After a year of failed attempts trying to meet Harper Spero we finally succeed in aligning our schedules to meet each other in person. To me Harper’s name held an air or mystery and allure to it. “You don’t know Harper?” Asked everyone I ever met. So who is Harper Spero and what makes her tick and how did she become one of the most connected ladies in NYC and beyond?
1. Harper Spero, you’re one of those people that seems to always come up in conversations. How did you become such a household name and please tell me who you are?
I’m a born and raised Manhattanite. I’ve met a lot of people throughout the years in New York City and beyond so I’ve built an extensive network of people from varied backgrounds. I’ve been able to leverage this network in my past jobs and now as a business owner helping clients. I spent ten years in marketing, public relations, digital media, and event production, and in 2014, I launched my coaching business. I now work with individuals who want to live, work, and earn on their own terms. My clients often have side hustles they want to turn into full time entrepreneurial endeavors while other clients have already launched their businesses. I help my clients with anything that relates to their business, from building and structuring it, choosing what tasks to delegate, and getting organized for both the short-term and long-term.
When I’m not coaching, I love writing personal essays, traveling to explore new cities (and going back to favorite cities like Tel Aviv), cooking and trying new vegetarian recipes and restaurants, spending time with friends and family, and attending concerts of bands and artists I love.
2. From business coaching to helping people — what motivates you to do the work you do and how you started?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Everyone in my family is an entrepreneur and I knew I didn’t belong working for other people. I’m glad I had the 10 years of traditional work experience under my belt to gain knowledge about how I didn’t want to run my business. I’ve gone through many iterations of defining my business model and determining who my target audience is. Earlier this year, I recognized that the clients I enjoy working with the most are those who have recently become entrepreneurs and those who want to become entrepreneurs, consultants, or freelancers. I was never a huge fan of working a corporate job so it was hard to support clients in finding those jobs when I was such an advocate for entrepreneurship.
The world is definitely leaning more towards working on your own terms—whether it’s full time entrepreneurship or working a job that allows you to work remotely and take unlimited vacation—and I want to continue to be the coach for those people who are looking to go through that transition.
3. What’s the best part of your life and what is the most challenging?
I love being an entrepreneur. I love having the ability to decide how I spend my day or week. If I want to take a yoga class in the middle of the day or meet an entrepreneur friend for a 3-hour lunch, I love not having to ask for permission. I love being able to have the flexibility and freedom to do things the way that I want to do them. I have a chronic illness and being an entrepreneur allows me to take care of my health and not have to ask for sick days.
The most challenging part of entrepreneurship is determining what to focus my time and energy on. There are so many things I can do to grow my business and I have to decide on a regular basis what makes the most sense for me, what I enjoy most, and when I need to outsource.
4. Please share 3 pieces of advice that every entrepreneur should know?
Go with your gut—do what feels best for you, your business and your clients. There’s nothing wrong with asking mentors for advice and guidance, but ultimately, you know what you need to do. Trust yourself.
Learn how to delegate. You can’t do this alone. Everyone has certain skills and strengths. Determine the things that you are not best at and find someone to help you with the work. Don’t spend all your time teaching yourself new skills when you can spend a reasonable amount of money to have someone else do the work and do it better than you would. This can range from graphic design to bookkeeping to scheduling meetings.
Connect with other entrepreneurs who are in similar stages in their business as well as entrepreneurs who are further ahead in their business than you are. You can learn from each other and bounce ideas off each other. It’s important to have a support system as you’re building a business.
5. You recently ran a series on your website on what “success” means to them. Now tell me, what does it mean to you? And at what point did/do you consider yourself successful.
Part of the reason I ran this series on my website was because it was something I was really stuck on. There was a period prior to starting my business when I thought success exclusively meant getting to the top of the ladder and making the most money possible. As an entrepreneur, my feelings have now changed. I would say I define success based on my ability to live a balanced life. When I have satisfied clients and am making enough money to live my ideal lifestyle, I feel like my lifestyle is balanced and I can enjoy the entrepreneurial life I’ve created for myself. I look at some people who work 24/7 and make a ton of money, and yet they are miserable and don’t even get to experience enjoyment from the money they’ve worked so hard for. That’s not how I want to live my life.