“So, you’re doing this…?”
My husband asked, pointedly. Adding, “What exactly is this? Do you have a business plan?”
I opened my mouth to let him know that I had it figured out…I knew what I was doing…I had a plan but sound escaped me.
The truth was that I didn’t really know what I was doing nor did I have a “business plan,” at least not in the traditional sense of the term. I was, however, overflowing with ideas. And many of those ideas aligned with my gifts and talents. I was confident that I had made the right decision to be an entrepreneur but ideas need some good ol’ fashioned discipline to build a business.
Let’s face it…no matter how philanthropic I am (I just LOVE helping and serving people), one does not start a business to not earn money. That’s closer to a foundation or charity. And I knew those were not for me (at least not yet). To make money, I needed to choose something to focus on. I had to choose one idea to start with…and since change is a constant, I could always change the business down the road. At least that was my thinking.
So I began to pay attention to the needs around me. I have several friends who are business owners…some own brick-and-mortar shops while others keep their businesses humming online. However, their questions were similar…they shared the same frustrations and fears. They lacked some of the basic skills needed to keep up with the rapidly shifting climate of today’s marketplace. I began to pay attention to what they specifically were clamoring for me to help them with (tech support) and decided to give that a whirl.
Now…I know you’re wondering…how do you go from being an educator to a tech-girl? Where are your qualifications? Great questions...
I won't go as far as to say that I am a techie, but I have been working with technology almost all my life. I feel very comfortable fiddling around with apps and systems to figure out how they work.
My father was a computer programmer, way back in the day. If you’ve seen the movie, Hidden Figures, then you may recall NASA’s introduction to the IBM mainframe. Well,…that's what I learned programming on. Not at NASA, though. By the 1970s, businesses were employing the IBM mainframes. My father worked for an international men’s apparel company where he led their computer programming division. My Day-with-Dad-at-Work days consisted of learning basic code to create novel print outs of my name in multiple variations. I think that was the System/370 days, a more advanced series from the NASA version highlighted in the movie.
When I entered college, almost a decade later, I majored in computer science because it seemed so natural to me. Plus, I still thought it was fun.
I lasted a year…
Let’s just say computer science in the late 1980s was not what it is today. Everyone worked in silos. I felt isolated. I needed connection, discussion, and debate.
So, I switched to my next love, literature, with the notion that I would go to law school after undergrad. But an elective education course changed my career trajectory. I fell in love with the idea of working with children. I wanted to support students during their perceived worst season of life: Middle School. I focused on secondary education literature. And if my first job had not been in a primary school, I would’ve done that for my whole career.
Alas, I fell in love…again…with the frenetic energy of younger students. Over the years, I have tutored students in middle and high school, but I have not had the pleasure of serving them as a classroom teacher...yet.
I was able to merge my love of education and technology in my last primary school role. I was one of the technology leaders for the school. Big fun!
Today, I experience no trepidation when I approach technology. Frustration sometimes but not trepidation. LOL. Whatever I don’t know, I believe I can figure out…eventually. And I do not have a problem asking for help. Since most of the requests I was getting were in this area, I decided to start my business with a tech focus.
It dawned on me that the intersection between what I do well and where the market demand is greatest is my Sweet Spot. That place where when I do it, I sense a hum in the air...like a well-oiled engine in a sports car.
For a while, doing the tech thing was my Sweet Spot but...
I lasted a year...again!
I still need connection, discussion, and debate. It's just who I am. I consult on all the tech stuff. There's so much info stored in my mind, I'm glad to share what I know.
And my Sweet Spot...I found it. I completed the certification requirements to become a coach, speaker, and trainer with The John Maxwell Team. Now I do what I love while meeting a need. What could be sweeter than that?
Until next time...
Connecting the Dots
Have you found your Sweet Spot? If so, what is it? How did you find it? Please share your comments below.