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EP 259 Taking leaps of faith with guest Sharon O’Sullivan Fung

bold goal crusher podcast podcast Jun 17, 2024

Welcome to the Bold Goal Crusher podcast, where we empower individuals to stop letting life get in the way and start crushing their bold goals. Hosted by Sara Mayer, our latest episode features an awe-inspiring guest, Sharon O’Sullivan Fung. Founder of O'Sullivan Fung Executive Assistant Services, Sharon transitioned from teaching to entrepreneurship—a change driven by her family needs and her unwavering resilience. 



In this episode, Sara Mayer delves into Sharon's extraordinary journey of pivoting careers with no prior experience and founding a successful fractional executive assistance company. The discussion covers authentic networking, B2B strategy, and the principles that guided Sharon through every challenge. 

 A Teacher's Leap of Faith

Sharon began her professional life as a teacher, a path she knew she was destined for since kindergarten. After working for eight years—five in Ireland as a special education resource teacher and three in Santa Monica, Los Angeles as a classroom teacher—Sharon moved to Canada, where she took a break to homeschool her children. 

Her teaching journey resumed in 2020 when she took up a part-time position as an educational assistant. The role felt right initially but was complicated by personal circumstances, including her father's dementia diagnosis back in Ireland. 

The Need for Change

The constraints of school holidays and the high costs of travel led Sharon to reevaluate her career. She sought work that would provide the financial stability needed for frequent travels to Ireland and flexibility to support her family, including her two children with special needs. 

In March 2023, faced with her father's diagnosis and her family's financial needs, Sharon decided to take a leap of faith. She quit her stable job and ventured into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship. 

Building the Business

Starting with an Airbnb unit for additional income, Sharon initially explored the virtual assistant market but found it saturated and not aligned with her strengths. Her breakthrough came when she started working as an executive assistant, assisting business owners with administrative tasks, and discovered her knack for executive assistance. 

Networking played a crucial role in Sharon's journey. An introduction to a local networking group with a supportive atmosphere proved transformative. Even though the initial months were tough, Sharon persisted. By April, she was almost maxed out on clients. 

Networking, Mentorship, and Authenticity

Sharon credits her success to surrounding herself with a supportive network and mentors. Her journey involved continually trying new things and refining what worked best for her. She transitioned from virtual assistant to executive assistant, emphasizing the importance of authentic networking over sales pitches. 

Key Takeaways

Sara and Sharon highlight essential learnings for aspiring entrepreneurs: 

  • Leaning on Past Experience: Don’t dismiss your previous career skills. Sharon’s teaching experience lent her the organizational and interpersonal skills crucial for her executive assistant role. 
  • Authentic Networking: Focus on building genuine relationships rather than merely pitching services. Sharon found that providing value and looking for referral partners was her “magic sauce.” 
  • Mentorship: Surrounding yourself with experienced mentors can accelerate your growth. 

Balancing Work and Family

Despite running a booming business, Sharon remains committed to part-time work to prioritize her family. She continues to tweak her work schedule for optimal productivity, balancing family commitments and personal goals. 

Closing Thoughts

Sharon’s story is a testament to resilience and adaptability. No matter where you start, there’s potential to leverage past experiences and thrive in new ventures. Her journey reminds us that success isn’t just about the destination but the path taken. 

In Sharon's words, “Every one of us has strengths that are needed in the business world. Surround yourself with the right people, learn continuously, and never hesitate to try new things.” 

For anyone feeling stuck in their nine-to-five and contemplating a leap into entrepreneurship, Sharon’s journey offers invaluable lessons and encouragement. 



Connect with Sharon O'Sullivan Fung through LinkedIn to learn more about her executive assistant services and her inspirational journey. Join us on the Bold Goal Crusher podcast for more empowering stories and insights to help you stop letting life get in the way and start crushing your bold goals. 



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