Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey by launching a yoga business but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Natalia Mank-Tippen, founder of Yoga Origins, located in the lovely Arundel, West Sussex, UK.
Tell us a bit of yourself and your journey to where you are today...
I teach private and group yoga classes locally in West Sussex and lead yoga teacher trainings in London and Spain. My yoga students are people from all walks of life, busy moms, professionals and active pensioners. There is a growing interest in yoga among impactful business owners, which is impressive because they need yoga more than ever with their stress, responsibility, and long screen/driving hours! I find these customers prefer private sessions because of their irregular schedules. Yoga helps them with their health & wellbeing, which invariably translates to the wellbeing of their businesses.
My yoga teacher trainees are often professionals who have practiced and loved yoga for many years. The teacher training is their step towards following their passion and going solo as a yoga teacher. I love supporting them in that path as I've crossed that bridge, and however daunting at first, it is so worth it! I also offer healing sessions (online and face-to-face) where I use mindset coaching, mantra work, and energy healing to help my clients release trauma and empower them. My clients are often successful in their professional lives but struggle with setting healthy boundaries or with an impostor syndrome. Some of them are recovering from trauma such as car accidents, cancer, or loss, and it is hugely inspiring to hold space for their transformation.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?
My journey with yoga started 20 years ago when traveling solo around India and visiting ashrams to find answers to life's fundamental questions. It propelled me to pursue a Master's Degree in Indian Studies to grasp intellectually what I was experiencing first-hand. After graduation, I obtained my yoga teacher qualification, then followed other training and certificates... but even when I started lecturing on a yoga teacher training, I was still afraid to make that leap to flying solo. The more you expect of yourself, the deeper those doubts run! I ended up in a stressful role with a high level of responsibility and lots of international travel …while being a Mum to a small boy. It was then when I realized that my work-life balance was ultimately my responsibility, and it's my job to believe in my talents if I want to make that change I've been talking about for years. We moved out of London to a small village in West Sussex; I quit my day job, started teaching full-time...and have never looked back!
What motivates me is holding space for people to reconnect to themselves, their bodies, and how they feel. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your clients becoming at peace with themselves in the course of an hour-long session. Also, it's the only job I've ever had, where I'm calmer at the end of the working day than at the beginning!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a thriving local yoga community amidst the pandemic. I think understanding how our clients' needs evolve is fundamental. I moved all my classes online at the beginning of lockdown and then went into a hybrid model for the next eighteen months, depending on the regulations. During that time, I shifted away from physically demanding yoga classes towards a more gentle practice with a central focus on mental health and self-care. That experience has taught me that being a small business also makes us exceptionally flexible; it's easier to adapt to the ever-changing environment when you're the one calling the shots!
As a healer and yoga teacher trainer, I'm particularly proud of helping people gain the confidence to follow their dreams and passions and become entrepreneurs themselves! Over the last few years, over 30 of my students and several of my private clients have come to that decision.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Loneliness! I used to work in leadership development for business schools and universities - large and complex organizations. When I didn't know how to do something, I could ask for advice, delegate to someone whose area of expertise it was, or confer with colleagues on the best approach. Here it's all on me! I think that can get to you in the beginning as a solopreneur, and that's why it's so crucial we learn to outsource, use all the resources available to us and remember that mistakes are merely building steps on our learning curve.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Firstly, surround yourself with like-minded people: entrepreneurs, business owners, people who are creative or independent thinkers and like to challenge the status quo. Having an online community is just as effective as being physically surrounded by people who believe in what you do. Some of the best friendships and collaborations I've fostered over the past few years have been with other coaches I met online!
Secondly, prioritise your mental and physical wellbeing by taking breaks in the day, scheduling family, rest and workout times, holidays, and time dedicated explicitly to planning your long-term goals, not just the day-to-day tasking. Your business is an extension of you, so how you take care of yourself is pivotal to its growth and sustainability. If you're a recovering workaholic like myself, it'll take planning and some trial-and-error, and that's okay! This one is especially pertinent to the health & wellness industry entrepreneurs - let's be authentic with our clients in what we convey and take good care of ourselves every day.
Thirdly, there is no growth inside the comfort zone, which means that some of the steps you will need to take towards your success will feel profoundly uncomfortable! Learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and rather than focusing on the fear of failure, focus on the opportunity of success.
Where can people find you online?
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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