Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sunny Grosso, Culture Chief of Delivering Happiness and Founder of Culture Trails, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have been a happiness consultant for over a decade at Delivering Happiness and my own company, Sunny Grosso. We work with organizations worldwide, from Japan to Kazakhstan, to improve culture and support well-being, elevating their human and business results.
Tell us about yourself
Twenty years ago, we were all in a different model of work, a hierarchical approach that evolved from the industrial revolution, which became stifling to the human spirit. I felt this and revolted, first running from it and working in rebel industries; I was a sponsored snowboarder, a bartender, and a professional drinker, then I worked in multiple startups and became an ultra marathon runner. All that running got me eventually to a realization – I could not get away from the emptiness of that approach, but I could work to change it. So I began building Delivering Happiness, starting with envisioning, developing, then testing models of well-being at work. It was a cure, in a way, to what I had been running from my whole life. Every day I now I wake up asking, what is the world I want to live in? I see a more human, authentic and healthy place where work and life are in harmony, where passion is abundant and where it is supported holistically, as humans. I channel that energy into every organization I help evolve.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As we fine-tuned an effective approach at Delivering Happiness, we also experimented on ourselves, continually pushing, evolving, and celebrating our own culture. And then, in 2020, we were awarded the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies award. The economy had been in full swing; our team had grown globally, with DH Japan, Mexico, Spain, and others asking to join. We had 'made it' and even better, we knew it. We celebrated, and began to dream bigger.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There is a loneliness at the top that many leaders, myself included, easily fall into. We take responsibility for our team's well-being and feel we must carry the company on our own, even through incredibly challenging times. I have often forgotten to take care of myself holistically as a leader. And really, it is beyond self-care. It's about knowing yourself intimately, unapologetically, in bright and blind spots, so you can provide the environment for yourself to thrive. Only then can you create that for your team.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Being a consultant, you've asked the right person :)
First is to ask, how do you want your life to look? How about your work life? How do they support each other in harmony? Today's entrepreneurs are not just creating a vision for their businesses. It has to be fully human and holistic. So ask, how will work support your well-being and that of your teams?
Then, listen with a whole heart to how you can serve. What does the world need from your business? Your ability to listen deeply, with reverence, will support your leadership possibly more than any other trait.
Lastly, treat culture as a living growing wonder, continually connect with your team, understand them and align your vision of the human environment you are co-creating.
We're in a time of exponential change, with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redesign the work world. What will you do with it? The first step is to realize it will be different. Then develop an authentic vision. That means it will likely be uncomfortable as you search for what it truly means to you.
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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