Lekisha middleton, Founder of The Good Success Network, is empowering others with the tools and strategies they need to achieve success in their career and in life.
After more than 15 years in the corporate and tech world, Lekisha made the brave decision to pursue entrepreneurship full time. Throughout this journey, she experienced feeling different and not fitting in with others, which motivated her to continue showing up authentically with her goal of finding the right people for her network. Now, as a thriving entrepreneur, Lekisha continues to believe that the right support system is crucial for everyone’s career and personal success.
We asked Lekisha about the story behind starting The Good Success Network, how being “different” has influenced her path as an entrepreneur, and her personal reflections on her journey to date.
Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on The Good Success Network?
A: I knew that I would run my own business one day, as it has always been a desire of mine. After working in tech and in the corporate world for more than 15 years, I started coaching in 2015 as part of my full-time role in addition to having my own clients. It became immediately evident, given my background and strengths, that full-time coaching was a natural step for me. In 2018, I started coaching and consulting full time and have been doing so since then. It is both the scariest and most fulfilling choice I’ve ever made.
Q: In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur?
A: I was raised to have a solid work ethic, where you do what you say you’re going to do and you do it with excellence. That has served me well to build credibility throughout my career.
Q: Have you ever felt like you’re “different”? In what ways has this contributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?
A: Being a black woman who started in tech in the late 1990s, I’ve often been different merely by my existence, in addition to being the “only” in many of the spaces that I’ve entered. I have also always been a little nerdy or quirky. I never necessarily liked to fit in. Even as a child, I was always able to find “my people” and I continue to do this as an entrepreneur. My clients and colleagues value the fact that I show up authentically, as that is a big part of the value that they get when they work with me.
Q: What’s one thing you wish you had known before starting your company?
A: I wish I would have known that I knew more than what I gave myself credit for. I delayed becoming a full-time entrepreneur for so long because I just didn’t feel ready. Working in Big 5 consulting, my life experiences and my schooling had prepared me in so many ways to run a successful business. But it wasn’t until I made the leap that I realized that I had a lot of what it took to do so and to do so successfully.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception that others have around entrepreneurship?
A: The biggest misconception is that you have to have it all figured out before you become an entrepreneur. The most successful entrepreneurs fail forward and fail often. Being successful as an entrepreneur is all about learning as you go and applying what you’ve learned. You collect data and make informed decisions based on that data. When your data points change, then you make a different decision, learn to pivot, and change the course of action.
Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: I am most proud of pivoting and sustaining and growing my business during the pandemic. It can already be challenging to operate a business. Being able to do so when the odds are stacked against you shows that you have what it takes to go the distance.
Q: Have you discovered any underappreciated leadership traits or misconceptions around leadership?
A: Good leaders know that they can only be successful with the right support network around them. When I retired from corporate, I had to rebuild the network that I needed to sustain me along my new career path. This comes full circle with the name of my company, The Good Success Network. We were not meant to do life or business alone but rather with the right support system and network of people.
Q: How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again?
A: There is an African American proverb that states, “I wouldn’t take anything for my journey now.” This proverb sums up how I feel about my journey into entrepreneurship. Everything I’ve been through has prepared me for this moment in time and I look forward to the continued growth, success, and positive social impact I’ll make on those I’m meant to reach.
Lekisha is a member of Dreamers & Doersa private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through thought leadership opportunities, authentic connection, and access. learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to their monthly Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.