Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Wallace, Owner of Enneagram MBA, located in New Albany, IN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Enneagram MBA is a team training company focused on understanding people at work. We work with small businesses, corporations, and organizations to lead professional development workshops, leadership retreats, staff development days, and breakouts at conferences. We also work with individuals to help them find and thrive in a career or build a business that aligns with their personality.

Tell us about yourself

The biggest reason for stepping out on my own was a mix of wanting to feel fulfilled in whatever work I was doing and a necessity. I am a single mom and have been dropping my son off at daycare every weekday from 7:30 a.m to 6:00 p.m or later for years.

I was micromanaged, and any flexibility to stay home when he was sick or leave early to take him to a doctor's appointment was granted with the expectation that I would somehow make it up to prove my commitment to my job. Pretending to care about things I tried to care about but couldn't also weighed heavy on me. I did consider other job options, but they all seemed to have similar issues and expectations that didn't work for my life at the time.

That catalyst that helped me take that first scary step into the unknown was a friend who had also been in an unfulfilling career five years before. We'd dream and plan how dream jobs - his was opening his gym. During those five years, he did something about his dreams. He ended up with a small fitness studio empire while I was standing still in the same spot, having a Groundhog Day over and over. I knew I couldn't let another year go back and look back on the same thing, even if I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do.

So I jumped into entrepreneurship. The most important thing to me at that time was autonomy and flexibility with my schedule, so I started a consulting and freelance business doing parts of what I had been doing in my previous career to get something going. I loved those clients and am forever grateful for the change it allowed me to make in my life, but as time went on, the pull to do something deeper and more meaningful was still there.

I graduated from an Enneagram certification program and used it with my marketing consulting clients to better understand their work style and preferred communication. I fell in love with it and only wanted to talk about it. After about a year and a half, I had slowly pivoted the business to focus on just Enneagram coaching and training workshops and haven't looked back since.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When I was sitting at my cubicle in a former career, making the same kind of cold calls, day after day, selling something I didn't care about, I used to dream of getting paid to travel to speak at events and getting to bring my family along with me to explore whatever city we were in for an extra few days. This year I officially happened to be a speaker at a conference in Vega, and it felt so good while also being a little unbelievable, like, "Is this my life?? I can't believe I GET to do this."

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Just one?? :) One of the biggest challenges initially was figuring out my services and offers. I made mistakes of doing someone else's "proven" method that didn't work for me, constantly making new offers without giving the previous one a chance to work, and creating services I didn't like doing because I thought it "made the most sense." I've gotten caught up in features and making pretty graphics for promoting it, needing to be more precise about what problem I was solving.

If you can figure that out, clearly and concisely articulate the problem that you solve, and then deliver in a way (course, coaching, workshops, membership, done for you, etc.) that most aligns with your personality and life goals, you'll be far ahead of most others.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. You don't need a logo, website, business card, or creative name for your service packages to start a business. The only thing you need to be in business officially is a client.
  2. Think of your business as an experiment and expect things to shift over time. I waited too long to get started because I needed to figure out exactly what my passion was and what kind of business I wanted. For most people, that clarity only comes from doing, so take the pressure off to "get it right" and allow yourself to see "failures" as lessons or simply information for how you'll move forward next.
  3. Speaking of passion... this isn't a popular opinion. Still, after four years on my own, I've realized that my business can support a vibrant life without having to be my passion. For too long, I was obsessed with working and felt like something was wrong with me when I didn't jump out of bed on fire every day, ready to live my "passion." Instead, I got burnt out because I was only focused on having a successful business rather than having a successful life. I love my business, and it does fire me up some days. Still, I'm more interested in how my company can allow me to live an entire life with passions and interests outside email funnels and sales strategy. My advice here would be to ensure you're building a business that fits you (all of you!), not one you have to go into.

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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