For as long as I can remember, my mom has always been in business for herself. We did a podcast about it, and the outpouring of love was overwhelming in the best way. I get a lot of questions on Instagram about business - when did I know it was the right time (I didn’t), how do I balance it all (very carefully), etc etc. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d take a minute to share a few key things my mom has taught me about business.
Think Outside the Box - I’ve told this story on Instagram, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here on the blog. My mom has always been an outside-the-box thinker. During winter one year, she felt like business was really slowing down (at the time, she was doing massage therapy full time at a little studio she’d opened). She rented a large space, rallied up other small business owners and charged a small fee to help her cover the rental space, and held a little winter small business fair. She invited the public and tried to bring community together in the dead of winter and jumpstart business. That’s just how she’s always been. Some people would’ve given up, complained on Facebook, and called it a day. Instead, she took action. Similarly, years ago I was being sent multiple packages per day from small businesses around the country hoping to get some coverage on the blog. While I loved all the products, putting their great products on the blog wasn’t helping me much with covering my overhead (hosting fees, lawyer fees, employee salary, etc). So I dreamed up the idea of Mantra Box®, a quarterly discovery box filled with the goodies these companies were sending me. It was a win for me because we sold the boxes and had our overhead covered. It was more of a win for the companies because their product was now out and about in the hands of consumers, and it was a win for our YBCers because they got to discover new products that aren’t available at big chain stores. Our next Mantra Box® ships out at the end of the month - be sure to pre-order!
Make It Work - Years ago, when my mom was going to Massage School, she had to be away from home from Monday through Friday in a town a few hours from our home. To make it easier on herself (and on us!), she rented an AirBnB home so she didn’t have to make the trip to and from our house every day, and my brother and I got to stay there frequently as well. When she was out of school, she would take us to explore the city, and we had a lot of fun together. She could’ve made every excuse in the book to drop out of Massage School, but instead she just made it work for her (and us!). Similarly, I sprained my ankle a few years ago, just days before having to go to Greece and Morocco to lead three yoga retreats. It was a really bad sprained ankle, and while I could’ve cancelled, I just tried to make it work for me and my students. Instead of demoing as much as I was used to, I learned to hone my verbal instruction, and it wound up being a blessing. It forced me to tighten up my cues, so that people could do the practice without having to look at me. Ultimately, going through with the retreats was the best decision for me because it made me a stronger teacher, and it was the best decision for my students because it gave them a better experience than if I were demoing the majority of the class.
Be Assertive - My mom has never been one to play small. She stands up for herself, asks for what she wants, and delivers. Her respectful assertiveness has been a great example to me, and it was particularly clear to me when I was in Thailand about to lead my first ever 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. The day before the students arrived, I went to the front desk to be sure everything was all set for their arrival. Now, I speak about three words of Thai, and the staff spoke about the same amount of English. I discovered that double rooms were equipped with one double bed rather than two beds. I tried to explain that my students were strangers to one another and that people who had booked doubles cannot, under any circumstance, be sharing beds with one another. I was imagining all sorts of terrible scenarios - people jet lagged and run down and anxious and then they walk into their hotel room after a 20 hour flight only to find they’re sharing a bed with a complete stranger? Nope. The Thai staff didn’t seem to understand, so I literally played charades and drew it out for them, and then used Google Translate to get the message across that we needed second beds in all the rooms. Finally, they understand, and we got it done, but whew, the stress! I was thankful to stand my ground, just like my mom, and be assertive in making sure we delivered on our promise of a true double room for the students.
I’d love to hear what business tips you’ve learned from your mothers, fathers, friends or other family! I find that I am constantly picking people’s brains just to see if there’s any little nugget I can glean from them and apply to my own work or life.