Here at First Five Things, we help people get their service businesses online. We also do our best to help those businesses look, feel, and work like the person creating them, which we’ve found to be an essential quality of a successful business!
We do that partly by testing you like a lab rat.
Well, OK, we don’t make you run through mazes looking for cheese or pressing levers to avoid electric shocks. (Life coaching can be weird but not that weird!) It’s just a moderate amount of answering questions, sometimes annoying questions, on several different instruments – the Kolbe A Index, the VIA Character Strengths report, the Myers-Briggs, and the Enneagram. If you’re curious about what these tell us, stay tuned–we’ll be talking about each of them in more detail over the next several weeks.
Looking at you through all these lenses, seeing where they illuminate the same aspects of your character, and where they point out differences, is what will give us the signposts to guide you to a business that works like you do.
You might be raising your eyebrows at this, for two reasons.
First, because there are literally thousands of people out there telling you that they know exactly what you need to do to make your business successful (commonly using the “six-figure” definition of success) and it’ll cost you, [somewhere between $59.99 and Ten$ of Thou$and$] to get those “proven secrets”.
None of which has anything to do with who YOU are. It has to do with how willing you are to follow their model as precisely as possible. And if you do, it might even work – by their definition.
But does it match your definition? Do you even know what your definition of success is – not what you think it’s supposed to be, or what other people think it should be, but what it really is?
The second reason this approach might raise your eyebrows is because you probably don’t truly trust yourself. You’re scared to death (even if you’re also excited and determined) to launch this business, yet more often than not you have major doubts about your ability to make it work. You don’t look in the mirror and see a confident, knowledgeable entrepreneur who knows how to do this. (Thus the $59.99-to-Ten$-of-Thou$and$ flowing to the people who do look like that.)
So it might not seem sane to you to create a business that looks like this wild-eyed, passionate yet wobbly creature who stares back at you each morning in the mirror.
In the end, though, this is the only way – truly the only way – to create a business that you will love, and that will love you in return, over the long haul. This is a relationship, and it’s not any different from any powerful, intimate relationship you’ll ever have – compatibility matters! You don’t have to be identical, but you have to groove together.
As an example: if you’re one of life’s flexible, spontaneous, seat-of-the-pants types, the idea of creating a business with strict time schedules chopped into little blocks, governed by weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports and business plans, probably makes you feel sick to your stomach.
Yet this is very close to the “standard model” we’re taught! Whether you’re a coach, an accountant, a massage therapist, or any other service professional, you’re supposed to have a daily to-do list involving X number of “business-building” tasks. You’re supposed to have a budget, revenue goals, a marketing plan.
If the thought of this makes you queasy, why on earth would you do that? Would you marry a person like that? Would you expect to be happy and thriving in your relationship if you did?!? There’s nothing wrong with a person (or a business) that works like that – unless it doesn’t fit with who you are. (No matter how many glossy people with perfect teeth tell you it “should”, or that if it doesn’t, you’re just not working hard enough.)
Let’s go back to that tiny little point about the definition of success. A business like I’ve described, we will call it the “standard model”, defines success around things like predictability, organization, structure, consistency, and measuring performance against expectations.
Those are all really valuable things. We’re not suggesting you can magically run a business that is completely absent of these qualities. (God knows there is plenty of that within First Five Things.)
But where’s the freedom? Where’s the flexibility, the spontaneity, the excitement, the playfulness? We all need some of that, and a lot of us need a LOT of these things. If you’re one of the latter, and you start into a serious relationship with a business that does not value the things you value… well, we bet you might have done this in your personal life, and you know what happens.
We don’t want that to see that happen between you and your business.
We put you through all the assessments so we can get a clearer picture of how you actually work, naturally and easily and joyfully – underneath all the fear and doubt and wobbles – and we help you work to set up your business like that.
Then we help you learn to trust that, to listen to both your business and your own essential self, so that you’re building this long-term relationship on a solid foundation. We help you craft the content on your website, the way your work time is set up in your scheduling system, the way you communicate with your people, the way you get paid – every facet of your tech systems – in alignment with you.
Here’s the thing we know that you might not yet – you’re pretty fabulous. And your people are waiting for you to show up and get the party started. We want you and your business to be the hottest couple in the room, with an energy between you that’s visible from out on the sidewalk.
So if you can suffer through the annoying questions, and you’re willing to trust what we find and let go of those ideas about how your business “should” work, we’re pretty confident we can build you into a power couple that can stay together a long time.
We’ll be over here, popping the champagne.