12 Principles of Success for Holistic Entrepreneurs
My dear friend Suzanne Dulin, owner at Heart+Mind Yoga and the Sadhana Catalog and Community, has asked me to present a FREE streaming online seminar on how to run a successful business as a holistic entrepreneur.
You can watch the recording for FREE on the Youtube video below. Be sure while you are there to sign up for the freebies!
Although I have an unusual profession – my main business is as a medical intuitive healer – and make less than the median household income you could say that I am conventionally successful in a highly unconventional career.
Without revealing my paycheck, retirement account or savings, I can attest to the fact that I am among the 20 percent of Americans who have no debt. My house is paid for, my 2008 Prius with over 108,000 miles on it is paid for. My biggest expense is my city of Atlanta property taxes.
I’m among the two-thirds of Americans fortunate enough to have saved for retirement. My investment advisors have recommended that I continue working until I’m 70, but that’s no hardship for me as I love what I do and I’m strong and healthy enough to do it.
I’m one of the 30 percent of Americans who do not take any prescription drugs and although I do have stress like everybody else, I’m the least-stressed working person I know.
People frequently hear that I run three businesses and worry that I must be highly stressed or overworked. Nothing could be further from the truth. I work out of my house and when I’m not seeing clients you could find me walking my dog Dixie in the nearby park or lying in my hammock writing books.
I have the work-life balance that many people have heard about but believe only exists momentarily on exotic vacations or in modern myth.
Believe me, neither my financial stability nor my mind-body wellness came without thought or effort.
When I was in my early 30s, I lost not just one but two jobs as a result of corporate downsizing. At one point, I lived on $90 a week in government unemployment checks.
In my early life, I was on lithium and antidepressants for 18 years. I got off all psychiatric medication at the age of 34 – not long after I recovered from my job losses.
So what is the mindset that has allowed me to create not just financial net worth but also physical and mental health while serving others?
Here are my 12 principles of success:
- Keep your overhead low. I pay no rent for my office or the space where I have taught yoga for 20 years. A long time ago, I had a client who was a multimillionaire. He told me, “The key to business is low overhead.” I listened! Although I started out working in gyms and driving to people’s homes, I resisted the opportunities to open a studio. One of the best decisions of my life was to move my business to my home 18 years ago. I set my intention at that time to be a world-recognized authority in my field while working from home. Another client invited me to bring my yoga classes to his church. Even though we don’t have space to store fancy props, what we do have is a free, comfortable and safe space to practice. The lower your overhead, the lower your stress level will be. The lower your operating costs, the less you have to charge your clients and students, the less money you need to earn to break even and the more opportunity you will have to survive even when the overall economy turns south.
- Know your weaknesses and your strengths. Because I know I’m a 2 on the Enneagram – a helper/nurturer/mother archetype – I made the choice a long time ago not to have employees. Every living being that comes into my realm receives nurturing – whether they be cleaners, gardeners, handymen, orchids, my organic garden, clients, students or friends. I can’t help myself. It’s who I am. I just take care of people. I’m always begging friends not to give me any potted plants because they will never die. I know I’m not strong enough to be a manager, so I have business partners (as I excel at partnership) and contract workers (website manager, SEO expert, bookkeeper, accountant, editor, Amazon marketing expert, Twitter guru) who help me. Even though I know I am quite frankly a pushover, at the same time I know what I’m really good at. A long time ago, a friend said to me, “Even though you have a wide range of skills, your talent as a medical intuitive is off the chart.” I focus on making a living on my highest and best talent and you should too.
- Begin with your ideal day in mind. Frankly I have had a lot of my own healing to do. Not only did I get off lithium and antidepressants after 18 years, I also spent two years in my early 30s in a support group for battered women. My adrenals were so burned out from years of severe stress I was in stage 3 or stage 3 (the next stage being death). So when I started my business at age 34 I intuitively knew I needed to create not just a business but also a life where I could actually be happy. My mentor in healing, Sue Maes of London, Ontario, Canada, taught me, “Only do what you can do with no stress.” If you think about your schedule for the day and you feel stressed inside, there’s something you seriously need to change. On an average day, I will teach yoga and/or qi gong, walk my dog in the fresh air, eat healthy homemade food, exercise for at least one hour and hopefully write, as writing makes me happy and oh by the way help people and get paid to watch others feeling better on every level. How do you really want to live your life? Create your picture of happiness.
- Create products and services for your ideal customer. As you do your work, you will learn more about the people you serve. I have a huge menu of services in fitness, nutrition and natural healing all designed to empower my clients to become healthier and happier. When I think of something they need, I create it. I kept telling people to meditate and then realized my clients needed help doing that so I did a joint venture to create a Loving Kindness Meditation CD. I had so many clients wanting to get off psychiatric drugs I wrote two books about how to heal your brain without drugs. Because virtually all my new clients are exhausted I wrote a book called Unlimited Energy Now. Because I have clients who want to understand their intuitive gifts, I wrote What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness and Unlimited Intuition Now. Then because I had so many colleagues wanting to learn why I was so successful in social media, I created a new business, www.whatissocialmediatoday.com, and wrote two books about how to win the game of social media. Notice what people need and want and create to serve others.
- Always be learning. The vibration of the planet is speeding up. What worked five years ago may have made sense at that time, but may not even work today. I have made a habit of finding people who are accomplished in their fields and setting out to learn as much as I can from them. You can rest assured that even if you have a good idea for a business today, you’re going to have to adapt if you want to stick around. Fitness may have certain principles but it’s fashion. Nutrition may be biochemistry but there’s always another diet fad. Natural healing always has new herbs, new flower essences, new techniques. Lead your field by staying on the cutting edge. We work in a knowledge economy. Even teaching a sacred practice like yoga, you want to keep up with current trends. And you can’t afford to fall behind in technology, bookkeeping or social media.
- Think win-win. If you are ever unsure what choice to make, just ask yourself, “Is this win-win?” People sometimes ask me to post an article for them on my website. I will do so if they post an article of mine on their website. If I make a change in my business, I ask myself how this would also be a win for my students and clients. Win-win leads to total integrity. If you lose and other people win, you won’t be around very long – either because you have depleted your energy or your money. If you win and other people lose, your huckster ways will get discovered in a heartbeat. A win-win approach is sustainable over long periods of time. You will become known and appreciated because you have led your customers in a direction that they can live with. You become trustworthy and thereby enjoy long-term clients who sustain your business because they know you really want to help them. You only win by maintaining the highest integrity.
- Heal your relationship with money. You can follow all the above principles, but until and unless you heal your personal relationship with money, you will be living in survival mode and struggling to make it no matter how high your income. It’s not how much money you make it’s about how much you keep. The key to financial success is to live within your means. Growing up I was always inspired by stories of a laundress who bequeathed $1 million to a college when she died – even though she never had a formal education. In my work, I clear money issues. I have an entire manual strictly devoted to clearing money issues. When I started doing this work on myself, I couldn’t even manage to keep my checkbook. I got so nervous every time I thought of paying bills I practically stuttered. Now every bill is paid and my financial life is as orderly as the Feng shui in my paid-for home. If you hate millionaires or think people who have money are evil, greedy or workaholic, it’s not the millionaires that need fixing – it’s you and your mindset. You can never become a member of a group you abhor, fear or resent.
- Embrace the three aspects of business – production, administration and marketing. Many people think that to become a successful ompreneur, they just have to learn how to be the best yoga teacher, the most effective healer or the nutritionist with the masters or even post graduate degree. This is simply not true. If all you do is get good at what you do – the popular yogi, the energy healer who can cure lyme’s disease or the nutritionist with the Ph.D. – you still don’t run a business. I talked about this in my latest book about social media. This is what I call the Cinderella approach to business. Because you think you are the fairest of them all, you think that customers and money should fall at your feet. This is not real life. You must embrace your administration (systems and accounting) as well as marketing or you will have no business. If you’re not good at something, get help. I love my bookkeeper and my accountant. I have a social media dashboard and ladies who help with my book marketing. If you don’t embrace all three aspects, your holistic practice is going to be a hobby, not a business.
- Learn how to win what my business partner at www.whatissocialmediatoday.com and I have come to call the Game of Social Media. It’s not enough to have a business. It’s not even enough to have a website. To succeed today you have to be active in social media. Not having a social media presence is like not having a phone number 20 years ago. You simply do not show up. Social media is ideal for ompreneurs with low budgets because you spend your time but not so much money. If you don’t know how or feel overwhelmed at the thought, let us teach you how to win the Game of Social Media. You can call me at 678-612-8816 or email email@example.com or contact my business partner Ramajon Cogan at (928) 821-4553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Just as you have to keep up with current vibration in your techniques, products and services, so you have to realize that customers no longer respond to traditional advertising, TV, magazines or radio. Americans devote 10 hours a day to screen time and 4.7 of those hours are spent on their smart phones. Get in front of your customers where they live.
- Choose your business partners as carefully as your intimate partners. Who you do business with is almost as important as what business you choose to be in. If you choose to work with partners who have a personality disorder, sooner or later you will be suffering as a result. You can only take your business to the level of success you have achieved internally. Choose partners who are as healthy on the inside as they are on the outside. When you choose the right business partners, your life will be a joy as you cocreate with ease.
- WHEN you make a mistake (not IF), correct yourself as soon as you recognize your error. Do not throw good money at trying to fix an unfixable problem. Do not waste years of your life trying to make a business work that has no actual future. We all make mistakes. One way of thinking is that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough. Yes, you will waste money, waste time, lose money, lose time. No, you’re not alone when you do! When I made one particularly painful mistake (that cost me about $1,700), my accountant said to me, “Catherine, this is better than therapy. You will never forget!” You are human and you can share your human experiences with your clients. That’s also called learning. Your mistakes may be less expensive or occur less often but will more than likely continue as long as you shall live. Knowing that mistakes are possible, I even budget for them. One recent venture, I rationalized how much money I could afford to lose before I chose to take the risk of starting it.
- Get a coach and form informal master mind groups. In the past year, I have received coaching from Sue Maes of London, Ontario; Scott D. Smith, my SEO expert; Denise Cassino, Amazon marketing guru and Andrew Levy, my accountant. I meet regularly for lunch with my good friend and Georgia’s first licensed astrologer Maxine Taylor and we brainstorm ideas for each other’s businesses. Even though my main work is as a medical intuitive healer, I have several clients with whom I work primarily on business – who to hire, when to raise rates, how to market, how to reposition for greater financial success. I identify money issues that have been holding you back and clear them. No matter how smart you are or how long you have been in business, you can succeed more easily by calling on a bigger brain pool. To set up an appointment with me, call 678-612-8816 or email email@example.com.
Financial success isn’t just a matter of earning a huge paycheck, just as mind-body wellness doesn’t only happen by taking loads of vitamins and supplements or exercising regularly.
What is healing? Healing happens when you, the healer/yoga teacher/qi gong or tai chi master/Reiki energy worker/ompreneur/holistic therapist/nutritionist/meditation teacher/relaxation expert, internalizes the mindset of success so that you can serve others while creating the space to enjoy your own life.
Photo above: View of my organic garden from my healing studio.