My first quarterly report
And so the first three months as an entrepreneur lie behind me. What I sell? Time for reflection for those who, alone or in a group, inspired by existential philosophers and psychologists, want to give themselves the possibility to ponder on where they stand and where they will go. Our starting point is that there is no manual for how life should be lived, there are no given answers that work for all of us. Everyone may seek their way to their own choices, find the courage to make decisions and act upon them.
Now I give myself the possibility to reflect on two questions: What is it like to be a new entrepreneur? What do I want to achieve during the next months?
My father ran his one-man-business from home as I grew up. He sold equipment for commercial road-users all over Ostrobothnia in western Finland, stuff like oil systems, sunshades and fur to sit on in the trucks. The phone was his second most important tool, and since there were no mobile phones back then, the phone line in our house was occupied from early morning to late night, weekdays and weekends. Visiting customers was the most important tool; we hardly made any longer trips with the family without stopping at at least one garage. The meetings could last rather long, thanks to this I became an eager reader in the back seat of the car.
The mood went up and down, dad was sometimes joyful and lively, sometimes quiet and hard to reach. As I got older I understood that it was a struggle to earn the money, many months my mother’s salary – she was a preschool-teacher – was needed to get us food on the table. Other periods daddy was an extravagant spender. In the long run the balance turned out to be negative, both when it came to money and quality of life.
These early 20 years of close contact with entrepreneurship might have made me careful: I have chosen a business where investments in stock are not needed, I have a backup-plan for periods of low income, I have no ambitions that my small start-up should grow and employ others – I only dream of being able to do this meaningful work in an economically sustainable way for the next 15, maybe even 20 years.
Practically I’m impressed of how well the authorities’ service for establishing a company works. Almost everything can be handled digitally, instead of waiting in call and other ques. The information is clear, getting advice in chats, for example, has been handled fast and with expertise.
My digital accounting system has puzzled me from times to times, but with patient help of my accountant I’m getting better at dealing with invoices.
I regret that I didn’t apply for the start-up grant before founding my company. I thought that the financial aid is for youngsters that need to invest more than me. It’s true that I don’t have an expensive stock, but I continually pay for marketing and my office, so the support of the state would have come in handy during the period when I’m establishing my clientele.
Since existential coaching is new in Finland I have to figure out how to sell this service, both to individuals and companies. It’s not easy to find the right packages; this type of coaching is unique for every person and group, and we start from the situation where the customer is. But now I have given my offers structure. I work with leadership, team-work in businesses, and coaching for private clients, individually and in groups.
Being clearer with how I can help people makes it easier to sell, naturally. Getting in contact with potential customers can be both time-consuming and difficult, but once we sit there together and I can draw and tell about my business, then it’s incredible fun, no matter if the meeting results in co-operation, or not. The human being has always had interest in and need to pause and get help to think deeper about motivation, purpose and courage to make own decisions. Today it seems to be more difficult than ever to take that time if you don’t have somebody coaching you.
This is how I, too, wish to live and work, as a human being and as an entrepreneur: explore, dare to make my own choices, act. Getting inspiration from thinkers that have asked the same questions, and from clients, customers, friends, critics.
My business model?