For some crazy reason I was compelled to start my first business in 1995, shortly after my second child was born, and have been coaching business owners since 2003.
After the usual young adult jobs waitressing and doing retail, for most of my career I worked at social service agencies. For a few years I had an art instruction business, which was enjoyable and I made some money, but I found the weekend/evening schedule didn’t fit my life very well.
Once I got a taste of working for myself, in 2000 I went into full-time private practice using my clinical background in relationship coaching and counseling.
As the economy abruptly plummeted the following year, I realized there was a whole body of knowledge I was barely acquainted with, called ‘Business’. I figured I should probably study up on it if I wanted to avoid going back to a job in a big agency involving a bunch of rules and paperwork.
(There’s still plenty of paperwork in your own business, but the difference is that you get to make up many of the rules yourself.)
At that point I had become a single parent and was the sole support of both kids, so I was highly-motivated. I read 300-400 business books in the span of a couple of years. My business grew, and soon I found fellow therapists, artists and other freedom-loving types were seeking me out for guidance about how to run a business and make real money. I began giving lots of free advice and was encouraged to start offering a class series locally, called “Business Smarts”.
My business now involves consulting with entrepreneurs of many backgrounds. I have coached:
Alternative healthcare practitioners
Martial arts instructors
After I gained some experience as an entrepreneur, I realized I got a great deal of creative pleasure from bringing growth and innovation into business. The gratification is not only financial, but comes from the creative and flexible thinking involved. Much like solving a puzzle, there is a reliable formula you can apply for business success, although it has infinite variations.
I really enjoy these challenges:
- Working with money: habits, beliefs, and creating effective systems for managing cash flow
- Evaluating the sustainability of resources in a business: finances, environmental, time and energy of owner and employees
- Exchanging ideas with an entrepreneur, so we can hone in on exactly what actions they need to engage in
- Creating powerful on-target marketing materials
- Identifying mission, purpose and ways business owners make a community/social contribution through their work
- Sorting out constructive solutions when difficult relationship problems occur in a business
- Figuring out the very best ways to leverage resources
I obtained a B.A. in Human Services at the University of Massachusetts, and relocated to the West Coast to earn a Masters Degree in Social Work at Portland State University. I have strong skills in interviewing, staff training and supervision, meeting facilitation, and earned Certification in Mediation and Negotiation, including using conflict productively in business settings.