How I started a business

I recently started a business. You may know this… but do you really know how I did it. Correction. How I am doing it. Many people I meet are intrigued that a woman at the late age of 28 has left typical work hours and struck out on her own. So I tell them the most pertinent parts of my journey and they are hungry for more. Asking questions. Creating change in their own perception of employment. And vowing to look at a book I mentioned, or email me to chat further. Just this weekend it happened to me twice. I met two separate couples that I shared my story with. They told me they were inspired, but honestly I am the one that continues to be inspired by the support new and old friends alike have given me. So here goes it… thanks to Heidi, Dan, Cindy and Jim for the inspiration to share.

Last summer I completed my yoga teacher training. I was working full-time at Brandeis University at the time. I had no immediate plans of leaving Brandeis, but did have big dreams of starting a business when heading into my teacher training. I wanted to be sure I really enjoyed teaching yoga first, and that I could be good at it. I mean really, if I ended up being an awful yoga teacher, found it wasn’t a gift that I would be blessed with, then how would I start a business around yoga. So, I packed up and left for St. Augustine, FL.

Fast forward to my return to Brandeis after completing my 200-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training. My mind now brimming with ideas of what I could do as a teacher. I dove right in. Teaching once week at Brandeis in a conference room and once a week at Jen McWalter’s Pilates. I wanted to make sure that I kept moving forward and didn’t have a gap in my learning. Over the next few months I started attending the Power Up! business plan class at the Center for Women and Enterprise in Providence. I also found a great coach, Julia Kious Zabell. I started reading articles, blogs, researching people on Facebook, talking to yoga students and teachers… And I read the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. And I listened to teleseminars almost every day in the car, on being a radiant yoga teacher, on building my business, on feminine leadership, on spirituality and faith in finances… You name it, I have probably listened to something similar.

From all that I have done, here is what was absolutely necessary for me to step away from my full-time job and be my own boss. And a few things essential for the transition…

1. Money
Now let me tell you, I didn’t have a lot of savings. But I had a bit, and I had a plan of action for at least the next six months. My plan included many back up plans including asking my family for support, working part-time, doing consulting projects on the side, teaching my butt off and starting to make profit with the business. I left Brandeis on January 23, 2012, so I am still in the midst of this six month plan and back up plan. And it hasn’t been easy, but I am making it work so far. When you have to make it happen, we usually find a way. If you have to, sell your stuff, get public assistance, sell your car… (I haven’t sold my car… yet)

2. Time
LOL. Time is a trap and a tease. It sucks you in, makes you think you have more than you do, requires way more to complete a project than you think it does, AND I did not move quickly through time when I first made the transition. I was completely drained when I was finally my own boss. Ultimately, time and transition are things that alter based on your own perspective and you need time to transition. So if you feel like time isn’t on your side, or you are not supposed to be this tired after making a huge leap in your life, change your own damn mind about it. It will take more time than you think to transition, more time for each project and task at first, and more time to make money. It isn’t you and you shouldn’t judge yourself based on this transition or start-up phase. You just have to make it a part of your practice, to get back up and starting looking at your life as if you have all the time in the world. Because you do. When I became my own boss it took me about 3 months to realize that I don’t have to be in the office for a certain time each day, I can take a nap when I need to, and most work doesn’t take the same amount of time that working as an employee does. Who ever said it takes a 40 hour work week to get a sufficient amount of work done? Read more on this with Tim Ferriss.

3. Fear
I stepped away from a job because of the fear that I would never be anything bigger if I didn’t leave. The fear that my ideas and creativity would perish if I didn’t do it while I was young. The fear that if I waited to take risks in life, I would have kids and a house and need the security. We are conditioned to fear. And we don’t have to. So my advice, do whatever you have to do to move past FEAR. Because it will shave years off your life and happiness off your experience. I started to overcome fear through the practice of yoga. But I added in huge doses of inspiration from thought leaders, support from family, friends, and people like my coach, Julia. This hasn’t been a solo journey, each person along the way makes it a little bit easier.

4. Purpose
With out first finding my ultimate purpose, to transform lives through yoga, none of this would be possible. It drives me everyday… you must find this and pursue it. “It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another.” -Bhagavad Gita

This is just a glimpse. Have more questions? Ask me. audragrady@gmail.com

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