What does your business do?
I speak and train on the critically needed soft skills for this generation. A particular focus for TrueLifeMatters is mentoring young women; building their confidence, revealing their unique identity and helping them identify their true beauty, gifts and talents, outside of the boxes and lies that culture feeds them.
When and why did you start the biz?
True Life Matters was birthed quite organically out of my experiences as a high school teacher and youth leader. I began to see a large gap between what Generation Y was being offered in the education industry verses what they really needed to succeed in this new world. Equipped with internal passion and a natural gift for teaching, I found myself creating curriculum and workshops to meet the need. When other professionals began showing enthusiastic interest and hiring me to help with these needs, I realized that I had discovered a perfect fit and a profound opportunity to touch lives. I hired a new business coach to lead me through the process of zeroing in on my niche, creating a meaningful name, logo and website. I officially launched TLM in 2010 as a business, although I began providing my workshops and other inventive endeavors 'pro bono' all through the creative process.
How Many People are in your Company?
We have one employee, me. Occasionally I have to sit myself down and give myself a little pep talk or a performance review. I generally take it well. At times, I requisition my husband to come along to give a male perspective or assist with interview skills, a career assessment or theatrics for a large group. I also exploit his left-brain on occasion for interpreting Google analytics and as a sounding board for balanced decision-making.
Where's your office?
I office at home in our glorious sunroom and make free use of any local coffee shop, as needed! The beauty of laptops and cell phones is the privilege of a traveling office space. Of course, the fabulous ideas, solutions and curriculum come at odd times and places; while sleeping, on a walk, or while doing the dishes! My meeting or 'work place' for delivery varies greatly, from the classroom to the boardroom, from the stage to the street. I work with jumbo groups of braced faced teenagers in an auditorium as well as one-on-one mentoring by phone or Starbucks. Our parenting workshops and support groups are generally held at community centers and churches.
What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The most challenging part of my business is wearing every hat; the marketer, the talent, the administrator, the web and graphics artist and billing department. While I am able, I am not always willing! There is essentially no effort needed when ‘I’m ON’. I was born to teach, speak and touch hearts. These tasks energize me to the point of wishing I could bottle and sell the adrenaline and deep satisfaction that comes with doing what you LOVE. A mentor once told me that you have to discipline yourself to do the 20% of the ‘stuff’ that you abhor, to afford yourself the privilege of doing the 80% that you love. Ah, this is the age-old dilemma of owning your own business! It is the very reason that most do not persevere to see their dreams through to reality. I have persevered, with divine help and purpose.
What's the most fun part?
The fun part is in seeing lives changed, hearts touched and evidence that you have collided with the future of another human being, creating a new trajectory towards a more victorious life.
Anything you would have done differently?
If I could rewind and start again, I would have believed more firmly in the impact of what I had to offer and not wasted a day second-guessing myself. I would also have garnered the finances to launch FIRST, so that I would not have to be stretched thin spending time and energy making a living while launching a new venture.
What's next on the horizon for your biz?
Having just moved our family from Minnesota to South Carolina, my next steps involve networking like a mad woman to learn where I can make a deposit here in a new location. Vehicles like Idea Café are just what the doctor ordered!
What advice do you have for others?
Do not wait until your mid-life crisis to discover your unique purpose, gifts and identity. Make it your mission in life to find and DO your dream job. Ask several others in your life who really know you, “What three adjectives, talents or gifts do you see in me that I might not see for myself?” Then compile that list and begin your adventure toward authentic joy and a full life. Do you notice I didn’t mention money? I have yet to meet a human being who got to the end of their life and said, “I wish I had spent more time making money.”
How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
No one does anything fabulous as an island. While I am in business FOR myself, I cannot succeed BY myself. Collaboration is essential on so many levels. That is where the Idea Café comes in! The fellowship of like-minded individuals, whether in their victories or their suffering, fuels people’s fire. We learn from one another, we boost one another up and we recognize greatness in our fellow travelers. Idea Café attracts folks with that ‘abundance’ mentality. I want to hang out in the crew of positive people who are fully invested in making their dreams and ideas come to life.
School (where, still in school, degree)?
University of MN, BA in Family Psychology Minor in Women's Studies Additional Graduate work on Eating Disorders
Prior jobs or business?
I began at age 12 mastering soft skills and customer service at our family restaurant. I've honed those skills in a bevy of environments over the next 38 years; stock girl, waiting tables, a dental assistant, fitness trainer, and even delivered balloons as a kazoo playing cowgirl to put myself through college! I then spent seven years managing/training/selling at a ballroom dance school, became a wife and mother of two building a sixteen year home business as a leader of a large team and customer base, a custom framer, a mentor in a youth group, a school teacher, and now running a non-profit ministry while pursuing my dream job as founder of True Life Matters.
If it's fresh or grilled, I want it. If you can add cilantro on it, then I LOVE it.
What are your pets' names?
Mr. Wally is our three year old Cavashon, an overly friendly small white fluff ball AKA dog.
Do any of these pets help with your biz?
Wally also functions as the butler. He faithfully lets you know when their is a caller, a doorbell, or delivery. The bonus service he offers is licking their shoes clean to a spit shine!
Is there any one person or event in your life that led
you to go into business for yourself?
While I have already told the progressive story of the birth of True Life Matters, I have not shared the most personal element. Because you've asked so nicely, I will acquiesce. I believe that my whole life with its triumphs, challenges, and extremely diverse experiences, have uniquely (oddly) cumulatively prepared me for this work. My faith in God’s design and purposes ultimately led me to True Life Matters and the calling to continue for the remainder of my days.
Anyone you publicly want to thank?
Who could count all the people who have invested in you throughout your life that brings you to the exact place on this map? I cannot. But, I am grateful.