Wellness Professional + Entrepreneur: Why is it so hard?
Wellness professionals at the beginning or at the height of your career, this post is for you.
March 3rd, 2020
You identify yourself as a wellness professional, dedicating the majority of your energy to a career promoting health and wellbeing in others. Perhaps you’re a fitness instructor, a yoga teacher, a nutritional coach or a spa owner. That’s fantastic! All the power to you.
Like you, I found myself working in a profession that I truly believed in and was passionate about. I knew I could have a direct impact on others.
Over the years, I’ve developed a large network of fellow wellness warriors, some just starting out and others well-seasoned in their craft. I not only became close friends with other wellness entrepreneurs but also began supporting their businesses thru web design, branding and marketing strategy, which was my past life career.
That is all to say within my amazingly talented group of wellness collaborators, I can’t help but recognize a pattern I see in both myself and others who begin a career in wellness.
So I ask to you—as a wellness professional + business entrepreneur, why is it so hard for most of us?
A LITTLE BACKSTORY
Many of us don’t start out in wellness. I hear from so many other wellness professionals a similar story to my own.
Over 7 years ago, I transitioned mid-career from a corporate job that although I found challenging, wasn’t fulfilling me on a soul level. I started taking as many yoga classes and massage workshops on the side (which at the time was just a hobby). When the right moment presented itself, I made the leap to a full-time career in wellness as a yoga & massage entrepreneur, running classes, workshops & retreats.
“When you can really be who you are and find out where you fit, and function from a place of conformability, then you stop working…and when you get there, it’s a life changing experience.”
—Bishop T.D. Jakes, Inspirational Author & Speaker
REALITY VERSUS FANTASY: WHY IT’S SO HARD
As wellness professionals, we know that there is an innate need in this world for more healing and self-awareness. We are driven by this purpose to help others live a longer and happier life. In fact, many of us would love to offer what we are offering to the world for free.
That’s all fine and well until you are about 6 months down the road after your career switch from corporate to wellness…and you have to pay the bills.
So, a little advice to all of you, based on my own story and the story of many others…
Our Passion is our Job
$$$ is not our #1 priority
We didn’t go to business school
No matter how you measure success, there is always going to be a struggle moving into a career that you find intuitive and are passionate about.
Finding out what you are passionate about takes time and self-inquiry. Many people have told me in the past that they envy me for finding my passion and making a career out of it.
What’s wrong with that?
Passion is an emotion that waxes and wanes.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GET HARD
– Follow your curiosity – Instead of what you are passionate about, follow your curiosity. Ask yourself if what you are passionate about is something you can follow a path of curiosity to gain new wisdom on the subject. See where it takes you.
– Stoke the flame – I cannot stress ENOUGH the need to keep learning, to spark that flame of knowledge when you feel dull in your craft. Plan to attend workshops or trainings at least twice a year to have new material and techniques to share with your client.
– Partner with others – Most wellness professionals are considered solopreneurs, meaning you have your own practice and are responsible for all aspects of the business. Although you see clients throughout the day, it can be a lonely profession. So find others to collaborate with a on workshop or an event. Or ask a fellow solopreneur to hold you accountable to accomplishing tasks each month. Have a monthly check-in with that person.
I’ve seen this over and over—therapists, healers and coaches, who all start out with an objective to serve others and say that money is not a driving factor in their work. Then, one year down the road…
Desperation leads to burnout.
You no longer have that glow and vibrancy you once had.
I was really energized at the start of my career to be a solopreneur, taking on all the roles of a wellness entrepreneur. At the beginning, I created a website, business cards, started online marketing and went to as many networking events as I could handle to meet prospective clients.
Thru hard work, I landed new clients which was exciting stuff. However, after some time I found I was running myself thin. I would undercharge and work all hours, late nights and weekends, in order to make money. Any extra money I had would go into taking additional courses and trainings to sharpen my skills and boost my confidence in my offerings.
All was going somewhat okay until…my savings account ran dry.
When comparing to my peers, I felt ashamed. Friends my own age that chose to stay with their corporate jobs were now earning six figures, buying cars, houses and going on elaborate trips. On top of working extremely hard, I had an added financial stress that I had never experienced in my previous job, each month worrying about whether I could pay rent. Putting my ego aside, I asked for help. I borrowed money from family and friends to keep going.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GET HARD
– Heal your relationship with $ – Like myself, I hear from other healers who see money as evil and scoff at others that are financially successful. Before you move into your wellness career, realize that money is not evil and will buy you freedom. You will use it to support yourself, to invest in your craft and to support others around you. You will take measures to ensure you are charging your worth.
– Ask basic questions – What do you want to make in your first year? In 2-5 years? What are your rates and how many sessions or classes do you need to do each week to meet those goals? Take in mind sick leave, vacation, slow months….
– Create a financial plan – As a general rule, it takes around 2 years to get enough clients to support yourself fully. Make sure you have savings and money to invest in getting your business off the ground. Although most of us (including myself) are not in it for money as our #1 priority, it is good to establish a baseline for what you need to make to live comfortably.
– Put your money where your mouth is – Invest in other wellness services + people. By supporting others on a similar path, you are supersizing the industry by placing more $ value on offerings within the wellness industry.
You move into your wellness career and BAM, you are bogged down with a discouraging number of entrepreneurial tasks. You are responsible for creating a lead funnel, designing your logo and writing invoices. And you are clueless. You just want to do what you love doing—helping others.
I’ve always enjoyed being an entrepreneur and combining my wellness skills with business skills. I enjoy launching a campaign or promoting an event I’m hosting and to see what channels work best for bringing in new customers.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GET HARD
– Give yourself time and space – Envision what you want your life to look like 1-2 years from now and how you want your business to support it. If you know you want flexibility in taking vacations, plan to save every month toward that. Do you want to see clients 3 days a week or 5?
– Invest $ in help – If you know you have no desire to learn social media, create flyers or set up a marketing campaign, do some shopping to compare prices for experts in the field. Many of the successful wellness professionals know their strengths and they use them wisely. What they are not so great at they recognize and instead of being the jack-of-all-trades, they hire help where needed (hence why I created Good Karma Works).
– Measure success – Most wellness entrepreneurs don’t have a clue what other business professionals use to measure success – KPIs and conversion rates. You don’t have to go to business school to take some time and understand where your clients are coming from. Ask your clients how they found you (online, a local advertisement, on a FB group) and keep records of this. Once you have an idea, spend more time and money where it counts.
About the Author
As a fellow wellness professional for over seven years, Angela founded Good Karma Works on the belief that by supporting a network of other wellness warriors she is supersizing the global healing process.