Leah is a social psychologist and educator, specialising in sex and relationships education for adults. She is the Founder and CEO of LIFESEXPERTS. Leah runs educational live events and webinars on all topics related to sex and relationships. Her company offers educational services as well as preventative interventions to institutions, like schools, colleges and universities as well as companies. Leah also works with individuals, offering sessions on a one-to-one basis. Leah teaches a broad in scope content with topics that educate individuals about the many interwoven factors that influence their psyche, sexual behaviour and relationships. She is passionate about social justice, personal growth, life relevant education and well-being.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
My background is in psychology, counselling and mental health. I realised I have to become an entrepreneur if I wanted to really make a difference and actually do the things I am good at and love doing. Besides, there is no company that could provide me with the opportunity to have the job I do now or develop the projects I work on.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Suffering. Haha! No… or maybe partially. To me, entrepreneurship is the act of merging creative thinking with systems and science thinking, in order to solve a problem or fill a niche while using your talents, skills, vision, passion and dedication to succeed.
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
I didn’t start with an idea, rather with the realisation that I have expertise that is actually sought out by people. I realised that the expertise I have is something I can actually package and sell. My severe curiosity and interest in the taboo topics have led me to develop a wealth of knowledge and understanding of relationships and sexuality that most people never dive in to study as I have.The emergence of the #MeToo movement, which open people’s eyes about the importance of life relevant education related to relationships and sexual behaviour and my own career identity crisis at the time made me reflect on the value of the knowledge I have built over the years. A lifetime of experiences of people seeking me out for insights into everything sex and relationships related along with support from close folk and business experts who could see the potential of my proposition all pointed that it is the right time for myself and for the market to endeavour into the development of my services and business.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
1) Can-do Attitude, 2) Ability to Persevere, 3) Systems Thinking
Business is tough and unless you are decided on success and have adopted the can-do attitude you are most likely to give up when you encounter difficulties you feel overwhelmed by. The can-do attitude is a life & business saviour.
*Ability to persevere.
Things take time, and patience and ability to persevere are hugely important in order to make it through. Every business has what I call ‘cycles of operation’which refers to the processes and time-line of developments in the business –from how long it takes to actually establish a working relationship with someone to when and how you get your business deals closed most – it takes time to even grasp these cycles.
* Systems thinking.
If you are too single minded and fail to see how the whole system or even systems of systems work, you’re doomed. It takes great understanding of how variables and confounding variables interact to produce certain outcomes and so capitalising on this is the hardest, yet one of the most rewarding of experiences from my point of view.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to do things that are brave, out of the box and innovative without having to fight to convince others it’s worth it.
What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
A person that inspires me with their work ethic, drive, dedication and insane genius is Elon Musk. I don’t support everything he is or is interested in pursuing but his skills and spirit are inspirational to me.
If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
I would talk to him [Elon Musk] about the difficulty of breaking into difficult and controversial fields of business and the challenges a person encounters while fighting for recognition and trust of the masses.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Failure (in my opinion) exists only when you make a mistake and/or fail to achieve your goal and you don’t learn a lesson from it and end up repeating the past. If you can learn from an experience good or bad, it’s not failure and it’s not success – it’s a lesson, that can help you do better in the future.
* It is very easy to burn out when you are prepared to and sacrifice a lot to make things work for your business.
* Networking with the right people is more important than simply networking as a general rule.
* When you talk about your business, talk with passion about the value you bring to your clients, not what you are passionate about or why it is important to you or the world.
How have you funded your ideas?
I am not keen on loans so I chose savings and holding a part-time job while starting it all up.
Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Oxford is probably the best city for starting a business in. There is so much support available with plenty of business centred events; not to forget the location being right between London and Birmingham, the prospects for connections and growth are quite substantial.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them? (Anything Oxfordshire especially!)
OxLep and OBS for business support and advice.
Any last words of advice?
Always count your blessings, cut your losses and make and take the best out of any situation.