Ever wonder how other FreshBooks customers run a business and do what they love? Customer portraits connect you with your fellow FreshBooks peers to share guidance and inspiration.
Trish Bishop spent a long time being a stellar performer at her job before starting Rock Stars Unlimited, a company dedicated to helping others hone their skills to become “rock stars.” She works with individuals and organizations to build their talents and reach their potential.
What’s Rock Stars Unlimited all about?
I spent a long time in the corporate world trying to figure out how some people totally dominated their arena independent of their level of formal education. In fact, many of the corporate Rock Stars I’ve met often have very little formal education to speak of. The reality is that these Rock Stars are rebel non-conformists. As soon as someone tells them they ‘have’ to do something, you can pretty much bet that’s exactly what they won’t do. For example, I was a Senior Project Manager for 20 years, yet I refused to get my PMP Certification!
I work with people and organizations to help them understand the Rock Star personality as well as teaching them how to identify the Rock Stars they already have so they can better leverage their talents. Unfortunately, most Rock Stars don’t truly understand who and what they are. They are outstanding performers, which also means they’re often ostracized (which can be a very lonely place to be). Rock Stars also know that they get bored easily, and that they get more done in an hour than most people get done in a day. That being said, because they so often feel like a square peg trying to be stuck into a round hole, they often question the value they bring to the organization.
Did you do something similar before this?
I’ve always been a Rock Star, so in a way, I’ve always ‘done this’, however, it took me 5 years to truly identify what I call the ‘10 Essential Rock Star Skills’ – those skills that, while innate for Rock Stars, can definitely be learned by anyone…although you won’t learn it in any traditional classroom (although I’m a firm believer that you should be able to!!!)
Were there big surprises in running your own business?
YES! Probably the biggest surprise was that not everyone is as excited about what I do as I am! Learning to focus on the ‘What’s In It For Me’ approach to marketing my business required to learning how to think like my customer. “Why should my customers care what I have to offer?” That’s a tough question to ask yourself when you’re all hyped and excited about your new business. Being able to honestly answer that question is by far one of the most significant keys to success in all aspects of how I do business – from marketing through communications, delivery and even billing. I am always answering that question in a way that ensures my clients feel connected, engaged and that they’re receiving exceptional value for their time and money.
What do you love about your job?
I touch people’s lives at a fundamental level. As a Senior IT Consultant I used to feel very disconnected from any real impact in the work I delivered. I was able to deliver successfully, but I never had the opportunity to truly see how someone’s world changed as a result of the work I did. Now I am up close and very personal with people at such an authentic level. There are no excuses and no back doors when people work with me, I hold their feet to the fire and facilitate their process of ‘becoming more’ than they were before, of stepping more fully into the power of who and what they truly are. That is incredible on every level!
What the positives and negatives of being your own boss?
The positives are that I can dictate my own hours and how I use my time. I have become ridiculously disciplined at working from home while not losing my work/life balance. For example, I never turn my computer on the weekends anymore. I love the creativity and flexibility to work with a client to design a program that meets their needs and knowing that I can simply walk away from an opportunity if I don’t feel it’s a good fit.
The negatives are that as a solo-preneur I have very few people who can push my edge. As a Rock Star I love to push the envelope and sometimes when you work primarily on your own and are ‘the expert’ in your client’s eyes, you don’t get pushed to your greatest level of capability as often.
What advice do you have for small biz owners just starting out?
Tools, tools and more tools. Get the tools that will allow you to focus on doing your business, not running it! Freshbooks is a PERFECT example of this kind of tool. I came across Freshbooks years ago and loved the simple intuitive functionality and that the company has continued to hone its core product so that it seems to meet my every need from time tracking to project tracking to billing, expenses and reports. I used to get my 10-year-old daughter to enter my receipts for me (yes, she’s a Rock Star too!) I’m a total geek so I’m always on the lookout for new tools, whether it’s a communication tool or a task management tool, whatever is going to make my life efficient and seamless – a good tool will also allow you to outsource certain aspects of your business when you’re ready for that as well. I want to spend my time doing the work I love.