My crazypants 6-week Facebook Live experiment

After a long hiatus to complete writing my book and overcome an existential crisis reconfigure my business, I decided to try a 6 week experiment: 30 episodes of the YOU-Shaped Business Show – delivered via Facebook Live. You can watch my nervous and rambling first recording in the video below – or scroll down for the more succinct show summary. Our topics of the day:

  • What the heck is a YOU-Shaped Business?
  • What does successful self-employment look like?
  • What is this show about?

What is a YOU-Shaped Business?

A YOU-Shaped Business exists at the intersection of self-employment, personal growth and authenticity.


A self-employed service business is really simple. There’s YOU and your client. You offer them a service that is valuable to them: it either solves a problem or helps them get something they want. They pay you money for it – your business revenue.

Do this often enough and for enough money – and you’ll have a successful business.

It looks easy enough!

All of the skills required to do this are learnable. I wrote a book about it. Michael Port wrote a book about it. There are tons of people teaching classes and workshops on this. All the information you could ever need is only a Google search away. Just learn what you need to learn, then do it.

If only it were that easy.

Personal Growth

I often say that self-employment is the biggest, baddest most challenging personal growth program there is.

Business is filled with risk and uncertainty. You’ll need to do things outside your comfort zone. You’ll need to learn new skills and try new things.

You’ll find some of the roles you need to perform easier than others. For a lot of my clients, the big sticking point is sales and marketing: putting themselves “out there” and asking people to buy from them. For other people, the big challenge is motivating themselves, building new habits, avoiding distractions and developing the courage required to do what needs to be done.


When “I do not want your widget” means something more….

This puts the YOU in a YOU-Shaped business.

For some of us, it’s not enough to have just any old business. We want to do our thing, our way.

You may feel like your business is your mission or your calling – part of your life’s purpose.

A YOU-Shaped business is creative.

You have new ideas for products or services. Maybe you invented your own process, wrote a book or created a workshop or webinar. You might have opinions or approaches that differ from what others do in your industry.

This makes it personal.

You’re not just selling a widget, you’re selling something that you put your heart and soul into.

Not every self-employed business is YOU-Shaped

You can be successfully self-employed without being creative or feeling like your business is part of your mission.

Many people choose their business by evaluating logical facts. They may buy a franchise or get licensed to run someone else’s program. Or they choose dog-grooming or lawn care because that’s where they think they can be the most successful – not because they’re necessarily passionate about dogs or grass.

Some people even manage to be self-employed without needing to do any personal growth stuff.

They don’t struggle with courage or confidence. They’re good at being productive. They don’t feel the same sense of fear, uncertainty or doubt that some of us do – or they learned to manage it earlier in their lives. (I also suspect that a lot of people who claim this are faking it. At least I hope that’s true!)

But for those of us who identify as having YOU-Shaped businesses…well, we have a unique set of issues to deal with..

A lot of (good, sound) advice doesn’t fit

You know what you should do? The opposite of everything you want to do.

Well-meaning friends and family – and every small business marketer under the sun has all sorts of advice for us. Much of it conflicting. Some of it is perfectly good, perfectly sound – but it doesn’t fit for us.

Do this other thing that’s easier (sell a different service, serve a different market)

This can show up if you’re making a career change or shifting your business to offer a different service or work with a new type of clientele.

Directed at me, it often sounds like:

  • Work with larger businesses
  • Do more technical work
  • Offer “done for you” services

And yeah…that would be easier in a lot of ways. I could probably make more money. But I don’t want to. It’s not my calling, not my purpose…and I don’t want to do it.

Follow my proven blueprint, use my “done for you” materials

Hmmm. If I follow these instructions to the letter I can build an authentic business based on full self-expression. As long as I self express by copying Bob the Blueprint Guy.

It’s easy to buy programs where someone shares exactly what they did to become successful. Many of these even include “done for you” materials: ready-to-send emails, advertisements and web copy.

You can even buy ready-made service packages, workshops or programs that are white-labelled, meaning you can slap your own name on them. Ta da! Instant business.

These can sound really really tempting when you feel stuck for words and are overwhelmed with all the stuff you need to do. (Ask my Visa card how tempting these are!) Yet when you get them, you realize they won’t work because they don’t sound like YOU.

Get a job

And there’s this good old standby. For any self-employed person, this can sound like “I don’t believe you can succeed in business.” This advice seems to hurt just a little bit more for YOU-Shaped businesses – we hear “I don’t think your ideas are good enough.” (Or even worse: “YOU are not good enough.”)


Which brings me to this show I’m doing, which is for those of us who run YOU-Shaped Businesses.

The YOU-Shaped Business Show

I’ll be broadcasting live on Facebook, every morning (Monday through Friday) at 10:00 am Pacific time. I started today (July 16th) and will wrap up on Friday, August 24th.

Topics will revolve around business (sales and marketing in particular), personal growth (overcoming fears, developing good habits, motivating oneself to get stuff done) and authenticity (showing up as yourself, being creative, living your purpose.)

You can expect:

  • Options, ideas and examples: because there’s no one right way to do things
  • The inside scoop on what I’m doing and why (and how it might work for you)
  • Book reviews – to justify my voracious reading habit 🙂
  • Interviews! Other business experts and people like you who are making a good living doing their thing in their way
  • Answers to your questions! Have a question you want answered, ask away!

And if nothing else – at least you’ll know there’s one other person like you in the world so you won’t feel so alone. 🙂

The show is live, unscripted and unedited

I have a number of reasons for doing it in this format – which I’ll talk more about over the coming weeks. One big reason is that this is a personal growth exercise for me in overcoming procrastination, perfectionism and my fear of being wrong/saying something stupid/looking like an idiot – and having it recorded.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, you can watch the live show or catch the recordings on my Facebook page. I’ll also be sharing the recordings and show notes here on my blog. If you’d like a weekly email notification with a list of topics and links, you can sign up below.