THE 7 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING A SOULFUL BUSINESS
When I looked back at my past seven years in business and made an honest inventory about my experiences, I realized it had not been a perfect fairy tale about a smooth business launch, freely flowing sustainable success, and balanced self-care routine. I’m sure it’s all possible, but my road has been so much bumpier than that. It has been about intense creative cycles, disrupted again and again by the reality of family life mixed with periods of frustration and exhaustion.
It all started with a vision, a seed in my soul that wanted to be nurtured and grown. For as long as I know, I wanted to help people in some way. I’m a multi-passionate person with a broad range of interests in different cultures, philosophies, nature, sports, design, and most of all in learning about human beings and the meaning of life.
Before embarking on the entrepreneurial path, I was exploring different careers for about a decade: In my study years, I worked for NGOs helping in multiple areas, but I got disappointed by seeing how little we achieved. After finishing my Ph.D., I worked for some years as an anthropologist teaching and researching at university, but I felt trapped in the academic system. Parallelly to my part-time teaching job, I was also hired to develop training for wannabe entrepreneurs. I felt there is something magical about start-ups. The air is almost exploding from creativity, ambition, inspiration, and endless possibilities in those circles. I just knew, one day, I want to be one of those bold freedom seekers.
Well, that day came in 2014 after moving to Denmark and giving birth to my son Theodor. I felt I don’t want to go back into any cage. I want to be free, have tons of time for my baby, and start a business. Fantastic terms, right? 😆
So there was the big question: What am I supposed to do? Being multi-passionate didn’t really help to narrow down my choices. There was a vision or rather a vague idea that re-visited me repeatedly: the idea of a therapy center.
Have you ever considered that you’re not the one choosing your vision, your passion, and your ideas, but rather THEY CHOOSE YOU?
I realized the overarching theme that motivated many of my choices and steps along my path has been healing. I was still a little girl when my dad was diagnosed with atherosclerosis, a disease where arteries in his leg would get blocked and cause him terrible pain. His endless surgeries and recoveries marked my teenage years, the fear of losing him, and the joy of seeing him gaining back his strength. Naturally, all I wanted was to help. It seemed doctors and conventional medicine couldn’t, so I looked somewhere else. I learned about herbal treatments, plant-based nutrition, mind-body medicine, and after I enrolled at university, I researched for years about energy healing and traditional medicine. I was so fascinated by the topic that I even wrote a Ph.D. about it.
So here it was, the desire to create a healing space – a hub for holistic therapies, where healing, learning, and connecting would occur – a place for people to tune into themselves and reconnect with their essence – which is my definition of healing.
That was my original vision. It’s hard to see the path in front of you when the only thing you can hold onto is your vision.
Where to start?
Who to involve?
Which step to take?
How will it all work out?
Fast forward to the present day, seven years later, I wish I’d have seen it all coming. They were beautiful creative phases, great achievement, miraculous encounters, profound transformational experiences followed by disappointments, seemingly wrong choices, miscommunication, stagnant periods, and times where I just wanted to through the towel. Phases in which I felt aligned, motivated, passionate, and others where something felt off and out of alignment.
That original vision of a healing hub evolved into something else. Today, I grew into a person who is holding space for other’s healing and inner transformation. I help people aligning with their highest purpose and realize their soul mission.
Here is what I learned in these past seven years and what I wish I’d known before I embarked on this journey:
LET GO OF PERFECTIONISM AND START MESSY
I’m a perfectionist, so for saying that, my world needed to be turned upside down. I’d not want to take a step forward until every little detail was in a perfect place. I learned running a business and launching every single project within your business will start messy, and you’ll never reach an endpoint of perfection. If there were an endpoint, there would be no room for development and growth—only stagnation. So, my advice: aim to create the best experience you can for your customers, let go of your expectations, experiment, and make mistakes. Start before you’re ready.
HONOR YOUR GIFTS AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN SUPPORT YOU
When we start a business, we tend to fall into the trap of handling every responsibility ourselves, especially when we’re on a tight budget. Flying solo is a way of taking control of everything happening, but getting your accounts in order, taking care of your legal issues, designing your visual brand, or web development might not be your strength.
Find a good network of people who can support you. It might be even people in your friends’ circle with whom you can exchange services. Being a solo entrepreneur is a lonely game and focusing on your strength: your coaching, yoga, and photography – the actual soul project you’re supposed to bring to life – could mark the difference between success and failure.
LET GO OF YOUR VISION
This might sound contra intuitive because this is supposed to propel you forward, but in my experience, there is a far better vision out there than the one I believed I was supposed to create back then. As I grew and healed along my journey, my vision and business have been evolving with me.
Today, you might think you’re going to work as a coach, shiatsu instructor, meditation teacher, or … cause this is what you desire at the moment, but you might end up doing something entirely different. Be an open vessel; allow yourself to be guided and just go with the flow.
CHOOSE YOUR SPEED – ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY
I used to be such an impatient person, and in some ways, I probably still am. I experience these intense creative phases and want to see my vision come to life asap. In the stage of launching my business, my baby boy Theodor taught me that I need to let go of this part of me. Working for months in all my free time when he was asleep resulted in being a cranky wife and an exhausted mommy. I knew I need to learn to take care of myself. My options were: self-care or breakdown. I had bad consciousness towards Theodor that I was not the mom he deserves to have, and I had bad consciousness towards the business that I’m not working hard enough to make it happen. Coming far too close to breaking down opened my eyes, and I decided: my company will be built at a speed that my family allows.
Try to be present with what is in your life and align your life vision with your work.
LISTEN TO OTHERS, BUT DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR SOUL
I started my first business with my husband, and I was fortunate to have my brother as an advisor on board: businessmen with long years of experience. They have been very supportive mentors, but I felt so many times that they were “breaking my wings.” Well, I let it happen, and they simply mirrored back to me my insecurities until I grew strong enough to fly alone. Instead of fitting into their expectations and following their advice blindly, I learned to listen to my inner guidance. The more I listened, the stronger I became to walk my own path.
It takes a lot of courage to break free from all that is holding you back. It’s easier to fit into the competition, make your company mainstream, but you are not in there to be something or someone else. You have your authentic voice and your inner calling that only you can manifest.
ALLOW YOUR COMPANY TO BE A CATALYSATOR FOR INNER GROWTH
You can be sure that creating a business will trigger a lot of your inner stuff: your insecurities, your suppressed fears, and your unhealed emotional wounds. You’ll hear those “voices” in your head: “You’re not good enough,” “Who are you to make this happen?”, “You’ll not succeed,” “You’ll not have enough,” etc.
Being a visionary entrepreneur and sharing your gifts and talents with the world is a vulnerable process. It feels like making your soul public. That requires the willingness to go deeper with yourself and heal those parts that hold you back from manifesting your vision and purpose.
RE-ALIGN WITH YOUR BUSINESS FREQUENTLY & FEARLESSLY
Along your path, you’ll realize that everything is in constant motion. You are changing and growing all the time, and to be aligned with your soul’s project, you will have to edit it frequently. It’s not about launching it and ticking it off. Rather elevating it again and again as it grows within you. It’s a natural process, so when you end up in a situation where something – an offer, a business relation, a commitment – feels off in your business, you can make a few choices:
- Make improvements to your services and products.
- Let go of what doesn’t work or doesn’t feel right.
- Move towards a direction that feels more true and aligned.
Choose the kind of edit you need to make in your business to feel the most passionate, easeful, and inflow for you.
In these past seven years, my mantra became: “MOVE FORWARD BY WAYFINDING.”
There’s a difference between navigation and wayfinding. Navigation is when you know your destination and plan and follow explicit directions to get there. In business, you don’t know exactly where you’re going. You may just have the ever-evolving vision that fuels you with energy. Wayfinding is tracking, looking for clues, signs that will direct you towards your vision. Each sign will lead you to the next one, and that’s how you move forward.
Author: Gabriella Csanádi
Banner Photo: Susanne Senekowitsch