Another month, another feature 😉 We’re back with yet another inspiring story in our “Entrepreneur of the Month” series – a series where we present extraordinary stories of women across the globe to inspire, motivate, and provide insightful information to our audience. So, keeping the tradition alive, I am super excited to share the journey of Sara with you all!
Meet Sara Mobarhanfard, a business coach with a zeal for creativity. Originally from Iran, she left for Sweden, pursued a corporate career in Switzerland, founded her lifestyle brand and is now helping passionate entrepreneurs in building successful businesses. Her journey reflects resilience, self-discovery, and the pursuit of dreams, inspiring women everywhere. Read on as we take you through it!
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself
Hi, my name is Sara Mobarhanfard, and I am a business coach for entrepreneurs. I am originally from Iran. Years ago, I left my home country for Sweden as a university student. After graduation, I moved to Switzerland for my then corporate job. I am an industrial engineer and S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning) expert by background, and most of my career was shaped in the construction machinery industry. I am also the founder of a lifestyle brand, which I initially launched as a creative escape for myself. I came here as an expat, thinking I would stay for a couple of years, and then probably, my career would take me to another country. But I stayed, became a local in Switzerland, got married, founded businesses, and quit the corporate job.
Tell us about your current business
I am a business coach who helps multi-passionate entrepreneurs find focus and grow soulful businesses using their unique gifts and talents. I help them build their businesses on the side of a full-time corporate job so that they can create more freedom and flexibility in their lives and careers. My clients are creative corporate executives who are yearning to transition from the 9-5 grind and embark on their entrepreneurial journey. I noticed a lot of people know me as the side-business coach, which makes sense! They are navigating the path of building a side business alongside their full-time demanding careers and busy lives. This led me to create my 5.5 Hour Work Week System™ to show busy women that time is not their enemy.
Not everyone wants to quit their jobs and go for their wild dreams. Someone who has an established career and identity as an employee has unique challenges in terms of reinventing their identity as an entrepreneur.
Besides, there are the usual challenges of new business owners and entrepreneurs in terms of taking their first steps, creating a practical actionable business plan, and income. I address these challenges and simplify the employee to entrepreneur journey for my clients. Finding a USP (unique selling point) is crucial for small businesses, especially in the crowded market today. I am convinced that the most unique selling point in each business comes from the founder’s unique talents, life experiences, and zone of genius. And my own genius is extracting those unique gifts out of clients and turning them into viable business ideas! My current clients are senior executives, marketing managers, project managers, humanitarian workers in the day, and designers, artists, healers, coaches, and online store owners in the evening.
We’d love to hear your story! How did you decide to become a Business Coach in Switzerland?
I always loved coaching, mentoring, and consulting, or generally helping others by offering them a safe, non-judgmental space to explore their thoughts. Even when I was in my corporate jobs, I often enjoyed supporting others. I always enjoyed learning about topics like productivity and personal development and sharing my learnings with others. I also enjoyed working with amazing mentors and coaches who made me transform my mindset around life, career, and business.
My first business was a lifestyle & fashion brand, and although it was small, it had a loyal following. I was frequently approached by other small business owners for brainstorming and advice about sales and launching. During the lockdown, I added digital planners to my product range to create passive income. I initially did it out of panic when postal services out of Switzerland paused for a while! This led me to host webinars about personal growth and productivity.
In March 2021, I decided to launch a live online course for artists and designers and teach them how to monetize their art and create income. Seventy people signed up for my course (which I still can’t believe today, how all of these unfolded). Once that course finished with great reviews, it was clear to me that this is what I am meant to do: coaching and teaching. Running the fashion business after the pandemic had become so stressful for me: the brand was growing, but I was faced with delayed production, logistics challenges, and my lack of joy for that business was not helping. It was in the summer that year that I finally decided to be honest with myself and find a way to recreate my career doing something I love. I signed up for all kinds of coach training programs. Then I got my first paid coaching clients that covered the cost of my ICF accredited training, and the rest is history!
And this is what I love about Switzerland: from a legal point of view, it’s relatively easy to start a business and make pivots in that business. This might be my personal experience, but I believe we have a great infrastructure for self-employment here.
Working part-time or sharing responsibility at work is accepted in the work culture. I also love that we live in this small country where personal relationships and supportive networks mean so much. Every time I was faced with a challenge, I could think of someone who could support me in that area. Quality, excellence, safety, orderliness, and punctuality are the values that are appreciated here, and I always do my best to embody them in my own business.
What is a day like “in your heels?”
It depends on the day: Tuesday to Thursday, I am mostly coaching or teaching, hosting events, or going on discovery calls. I call them my “people days.” Mondays & Fridays are for my own personal development, time with my own mentors, and creating content.
I am an introvert and need a lot of alone downtime to recharge my batteries. My mornings often start with a short walk, some reading, or listening to my favorite podcasts. This ritual helps me keep my mood up and start the day right. I don’t take calls or answer emails before 11 am unless it’s urgent. I use this time to write, organize my own thoughts, and check the progress of projects & plans. Now that I am working more and more with American clients, I am trying to adapt to working a bit longer in the evenings. But generally, my business brain does not function well after 7 pm 😃
And of course, these are the predictable good days: there are days when nothing goes the way I want, there are urgent things to address or technical issues to sort out, family emergencies to deal with. Then I do what every woman does: keep calm & juggle!
My favorite time of the week is weekends when I am mostly away with my husband, visiting a beautiful corner in Switzerland. I totally switch off, something I was never able to do in my corporate jobs or in my fashion business. I am grateful for finally being able to do this.
As an entrepreneur yourself, what advice would you like to give to your fellow women entrepreneurs?
It’s a great time to be a woman entrepreneur; there are networking opportunities only for women, big businesses are being more supportive of women’s initiatives to show they are welcoming diversity and inclusion. And from what I hear from many of my clients, the workplace is more open and welcoming to women who need more flexibility in their jobs. Growing your own business on the side is becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace. Things are not perfect yet. There is, for example, not enough support for child care, and we have questionable maternity/paternity leave structures, but I see the discussion has started, and improvements are slowly happening.
And for the expats, I keep seeing new emerging businesses that specifically support expats in legal, financial, and business fields. There are more and more English-speaking services to support those who don’t feel confident expressing their expertise in local languages. When I started my own business, I never imagined I would be running it in English, but now it seems like the most practical thing to do. Diversity and inclusion are now becoming an integral part of the work culture. The expat community is becoming bigger. That on its own created great opportunities that didn’t exist years ago. I hope you can make the most of these possibilities!
Are you a new entrepreneur trying to identify your USP and boost your business? We have an EXCLUSIVE offer for you!
Check our Sara’s 3 month group program that helps new entrepreneurs identify their unique selling point and get their business off the ground with simplicity and excitement. Previous clients who joined the program have been able to make their first sales, launch their businesses or get fully booked with clients.
The program is suitable for both service based and product based business owners.
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