Creating Lasting Growth & Change on the Painted Porch

May 25, 2022

Recently our Founder and Chief Evolution Officer, Amy Yackowski, sat down for an interview with Subkit to talk about the Painted Porch Strategies team's entrepreneurial journey. Here's what they discussed.

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

The last few years have shined a light on something we've known for a while but kept putting in the "Later" box to address: People are burned out, disconnected, and feel a loss of control in their work and life. Work and life are being redefined. Stress levels are at an all-time high. Clear communication is critical to creating meaningful change and connections. Strong relationships & teams are vital. Emotional Resilience & Flexibility to what's not in your control is more important than ever.

At Painted Porch Strategies, we guide individuals and teams on how to become the architect of their life (and work) through mastering the power of your mind, the confidence of your communications, and the strength of your teams & relationships.

Our programs, teaching, tools, and techniques are rooted in the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. The Stoics believed that you could have a flourishing life - one where you are in control - in a world that is full of challenges, obstacles, and change.

Through our online and in-person programs, workshops, and advisory, we shine a light on the untapped potential within you or your organization - to design a blueprint for lasting change, growth, and fulfillment.

What first got you started working on your business?

As a product designer and operational consultant to the staffing industry for 15 years, I worked with individuals and companies, crafting products and processes to help them grow, scale, and serve. Yet, I repeatedly encountered situations where those involved in implementing the change struggled with how to make it "stick." The "Why" was strong, but the How was not. One day in late 2019, I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment, realizing that this wasn't due to a lack of clear processes, project plans, industry experience, or focus but rather a need for tools and techniques to deal with the PEOPLE elements of change. Were these leaders prepared for what was being asked of them? Did they have the necessary mindset and methods to handle moments of overwhelm, exhaustion, or obstacles? Were they able to effectively (and efficiently) share and communicate ideas, doubts, and concerns? And were they able to work as a mission-focused team - questioning old habits and designing new solutions to problems?

It was from these questions that I began to design my first blueprint for change - the change I hoped to create in the staffing industry with Painted Porch Strategies, creating a foundation for individual and organizational transformation and success.

What motivates you each day to do what you do?

While I have moments and days where my motivation is "challenged," I remind myself of the tremendous opportunity and impact my team has and will continue to make in the lives of individuals and businesses. To see how our clients are using our tools and teachings to stand in their power, share their ideas with confidence and clarity, and develop healthy, balanced, collaborative relationships and teams keeps me going when doubt, frustration, or overwhelm kicks in. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have a Mindfulness coach on our team to help re-energize me when I need it most!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When you're a business owner, it's sometimes hard to recognize your own accomplishments because there's always the sense that I need to or could be doing more. In a world that has groomed us to compare ourselves to one another, I would say my biggest accomplishment has been celebrating the intention and the effort I've completed to date vs. placing any sense of achievement or measures of success on externals, which (as the Stoics remind us) are not in our Complete Control.

Plus, the fact that as a Team, when COVID shutdown policies were enacted, we were able to quickly pivot from in-person, onsite workshops to scripting, editing, and publishing a 100% online delivery program for our individual and business clients. This included over 24 hours of on-demand video lessons and materials.

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

Wearing all of the hats and finding the right balance between each "role" I have to assume on any given day is one of the hardest things I struggle with as a business owner. It has taken almost two years for me to finally come up with a flow or schedule for when I perform each role's responsibilities to ensure I remain focused on why I started this business and not let the small to-do's cloud our vision and mission we set out to achieve.

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

If you have a spark in your heart and a strong, noble purpose, the three tips I'd give when you start, run, and grow your business are:

  1. Set Big, Audacious Goals for Yourself.
  2. Then, Break them out into reasonable, actionable focus areas/themes where you are making little progress every day.
  3. Celebrate each day's accomplishments, no matter how small.

Setting BIG goals will help propel you forward in your business. Though if you set the timeline for completion way too aggressively, you will most likely become overwhelmed, discouraged, and then burn out. Decide on a theme or focus area for a specific piece of your goal, then solely spend your time on accomplishing that ONE piece until completion.

As a Solopreneur (or even part of a small start-up team), it's easy to get caught in the trap of having to do ALL THE THINGS, all at the SAME TIME. DON'T.

  • Set your BIG Goal.
  • Break it down into small focus areas or themes for a set time period (say One month or Quarter).
  • Complete one task each day that's tied to that Focus area
  • and then Give Yourself a High-Five each day for moving the needle forward.

Once you have that momentum going, lather, rinse, and repeat for the next theme. You'll be amazed how much more you will accomplish and feel accomplished about if you choose just ONE focus/theme and stick to it until completion.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Yes! Leave Your Office!

I was someone who would often be in the same location (my office) for days and weeks on end, giving myself some justification for not being able to leave. The whole idea of working in a coffee shop or similar seemed ridiculous and highly inefficient to me. It's loud; there are a bunch of people around, I can't bring ALL MY STUFF with me, and so on. However, I finally forced myself to give it a try and found that, with the change of environment, I gained a change in perspective. I had new ideas for what I could do within my business and felt a creative "boost." So, force yourself to change your work location every once in a while. Trust me, it works.