Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Megan Leatherman, Founder & Director of A Wild New Work, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a coach, writer, podcaster, and community facilitator who supports thoughtful working people who want to feel more enlivened by the work that they do. My business is called A Wild New Work, and it's an endeavor rooted in the rhythms and wisdom of the natural world and what ecology can teach us about how to live and work in more sustainable ways. My clients are typically women who have been working inside traditionally professional settings and are hungry for a different type of pace and a deeper sense of meaning. I've been self-employed for almost eight years, and I see my business as an experiment in anti-capitalist, relationship-centric income generation :)
Tell us about yourself
I started my own business somewhat reluctantly after leaving my full-time job as an HR Manager and shifting into a contract role with the company I'd been employed by. When I couldn't find a new job in the field of HR that matched up with what I was looking for, I started experimenting with consulting. That led me to the idea of supporting employees outside of organizations via career coaching, so I rented an office for 5 hours a week and just started trying it out.
While the last eight years of working for myself has been a dream in many ways, it's also one of the hardest things I've done. What motivates me the most is that this feels like my calling (or the current expression of it). I'm only able to keep going because I prioritize my spiritual practices and stay focused on the work that's aligned with my strengths. It's also hugely motivating to see the lives of my clients change and evolve because of the work we do together.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The thing that comes to mind first is the fact that I have people in my community who have been with me for almost the entire time. They're former clients, podcast fans, blog readers, or other people who have been to a class in the past or are in my current community. It feels like a huge accomplishment to have built such deep and long-lasting relationships with people who are integrating this work into their daily lives and seeing important shifts taking place.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's the constant work I have to do internally. For example, every time I put out a new workshop or offering, I have to do the work within me to detach from the outcome, manage my expectations, and really trust that I can make this business work. I don't feel insecure about my skills as a practitioner, but I have to regularly work through my doubts about my ability to run a successful business in the way I want to run it. Entrepreneurship has been like a personal development boot camp for me since day 1!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't forget that the things that keep you healthy and clear-minded are just as important as the things you do to work on your business directly. Meditating, working out, or journaling is just as (if not more) valuable as that next blog post, networking event, or to-do list.
- Really lean into the way that you want to be in your business. Learn the marketing strategies and all, but always come back to the next thing that feels right to you, in your heart. That's how you'll learn what truly works and can be sustained.
- Keep in mind that you're not trying to create another burdensome, 9-5 job for yourself. How could your business be a regular respite or a source of fun for you?
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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