My Crappy Meeting with a Fancy Business Consultant


Last week I hired a business consultant. It was not a good experience.

I’m not sure why I did it. I suppose something in me has always wondered what all this would look like if I had an MBA. I suppose it was a way to answer that question — to have someone to look at our whole business, inside and out, the way a doctor might look over an ex-ray and to tell me what is broken. I suppose I thought I might be broken.

I prepared for weeks, gathering materials, making little towers of numbers, answering her questions. I dreamed about the meeting again and again, and of course in most of them I suddenly wasn’t wearing pants, or my teeth fell out. In one memorable one, in the middle of the session I realized that I had a baby under my chair that I’d forgotten about and I had to leave the room and feed and bathe it. Yes, mother issues haven’t spared me.

Then the day came.

We sat down.
I took a hopeful breath.
And I got a big, huge lecture about how the only way to grow my business is by running online classes.

Guys, she went on and on. Even when I said that I’d done it for years and it didn’t feel right. Even when I said that I didn’t believe that the internet can hold the tender intensity of this work. She kept talking over me, explaining how much “reach” this would give us, how my “better” my numbers would be, how I’m missing out.

Of course, I left feeling broken.

What if she’s right? Am I following my heart too far, and refusing to grow? Am I scared to grow? Why am I rejecting this tool that everyone else seems ready to embrace?

Then I remembered a conversation I had with Len, the warm and hard-working fellow who runs the food hub, The Depanneur. We were eating Tiramisu in his shop, which was full of candles and conversation and joyful laughter. He said, “You can’t scale this place, no way. But that’s not a flaw, it’s a feature. There are things that shouldn’t scale.”

Remembering those words led me down a path, right back to my truth. Journalling over the next week, I kept remembering the things I want to keep close. I’m going to write those things down here so that I don’t forget them again.

  1. Business is a way that we build the world we want to live in. Every action, every offering in a business, has to directly build that world.

  2. Growth doesn’t always mean bigger. Growth can be inward and downward, a deepening, a calling forth of nuance. Growth can be backward. Growth can be invisible.

  3. I’m not in this to scale it, I’m in this to be in this.

  4. I know more about Firefly than I realize.

  5. This isn’t broken.

That said, we do want to reach out further, and we do have a really fun plan for that. You may have read about it in our last newsletter, if so skip the next paragraph to get to the favour.

The plan is a series of monthly care packages. Padded enveloped stuffed with all the magic of the studio — writing prompts, writing guidance, a curated list of upcoming writing contests, little surprises. It will be beautiful, affordable, and built from the heart of our values.

Here’s the “I have a favour for you” part.

Fed Ex is running a small business grant contest and we really want to win. It would help us hire a designer, advertise property and launch this without losing our minds. Part of the judging process involves getting votes, so I hate to ask you to do this but…

Will you vote for us? It would mean so much. The voting actually started two weeks before we found out about this, so we’re a little behind. We would greatly appreciate any clicks you can lend.

Click here to vote.

You can actually vote every 24 hours until May 13th, so don’t be shy to bookmark that link and visit it again.

Thank you thank you thank you!

Chris Fraser