The Upside

Redefining the 9-5 with Upside Member Neeta Shah

In our continuing series on Upside members who are redefining the 9-5 and successfully striking it out on their own as consultants, we’re excited to share the story of member Neeta Shah who generously shared the highlights and lessons learned from going out on her own.

What did you do in your past life before going out on your own?

I held corporate finance roles at global multinationals, including PwC, BlackRock and Citigroup, in London, New York City and Sydney.

What’s your current elevator pitch?

CEOs and founders of startups hire me to fundraise venture capital funds and continue to work with me so they can scale and grow. 

How long have you been out of the traditional 9-5?

9 months.

What made you decide to go out on your own?

I wanted to follow my passion, which is using my expertise to help people achieve their dreams and vision. I also wanted to have more flexibility to balance my career with being a hands-on mum for 2 boys. 

What do you love most about being out on your own?

Experiencing the creativity that comes with building my own business.

Who helped you along the way and how did they help?

I was encouraged by other entrepreneurs who helped me break down this daunting goal into manageable baby steps. 

How has being an Upside member helped you?

It’s a collaborative, supportive community that provides inspiration AND practical business support. It’s an amazing and unique combination I haven’t found anywhere else.

What has been your biggest win as a solopreneur?

My confidence in pitching my own business has grown significantly. Prior to launching, I never thought I’d be able to sell my own expertise and services.

What was your biggest stumble and what did you learn from it?

Spending 6+ months thinking about starting, but always thinking I still had to improve something before getting going. I learned that your power can be diminished when surrounded by naysayers, and can grow exponentially when surrounded by supportive and positive people like in The Upside.

How did you land your first client?

By tapping into my immediate network of friends and colleagues. 

What steps do you think professionals should take when first starting a solopreneurship of their own?

Find a supportive mentor or community, build high-level plans and goals, and build all of this into your daily life.

What advice would you give someone who’s interested in going out on their own?

Do research about your product, market, and potential niche but also get going. All the planning in the world will still not give you real experience. You can always make adjustments along the way. But just get started and stop waiting for that elusive feeling of total preparedness. 

What hack have you learned or created as a solopreneur that you wish the world knew?

The power of networks for building your toolkit, expertise and confidence (and not just for building clients).

What do you know now that you wish you knew when first taking that leap into solopreneurship?

I do actually know a lot more than I thought I did and it really is valuable to my clients. I’ve learned not to underplay my skills!

Thanks so much Neeta – you inspire us and so many others who want to build their own consultancy! Here’s more about our featured Upside member:

Neeta is a CFO advisor for startups across the globe. She previously built a career at PwC, BlackRock and Citigroup. Learn more about Neeta and her services here.

Want more resources to help your consultancy thrive?

There are two great ways we can work together: 

Are you a consultant looking to expand your network and advance your business? Then The Upside Membership is for you. 

Are you an early-stage consultant (or on the fence about leaving your 9-5) and want a bootcamp-style program to build a thriving consultancy? Then The Upside Accelerator is for you.

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