Belinda Jackson is a business consultant with Prosell International in New York, offering clients her deep knowledge of what it takes to successfully tackle the challenges of setting up and running a business in the USA. Her desire to help professionals with career development led her to starting up her own career coaching practice, Working in the USA. Belinda shares how being an Australian in the USA is a valuable point of differentiation that benefits her clients.
Tell us about your company and what inspired you to come to the USA.
I have been fortunate to work in both large corporates and small startups and have a wealth of experience in different business departments and sectors, from medicine to manufacturing and telcos to hospitality. Having worked in a Performance Improvement consulting firm I thought I would be able to translate those skills to the US marketplace.
I operate like an outsourced COO, go into a business and do an analysis on where the opportunities for improvement are and then implement a strategic plan to capitalize on those opportunities. As an Aussie-born US-based business consultant, I have developed a program for overseas companies wanting to move to the US market. I offer a unique understanding of the challenges of setting up a business and what it takes to be successful. I have helped businesses with their market entry strategy from all over the world, but my largest client base comes from Australia and New Zealand.
Once businesses are successful I offer an ongoing advisory service and many businesses have me on their Advisory Boards where we review performance and create a forward looking plan on a quarterly basis.
I started a career coaching practice called Working in the USA, which is specifically targeted at helping individuals with their career development. Some of the areas that I help with include preparing for performance appraisal discussions, preparing for salary review discussions, and researching different industries and other companies.
I married a New Yorker in 2005, just before the E3 visa came out, so I applied for the Spousal Visa, which took 364 days to come through. At the time I had been working as a business consultant and thought it would be worthwhile setting up my own business.
What has been your “Ah Ha” or “I’ve made it in the USA moment”?
I felt that the tipping point for me was being referred US-based clients by American clients. But I say that with a qualifier that I’m not sure that “I’ve made it in the USA yet” as I’m always striving for better, always wanting to achieve more.
What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business in New York and how does it differ to Australia?
There are a lot of nuances that are hard to articulate and took a long time to learn. One of the key things I say to clients about coming to New York is “Think like a New Yorker.” What does “Think like a New Yorker’ mean”? It means, be intentional, don’t waste anyone’s time, under promise and over deliver, always be happy to offer a referral program, network like crazy, and be able to deliver a 60 second pitch in 20 seconds.
Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?
My greatest success has been with networking and good referrals. I have helped many different businesses over the years and find that one success will lead to an introduction to the next client.
Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?
I have found that New York business people are incredibly generous in sharing information. I have a business networking group that I am part of and that group is like my brains trust. I also have a few key business colleagues who are like mentors to me, they tend to be long term Aussie or Kiwi New Yorkers who understand the challenges to being an immigrant and setting a business up in the USA.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
Do your research. Don’t be afraid to get advice. Be mindful about every step. Don’t be afraid to pivot if need be. Be prepared to work long hours. Don’t underestimate the value of a network and the importance of investing your time to get people to know, like and trust you. It isn’t like Australia – people will really want to help you succeed if they trust you.
Be aware that there are risks involved. I have seen lots of people come to the US with high hopes and not achieve their goals. Despite all the challenges of the inconsistent income, expensive healthcare and the tough business environment, I would say it’s worth it in the long run. I love every minute of working with my clients.
Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?
I was brought up on a farm near the Hawkesbury valley and as such I’m not afraid to roll my sleeves up and attack any task that needs sorting out. I am also a classic generalist whereas most Americans are specialists and very narrow in their approach. Being an Aussie I say it like it is. Most American clients find that refreshing.
What is next for Working In The USA?
I’m currently working on developing a marketing plan to grow our medical business consulting practice.
Connect with Belinda:
- Web: Working In the USA
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Working In the USA and Belinda Jackson
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bjj100/
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