Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Greg Nelson, a Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Leadership & Team Trainer, and Consultant based in Grass Valley, CA, USA.

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

At the heart of my purpose is changing the world into a better place, one leader and one team at a time.

How? My work is catalyzing leaders and teams to transform into high-performance, high-relationship groups. It’s all about training people to understand what motivates themselves and the people they work with (and everyone is different). So when we understand ourselves more clearly, and then we understand the others we work with more accurately, we develop a higher level of successful resilience and collaboration in everything we do.

Tell us about yourself

My entire career has been about helping people to discover and then live out their most authentic selves. I did that as a pastor of congregations in the first half of my career.

And then, in the second half, I decided to develop my own speaking and coaching business in order to have a wider influence in the world outside the confines of a church. And I’ve continued with my original passion of seeing individuals (along with leaders and teams) transform their understanding and experience of their most authentic selves in ways that bring them the highest levels of satisfaction and fulfillment possible. I love this work!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have had the honor of being asked to speak and coach leaders and teams in a number of significant companies through my business: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon, Fitbit, Walmart, Lyft, Applied Materials, American Express, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente.

All those experiences were amazing opportunities to develop highly smart leaders and teams into more intentional, strengths-based, relationship-focused, and collaborative groups of people. What a joy it’s been for me.

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

I remember sitting in an audience of professional coaches years ago, listening to a successful business coach gave a presentation. In the beginning, he said, “All of you coaches here are coaching because you want to work with people and see transformation in their lives. But I’m here to tell you, and you’ll never be able to do what you’re most passionate about unless you spend time building your business.”

It was a sober reminder that no business could succeed without intentionality in developing the business side of a company, which means to those of us in the people-serving business that we will never be able to do what we got into business for in the first place unless we develop an effective business plan. This then means that we will have to pay attention to a lot of details, administrative duties, strategic visioning, and endless “to-do’s” if we want our business to succeed.

Following that advice for me has often been the difficult part of being a business owner. But when I do it regularly, I’m empowered to then perform my passion of working with people to give them their best life possible.

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

  1. KNOW YOURSELF. That means taking time to expose yourself to many of the self-assessments that are designed to help us understand our true selves (e.g., Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, Meyers Briggs Temperament Sorter, Enneagram, etc.). Understanding these truths about how you are designed will keep you motivated and moving forward in positive ways.
  2. KNOW YOUR PEOPLE. This means taking the time to understand the people closest to you – your family and friends and the people you work with. The more you understand their human design, the more you will respect and honor them and empower them to be their truest selves in ways that help them be successful.
  3. KNOW YOUR PURPOSE. Take the time to discover what it is that gives you the greatest joy and fulfillment. What is your purpose in this world? Why are you here? Are you living and working in alignment with this mission? The more clarity you have, the more empowered and motivated you’ll be, especially when the business journey gets tough and full of obstacles. Know your North Star. It will guide you along the way forward.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My latest book is “The Strategic Stop: Taking Back Your Life in a World Obsessed with Busyness.” I offer nine “purposeful pauses” that, when prioritized in your life, will lead to your highest level of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Living in this intentionality and purpose redirects your life from being a limited human “doing” to a more expanded human “being.”

Those of us who are business owners are under pressure all the time to keep working. We’re motivated by the fear that if we stop for anything, we’ll lose our success, or our business won’t grow. So we press on, hour after hour, day after day. And unfortunately, little by little we lose our full humanity and become more like robots, existing only for productivity and a narrow definition of success. And then our bodies and emotional lives pay the heavy price.

We are born to be maximized in life by paying attention to strategic stops along the way. No stopping, no being, no satisfaction.

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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