What’s your background?
I’m from Miami and spent my twenties working as a middle school English teacher. I’ve always been big on self-care and in 2019, I decided to quit my job and move to Thailand for my yoga teacher training. I also did a Thai Yoga massage course there. I had just turned thirty and was ready to make a career change. Healing work felt like the obvious choice. I spent 6 months in total backpacking around Asia and by the time I came back to the states, I was a new woman.
I’ve continued with my regular teaching job on a part-time basis as I build out my business. I’ve managed to build up a fairly solid client list of over the last couple of years. Some come for yoga, others for massage. A lot come for both. I’m not making enough money to live off of but it’s a start and I’m also lucky enough to have a partner who takes a lot of the financial stress off my back.
How did you start your business?
I had had this idea of who I wanted to be even before Thailand but it wasn’t until I talked to other women like me who had taken the leap that I felt confident enough to start. It’s so scary, this idea of failure. Or at least, we build it up to be in our heads. But really, failing is just learning. Inaction is the only real failure there is.
So I started small. First I made a logo on Canva and then I launched an Instagram account and website using Squarespace. Then I started creating and posting content on Instagram. I still don’t even have 500 followers but it’s not so much about landing tons of new customers through Instagram for me. It’s more about having an accountability mechanism. Without it, there’s no way I would be coming up with all this new content so regularly.
The online stuff was the easy part. I knew I couldn’t count on that alone to land new clients though. When it comes to bodywork, I’ve only ever gone to people that have been directly referred to me by someone I know. Facebook ads are something I’ve made use of a couple of times with limited success, but it’s the irl networking that’s the real reason for my success. I think that within the next year, health coaching will finally become a full-time job for me. It’s been a long, hard process but also a very rewarding one.
What advice would you give to someone trying to launch their own online business?
Be patient! Sometimes I feel dumb even referring to my business as an online business. Like ya, I am Google-able but I’m not out here promoting myself. My business really comes more from word-of-mouth and for now, that’s about all I can really even handle anyways. But I know it’s important to curate an online presence.
From what I hear from friends who run business accounts that have actually popped off, it all just happens out of nowhere one day. But only after there’s enough of a grid to tell a story and make the account compelling enough to follow. So putting in the labor now has the potential to majorly pay off down the line. That’s something I constantly have to remind myself of.
Have you ever had clients push boundaries and if so, how did navigate that?
Another reason I like the word-of-mouth referral system is that it’s a great way to avoid these sorts of boundary-pushing situations. So far I haven’t experienced any kind of misconduct. I’ve intentionally targeted female clients for this reason as well. From what friends have told me, the worst it’s ever gotten for them is a guy pushing too hard for a happy ending when it’s not on the menu.
A firm “No,” usually does the trick. But he could still fuck you over by not paying at the end. Working for yourself is a double-edged sword. Since you’re not working for a spa or studio, it’s obviously way more lucrative but with that comes risk. I guess it’s kind of like working in a brothel versus being a solo escort.
Any funny or inspirational stories from your time coaching?
I’m big on client confidentiality so I’ll refrain from getting into specifics, but I will say that coaching has been my most fulfilling adventure yet. To be able to connect with people and help them reach their health goals is really a dream come true for me. Every day, my clients give me the strength and motivation to keep moving forward, and I do the same for them.
Whatever your dream is, follow it! My one regret with all this is not starting three years sooner. I was so scared of messing up but looking back now, I see how ridiculous I was being. My perfectionism kept me frozen in fear and inaction. Messing up is inevitable. All that matters is being able to navigate obstacles in a way that propels you forward.