Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kathy Robinson, founder of Athena Wellness, located in Oakland, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Athena Wellness helps professionals stay well as they ascend the corporate ladder and support them as they descend and transition to the next phase of their lives.
My clients typically fall into two categories:
- Busy professionals trying to balance their career and home life.
- Those who are transitioning out of long-time corporate careers.
Tell us about yourself
I spent close to three and half decades in corporate America, first on Wall Street for 18 years and then fifteen years at a Fortune 250. But over the years, I became so passionate about wellness, feeling fitter in my 50s than in my 30s, that I left corporate life at the height of my career to become a certified wellness coach.
I started Athena Wellness to help others holistically reinvent themselves as they navigate their own wellness and life transitions. Athena was a Greek goddess who signified both strength and wisdom, two qualities I help my clients access in themselves.
It feels like a dream now that I have reinvented myself in midlife and get to be a wellness entrepreneur, helping people by writing, coaching, corporate speaking, podcasting, and very soon, through an online course. I host The Athena Wellness Podcast and publish a blog. I’m the author of The Athena Principles, Simple Wellness Practices for Overworked Professionals. My course is entitled From Type A to Type Be, How to Mindfully Descend the Corporate Ladder and Invite What’s Next.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I love bridging the corporate and wellness worlds. I get to help professionals optimize their well-being for a living. That means taking a holistic approach to wellness – mind, body, and spirit – and making those more esoteric topics relatable for Type-A, driven executives and entrepreneurs, especially those who have maxed out or become burnt out and disconnected from themselves.
I think my real-life experience in the corporate world brings a relatability and an understanding of what a client may be going through – I’ve been there. Because of that, my clients trust that I’ll be able to hold the kind of space they need to drop the professional façade to do the deep work to address the disconnect from wholehearted living that professionals can experience when they are on the routine treadmill.
It’s a special time to help clients move toward a life that feels true to them, that’s a full expression of themselves. Helping them connect with their still point and listen to their own inner wisdom sets the stage for personal transformation.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I transitioned from a career where I had dedicated administrative support and a global team to execute business objectives. I went from a team of 50 to a team of 1 – me. I was responsible for the client offerings, content, and creating/maintaining the business infrastructure.
I also had more ideas than I could ever execute – and I mean that overwhelmingly. I felt uncharacteristically scattered for the first 18 months or so. What I learned as a solopreneur is – focus is everything. I think of it as an equation: discernment = impact (more discernment, greater impact).
My advice: Take the time to do some visioning, create a high-level strategic plan, and make an honest appraisal of your skills. Pick one thing that best suits you and get it done. Invest in time, people, or services that will help you knock the ball out of the park and make something you’re really proud of with high quality. Then as that is winding down, move on to the next thing that will have an impact.
It helps to keep checking in with how you’re feeling – if you’re not loving what you’re doing and how you’re doing it – unpack it, take some time to understand why and adjust as needed.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- A decision to start a business takes time and is made with both the head and the heart. Too much logic can result in inertia. Too much emotion or intuition can result in impulsiveness. Try letting the heart take the lead but using the head for discipline and discernment. Do not put yourself in financial peril (clients can feel that kind of desperation).
- Have a dedicated place to dream and dream big. Once I realized I wanted to own my own business in wellness, I kept a dedicated bullet journal of business ideas – it gave me a place to keep all the frenetic thoughts in my mind, business ideas, and questions and notes. A place to note ideas from podcasts and books, and lectures. It also gave the business idea some legitimacy where I could see it take shape.
- Lastly, as you create your strategic plan, remember that true financial freedom and independence come from a portfolio of multiple income streams with the ability to scale and turn them into passive, recurring revenue.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have a quote pinned up in my office that reads: “The life you live is the lesson you teach.” I believe how we show up for ourselves impacts how we show up for others. I also believe the whole point of wellness and business is to make a positive impact and have a blast while you’re doing it. And don’t forget the secret to a well-lived life is enjoying the ride!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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