So I’m at this juncture where I’m looking at where I want to go with my business, and what steps I can take to more firmly establish who I am, what I stand for, and how I deliver my services. You know – the ol’ mission statement.
When I started my business almost 14 months ago, I didn’t have time to think of a name, so I just borrowed from my blog moniker, EcoGrrl, and tacked on the word consulting. It had little to do with anything – just a symbol of me that was already out there.
Some asked, why don’t you just use your name? Well here’s the thing – I’m divorced, and while most folks only know me as Fahey, my former husband’s last name is not something I want in my business name (no, I don’t want to return to my maiden name of “Pick”, if you must ask). And besides, I wanted a name that symbolizes how I make my mark in my work – my business model, philosophy, whatever you want to call it.
Well, the name symbolized me on my blog, but honestly not me in my business as a recruiting consultant and career coach. And while it didn’t hurt my business, it also hasn’t been something I’ve been super psyched about. My moniker came about six years ago and was something that combined my treehugger tendencies with my inability to stay quiet about the things that matter to me the most. It also was a tribute to the women who made a whole lotta noise back in my early 20′s, i.e.:
So EcoGrrl was born and I loved it. Hell, I still love it. But three things I noticed were happening using it for my company:
- While there is some overlap, my recruiting and coaching clients are not a big part of my base of blog readers who know me as EcoGrrl.
- Sadly, many of my clients are too young to know get the grrl (yes, I took out an “r” to make it my own) reference.
- And because of that, there has been a common perception that I’m calling myself a GIRL, when I’m not. As a proud feminist about to turn 40, I don’t need anyone referring to me as a girl or thinking I’m referring to myself as a girl. Girls are female children and I’ve most definitely earned my stripes as a woman.
As the naming company A Hundred Monkeys reminds business owners, “A name can only be great if you can connect it to what you’re doing in a meaningful way. Otherwise you just have a word people are going to have a hard time spelling and remembering.”
So I knew it was time to evolve, as all good things must, and have been letting it float around in my mind for the past month or so.
Looking at names though, as many of us know, can be a complete f**king nightmare. You think of something cool then you google it and sixteen others have claimed it for their own business. Take for example one name that had come to mind: New Leaf. I like the leaf (great with my existing logo), I like the new (I’m something new for my clients), I like the new leaf (it’s a fresh start for my clients, and I like how leaf is also a book-related word. But I learned this about New Leaf…
- it’s a therapist
- it’s a distributor
- it’s a bakery
- it’s a software company
- it’s a physical therapist
- it’s a raw food restaurant
- it’s a staffing agency
- it’s a vegan blog
…and it’s a whole LOT of “inspirational’ sites. So that idea quickly got tossed.
During this time, what kept running through my mind was a picture of a leaf on the sand that I posted recently, taken by my partner during our holiday earlier this summer. It was one I kept going back to in it’s simplicity, and I loved how it reminded me of those art projects as a child where you’d take the leaf and do a rubbing of it against paper to leave it’s imprint in a new place.
Leaving it’s imprint.
Not long ago, I declined an opportunity to work with a highly respected client, not because of any acrimony but because it was becoming more and more clear that what the client needed out of me was not truly aligning with the mission of my work. I had been looking at the recommendations given by past clients and what struck me the most were that the ones coming from those who I’m still working with today had a common theme in their words: they appreciated deeply how I helped them change the way they did hiring. The clients I enjoyed working with the most wanted me to not just send them more resumes, but to be a true consultant and partner with them to be more efficient and effective. They understood that much of their pain was a direct result of not only not knowing how to find great people, but how to evaluate and attract them. And with that, I was able to get them to open their minds to new ways of looking at prospective candidates and consider that what they were doing before might not work going forward. They understood that by bringing me on board, that I would shine a light in a new direction that would embrace the best of what they had while letting go of processes and behaviors that were just not working.
You see, what I want to do is empower people, hiring teams, companies. I want them to see that if something’s not working, here’s a way we can get you what you need if you’re willing to be open to change. And I provide them with those tools, and walk alongside them as the evolution begins. Yes this may sound a little mushy but hey, change can be a bitch, and if I can ease that transition, all the better. Because what’s around that corner, if you’re just willing to make that turn, can be pretty awesome.
I knew that this client wasn’t ready to change, and therefore they weren’t ready to listen, so no matter how hard I tried to impart suggestions that I believed would help them get what they needed, I was hitting a brick wall – over and over. And while personally I greatly enjoyed their company , I knew that ultimately it would be best for me to bow out gracefully, to thank them for their past business, and to offer to introduce them to someone whose business model would be more in alignment – i.e., just getting them resumes.
Because me? I want to leave my imprint wherever I go.
So when I spoke to my partner about this, we talked about how the theme throughout my career, no matter why I left the organizations, when I’d go back and talk to those former coworkers, they’d say “it was never the same after you left” or “you changed the way we did things” or “you really made your mark here”.
I left my imprint. Whether I left with relief, with sadness, or was asked to leave (I am thankful for this!), I am proud to say I’ve accomplished something significant in every job, big or small, and I can reach back 20+ years and think of how I changed things, how I made my mark, how I made my…
So there ya go. I’ve found my word. And beginning January 1st, I will officially be renaming my business Imprint PDX.
But you know what? I’ll always be EcoGrrl…