Pial did not start out as an entrepreneur or even wanting to be an entrepreneur.
Teaching is a noble profession. I’ve done it myself, occasionally teaching aspiring journalists the tools of the trade. I do it the traditional way, in classrooms at various colleges. But the advent of the Internet has revolutionized the notion of teaching. Now, it can be done live online and it can be aimed at a global audience.
Pial Khadilla, a coach to women entrepreneurs in the services industry, is someone who has made this model work. She offers unique one-on-one coaching sessions and group coaching programs with women entrepreneurs locally and abroad through the Internet. (Click here to find out more on the packages she offers).
Although she did not start out as an entrepreneur or even wanting to be an entrepreneur, you could say business is in her blood. Both her parents were business owners and she was exposed to business all her life. And when it came time for her to go to university, she studied Business Administration at Bath University in the UK.
While doing her degree, she had the foresight to gain varied experiences, getting internships in finances and public relations/communications – which would be useful for her should she decide to start her own business down the road.
After she returned to Malaysia she got a job with Bank Negara and worked there for a couple of years. In her quest for personal and professional development, she invested a lot of time and money taking courses. “When I found out about the world of coaching in early 2013, I knew I had what it takes to become a coach due to my life experiences, my personality and my passion for teaching,” says Pial.
However, she felt she needed more knowledge before attempting this, so she kept on investing in herself, getting certifications in virtual programs and building up her knowledge in online marketing and personal development. All in, she estimates she must have spent close to RM80,000 in various courses through the years. “Every single time I made that decision to hit the ‘pay’ button I said to myself, I’m going to get it back and I can safely say I’ve got no regrets.”
Pial’s biggest challenge, when she started, was identifying the niche that she wanted to occupy because she had many interests. “I swayed from health and wellness coaching to relationship and dating coaching, to life and lifestyle coaching, before finally deciding on business and success coaching,” she recalls.
Once the difficult task of settling on a particular niche was done, she didn’t rush into it headlong. Instead, she took her time to do the necessary groundwork to prepare herself for her new career path in online teaching, something she had no experience in.
“Overcoming anything is a process and takes time but I knew I was on the right path, so I just kept showing up and did all the work that was necessary,” she said, adding that giving herself that time to get ready helped boost her confidence.
Without a big budget to advertise her courses, she relied a lot on word of mouth marketing, which worked quite well for her. The secret to her success in this area? She calls it the “KLT” factor (know, like and trust). “If people like you, they will recommend you to others,” she says. “Any business, online or offline, is about building relationships. If you have the KLT factor, people will want to give you business.”
The business is chugging along nicely, with clients both in Malaysia and abroad (Russia, Lebanon, Turkey, US, UK and Australia). “They are all women entrepreneurs who are either planning to start a business or those who have already done so but are still struggling to get it right,” she says.
To Pial, teaching other women to be successful in business is something really fulfilling. “It’s my passion, heart and soul,” she says. “I am in love with what I do, waking up every morning, going online and helping women globally to take their businesses to the next level.”
Oon Yeoh is a new media consultant.