Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Pat D'Amico, founder and CEO of About-Face Development, LLC., located in Center Valley, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
About-Face Development is a Leadership and Executive Coaching practice that provides a long-term approach to continuous leadership development. Leadership and management development is a never-ending journey worth its pursuit.
Tell us about yourself
For over 30 years, I have been passionate about helping others reach their leadership potential, and today's gap in leadership competency is the largest I have ever seen. At 18 years old, I was given an incredible opportunity to command at Valley Forge Military Academy. Since that time, I have had the honor of leading at numerous levels in both the military and private sectors. It has taught me the simple truth that employees can either be inspired by their leaders to achieve organizational goals or be demoralized by them and fail both themselves and the organization. Every employee deserves a good manager.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My initial response would be the fact that I have been able to build and maintain a successful business that allows me to focus on my passion. Starting a successful business comes with tremendous challenges. More specifically, though, was that I developed a remote asynchronous leadership development platform in use at a number of world-class organizations. It allowed me to admit to the shortcomings of traditional programs (including ones I had managed) and bring a truly unique and better solution to the market.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Hard to narrow down to one, so I will share two if I may. First is the fact that you are 100% responsible for revenue and your paycheck. After spending more than 25 years on the payroll of large companies, this was a harsh reality for me. The second thing is that you wear all the hats. You can't afford to be minimally educated on key topics such as finance, accounting, technology, contracting, etc... but I will say that it's incredibly satisfying to step and back and know your knowledge and skill set have advanced so much.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
This is such a great question, and I could see many different entrepreneurs having varied lists, and all of them would be correct. For me, they would be,
- Narrow your initial focus to an area that you are, or can become, an expert. I was a buyer of services for much of my professional career, and expertise/credibility is paramount. I was, and am, more than skeptical of service providers who claim to be able to solve any problem I have.
- Know the value of your services and do not allow current or potential customers to commoditize you. There will always be low-cost providers, and when a potential customer is only interested in a low price, I am more than happy to recommend other vendors, but that will not be me. Customers will pay for value.
- Be resilient. The pandemic is just one example of something that can put tremendous strain on entrepreneurs. Know that the life of an entrepreneur comes with stress, and you have to stay committed long-term to be successful.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
In my particular space, I am somewhat of an anomaly in that I spent 25 years in large companies and then decided to go out on my own. If you believe in yourself, your skills, and that you have something of tremendous value to offer, go for it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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