Freelancer Q&A Series: Career and Business Coaching from the Ironwoman


Susanne Mueller is a the career coach you want in your corner.

Author of Take It From the Ironwoman: Global Business Coaching With Sports Parallels, she holds an MA from Columbia University in Organizational Development and Leadership, has worked for organizations ranging from the Swiss Mission to the United Nations to Fortune 500’s, and has completed a number of marathons and an Ironman distance race in 2015.

She has presented workshops at SoHo Places, and we reached out with a few questions about how to balance work and life, and how to stay motivated.

SoHo Places: Goal setting is something everyone knows they should do. How does one approach goal-setting and develop an achievable plan?

To reach your goals, you must set effective and realistic goals. If we have a dream and not a timeline, it stays a dream. Make sure you challenge yourself, but have a timeline. This is how one becomes successful.

Regarding success, should everyone find their own meaning of the word success, and how is it measured?

A successful person is a visionary. A person who is both passionate about what they do and who realizes the work never ends. We have to be grateful for what we do on any given day. Small steps will get us to the BIGGER steps.

Sometimes, we forget that even creating and getting business cards in our journey is a success story. Start to write a success journal rather than complaining or spending too much time on social media.

Keep doing what you have been doing with a lot of passion and keep doing more. Being a solo-entrepreneur or freelancer is hard work, although it is rewarding. Go for it, don’t give up, just do it.

On the path to achieving one's goals, life happens. Do you have advice on dealing with the inevitable derailments?

Life always happens. We always find excuses. It is about setting a routine and sticking to it. If life happens, we take a detour and then refocus. It is about clear communication to others when we work on a project. “Leave me alone, as I have to focus on a project.” Sometimes it is hard to voice that when you work out of your home, as people think you have all the time in your life to do other things. It is about the FOCUS and the MAIN FOCUS, and nothing else.

How important is finding balance? It can often seem that “finding balance” can mean doing things not at all related to one's goals.

Finding a balance is key. Work and life can be a balance. We just have to manage our time. This goes back to a routine. For me it is important that I get my running or other exercise in on a regular schedule. If I cannot be active, I do not produce great results. I am tired, I am nagging, I am less focused. I need my balance between working hard and playing hard. Multitasking does not help us here. Focus on one or a few things and get them done and then focus on others.


We asked Susanne for a recommended reading list:

To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink
Good to Great, Jim Collins
How Far Can We Go?, John Maclean
Running with the Mind of Meditation, Sakyong Mipham


Find Susanne here:
Twitter: @susanne3600
Instagram: susanne_Mueller_nyc