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Case Study: The Self-Made Coach and Consultant

Kelsey Lessard

Marketing Specialist - 27 Jul, 2020

How Nile Harris Runs Her Business and Life

Nile is the founder and CEO of her own coaching, consulting, and speaking business which helps “aspiring entrepreneurs and transitioning professionals transform their passion and purpose into profit.” Her highly varied career—from finance, to healthcare, to education—spanning 24 years of business management experience, is proof that you aren’t stuck with the first field you choose to work in right out of college. For Nile, that first job was as a licensed registered representative working in trading.

Today, Nile is her own boss, and while searching for a better way to manage multiple inboxes and all of the apps needed to run her business, Nile discovered that Shift was the answer. Shift quickly became an indispensable part of her daily workflow—80% of her work day is spent directly in Shift. As she says,

“I open my computer, I log in, I open up Shift, and that's how I manage my day.”

Nile

After her first job in finance, Nile attended business school, then transitioned into working for the healthcare field. There, she had the chance to work in several different positions, from IT product management, to corporate strategy, to a hybrid sales and field marketing role that actually required standing in on surgeries. Nile then moved from healthcare to education, and acquired her M.Ed. while leading strategy for a large charter management organization. Wanting to return to healthcare, Nile moved to a boutique consulting firm, but still found she had more to offer than what was possible within the confines of working for an agency.

That’s what led Nile to “turn her side hustle into her main hustle.” She had founded a coaching, consulting, and speaking business back in 2011 during a brief period of being laid off. After nurturing her own business on the side, while still working full-time but wanting to move on from the healthcare consulting agency, Nile decided to focus on her business full-time and share her superpower of bringing “organization to ambiguity” with the world by helping entrepreneurs with general management strategy.

Managing your own business is a lot easier once you’ve streamlined and optimized the process. Nile has to deal with 300 to 500 notifications per day. So how does she deal with all of that without burning out? The answer is through a few simple rules for handling messages, alerts, and emails:

  • Only check email 3 times per day (morning, mid-day, before signing off).
  • Set up your inbox to automatically sort email.
  • Use set times to check other accounts.
  • Mute notifications for periods of focused work.

Following these rules helps Nile manage her tech stack within Shift, which includes: Trello, 17hats, Linkedin, Instagram, Asana, Dropbox, Mailchimp, Evernote, Grammarly, Canva, and Slack. Plus, there’s having to run multiple instances of the same social media and project management apps for clients. Shift also helps streamline her work day by allowing Nile to stay logged into multiple accounts at once for different apps, whether it’s Instagram or Asana, and simply stay on top of all of those apps. As Nile says about using Shift,

“I couldn't live without Shift now.”

Nile Harris

Nile presents her workshop: Reignite Your Warrior Spirit: Embracing Fear as a Catalyst for Change

But, of course, building a business hasn’t come without some mistakes. Although, mistakes are often some of the best learning opportunities. Some of Nile’s most useful advice comes from mistakes she’s learned from in the past. Today, her best tips include: over-communicating expectations with a client to ensure clarity, not over accommodating other people’s requests, and having clear boundaries around response times and expectations.

As Nile says of her current business, “my why I do this is I want to do good in the world by helping do-gooders do good in the world.” Going forward, Nile plans to continue building her reputation as a business and management strategy expert. Ultimately in business, the most important thing is to own who you are, as Nile says, “I don’t want to be the next anyone, I want to be the first Nile Harris.”