[quote style=”boxed”]”…work hard, and opportunities will arise.”[/quote]
Stephan Wiedner is a certified life coach and also the founder and “Head Coach” of Noomii.com, a professional coach directory that connects you with your ideal coach based on your personal goals and background. Noomii has thousands of life coaches, business coaches, career coaches, and executive coaches in hundreds of cities.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on building a personal development blog that will appeal to a mass audience. It’s meant to introduce people to the idea and benefits of hiring a life coach, career coach, or business coach. More importantly, for those who are just floating in life, it’s meant to offer a real kick in the pants. Come on, people, there’s important work to be done!
Where did the idea for Noomii come from?
We like to think of ourselves as the eHarmony for coaching. But, like so many startups, we didn’t start there. We originally created a platform for any two people to coach each other. We got some good market traction with it, but it didn’t have a revenue model. So we pivoted. Being big fans of life coaching and personal development, we opted to tackle the biggest challenge faced by life coaches: attracting clients. And that’s what we’re doing today.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m in a rather unique position. I am the co-founder of a company, but I work remotely from home (or wherever else my family happens to be).
To add some structure to the day, I start by meditating, doing some light exercise, and then creating my list of priorities for the day.
At 9 a.m., I get on Skype to have a brief 5- or 10-minute scrum meeting with the whole team (there are currently six of us). If my family is around, I eat lunch with them, and I generally partake in whatever is going on during small breaks. We home-school our kids, so I really value the unstructured interaction I can have with them throughout the day.
In the evening, after a day in front of the computer and talking on the phone, I enjoy more family time outside in the garden, playing street hockey, playing cards around the table, or snuggling on the couch with a book.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The answer to that question seems so obvious: I take action.
It also really helps to have good people around you. I love brainstorming and coming up with new, creative projects, but when I have to build them myself, I get bogged down by the details. One of the most satisfying feelings for me is to have designers and developers take ideas and make them real much more quickly than I could on my own.
For example, two years ago, I came up with this crazy idea of an online Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar on November 30th at 4 p.m. And — no kidding — our staff pulled an all-nighter, and the idea was launched by 1 p.m. the next day, December 1st.
By the time Christmas rolled around, we had thousands of tweets, Facebook shares, and StumbleUpons. It was awesome.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m excited by homeschooling and any other form of disruption to the existing school system. I think Sir Ken Robinson said it best in his famous TED talk that the current educational system was built to serve the needs of the Industrial Revolution. We need to rethink education so we can raise children to thrive in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
After my first year of university, I ate a huge piece of humble pie. I had a hard time finding a job, so I worked in a plant nursery in the potting shed. I worked on a production line packing soil with my fists, inhaling soil, and generally hating life.
I learned some valuable lessons. First, nobody cares if you completed a year of university. You have to have more than that to impress people. Secondly, work hard, and opportunities will arise. By the end of my four months at the nursery, I was the boss’ right-hand man. I came in early to drive the forklift and haul soil boxes around. I drove the two-ton truck, loading and unloading plants. I operated the heavy machinery. And I was trusted to run the show when he was gone.
It sucked. But I made the best of it.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would ask Eric Ries to travel back in time and start the Lean Startup movement sooner. When we first started, we made all the mistakes that the lean and agile methodologies aim to fix. We worked in stealth mode, we deployed code every six weeks, we didn’t validate our customers, we operated based on huge assumptions, and we wasted time and money. If I were to start again, I would start with the minimum viable product and progress from there.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Make your existing customers really happy.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Make Google sunglasses!
Tell us a secret.
I don’t own a TV.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
1) I use Evernote all the time, and it has really helped me keep track of all the notes that I take throughout the day, especially during meetings.
2) Boomerang for Gmail is a great little tool to manage emails, remind me of old messages that require follow-up, and send out scheduled emails.
3) I recently started using LastPass to remember all my passwords and share passwords with colleagues in a secure manner. It helps me delegate some of my work without compromising my security.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
If you believe in karma, then you should read “The Diamond Cutter” by Geshe Michael Roach. It’s a book about applying Buddhist principles to business. What I like about it is that he lists 47 of the most common business problems and their solutions. And just about every time, the solution is something that you can control. It puts the responsibility squarely in your hands.
What’s on your playlist?
I listen to groove tunes that can play in the background and give me a little head bop while I work.
If you weren’t working on Noomii, what would you be doing?
I’d be working on my next startup.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I don’t really use Twitter, but I hear you can follow all sorts of famous people. I’d maybe start with @god; I can’t believe he only has 100,000 followers. Clearly, Twitter is wrong. I’d follow @dalailama for some wisdom, and @HomerJSimpson for some humor.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
There was recently a report of an old woman trying to take the hand of little kids and walk out of the local thrift store. My wife was telling my kids about it, telling them that if it happened, they should refuse to go with her and start yelling. My 4-year-old daughter thought that was really funny. Then, my 7-year-old son piped up, saying, “If she tried to grab me, I’d kick her in the nuts. Then we’d see who would be going to prison!” I laughed out loud.
Who is your hero?
I draw strength and hope from people I admire and respect. But I would say the person I admire most is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who, despite his political and spiritual responsibilities, personifies peace, humility, and humor.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself traveling the world with my young family, learning new languages and cultures, and working from the beach.
What are you most proud of?
Obviously, I’m proud of the work I’ve done on Noomii, but prior to that, I was proud to have taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Ecuador a few years ago. After leaving, they built a cabin in our names.
Connect with Stephan on Twitter https://twitter.com/swiedner
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