The CoachAccountable Blog

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On Being a One-Man Operation

Amid a tendency in business for smaller operations to portray themselves as larger ones to appear more successful or be taken more seriously, I submit to the world a proudly defiant confession:

CoachAccountable is indeed a one-man operation.

I’m delighted by how often that surprises people when they learn this, from long time customers to first time visitors to the site.

This setup works remarkably well.  Having marketing, customer support, UI design, copy writing, and actual building of the system all come from the same brain affords delightful efficiency.  Just the other week when creating a tutorial video I found places wherein it would be more logical to teach and more pretty to present with a few modifications.  So I just made those modifications to the software, and continued on with my screen captures (in a larger organization the marketer would usually have to propose those changes to the product manager, and if the marketer was lucky enough to have those changes accepted and prioritized, the product manager would have to schedule in those changes to with the development team, and then those changes would be made and released days if not weeks or months later).

But that I am just one person causes concern for some people, and understandably so.  One coach who was at the time a prospective customer summed it up beautifully:

…It concerns me a little that you are a one man shop.  Though obviously a very gifted, committed, and responsive one man (in fact I don’t like people like you who can make me – a mere mortal – feel like a sluff…haha) but there is inherent exposure for all of us there.  How will you keep up with supporting the system as it grows?  What happens if you (heaven forbid) were to get hit by the proverbial beer truck?  For those of us who could be staking our coaching livelihoods on a system like this, it leaves one concerned about the exposure and need for a continuity plan.

Very fair questions indeed.

Basically if I get hit by a bus today CA will, at very least, continue on indefinitely in its current form.  My poor widow of a wife knows exactly who to call for maintenance and upkeep, and she will be well motivated to do so to keep a lovely stream of passive income flowing.  Beyond that she may go so far as to get in touch with my apprentice and offer him a job to continue work on the platform.

Do I want to hear from my users?  Yep.

Do I want to hear from my users? Yep.

As for keeping up with support, this is one of my most favorite aspects of being so directly available to CA users (rather than having sales teams and tech support teams serve as lines of defense), and the reason is as follows:


Every time I avail myself to answer a question, talk about someone’s specific business needs, or troubleshoot a problem, I take in useful perspective of what coaches want, what’s confusing about the system, and/or what would make things better.  Since all support requests go through me, I only address a particular issue so many times before I modify the system to permanently address the issue for all future users.

The net result of all this is that even though the CA user base has grown steadily over the last two years, the amount of time I spend on customer support has remained fairly constant.  And perhaps more important, the system is more polished and versatile thanks to the combined input of many coaches.

So that’s how CA continues to function as a one man shop.  To the degree that it proves necessary, eventually I will grow the CA team beyond myself in a measured way as I deem appropriate.

But I will be doing my best to avoid bringing others aboard for as long as is practical.  CA users generally like the current arrangement, as can be seen in a bit of feedback I got last week:

Great product!  Great support!

I’d love to see you grow, but I love to see you stay smaller too (for the personalized service) – maybe we can have our cake and eat it too.


  1. David McQuarrie

    Hi John, thanks for being open and honest on this topic. I have no doubt that you will be in the command seat well into the future. I’ve always had excellent support and dialog with you over many months now. You are super responsive and patient! The qualities über customer support and service!

    Keep up the good work, it very much appreciated!


    September 15, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

  2. Kelly Talamo


    As usual you’ve gone above and beyond being transparent and handling a delicate question. Truth be told, most of us being “one man shops” should constantly evaluate how much we love what we’re doing – while realizing our own limitations.

    You Rock – and I’m glad to Roll with you!


    September 21, 2014 @ 6:05 am