tinkerbird: notions for a well-lived life | Skillshare Projects

Mackenzie Rivers

the tinkerbird girl



tinkerbird: notions for a well-lived life

Have you ever found a tool that worked so well, in retrospect you wonder how you'd ever managed without it? 

Suppose you need to trim a rose bush. And maybe all you have is a pair of scissors. So you dig them out of the sewing basket and head outside to start trimming. You might be able to make a few cuts, say, if the stems are green and young and thin. But when you get to the old, dead wood it gets much harder to make any useful or good cuts, and maybe even doing more harm than good. And not just to the rose, but those tender fingers you just might want to keep.

But then someone hands you a pair of felco pruners. After a teensy learning curve it becomes clear you can prune the bush and make precise, neat cuts. The right tool made it easier and maybe even fun.

This is the enneagram for me. It's a tool used by business thinkers--here's an example at Harvard Busines Review:


and a tool used for self awareness: www.enneagraminstitute.com

In business it's used to help people understand their team member's motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. It's a way to see ourselves, and why we each might act the way we do and why we often trip over the things we tend to trip over, and why we happen to be drawn toward certain lifestyles or big cushy chairs or men in hats and rakish bow ties, and inclined to act and react in habitual ways. 

this video about the enneagram prison project is amazing, inspiring, and nails the changes the enneagram can bring about:


There in the middle, between business seminars with power point presentations and life coaches, and long weekends of spirituality workshops (all good and useful things btw), over by the messy sock drawer and the cat fur on the floor and the desk with one too many teetering piles, is everyday life. Which could use it's own handy tool.

And just maybe, despite those clever felco pruners, your goal isn't to start a landscaping company or become a master gardener. You just want to prune the rose bush and be able to look out the window and see some lovely blooms. And maybe stop and smell a few on your way to and from that busy life.

My business is tinker-bird.com. I teach happy life style design by looking through the enneagram lens. That's the tool part of it; the enneagram is part wide angle lens and big picture, and part macro lens, zooming down to the nitty gritty. 

It doesn't matter how you define a well-lived life, but if you're trying to paddle across a lake and using a log of driftwood, the going will be slow, and you might not get where you think you want to go. My goal is to hand my readers a paddle, and show them how to use it.

Business model: I show how to use the enneagram as a tool for creating a well-lived and happy life. I've created my website www.tinker-bird.com as a free online resource for my useful daily blog posts and information. Stage one is creating the website (up and running now), and stage two is offering one-on-one services to subscribers: enneagram consultations by email and phone, and a newsletter via mailchimp. Stage three is a line of fun (and hello, quirky) products I'm designing geared for enneagram followers that I'll offer on my website. 

Assets: 1. The opportunity to create this; I'm on the ground floor of my own entrepreunerial (update + correction: freelance) vision. 2. My gift as a guide. I worked for 19 years as a professional river guide in Grand Canyon, which is more than just rowing a boat. It's a wilderness adventure where, yes, you get wet and see some amazing things, but mostly, it's a journey into the depths of human nature unlike any other. 3. I have a knack for intuiting the enneagram types and people's actions. Hard to quantify this, but over time in enneagram workshops and on panels, I've been told this many times. 4. My website and my domain name. 6. My love for and belief in what I'm doing. Sorry to go down the slightly murky touchy feely hallway, but I've seen firsthand how belief can get a big ball rolling, and even in the dark.

HR: Myself. I am working as writer, editor, and web designer using squarespace to create the tinkerbird site. I'd like to be able to hire a contract web designer and logo designer. 

My Customer: Lives in a world of more (stuff, info, choices) but senses something is missing and wants to make happier choices.

What They Get: Daily ideas on using the enneagram to see how their choices help or hinder their goal of a well-lived life. 

What's hard: how to get it known and visited. And re-visited. 

What's Unique: tinkerbird is like going to buy a sofa and taking Seth Godin along: he might not know the difference in a houndstooth check and a handtufted linen, but he'll certainly address some interesting aspects you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. You'll never look at a sofa (or the time you spend sitting on one) the same way again. 

Repeat: A rinse and spin cycle of clients who tell their friends. The writing of the daily blog posts does not change whether I have one daily reader or 100,000. The tricky scalable part will come with personal interactions (one-on-one sessions, enneagram typing consults, etc). A good deal of time is spent on sourcing products or photos; this is an aspect I could revise my HR part for, and hire someone to do. 

Freelance or entrepreneur: freelancer

Funding: need to hire a web designer to help tweak the design I've created, and add the features I'm clueless about adding. The website is an asset--it is the sole way I send my writing out there.

Naming: I chose tinkerbird because it's easy to say, remember, and a tinker is someone who creates tools or peddles them.

I appreciate feedback. come visit me at www.tinker-bird.com


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