…but they never want it at the expense of something more important to them.
You want to have a healthy business but it seems impossible because …
- you have young kids, aging parents, or other relationships that are a priority
- you value your free time and need it so you don’t crash and burn
- you love your creative ways and need to be spontaneous
A lot of people look at what they’re “supposed” to do to grow a business, and think “Nope. Not doing that.” Sometimes they can’t. Sometimes they won’t. But either way, they know that if what the gurus are saying is true that you must do X to be successful— then screw successful.
But what if the gurus were wrong?
And yet, almost everyone still harbors the hope that maybe they could succeed doing things their own way. Maybe the gurus don’t know everything.
This is just about the hardest situation I see solopreneurs go through. They’re taking a risk, ignoring expert advice, and figuring out how to succeed despite the odds. Meanwhile, other people are depending on them. And even if they’re single, they still have to listen to that little voice that whispers “But what if you are wrong? What if you can’t succeed like this?”
No one can promise you success.
I can’t promise you your business can succeed in spite of the constraints you’re under.
But I can promise you that if you did succeed, but you had to sacrifice too much to do it, you would never enjoy that success. So if it’s possible to succeed under these conditions, I want you to have the support, tools and resources you need to do it.
The problem is two-fold:
- Nobody is telling you what you’re doing right, only what you’re doing wrong.
- And nobody is teaching you what your options are when you can’t or won’t do what you’re “supposed” to do.
At Change Catalyst, we believe that your constraints provide focus, and your greatest strengths grow out of your weaknesses.
Let me show you what I mean.
We can reduce the problem of “how to make a business sustainably successful” with two main ideas.
Idea #1: Businesses are successful only to the extent that they are well-run.
The first is that the long-term viability of a small business depends less on the concept for the business and more on the owner’s ability to run it well (read: effectively).
To put it another way: I’ve seen the most unlikely ideas work, provided you can do the things that need to be done to make the business self-sustaining. This can mean anything from financial management, administration, and strategic planning to marketing, income stream development, and client relationships. I help clients set up systems and processes that wrangle all these requisites into line, so that keeping the business running doesn’t take over their whole lives.
Idea #2: If the main criterion of success is effectiveness, there is infinite room for adapting standard practices.
There is more opportunity for adaptation than textbook business best practices would have you believe.
By that I mean there are very few things you “have” to do the way “they” tell you in order to be successful. In nearly every case, you can rearrange your Scrabble tiles to avoid what you don’t want to do and play to your strengths instead. Often you’ll get as good, or better result than you would have doing things the traditional way.
I call this “your options for what’s not optional.” By tapping into these previously unseen options, I can help you create and manage sustainable businesses in ways that don’t force you to compromise on your principles and allows for the lifestyle of your choosing.
Who Am I?
But why should you listen to me? Aren’t I just another guru? Well, maybe I am. But I am a little unusual.
I’m a lifelong entrepreneur. I was raised in a very rural area where there weren’t any jobs, and even if you found one it wasn’t worth your gas to get there. So I learned from an early age that the only way to make money was to find something someone wanted to pay for and give it to them. I developed an eye for opportunities and have run businesses in a myriad of industries from hospitality to general contracting to retail to business services.
And you know what? I felt weird about it for a long time. Unlike all the people I went to school with, I didn’t have a ‘real job.’ I went to university but dropped out before my final year. I liked building businesses, and frankly, it seemed pretty easy. It was so much fun to figure out what people wanted enough to pay for, and then to get the business whirring like a swiss clock.
But I was also scared. Because 80% of businesses fail, right? But mine had never failed. Some only broke even, but I never lost money. What was I missing? What had I overlooked, to see only opportunity and success where, older, more experienced people saw pain and failure?
I suffered agonies, humbly believing in the inevitability of my own failure. I didn’t commit to things like I wanted to. I always held something of myself back, fearing my own passion and enthusiasm had blinded me to a less-than-rosy reality.
What would you do if you didn’t think you’d fail?
If I can free solopreneurs from anything, it’s that sickening fear that they can’t trust themselves. And I can do that by sharing my expertise in building businesses, and by showing business owners that they’re not alone.
We all share the fear, the loneliness, and the intoxicating triumph. We feel the power of becoming masters over our circumstances, and the strength that arises out of knowing how to land on our feet.
We don’t pivot, we dance to the music in our heads.
We don’t expand our businesses, we soar into our proper stature.
We don’t dominate our niches— we extend our impact on the world.