I’ve always believed that anything is possible.

You just have to create it yourself.

I’m not your average business coach. In fact, there’s nothing all that average about me. Sometimes I’m above average, and sometimes I’m below, but I can guarantee you, I don’t stay still. 

You don’t want average either. That’s why you’re here. You want connection, thoughtful dialogue, intellect, and innovation. You want to feel great every day… better than average.

Start building something.

Before you started your business, you were full of big plans and nothing but glass-half-full optimism.

You felt unshakeable in your determination. Maybe once you needed permission to show up, but not anymore. You’re one of the strong ones—once you set your mind on a goal, you make it happen.

At some point, your dream business hit reality face-first, and it started to feel really hard. You know you need help, but you don’t really know who to look for.

You refuse to take any more courses, and if one more business “guru” promises you a million-dollar launch, you’re going to punch them in the throat.

I’ve been there, multiple times (throat punching included). Whether you’re on the edge of a breakthrough or you know you need to level up. I’ve been there with my own businesses and with my clients. I’ve been there plenty of times, so I know I can help.

There’s always a way through—a direction and a path to success. It won’t always be easy, it might not be clear, but I’m here to get you on your feet, dust off your boots, cheer you on, and keep you on track. If you venture off your path, you’ll find me there, hands on my hips, pointing in the direction that you need to go.

I’VE BEEN BUILDING STRONGER BUSINESSES FOR 20 YEARS.

I didn’t have a typical childhood. Instead of Barbie and Ken, I grew up with circuit boards and binary logic. By grade school, I was building my own video games. I started my first business at 12 where I’d dress up as a clown and entertain sugar-stuffed kids at birthday parties. The kicker—I hate clowns. Intensely. But, business is business.

I started fresh out of university as a researcher working for a startup, building software that was ahead of its time. The great thing about startup jobs is that you can get your hands into everything. When I took on a marketing role serving a region with no customers, I pulled up my bootstraps and said, “Guess I’d better get some!” And I did just that. I sold our product all over the land because in a startup, you just do it.

After cutting my teeth at my first startup, I thought I’d jump head first into the dot-com boom where I managed the creation of a multi-million dollar web property and shepherded it through the bust. My 7-day-a-week schedule was both exciting and traumatic, and we all learned what not to do in business.

Like a fine tea, I’ve been steeped in small business.

Before I started working with Stephanie I felt directionless and overwhelmed in my service-based business. I wasn’t able to see the bigger picture of its potential and felt like I was on an endless treadmill of providing services to clients with no possibilities for growth. Stephanie has a remarkable ability to cast a larger vision as well as a clear path toward it. Her insight and expertise have completely altered the course of my business and goals, and for the first time in a long time I feel excited and energized about what I can create.

– LAURA NICHOLLS, WRITER

I started my first “real” business (meaning I invested very real money) with my partner in 2007—a boutique consulting firm that built business solutions and designed transformation projects for big companies.

By most definitions, I was a success. But running a business on my own was hard. I knew only how to keep going, ramping up everywhere to try and stay above water. If things got tough, I’d just work more hours.

During this time, I birthed two babies, and could see burnout on the horizon as it got harder and harder to keep the pace.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I tried to power through the fatigue and the gnawing feeling that something wasn’t right, but it just wasn’t working. I was pinned against the wall and had to admit that this work was no longer supporting my vision or my goals.

I was so emotionally invested in what I was building that I never stopped to ask, “Is this right?”

I took a step back, and finally said, “There’s nothing more to do, I can’t be successful like this.”

I divorced myself from the emotional attachment of the business and walked away. I felt like an utter failure and questioned everything I knew.

I failed, but I won.

 

I began freelancing with small companies that didn’t understand how to be small. They wanted to behave like the big guys but hadn’t let their businesses percolate, found their differentiators, or watched their market. They rushed to appear like they were accomplished but couldn’t figure out why they were always on the verge of going under.

I tried to help, but founders sometimes don’t like to listen when they’re in the thick of their startup phase. I knew why their businesses were headed into the ground. And I knew I wanted to coach them rather than work for them. I could see exactly how they could shift to gain some traction and start growing.

I began my immersion in The Lean Startup and Lean Launchpad (thank you, Steve Blank), where everything came together and started making perfect sense. I became a practitioner of the Business Model Canvas and started leading my entrepreneur friends through strategy sessions and assessments to great success. I had a knack for seeing what they couldn’t because they were too close to their battles.

I was invited to work with the Entrepreneurship program at the local university as an entrepreneur mentor, helping aspiring startups figure out how to define, structure, and pitch their ideas to eventually become funded and birth their business babies.

After I supported a local startup accelerator and organized our first regional Startup Weekend, I knew I was hooked. I had to focus my future on helping small businesses grow.

Experience and Grit – this time, I was doing it right.

I was also getting antsy because I’m an entrepreneur in my bones, with an itch that needed to be scratched. I used what I knew to structure a new business with two new partners, building software that filled a gap in the market.

We bootstrapped for four years, and despite being scoffed at by investors and advisors for not asking for money, we stayed the course, listened to our guts, and are happily enjoying a profit-rich business that’s taking off like a bullet-train. I’ve learned to trust my intuition and experience and stick to what feels right.

Small business owners now come to me to help them pivot and scale because of my experience, education, and pragmatic optimism.

If you’re ready to do the work,
I’ll help you build a business to last.

Here’s what I know to be true:

Making it harder doesn’t make it better.

There’s no trophy for being busy, and spending more time on something doesn’t make it more valuable.

Businesses don’t run on Facebook likes.

Businesses run on people and relationships, and a bulletproof plan.

There’s no online course, free download or checklist that will fix your business

… especially if you don’t know what’s broken.

There’s no business problem, obstacle, or awake-at-3 am-again stress that can’t be solved.

The best person to help you break through to the next level is the one who has been there.

I don’t talk about theoreticals or pretend everything will “just work itself out if you listen to your heart.”

I’ve had my head in the clouds and been stuck in the weeds.

There’s no substitute for legitimate entrepreneurial experience when it comes to getting your business dialed in and working for you.

So, are you ready?

My passion for entrepreneurs runs deep.

I believe strongly that this is the way of the future, and that being independent leaves more room for creativity, innovation, and happiness. I am committed to showing those that are struggling that there is a way to their success and that you can do it.

With my practical, proven, no-nonsense approach, we can very quickly get you going on a low-stress, easy to implement plan that you understand and have helped create, so you can embrace it and own it with your hard work and determination. 

If you’re struggling to see your way through, or are excited to build the next phase, schedule a FREE 15-minute discovery call and tell me where you’re at, what you’re struggling with or what you dream to be.

Free Guide

Stephanie Hayes Business Strategist and Coach for Service-Based Small Businesses

9 Types of Assets to Build in

Your Service-Based Business

Not sure where to start? I’ve compiled a list of 9 different ways you can build assets inside your service business – that you may not have thought of yet!

Download the guide for inspiration and stories of other business owners who are building their own asset-based businesses!

Join me and my client Karen for our 12-week live show, Live Til Launch, where we follow her journey to launching her new business!

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