It's been a few months since my last blog post. Writing them was taking a lot of time since I was wasn't doing 500 word posts, but more like 1,500 word articles. It was good for me, for my clients, and for my business. So why did I stop?
I got too busy.
That's an excuse. I hear it all the time. But if it's good, it's working, and it's part of your plan - they why not have prioritized it and let other things fall.
So I worked to understand why and found that I was at a crossroads. Trajectify had grown to keeping me busy nearly full-time. I was organizing the Philly New Technology Meetup (PNTM). And I had my tech startup, IntroNet. For Trajectify, I was working with private clients, small groups, and doing a lot of speaking and business development. For PNTM, we were growing without bounds (nearly 3,000 members in less than two years), gaining sponsors, doing bigger events. merged with Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic. As for IntroNet, things got very exciting as we saw a pivot from our introductions systems to doing something bigger and bolder with groups sharing their collective connections, expertise and information. I raised $1M for IntroNet.
No one can work what seemed like three full-time jobs, so I needed to coach myself to get beyond the crossroads. The big change was that I decided (quietly) to hire coaches to take over the day to day practice of Trajectify. This would give me more time to focus on IntroNet. A big and exciting step, something that I had been working towards, but somehow didn't see it coming so quickly and was resistant to "letting go." I found a coach to work with and, after a month, we realized it wasn't a fit. I was going to give up and scale back my time with Trajectify, but a couple of serendipitous collisions led me to reaching out to two colleagues who might fit better.
And it did! BINGO.
Chuck Hall and Joe Spinelli shadowed me for a few weeks to see if they were comfortable with the Trajectify style of coaching. They were. We coached together for nearly two months until , just a couple of weeks ago, I turned over the reigns.
I met Chuck a few years ago through social media and attended his SoMeBizLife conference. This was about the time I was founding the startup incubator, Novotorium (which has pivoted and I am no longer affiliated). I needed someone to help market and coach at the incubator. Chuck joined, quickly becoming an invaluable part of the team. He discovered entrepreneurs, mentored young businesses, and helped us develop and grow our program.
Chuck is good with business (a journalism degree and 30 years of marketing experience) and good with people and organizations (including a masters degree in organizational dynamics). He started his career in the ministry and social work, which combined with his business skills and network, makes an approachable and effective coach.
Joe was introduced to me a couple of years ago by Brad Denenberg at SeedPhilly. Joe had moved to Philly from Boston and was working in venture finance and banking. He immersed himself into our region's tech and entrepreneurship community, bringing skills, knowledge and connections that really didn't exist locally. I found Joe impressive in so many ways - he's real people-person and is super smart. He seemed to know a lot about so many different subjects - business, finance, economics, politics, and - music! (Joe is a DJ.)
Don't let Joe's youthful looks fool you - he brings quite the experience and network. We're trying to help him get some gray hair by pairing him with some of Trajectify's most challenging clients, but somehow he remains composed.
Coaching as a Team
Now that Trajectify is no longer a one-person business, the doors open to so many more opportunities. Having a team of coaches with complementary personalities, skills, and connections is an amazing asset. We have already started to make the most of it. Our clients are benefiting from our increased capability and availability. We're now able to bring on lots more clients and offer broader services.
So why did it take nearly six months for me to put this together and share it with our clients and community? Good question. If I were coaching myself, I'd weigh the benefits and challenges with operating more transparently. I was concerned about protecting the brand, client happiness and retention, and the business development pipeline.
I Missed an Opportunity.
I think the real result of going dark for nearly six months is that momentum slowed. Opportunities that were warm started to grow cold. People wondered what I was doing. I had event gotten such positive feedback (and traction) from the blog posts and email newsletters that I was writing and publishing, and then left those readers hanging, seemingly abruptly.
I am SO happy with where I ended up, and regret that I didn't bring our clients, colleagues, prospects, and followers on the journey with me. We live in a world (business and otherwise) where communication is open, so much is visible, and when it's not, questions arise.
Don't Hide Your Fluidity. Embrace Transparency.
It's a business and leadership asset.