Esra Doyuk

Esra Doyuk is a Future Design Specialist. She tells us that, “I help women in designing themselves and their businesses through my programs. I teach marketing and sales techniques, aiming for their success and freedom. Together with my husband, I co-own DYK Limited. Additionally, I offer coaching and mentoring services specifically tailored for women. I am content creator  on Linkedin and Instagram, and writer in some business magazines. I have two sons.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career.

I’m originally from Turkey, raised in Ankara, and later moved to Istanbul, later London. My father, an entrepreneur with various businesses, taught me a lot and always supported my entrepreneurial aspirations. My mother, a housewife, aimed to  bring us up as a good housewife, believing it was the best path for me. Despite criticism from my father’s conservative friends—who believed investing in girls was futile since they’d become housewives in the end—he enrolled me in a private school. Graduating from Bilkent University in Political Science and Public Administration, I dreamed to work in top companies popular among the educated youth. However, in the late ’80s in Turkey, due to intolerable politics, it was hard to work in public or private sectors while wearing a headscarf. So I was disappointed. I volunteered with NGOs focused on women’s education and financial freedom, balancing it with family life after marrying and having two sons. When my youngest started school, I pursued a professional career.

I had two businesses  which I failed because of my partners and my lack of knowledge of business mindset, marketing and selling. In 2013, when I was 37, I completed  a program about coaching. It was a turning point in my life. By coaching, my awareness of myself expanded much. I discovered myself deeply.  At that time, it was a new subject in Turkey. It gave me an opportunity to  become one of the talented coaches in Turkey. I helped to form an awareness about coaching in my community.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

I have many  turning points in my life but 2 of them are very precious to me. Would you like to learn which are these? One is, completing a long term  program and getting a certification in the coaching field. It not only transformed my life and also  changed my business mindset. Recognizing the significance of questions was crucial. I’ve realized that the quality of our lives often stems from the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. For years, I’ve invested in my personal growth by engaging a professional coach solely to ask me profound and thought-provoking questions.

Second one is moving to England at the age of 40, with my husband and two sons, leaving all my network, family and friends behind. It gave me the strength of living with the unknown, trusting my skills and being resilient. At the same time, financially I was not in the situation that I wanted as a woman. Yes, my husband was earning pretty decent but I didn’t get the amount that I targeted. Then I focus on this one subject. I read, searched, thought and was extremely obsessed with earning my dream amount. Finally I found wonderful mentors. I learned the intricacies of business from masters. So now I feel free, satisfied and successful.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

In the process of establishing a successful business, I encountered numerous obstacles. I shed tears, questioned myself, harbored doubts, but I never gave up. I believed that if at least one person could achieve and accomplish what I desired, then so could I. After that I realised lots of women are struggling like me. ın order to help them, ı decided to do mentoring to women in terms of business mindset, marketing and selling, especially in serviced base ones. My main goal is to inspire women, especially young women. If they learn how to market and sell in early stages of their lives, they don’t need to obey what others forced them. I don’t have a specific role model,  I take the impressive part of every powerful woman and implement it in my life as soon as possible.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

I am a woman driven by success. Achieving my goals brings me immense fulfillment. In the past, failure used to deeply upset me, yet my dedication always pushed me forward. When I believe in something, I pour my efforts into it, ready to sacrifice, fight, and persist. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that failure is an integral part of success. With each setback, I’ve uncovered better solutions. I’ve learned to embrace failure as a natural aspect of life. Understanding that I am human and that failure is acceptable gives me the strength to begin anew.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

My main vision is to see lots of women in a business ecosystem. World needs a woman’s point of view. In order to support this vision, I have been coaching more than 1000 women. 

I believe I have made significant contributions towards empowering women in entrepreneurship through various initiatives. I have supported women entrepreneurs in overcoming barriers they face, providing education, and offering mentorship. I am also a content creator and use content to build awareness for women in entrepreneurship. I generally work with Turkish women from all over the world. But for the last few years I have been working with women from all over the world, from different cultures, regions. In the next few years, I aim to expand these efforts further, encouraging more women to enter the business world and providing them with support. My goal is to empower women entrepreneurs through mentorship programs, educational seminars, and providing resources to foster their growth and success.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

I have been working online for nearly 10 years. So ı didn’t start working online because of the pandemic. If you truly follow future world predictions, you can easily. become an early adopter. ıt gives you an opportunity to adjust yourself and your business . So you can take advantage of it.

Because I already know how to work online, the tricks, the potential problems and solutions , I teach my know-how for those who are new.

And at that time my business expanded. Women became aware of themselves in these tough times, so they invested their education, coaching, mentoring more than usual. Also, I read more, create content more and found online connections from all over the world.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

As a mom of two, running a business can be tough  and challenging at some times.

So my number one achievement is this:) I earned my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) accreditation from the International Coaching Federation. It needs renewal every 3 years, and doing this consistently is a big win for me. I’ve created a personal brand that I’m genuinely proud of. I’ve attracted numerous clients who resonate with my brand and what I offer.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

If given the chance, I’d love to inspire young aspiring women entrepreneurs to strive for a world where gender equality in entrepreneurship is the norm. I envision a world where women have equal access to resources, opportunities, and support to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams without any barriers or biases. I believe in fostering an environment where every woman’s innovative ideas and contributions are valued and celebrated in the business world. As we age, accepting ourselves and life events becomes more natural. However, to gain this wisdom earlier in life, I suggest meeting diverse people and exploring various destinations through travel.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

Stay calm!’ is my motto. If you stay calm and accept the reality then your brain begins to figure out solutions for every situation. there is no black and white. Life is colourful.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

Despite progress, challenges remain, but there’s a growing recognition of women’s potential in leadership roles. 

We need to create a new leadership model which includes women’s perspectives. Women don’t have to be like men in order to lead. They can add their own sauces both as a woman and as an individual.

Without expecting support from others, being focused and dedicated on our path will make the difference.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

First accept yourself, ask ‘What I really really want?’, open to yourself criticism,  find ways to show your presence, see failure as apart of success, never wait for others approval, take feedback consistently.