Jonathan Fields is an entrepreneur, author, podcaster, friend of Carol’s, and someone I have been following for the last five years. I absolutely love the tone and content of his Good Life Project, as it touches on many of the issues I work on with myself, my business, and my clients.
He did a short podcast on an issue I have had to help my small-business clients and myself navigate through on occasion. He calls it “product-maker fit” – as opposed to product-market fit, which we think about (or should think about) all the time.
The question to ask is: Are you creating a business that works with the life you want to have?
As a small business owner, it can be difficult not to pursue something, especially something that could be lucrative. As a group, we entrepreneurs have a tendency to chase the bright shiny object wherever it might lead us. Sometimes a coach or other advisor has to point out that this path might lead to financial success, but that it also might lead to a miserable situation that is exactly what the business owner has been saying they didn’t want.
I had a client who had explicitly told me that he wanted to do less one-on-one coaching and do more speaking and corporate training. He then came up with a great service that would lead to selling information products, group coaching and – you guessed it – LOTS of one-on-one coaching.
As his accountability coach, I had to point out that there was a good chance of success, but that it led right back to exactly what he said he didn’t want to be doing anymore. There was silence on the other end of the phone for a long, long time. One of those really ugly, uncomfortable silences.
But that kind of insight was what he was paying me to give him. (He actually tells the story in this webshow episode.) A week later, he thanked me, even though at the time it was really hard to hear. He chose not to pursue that business opportunity, and then had great success doing exactly what he wanted to do.
In my own business, I have had to step back several times and try to look objectively at what I was creating. For some reason, I am dead-set on having a business where I can be locationally independent. There have been so many opportunities to pursue that would have required me to be in a specific location on a regular basis. I couldn’t make myself do it. They were out of integrity with the life I want to have.
I know personally and professionally that product-maker fit is just as important as product-market fit, especially for the solo or very small business owner. As you are looking at your plans for 2016, make sure you are creating a business that you actually want to work in.
PS – This is a great short podcast, and one that might be helpful for you: “Walking Into Fire: When to Hold or Fold” by Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project.