The Story About The Eclectic Entrepreneurs
Stories sell. Isn’t that what “they” say, anyway?
Well, who cares about them. This is a story about me, and a story about you, and how this all came to be. As I approach my ten year anniversary of entrepreneurship, I realize that I have hit the ten years or 10,000 hours that in some circles is required for expert status.
And yet, I really don’t love the word expert. I do love the word eclectic, however, and that is why I called this The Eclectic Entrepreneurs. If you are like me, you will love what you are about to experience.
I began my entrepreneur “safari” in 2009, when I decided that I would start my own business with two partners that specialized in technical recruiting. Collectively we had closed $300,000 in business in one month at our previous employer, so we thought we were set for life.
As we went into pre-launch, that dream turned into reality, and it turned out that none of us knew how to actually run a business, even with a combined 33 years of experience. After a short 18 months, our doors closed, and in late 2011 I found myself wondering what to do next.
For my 40th birthday, I gave myself a gift. I signed up for a retreat to learn the nuts and bolts about how to actually run a business. I figured that if I ever wanted to do anything on my own, I would need the foundation and systems that typically make businesses successful! Yes, I’m the weirdo who signed up for a business retreat for a birthday present. You’ll find that I don’t take myself very seriously, and my favorite hashtag is #rockawkward.
After two years in a very intense business coaching program, I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I was darn good at helping others figure out what they wanted to do. In fact, my consulting business started because a friend said, “I really wish you would figure out what you want to do, so that you can do it for me.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“I’m coming over Thursday for a few hours. Charge me what you want. Pick apart my business and tell me what to do next.” She said. “You know a lot of stuff, and I want you to apply your brain to my business.”
Well, that sounded interesting, so I took her up on her offer and charged her $50 an hour for 2 1/2 hours. She went on to make $120,000 in the next six months. Off a $197 program. That was back in 2012, my friends. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. But, it made me realize that perhaps a few other people would want me to look at their business and help them rearrange some stuff. So, Heidi Totten Consulting was born.
I need to backtrack a little, because during this journey of figuring myself out, I had a few stable “jobs” so that I could pay for all of those coaching programs I kept buying. Two of those jobs involved building out online training platforms. Both were pretty big failures, not because the ideas weren’t awesome, but because technology really hadn’t caught up to those ideas, yet.
I kept trying.
I have two big entrepreneurial loves – learning, and connection. Throw in humanitarian service and it’s my perfect trifecta.
Which brings me to the next part of the story: 100 Humanitarians International
In the spring of 2015, I got on a plane and flew to Kenya. When people ask me why, I respond with, “Peer pressure.”
I had made a lot of connections after helping hundreds of entrepreneurs strategize their businesses, and that meant I had a pretty big network of friends. Some of them wanted me to go on a humanitarian expedition with them, and it seemed like a great idea.
Not really. I actually had no desire to go anywhere in Africa!
However, 24 hours on the ground in Kenya and I was a lifer. I came home after two weeks with my DNA changed and my heart 3x bigger. It felt like everything I had been learning was to prepare me for what was about to happen.
My collegiate background is in Family Science (Sounds made up, right? My parents thought so!) and while in Kenya I kept thinking about how I could use my skills to help families. I had no idea what that looked like, but I can be pretty fearless, so I jumped into figuring it out.
One Sunday in June of 2015, I got out of the shower and heard a voice that said, “Go start a group on Facebook called 100 Humanitarians. I’ll let you know why.”
I am pretty sure I responded with, “Can I get dressed first?”
Instead, I grabbed my phone and started the group. Then I got busy, made plans, and in the process, learned why.
Rafikis, that is another story for another day. I’m writing the book. I’ve been to Kenya 11 times since then, and have taken 135 people with me.
When I meet people I ask them, “Hey, do you want to go to Kenya?” You would actually be amazed at how many people say yes, and then they come. I’m not really asking if they want to come to Kenya, but what I am asking is this:
WHAT IS YOUR KENYA?
What is that thing that you feel called to do?
I’m not telling you to go start a nonprofit and convince people to go with you to remote places. Many of my friends say that their “Kenya” is to be the best mother possible, or paint, or speak on stages, or…
Everyone is different. Isn’t that beautiful? That we all can share our gifts with the world, and do amazing things, and support each other?
Ultimately, the voice let me know why the name 100 Humanitarians. The answer came in the form of a question:
WHAT IS THE POWER OF 100 PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER ON ANY PROJECT IN THE WORLD TO CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE?
After four years and 12 expeditions, I can answer that question! At least when it comes to the nonprofit organization I run.
I would like to answer that question for The Eclectic Entrepreneurs. Except, I would like to change that number to 100,000.
Think of the impact.
Which brings me to today. 2019.
Late in 2018, I started feeling a nudge to try again to build a collaborative, innovative platform that would provide incredible training. I wanted it to be different this time. I wanted it to have a community at its core; entrepreneurs working together.
A platform run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
You see, I have realized on this journey, that I love so many things, and still want to learn so many things.
In a nutshell, I created this platform for my friends. I hope that includes you.
Late one night I asked my friend, Jena (who is a rockstar Pinterest trainer, by the way) what her thoughts were on membership platforms. She directed me to MemberVault, and after a few minutes of looking around, I knew I had found the right place to create The Eclectic Entrepreneurs.
What you are exploring right now, is the free stuff. It’s awesome, incredibly valuable, and can help you in all areas of your life.
What’s on the other side, is a fully immersive experience. I encourage you to take the leap. Get on the plane. Get in the jeep.
Your tribe is waiting for you.
(That means welcome. In Swahili.)