A R I A D N E / / K A P S A L I

The biggest lesson in my first year in business

The biggest lesson in my first year in business

True to myself I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and unpicking recently. I realised that since leaving my job over a year ago to work solely on my coaching + yoga business, I have been in trial mode without fully knowing it. In reality I had no idea if I could make it work.

Can I work for myself?

Can I really do this?
I mean I know others have, but really do I have what it takes?
Can I make a living doing the things I love?
Will I have enough ideas?

The past year or so has been an experiment of making this work, a feasibility study for my (rather amateur) business model and now, the provisional results are in. While I have made it work financially and have gratefully been busy with creating projects I love, working with amazing clients and students and collaborating with inspiring people and businesses, I have been operating from a lack mode. I have been saying YES to opportunities because they came my way, not because they have always been right for me. When you work for yourself, when you’re your own boss, fear speaks in many languages, but the main mode of communication is fear of not making it to next month! If you don’t take this class/client/project, you won’t make enough for rent. If you don’t take it, you won’t get another opportunity like that. You are not in a position to choose what you do, you need to take what is given to you and be grateful for it. And so on…. Believing that there aren’t enough clients to go around, that there aren’t enough students to come to class, put me in a comparison and competitive mode. Rather than allowing myself to grow naturally at my own pace, I looked at others and felt really small as I compared my losses to their wins (perceived or actual). So I kept saying YES, taking on work that was not ideal, that did not contribute to neither my long term goal of growing as a business, nor to contributing positively to my personal growth as a teacher or coach.

It’s not always about whether the work I do pays enough to justify time and commitment. It’s also whether you feel you are providing value, whether you’re working in your zone of genius, and whether you feel you are full after doing it. Money is secondary, despite being essential. Yet my lack mentality meant I made decisions based on short term financial reward: this will help me cover my expenses for this week so I’ll do it, despite feeling exhausted and drained.

The result? I have a FULL schedule some of which is with incredible work and some with other stuff that leaves me feeling empty. Not ideal and definitely not sustainable in the long run. The thing is of course we need to take care of our basic needs, finances being a very significant part of it. Being held by your finances means that you don’t spend your days worrying about money and where it will come from, leaving you head space and brain power to dedicate to doing your BEST WORK. Feeling unsupported financially is related to your root chakra which in turn corresponds to all your foundational needs: home, relationships, family, work. Everything that keeps you stable and grounded. If your foundation is shaky, there rest will also be off balance and it’s really hard to be creative and to be of service when you’re feeling ungrounded and unsafe. Operating with a lack mentality in business will certainly lead to burnout and most likely an unsuccessful business model.

The past year has been all about making it work: at whatever cost, can I make my business work?  

Costs have included:
– Having to rely (numerous times) on my husband to cover some of our expenses and holidays + the occasional argument about it.

– Cutting down on going to yoga classes in studios I loved and practicing more at home.
– Much, much less travel and not being able to visit friends abroad.
– Declining certain invitations to social gatherings, weddings, etc.
– Ignoring the fact that my favourite top has multiple holes in it (that’s more sentimental than anything else) and restraining myself from buying shoes and clothes apart from the absolute necessary.
– Investing money back into my business instead of life.
– Being unable to save apart from reducing debt gradually.
– Working more hours than ever (+painful knee from sitting cross legged on the computer for too long). 

Yet I think these are incredibly valuable lessons. The first year of working full time in your business is a trial and error exercise. It’s not about whether you have what it takes. It’s whether you’re willing to invest and push yourself way, way out of your comfort zone. It’s whether you are willing to pull the plug on projects that were super exciting but didn’t make any money back. It’s whether you’re ready to learn again and again and be faced with your ego and limiting beliefs. It’s whether you’re willing to risk doing something you’ve never seen done before. It’s whether you can trust yourself to pull through even when things are not working out. 

I believe as I plunge into my second year, I am now called to refine what I’m doing. It’s no longer about whether I can make it work at ANY COST. I’m now being asked to take a hard look at what I’ve created, what I’ve said YES to and what I’ve committed to and to REFINE the hell out of every single part of my work.

I believe this is when I’m asked to GO PRO: refine the vision and don’t be afraid to say NO. I am very grateful to be where I am because I can now start to choose how I divide my time: how many classes I teach, how many private yoga clients I take on, how many coaching clients I team up with. To do this means I can offer my best self, my best work and be of the most value to those I work with. It means I can actually do what I want to do and not a depleted, half-baked, uninspiring version of me.

Some changes you’re likely to notice as the months go by:
1. A reduction in my public yoga class timetable.

2. A limited number of private yoga clients (I have 2 spots opening up for January, please get in touch if you’re interested).
3. More focus and energy into my coaching services – this is really where my zone of genius is. Supporting women on a 1:1 basis to deeply know themselves, show up in their lives and create wonderful intentional shifts. I am about to take on a few more clients so send me an email to discuss partnering up, I’d love to hear from you!
4. Events that I hold will continue to be a unique blend of all my passions: yoga, meditation, coaching, psychology and essential oil goodness, but topics will start to shift a little as I refine this further. 

It’s exciting, it’s scary and it’s bloody TIME. Thank you for being here for me and with me along the way!