Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tim Mousseau, Founder of Create Safe, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Create Safe offers training, consulting, and assessment to help create people-first cultures where everyone feels safe. On a neurological level, people need to feel safe. If something in our environment causes us to feel unsafe, it is impossible for us to be present. Unaddressed or recurring safety gaps erode organizational trust, limit productivity, stifle people's voices, and ultimately cause us to check out.
We work best with C-suite leaders and middle managers to recommend meaningful organizational initiatives that restore trust and encourage team members to speak up. We also regularly support event and meeting planners to teach event design practices that kindle feelings of safety and trust. From an assessment standpoint, we constantly collect data to ensure our recommendations and support are researched to every client's unique culture.
Tell us about yourself
My work centers on one idea: Everyone deserves to feel safe. I profoundly believe this because, as a survivor of workplace sexual harassment, I know how isolating and exhausting it is to dread going to work.
At the start of my career, I thought I'd found my dream job. My world dramatically changed after facing a toxic culture and workplace sexual harassment. Coming to terms with my experiences, I knew no one else should ever feel the same harm.
Initially, I started speaking about sexual violence prevention and leading prevention campaigns for colleges, non-profits, and professional athletic teams. Over time, my research has broadened to better associations and companies. I founded Create Safe to offer meaningful keynotes, workshops, assessments, and resources to make work feel safer and more welcoming to all. I speak from a place of raw authenticity because I don't believe we have to find "purpose" in our jobs, but since we spend an estimated 90,000 hours working, it shouldn't be a source of stress or harm.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In 2020 I launched an assessment with 97 organizations to conduct original research. This assessment helped me design a framework that helps companies and leaders deploy practical tools to prevent neurologically-based disconnect and combat sensations of isolation and exhaustion.
I'm in the beginning stages of publishing this research and creating customized assessments that organizations can deploy to better gauge their people's perspectives. With the profound nature of this topic, I believe in offering data-backed and measurable solutions. I hope my research can create meaningful changes in how we discuss this topic professionally.
Aside from my research, I've spoken with over 400 organizations, including Fortune 1000 companies, global associations such as MPI, IMEX, and SHRM, retail franchises, and beyond.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Scaling is a significant difficulty I currently face. My core services stem from my experiences as a professional speaker, and I get paid when I am on stage or in front of clients. The problem is that this business relies on my capabilities to travel. I'm constantly trying to reimagine the services I can offer to develop new tools or products that require less of my time. I believe in the work but would love for it to become further removed from just "me" and spread beyond my immediate reach.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Your people are everything. Hiring, scaling, and managing team members takes significant time and capital. It is better to meaningfully invest in hiring the right people who fit your culture and spend considerable time training them than to bring them on half-heartedly and expect results.
- You must intentionally build your organization's culture before you grow. It is too easy to leave culture to chance or miss out on opportunities to codify the informal practices that make your business unique. I frequently see founders leave culture on the back burner, assuming their people will be as passionate as them. This will only lead to frustration. Setting a culture and reinforcing practices before you grow is better than leaving this to chance.
- We must ensure our team members and ourselves can bring themselves and their humanity to work. It's estimated we spend 90,000 hours working. The only thing we do more than work is sleep. It's impossible to separate everything that makes us human from our jobs. To fail to account for people's humanity means we will miss out on stresses and other potentially derailing factors. And when we focus on what makes people uniquely them, we create opportunities for their unique perspectives, skills, and outlooks to help our business flourish. Yes, work is valuable and can be personally meaningful. But we cannot divorce our people from themselves.
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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