Introducing You, The Business Owner
I believe we need to start thinking about what we want to create as opposed to what the work is that we want to do. Many of you said in your origin stories that you started your businesses on the quest for more meaningful work, on the quest to find your identity through work, on the quest to explore your creativity through work, on the quest for control and flexibility, and lifestyle through work. And the difference between what you wanna create and work you wanna do, is that creating a company, creating a business, creating a vision is not really about doing the work, right. The work, while you may still be doing it, and you might do it for the rest of your life, that's not your chief role in your company, right, in your business. Your chief role in your business is as the person who is creating the thing, not doing the work. If you have first and foremost in your minds this is the work that I do. And that you tie your identity to the work that you do, you will never be able to build ...
the company that hits the goals that you have. You have to switch it, so that you are creating the thing that allows you to reach those goals. Doesn't mean you have to stop doing the work. It just means that work stops being your identity. Which is a really big change. It hit me personally head on way too late. (laughing) Just a couple of years ago. And it wasn't that I didn't get it before then, it was that I hadn't actually made the change. I got it intellectually, but I hadn't integrated it in such a way that it was actually making a difference. And what happened was that my partner Shawn had been out at lunch, and was talking to some people. Because he loves to talk to people. He loves talking to strangers. He was talking to a stranger, and they were telling him about they have a small business. And they're asking him what he does, and he says, "Well I stay home, "and I support my partner in her business." And they said, "Well what does she do?" And he said, "Well she's a business coach." And the guy said, "Whoa, do you have her card, "because maybe I'd like to hire her." And he came home and he told me this story, and he was really excited about it. And I said, "I'm not a business coach." "I haven't been available for hire, "like to be hired as a business coach for years. "Why are you telling people I'm a business coach?" You wanna know why he tells people I'm a business coach? 'Cause when people ask me what I do, I was saying business coaching. (laughing) Hello, that's ridiculous, right. That's ridiculous. So I said, "From now on, you need to tell people I run a training company for small business owners who operate online. That was before we made the switch to running a social network. But more importantly than Shawn telling people that, I needed to start telling people that. And I needed to start showing up every single day, like I was a person who ran a small business training company and not a business coach. 'Cause if I wasn't gonna do that, I wasn't gonna be able to figure this whole mess out. And it fundamentally changed the way I thought about my business. It fundamentally changed the way I thought about myself. And it set me up to make way better decisions. I'm not gonna say it happened overnight. But the change was pretty profound. And it really started with thinking through, if I'm the head of a company, what is my company? What is the company that I need to run to hit my goals? So that's where we're gonna take this discussion next. What kind of company do you need to run? What kind of company do you need to create to achieve your goals easily? What kind of company do you need to run to achieve your goals easily? Again, if you're watching online, I would love to get your reflections on these questions as well. You can Tweet me @TaraGentile. You can Instagram me @TaraGentile. 'Cause I'd love, love, love, love to hear from you as well. But now, let's talk to Ayelet. What kind of company do you need to run to achieve your goals easily. But tell us who you are, what you do, what your goals are now, and then answer the question.
Okay, so I am Ayelet Marinovich. I run Strength in Words, which is essentially a set of educational resources for families with infants and toddlers. I am by trade, I'm a pediatric speech and language pathologist. And when my first son was born, I started leading these sort of infant caregiver groups in a physical space. And that turned into something much larger. And up until I think just about 30 seconds ago, I would have said, "Well I run this website, "and there's a podcast, and I have a membership site, "and there's all these things that I do, "and it's really fun, and I teach people, and it's great." But actually, I run a network, an educational hub for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers.
And you run this hub or your company runs this hub?
Yeah, right, so Strength in Words. (laughing) I know, it's still so new. Yeah, yeah, I facilitate.
Alright, and what are your goals for this community?
Really, I would like, I would like to create. I wanna create a real hub of a place where people come to connect with each other, and to learn about their infants and toddlers so that they can feel like they're making play productive.
And how many parents do you wanna have in this network?
I would like thousands.
How many thousands?
Hundreds of thousands.
How many hundreds of thousands? Gimme a number.
I want people from all over the world to see this as a place that they can come for positive encouragement, learning, information, activities, ideas, and community.
Okay, what kind of company builds social networks of hundreds of thousands of people? What do those companies look like?
Large organizations with a lot of organization. (laughing)
And that's well said.
I am just putting some nice systems in place, so this is like whoa.
Yeah, yeah. Do you believe you can run that kind of company?
Alright, awesome, awesome. Who else? What kind of company do you need to run to achieve your goals easily? Maya.
I'm raising my hand reluctantly.
Tell us who you are, what you do. Tell us more about you and then we'll dive into it.
Okay, my name's Maya Matthias. I am a founder of a company called Inventive Links. You can find it at InventiveLinks.com. My initial vision for the company, my goodness, it's been a long time. I originally started it, I was on the hunt for; I traveled halfway across the world essentially. I moved here to the United States to start this company. And I came here to Silicone Valley because I wanted it to be a tech start-up. And I went down that whole invest angel investor. I explored that whole sh-bang, wasn't happy with where it was taking me. Because it wasn't so much I wanted total control over my company, per se. But I wasn't quite ready for an external, completely profit-driven investor voice to be part of that evolution of the company. So it's funny that, and not funny, it's great, it's perfect timing that I'm in this class now, because such a full-circle moment.
When I came here I knew I was ready to delegate, I was ready to do all these things. I was ready to have this start-up. I was gonna be the marketing visionary founder. I was gonna find an engineering co-founder. We were gonna do that whole thing. And now in hindsight I realize that I'm still gonna build something akin to that. But because of the personal journey I've been on over the last several years, which I shared last night, it's now much deeper. Because what I do now at Inventive Links, is instead of creating a social network for personal discovery and growth, it's much deeper now. I'm coming from a more soulful place. So it's still that same hunt. I wanna create a place, a destination for people to learn about themselves, and grow into more of themselves. But now I have this very soulful, spiritual component. So how does that look in terms of the company? I'm still sort of figuring out the pieces of the puzzle. It's not the classic start-up online network that I originally thought it was going to be. I think I'm still gonna build a community around that, that's gonna be maybe one or two years down the road. But I'm gonna start with it being like a place of real learning. So it's more a training company for now. And I've got that flagship program which is a writing program for leaders and aspiring leaders to learn to write and lead from their soul essentially. And so, right now I'm holding it as a training company, and then I'm gonna have this spiritual community that tags onto it. And that they kind of mutually feed each other. So that's kind of a long answer to your question, but I'm still kind of feeling my way around this, and I'm starting with this core offer of providing this writing program to help people learn to lead and write from their soul.
Okay, wonderful, wonderful. And I'm so glad that you shared your origin story there too, because it is a kind of a counterpoint to what everyone else has shared. You realized you were building a company from the get go, and then took some steps. I won't say took some steps back, but in a different direction from that. And are now, as you said, coming full circle and looking at what could it look like where I get all the things that I want as opposed to sacrificing this, this, and this for the Silicone Valley dream essentially. So I love that. But you also bring up a really great point which is that this question can be a really scary question. Just a second, yeah. Because if you don't know, if you're not solid on your goals; and that's why I've quizzed a couple of you and said, no no what is the goal. If you don't know, this is what I want to build. I wanna have 500,000 members. I wanna help 10,000 people. We wanna have 10,000 small business owners and co-commercial in the next five years, that's my goal. I have big reasons why for that; we will get into that later. But I know that for a fact. And so when I think about what kind of company do I need to have 10,000 members in co-commercial and not sacrifice the experience. There might be co-commercial members thinking right now, "Oh gosh, that sounds awful." You know why it won't be? Because we will have built a company that makes it incredible. That's what we're doing. But it starts with the goal. It has to have that specific goal in mind. If you don't have that goal right now, this is a good time to pause and do some serious soul searching. What is it that you wanna create as opposed to the work that you wanna do, and what goals are you going to assign alongside that? What is that vision for what you are building a year out from now, three years from now? Better yet, start thinking about five years from now. Because you need to start building the company of the future, right, that five year vision company today. That's why I call this segment Building the Company of the Future. It starts today. It doesn't start when you hit $100,000 for the first time. Or it doesn't start once you think you're ready to hire that first employee. It starts right now. If you truly don't know where you start with goal setting, we do have a goal setting standout business class that you can check out on Creative Live. I loved that class; I loved teaching it. I hope you loved listening to or watching it. But that can help you get some clarity on those goals as well. So if this question feels like, oh man, I don't know how to answer this question. The way you answer this question is by starting with the goal. And then just like what I did with Ayelet, you have to say okay, that's a goal that has precedence right. There are social networks with 500,000 members. There are social networks with a billion members. Then you have to ask yourself, what do those companies look like? It doesn't mean you need to mirror them, do everything the way they've done things, because you probably don't want to. And that's fine. But you need to realize that that's the kind of company it takes to build what you wanna build, and then you can make it your own. And you can say, this is my vision for how my company is going to move forward into the future. Sharon?
So my name is Sharon Knight, and I'm a musician. I tour several months out of the year, and it's great. And where I'm getting stuck with this is, my whole business world is very much branded on my name. Like we don't even have a band name. I tour with my husband, but he pushed for this that my name so sounds like our music. You know, it's Celtic music, and very fairy tale, romantic kind of music. So eight years in our whole trip is branded on my name. And I'm just thinking, my name can't be a company. I mean, I guess it can.
Martha Stewart. So I'm really trying to figure out. I'm hearing this discussion of you know, I've made my company about me, and so I have to be everything, and the face of the company. How do I get beyond that without erasing the last eight years of investment in the brand of my name?
I just wanna tell everyone online too, that there was like this mm hmm that just happened there at the end of that question. So thank you for asking that question, because I'm sure that a lot of people have that on their mind. And I absolutely believe that you can create a company that's branded with your name, that is not all about you. Or even if it is actually about you as the musician, the operational vision isn't you, okay. And there is lots of precedent for that. The person who comes to mind for me, and her company is not technically her name but she is the face of this company, is Sally Hogshead. You guys know I'm a huge Sally Hogshead fan. And she has the Fascination Advantage System, and How to Fascinate is the name of her company. But she is the one who is going out and generating revenue, delivering amazing keynote speeches, and doing consulting around her system for very, very, very large companies. But she has an amazing team of people behind her that allow her to just go and fill that role. In fact, she's not even the president of her own company. Her husband is the president of her company, and she is the person who is sort of; I guess really her role is value delivery. We'll get into this in a little bit, as you kind of think through what your role is going to be, and where you fit in the team. So she goes out, and she's actually the one that delivers the value. But the team is the one that creates the value. Her husband is the one who runs the company. There's people who are in charge of the brand. There are people who are developing the online components of things. And so you can still think through, what could this look like. But it's what could this look like so that I'm in the role I want to be in in my own company. Just because your name is on the company, doesn't mean you have to fill all of the jobs and do all of the work, and let it rest all on your shoulders.