Authentic Business Discovery

The absolute sweet spot of your business is that place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. But how do we find a need so deep that fulfilling it would also make us feel so good?

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to discovering the right business to launch. One school seems to be more spiritually based – focused on finding work that you love, following your passion and living a purposeful life.

The second school appears to be more practical; focused on finding a need and filling it and about designing a business to alleviate your customer’s pain.

Which school of thought would serve you best right now? Most likely, it’s the opposite of the one you believe in the most.

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

That’s right, following Buechner’s formula, to build a profitable and fulfilling business we need to develop our businesses guided by the wisdom of both schools.

So how do you identify a potentially profitable business that is deeply fulfilling to you and deeply gratifying in service to your clients or customers?

One effective way is to put yourself in an environment that honors your creativity while at the same time insisting on your productivity.  You could attend a Big Link Rally event. You can visit my coaching website and request an exploratory conversation. Without accountability and commitment to action, even the best original ideas die on the vine.

What else could you do to get to the point of a confident new business launch?

1.) Get very clear on one end of the spectrum by identifying a deep gladness or a deep need.

2.) Then persistently observe, brainstorm ideas, consider approaches and seek openings until you have a matching need or gladness that feels strong enough to develop.

3.) Then imagine the fulfillment of that gladness and need working together seamlessly in a profitable business that you own. Do this by answering these questions as if you have already succeeded.

  • How have you changed the world for you and your clients?
  • What can they do now that they couldn’t before purchasing your product/service?
  • What can you do or be now which you were reluctant to experience before developing this wonderful business?

4.) Write down all of your answers and continue to make adjustments until you can withstand the sharpest of challenges when questioned about your projected business.

5.) Then once you’ve decided and committed, continue to identify the next best step that you can complete to move you further each week and take that action.

Personally I like to get so fired up that my business feels like I’m starting a revolution. My mission needs to inspire me to that degree.

How about you, how can you tell that you’re on the right track?

What’s the best combination of personal gladness and customer gratification that you can imagine and believe in?

If you’re already in business what deep need are you now fulfilling?

If you have yet to start your own business what deep need would give you deep gladness to provide?


  1. I think you’re right that it’s a combination of both the practical (what is needed out there) and the spiritual (what am I passionate about). I think if you embrace the notion that we’re all here for a purpose (there’s a need we came to fill) and that we know we’ve found our purpose when our work gives us joy, then finding your life’s work becomes a little easier.

    Marelisas last blog post..Creativity Insights from Seth Godin

  2. It’s about optimizing our skills for the market. If I can paint pigs better than anyone around, no ones going to care, but if I can paint murals on the side of buildings now we have something.

    I love this post because it takes a practical approach to using our talents and matching them with what is needed in the world. It’s why some artists become great successes while others always struggle.

    Karl – Work Happy Nows last blog post..Imagination Isn’t Just for Kids

  3. I really believe I’ve found that intesection in the Venn diagram. My passion was easy to identify. The need was also a sinch. The trick was coming up with an innovative way to marry those points. And that, my friend, hit me one day from the spiritual realm as you posted about last time. It is exciting and so much fun. I can’t wait to get into the meat of the business more.

  4. susan hanshaw says:

    I like to look at purposeful work as utilizing our unique gifts, skills and passions to be of service to the world. I believe that the reason we all possess different skills and passions is that we are all here to contribute in different ways. When we are clear on our gifts, then, like you say, we can begin to brainstorm on all the ways we can use our gifts to generate income.

    Thank you for contributing such a great blog!

    susan hanshaws last blog post..Career Fears Overcome by Action

  5. Hey Tom,

    You ask what deep need we are fulfilling?

    Well. I can only hope. 🙂
    But I believe that my ability to help my clients SHIFT into another possibillity through creative and strategic design addresses most adults need for new perspective, someone who honestly believes in them (I don’t take them on if I don’t), and a way for them to connect to a bigger vision.

    Thank you for asking. Thanks for the challenge.

    Harmonys last blog post..THE TRIPLE WIN STRATEGY

  6. I agree that accountability and commitment are critical for any success (personal or business). My dream business that I am working towards incorporates both. I believe there is a very strong connection between my passion to help people practice the art of life balance and the world’s deep need to create life balance. Our culture is spinning people out of control and I am creating a place for people to visit so they can focus on their sense of self, their needs, and their passions.

    Stacey / CreateaBalances last blog post..Do What You Love

  7. “How about you, how can you tell that you’re on the right track?”

    I think I’m a lot like you. I need to be REALLY excited about an idea to actually do something about it.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..A Weekend In Napa: 3 Days, No Internet, No Problem

  8. From my experience with my first business – professional organizing – there needs to be a third circle: People willing to buy your solution.

    As a professional organizer, I had no end of people tell me how much they (or someone they knew) needed my service. But because the disorganized tend by nature to be procrastinators, the sales cycle was super long and the number of people who fit into the need category who were willing to actually buy was small and changeable (as in each month I’d have x dollars lined up in sales and by the end of the month I’d have actually performed about 1/3 of x due to cancellations or last minute decisions not to buy).

    In my new business selling workshops curing people of Someday Syndrome, I’m faced with the same challenge – the people who need the solution (and know they need it) aren’t necessarily going to jump in and buy. So while the market seems huge, it’s actually quite small.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Picking a Goal and Pursuing It: Harrison McLeod Interview

  9. Finding that sweet spot…a great place to get to. I’m working towards that yet. I’m going to use some of the things you talk about here to help me define and refine what this place looks like for me.

    Lances last blog post..Don’t Ever Give Up

  10. Tom–signed up for your Five Days course and I am really excited for it. Those questions are exactly what I need guidance on right now as I step into the reality of owning my own business.

    Can’t wait to start my own revolution.

  11. @Tom
    You are so right – it is really a matter of figuring that out isn’t it?

    I’m not a patient person and building a business takes patience. I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s step by step. I have a bunch of approaches lined up and am slowly unrolling them so that I don’t overwhelm myself with it all, but then I get impatient and cranky.

    By the time I’d decided to leave my last business I was beginning to see success of all my various approaches, but by that point I’d realized it wasn’t my passion. Now that I have found my passion, I’m more willing to put in the work, but my patience is sometimes short.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Picking a Goal and Pursuing It: Harrison McLeod Interview

  12. Karl – you’re right on. We not only need to identify the sweet spot but also package and present it in a way that’s attractive to potential buyers.

    Laurie – it is very cool when we hit our sweet spot. After that it’s simply a matter of strengthening the business by testing and making adjustments. Soon you’ll be hitting it out of the park.

    Marelisa – I agree and I’ve found that it’s absolutely necessary to embrace the other side of the spectrum as well. We have to respect the part that does not naturally fire us up. Like the Quakers are fond of saying, “pray and move your feet.”

    Harmony – thank you for answering the question! You raise two excellent components that create value for any service provider. 1). Offer a fresh perspective and 2). belief in the client’s ability to succeed. That’s a winning ticket!

    Stacey – you’re right about the out of balance market being huge. Your challenge, which is similar to my own, is how to get them to see that they are spinning and to believe that they can stop. Once they want to change the sales conversation is of course much easier. What works well for you in that regard?

  13. Vered – excitement and enthusiasm are a wonderful indicator of alignment. I’m pleased that you’ve found that in publishing your blog.

    Susan – wow you’re views are very similar to mine. I truly can’t see another explanation. It’s interesting to me that some folks fight this vocational alignment concept but can’t offer and alternative that makes any sense.

    Alex – I understand your frustration, when I first began coaching I had much the same experience. You really are raising a marketing challenge that comes into play after we identify our sweet spot. Like Karl and I said, it’s our responsibility to package and present our sweet spot in a way that others will want to buy it. Respectfully, I think it might serve you well to begin thinking of the market as huge and to decide that there is a way to enroll them – you just haven’t found it yet. That way, in your mind, it will be a matter of how do I reach this market in a way they want to buy. It will expand your possibilities. Would you like some suggestions on how to come up with alternative approaches?

    Lance – way to go man!. Get into action and you’ll see openings that you can’t see now. Your sweet spot is already becoming more visible to you. just by the power of your intention.

  14. I love this, Tom! I want to add that sometimes we can’t “figure out” this sort of thing. So many people get stuck on trying to figure out the exact and perfect business they want to create that the business they could have right now (and evolve over time into that extremely sweet spot) never gets off the ground.

    I started with intuitive readings, which was very good, and certainly available. But I also needed a strong teaching element, so I added blogging and live teleclasses. Now I train intuitive professionals, which is even better. I definitely feel that the sweet spot evolved over time.

    I love your focus on the next best step – it’s really the only one available to us in the present moment, anyway!


  15. Hi Tom. I left my last business because I realized it wasn’t feeding me in the “right” way. Funnily enough, it was a nutrition business and although I’m interested in health, I was enjoying creating the business more; developing the marketing material, writing, planning etc. The business was not successful, or more accurately, I didn’t want to give it any more time to see results. I had run out of steam.

    What feeds me is learning about myself and helping others to shed some light on the mysteries in their own lives; to realize that THEY have the answers. I value expression and creativity and this is what has led me to life coaching and blogging. That makes us colleagues.

    I really enjoyed your perspective on this. Your workshop looks fantastic. I wonder where I’d be now if I had taken this kind of workshop a year and a half ago???

  16. Christine – you have already begun your revolution. It started when you committed to investing in yourself. All is well – charge!

    Alex – absolutely man, everything counts. Those actions are accumulating to send you the work you want. Check out the post I just published. Tolle believes that impatience is resisting what is and that only gets you more of the same. I hope you can jump on my free call on Friday – we’ll be working through the process.

    Andrea – that is my experience exactly. I was a speaker and someone came out of the audience and asked me if I’ve ever coached. I stumbled into it because I had taken that first step. It’s called the “corridor theory” – we don’t know what doors will open until we walk down the hall.

    Davina – congratulations on nailing a fulfilling vocation. Welcome to coaching. We’ll have to talk sometime soon. Thanks for your kind words regarding my class. I can only hope that the right folks find it now. It’s life-shifting!

  17. This is a great post. Whenever I coach people on career change, I insist that they need to apply both approaches – the inner meeting the outer. I appreciate how well you articulated this, and the exercises you offered to gain clarity.
    Great work! Keep it up,

  18. Hi Tom – this is great advice for anyone trying to find the business that’s right for them. While we all need to find something we’re passionate about, solving our customers problems is equally important.


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