and live life to the fullest. My latest project, Live It Ventures, was set up in 2006 – a dynamic lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering people to be the best that they could be. The first business, Live It Unlimited (www.liveit.com), focuses on providing women with inspirational training and coaching. Women have so much to offer yet so many stop themselves because of their fears, low self-esteem and lack of self-belief. Our services over the past 6 years have supported thousands of women to be who they want to be and achieve the things they want in life. I believe that, from long-term unemployed women to high fliers, everyone has the potential to live the life they want and with the right mindset, they can! From this foundation, Live It Training (www.liveittraining.co.uk) was developed to unleash the drive, passion and potential of people within organisations. We have found that our bespoke training and consultancy programmes have been critical in improving the performance of our corporate clients. In a highly competitive environment, the difference that makes the difference between a high performing business and an average one is its people. PEOPLE make or break businesses yet I despair at how few companies view their staff as their primary asset and invest in them accordingly. More recently, in late 2009, I set up Live It Publishing (www.liveitpublishing.com) – a new way for people to unleash their passion and creativity and enhance their professional profile. Having written a book myself, The Essential NLP Practitioner’s Handbook: How to Succeed as an NLP Therapist & Coach, I did not want to get bogged down with the hassle of literary agents or being restricted by the systems/views of mainstream publishers. So I decided to set up my own publishing house – one that would make it easy for people to publish their works. In line with the Live It ethos, our focus is on motivational and inspirational books that help people improve and develop themselves and their businesses. In just the past 3 months, we have signed up 8 new authors just through personal recommendations. I never realised how much satisfaction I could derive from coaching and mentoring people to bring their creativity to life though books and to use that as a platform to boost their professional credibility.
How did you get started?
Meanwhile, my work at the charity was really starting to reap its rewards – not only did we stabilise the ship but we began to rapidly expand the number and breadth of our services. I dabbled in a few other businesses but it was during that time that I was introduced to NLP (neuro linguistic programming). I was instantly hooked and very quickly achieved all my qualifications including Certified Trainer of NLP and Hypnosis to name but a couple. On the back of that we started running workshops to empower our young clients to take back control of their lives. The results were outstanding leading to us achieving a number of major accolades including the Andy Ludlow Awards, Investors in People, Champions of Learning, National Training Awards and UK Charity Awards. I was incredibly proud of the team and all our achievements but I was starting to get itchy feet. Finally, our merger with another charity provided me with a reasonable redundancy payment and the opportunity to start something new.
What research did you do before launching?
Whilst for other businesses I have done business plans the size of breeze blocks with extensive research and the like, this time I went with my gut instinct and my passion. I figure if I’m passionate about what I do then it has to succeed!
How have you funded the business?
The business was initially funded through my redundancy payment and fortunately, I was able to draw in customers very quickly.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
By now you have probably realised that I love what I do and that, I believe, is the key to my success. I am fortunate that most of my business comes through word of mouth or people who engage with me via public speaking/networking events I attend. I suppose that when you do what you love, that passion shines through.
How do you fit in work with the family?
My latest love though is by far my most important; my gorgeous 6 month old baby girl, Amelie Grace, who is providing me with a whole range of new challenges – most notably how to juggle everything, avoid leaking boobs in meetings and stop eating sugar rich foods! I have to admit that on most days I suffer from a serious case of ‘mummy brain’ and don’t feel like I’m getting being a mum or being a business woman right. However, I am incredibly blessed to have a very forgiving baby, an extremely supportive partner and wonderful clients… a great foundation for my mumpreneur journey!
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Just go for it… you won’t know if you can until you do. It also helps to surround yourself with people who can inspire and support you. We learn from everything that we experience and it is only our ego mind that labels anything as good or bad. In the infinite wisdom of the universe there is no such thing as good or bad… just causal links in a long chain of which we are yet to fully become aware of the ultimate goal.