Transformational Coach ChiDubem left the University of Essex in 2013 with a BSc in International Enterprise and Business Development. During his studies he led the Enterprise Society, which gave him his first experiences of supporting others with idea generation and fostering entrepreneurial learning.

How it started…

My degree studies initially started at Nottingham Trent University, following the traditional route to higher education after my A Levels. After failing my first year, it became clear that I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate the best path forward for me at that time. I took a year out and went on a path of self-discovery. I realised I’d been experiencing depression and frequent mood swings (I was later diagnosed with bi-polar). Through this discovery I got into personal development and instead of just trying to figure out what was wrong with me, it also became a big passion.

I reapplied to university, choosing Essex in a bid to stay closer to home. I came to higher education for a second time with a clear sense of intention to achieve more and fulfil my potential. During the first semester a Masters student came into one of my classes to tell us about the new Enterprise Society he was setting up. The presentation instantly resonated with me, and I signed up.

During my time with the society, for which I became President in my second year, I didn’t ever have my own fixed business idea, the enjoyment came from talking through ideas, building relationships with local businesses, and having the opportunity to attend international conferences with like-minded students. That year we won best new society, and I was awarded for services to Enterprise at the University.

Being part of the Enterprise Society was life changing and gave me a great sense of pride. My degree was delivered at the Southend Campus, so it felt exciting to be creating opportunities rather than complaining about having a different student experience provision to those based in Colchester.

After graduating, I worked in many roles that all involved leading and speaking with groups of people. From working as a customer advisor in a phone shop, to running a creative workshop in schools and colleges across the country. I also continued to explore my own psychology and potential through various courses and experiences like a 10-Day silent meditation retreat.

In my last job I worked in the Jobcentre as a Work Coach. I took a different approach to helping those looking for work by focusing on interests and finding connection with people to explore their dreams. Helping people came naturally and I took pleasure in witnessing the successes of those who I’d encouraged to follow their passions.

I connected with my calling and completed two diplomas in Transformation Coaching, as well as doing various other courses It has given me purpose and direction.

How it’s going…

Since May 2022 I have been running my own business, Creating Beyond Imagination, providing transformative coaching for young and aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging leaders, and organisations.

I prominently work with people on a 1:1 basis, I serve young professionals, rising stars who experience a lack of confidence and imposter syndrome, fear around putting themselves out there and stepping into new levels of leadership and feel stuck. Our conversations are around them connecting to a deeper level of clarity and purpose and then living into that and creating a new level of results from a place of joy.

There are so many facets to consider alongside working with my clients, such as managing social media, attending networking, and maintaining professional connections. Structuring my calendar to ensure downtime has been vital to achieving balance in my life. The time you spend in your business is just as important as the time you spend out of it. Burnout is real. I have built my business to accommodate the way I want to live. It took some time to realise what felt right for me, but I have fallen into my own rhythm of four intense working days with longer scheduled breaks, a half day on a Friday, and no working over the weekend.

In this industry, there is a direct correlation between how well you live your life and how much better your business flows. Self-care is not a luxury. As a Coach people are investing in you, so it’s essential you make the time to be the best version of yourself.

ChiDubem Menakaya giving a presentation

Working with Essex Startups…

I started working with Essex Startups last year when I was approached to be a member of the Advisory Board. As an Essex Graduate, with my own business, and the experience of supporting other entrepreneurs, it was a no brainer. The team’s focus on inclusion and providing opportunities to under-represented groups appealed as these values are central to the culture of my own business practices.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of facilitating one of the workshops for the BE ME: Black and Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurs Programme, as part of the Make Me An Entrepreneur event series. My workshop focused on pitching and the importance of connecting and making your story resonate with those you’re speaking to. It was great to play a small part in the journey of the students who participated, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with more promising entrepreneurs at the University in the future.

What’s next…

The next step for me is to work collaboratively with organisations to bring transformative coaching and spiritual conversation into the workplace. I am keen to expand my offer of working with businesses to support leadership training and enable teams to connect and inspire one another to fulfil their individual and collective potential.

I’m excited to be travelling to the US very soon to participate in training with world-renowned coach and communicator Michael Neill. It is extremely important for me to continue my own professional and personal development to ensure that I am always providing the best service for others.

My long-term vision is to support leaders and changemakers who want to make a big difference in the world to have an expanded impact from a place of authenticity and enthusiasm, while enjoying the experience and enjoying their wellbeing.

Also, I will to support people on their own coaching journey, offering guidance for others to pursue the art of coaching in its purest form. Whether people aspire to become a coach in their own right or as part of an existing role, I hope to inspire and enable those who want to pursue this highly rewarding and valuable journey for themselves.

Words of wisdom…

When it comes to entrepreneurship, your desire and intuition are guiding you, don’t doubt it. You are being called to follow this path for a reason and the excitement comes from not knowing what awaits you. It’s an adventure that will allow you to grow on more levels than you initially anticipate.

There will always be down days, but without the dark you can’t appreciate the light. The downs will allow you to adapt and rethink, facilitating you reaching a new level of growth.

Prioritise your wellbeing. You can have all the qualifications and business acumen in the world, but if you don’t look after yourself then all of this goes out of the window. Don’t pay lip service to it. You can be successful, but if you’re not enjoying life then ultimately all you’re doing is making a more elaborate hamster wheel. Take time to feel into the appreciation of who you are, what you’re creating and the difference it is making in the world.

Find out more

If you have a potential business idea, or are interested in developing your business skills, find out more about the training, events and support Essex Startups offers to current students and recent graduates.