We Interrupt This Blog For A Personal Insight Emergency!

Sep 15

This started as a comment on a previous post, but it turned into something more.  Not a lot more, mind you, but it’s certainly more than a comment – It’s about my process, so it may not make a lot of sense at first. Also, there are questions for you at the end of each section, so you can dive in and not-make-a-lot-of-sense right along with me, if you like.

I was really
struggling last night.

Doubting everything.
Doubting everyone.
Doubting myself.

This recent anti-online-business bruhaha shook me, what with all of the talk about “online businesses aren’t real/can’t make money” and “people who don’t have degrees and haven’t successfully run brick and mortar businesses can’t coach/teach/write about business.”  It undercut my confidence in what I’m trying to do here.

So I curled up with a particular book that serves as my creative touch stone, and slowly? I remembered why I’d set up this weird and ill-defined circus caravan in the first place:

To do something fun, experimental, unpredictable,
something that incorporates a variety of skills into
a package that, hopefully, can help others and add
consistently to our household income.

Something that inspired me. Something that was inventive. Something that took risks.

I’m not asking you to set aside secure or boring or every day lives, and take those risks with me.  But if you  are already taking risks (or wanting to take those risks), I’m asking if you’ll consider joining me and others in some small or large way,  so we can have support and comfort as we forge new ground and take these risks together.

My questions for you: What is the original concept that drove you to decide developing your own venture-business-thing was the way to go? What are you risking with that?

But then? I realized
I’m not exactly clueless.

I’ve been surrounded by small business and innovation all of my life.

My great-grandfather on one side, my great-grandmother on the other, my grandfather, my mother? All small business people, innovators and entrepreneurs.  My stepfather & father-in-law, and past generations of their families? They all ran their own businesses, too.

Most of them worked against great odds, in then-unproven fields.  Several did things that were unheard of,  or  invented things that are still in use today.  And when my family members have worked for others? They were still always innovating, inventing, improving and creating new processes, methods, systems and products.

Some ventures succeeded, some ventures failed – but no one ever quit out of a sense of futility.

And although I never had anyone sit me down and formally teach me about business and innovation, I learned a lot through osmosis – especially about the sorts of things that predispose a business to working or not working. (mostly research, follow through, flexibility and applying basic business principals).

Beyond the osmosis, I definitely inherited a brain predisposed to innovation and invention. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that I’d strike out on my own — the only surprise is how long it took me to get serious about it.

And yes, I’ve only just now realized this.

My question for you: What aspects of your background make you well-suited (if not qualified) to develop your business-venture-thing? Are there any elements that are hiding from you in the shadows?

I’ve also found
a new goal:

A week or two ago (In a #CustomerLove tweetchat)  I figured out that what I actually want out of this website is a “proof of concept“.

I want to prove prove that quirky, differently-brained creatives can use right-brained tools and approaches to build sane, profitable, balanced business ventures.

I want to prove that we can be successful without depending on gatekeepers, without destroying our creative process as a side effect of earning a living, and without having to rewire our brains to become “someone else”.

That approach? So far as I know it’s new (because the tools are new) and it’s largely untested. I’m certainly not the only one working on the idea, but the niche is still developing and defining itself.

My question for you: What are you trying to prove with your thing-venture-business?  What point do you want to get out there? What message do you want to deliver?

So this Quirkipreneur thing?
It’s still being invented.

I can’t teach you how to have a successfully quirky business.
I haven’t figured it out for myself, yet.

And I can’t assess the marketability of your product, your promotional plans, or your own personal suitability for running a business in the first place.  Oh, sure, I may toss out a semi-educated opinion based on my observations and instincts, but in the end, my answer may have no more value than the opinion of the clerk behind the counter at McDonald’s.

What I can do is point you towards resources, offer ideas, support and encouragement, and provide you with some creative, intuitive tools.

I can offer up my own (hopefully insightful) ideas for wrapping your right-brained mind around left-brained business concepts.

I can let you watch the process of my own progress (or lack of it) in the hopes it will somehow help you figure out how to make your “thing” work (whatever your thing is).

And I can stress the importance of practical business stuff, as well as the creative end – revealing my struggles and processes in both areas, as well.

My question for you: What are you not qualified to advise others about? What *are* you qualified to advise others about? And how do you define “qualified”?

This new understanding?
It turns out it’s pretty practical.

It’s already solved a pricing dilemma for me. That’s part of what I’ve been hesitating about, with all of the potential offers I’ve had… pricing.

I know that value-added business offerings are expensive, and I understand the reasons behind those prices. I don’t want to undercut peers, or devalue my services with low pricing.

But until it’s proven that my ideas offer actual value-added to the bottom line of a business? I’m not comfortable charging the commonly accepted rates.

So the pricing of anything business related that I offer? It will be in line with this being experimental.  That seems right, and good, and appropriate.

One more problem solved!

My question for you: As you consider and reconsider what you’re qualified to teach, coach, advise, and do…  are there any problems or insights that shift and take new shapes?

The result of
all this processing?

I think I’ve figured out a new shape for the long-delayed Quirkipreneurs website…  and, amazingly, the software may actually have caught up to what I want!

This new shape will allow for my process, and for other people’s, as well. It will allow for the proof of concept to be developed. It will allow for the community members to connect and support one another.  It will allow me to be simulataneiously clueless AND clued in, and finally, hopefully, get some of the other planned Circus projects out there and in your hands where they can be useful.

So yeah, I’m pretty excited.

Also, if you’re wondering why there’ve been no illustrations for a few days? The scanner is on the fritz, AND the dog ate the last of my good pens.

So we’re image-less until the weekend.
Feels a bit naked around here, doesn’t it?


You’re welcome to ramble as much as you’d like in the comments, on anything I’ve touched on in this post.  Really.  Take as much space as you need.

Just remember to be gentle with yourself, me, and others – these processes can be fragile, and we need space to work them out without challenges.

Also, any suggestions for how to teach a certain Pomeranian that Micron Archival Ink pens are not just plastic bones with chewy centers?  That’d be a big help.  She’s eaten at least ten of the darn things!

It's Another Flourish!


  1. Now I remember how I found your site – it was reading the Right Brained Business Plan book. 🙂 Because my dear spouse kept telling me I had to have a business plan and I have more of a seat-of-the-pants approach. You have some interesting question that I really want to think about.

    • Tori Deaux /

      Oh, cool Dixie! Thanks for telling me – it made my day 🙂 My business plan took on a whole life of it’s own , btw … that’s where the #Emmit chats stem from!

  2. These are really great questions to think about! My dad is a entrepreneur and his parents owned several small businesses and overcame great odds to do it. My brother is running his own business too.

    I love the idea of getting into exploring what I have learned from them!

    • Tori Deaux /

      Tina, had you ever thought about that family influence before? I hadn’t, somehow. Happy exploring!

  3. This is hard stuff. I am going to try not to rationalize in any weird way why I am “qualified” to do what I do, but I am going to give it some thought.

    Entrepreneurism is, yes, evident in my family. I am not the first, nor will I likely be the last.

    The business I run is a business I planned to run, in real life, when I started training years ago. It just happened that I was finishing up school at this point in history when more businesses are working in an online space, that it made more sense (lower overhead, bigger potential client pool) for me to do it online.

    I’ve also been obsessed with computers and the internet since the early days of both, so it’s not entirely surprising that I would make my living in that environment. I have a good personal understanding of internet culture and writing for an audience, so blogging as a way to attract a customer base came really easily to me.

    The issue of qualifications, however, is a little complicated. I’m kind of an outsider in my field. I have a degree, yes. It is accredited, yes. I’ve received additional accredited training, yes. And I have years of experience that should count for some kind of post-grad training, but which, of course, doesn’t because that’s not how the world works.

    The reason I am sort of an outsider in my field is because, aside from all the experience and education I DO have, I do NOT have the professional designation that most do. Because of this, I limit my scope of practice to match the limitation of my credentials.

    I practice the basic, fundamentals of my trade, and I write about my opinions on the topic. I do not go into any of the more advanced stuff with clients, because I think it would be not-okay to do so without that professional designation.

    When I was still turning around the seemingly-crazy idea of going ahead and starting up a web-based business without having that professional designation, doing only the basics of my trade, one of my professors came right out and said to me, completely unbidden, “You should just go ahead and start a business and set up a practice.” I took that as a good sign, so I did.

    I guess the analogy, using another field, would be this: someone who has a psychology degree from a good school, who has years of experience working in psych wards, and has taken some specific training in counseling using a specific evidence-based approach – say MBSR – and has chosen to set up a private practice WITHOUT being a licensed therapist or counselor – but also limiting their practice to only working with the general, healthy population in stress-reduction techniques – NOT doing any sort of clinical psychology, working with mental illness, etc. And also referring people as needed to more advanced clinical services and credentialed practitioners.

    According to SD? I’m probably a total quack, and also a unicorn-chaser who has totally hallucinated making money online. According to my colleagues and at least one of my professors? I’m respected, if a bit strange and controversial.

    Where does that leave me? Still utterly confused.

  4. Tori Deaux /

    Hrmmm, the more I see of you, the more I like how your brain works – and I hope that someday this storm dies down we can “meet” you a bit less anonymously. (But I totally agree with the wisdom of keeping your business completely out of the bruhaha)

    Me, if I were looking for references for whatever it is you do, I’d take the opinions of your colleagues and professors over a cranky fictional robot’s any day.

    And being “strange and controversial”? That only means you fit in around here 😉


  5. GREAT thoughts and great questions, Tori. You just helped me connect some really critical dots.

    I’ve been looking for a way to add more creativity to my business and business processes — without alarming more mainstream clients.

    And of course, I just need to do it — because I absolutely need to be working in a space that “inspires me, is inventive and takes risks” as you said. That is when I am at my best.

    And the reminder that all of this is just being invented. Time to stop looking for a model and just try out my own. (Gee, I wrote a blog post on this not long ago. I need to take my own advice.)

    I love where your thoughts are going, Tori. Thank you for taking us on the journey with you.

  6. Two quick things for now:

    Love the tech catching up with you! 🙂
    We had that revelation when we first started realizing we needed to take our biz online a couple of years ago.

    It’s really kyool when it works out that way, isn’t it?

    Re: pens. Not sure. When my beloved-now-passed dog Sassy upped the ante and ate the cigarette lighter tho’, we knew we had to get her a companion.

    (She was fine, btw. Scared the you-know-what out of me, but she was fine.)

    Will fly away and ponder excellent Qs.

    And yes, ‘hrmmm’, you are definitely beginning to look like a very kyool person to know.

    Those pieces-of-paper do tend to bite us in the butt, don’t they?

    So useless & necessary both in the same space. :>

    ‘laters! :>

  7. Tori — What book did you curl up with that is your creative touchstone?

    • Tori Deaux /

      Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody”

      It’s not really earth shaking or new ideas, most of the material and drawings came from his blog (which is apparently down, or I’d link to where he offers the first chapter free). But it helps me stay centered when no one seems to get what I’m doing. Plus, his drawings do make me laugh. (warning, it does contain profanity and at least one penis drawing!)

  8. Ali Mac /

    I’m not quite sure whether this comment fits here, but hey – like what you have been writing over the last few posts.

    One of the effects of the recent internet brouhaha was to stop me in my tracks. I have bought quite a few online courses in the last year and either I’m lucky or a total n00b, because mostly I’ve been pretty happy. At the same time, I do get a tone of email in my inbox which is persuading me prettily (or sleazily) to buy into the next big thing. And there really isn’t a lot of difference in tactics between those that I respect and those that I pass by. But I bought an e-book recently, which I was quite excited about, and I read it around the same time as coming across the SD site – and I lost all pleasure and trust in what I’d bought. It seemed like, well, a bit of a ripoff. Even now I’m not sure whether this was a genuine reaction.

    What it did do was drive me back to thinking about myself and my business very hard, trying to sort out the dream-chasing and cheerleading from the solid steps that I need to take to build my business properly. I get a little to excited by all the shiny advice – what I need is to think it through properly for my own situation. If that makes sense. I love the optimism and excitement of the coaching/IM circles that I’m part of – but I do worry that it’s mostly smoke and mirrors.

    Whew. Long comment is long!

  9. I know I’ve been quiet in the comments section lately. Not for lack of interest! Your posts have simply not needed by 2 cents 🙂

    I do want to say here that you ARE building proof of concept. I remember when the concept of an all in one phone (aka smart phone) was roundly ridiculed as impossible and undesirable. Good thing no one told Apple right?

    Keep going Tori, I’m excited to see this all unfold!