Name: Jinnie Lee Schmid
Business Name: Change Navigators, LLC
Follow on LinkedIn
Describe your business.
I own a small consulting firm focused on training and development to improve employee, team and leader performance.
Tell us about your self-employment journey.
I’ve been self-employed for most of the years since 2000. For most of that time, I was an independent contractor, a “single gun for hire” helping long-time clients (and referrals) execute their training and development projects.
My journey over the last few years has been transitioning into a consulting firm. I sell projects to newly-sourced clients, suggest solutions based on my expertise, and work with other contractors and teams to execute projects bigger than myself or coincide with other projects. To support this transition, I’ve been leveling up my own leadership skills.
What area of your business are you most passionate about?
I really enjoy establishing relationships with customers and partnering closely with them to design custom solutions that they’re excited about.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned early in your career that has contributed to your success?
That relying on my own smarts and guts (courage) provides the same security as working for “the man.” And, often, it’s a lot more fun, assuming you have the constitution to enjoy the roller coaster of self-employment!
I love that entrepreneurs are scrappy and willing to do anything to make their dreams come true. Everyone in my immediate family has always relied on their full-time jobs, and I didn’t have any role models for stepping out on my own, but I’m so glad I gave it a try.
How are you pivoting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The biggest shift is that I’m going to outsource marketing for the first time because I’ve learned the importance of having a robust pipeline so that work stays steady. That pivot is not 100% due to COVID, but I’m certain that the pandemic has been a factor in my business development this summer.
What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re really excited about?
I’m currently working with my second client from the online game industry, helping them design their first-ever training program for managers. They’re a great company to partner with, and it’s such fun coming up with a best-in-class design for them.
The pandemic has impacted our timeline a bit, but my team will finish development this year and then pilot test the new program early next year. I can’t share any samples due to client confidentiality. But, the eventual outputs will be slides, facilitator and coach guides, participant materials, communications, implementation guidelines and an evaluation program to support the rollout.
Are you a part of any freelancer communities? Which ones and how do they support you?
I’m a part of informal communities, like my circle of friends, who are also contractors or small business owners. But they’re a great source of support. We call and ask each other for advice and enjoy giving back when contacted.
What advice would you give other self-employed people?
I’m starting to believe that outsourcing is the way to make traction forward. As entrepreneurs, we all feel that we’re good at everything or “should” do everything ourselves… at least until we reach some level of success (by whatever metric you evaluate having arrived).
But, I think we need to more quickly consider which areas of our businesses are not thriving, why and if someone else can do it better or faster. And then consider how to make that work. I think sometimes we have trouble taking our own medicine. We believe strongly that people should hire us for our expertise…but we forget that we also have needs that warrant hiring other experts to fill our gaps.
Want to be featured in our community spotlight? Learn more here!