Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mazin Jamal, Founder of Holistic Underground, located in Oakland, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Holistic Underground supports the success and integrity of visionary businesses and social movements through personal and professional development. Through consulting, training, and a business incubator and fiscal sponsorship program that supports social-entrepreneurs organizations to level up their impact, we work with leaders across health equity, arts and culture, technology, community, and spiritual innovation.
Tell us about yourself
The simplest way to say how I found my way here was by trying to be of service. It's something I saw my parents do, especially my mother, until the literal very last moments of her life, seeing her in her hospital bed when I was 15, basically coaching and empowering people until her last breath.
I started coaching people accidentally, and when I realized that to be of greatest service, I had to learn how to do this right, I got certified. I'd lead random workshops I made up the day before at community events, and companies started asking us to bring the vibes to their team retreats. Again, I knew to be of greatest service, I'd have to get trained, so I got further certifications and training, learned from and trained others, and we built this amazing team.
We had a non-profit for community work, and people asked us to "fiscally sponsor them," as we saw that was a need in our community, we decided to build it out and do it right.
All these things have, by grace, grown to be a successful business that many passionate, brilliant and creative QTBIPOC folks rely on to make a good living doing work that makes them feel a sense of purpose and belonging.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'd probably say training and certifying 11 practitioners in the PurposePlace™ methodology, which is the framework we use to transform workplaces into PurposePlaces through the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Knowing that even if I were to die tomorrow, there would be people continuing this work is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Definitely learning how to be accountable, and find and invest in the support I need to be the best version of myself. I am constantly reaching the very edges of my skills and need to find more advanced (and often more expensive) training, coaching, guidance, and support to take my next steps. Having a "people pleasing" tendency, I often would avoid having the hard conversations until I got really angry, then explode. I've had to learn that owning a business with more than one worker means being a leader, and that means having courageous conversations early and often.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Rather than asking, "what can give me what I want?" I would recommend you ask, "Where can I give what I have?"
There are countless ways to make good money. There are values, skills, experience, and more that are unique to YOU. Those things are the gifts you have to give the world. When you give from your gifts, you can give the most value. You can work most sustainably. You can experience the most joy and ease. That doesn't mean you won't work hard, but it won't be hard work with no fun or fulfillment.
No one ever achieved immense success doing something they didn't love. Name one person. I know I can't. Alignment between who you are as a BEING and what you are DOING is probably the thing that ties together all the most successful and impactful people in history. They either found their groove, their niche, their lane, or life found it for 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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