Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jonathan Dumas, Founder and Owner of Common Culture Coaching & Consulting, located in Long Beach, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Jonathan Dumas (the s is silent), and I am the founder and owner of Common Culture Coaching & Consulting. I am passionate about leadership and equitable workplaces, so much so, in fact, that I became an Organizational Psychologist and Leadership Coach. I freely let my creativity and charisma shine through my coaching, consulting, facilitation, and training because that's who I am!
Leadership and Career Coaching for individuals and teams! We specialize in not only supporting clients in identifying this inner knowledge but empowering our clients to trust themselves to go after what they want. We do this by asking powerful and thought-provoking questions, providing intentional open space for processing and dialogue, and necessary nudges that encourage forward action.
We partner with teams and organizations to get unstuck and eliminate the deficiencies that hold organizations and teams back. The common understanding of consulting is for an individual or company to come in and resolve an organization's biggest problems and leave. These kinds of transactional relationships do not equal the long-standing changes necessary for thriving workplaces. We believe that collaborative partnerships, imaginative solutions and strategies, and honest dialogue will produce the workplaces employees want to be a part of and deserve.
Tell us about yourself
What excites me most about what I do is being a thought partner with my clients. I believe wholeheartedly that the knowledge necessary for change is within everyone I work with. My role is to point out areas of attention and celebrate the victories. Are all of the conversations we have easy? Absolutely not, especially with conversations around equity and justice; however, just because these conversations are difficult doesn't mean they aren’t worth having. In fact, some of the hardest conversations can be a catalyst for the necessary changes that my clients are often looking for. For me, I am not intimidated by difficult conversations; rather, I am stirred by the potential outcomes that are possible if we are brave enough to be authentic, genuine, and vulnerable, even in the workplace.
At Common Culture, we are excited about work! More specifically, we are excited about workplaces where everyone is welcome to be their full authentic selves. It was from our desire for equitable and just workplaces that our name was born: “common,” meaning shared, or something you see every day, and “culture,” being all of the values, beliefs, and norms that make up a group, society, or organization. By bringing the two together, we strive to achieve our mission of normalizing everyday experiences for everyday workplaces. Whether an organization partners with us for an organizational restructure or an individual is seeking career coaching to reset their passion for their career, we aim to empower, encourage and advocate for inclusivity in the workplace and beyond.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In my coaching practice, I like to offer my clients the opportunity to share their feedback with me and decide whether they wish to continue coaching or not. One client shared some of the most impactful feedback I have received thus far. They said, "I have shared things with you that I have never said out loud, and I feel free." Feedback like that is humbly and a great reminder of why I do what I do.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Prioritizing business needs is by far one of the hardest things for me as a business owner. On any given day, I have about 15-20 different things that feel crucial to business operations and that are outside of supporting my clients. Being able to differentiate between what is actually important for my business to function and what just feels important is a constant struggle.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get a journal or find some way to get those random business thoughts out. On rare occasions, a moment of genius will happen at my desk. I usually have great ideas when I am out on a walk, at the gym, or even hanging out with my friends. I use those moments to type a quick note on my phone.
- Your schedule is your schedule. We have been socialized to believe that the "ideal" schedule is 8 am - 5 pm, and it may be for some people. I just know that I work best from 7 am - 11 am and 5 - 7 pm. If I have a big project or client meeting, I will adjust my schedule; otherwise, I work when my mind is feeling the most creative.
- Likes and follows ≠ success. Give the necessary time to build up your online presence, but more than that, develop an incredible service or product. My clients have found me through social media, but they have stayed (and referred others) because of the top-notch service that they receive.
- Get a business coach, or at the very least, find a business community of folks that will encourage you, empower you, and challenge your way of thinking. This is where I have found the most clarity in my work.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
People will project their own insecurities onto you, especially if you are someone who dreams big. I remember the many instances where I shared my vision for my company and was told it's very “niche” or received a blank stare (which really means they think your idea is ridiculous or they don’t get it). I have learned that it’s important to share your dreams and vision with folks that will be honest with you when you are trippin’ but encourage you when you are on the right track. I also learned that it is crucial for me to believe in myself and not rely too heavily on others’ beliefs in me. At the end of the day, your business is your business.
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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