Creating your Act 2 company: Build the business you want to run next

Thinking of moving on to your next business venture? Use these questions to help you plan your next company.

By Michelle van Schouwen

In October 2017, I sold the company I had owned and operated for 32 years. The new owners appreciate my support in the seamless transition of clients, but they don’t need me in the office on a daily basis. This transformation in my work schedule and responsibilities could have created an abyss for me, because I’ve been so busy for so long. Instead, it created an opportunity.

For many years, I’ve been deeply interested in environmental issues, and in the many programs, policies, technologies, and tactics that create a better, greener future. More recently, I’ve focused much of my attention on climate change and the need for mitigation as well as for adaptation to a stormier, hotter and, in some areas, much wetter or drier world. With the sale of van Schouwen Associates, LLC to a great new owner, I have the opportunity to build my next adventure, a company that “pays it forward.” What’s more, I’m in a position to develop it the way I want it. My Act II company, Q5 Analytics, will be the business I want to run now.

As the new year approaches, you too may be thinking about major changes you want to make. If one of these is similar to mine – creating your next company – some of the questions I addressed in my quest may be of value to you. I’ll share my own answers, in case they are of use in your process.

-What have you liked best (and least) about the company you have been running? How can you create a company that combines the best of all worlds? (For me, the answer to this one was simple. I needed to reduce my stress and increase the freedom of my days. I was determined to make my Act II a low overhead venture – supporting me, but forgoing a big infrastructure and staff.)

-What is meaningful or inspiring to you now? (I have long wanted to make a difference for the future of the planet’s environment, and I enjoy learning about the different ways we can improve our chances. I like learning about and communicating the science, and advocating for changes in which I can believe.)

-What skills do you want to bring to this work? (I will bring the communications, marketing and strategic planning skills that made my marketing company a success for decades. I’ll also bring my skills in developing a client base and a network of people to work with me on projects.)

-How will you transition? If you are currently running a company, will you run two companies? Sell or close the first? Transition its mission? (I sold my company, which was ideal for my clients, staff and for the Six-Point team.)

-What do you need for yourself? Your answer may include the income, schedule, team, type of work, meaning, or future growth prospects you require. (I looked for the chance to do the elements of my work I most enjoy, including writing material I feel is important and making the world a better place. I wanted to work independently at this new stage, from wherever I happen to be. I am willing to travel to meet clients. I don’t need to run a big company now.)


-Will this new work continue to inspire you? (I believe so; it’s been an interest for 40 years.)

I welcome questions or comments about this topic. Please feel free to message me through the Q5 Analytics Facebook page (company website to follow soon). Happy transitions.


Michelle van Schouwen has started an “Act II” career as principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation. Website to come.

For the past 32 years, Michelle has been president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In October 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA. Michelle supports the Six-Point team in an advisory capacity.


1 comment

  1. Kathleen Maher says:

    With the advent of your Act II, the greatly increased number of us with environmental concerns are indeed fortunate to receive even more of your time and talents. Thank you.

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