1. Dear Alex, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you to OH SELF as part of our Female Founder Stories. Feel free to tell us a little about yourself and your company.

Thank you so much Lisa for allowing me to be part of your Female Founder Initiative alongside such great other female founders. I'm Alex, 31 years old and come from Berlin and founded OH SELF in 2020.

As a security-loving person, self-employment was never on my radar and was also an intensive decision for me. Originally, I am a typical corporate child: As the first graduate in our family, I began my work experience at one of the largest trading groups in the world after graduating from high school in 2009. My first experience in various management positions with over 10 employees and studying at the same time were a very formative time for me in my early 20s. Since my boss at the time saw more in me than the possible career opportunities with him, I applied to one of the top business schools in Germany and took out my first loan to pay my tuition fees.

Emotionally, it was a very challenging time to work my way up without a network or financial resources from my parents and to find solutions on my own and fight for something. These experiences give me the certainty today that anything is possible if you want it.

As a typical Capricorn, I have further developed my talent for structure, organization and the easy implementation of ideas through my further experience in large corporations and in management consulting on international digitalization projects.

As an independent management consultant, I continue to love planning projects, turning ideas into reality and building corporate structures so that creativity and innovations add value and don't go to waste. It always fills me to see other women who set out to do something and bring their ideas to life.

I gave myself the supreme discipline of owning my own company in 2020 with OH SELF and it fulfills me to build a sustainable company that creates real added value. OH SELF is a platform on which you can easily and quickly find the right workshop for you in the areas of relationships, career, body and spirituality from the wide range of offers.

2. What is the concept of OH SELF based on?

I have observed that in the personal development scene many workshop offerings are not tailored to the customer. Great technical terms about methods and completed certificates are presented in sales offers. It's not about the product, but about the problem your customer is solving. The customer is only interested in one thing: the solution to her problem, such as: the conflicts in relationships, the unfulfilled desire to have children, the frustration at work or the lack of confidence in life.

That's why all workshops at OH SELF are divided into different areas of life according to the coaching tool "Wheel of Life" so that you can easily find the right event for your personal concerns. In coaching, the “Wheel of Life” is used to get an overview of in which area of ​​life you are fulfilled, in which area you long for more fulfillment and which area of ​​life is a priority for you and which is not. The areas of life at OH SELF are relationships, career, body and spirituality. Under each area of ​​life you will find subcategories such as Sexuality under Relationships and Money Mindset under Career.

3. On your website you give a lot of insights about yourself and tell your personal story. You talk about how at some point in your seemingly “perfect professional life” you felt alienated and lost. I find the question you asked yourself in this context particularly exciting: “Who am I without a job title?”.

What has changed for you with this question? How did you manage to make a difference?

Years of hard work, blind activism and feeling driven have gifted me with some “successes” that others dream about at night. Although I had financial security on the outside, I was mentally bankrupt on the inside. Looking back, I found myself in a vicious circle between the pressure to perform and the longing for appreciation and belonging.

A ray of hope gave me my first decision in 2017, which I didn't make for my CV, but for myself because I simply wanted to do it. I started training as a Kundalini Yoga teacher to learn more about myself, life and holistic concepts. But things got worse during training.

With news like the climate crisis, Brexit and wildfires, the voice in my head and the pain in my heart became bigger and bigger: What am I actually doing here? I'm wasting my valuable work experience, time and talents to contribute even more to factory farming and the climate crisis. People get into powerful leadership positions who make irresponsible decisions and I'm sitting here just living from weekend to weekend.

The idea of ​​OH SELF came to me during my Kundalini yoga teacher training in 2017, but with just the idea in hand I couldn't just quit my secure job and just start a business. I didn't pay much attention to the idea and kept working out the business model while I was working. I let life guide me and followed my joy. During my training as a systemic coach at the Coaching Spirale in Berlin and a Vipassana in Brazil, so many magical things happened that I still can't put into words today.

The fact that my life is changing because of something that was completely unknown to me is still a big surprise to me: doing nothing - nothing - nothing at all. In one moment during Vipassana, all the ideas that I had previously thought about professionally came and for the first time in my life I could clearly feel in my body and see clearly what the right professional path was for me. This moment made me feel an existential security that I had never felt through my bank balance and my job.

Just a few weeks after Vipassana and at the end of my coaching training, I quit my job and felt completely empowered to make a decision for myself. Today you find me more alive, healthier and more fulfilled than ever. As the founder of my own company, I love finally using my talents and my many years of work experience to create what I want to see more of in the world: depth and closeness in relationships through exchange and familiarity in workshops.

4. Higher, Faster, Better. You said goodbye to the fast-paced business world and created a platform with OH SELF to support people through workshops to lead a fulfilled life (and to be a fulfilled founder!). What does “success” mean to you today (as opposed to your old job)?

For me, as an entrepreneur, there is not only economic success such as the viability of the company and brand building, but also emotional success. Based on the book “Big Five For Life” this means what is the purpose of existence for the company. Unlike the “zombie companies” I affectionately call, it is not about earning revenue by destroying value at the expense of others or nature, but by creating real value for challenges in our world.

In addition, for me, success is not linked to external results, but to the process that happens internally. The moment to start something and experience the person in me that I become through this path and what values ​​I embody, that is success and not achieving one goal after another. My mantra is: Success is an inside job.

"For me, success today means being able to be 100% myself with all my talents, skills, fun, health, freedom, presence and joy."

5. With OH SELF you connect people in very different life situations. With other skills, challenges, needs that have one thing in common: the desire for community, personal growth and the joy of discovering new things.

What 3 tips would you give female founders to build a good network?

1. Make others the hero, not yourself: People are often only interested in the question, what's in it for me? Instead of saying “I’m important – look at what great things I’m doing.” Give people your full presence when listening and give them the feeling that they are the most important person in the conversation. Show genuine interest by asking questions, reduce your speaking share to less than 50%, express your appreciation for your counterpart's time and offer your support, e.g. by introducing a new contact.

If I want someone to be interested in me, I have to start being interested in them. What’s important is that you can act with integrity. It's no use if you offer help but no action comes from you. Trust, credibility and reliability come from consistency and transparency.

2. Cry talking about your why: Take off the mask. People can only build a real, lasting connection with you if they feel you. For example, you can give insights behind the scenes and boldly address problems and challenges. Instead of showing what you do, show why you do things. To get closer to my own why, the sentence always helps me a lot: If you don't cry talking about your why, it is not your why.

When you show yourself authentically, you give others permission to be authentic and real. The permission you give yourself to show your personality also gives others the courage and motivation to do something.

3. 1+1=3 and cooperation instead of competition: I personally live by the two mantras of cooperation instead of competition and 1+1=3 - this means that we can achieve more together and achieve our goals faster than each of us individually. The times in which we work according to entrenched structures and create power for ourselves over time are over. Instead of profit maximization there is now meaning maximization.

This can arise through familiar exchange, openness to each other's perspective, creativity, an open culture of error and collaboration. Of course, cooperation must be wanted by both sides for it to work. I can recommend networking with people with similar goals, company mission and values.



If you would like to find out more about Alex and OH SELF, please take a look here:

To the website: www.ohself.de

To Instagram: @ohself.de