Madeline Pratt wanted a different kind of career. The corporate structure wasn’t working for her anymore and she wanted more flexibility with her schedule to meet the needs of her family. Thus Fearless in Training, her female forward consulting firm, was born. Pratt and her team work directly with entrepreneurial women, progressive accountants, and technology innovators to offer them help in starting, growing and scaling successful enterprises. Today the Poulsbo, Washington-mompreneur enjoys the freedom being her own boss has given her as well and the satisfaction that she is living a meaningful life.
Pratt’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Fearless In Training is a female forward consulting company that works directly with entrepreneurial women, progressive accountants, and technology innovators to offer them help in starting, growing, and scaling successful enterprises. Built on a foundation of expertise in the realms of technology, marketing, education & business development, the firm offers collaborative & catered consulting services to help clients achieve their wildest business dreams.
Corporate work wasn’t for me, and the more I talked with many of my friends, I learned it wasn’t for them either. We women want to be engaged in business and building businesses that we believe in, but our lives are complex and require flexibility. It can still be so hard to find that in a corporate environment, and as much as I learned during my time working for someone else’s company, I knew that I could find more balance and fulfilment in starting my own. More than meeting my own needs though, I wanted to be able to show other women that entrepreneurship can accelerate them on the path of equality and help them earn more without having to constantly compromise their needs.
Success for me has always been about seeing the impact that my work has on other people, and rather than being a destination, it’s a path that I think we proceed down when we’ve aligned our highest work with what we do every single day. For me, this looks like envisioning future goals clearly, and then aligning my life towards achieving them. I’ve always said that the goal of anything that I do is to make a difference in the life of at least one person a day. Each time someone reaches out to me to let me know that something I said, wrote, or shared made an impact on them, I see that as a reminder that I am living a deeply meaningful and successful life.
My biggest success to date has been building out my team at Fearless in Training and a company culture that encourages us to show up and be seen as we are. I’ve always loved growing team’s and mentoring new hires to find their place inside the company and the work that they’re truly passionate about. When I first dreamed of starting my own company, I always pictured us as a team of incredibly talented and creative women from all walks of life. Bringing that vision to life and getting to work together with these amazing women is one of the greatest highlights of my career.
My greatest goal for my company is to grow our reach and connect with more female entrepreneurs to empower them on a path of business equality. We’ve grown our revenue by 500% YoY and with it we’re growing our team and our capacity to serve more clients. I believe that the COVID crisis will inspire a lot more women to take control of their careers and begin working on a business of their own, and my goal is for us to continue to grow our company in order to be able to connect with these ambitious entrepreneurs to provide them the education, resources, and support they need to build thriving businesses of their own.
My greatest challenge as a woman and entrepreneur is integrating the growth of my company with the needs of my family. As my kids grow and change, they go through stages and need different things from me, so I’m constantly having to sit down and reassess what needs to shift and what needs to come first. It’s an ongoing process, but I was smart enough to choose a husband that not only supports my work, but also partners with me completely to figure out how to best integrate our work and our family. It takes a lot of communication and childcare, but over the years we’ve figured out how to build a life that allows us both to have our dream careers while raising our two kids.
On a personal level I’ve dealt with anxiety for just about as long as I can remember. Only in the last half of this decade have I really begun to know the words I need to describe it to other people. You see up until recently, people didn’t even talk about anxiety much less describe what it felt like for them.
My most important role model has always been my mother. She has always been a trailblazer, completely unafraid to blaze her own path and follow her dreams. Watching her everyday growing up built within me the confidence that I could start my own company, and that I didn’t have to build a life around anyone else’s expectations. She is my greatest supporter, and I’m her biggest fan.