By Tim Hayes []

In the corporate world, you gotta watch out for grand pianos falling from the sky.

Most times they land on other people, other departments, other initiatives.  And sometimes they land on you.  I know – it happened to me exactly 10 years ago this month, which is how my independent practice was born.

The notion of being an entrepreneur had percolated in bursts of courage and creativity earlier in my career, but the “big plan” was to keep earning my stripes in the universe of corporate communications until I turned 50, and only then hang out my shingle as a solo consultant.

But you know the old saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.”

So, the moment of entrepreneurship occurred 10 years sooner than anticipated, and for the past decade I’ve had the best times of my life.  The business has grown along with my family, I’ve learned how to cope with the slow times and am getting better at keeping them at a minimum.  I’ve been amazed at how much fun panic can be, especially when it opens doors to new people and to new ways of thinking.  And most important, it’s meant having the time for, and access to, my wife and kids that a corporate job in a big Downtown office building could have never permitted.

If there’s anything I miss from the corporate world, it’s having respected peers in the next office with whom to bounce ideas, get honest feedback, and just hang out.  That’s still possible, but it’s over the phone or via e-mail now, and that’s an acceptable tradeoff.

Now that it’s 10 years later, I want to build my practice in both wider and deeper directions: 

1)     My professional writing practice (with an emphasis on executive speechwriting) has carried the water since the beginning, and will always be the core component of the business. 

2)     But I’m now leveraging my extensive experience in providing one-to-one presentation coaching to leaders into training of managers at all levels, either on an individual or group basis, either onsite at their offices or offsite at management retreats. 

3)     Plus, I am now taking my 30 years of providing expert leadership communication (as described in my book “Jackass in a Hailstorm: Adventures in Leadership Communication,” available at on the road as live presentations to conferences and other corporate events.

The past 10 years have been amazingly rewarding, exciting, harrowing, and fulfilling.  The next 10 years and beyond, I trust, will be all that and more (we can skip the “harrowing” part, though).  At this important anniversary, I just want to thank all of my friends, family, prospects, and clients for all the support and encouragement along the way.  I can’t wait to go on this next part of the ride together with you.

And best part?  There ain’t a grand piano in sight.

Copyright 2010 Transverse Park Productions LLC