Liana Fricker is a lot of things, but her very real title of Chief Inspiration Officer sums it up best. The UK-based, California-bred optimist is blazing her trail her way — bringing her creative flair for leadership and advocacy for women in business and underrepresented founders together as the founder of the Inspiration Space. She chatted with our cofounder Kt about the path that led her to right here…and beyond.
Your trail features several unexpected but utterly fulfilling leaps. How have you learned to spot these right opportunities throughout your life?
The first thing I ask myself when assessing opportunities is ‘Does it align with the greater vision I have for my life, and if so, will I regret not pursuing it?’
For instance, when my then-boyfriend and I had to work out the intricacies of the UK/US immigration system it soon became obvious that marriage was the only option open to us.
While we hadn’t known each other long, it was love at first and he was ‘my person.’ It aligned with the adult relationship I had envisioned and knew deep down in my guts that I would always look back and wonder ‘what if.’ On the contrary, if I stayed and it didn’t work we would simply get divorced and it would be a funny story I’d tell throughout my ’20’s.
“My burnout was the catalyst for the greatest transition of my life as it inspired me to become both a mother and entrepreneur.”
It sounds like discovering that corporate institutions aren’t particularly entrepreneurial was a spark for the path you’re on now. What did this realization mean to you in the moment and what does it mean now, looking back at it?
Hindsight is 2020. Only now am I able to articulate that entrepreneurship was the missing link when I worked for a corporate company.
I’m a ‘do-er’ and struggled when there wasn’t anything to do. Because maybe you’re waiting for a client to feedback or you’re in between projects. The ebb and flow alongside an expectation to be physically present meant that I was bored easily and it was a challenge to stay engaged.
Looking back, I wish there would have been more of a drive from the top of the organisation to direct and encourage entrepreneurship amongst junior-level people like me. Flexible or remote work would have also been helpful. Not having to show up on the slow days would have done a lot for my morale.
Burnout is something I’m also very familiar with, yet it doesn’t often get talked about in most of our professional stories. Why was it important for you to share this experience?
My burnout was the catalyst for the greatest transition of my life as it inspired me to become both a mother and entrepreneur.
I’m grateful for it in so many ways, especially because now I know the signs and put a lot of effort into ensuring I don’t feel that same sort of apathy and exhaustion towards my own business.
I share my experience with burnout as a way to give people faith in their own ability to rise from the ashes – so to speak.
“I believe relationships come first and business follows naturally from there.”
Your passion for working with entrepreneurs is a huge part of your work at the Inspiration Space, which you founded initially as an alternative to traditional networking. What problems with networking did you see (and/or experience yourself) as a founder?
With Inspiration Space, I combined my love of helping founders with my expertise hosting press trips and intimate client events to bring my local business community together in a way that felt inclusive, easy-going and fun.
Traditional networking events oftentimes feel too transactional — I believe relationships come first and business follows naturally from there.
Speaking of entrepreneurs, what three things do you think every successful entrepreneur has or does?
A successful entrepreneur has ambition, people skills and self-awareness. Never have I ever had to be so in tune with my own thoughts, feelings and emotions as part of my relentless pursuit of a large goal.
Feeling inspired? Us, too! Connect with Liana to start a conversation, ask her a question and/or appreciate her journey!