I get it. You can’t ignore the itch any longer.
You’re looking for your ‘dare to be great’ situation.
Your active imagination keeps you up at night, wheels spinning and ideas whizzing around faster than you can catch them.
It’s inspiring. It’s exhilarating. It’s overwhelming. It’s frustrating.
You’re super-charged and raring to go, but in which direction?
You're in the weeds of your bottomless to-do list, and the weight of all of the 'should-dos' is crushing your creativity. You're wondering if you'll ever be able to level up from the day-to-day grind, and if it's all even worth it.
You need to START SMALL with your BIG IDEAS.
With 20 years experience leading design strategy for massive organizations and single-founder start-ups alike, I’ve got the tools to help you be a productive visionary with equal amounts of thinking and doing.
You don't have to go it alone.
Designing a business that reflects your values is a messy, creative process that depends on real hands-on collaboration and thoughtful feedback to keep it moving forward. Even a solopreneur needs a team.
How would it feel to be working on your business, not just in it?
you'll know you're on the right track when:
- You have a clear vision and are moving forward with purpose. Every step reflects an intention.
- You’ve got a structured plan, with a prioritized set of tasks and deliverables. The horizon is in sight, reachable in just a few milestones.
- You have ‘freedom within a framework’ to explore a few different paths and aren’t anchored to a fixed idea of success.
- You feel like you can balance time for deep thinking and evaluating with time for playful, iterative making.
- You have partners and collaborators who can build on your ideas, or who are game to pan for the gold in your think-out-loud stream of consciousness.
- With time-boxed activities to keep you on track, you'll see tangible, visible results of your ideas coming to life. You’re building to learn.
- You get useful feedback that helps you decide whether to forge ahead in one direction, or to loop back and try another way.
And if you ever get stuck, you’ve got the mindset and toolkit to design your way forward.
That's why I CREated BUSINESS X DESIGN
A path to entrepreneurship for makers and creatives who want to align what they do with who they are.
DEFINING YOUR MVP: MINIMUM VIABLE PURPOSE
I believe that breakthrough ideas happen when the purpose of your business aligns with your purpose in life. This is why I have always taken a holistic approach to any type of business design. The 'sweet spot' of innovation lives at the intersection of who you are, what you believe, and what you do.
DESIGN THINKING FOR EVERYDAY LIFE + BUSINESS
Designers are basically idea facilitators. The methods I've learned and honed over my entire career are universally helpful for making observations, and then making sense of what we see and hear. In short, a design-led process brings some structure to the occasional mess of creative thinking.
Wherever you are in your entrepreneurship journey, I can help you:
- Take a step back and assess your purpose and priorities
- Clarify your goals
- Bring an idea into focus
- Reset your business strategy
- Figure out how to test and validate an idea
- Create a path to bring a new product or service to market
I've spent nearly 20 years working with businesses of all sizes, and the single most defining characteristic of a successful design process has been the commitment to hands-on collaboration. I'll use my expertise to guide your process forward, but think of me as more of a collaborator, a member of your design team who's as invested in your success as you are.
HOW IT WORKS
Your business design process: the why, what, and how
Traditional business-led processes tend to be linear–first write a business plan full of research and projections. Next, get your resources in line. Finally, you can spend months executing on your vision for one big launch.
A design-led process instead starts with empathy, and invests time into asking the right question rather than jumping straight into proposing solutions. It emphasizes iteration over perfection, and learning over certainty.
My three-part collaborative coaching program reflects the way I approach any project: immerse in and understand the challenges, frame the opportunity, and make to learn by launching small experiments to gather feedback from real customers 'in the wild.'
MODULE 1: Start with the why
Start by clearing up any fogginess or uncertainty around what to do next.
Take a step back and assess where you are and where you want to be headed, through the lens of where you feel the most YOU, your state of flow.
Shake out all the flabby ideas that have been rolling around and “crispify” them to help prioritize what deserves your attention in the short term. Using a time-boxed "double-diamond" approach, outline a plan of action that distills big thinking into specific tasks.
What you'll get:
Clearly prioritized business ideas + a project plan
MODULE 2: Frame your What
Convert your priorities into potential business models. Then, explore the landscape around each of them to find your white-spaces. Begin to develop your ideas by understanding the opportunities around specific customer needs, and play with different value propositions you could offer to meet them. Find your fit and set your focus on the most high value opportunities to pursue.
What you'll get:
A comprehensive structure that frames your proposition into a clear pitch
Module 3: Figure out how
Get working on making the possibilities more concrete. Bring your ideas out of the abstract by creating quick prototypes that can easily be shared and discussed. It’s time to get a little messy, get a little crazy, and get a lot of feedback. By the end of this phase, you can expect to be facing forward with ideas that have been shaped and validated, and you’ll also armed with the insights to make a decision about your next steps.
What you'll get:
Tangible prototypes and insights that have been validated by your target audience
DESIGN MEANS BUSINESS.
"As an ambitious business owner with a paralytic 1001 ideas, Heather guided me through exercises to align my ideas with who I am, what I want and what is realistic given my resources. Tangible results appeared almost immediately in the form of becoming a top 5 national finalist in a restaurant pitch. Off the back of this, I experienced increased media coverage, made genuine connections with local food influencers and gained invaluable pitch experience. Thanks Heather - looking forward to the future! "
- Megan V., Pinch Sum Dumplings
why work with me?
Because I've been there.
I developed the Business X Design program to provide the structure and support that I wish I’d had when trying to get my first business off the ground.
The harsh reality was that at the time, I lacked the clarity of vision and direction that I needed to move forward with purpose.
I floundered from one idea to the next, neglecting opportunities to seek feedback or learn from my mistakes.
While I had the support of friends and family, I missed the collaboration that helps ideas grow and thrive with the added bonus of accountability.
My introversion stood in the way of my ability to promote myself and follow through on leads.
Ultimately I failed to launch, and wallowed in resentment and self-pity for months, abandoning my aspirations.
"The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible."
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
When I finally snapped out of it–thanks largely to working with an awesome no-BS coach–I realized that the design thinking mindset and toolkit I'd honed over many years are just as powerful for solopreneurs as they are for Fortune 500 companies.
Startups and small business owners rarely have the resources or even the awareness to take advantage of strategic design methods for shaping businesses, which tend to live in the domain of expensive agencies and consultancies.
Now I want to use my years of experience and expertise leading product and service design teams to work side-by-side helping entrepreneurs shape, test, and launch their ideas at any scale.
So does this sound like you?
You're finally ready to focus your skills and passions towards your own pursuits–to be creative, productive, engaged, and balanced, on your own terms.
Here's what you're 100% sure of:
* Your desire to make a difference is what gets you out of bed in the morning.
* You measure your quality of life by how much you’re feeling challenged and contributing.
* You thrive when you're able to be proactive and innovative.
* You evaluate your satisfaction by always asking, “Am I learning?”
* You're an ideas person, your curiosity igniting enough creative sparks to light up an epic fireworks display.
If this resonates with you, you're in the right place.
Is this a type of life coaching?
When you're building a business that's an extension of who you are and what you value in the world, I believe in designing for the coherence of your life and work. Though I have done some professional coach training, my approach is more grounded in my expertise as a design thinking facilitator.
This means that I start any project–business, product, or service design–from a place of deep empathy by looking at business goals through the lens of values, beliefs, behaviors, and motivations. I draw on methods spanning ethnography to behavioral economics to Lean Startup-style rapid prototyping to help you shape your ideas.
More than a coach, I am a hands-on collaborator helping to guide your own business design process.
do I already have to have a business to get the most from this program?
Definitely not! Though the program works great for when your business needs a refreshed perspective or you want to explore ways to build on your foundation, the focus is really on working through the early stages. We'll sort through all the ideas you might have kicking around, bringing the best ones into focus. We'll look at ways you can prototype your 'potentialities,' gathering the insight and feedback that will help you move forward with a clear sense of direction.
When will the rest of the course series be launched?
I believe in the seasonality of our creative productivity, so my release plan roughly coincides with natural transitions. The first in the series is meant as a head-clearing creative kickstart, and launches in the new year. The second module will be released in mid-springtime, with emphasis on strategies for growth and development. The third module has a 'back to school' sensibility that will have you putting your planning into practice, testing and learning how your idea resonates in your target market. I give us both the summers off, making sure there's time for fun, relaxation, and adventure!
Is the material covered in the online course the same as in the one-on-one coaching?
My program is built on a core foundation of design methods, business tools, and collaborative coaching support. The online courses are my way of distilling knowledge and experience into simple and actionable tools you can draw upon for creative problem-solving in life and business.
You'll also have access to a Slack group to be able to chat and collaborate with others in the course community, as well as weekly 'office hours' where you can chat with me directly about questions or issues that come up.
Working one-on-one with me will be grounded in the same framework, but also be much more tailored to the particular challenges you're facing. I decided to offer a hybrid option that allows you to sign up for a supplemental boost of perspective and accountability as you're going through any of the courses.
what happens after I sign up for coaching?
You'll get an email with a link to my calendar so we can schedule our initial session, plus a welcome packet with your kickoff questionnaire to get started right away. I'll also set up a shared folder on Google Drive where I'll post all materials and notes from our sessions.
what happens after I sign up for a course?
With your welcome email, you'll get a link to create a login and password so you can access the course any time. You'll also receive an email with an invitation to the private Slack group where you'll be able to chat with others in the course.
can I email you with questions during our coaching engagement?
Instead of getting bogged down in our Inboxes, I'll set up weekly 'office hours' on Slack where we can chat in real time if you have any questions or thoughts you'd like me to weigh in on.
what is your refund policy?
I believe that we're in this together, committing to our goals and showing up for each other, and therefore do not offer refunds. In order to cancel or reschedule a coaching video chat, I'll need a minimum 24 hour notice in order to set up a new time without forfeiting a session.
What payment options do you offer?
Payment plans are available on request for my one-on-one coaching engagement as well as the combined course plus coaching sessions. Email me and we'll set something up!
Something else on your mind?
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have further questions. Email me here and I will get back to you with 24 hours.