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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tatum

Reinvention for New Consultants

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau has just begun her business as a brand new consultant after leaving the corporate world. She is the Founder and Chief Reinvention Officer of ILV Consulting. She is sharing the challenges of her transition, a little about the Reinvention Academy, and the method she used to get started in her business.

Notes from the Show

Isabelle LaCrouix Vienneau is the Founder and Chief Reinvention Officer of ILV Consulting. Her consulting firm was founded just a few months ago, in January 2023, but her journey to leave corporate and become a consultant began in the summer of 2022.

Isabelle used the Reinvention Academy Method to understand and get to a place of readiness as a new consultant.

  1. Find out who you are, what you want to be, and how you'll get there.

  2. Explore what's out there: set some guidelines and criteria using step 1!

  3. Network and make connections in your area of interest.

Throughout our conversation, Isabelle puts an emphasis on the conversation. Whether you have the privilege to take time off to reflect, think, and plan or you have to get straight to work, the idea is to have the conversations that lead to trusted partnerships.

Isabelle explains reinvention as ‘a system and strategy to identify the best of what we have and let go of what no longer serves us’. As you explore and work as a new consultant, keep progressing and pivoting when you need to. The ideal goal is to work with clients who align with your values and value your work.

What's Inside:

  • The challenges of transitioning from corporate to solo consultant.

  • What is the Reinvention Academy Method?

  • How to form trusted partnerships as new consultants.

  • The importance of “me” in your journey to creating a consulting firm.

  • How to get started as a consultant.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcribed by AI Susan Tatum 0:35

Welcome back, everybody. Today, my guest is Isabelle LaCrouix Vienneau. And she is the founder and chief reinvention officer at ILV consulting. Welcome, Isabel.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 0:49


Susan Tatum 0:49

I am so excited to be talking to you today. Because just to give the listeners a little bit of background, you started your own business just a few months ago, right?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 0:59

Two months ago, actually mid January

Susan Tatum 1:01

mid January. And you and I met because I was doing a bit of research into what the challenges are that new consultants are running up against. And you came back with some just fabulous answers and questions and it just started a relationship between us. And you're kind enough to share your story with the listeners. And I think it's gonna be awesome.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 1:23

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Susan Tatum 1:25

So tell us give us the like 30 45 Second overview of what you're doing now.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 1:31

So lots of what I'm doing is learning, obviously, as a new entrepreneur, not new to the industry in the specialty that I bring, but new to owning a business and everything that surrounds that. So this year is very much focused on learning. However, from a specialty perspective, I bring 20 plus years of experience in the call center and corporate space. So I started my career and built it from the ground up. So spent a few years on the phones, then pretty much everything in between and work my way up the corporate senior leadership ladder. So my main focus is empowering organizations to empower their employees, you know, to obviously survive, but also thrive in today's volatile and uncertain world that we currently live in. I don't think it's about to change. So it's important, though, to make sure that not only from a mindset perspective, but also toolkits and skill set, that our employees who are truly the asset of you know, our business success or failure are equipped with what they need. So, you know, we can thrive

Susan Tatum 2:46

Your approach to is really all about systems where I'd say are sustainable, long term feedback systems that give the employees freedom to surface issues.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 2:57

That's right. So see it as you know, feedback systems or feedback solutions, there's different flavors of it. Of course, depending on the company and the circumstances that surrounds them, it's not a one glove fits all solution. But think of it as you know, a system that is fully integrated in a company's day to day. So not a project, not those one off surveys that you may send every quarter every year, like truly a platform where employees can share whether it's input, ideas, lag issues that are either impeding the customer experience or impeding them to perform to the level that's expected.

Susan Tatum 3:44

So what was the catalyst that got you to start your consulting business?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 3:49

It's a combination of many. So spending 20 years in corporate I love every experience that that that came my way. There's pros and cons to everything, but I like to focus on the positive, but the main piece was carrying my own voice carrying my own fish in having that flexibility as well from a lifestyle perspective, right. Because in the end, when you work for a corporation, obviously you would have to support and live what it is that they're looking to achieve. And you tend to well, at least for me, I won't say you because I'm speaking of my own experience, but you tend to sometimes lose yourself in that reality because expectations can be so different from leader to leader and team to team right. So for me after my 20 years journey, last April, I was part of a reorg exercise, which was totally a blessing in disguise. I know many unfortunately may not feel the same way but it was truly an opportunity to reflect on me because in corporate you focus on elevating other goals other people And that's the piece I think, for me that was eye opening is how much of myself and my own voice that I lost in that process. So, you know, the complexity around building your own business is, of course, you have so much information everywhere that you can access, how you should do this, how you should go about, you know, building your consulting business. And what I found was, until a truly figured out what it is that I believe what it is that I'm passionate in doing what it is that my purpose overall is, it was almost like a whiplash feeling because you can go in so many different directions. That it's it's important, I think, to first start with you. And for me, that's where my journey began, it was truly double, triple clicking into whose Isabel, right. As simple as it may seem, that was the first kind of go to for me was start internally.

Susan Tatum 6:02

So well. So when you when you came out of the your, your corporate job? Did you did you know, okay, I just want to I just want to stop and I've got to figure out Isabelle, and where I'm going from here? Or did you spend any time trying to just make stuff happen?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 6:22

I took the summer off. So that was number one for me. It was you know, just take that downtime I've been working for over two decades. And of course, I had vacation to dine, but often you're working through your vacation time. So it's not really a vacation. Right? So number one was, you know what, you can take the time, take it. So I truly disconnected from anything business related. Whole summer off with the kids. And then closer to the tail end of September after back to school shenanigans and all that exciting stuff. I started exploring, right. And I never thought of consulting. To be honest, I was looking at other corporate jobs, but in different industries. So maybe instead of, you know, telecommunications and entertainment companies, I'll look at banking, insurance, but that was still not, I wasn't getting that wow, factor. Wow, feeling it was like if it was more like a chore. I think that's the best description I can give. But then I started connecting with, you know, people I trust, even mentors of mine that you know, are no me, no me at my core not just what I do and how I can do it. And someone who's who is very dear to my heart, that I would see you as a consultant, you are you, you have your own voice, your own style, and you're a problem solver. That's really in a nutshell, what you do is you figure out how to solve problems, not only for yourself, but for others. And I had never really heard about that consultant space, to be honest, until that conversation took place. So I started exploring, you know, you Google, you talk to other people in the field, and you kind of start learning and getting the different pieces of the puzzle coming together. But it's not as easy as it seems to put those pieces together. So for me, it was very challenging, but in a good way. Because I get to make this my own, not something that I'm creating for someone else. So I get to kind of pick and choose my negotiables, my non negotiables. And, you know, and really stick to what makes me happy every morning when I wake up versus, you know, we go again, back to the grind, you know, the Monday, Monday to Friday, nine to five job that that traditionally is what most of the people go for.

Susan Tatum 9:00

So I want to dig in a little bit deeper into how you did that. But before, before we go there, what? So you come out of you come out of the corporate world, which is very different from being on your own, you took three months off, and that's awesome. I've done that in my past too. And there's just nothing like it, because you don't have that even when you're on vacation time. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So what was it like? So let's say you decide you want to be a consultant. Now you've got all of this information that is just slamming at you and you don't know who to believe and you don't know where to go? What was the biggest surprises that sort of hit you that you just were not prepared for

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 9:41

To be honest, I think just the different ways of going about it. So you'll have individuals who have been, let's say, consultants for decades on it, and they have their method to their madness, right. So you kind of explore ok Well, this is how they manage their pipeline. This is how they present themselves to the audience. This is how they get clients and the different pieces or moving pieces that exists. But what works for someone doesn't necessarily mean is going to work for me. So I think the most difficult piece was, yes, exploring what's out there. So I took courses. You know, I took some that were online virtual videos, I looked at different webinars that were free that I could attend, but none of those activities really felt like it was me, it's like I'm in someone else's box right now. And only until I found the reinvention Academy is when I truly felt like, Ah, okay, well, this movement, method community, you know, kind of speak my language and almost felt like all and if folks are not familiar with the chief reinvention officer method, Google it, you'll see it's an amazing, you know, movement to be part of, but what I was truly looking for was, I'm someone who, I don't expect to be someone who knows it alll right, but I want to make sure that I have the tools and the support and resources in place that will enable me to solve for anything, whether it's expected or unexpected, and the reinvention Academy is exactly that. So it's a mix of, you know, one, identifying who you are, what you want to be, and what you need to do to get there, which is not easy, but I think you really need to start internally two is it's explore what's out there, it's big, said you kind of need to set some, some guidelines, or criterias. And that's why I mentioned it's important to know what you want first, because then you can kind of filter ah, that's not for me, that's interesting. This is definitely for me. And then three network with people, poke people, like I'm into the Global Alliance for reinvention professionals by reaching out to, you know, their chief reinvention officer, but also the different community that's available within that group. And you still learn about it, right? Like half conversations, because what you see online, I mean, you can interpret it a certain way. But until you actually speak with different people who are living in breathing it sometimes maybe not as pretty as it seem or the other way around. So I think bulking different sets of individuals and just having conversations asking questions, what is this about? What do you like about it? What don't you like about, really just helps re my firm, if that's a term or confirm, you know, if you're on the right track or not.

Susan Tatum 13:00

So, now I'm gonna circle away from, from the reinvention Academy for a minute, because because I want to come back and hone on something that you you're interested on these on the conversations is so important, and and everyone listening, that's a consultant, regardless of how long you've been in business, hang on to that, because we, we make the mistake. So as consultants, we're experts in something. And, and, but we're not experts in thinking like our clients think. And if if we sit in our offices or our kitchens, or wherever we are, and we try to think that we know what they're looking for, or what solutions they need, or what language they speak, we're going to make mistakes. And so every everything that Isabelle, you just said about having conversations and poking different people and asking questions goes, is just I think the foundation of building a good business.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 13:56

Yeah, yeah. 100% agree. And it takes courage, right?

Susan Tatum 14:00

It's much easier to sit in your office and make a contract, or we have to worry about branding or something than it is to go out and talk to people sometimes.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 14:10

Absolutely. And, you know, depending on the circumstances that you're in, like fine, I had obviously some, some savings aside that, you know, help me facilitate this stage of the game that I was in, so I didn't have to worry about, I need to work full time and then work on this on this side. Like I had a buffer that I was able to rely on. But to your point, you can't do this alone, right. And I built I wouldn't consider a very large network in my 20 years, you know, in corporate, but surprisingly, the network I have was not the majority of the people who helped me navigate my journey. It was reaching out to people I had no clue who they were. So of course it's it's uncomfortable. You don't know these people, what are they going to think. And then you kind of get in your own mind. And, you know, it's super important to find ways to disconnect from that internal voice in moments like these. Because if you worry about what they're gonna think you'll never connect with people, especially ones who are able to help you overcome some of these hurdles, right. So, and they may not respond to you right away, some of them may not even respond to you at all. So it's just really stick to it. And often I found people who didn't respond, it's not because they didn't want to talk to people. We're all busy, right? Like, my priorities are completely different from from you from other people. So, and there's only so many hours in a day, like, there's not enough hours to be honest. So, you know, kindly, not, maybe a few days later, like, hey, and I'll be honest, 100% of the time, and pop on wood, when I nudge to like, oh, my gosh, I'm so sorry, yeah, let's connect. And it's really just being genuine with your approach, like, don't try and shove you know, your agenda down their throat, but you're just really there to discover. And from what you see on your LinkedIn, LinkedIn profile, as an example, is really appealing to you. And they're an expert in what you're trying to become. And you just want to learn kind of what their journey look like not to copy and paste, because more than likely, it's going to be different for you. But just absorbing and digesting those different circumstances, gives you ideas. It inspires you to build upon that and make it your own so I agree with you Susan could see on board. Number one is connection. And that's very evident thing, one.

Susan Tatum 16:46

That's a very well said, Isabelle. And it's, I think it's also about you have to be intentional in who you're reaching out to. And the reason that you want to connect with them. And in the beginning, it's not to sell them something. That's mistakes that a lot of people make. But I this, all of the stuff that we see in our inboxes that have been barfed out by robot of some sort is, you know, is just noise and really doesn't result in anything. And it's that genuine nests happening, people want to help and give you 15 minutes or something to talk. Well, let's go back to so that the chief reinvention officer and I know that's a title that you go by founder and chief reinvention officer, is it a reinvention of ourselves? Or is it the reinvention of say because it is a reinvention somehow of your clients or your clients business? And you guys can see Isabelle, but she's smiling at me like I've asked a good question.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 17:45

you did, you did. It's all of the above. Right. It's personal reinvention. And it's business reinvention. It can even be community reinvention, right, like, oftentimes, I think we mix reinvention with innovation, they are two completely separate things reinvention, see it almost as a system, a strategy that helps us identify the best of what we have, and focus on no longer putting our efforts or letting go of what no longer serves us, right. So whether that's personal, business, community, it applies wherever, right. So as an example, a friend of ours, recently was, you know, unhappy, let's say with his marriage, and himself and his partner are on completely opposite spectrums. But it's easy to let emotions get in the way because emotions is what shows up first, when when moments occur. And then shared with him a very simple tool, reinvention tool that's called Future fit framework. And all it is, is it's like a visual of where you're at, where and you can use this as many different ways but where you're at where your partner is at. And it's a visual to help you see where you're at where your partner is at and how you can meet in the middle, right? So reinventing can be something as simple as reinventing your marriage. It can be something as simple as reinventing what you like about yourself what you don't like. So it's just a way to reflect on, what's working, what's not working, but also making sure what I love the most is the practical piece of it. It's the hands on piece. It's not just in theory, this looks magical and wonderful. It really makes you jump in and do the work based on what it is that you're looking to achieve.

Susan Tatum 19:51

This is the future fit framework is very, very much like what we're all of us are doing in consulting it's we've got a client that's at point A, wants to get to point C. That's the, that's the future. And, you know, we're the bridge to help them get there.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 20:09

That's right. And you can add, let's say, I usually have 10 on the list. But of course, you don't want to tackle 10 things all at once. But just list that, right? Like, for me, it's super helpful to write down versus just trying to process this in my brain, write it down. So I'll list Okay, where I'm at 1 2 3 4 5? And then where do I want to be? And then you kind of rate, you know, where are you at from point A to point B? Are you halfway there, are you, you know, at 85% there, and you just have a few more things on the list that needs to happen to make your goals come to life. But at least it's a starting point. And then I typically recommend pick no more than three, and then prioritize out of those three, which one it is that you want to do first. And then there's other tools that we can leverage. But it's just a simple way, nothing, you know, complex, just a really quick, easy exercise that puts it in perspective, and then makes you take action on it.

Susan Tatum 21:13

Okay, so so so for some, for someone that's new to new to having their own consulting business, you would suggest that they they make a list or define, here's where at, here's where I am right now, maybe here's the things that I don't know that I need to know, this is sort of like a neck sweat, I guess, here's where I am right now, here's what my current vision of my business is. And I can pretty much guarantee that vision is going to change for everybody. Because we don't start out having a vision that comes 100% true. At least I've never talked to anyone that's done that. But that's okay, that's putting a stake in the ground. And then understanding what has to change to get from where you are to where you're going. And then how are you going to do that three pieces at a time, which is even pretty ambitious, isn't it?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 22:03

Definitely. But at least it it gets you to take action, right? Like it can be an idea. Well, an idea is just an idea if you don't do something about it, right? So maybe that idea has sub elements to it, you can use that simple framework to just jot it down. And then some I know for me, I'm very visual. So I'll do future fit on my whiteboard, just because I like whiteboarding. But then I'll stand there, and I'll look at it. And if nothing, you know, sometimes you just it's like a complete blank, leave it walk away, go do something else. And typically, when you're not thinking about what it is, when things will start coming up, and you go back to your whiteboard, and you write it down, you write it down. Like it's not a one stop shop, what hours do you figure everything out done by it's tools that will help you truly one, identify what it is that is important to you, then you start exploring from a priority perspective, because you don't want to overwhelm yourself, either write it down, it's great to have a career but you want that work life balance as well. You don't want life to be all about work, and no fun, no play. So it's truly tools that you can tweak and make it your own, but also not feel like it's fast pace all the time. And that to me is is is what truly attracted me to to that method and movement and community is they are tools that are built to help you figure it out on your own time at your own pace, even with potential challenges or opportunities that you didn't expect would pop up like building a consulting business.

Susan Tatum 23:48

You sent me a list. And this is going back to when we first met each other of 10 questions that that you I think you ask yourself, just from time to time to keep reinventing, I guess what, whatever is going on one of the one of those questions, which is what changes do you need to make to persevere through obstacles, which is, which is a bit of what we were just talking about just hitting on? I think it's a really interesting list here and there. We're coming up against time and I want to ask you one more thing, but at the end of the show, can we give people a way to get in touch with you if they would like to find out more and get you to share these questions with them?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 24:29

Absolutely. Absolutely. They are questions that are flexible, regardless if it's personal, business, or something else. And they are very effective to reflect and the main intent with all these questions is to help your mindset right because yeah, clear mind. It's either fight or flight when it comes to change and having to navigate. You know, everything that's happening around on these questions, help You embrace the mindset of change versus fighting it or totally avoiding it. So, absolutely,

Susan Tatum 25:09

I'd say, one of the challenges there is finding the time to do it. And I think the message is just inhale, calm down, give yourself enough time to think these things through otherwise, you really are a hamster on a wheel, that you're you're not doing yourself any favors that way, I think.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 25:28

And you have to also be honest with yourself, right? Like, is this truly what's important to me? Or is this important to someone else? And I'm not saying that you don't ever compromise in life. However, you truly have to get down to the nitty gritty details of again you right what's important to you? And why in the end, yeah. And why am I doing it? Is this a feeling? Or is it? Or is this truly a fact? Right? Truly understanding Why am I feeling this way? And really kind of dig into understanding that piece? Because sometimes what you see it this is not truly what you should be tackling.

Susan Tatum 26:14

This is true. All right, so we're here at the end of March, and you've had your business since mid January, right? But you've been thinking about it. So you spent some time in the fall processing things, right? So I'm gonna say you're, you're closer to six months into it for where, you know, most people are, what are you focused on now? Like, what's where? Where are you business wise spending your, your energy.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 26:39

my energy is spent on my pipeline, because obviously, you can't run a business without clients. But the most important piece is finding that Win Win partnership, right, because I think there's nothing worse than client, you know, customer relationship, and you're over here, the other, the other person is on the opposite side of where you're at the energy, dynamic, goal, results wise, I think that approach is a disadvantage and will set you up to fail. So I'm not in it to just grab on to anybody, I need to make some money right now, I'm really into this, to find that win win, dynamic, but also, you know, work with people who see the value that I can I can bring, but also vice versa, right? Like, you want to make sure that it meshes well, if that makes sense. I'm trying to find the right words here. But a partnership that is truly collaborative, and beliefs are different. I don't think there's any right or wrong, but you want to make sure that who you line yourself up with is is kind of on the same page, or else it may not necessarily land you, you know, the trusted partnership that you're working to get if

Susan Tatum 28:08

Yeah, I think that some there, there are a lot of new consultants that did not have the option of planning things out nor the option of of taking thinking time off and relaxing time off. And they are in a situation where they need to take what's what's coming along, to have work. But I agree the goal should be to move to where you can have clients that are a good fit. And part of being a good fit is that you share some values, they will let you do your job. And they will pay you what your what your works.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 28:49

Yeah, absolutely. And, and everybody's circumstances is different. Now, like for me, it an aligned grade, in a sense that financially I was able to rely on on that buffer to help me truly focus 100% of my time, whether it was developing skills to get me where I'm at or researching, exploring networking connections, and all that fun stuff that comes with the territory. And ideally, I can kind of avoid having to jump on to whatever opportunity presents itself because I've been able to prepare for a different journey. But you're right, it's it may not be the same reality, you know, for everybody, right? So sometimes you may start somewhere or as you progress, you'll pivot and you'll create a different journey reinvention. But for me, I don't want to say lucky because it's hard to like sit there and then things are magically happening. But I guess I was, you know, privileged in a way to be able to have things lined up the way that it did. So I could kind of avoid doing things potentially that may not necessarily be truly aligned with my values, by belief, and by vice versa with clients who I'm partnered with, but it's also exploring, you know, new opportunities. Like I just recently on boarded a client where I'm doing something completely different. I'm facilitating sessions, to ninth and 10th graders students all about career development and and, you know, leveraging resources

Susan Tatum 30:33

that is different

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 30:34

and help them decide where they want to be where they want to go. And that is sharing my experiences of hey, when I was in ninth and 10th grade, I could have cared less about what I was going to do when I'm 25, 30, 35, right. And I it still aligned with helping other people be empowered and figure out what it is that value that is valuable to them, and then transform whatever it is they're looking to transform. In the end, the only difference is I'm doing it with ninth and 10th graders, but I have six kids. So for me,

Susan Tatum 31:14

it's just another day.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 31:15

It's just another day.

Susan Tatum 31:15

Isabel, thank you so much for sharing your time and your and your thoughts with us. I really appreciate it. And so how do the listeners that want to follow up with you do that?

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 31:27

Well, there'sa three option. To keep things not messy. So there's my website at triple W dot ILV There's also my LinkedIn. So Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau. And you said it right. And then third, there's also my business email. So is Isabellelv at ILV And I'll send you all of that. So if you want to include it,

Susan Tatum 32:01

yeah, we'll put it in the we'll put it in the show notes for for the folks that can go look at it. And, again, thank you very much, and have a great rest of your day.

Isabelle LaCroix Vienneau 32:10

Thanks for having me.


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