We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharon Denise Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharon Denise, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Funny enough… I have a love/hate relationship with balance. To give you a little background about me, I am a dual entrepreneur, a mother of two, a wife, and much more. I am a PLANNER in all things and balance has challenged me in that area. I have spent a lot of time chasing balance but during 2020, I realized that balance is what you make it.
One way that I started accepting balance is by defining what it means to me. I had to break it all the way down and figure what it looks like to me as well. I am currently in a home office operating my consulting firm and publishing company with one virtual student and a 3-year-old. So, you can imagine that my home is always “fun.” To give myself a strategy that I could see every day, I bought 6 whiteboards, analyzed the space in my home, and took inventory of what everyone needed. Two of my whiteboards are for business goals for each business, two of them are for each child showing their goals and needs, lastly, the other boards are for deadlines and declaring which day is dedicated to business, personal tasks, etc.
The key to maintaining all of this is “self-accountability.” If it’s Monday and I wrote on the board that Mondays are for creating social media content, that is EXACTLY what I should be doing on that day. While I haven’t mastered balance, this system is working for me and I am less stressed about my load. Intentionality is also important when finding your own balance. My writing on whiteboards allows me to also see my intentions and if they need to be changed.
In short, balance is meant to be customized. While there are some really great tools out there, you MUST find what works for you.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a Dual Entrepreneur which means that I have two businesses that I’ve created and started from the ground up. Here’s the breakdown.
The Planner Consulting is a firm that caters to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners. We strive to encourage and empower this group of individuals to start where they are… WITH what they have through foundational & results-driven planning. Our services also include website design, social media management, program development, and business setup. I’ve always loved the world of business since high school. Then, I was a part of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Jobs for American Graduates (JAG), and I even won business awards for accounting and business planning. While navigating the corporate space, I started to realize that I wasn’t really great at going through “hoops” to climb the corporate ladder. And the wind was taken out of my corporate sails when I landed my dream job and was let go months later during the 2008 recession.
While crying in fear, I was reminded of my years as a seasonal tax preparer and that I could start a business with those skills. I started a mobile tax service where I would go to my client’s home or place of employment with my laptop and printer to prepare their taxes. Needless to say, I made enough money during that season to pay my bills for the rest of the year. I was ELATED. The hindrance was that I didn’t have enough confidence back then to remain an entrepreneur so I went back to the corporate arena. There, I would always be surrounded by co-workers who wanted to start a business but were completely confused about it. By the time I looked up, I had helped launch 30 businesses in a year and a half. This is when “The Planner Consulting” was ignited.
I just celebrated 4 years in business on April 23, 2021, and we have definitely grown. I started out with 3 clients and I am proud to say that we are WELL away from there. We have worked with NFL players, tv shows, schools/academies, luxury realtors, and many creatives.
Wisdom By 30 Literary Group is a publishing company that caters to the Aspiring Self-Publish Author. We understand the anxiety that comes with finding the right tools to become a Self-Published Author. We are a team of editors, graphic designers, screenwriters, and self-published authors who are dedicated to coaching Aspiring Authors through the publishing process.
Our podcast, workshops, and YouTube vlogs are under the “Wisdom By 30” umbrella. We are known for assisting those who are creatives wanting to launch into authorship, podcasting, creative designs, and more. We are also known for our aspiring authors’ workshop, “The Set-Up” where we coach them for a 3-day weekend through editing, screenwriting, creative writing, strategy, and authorship. The “I Failed…” Podcast is another known factor for us where we discuss our life failures so that others can be freed from their own private failures.
I am most proud of our growth. I was a solopreneur for three years and now we have a team of editors, graphic designers, screenwriters, audio editors, branders, business consultants, and photographers.
What sets us apart is that we strive to make our clients independent with a foundation that will carry them through entrepreneurship for a lifetime. Our clients don’t have to go to multiple firms because we are a one-stop shop for them. We problem-solve with their future in mind.
I learned in both businesses that I should have built a team a lot earlier. I thought that I could do it all on my own. I realized that I was a weak leader because I didn’t know how to delegate nor did I want to delegate. Let’s be honest, I’m a creative and I’m sensitive about my work! However, creating a team that is like-minded and coachable is definitely an asset.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm… this is a good one.
Most likely, my best friend is landing at night. The first stop would definitely be Seasons 52 for dinner. Seasons 52 is good for calorie counting while still enjoying really great food.
The next day, we would head far north, out of the city to Chateau Elan for 4 days. Chateau Elan is not only a winery but also a spa and hotel. We would get a villa package that includes lunch, dinner, spa treatments, and wine tasting. The restaurants in Chateau Elan are amazing.
Where Chateau Elan sits, we have a couple of options for shopping. Since it’s my best friend, we would go to all of the options. LOL! Shopping will take place at the Premium Outlets at 400, Sugarloaf Mills, and Tanger Outlets off of I-85.
For a little bit more of Atlanta, we would head to Midtown for fun at Monday Night Garage, Atlantic Station, and City Winery. In case you haven’t noticed, we love wine.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a loaded question. LOL! I promise to keep it brief.
First and foremost, THE GREAT I AM, my Heavenly Father, Abba, and Creator… God. I give all thanks, glory, and praises to Him.
The Queen of my life, my Mom. She is everything dynamic and royal. I’ve literally watched her triumph through a lot of obstacles with grace and power. My tenacity comes from her.
We see movies of love and romance that seem too good to be true. I must admit that those movies are my life with my Husband, Philip Ruff. He is my best friend, my partner in business, and life in general. He is my BIGGEST cheerleader and he challenges me to be authentically me.
I believe that every leader should have a leader that covers them and has their back. For me, that is my Life Coach, Samuel Sheffield. He holds me accountable, reminds me of my values, and doesn’t sugarcoat anything with me. He is definitely a pillar in my life.
Thank you Shoutout Atlanta for thinking of me to do this interview! Much success to you all!
Linkedin: Sharon D. Ruff
Other: wb30publishing.com, IG @theplannerconsulting, and IG @ifailedpodcast