How to Pivot Your Career and Take the Big Leap to Become a Consultant

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Up Your Creative Genius
How to Pivot Your Career and Take the Big Leap to Become a Consultant

Michele Delgado, founder of Hartmetrics shares her experience leaving the travel industry, starting a consultancy and pivoting your career.

With over 25 years of leadership experience, Michele has led and advised teams of 200+ while providing them with the tools, technology, and strategic initiatives they need to meet their goals. As a Certified Professional and a Master Business Coach, she believes that everyone should be celebrated for their talents and encouraged to pursue their dreams regardless of their resources. As the daughter of a single mom and the proud proprietor of Hartmetrics, she not only strives to encourage other women to be bold in taking their rightful place in the board room but advocates that professionals seek knowledge and opportunity for growth both personally and professionally. It’s this core mission and dedication to helping others that have allowed her and her to thrive and realize her greatest passion – mentorship.

“Being bold and start asking. They weren’t a client before so there is nothing to lose.”

“There are three components when you’re looking for a candidate, it’s the head, which is what PI (Predictive Indexes) works with, the heart is the part that deals with the culture. And that’s during the interview, the face to face. And the briefcase, which is their resume, and what’s on that paper that talks about their skills. So it’s those three pieces together, which is really amazing.”

“Don’t do it alone. If you don’t have that kind of bravery, that’s fine. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I ask for help all over the place.”

Time Stamp

[1:20] What happened to the travel industry

[4:28] You’re the queen of pivot? What did you do?

[5:23] How to become a consultant

[8:19] Defining your niche

[10:00] You have to have mentors

[11:47] How to set your price

[12:58] Getting certifications

[14:27] Predictive Indexes of talent optimization

[15:10] Working with teams and hiring people

[16:50] The two things that will help you to take the leap

[17:48] Draw your future

Useful links

Michele Delgado Linkedin


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Up Your Creative Genius

Patti Dobrowolski 0:03

Hello superstars, welcome to the up your creative genius podcast where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life.

Patti Dobrowolski 0:39

Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski with Up Your Creative Genius. I have the most amazing pivoter on the show today. This is going to be a podcast, you’re going to want to play over and over again. Because especially if you’re one of those people who wonder, like how do people survive after COVID? If you get riff during that or you lose your job, or they furlough you or whatever the term is that they’re using now, I have Michele Delgado who has her own business. She pivoted into her own business Hart metrics, consulting. It’s so awesome to have you on the show. Michelle,

Michele Delgado 1:15

Thank you so much for inviting me. Yay, yay.

Patti Dobrowolski 1:20

All right. So first off, you were in a job. You had that job for a long time, you were at the C level, you were really up there, a senior leader. So tell us what happened to you.

Michele Delgado 1:34

Sure. So you know, January of 2020, we started to hear the rumblings of what was happening with COVID, kind of that over there in the other part of the world. But we were definitely concerned. February, March, we had some events planned, it was time to start canceling things. March April came and it got serious. And then we were asked as leaders to start, you know, selecting people that we have to furlough layoff etc.

Patti Dobrowolski 2:01

Right. So you worked in the travel industry? My guess is you’re the first person that I’ve talked to who worked in the travel industry during COVID. Because everything probably just shut down for you, did it?

Michele Delgado 2:13

The world shut down every cancellation, people were just, you know, beside themselves. Nobody was traveling anywhere, not even to their office, obviously. But yeah, so we all thought, Oh, this is just two weeks, you know, we’ve been through other, you know, situations – world crisis, not the case. So when it started to get serious, we first took pay cuts. We then had to furlough. And then I was on the receiving end of being furloughed.

Patti Dobrowolski 2:40

Wow, wow. So you had to layoff 50 people, of your staff.

Michele Delgado 2:46

At least 50 of my own staff, and then further reductions were happening.

Patti Dobrowolski 2:51

Oh, my gosh, that’s so crazy. So when you started to lay other people off, were you worried about yourself that it was going to happen to you?

Michele Delgado 3:00

Yes, absolutely. I had direct reports that were very concerned, we were doing wellness checks with them every week to just kind of be there for each other because we just didn’t know what was going to happen. And as they were all reaching out to me for guidance, I said, Look, I’m right there with you. I just don’t know, you know, and so, that April 22 23rd, came around and it was you know, one two punch to the gut. But again, still thinking that you know, what, maybe a couple of months maybe this is, the summer off, relax, spend time with family. Yeah. Not taking vacation, vacation, go to the beach, whatever Jersey Shores for you. You know, you’re exactly, exactly cocktails. It’s for that.

Patti Dobrowolski 3:48

Oh, I’m going to just lay here, I am just laying out. Exactly. Well, okay. But then no, that was it. You were done. So when did you realize that that was the end of that career as you knew it?

Michele Delgado 4:01

August of 2020. I thought my career ended definitely with this company. I was with them for several years. But I spent 25 plus years in the whole travel industry. So right. It wasn’t like, okay, it was just this company. I couldn’t even look to go to another, because they were all in the same boat.

Patti Dobrowolski 4:22

Yeah. Did you try at all to go to another travel company? Did you try? No, right.

Patti Dobrowolski 4:28

So you just decided, Alright, that’s it. Yeah, I’m done with that. And so what did you do then? Because you’re the queen of pivot. I mean, how did you become that? I mean, were you scared? How did you self-soothe through that?

Michele Delgado 4:44

You know, I had a lot of time with family. So they were very supportive. I had lots of friends who are in the same boat as me. So we consoled one another, we tried to help lift each other spirits. But I have to tell you, there were days that it felt, I remember that postpartum feeling like somebody died, that I had on certain days, and you just get this overwhelming feeling in your body that okay, life, as you know, it is never going to be the same. But then there were other days that I got up and I was very focused, and I had my spreadsheets and targets and networking and doing my resume and hearing nothing, absolutely nothing. I eventually thought, Well, I’m going to need some help to do this. I can’t do this alone to find another career. I knew I had transferable skills, but to find a career. Yeah. And I had a wonderful coach who helped me with my resume. And, you know, just coaching me through what I needed to do in my resume. And the first thing was, okay, you have to take off graduation years, you have to take, you have to redo it. Yes, I was facing the agism for sure. Even though they all say well, we had others who were in the company who are older, or are the same age. Yeah, I call BS to that. Yeah. You know, it was also the feeling of, you know, the biases that I felt, all those emotions came into play. Once I got focused a little bit more and working with him, I started to feel a little bit more optimistic. I did get an idea from him about, you know, why don’t you just become a consultant? Why don’t you look into that? So I did. And by November, I thought it out and I went and got three certifications in business.

Patti Dobrowolski 6:23

Oh, wow. So you, you decided you need some validation? Yeah, right. Yeah. In order to go out there and do it, like your career wasn’t enough validation. This is what we do, right? We think we need that certificate. Whatever the exam gave you I think the certificate will give you confidence that you could do it, that you knew what you were going to do. It did. It absolutely did.

Michele Delgado 6:47

It gave me that lift that I needed the determination to move forward. And this was what I was going to do. I mean, in my whole job that I had working for somebody else. I was always consulting somebody that was always giving them guidance, I was always doing what I needed to do. And now I get to do it the way I want to do it. Yeah. I love when the day came and I was still like, networking, who can I speak to, you know, looking for a job. I did have one interview that came like a month or two after I sent in my resume. And when we were talking, and I told him my salary requirement, my years of experience, he’s like, I think I shocked him, I probably made, you know, a lot more than he did. But you’re definitely out of our budget. And the budget that I gave him was significantly less than what I was making before. So I’m sure you know, whatever. Yeah. On top of that, he’s like, I think you’re overqualified. I felt like saying, well, I probably am. Yeah, but you’re probably gonna get a lot of value out of how I did my work. And so,

Patti Dobrowolski 7:53

That was the universe’s way saying no, no, this door is shut, right. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Michele Delgado 7:59

So you know, I just kept plugging along and working with a dear friend of mine. She says why don’t you just do it yourself? Just rip the band aid off? And yeah,

Patti Dobrowolski 8:06

…grow your own business? Yeah. Put up your own shingle. And exactly. So that’s when you started Hart Metrics. Yeah, I’m so curious here, so tell me what do you do? What are you doing?

Michele Delgado 8:19

Yeah, so I’m doing lots of different things. Because aside from just getting those three certifications that I had, last year, I’m working on two more, but I also got another certification in talent optimization. So I’m a predictive index partner, and we kind of stick unbelievable, but the science and the data, the software that they have in their program is just amazing. So I’m working with some solo entrepreneurs, helping them in elevating their business projects, etc. Just pricing strategies. I’ve done some training and onboarding in the travel space with a small company that you know, who needed to, they’re looking to bring on some new independents. So I’ve been able to help them and structure a training program for them. You know, right now, I’m really kind of defining what the services are. But I do want to find a niche. What’s my niche. Exactly, exactly.

Patti Dobrowolski 9:12

It’s so important. And then is most of your promotion of your services on LinkedIn? Is that where people can find you?

Michele Delgado 9:19

Yes, LinkedIn, I’ve been working with a marketing person so that I know exactly where I need to position myself. So, you know, Google for a business page, you know, how do I market myself? I have a newsletter that I do monthly, I got really great feedback from those small groups. But you know what, it’s good for me because I never saw myself as talented in that space to write that way. And yeah, when I get that feedback that, “Wow, I love reading your newsletter.” It’s really special for me.

Patti Dobrowolski 9:49

That is so fantastic. So,you know, I mean, for me, I’m just impressed that that is a short window of time in which you decided you’re going to do that. Yeah, like really, that was from only August until January when you started to do it. And then how long was it before you got your first client?

Michele Delgado 10:07

Well, I’ve had some pro bono’s, which was great to be able to.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:11

Fantastic. See you guys, right away they get whatever you’re offering. Yes, yeah.

Michele Delgado 10:16

So I had my first pro bono, probably two or three weeks after I started to get bold about asking, one thing I’d learned is, they weren’t a client before. So there’s nothing to lose everything to gain going. They’re selling x. That’s right. They weren’t a client before.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:34

So there’s nothing to lose. So if you’re listening, this is really key. Because if you can actually treat everybody that way, then it emboldens you to go and ask for what it is. And then how did you learn about pricing and all of that stuff that comes with having your own business? How did you figure that out?

Michele Delgado 10:54

You know, I am a big proponent of you have to have mentors, more than one, national, financial, whatever. But I also have, you know, some experience in the coaching, my mother was an executive coach, and she’s no longer with us, she was a huge inspiration. And I was talking to a good friend of hers. The other day, I kind of thought of them as like the Thelma and Louise, you know, they were great friends. And she told me this thing. She says, you know, when you know, your price, you know, an hourly rate, or whatever it is, you’re going to do a package or hourly rate, go in front of the mirror, and say, my fee is this and be comfortable. And when you feel in your body that it’s comfortable, you know that that’s the price and be comfortable with the silence afterwards. Yes, try and feel all that when they’re like, hey, whatever, you know, just let them talk. And, you know, yeah, whenever that’s great,

Patti Dobrowolski 11:47

I love that, you know, I learned how to set pricing a long time ago, a couple different people taught me how to do it. But one person said to me, when I was early on as a consultant, you know, and there were not very many people in my space drawing. So it really was advantageous to a company to have it. And so they would say, set your price, and then double it, and then double it again. And I was like, Oh my god, that is, like crazy. But the first time I did that, and sold the project right away, I was like, Oh, well, all these years, I’ve been under estimating what my value is. And I think, to know your value is really essential. So you did the thing in front of the mirror, which I love. Because then you’re getting constant feedback from yourself. Like that’s right. That’s right. It’s just you there, right? Yeah, before scary. Well and not just that, but that’s drama therapy, right? I was trained as a drama therapist. So the more that you say it out loud, the more it becomes you, and then you are that, and then that is your price. Right? Right. And so now you’re working on really what the programs are that you’re going to offer to people and how you’re going to help them.

Patti Dobrowolski 12:58

So tell me what those certificates were that you got? And what are your other ones you’re working on? Because that sounds very exciting. I love that.

Michele Delgado 13:05

Yeah. So one of the certificates was a Certified Professional Coach, which really equates to a life coach. And although that’s wonderful, and there’s so many amazing ones out there. For me, it felt like that was more for there could be that gray area when somebody really is off the edge and needs a therapist. And so I try to stay away from that part.

Patti Dobrowolski 13:25

Yeah, gotcha. People ask me all the time. Are you a life coach? I say, absolutely not. I’m a business coach.

Michele Delgado 13:31

Exactly. And so disaster recovery, which is something that I feel, yeah, it was, I just needed that certification to say it. Working in the travel industry, we’ve been hit a lot with a lot of disasters. And we had to learn how to triage and triage quickly. So I’ve been able to do that. Also, when my mother passed, I was very instrumental in handling all of that. And so you learn a lot about how to get out of the emotion and put on the business hat of just going through everything. So I’ve been able to help friends in dealing with some of that hardship themselves. And, you know, I’ve had some other situations with clients that have had huge disasters and been able to help and be the brain for them again, dealing with the emotion. Fantastic. And then the business consulting is really the one that you know, it’s how do you be the best that you could be? Yeah, how do you get out of your own way? So that’s that business coach.

Michele Delgado 14:27

And now the predictive indexes of talent optimization. And so that’s having people in the best position for the best job and building teams. And that’s really what I want to focus on. Yeah, that.

Patti Dobrowolski 14:39

Looked like you got very excited when you started to talk about that earlier. So I know that’s going to be part of what you’re delivering to people and people need that they need it in a way that gives them hard facts. versus just, you know, when you’re trying to figure out where to place people or hire people, all of that. You got to kind of separate yourself from it. Look at what is the fit? Right? And how do you maintain that fit over time so that people actually grow in their best spot? I love that, lovely.

Michele Delgado 15:10

Absolutely. You know, the one thing that I’ve learned is that with BI, it’s not the be all, end all. Yeah, there’s three components when you’re looking for a candidate, you know, it’s the head, which is what BI works with, the heart is the part that deals with the culture. And that’s during the interview that face to face, and the briefcase, which is their resume, and what’s on that paper that talks about their skills. So it’s those three pieces together, which is really amazing. I like to work with teams, some of the things that I did before was that, you know, if there was teams that were just not cohesive, they really didn’t connect well. I love bridging that gap. And I love seeing what they do together. So, and coaching, and team spirit is definitely more and more apparent. Someone said to me, in a hybrid thing I was moderating. “We can’t just wash, rinse and repeat, we can’t try same process”, right, but always doing we’ve got to be innovative. And so that’s what I want to focus on is let me help customers be innovative.

Patti Dobrowolski 16:14

Yeah, I think so too. And in the online space, you know, there’s so many tools you can use. Now, you can use mural, you can use Miro, you can get together in a conference that on the Remo platfrom, which is just like being there. In person. There’s lots of different ways that you can optimize the space, in breakouts, etc. But what I’m fascinated with and what is apparent is that, you know, you believed in yourself enough to take the leap. And I think so for people that are out there who are listening who are still worried about am I courageous enough to go out on my own? What would you say to them? If they need to pivot, but they’re avoiding it? What would you tell them? That would help them?

Michele Delgado 16:57

Yeah, there’s two things. Don’t do it alone. If you don’t have that kind of bravery, that’s fine. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I ask for help all over the place. I reach out and say, Hey, listen, you’re not going to win. If you don’t ask, you know. You’re not going to get any further if you don’t ask. Just come to you.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:19

So ask for help. That’s one. What’s your other thing? You said to so I’m going back in for the other one?

Michele Delgado 17:23

You have to believe in yourself. And one of the exercises that I do, I started journaling. I never journaled before I started journaling, write your ideas down. They’re not unrealistic, write them down, just keep at them, making sure you look at that every single day and see, what is it that I am passionate about? And go for it. You know, just…

Patti Dobrowolski 17:48

That’s fantastic. And you know, me, I tell people to draw a picture of it. Because if you draw a picture of your future, you put it somewhere, you can see it every day, take action on it. 42% more chance of success, right? So writing, writing a list of the things that you want to writing about it, those words are seen in your brain as images. So they imprint on your hippocampus, and then you got that, you know, you’re retraining yourself for that new career that you’re stepping into. Well, I love having you here. You’re so inspiring. So for everybody that’s listening. You want to connect with Michelle Delgado, Hart Metrics, consulting, connect with her on LinkedIn. And also I’ll put in the show notes, a little bio about her and also other places you can connect with her. Thank you so much for spending time with me today. Right? It was really awesome to meet you. I can’t wait. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. We can do it. Okay, everybody, until next time, up your creative genius. Thank you so much.

Michele Delgado 18:48

Thank you.

Patti Dobrowolski 18:52

Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on Up Your Creative Genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy. Get out and up your creative genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly Patti Dobrowolski, and the up your creative genius podcast. That’s a wrap.

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