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Squish Stars: Harper Spero

photo of entrepreneur Harper Spero sitting on a couch

 

The past number of months have been a whirlwind. Yet, there are some women entrepreneurs that are continuing to break the mold and shine like the stars they are! We're proud to introduce our Squish Stars campaign, highlighting incredible women entrepreneurs!

We were lucky to talk to Harper Spero, Business Coach & Host of Made Visible Podcast, and ask her some questions. 

Description of your business? How did you get started?
Harper: 
I'm a business coach who specializes in working with service-based newbie solopreneurs and small business owners. I work with clients to create businesses they love, determine how to get their idea out into the world and discover the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship. I'm also the host of Made Visible, a podcast dedicated to people living with or affected by invisible illness. Additionally, I'm a writer who focuses on chronicling my rare immunodeficiency that you've likely never heard of. I'm based in New York City and spend my winters in Tel Aviv.
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn't know what the business was that I wanted to run. After ten years of working for other people in marketing, event production and public relations and a major health crisis, I decided to enroll in a coaching training program. In 2014, while still working a full time job, I started my coaching business. Shortly thereafter things shifted at my full time job and I went out on my own -- I've been in business for myself ever since.
In 2018, when I recognized that podcasting was my favorite way of receiving information, I recognized that nobody else was sharing stories on a weekly basis through audio about invisible illness. So, in July 2018, Made Visible was born where I interview individuals living with or affected by invisible illness about their experiences.

What measures have you been forced to take since COVID started? What is the biggest pivot you had to make with your business? 
Harper: Fortunately I've built a business that can run from anywhere in the world. Prior to Covid-19, I was in Tel Aviv for six weeks and worked from there as if I was in New York. At the beginning of the year, I launched my first group coaching program, Harper's Circle. This has been extremely valuable for my clients as it's a more affordable way to work with me than one-on-one and provides community which is extremely important during these challenging times.

What have you learned from this experience thus far? Both on a professional and personal level. 
Harper: This experience has definitely helped me prioritize how I want to spend my time and with who. I've recognized how much I enjoy doing group work (as a participant and facilitator). It's so powerful to learn from others and their experiences.
I've been in a writing group or class for the last five years. These last few months of being in a class as well as facilitating a class has reminded me the importance of writing in my life and how much I want it to be something I continue to spend more and more time on.

Have any businesses or individuals helped to inspire you through this time? What do you admire most about them? 
I met Ruthie Ackerman at the beginning of the year and we instantly hit it off. At the beginning of the pandemic, I joined her virtual 6-week personal essay writing class. I then went on to take two more classes with her. She's done an amazing job at providing us with compelling readings, helpful feedback on our writing and a community of other amazing women writers. She's down-to-earth, relatable, smart and helps take your writing to the next level. When she was planning for maternity leave, I presented her with the idea of facilitating her class while she was out and she was immediately sold on the idea. I am grateful for her trust in me and willingness to collaborate.

What are the biggest issues for running your company right now? What areas do you need help with? 
Harper: I could always use extra help with marketing. I often have great captions for Instagram but never know what photo to post. I'd love to be able to hand over my ideas to someone and have them share them widely to get more people reading, listening and working with me. I look forward to being able to hire a full-time marketing person one day!

What's been your biggest win since starting your company? 
Harper: One of the most powerful things that's happened in my business is how many clients have learned about me and hired me because they read or heard my health story. Whether they have health issues of their own or have a health and wellness business, they find that I'm relatable. I'm not a corporate business coach, I'm casual and approachable. I spent the first 27 years of my life hiding my health issues so it's amazing to have a business that thrives based on me being me without hiding a huge part of my life.

Are there any special or new self-care practices that have helped you stay grounded? 
Harper: I've been practicing transcendental meditation for seven years so it's something I aim to do for 20 minutes twice a day. Additionally, I walk 4-7 miles each day around my neighborhood. I know I won't sleep well if I don't move my body and get out of the house.

Favorite show you've been watching/book you're reading/podcast you're listening to? 
Harper: I've watched more TV in the last six months than ever in my life. Favorite shows: Unorthodox, Rita, Normal People, Call My Agent I've been listening to less podcasts during this time than ever before- I have limited alone time that I'm not working so I have to be selective of what I listen to.

If you could be any of our marshmallow flavors, which one would you be? 
Harper: S'mores. I have always loved the concept of s'mores but really don't like graham crackers. I think I like the experience of roasting the marshmallow the most. Having the toasted s'more marshmallow allows me to embrace the taste of the s'more without having an overbearing amount of cracker.

To learn more about Harper and her business:
Instagram and Twitter: @harper_spero