I have entered a new realm, that of being a “solopreneur.”
Previously, as a yoga studio owner, I was an “entrepreneur.” The business was an entity separate from myself. By comparison, my venture into solopreneurship means I am inextricably tied to my creation. I am my own brand. To be painfully transparent, that makes me feel exposed and vulnerable.
Once again, I am in start-up mode. As you would expect, this is a familiar place after launching my studios. Nonetheless, it is accompanied by intermittent bouts of fear and self-doubt. There are days when the internal voices are relentlessly self-deprecating. The entangled hairy mass of self-sabotaging thoughts would choke me if I didn’t call upon every tool I know — the very ones I want to share — to bring myself back to solid ground.
My new business, Wabi Sabi: The Art of Living Life on Your Own Terms, is an expression of my own life experiences. In this respect, I am going it alone. All the twists and turns of my story over the years, populated by a broad cast of characters from foreign lands and different states, come with lessons that only recently, in hindsight, have been revealed. By definition, therefore, I must be a solopreneur. Only I can be the expert of my own story.
Sometimes it feels lonely to go it alone. My notebooks, each one displaying a colorful cover design that makes me happy, are a collection of thoughts captured in my scrawling handwriting. It would be so romantic to describe my script as distinctive, but messy is a better way to characterize it. My scribbled thoughts were inspired over many years by books, podcasts, conversations, meditation and long walks. It takes time, alone time, to organize this random collection of notes into upcoming digital courses and transformational material for member communities, future talks, email communications, blogs and media posts. It’s daunting.
Although only I can go through the creative process with my material, I realized this weekend that being a solopreneur does not mean I am alone. I am accompanied by a tribe of friends and supporters. There are 5 of us women in our proclaimed “Tribe of 5” who have been meeting virtually every other week for several months. In one sense, the pandemic facilitated the formation of our group because one of our members is from out of town. Being relegated to virtual instead of in-person meetings allows our group to extend beyond state borders. It goes without saying that the group wouldn’t be the same without each of our members, regardless of where she lives.
After spending a long autumn weekend together, we forged an even deeper level of trust and commitment to one another. Shared experiences, elaborate meals and late night conversations will do that. What seemed like an indulgence at first — getting away with a bunch of girlfriends — was in actuality a solid investment in me and what I am creating. The tribe’s suggestions and their help with establishing strategies came from their collective experience and wisdom. When I displayed fear, they bolstered me up. And, their not-so-subtle prodding for “deliverables” that will demonstrate advancement by our next meeting provided clarity…at least for the next two weeks.
As a solopreneur, I bear the responsibility of being both the visionary and executor of all that is becoming Wabi Sabi. But, I am not going it alone. I have my Tribe of 5, in addition to the 3 other enormously talented women in my longstanding Mastermind, and other family and friends who support me. Not all may understand what a digital community is or what it means to be a lifestyle coach, but they know I am passionate about this new direction and that’s enough. Allowing others into my story, unedited and with a full display of vulnerability, is what helps it come to life. If you are reading this, then you, too, are part of my story.