P. Valerie Dauphin is the Founder of Feel Good Kick Ass, a Los Angeles-based life coaching business that helps women of color in bad office jobs create careers and lives they love. Valerie incorporates her background as a dance educator, choreographer, fitness instructor, and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) facilitator to create trauma-informed coaching experiences that help her clients heal from the impacts of racism and THRIVE anyway.
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Valerie, to know a bit more about her journey as a life coach.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Valerie: Having complete sovereignty and authority over my schedule, my pricing, my location, without having to report to anyone. Being in business for myself fulfills one of my core values: FREEDOM.
Oh, the glory of wanting to do something and immediately creating and implementing it without having to go through approval channels and permission requests. That’s freedom.
Oh, the glory of modifying my schedule because I am the one who chose it. I can move things around the checkerboard of my calendar without need to check in with a supervisor about time off.
Oh, the glory of showing up for the things I create.
Oh, the glory of working remotely because I set my life up that way.
Q. How did you get started?
Valerie: When I was 6, I KNEW I was meant to be in front of people, inspiring and entertaining them. A few years later, I began pondering what makes humans thrive. Public speaking, intimate conversations, using my words to inspire and change lives…all this I felt wildly comfortable doing from a young age. It’s just who I am.
Fast forward to adulthood, my first career choice was acting and TV hosting. My plan was to become a series regular on a sitcom and I had the color-coded chart to back up that plan. I’d been taking classes at an improv comedy school and auditioned to their conservatory. I was devastated when I wasn’t selected.
Not getting into that conservatory, though, was the turning point that led to me starting a life coaching practice.
I met with my life and business mentors after the audition failure and one of them asked me a crucial question, “Well, Valerie. What do you REALLY want to do now?” My response was, “Honestly, I just want to inspire people and post a bunch of stuff online.”
Not long after, I launched a mindset blogcast (audio + written) on a website I’d put together myself. I posted weekly content for about 11 months and started to develop my coaching voice. During that time, I also spoke at a few events to get the word out.
Meanwhile, throughout all of this, I worked full-time jobs.
(Sidenote: My experience as a 9-5 employee in corporate environments, as much as I wasn’t a fan and unbeknownst to me at the time, formed the foundation for my current coaching focus, which is helping women of color be true to themselves, speak up at work, generate their own promotions, and make all types of changes that supports their overall “livelihood”, in and out of the office.)
On my weekends, evenings, lunch breaks, I took business courses and met with like-minded folk who helped me develop the vision for what eventually came to be Feel Good Kick Ass.
I explored different ways of coaching and started coaching people for free. These were people I already knew who I reached out to ask if they’d be interested in this new coaching thing I was doing. Free coaching helped me get some confidence as a coach.
I was also intensely interested in combining my background as a dancer (yes that I did that too) and dance/fitness instructor WITH personal development and coaching to create what I eventually called The Rock Your Life Danceshops(TM). My tagline for the dance shops was “Tony Robbins meets Marianne Williamson in a ZUMBA dance class.” (Oh yeah, I did have a ZUMBA certification at that time as well.)
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Valerie: My intention behind the Danceshops was for anyone to come with any challenge or difficult circumstance they were facing and by the end of the danceshop, have clarity about their next action to improve their situation. It was also a place for participants to connect with their desires and dreams, to speak it, and get the ball rolling in creating it.
My biggest challenge was getting this idea from my head and out into the world by hosting my first event. What if people don’t get it? What if I can’t communicate it in a way to get butts on the dance floor? What if I bomb? What if I don’t actually know what I’m doing? What if it’s too hard?
I brought my insecurities to my mentors and accountability partners and they encouraged me to keep going. They also told me to focus on the next little action to take.
So the road started to pave itself – OK, I need a venue. I need to set a date. I need to find out where to post this event. I need liability insurance for the venue. etc.
I researched venues and chose one in my budget with a delectable vibe that matched my brand. I created a meetup group as a way to invite people. I also printed and posted flyers, called related organizations to share with their members, created events on Facebook. I researched liability insurance companies and chose one that offered coverage for both dance teachers and life coaches.
As I fulfilled each step, it became clear what the next was to be. One foot in front of the other.
What I learned is that when a dream or goal feels way too big, hone in on the next small step. Then the next. Then the next. I also learned that regular contact with mentors and peers is crucial to keep me going when I felt confused, anxious, and insecure.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Valerie: I have two: writing/publishing my first book “Feel Good Kick Ass Confidence: Using Your Body to Rock Your Life” and working with the LA LGBT Center in Hollywood for about 3 years providing the Rock Your Body Danceshops(TM) to their transgender members.
In 2015, I attended a professional development conference where one of the speakers told us why having a book is crucial for our business credibility. He also shared how we could publish our books in just a few months. His presentation was incredible so I signed up for his program, finished it, and completed my book in a little over a year.
I ended up re-purposing lots of material from my mindset blogcast into the book. That was so cool. 2017 – When I received the hard copy in my hand, the feeling of pride and accomplishment floored me. I did it. Wow. I’d dreamed of writing a book since I was a child so to see and feel the thing in my hands was ah-mazing.
In 2016, I had attended a City of West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board meeting where I walked up to the podium and told the people about my life coaching through dance services and that I was open for business. (I got creative with places to go for marketing and networking). I didn’t have a niche so I was open to working with anyone who felt that I could really help them.
The chair of the Transgender Advisory Board approached me that same night after the meeting and said he had a lead for me. He put me in touch with the Program Manager for the LA LGBT Center’s Trans*Lounge program. They became my client from 2017-to 2020. We would’ve continued; however, “the pandemic.”
My Rock Your Body Danceshops(TM) was a safe place for the organization’s trans members to explore connecting with their bodies and being comfortable with themselves. I also facilitated group discussion and life coaching on body image, body confidence, and creating dreams for their lives in any area of their life. I felt so loved and appreciated every time I facilitated a dance shop there. And I know I made a difference.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Valerie: The book that propelled me to believe that I could create the life I wanted was Lynn Grabhorn’s “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings”.
It was 2006, a few months after I had moved to L.A. I met a few new friends for dinner and a movie. We had time to kill before the movie so we hung out at a bookstore. As I browsed the books, one caught my eye. It was Grabhorn’s book. I read for about 10 minutes. That was enough to compel me to buy it.
That book was the first of many to form the foundation for the coaching I do now, for the way I live my life today. That book shows you why it’s important to pay attention to and acknowledge your feelings because your feelings dictate your behavior and therefore the results you create in your life. I learned how to feel my feelings to direct my life where I want to go.
This book is entertaining and easy to read.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
1. The Podcast app that came with my phone. It’s my personal and professional development training tool on the go. I listen to podcast episodes almost daily. My marketing and sales coaches all have podcasts so I immerse myself in their teachings throughout the day. I constantly fill my brain with purposeful content to grow my mindset, skillset, business, and life. Podcasts are #thebomb.
2. LastPass – It’s an easy-to-use, multi-platform password manager and password/username generator. There’s both an online and app version so whether I’m working on my laptop or from my phone, I can easily access my important websites and passwords and create more wherever I am. There’s a fee to unlock all features, but it’s negligible and well worth it. Peace of mind and security is where it’s at.
3. Tied at Google Drive and HappyScribe. I’ve used Google Drive programs (Spreadsheet, Classroom, Forms, and Docs) to create questionnaires, progress trackers, and content libraries for private coaching clients. One-stop-shop + free + short learning curve = convenient and helpful for anyone to create content and systems for their business.
HappyScribe is a video transcription service that puts subtitles in videos. I’ve used them to make some of my marketing videos more accessible for folks who aren’t in a position to listen to the audio. They’re easy to use with an interface I like + their fees are very affordable.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Valerie: My today business is different from my 6 years ago business. Back then my focus was on the Danceshops, on getting this life-coaching-through-dance experience to as many people as I could. As I’ve progressed and my desires have changed, I’ve retired from the dance teaching aspect and just focus on one-on-one life coaching. At the time of this article’s publication, I only work with private clients and, while we’ll incorporate body connection with coaching, I no longer facilitate the Danceshops.
Whether it was through the Danceshops or strictly one-on-one coaching, my mission remains the same: I lead people to experience freedom in every area of their life by having a deep connection with their bodies and developing remarkable self-trust. Another fun way to put it is I help people figuratively, and sometimes literally, dance their way to their dream lives. And I want this especially for BIPOC women, trans, and gender-non-confirming folk.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Valerie: Since you are the ultimate authority of your life, you get to decide what’s right for your business (and everything else), no matter what the experts tell you.
To keep up to date with Valerie and her journey, connect with her on Instagram.