Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristi Rowles, Founder of Enneagram University, located in St. Petersburg, FL, USA.

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

Enneagram University. We exist to create the most competent and confident Enneagram coaches on the market. Our students include mental health therapists + PhDs, social workers, educators, small business owners, business/health coaches, spiritual directors/leaders, and people who are brand new to the coaching or business industries but love people and the Enneagram tool.

Tell us about yourself

I am a Mental Health Therapist turned Enneagram Coach. In the Enneagram world, I'm mostly known for teaching the Enneagram in a way that is easy to understand, practical, fun, and driven toward compassion. Having coached 100s of individual and couples clients all over the globe, been a keynote speaker at large events, and led corporate + executive leadership training, people always ask me, "How do I get certified to do what you do?" In 2018, I realized there wasn't another program I felt 100% confident referring them to. So, I built Enneagram University!

My mission is to equip people-and-Enneagram-loving humans to build an impactful and profitable business they absolutely love. More than anything, I long to help others live life as their fullest and freest selves, no matter what that looks like. Building a safer, more inclusive, and loving world is the motivation that drives me to continue expanding Enneagram University. I live in a little beach cottage in Central Florida, love to travel + eat yummy food, wear fun earrings, and be with my people.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There was a pivotable moment when I realized I had more than doubled my highest 9-5 salary. Starting a business and leaving a stable income is risky and wildly uncomfortable, and I know that not everyone makes it. So, to see myself exceeding my dreams was the grandest personal celebration I've experienced as a business owner. Professionally, the thing I'm most proud of is the community of students and Certified Coaches at Enneagram University. EU is like a magnet for authentic, kind, affirming, and exceptionally brilliant people. I can't help but be proud and thankful for our community, how we choose collaboration over competition, and the mutual celebration our coaches share for one another.

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

I thrive on a team. I love to bounce ideas around, to collaborate, to have a team work together to take something from a vision to a reality. When you own your own business, you're the dreamer and the do-er. You're the visionary and the detailed make-it-happen person. Owning your own business demands a broad set of skills, and it can be a challenge to fill all the roles and wear all of the hats simultaneously.

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

  1. Do self-awareness work. Alison Faulker, podcaster and author, says, "What's holding you back in your life is holding you back in your business." Learn your strengths and dive deeper into your weaknesses (or what I like to call the less developed skills) you have. Things like: impatient, impulsivity, overthinking, being perfectionistic, and fearing failure. Learning what things tend to get in your way of success, whether it be personally, relationally, or professionally - they matter. Being informed helps you make wiser, more self-supportive, and more likely-to-be-successful decisions.
  2. Everything is an experiment. In the beginning, it is literally impossible to know it all. Be able to separate your identity and your ego from your work. Try to pull back and look at what you tried. Did you get the results you hoped for? Yes - then do it again. No - try something new. Allow things to be an experiment without assigning meaning like "I'm a failure" or "I don't have what it takes." Yes, you do have what it takes. Figure out what skills needed developed, learn them, and keep going. You can do it.
  3. Allow yourself room to pivot. Your ideal client may change. Your offers may look different in a year than they do now. Your focus and priorities may change. It's all ok. You're learning and evolving.

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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