I believe that entrepreneurship can give dreamers like us the power to blend making a living with making a difference.

Headshot by Ashley Stephenson of Story Photographers

If I had one wish, it would be to heal the world.

That wish is the Big Why that drives my own business. Of course, it’s a lofty goal for one person working alone. Which is why I’ve dedicated my life to helping other people (like you!) who also want to heal the world.

Together we can build a movement, powered by small business owners who care as much about having a positive impact on the world as they do about creating a thriving business.
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Building a business isn’t complicated. It just takes a set of skills that most people haven’t learned.

Throughout my life, I’ve worked for and with more small business owners than I can remember. (My apologies if you’re one of the ones I can’t remember – I have a habit of engaging in free-range coaching. Seriously, if you ever want free coaching, just find me in line at Comicon and ask me a question about your business. I can’t help myself! But I digress…)

As I was saying… Time and again I’ve seen the same thing – people start a business because they love what they do, and because they love the connection it gives them to the people they’re serving.

But they don’t really know anything about business… and “traditional” business advice is outdated and poorly suited to people who want to build a business that serves and cares about it’s customers.

Over and over again I found myself helping small business owners, guiding them towards a new way of doing business.

A way that helped their business to thrive, while also honoring their need to make a difference, their need to be themselves, and their need to feel a personal connection to their customers.

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My story, in four parts

Born to coach...

I like to joke that I was basically bred to be a business coach - my dad was self employed, and my mom was a teacher before she became a small business owner herself.

I grew up surrounded by entrepreneurs, and for as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by small business. As I got older, there were three things I knew with absolute certainty:

  • I wanted to make the world a better place
  • I wanted to own my own business
  • I had no idea what I wanted to “be” when I grew up

That last one had me spinning for years. While I knew that I needed to do something that would allow me to help people, I was also keenly aware that most people in “helper” professions didn't make much money.

Life lessons...

But whatever it was I ended up doing, I definitely wanted to do it in my own business.

I’d seen my mother struggle with trying to make a difference as a school teacher, and her frustration at being blocked and devalued by the politics of the school system. I’d seen her leave teaching to open her own store, where she was able to blend her teaching skills with a passion for the fiber arts, becoming a respected member of a unique community.

So, not knowing what I wanted to do but knowing that I wanted to do (whatever it was) as my own boss, I began to study small business, experimenting with different ways of making money doing things that I loved.

I figured that I could always apply what I learned to whatever type of business I decided to start.

Experimenting...

I had the lemonade and brownie stand as a kid of course

When I was 18, I figured out how to monetize my favorite video game - it was an online multiplayer roll-playing game called Ultima Online, and I sold my castle on eBay for $1000. That's right, virtual real estate for a thousand dollars! Unfortunately, most of the in-game items I could sell took more effort to obtain than they were worth selling for.

When I was 19, I made and sold crocheted wire jewelry. I loved the creative aspect of it, but it was such an unusual medium that most people were afraid it would fall apart if they so much as sneezed while wearing it.

When I was 21, I became an accidental bookkeeper. I never actually intended for it to be a business - I started doing it as an independent contractor for my day job. My boss was happy enough with my work that she referred another business owner my way, who then referred another, and so on. It was a pretty decent gig - I was good at it, I made good money, my clients loved me... unfortunately, I kind of hated doing it.

The good news was, in the process of figuring out the parts of the bookkeeping business that I hated, I also looked at the parts I DIDN'T hate... and it turns out those parts looked a lot like coaching.

A new path...

The more I studied coaching, and small business, the more I realized that “being your own boss” can give dreamers like myself the power to blend making a living with making a difference.

As an entrepreneur, you have a direct connection to the people you’re helping, and no one “above” you telling you what you can or can’t do.

If you recognize a need in your audience, you can choose to serve that need, without having to ask for permission.

If you see an opportunity to help in new ways, in bigger ways, in more creative ways – you can do it.

I also realized that helping other entrepreneurs could exponentially increase the effect of my work - basically, every time I help someone like you grow your world-improving business, I come one step closer to actually healing the world.

Random tidbits you may find interesting

Things I believe

• Life is too short to spend it doing something I hate
• Being miserable now, in order to be happy 'someday', is a waste of today
• Life without growth is pointless
• 'Growing up’ is overrated
• We’re all right about something
• Everyday things are magic!
• Loving myself is hard (but oh so worth it!)
• Dance is my prayer
• There is no one right way
• Tea is the best… ever!
• Light nurtures me, especially at dawn and dusk, when magic is in the air

Things I love...

• Tea! (I have a whole shelf of the pantry devoted to tea)
• Really good dark chocolate
• Playing board games with friends
• Playing just about anything with my boys
• Tiny things! (they make me go "squeeee!")
• Pretty much anything sparkly
• A good book, and lots of time to curl up and read it
• Beautiful words
• PAX! Comicon!
• Smashing the patriarchy

Personality Assessments

Myers-Briggs
INFP; INFPs are idealistic and loyal to their values and to the people important to them. They are curious and quick to see possibilities, and often are catalysts for implementing new ideas. They want to understand people and help them fulfill their potential. They are adaptable until one of their cherished values is threatened.

They value home, family, autonomy, health, and creativity.
(source: mbtionline.com)

Kolbe A Index
42% Quick Start
21% Fact Finder
21% Implementor
16% Follow Thru

Personality Assessments (cont.)

(Because I'm slightly addicted to them)

Strengths Finder - Top 5 Themes
Ideation
Strategic
Learner
Intellection
Input

Entrepreneurial Strengths Finder - dominant talents
Creative Thinker
Knowledge-Seeker
Risk-Taker