Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Clifton Pettyjohn, Owner of transformYOU institute, located in Dover, DE, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

As a Financial Identity Strategist, I work with highly creative professionals who are ready to reclaim the ownership of their financial success and freedom. I utilize interactive clarity conversations (my spin on webinars, workshops, and seminars), courses, live in-person events, 1-on-1 & group financial strategy sessions, and a financial community of accountability to teach and remind clients how to transform their lives by developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with their financial flow.

I show up as the answer to clients’ questions, cries, internal wrestling, prayers, or need for clarity in finance and finances. Although I show up as the answer, I understand that I am not anyone’s solution. As the answer, I help clients open themselves up to the awareness of their internal solutions.

How do I execute this? I temporarily become a finance/financial navigational resource teaching/reminding clients how to access and embrace the dimensions of their internal intelligence connected to solutions.

Tell us about yourself

I am, by nature, an educator.
I remember in 2nd grade being asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer to that question was that I am a professional baseball player and a teacher. An injury prevented the baseball route. However, I have devoted my entire adult life to teaching children and families in a variety of compacities. About twelve years ago, I reached a crossroads in life where I felt this pull and urgency to do more. That’s how I identified it at that time.

I now am aware that it was my internal intelligence informing me of my need to simply be. “Be what?” you may ask. Now, that’s a layered question. For the sake of this conversation, I’ll just say that it informed me of my need to allow myself to move beyond the sense of normality I’d become accustomed to.

This epiphany led me on a journey that merged my educational skills and my newly discovered passion for entrepreneurship. After a conversation with a mentor at the time, I started offering financial workshops and 1-on-1 and group financial coaching sessions, teaching people basic budgeting skills and financial literacy. Everything appeared to be great clients were repairing their credit, developing multiple streams of income, going back to school, receiving promotions, and saving/investing.

Yet, there was an internal battle that I had been avoiding most of my life. I had come to a place where helping everyone else win and create the life that they desired wasn’t enough for me. I was in a space where I could no longer outrun my internal being, or so I thought.

I took what was supposed to be a break from coaching, and in my effort to avoid myself further, I wrote a book and decided to enter the personal development space as a coach and a speaker. The personal development space was fun for me because it’s such a broad category that it allowed me to hide from myself while helping others. But like all fairy tales, it came to an end. I found myself once again feeling like it just wasn’t enough.

During that time, I was introduced to identity work, a refreshing approach toward life and business. It called for me to identify with myself and then create and develop a business from that space. Finally, I found clarity. I can’t say, though, that I was completely open to identity work in the beginning. I worked directly with Michael Andrew Weston, my Identity Strategist, and slowly began to become open to embracing myself and the philosophy of identity work.

This brings me to where I am today as a multi-dimensional creator that happens to be a Financial Identity Strategist. I have learned to give myself the freedom to show up in the entirety of who I am, whatever that may look like at that time. And because I show up in that capacity, it empowers clients and those in relationships with me to do the same.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my significant accomplishments as a business owner came during the pandemic. The pandemic presented business owners with quite a few unprecedented challenges. I am a person who loves in-person interaction, whether in a classroom, on a stage, or sitting across the table from someone. I prefer that type of interaction. With travel limited and in-person meetings and events canceled, I had to revisit my activity pattern.

This led to virtual courses, meetings, and clear conversations. I look at my ability to convert that challenge into a transformative experience and a lucrative opportunity as one of my significant accomplishments because it caused me to explore dimensions of myself I wasn’t aware of previously.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is knowing when enough is enough for that day, that week, or that month. Sometimes I can become so consumed with the focus of the business that I forget to focus on the well-being of my business’s primary asset, myself. I am holding myself accountable for becoming more intentional about allowing my body and mind to rest as well as rewarding myself more frequently.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have an open conversation with yourself about your identity and your personal values. Also, apply elasticity to both, which will allow you the freedom to discover, explore, play with and implement dimensions of your identity and new values as the opportunities present themselves.
  2. Seek advice but also trust your internal intelligence.
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Have fun and give yourself the grace to learn and build.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

So, here’s the thing about financial identity strategy work… I am aware that some will shy away from it because they’ve never heard of it. Trust me, I understand, and there will be space for you when you change your mind. But for those who are reading this article and what’s being said is resonating with you, and you know that your situation calls for a nontraditional approach to financial education and financial freedom, I encourage you to open yourself to that internal intelligence that is directing you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.