Today I’m chatting with Sabina Kocherhans, the “customer amazer,” entrepreneur, keynote speaker and trailblazer for transgender people about branding and her heart project, SKCoaching.
Mrs. Kocherhans, you were adopted from Sri Lanka as a baby and then grew up in Switzerland. To what extent has your personal history influenced you in your professional development?
I am different – I noticed that early on. Because as a child with dark skin, I belonged to a marginalized group and was often rejected. From this rejection I developed at the same time my strength: to recognize that I, like all people, am unique. It was exactly this mindset that got me into modeling and made me realize what advantages I had. For example, I never have to sunbathe to get a nice complexion.
With your first company DesignFoto you became very fast, very successful in a very short time. Was there a key moment that tipped the scales in your favor for a career change?
I wanted to be my own boss and felt ready to do so because my “backpack of knowledge was filled.” Somehow I knew there was more for me to achieve – I just had to discover it! Of course, that took a whole lot of courage. But I brought it up and thought to myself “just do it”.
You then decided to switch from the advertising industry to the financial sector and, following an intensive period of further training, founded your second company, SK Coaching. What are your thematic focuses here?
In 2011, I was given the opportunity to work in this exciting field through a photo assignment. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity, because I had to pay off a mountain of debt due to a personal crisis in 2006. What fascinated me was to work according to performance – because I’m very good at that. I acquired the knowledge along the way – and still did everything differently than the men in this domain. This led to me quickly training the sales force and rising to the number 1 position in the company. I also developed my first customer astonishment strategies during this time. From a certain point, I bet everything on my own business SK Coaching and have not regretted it to this day. My heart project has become a heart task.
Are there things you did “differently” when starting your second business than you did with your first?
I was able to profit from all the mistakes and defeats in the past – that’s why I’m also grateful to this time and respect it. I make my decisions today from a different focus. I think SK Coaching is so successful because I put my whole heart behind it and serve my clients with my heart.
What tip would you give to FemalExperts readers who are also thinking about starting their own business?
It’s always difficult to give the right tips when you don’t see the big picture. In my 1:1 training I look at my client as a unit and analyze her wishes & goals. Does she want to be completely self-employed or just part-time? As a reader, it’s best to ask yourself what your goal is! Why do you do what you do? One thing is certain: it takes discipline, diligence and perseverance – anything else would be a lie! But once you find your why, you can overcome any stumbling blocks. Without this “burning” it will be difficult.
To this end, they also offer successful branding for women. How important is one’s own self-presentation in terms of oneself and perhaps also in the context of one’s position as an entrepreneur?
Branding is the be-all and end-all – the whole framework is built on it. You yourself are the USP (Unique Selling Point) of your business, because the products or services are offered too often on the market and are often no longer sufficient as a unique selling point. That’s why I recommend an expert position in a niche – even though that may seem to attract fewer customers. But that’s exactly when you can communicate purposefully – externally & internally.
You call yourself “The Customer Stunner.” Why do you think it’s important to create the moment of amazement with customers?
Stunning moments are important, as there is hardly any difference in services on the market! See the financial industry. Hard to believe, but even the basics, such as listening, responding to the customer, being attentive are hardly lived anymore.
But only if the customer is once enthusiastic, he becomes a fan and recommends you automatically. This means that the unloved cold calling is no longer necessary. I bind my customers to me, make him a regular customer and can “keep” him in a completely different way, because I build a personal relationship.
In your opinion, what decisive advantage does mental training offer for personality development and one’s own professional success?
It is the basis of personality development – my attitude, how I start my day, how I deal with defeats and successes, how I shape my vocation and my customer relationships. The things, the people, the mood, the weather – all this is neutral. It’s the meaning I give it that makes the difference. Am I positive or negative? Am I annoyed by the fact that it is raining, for example, or can I take something positive from it?
Do you have a role model who inspires you personally?
My Heroes, that’s what I call them, is for example Oprah Winfrey, Tina Turner and Walt Disney. Opra as well as Tina have difficult pasts behind them, also because of their skin color, and yet they have always stood up and are still successful today. Walt Disney visited over 300 banks to finance his project until someone gave him a loan. Your perseverance motivates me. Then there are heroes who inspire me in certain areas – for example Tobias Beck, Jürgen Höller or Boy George. Boy George in particular gave me the courage to be who I am: colorful, different and authentic. I am not only a fan, but much more: I admire him. He did everything with love and a lot of heart and always gave 100 percent. Unfortunately, he did not always get the same back from people.
Generally speaking, heroes or role models are often mosaic pieces in our journey that form into a big, whole picture – our own life picture.
Finally, I would ask you to finish the following sentence, “In five years, I will be coaching with SK,…”.
…to touch many people to live their uniqueness – as a keynote speaker but also through my seminars, workshops and my books. My motto is:„Be different, be you“ Click To Tweet
Therefore, my vision is for all people to realize that they can live their lives to the fullest. I will do everything I can to reach, touch and inspire people on an even larger scale.
A heart project for me is also the “SK Welcome Home Foundation” my trans foundation. With this foundation I want to help transgender people to accept themselves, because that is still difficult for many gens! There is still a lot of fear and uncertainty both in society and in families. The foundation sees itself as a bridge builder – we are a society with many facets.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.