From Underemployed EFM to Thriving Online Entrepreneur

Hi, I’m Dom and I’m a Success and Life Design Coach for creative high achievers and entrepreneurs living abroad. I started my coaching business in December 2018 with no MBA, no business experience (well, except for my failed startup in 2015), and no idea of how to sell anything. All I knew was that I was passionate about helping people discover their potential. 

My decision to become a fulltime entrepreneur did not happen overnight, but through a decade of experimenting, questioning, and working through my own self-doubts, fears, and limiting beliefs around money, success, and personal achievement. 

There were many moments in my Foreign Service life where I felt down on myself, not being able to find work or feeling confused about my next steps. I left the United States in my early twenties to serve in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. After that experience, I knew I wanted to make a big impact in the international development space. At the same time, I was dating my partner (now wife), and had big choices to make — go to Washington D.C. to pursue my career or join her at her first post in Caracas, Venezuela. 

I joined her and I also started a long struggle with my professional identity. I felt like I had to keep rebuilding every time we moved. I took on jobs within the State Department that I’m grateful for, moving up the Consular path from Consular Assistant (Caracas), to Associate (Lima), and finally getting certified as a Consular Adjudicator and transitioning to FSO work in Lima. These were fantastic experiences and I thought I was well on my way to pursue a full-time career as a diplomat, but after getting really quiet and still with myself, I knew I was being called to do something different. 

When we started a family and my wife took a one-year tour in Pakistan, I explored entrepreneurship while raising our twin daughters. That year was the most difficult year of my adult life. I developed unhealthy habits and a poor mindset. My emotional health was in shambles and I didn’t know how to ask for help, until one night I just decided that everything had to change. 

So, what changed for me? I started waking up an hour earlier each day and started reading books on personal growth. 

When you have achieved a certain level of success in your life, there comes a point where you plateau or get stuck. If you have ever faced this point, you must will yourself into action and start a process of self-reflection and new learning. If not, you will be living your life on repeat with no real movement or progress. 

If you are at that crossroads where you want more for yourself, but you don’t know where to start, try answering the following questions: 

  1. What does success mean to me now? 
  2. What matters to me, today? 
  3. What could I do to feel fulfilled in my professional/career life? What would it look like? 

These questions may be easy to answer or they may be terribly difficult. Whatever words come out for you, just write them down. This is for you and only you. 

In 2020, I achieved a lifelong goal. I became a published author. I also, unexpectedly, became a public speaker for the U.S. Embassy in Seoul during the pandemic. And, with courage and determination, I launched my online business serving high achieving international professionals and spouses looking to take their lives to the next level. These outcomes became a reality because I was intentionally working on something that I loved and enjoyed – coaching and personal development. 

The difference between my old self and new self is that I made a decision to pursue a new path – entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, all your success depends on how much you learn, how much you grow, and how much you work – and you get to decide how big you want to grow. 

When you practice personal growth and you do the work, learn the skills, implement, improve, and level up, you will eventually meet your goals. But it does take resilience, patience, perseverance, and belief in yourself. 

If you are ready to try entrepreneurship, I suggest taking the following steps: 

  • Invest your time in activities that make you feel positive (think positive media, positive relationships, exercise, and activities that bring your joy). 
  • Invest in your personal development. Buy books and online courses that grow you. 
  • Commit to 30 minutes a day of personal growth. 
  • Start a journaling practice and write down what you are learning. 
  • Write down your goals and ideas and review them each day. 
  • Build small habits that help you make progress towards your goals. 
  • Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures. 
  • Keep moving forward each day. 

As you practice this, eventually business ideas will come to you. You will start seeing more opportunities, more possibilities, and a future that excites you. 

Remember, entrepreneurship is a process. You become an entrepreneur by first shifting your mindset and second taking bold action on your ideas and being okay with the outcome. What I love about exploring your new ideas is that your learning is limitless. That means, you can choose any path you want, any path that lights you up, and get creative with your life and work. 

I believe that we all have innate talents. Discover yours. Build it. And share it with the world. I can’t wait to hear your success story. 

Dominique Narciso is the founder of The Narciso Kim Group, a success and leadership training company for international organizations and professionals. She is also the host of The Positive Success Show, and author of Live Your New Story: Discover Your Best Self and Live Your Best Life (available on Amazon). She travels the world with her wife and three daughters. You can connect with her on Instagram @domnarciso or subscribe for her weekly inspirations on personal growth and success at www.domnarciso.com. 

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