Shari Harley is the founder and president of Candid Culture Inc. which provides communication training programs and keynote business speeches to people all over the world. Shari is known globally for her engaging and “anything but boring” training programs, which have been featured on numerous television shows and publications.
Current Title :
Founder and President of Candid Culture, Inc.
BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Applied Communications from the University of Denver
Let’s start from the beginning. What was your first job after school? Or did you immediately dive into business ownership?
I sold training for Dale Carnegie Training.
What prompted you to start Candid Culture? Have you always had an interest in public speaking and helping others achieve their goals?
I was leading training for a large mutual fund company and began to doubt the effectiveness of the training we were offering. I was purchasing the best programs I could find but didn’t see people changing their behavior. I became frustrated and felt I was wasting my efforts and career. This prompted me to turn my frustrations into a solution, starting my own company to solve this issue.
What steps did you take to prepare for your business launch and how did you know you were ready? Any secret sauce for the lady bosses out there trying to turn their passion into profit?
I took a class offered by the SBA that required me to write a business plan. I paid off all of my debt, including my car and put 8 months of savings in the bank. I gave myself a mental quit date 8 months before I actually resigned from my corporate job.
You’ve had so much success. When did you realize this was more than a hobby and could be a solid career path?
Immediately. I was in a high paid corporate job. I gave myself two years to achieve a certain salary, as a business owner. If I didn’t achieve that salary in two years, I told myself I’d get a job.
You’re an author – what has that been like for you? What is your process?
It’s hard. Writing a book takes a long time – focused time. I took too many breaks in between writing sessions so the book took me 5 years to write. I don’t recommend that. Write and keep writing until your done. You can’t take breaks when writing a book. Consistency is essential.
A big part of your job is speaking in front of large groups. Do you ever get nervous? How do you combat the nerves?
I don’t get nervous anymore. I used to. Practice. I do at times give myself a short pep talk. I tell myself that this presentation is going to be the most fun I’ve ever had in front of an audience. If I’m having fun, the audience is too. And if I don’t like a room set up or a room’s lighting that will likely impact my performance, I change it before I start speaking. I’ve learned that I can do that after speaking in India to a pitch black room (and failing massively).
We absolutely love the way you styled your Body Bark piece. How would you describe your overall look/style?
Comfort is key!
One thing about me that may surprise people is…
Status isn’t important to me.
My dream vacation is…
Sailing around the world. As soon as my son learns to swim, we’re doing this.
My all-time favorite lady boss mentor is…
Julie (I can’t remember her last name). She told it like it was. That’s key – being honest and not letting anything get to you.
Thank you to Shari for chatting with us about her journey and giving all of us future #SheShines women out there an extra push toward our passions. I personally agree that the easiest business to start is one you passionately believe in. If you’re passionate about your dream, others will be, too. Join us next month for another #SheShines feature!