Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dan Tricarico, founder of The Zen Professional, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The name of my business is The Zen Professional, and I help harried professionals reduce their stress, improve their self-care, and avoid burnout.

Tell us about yourself

During my three decades as a high school English teacher, I loved every minute. However, about 8 or 9 years ago, I was facing massive burnout. To deal with my situation, I started a blog called THE ZEN TEACHER. That blog became a book called THE ZEN TEACHER: CREATING FOCUS, SIMPLICITY, AND TRANQUILITY IN THE CLASSROOM. That was followed three years later by SANCTUARIES: SELF-CARE SECRETS FOR STRESSED OUT TEACHERS. Those books became workshops that I gave to teachers to help them reduce stress. Now, in this (semi-) post-pandemic work, I am bringing the same message of peace, tranquility, and simplicity to people in other industries and professions so they can learn to take care of themselves as well. I am motivated to do what I do every day by the idea that I am helping people take care of themselves.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is knowing that I am serving and helping others improve the quality of their lives. Hard to think of something more important. When they send me messages (as they often do) saying things like "You've changed my life," "Now I know I'm going to make it through," and "I carry your book back and forth to work with me," I know that I am making a difference and that my mission is important.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is that, like teaching, you have to realize (and accept) that you cannot save everybody.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

In terms of tips for someone who wants to start, run, and grow a business today, I would say that:

  1. As the business gurus say, "Done is better than perfect." Don't wait to be ready. You will never be "ready." Just do what you can. But do it now. It can be messy.
  2. Believe in your mission, your message, and your product. If you don't, it's going to be a lot harder (maybe impossible).
  3. Figure out your narrative around money. What stories have you internalized? Once you've figured them out, ask yourself if those stories are serving you. If they're not, get rid of them.

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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