Alice Benham might be an accidental entrepreneur but she is one to watch. Here at House of Coco we champion female business owners that are authentic and not afraid to share the bad times along with the good, Alice is one of those.
Determined, focused and consistent are three words to describe Alice and for any business owners looking for inspiration, she is one to follow. We spent some time with her to find out more…
Tell us the story that lead you to launching your brand…
I left school early and at age 17 became a freelance social media manager… somewhat accidentally! I didn’t know what the world ‘freelance’ meant but I said yes, learnt as I went and absolutely loved the challenge and freedom of working for myself. After a year of that I pretty dramatically burnt out, which led to re-starting my business as a digital marketing coach in late 2017.
You keep it real on social media and aren’t afraid to show people your honest behind the scenes updates, good or bad. How important do you think being authentic on social media is?
Whilst authenticity has become a bit of a buzzword, I truly believe in its power. The industry I’m in contains a fair bit of shiny-ness around 10K months and overnight success, something I’m keen not to contribute to. Sharing the lows alongside the highs and always acknowledging the time, failure and privilege that has played a role feels, to me, like showing up ethically. Authenticity will look different to each of us (and absolutely doesn’t mean having 0 boundaries with what you share!) but I think it’s key in connecting with others and communicating an honest message.
Talk us through an average day in your life…
Each day looks a little different, which is one of the things I love about running this business! On a coaching day (Tuesday & Thursday) I’ll get up at 7am and spend the first hour of the day getting ready, reading articles and having breakfast – tip if you love articles but struggle to read them: print them! Game-changer.. 8am-10am is my sacred time where I don’t have any meetings, so typically I’ll work on my business, catch up on admin and create any content for the day ahead.
Coaching is such a privilege – holding space for people to gain clarity on where they want to be and bringing frameworks and expertise in which will help them take action. My day is filled with 3 sessions morning and afternoon, with a long walk and lunch break in the middle!
After that I’ll typically do an hour or two of admin and switch off with a dance workout (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it)and then, the evening is mine! These are my heaviest days so I tend to be in bed by 9pm! Grandma, I know.
Part of your rise to success involved burnout along the way. How did you overcome this?
Short answer: a lot of sleep, therapy and medication! Accepting that I was burnt out in the first place was a huge thing for me, as I have a bit of a superhero complex and don’t find it the easiest to accept I need help. It took about 6 months of total rest before I felt ready to return to work and then it was really about prioritising my wellbeing and being strategic about the business model to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. I work with a mentor who helps me keep my wellbeing / mental health in check, out-source tasks to my team where possible and now have boundaries around my time in order to create some form of the elusive work life ‘balance’. Overworking is a real tendency of mine so staying self aware and on top of it is a constant work in progress for me!
For any aspiring entrepreneurs just starting out, what advice would you give them?
Just start! It’s tempting to wait until you’re ‘ready’ or the ‘timing is right’ but if you do that, you’ll be waiting a while. Clarity comes through action so taking messy and uncomfortable action is key at any stage of business, but particularly the beginning. Like any muscle, the more you use it, the easier it gets and future you will be oh so grateful you took that first step.,
Looking back since working for yourself, is there anything you would do differently?
Where to begin?! Whilst I learn best from failure / mistakes, there’s definitely a few I wish I could’ve avoided. I didn’t manage my finances well in the first few years of business and that got me in some hot water (hello not being able to pay my tax return!) so if I could go back I would have separated business/personal finances and saved for tax from day 1.
What has been a career highlight for you since launching your brand?
It’ll sound cringe but honestly, seeing my clients and students thrive. I just had a Whatsapp from a coaching client, telling me their first paying client had booked in and honestly, nothing beats that feeling! I celebrate their wins as if they’re my own and playing a tiny role in making it happen is such a privilege.
Have you had to make any unplanned pivots during 2020? If yes, tell us more…
I’ve been slowly transitioning to offer more than just coaching (courses, products etc) and support people with both marketing and business strategy. 2020 definitely fast forwarded those plans, after events and retreats had to be postponed and people were craving support with their businesses as a whole. It’s a transition that’s come with a lot of growing pains but ultimately I’m really glad it happened!
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
Ooh I am desperate to go to Bali! I’ve always wanted to go and am hoping to spend a few months living and working there… any tips are greatly appreciated!
Where can people find out more?
My main hangout is Instagram where I document the BTS of my business and share insights along the way!