It’s OK to offer more than one thing (breaking the rules)

Conventional business wisdom tells us to pick one thing and focus on doing just that. To go deep with that one thing and master it.

I get it – there is a lot of value in this model and many successful businesses have been built on this wisdom.

And like any “good” business owner, I’ve tried to do this in my own business. Believe me, I’ve tried hard!

But it truthfully doesn’t fit me. Every time I’ve tried to keep myself focused on just one thing I’ve become stifled. Bored. Frustrated.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to accept that I’m not wired to offer just one thing. I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and I do my best work when I have more than one thing on the go.

Now I want to be clear here – there are challenges to this path that we want to be aware of.

First, we need to make sure that we aren’t subconsciously sabotaging our own success by constantly jumping to try new things. There is a big difference between tending to multiple plants in our garden at a time – which we can do as multi-passionate entrepreneurs – vs planting seeds and then abandoning them to focus on a more exciting seed, or when tending that seed becomes too hard. We still need to stay committed to the various things we are doing and not just jump from idea to idea as they arise.

Likewise we also want to make sure that we aren’t spreading ourselves too thin in the process. Juggling multiple things is part of what we love as multi-passionate entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean we can do ALL the things. In fact, the right support is even more important when we are multi-passionate so that we are able to spend our time doing what we love most in each of our projects.

We also want to consider the best structure for your multi-passionate business. You might be the type of person to have many individual businesses, each with it’s own specific offer/products for different markets. Or you might be like me, where I love to offer many different things to the same market. Either option requires you to be strategic and purposeful in your structure and marketing, so you don’t end up feeling pulled in too many different directions.

I’m curious if you consider yourself a multi-passionate entrepreneur?

If yes, is it something that you’ve embraced in your current business structure or is it something that you’ve tried to avoid? (Like I did for so many years, trying to fit myself into the box of doing just one thing.)

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to do things differently than what conventional business wisdom tells us to do… to take a different path than what others around us are doing or advising us to do. If you’ve been waiting for permission to embrace a multi-passionate journey, consider it given! I’m right here on the path with you.

PS – There are 2 ways for us to work together, as you feel called to do so:

A Half-Day Intensive where we work together on the most important next step of your True Work journey. Includes a 3 hour virtual intensive, plus an additional two 1-1 coaching calls to integrate and implement.

A 5-month, private 1:1 Coaching Experience to take you through the 5 stages of the True Work journey. Includes an initial strategy session, 10 bi-weekly hour-long coaching sessions, and Voxer messaging with me in-between calls.

You can learn more about these options on my coaching page.

Lessons from a surprisingly hard puzzle

This is my first time tackling a 2000 piece puzzle – and it’s intimidating!

I’ve been on a puzzle kick lately – it’s my morning meditation and end of day unwind time. 1000 piece puzzles have been my jam and I’ve found a great groove doing them. I can get a 1000 piece puzzle done in a couple of days.

But 2000 pieces? Yikes! Where to start? I opened up the box and was like “ooof, this is going to be much harder than what I’m used to”

Sorting is a whole other ballgame. I did what I usually do and started with the border. But after that I couldn’t do what I normally do and sort by color or by section – there are too many colors and sections! So I had to find a different strategy… I loosely sorted into 3 groups: top, bottom and “I don’t have any clue where this goes!”

Then from there I’ve started with the obvious. The girl with the red hair (red is easy to pick out in a pile) and some of the sea critters. The colorful scaly rooftops were next. And that brings me to where I am this morning – some progress made but still a very long way to go.

I’m not sure where I’ll go next, but I am at the point where I know I’ll continue. I’m past the point where I’m tempted to give up and go back to my easier 1000 piece puzzles.

I can’t help but see the lessons here that apply in so many other areas of life and business.

“I’ll just stick with what I know because it’s easier”

“My current way of doing things isn’t working here and I’m not sure what to do next?”

“Ugh. This is way harder than I thought it would be and I’m not sure if I want to continue…”

“Other people do puzzles this big and they make it look so easy!” (There is a woman in my puzzling group who got this one done in a day!)

“Maybe I’m just not wired to do big puzzles”

Oh the many reasons I could quit and go back to doing what is known and comfortable.

Amazing how our lives can so easily reflect the lessons of our business. 😉

I’m curious – when was the last time you did something for the first time? Something new and perhaps a bit intimidating? Hit reply and let me know!

PS – This puzzle is called If Fish Could Walk by artist Demelsa Haughton, Ravensburger brand. I love her work!

PPS – Yes, my cats like to ‘help’ when I’m working on puzzles…

5 Signs That It’s Time to Make a Change

Your True Work is the highest expression of who you are through your business. Your gifts. Your values. Your passion and purpose.

It’s the work you are meant to do in this world. The work that lights up your soul and allows you to step into the highest version of who you are meant to be. It’s also the work that will get you to your next level of desired income.

How do you know when it’s time to shift into your True Work? Here are a few common signs that my clients have experienced:

You feel like you are trapped in a box that no longer fits who you are and what you really want to do. The work that you once enjoyed doing now feels ‘meh’ or restrictive, and you secretly dream of doing something else.

You feel obligated to keep doing the things you no longer want to do (especially to clients & team or to family as your income is important to the household.) You have commitments to your clients and team – they are relying on you and you don’t want to let them down. Your income may be essential to your household. What if doing something new puts your income at risk? What will happen with your clients or team if you start to make some changes? Soooo many of my worst stuck moments have been because I was feeling obligated to others, and I had to learn how to balance my responsibilities with my desires.

You have become grumpy or even a bit snappy in your day to day (especially at home with your loved ones.) When we are feeling off about something in our businesses, it’s rare that we would show that to a client or a team member! Which is a good thing… but it may start “leaking out” in other ways. When I find myself being a little extra grumpy with my kids it’s often coming from something going on in my business. (Not all the time of course… sometimes I’m just grumpy because I have to keep asking them to do the dishes 😉

Your sales may be stalled or even going down as you really don’t want to do what you are doing right now. Oooooeee! This can be a sneaky one and I’ve seen it happen with so many people. You are doing what you’ve always done and suddenly clients are no longer saying yes to working with you – what’s up? There could be various reasons for this, but one of the first things I check in on here with clients is “do you really want them to say yes?” If you don’t really want to keep doing what you are doing, your prospects may pick up on this energy during the sales process.

You are starting to drop the ball or “phone it in” with your clients. You used to do such amazing work and give it your all, but it’s just not in you anymore. Your clients and/or team may even start to notice as well! And then you are beating yourself up because it is so out of character for you to be showing up this way. Try not to beat yourself up… this may just be a sign that something needs to change as it’s a disservice to both you and your clients to not bring your best to the table.

I’m curious if any of these ring true for you? Leave a comment below and let me know…

The strange way that I discovered my purpose (after searching for it for years!)

I spent many years trying to find my purpose, only to find it was right there in front of me.

Business is my purpose.

Being in business. And helping others with their businesses.

It’s what I love. It’s what I do best. It’s what I’ve done now for almost 23 years (I started my first business in the fall of 1999.) And it’s what I plan to do for the rest of my life.

Why was it so hard for me to see this for so many years? Because I thought that my purpose was supposed to be about doing one very specific thing.

And that when I found that ONE thing, I would be set for life. Everything would fall into place and I could just keep chugging along on that one track.

But that’s not how things have gone for me. I’m just not wired to do one thing forever (perhaps you can relate?)

My business has changed like the seasons – I’ve done many different things over the years.

I’ve had seasons as a 1-1 service provider. A writer. A trainer. A coach.

I’ve written books and launched programs. I’ve led retreats and done high-level consulting gigs. I’ve run an agency. I’ve created memberships, trainings and a certification program.

I’ve enjoyed all the things I’ve done! I’ve had a lot of fun and worked with amazing people, BUT that part of me that was thinking I had to find my ‘one thing’ was always feeling frustrated and frankly, a bit judgey!

“Woah Tina, make up your mind! Can’t you just pick something and stick with it? This is getting ridiculous…”

I judged myself for wanting more. Wanting things to be different. For getting bored with something and wanting to do something else. A part of me even felt a bit like an imposter “How can you help others in their business when you can’t even seem to stick to one thing in your own business?!”

Until recently when it occurred to me.

What if our purpose isn’t about the thing we do… instead, it’s about the THREAD that ties it all together.

And that when we know our ‘thread’ – our purpose – it can take various forms through the lifecycle of our business.

For me that thread is business – it’s woven into everything I do. It’s been there every step of the way. It’s the common denominator in the many different things I’ve offered over the years.

I was speaking with someone yesterday about a change that he is making in his business. He is a tech whiz and it’s his favorite thing to do. He started his business as a tech VA years ago, has worked as an OBM for many years and is now up leveling his business to focus exclusively on tech automation in marketing. To help clients make sure that all the tech aspects of their marketing strategies are streamlined, working and producing the results they want to create. Even though his role has changed over the years, the ‘thread’ of tech has always been there.

So long as we remain true to our ‘thread’, then we are on purpose in our business! Even if what we are doing changes over time.

Every time I work with a client this is one of the very first things we look at together – what is their thread? And how does that get woven into the work they are meant to do in the world – what I loving refer to as their True Work.

I’m curious – what do you consider to be your ‘thread’? Your purpose? Is it something that you feel clear about, or is it something you are still exploring?

Comment below to let me know.

Scaling may not be the best way to grow… (a contrarian view)

Your business is full. You are making money. Your clients are happy. And you want to keep growing – to take your business to the next level.

What should you do?

Conventional wisdom will say “It’s time to scale!” To get the right structure and team in place to keep building upon what you’ve created already, so that you can expand your capacity to serve more clients.

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m a huge fan of scaling BUT there is one thing you need to check on first before you invest the time, energy and money into scaling (and believe me – scaling requires a HUGE investment of time, energy and money).

If we don’t check in first on this one thing, all of your scaling efforts could be for naught… and may end up causing you more headaches and challenges than you have now.

Before you start scaling your business – you need to make sure you are building the business you actually want to have!

Let me give you an example.

My services were in high demand when I was working as an OBM. Folks were sending me referrals and I had prospects lining up to work with me. My business was full and I couldn’t take more people on, but I also hated to keep turning people away when I knew they really wanted to hire an OBM.

Folks around me were saying “You should start an agency Tina! Build a team of OBMs so you can serve more clients and make more money.”

Makes sense right? Seems the obvious choice.. but I didn’t want to build an agency. I’d had a VA agency years before and it wasn’t a business model that I enjoyed running.

As I sat with it I came to realize – I was much more interested in helping others become OBMs. To help people like me create their livelihood doing this work, and giving them the same opportunities to work from home, with awesome clients and make a good living.

I also knew that I loved writing and I loved teaching. I wrote my Becoming an OBM book and shortly after that the OBM Certification training and Certified OBM Association was born.

It was an elegant solution that covered all bases – allowed me to do what I love, empowered folks to start their own OBM business and gave businesses a plethora of OBMs to hire.

It was also a very scalable business that we’ve since built a solid structure around with an amazing team. I spend only a handful of hours a week on this business now as it’s built to run without me. ← That’s the ultimate goal of scaling.

Before you scale, make sure you are building the business you really want!

Make sure you are building a business that allows you to do your true work. To show up in all of your brilliance. That feeds your soul and lights you up. The kind of business where you think “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

Then – as you land in this space feeling clear and aligned – you can scale with confidence and faith, knowing that the immense investment you will be pouring into your business will be more than worth it.

I’m curious… if you are in the space of wanting to grow your business, how confident do you feel that your current business model is the right one for you to scale?

Is your current business aligned with the work you know you are meant to do in this world? Or is something missing… are you feeling like there is something more or different you could be doing.

If you are interested in exploring this further hit reply and let me know. I’d love to hear more about it and explore what is possible for you.

The truth of what’s been going on in my business

I never expected to find myself in this place. To be feeling this way after alllll the work I’d done to get here.

And I wasn’t sure what to do about it…

Let me backup first to the beginning, and tell you what led to this point.

I started the Online Business Manager Certification program in 2009. OBM was a phrase I had coined years before to describe the work I was doing with clients – partnering with them at a leadership level to run and grow their businesses. Helping to set a solid foundation of systems, team and structure for the business to grow upon. I had worked directly with clients as an OBM in my own business since 2003, and it was time to teach others to do the same and create their own amazing OBM businesses.

It was a revolutionary program for service providers at the time, as options were limited in those days if you were a ‘get it done’ professional (Virtual Assistant or Web Designer were pretty much your main choices back then).

The OBM Certification was successful right out of the gate. There was a high-demand for folks who wanted to become OBMs, and for those who wanted to hire them! And I’m so proud today of what the OBM industry has become – with thousands of OBMs working as essential team members for fast growing online businesses.

We worked hard to set a strong foundation for my business over those years – solid systems and an amazing team that ran the day to day of everything so that I wasn’t bogged down in the details.

I taught the OBM Certification training myself for 9 years, and in 2018 I opened the door for licensed trainers. This freed me up even more from the business as I now had an amazing team of trainers (shout out to Keldie, Shar & Amanda!) who lead the training and are equally as passionate about helping folks become Certified OBMs.

You would think I’d reached the pinnacle of success, yes? A business that has helped thousands of people and established an industry. One that makes good money on a consistent basis, while requiring only a handful of hours from me each week.

But this is where I found myself in that funny place I mentioned earlier…

I expected to feel like I had finally “made it” – that I could sit back and relax. Enjoy the fruits of my labor.

But instead I found myself feeling mostly bored. Unfulfilled. Unmotivated. And I was so surprised to be feeling this way!

Was there something wrong with me? Why couldn’t I feel happier having reached the place I had worked so hard to get to? A part of me felt guilty about feeling this way. “You should just be happy with what you have Tina.”

And then one day it hit me…

Some of us are NOT meant to be just one thing – to reach our goals and then just sit back and relax.

As a growth oriented entrepreneur just like you, I have more things I want to do and create in the world now that my current business is running smoothly and helping so many people.

And that boredom I’d been feeling? It was a sign that I’m meant to do something more. That I was ready for my own next level.

I started to wonder… What could my next thing be? What would I love to do more than anything? What would light the fire again so that I could get back to enjoying my business?

I paid attention to the conversations I was having with friends and colleagues – what were my favorite topics? What could I talk about all day and never get bored of?

I hired coaches to help me explore my options and clear all the ‘mind gunk’ that was getting in the way.

I began creating offers here and there to test a few things out. Working with a handful of smaller groups and private clients to start to really hone in on what I wanted to do next. To see where I could have the most impact and what was lighting up my soul.

What came clear to me during this exploration is that I love helping others find their True Work – the highest expression of who they are and what they are meant to do in this world. To help them create up leveled offerings around their True Work and lovingly transition their business into that space.

I have a knack for seeing what is possible for someone – their next level of success that will be wildly fulfilling for them and serve their clients deeply.

The folks I work with are highly motivated like you and I. We set goals for ourselves, and once we reach them we aren’t content to just stay put.

We KNOW that we are meant for something more. We can feel it deep down in our bones… even if we don’t know yet exactly what it is, we know that it’s there.

This is your True Work calling to you, and if this resonates I’d love to support you on this journey.

I’ve got a few new offerings to work with folks to bring their True Work to life, and would be happy to send you details if this feels timely for you.