Helene Chaika Faulsold is the owner of Chaika Unlimited, a consulting business that works with businesses, organizations and individuals to help them implement their plan. Helene works especially for businesses and business owners who can relate to the idea of having a business plan written out. I have worked with organizations that have spent a lot of time with strategic planning. I see individuals map out a plan and map out goals for what they want to achieve in a short or long term timeframe. Helene is located at 6171 Camp Meeting Pt., Hector, NY 14841. She may be reached at (607) 351-8024. Her email address is Helene@ChaikaUnlimited.com and the website is www.ChaikaUnlimited.com. She is also on Facebook and LinkedIn.
How long have you been in business?
Officially I have been doing this off and on for about 10 years in different ways doing workshops and consulting.
What has been the evolution of you as a business owner. How did you get from there to here?
I have a Master’s Degree in Human Development. I have worked in a variety of settings – research and academic settings working with organizations that support the development of children. In that time period I had also done some consulting with an emphasis in Strategic Planning. We have all been there where we have been in groups and spent a day or two or three mapping out a big strategic plan. A lot of time and effort goes in to ending up with a big document. What I found out was the steps in the document do not get effectively implemented. It dawned on me one day that it is not so much about the planning process but how it goes ahead to strategically implement the plan.
That led me to looking back at the topics I had focused on, particularly in the area of workshops on Establishing Your Vision, Leadership, Communication, Managing Change, Time Management and others. I realized that if everyone was paying attention to my list of 10 items perhaps they would be more able to successfully make their plan happen.
About 10 years ago and moving forward, I began writing individual white papers on each of the 10 items on my list. Once I developed this framework, it was always in the forefront of my mind. At the time, I was also working full-time at other jobs. I also volunteered and was on Boards of Directors. I knew people in the community who were developing businesses. I gained a lot of insight into what was working for people and organizations and what was not.
Some people were more receptive than others. You have to be open to input from other people. You have to observe. You have to listen. Write it down. It does not mean someone is right or wrong, but take it a face value that someone else might have some insight. I have seen people taking a path with their business that breaks my heart. If they only did this, or changed that things would work out better.
Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?
I struggle with what to call myself. I believe that if I use the word ‘consultant’ people get very turned off. I believe they think I am going to try to sell them something that is going to cost them a lot of money and not have successful results. I find that being involved in the community so people can get to know me better gives people the idea that I am not out to charge them large sums of money for consulting.
I want to help people. I want to work with people and offer them support. I want to offer them my point of view and hope it makes at least some difference.
Has that been working for you?
I find it has. It is better than going out to do the hard sell of everything from advertising or pitches or the other heavy duty marketing strategies. The networking is working best for me.
I’m hearing you work business to business. Do you work with individuals?
Many small businesses are run by individuals. In some cases it may be individuals who are struggling with what they want to do or how they might do it. For example, someone might want to start a jewelry business but are not sure how to incorporate the many skills and talents they have. Also, the line between a business owner and their personal lives is becoming blurred. They might work from home and balancing running a business with operating a household. That may factor into how I might help them.
What has been your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is getting my book wrapped up. I felt it always got put on the back burner. We moved a couple years ago into the family home. That involved downsizing our current home at the time as well as clearing out the current home we are in along with renovations. My husband also very recently retired. All of this comes with disruptions and distractions.
I am looking forward to this year. It is going to be exciting. Finishing this book during all of that was a great achievement.
If you could have a Do-over in anything, what would that be?
There are some things I would do differently. I would not try to do everything myself. One of the biggest things I did was to bring somebody on who helped me with the formatting of the book. That would have been technically challenging for me. I am not up to speed with what seems to be the ever-changing world of technology. Investing in somebody to help me take care of some of that has moved things forward in a much faster way that puts me here now.
I would not take things personally. When you are doing things that are creative and different, that someone has not done before, not everyone thinks it is a brilliant idea! Some people balk at the idea. They might say “Oh, someone already did that”. I would not take that information personally and I deliberately would not surround myself with those people anymore.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to see the book and the workbook (this will be a download) get some recognition. I would want to have the workbook published in a hardcover format. I would like to have something nice for people to write in. A nice touch would be some traveling related to the business, although I don’t foresee that now.
There is also the potential that this book will evolve in a way I cannot predict. That is why I felt the urgency to get this done. Unless you get it done, it is difficult to move on to the next step. I don’t know what part 2 could be at this point.