Recently I found myself in a room with 900 or so very enthusiastic people all gathered around a common objective, to build an online membership site in whatever their niche is. 900 or so entrepreneurial types who want to work for themselves, set their own agenda, find freedom from the normal 9-5 job, or perhaps just reach more people with their life changing product or service.
In many ways these are my people.
In some ways, I don’t fit in at all.
They are my people because they are excited about having a business and they want to help people in some way with what they offer.
They are my people because they are brave and willing to step out and do their part to change their own lives and hopefully the lives of others along the way. They are artists and therapists and dog trainers and infant sleep specialists and Facebook ad specialists and, you name it, they are there!
There are niches we did not dream of. People making money in things that we didn’t even know existed! My favorite was the woman who has a membership of over 700 people teaching them how to paint wooden door hangers! That’s a thing? Who knew?
I don’t quite fit in that room for two reasons.
First is because at best I would self-describe as a “reluctant entrepreneur.” While there are traits of the entrepreneur in me, I am fairly certain that had I married a man with what we’ll call a “normal” job, I would have worked a more “normal” job and had a more “normal” life.
But I married Michael, an entrepreneur, and even more than that, an entrepreneur who wanted to work with his bride! And so I was pulled into this world with a bit of kicking and screaming at first. Don’t get me wrong here. I have no regrets. The more I get to know myself, the more I think that “normal” would have bored me to tears. The adventure of owning a business has been quite something! But still, I self-describe as a reluctant entrepreneur.
The second reason I don’t fit in with this room of 900 humans, is because most of them seem to believe that being an employee, or having employees, is to be avoided at all costs. But we actually have a 17-year-old business that employs people and believes that you can be an employee and still find a great deal of meaning and satisfaction in work.
We love having employees, and we believe that part of our calling as business owners is to create great jobs that our employees love having. Jobs that provide a living for them and their families, and also allow them to have meaning and purpose.
Recent Gallup poll statistics indicate that around 74% of American workers are disengaged at work. They define disengaged as basically sleepwalking through work. Just punching the clock, waiting for their next break, living for the weekend, putting in the least effort possible to meet the job requirement. What a tragedy for the workers, but also for the businesses and business owners! 3 out of 4 workers not giving their best work, not being creative or even trying to make things better. There’s a lot to say about this, but just imagine the financial impact on our economy! It is likely in the billions. Lost revenue. Lost opportunities. Then there's the overall discouragement factor for both workers and employers. The impact on their families. The impact on their health. That is incalculable.
We were attending this conference because we launched an online course last year focused on building what we call a “Passion & Provision” business. It’s kind of like a mini MBA for small business owners, helping them with the fundamentals they need to know to run their business. It is through a specific grid though, and that is the belief that you can run a profitable business while still retaining relationships and joy in your life. It’s amazing how many “successful” businesses are run by men or women whose personal lives have imploded along the path to their “success.” We believe there is a better way and that’s what our course is about.
In a few weeks we will be launching a membership site for business leaders with this Passion & Provision framework, where we will be using the course along with other materials for equipping and training, but also be a place of encouragement and safety. A place where leaders can be in community with other leaders who can identify with their challenges and celebrate their wins.
We want business leaders to have a solid foundation and gain minimum competency in the core areas of running their businesses, and we believe as they learn and implement this framework, they will not only bring more profit and meaning to their own lives, they will also bring that to their employees. We believe it because we are living it out in our company, Half a Bubble Out. We believe it because we are happily married for over 26 years and with 17 years of running a business together. We believe it because we have a great relationship with our daughter.
And so, we press on to our dreams of helping companies shift towards being full of more Passion & Provision. I’m hoping that some of my friends in that room of 900 figure out that to reach their dreams and grow their online membership business, they might have to hire a few people to help. And that when they do, they will become Passion & Provision minded companies, even if they’ve never met us!
Want to hear more about Passion and Provision or get more information about the membership site? We podcast every week and you can find us on our website at habovillage.com or on iTunes you can search the HaBO Village Podcast. Michael and I have a great time hosting that podcast together and sharing what we have learned and are learning as we run this business together!
Here's to being a reluctant entrepreneur who is all in!