When I try to explain my consultancy to family, friends, agencies and other professionals, it’s often a difficult task.
Around the time I formed my business, I was deeply studying Buddhism and my teacher gave a talk “On Becoming.” In his talk he discussed how as individuals we often use “I am” phrases when introducing ourselves to others. I am a father. I am an information architect. I am a brother. I am Dan.
His talk went on to propose that perhaps this isn’t the best way to approach things, because while we’re living, permanence is an Illusion. In reality, we’re always “becoming” something, or someone else. Instead of always attempting to define ourselves with names or titles, we should instead understand that we’re evolving based on our experience (or inexperience) with the world around us. Instead of focusing on what we are in a current state, we should instead focus on becoming what we need to be in each moment.
I am becoming Dan. I am becoming a father.
I’ve tried very hard to manage my business’ growth in a similar fashion. It has ebbed and flowed with the needs of my clients’ needs and my personal needs.
I formed my company out of necessity. In 2016 I was unhappy with my professional life just two-and-a-half years into a relocation to the Grand Rapids area and a few months into becoming a father for the third time.
I was overweight, out of shape, anxious and irritable. Everyone around me could see what I wouldn’t admit. I needed a change. That change came in the gift of a proposed 3-month engagement to do some governance work for Amway through one of their staffing agencies. If I formed my own LLC, I’d be able to take home an additional five percent by avoiding the need for them to make me a W-2 employee. For a 36-year-old terrified father of three, married to a physician that still had some hefty loans to repay, jumping from a stable six figure job was probably crazy, but it also probably saved my life.
I had to hustle. I had to do some work I didn’t want to do at first, but I turned those three months into six. I turned the six months into two years and began partnering with local Grand Rapids businesses and advertising agencies before the first year was up.
Being an entrepreneur suits me.
Not always knowing where the next contract will be, suits me.
Working on my own, suits me.
Developing my own approach and deliverables for practices i’ve learned at various roles has been challenging, rewarding and inspirational.
In my five years I’ve served five world-class advertising agencies in winning new business, augmenting staffing needs and training their internal teams. I’ve supported small businesses, nonprofits and Fortune 500 clients through workshops, strategy development and management consulting. My business model has been steady and I’ve had the great fortune to continue to grow business through word of mouth and my network of Detroit and Illinois-based agency connections. As such, my engagements have been more collaborative. This collaborative consulting model has also resulted in clients wanting more of my time, and asking me if or when I’ll bring on additional staff.
The more I’ve talked with clients and looked at my opportunities, my abilities and my limitations, I’ve realized there are so many other things that can be accomplished and more good that can be done in the world if I open myself to partners.
So, as has always been my philosophy, I’m continuing to become something new with some intended outcomes in mind.
I’m welcoming a Dawn Carbines to my team this month with the intention of growing nonprofit, service design and sustainability, and innovation lines of business. I’m even more thrilled to share that it will offer up not only a fresh take with more than two decades of professional experience, but that it brings the female perspective and more than 31-years of nonprofit volunteer service to the table as well.
Dawn is an accomplished Marketer with 22+ years of brand management, research and leadership experience. She’s driven projects, product portfolios and strategies across 53 countries in CPG, nonprofit & direct sell industries for some seriously heavy hitters, including: Amway, Newell Rubbermaid, American Tool Companies, Brown & Brown, The Walt Disney Company, United Way, Special Olympics and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.
She has boundless energy, an infectious smile and an inquisitive mind that can draw out the quietest and most underrepresented voices in any room.
Together, Dawn and I will create a series of workshops, strategy tools and facilitation practices that will help break down communication barriers, assist partners with focusing on the right opportunities to invest people, money and effort in to meet the outcomes of those organizations who need the brainpower to make the world a better place.
We can’t wait to introduce these new tools, techniques and resources to you in the coming months. In October, we’ll share our our impact map for getting to the next phase of Daniel Eizans Strategic Services. We’ll be sure to give you some periodic updates on how we’re doing in meeting our goal. But for now, look for a different look, feel and an additional voice in the room.