Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marina Ramalho, founder of Joy of Less, located in Vancouver, Canada.

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

Joy of Less is a facilitated community of like-minded people interested in topics related to mindful consumption, decluttering, and organization. We also hold group programs and courses on these topics in person and virtually.

Tell us about yourself

I first became interested in conscious consumerism while I was a nanny in Europe and North America (I'm originally from Brazil). I had a rather intimate view into family relations. I discovered the often negative role that "stuff" can play in the home. Whether it battles over messy rooms or massive credit card statements, the accumulation, and storage of more and more seemed to lead to less and less happiness. Then some years later, I discovered Japanese author Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book details a system known as the KonMari Method, which provides a step-by-step process to liberate yourself from accumulation.

Inspired by this, in August 2016 in New York City, I joined the first-ever cohort of non-Japanese trainees in the KonMari Method. The course was led by Marie Kondo and her senior Japanese trainer. In November 2016, after months of training and apprenticeship, I became the first Canadian and second-ever certified consultant outside of Japan. I decided to step away from the KonMari organization in 2018, but certain retain the inspiration and wisdom of Marie Kondo and the method. Since then, I've had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients in person and virtually worldwide. Just recently, I've launched a dedicated online community (away from Facebook) devoted to learning and sharing about conscious consumerism and decluttering.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We've held some wonderful workshops where I could really see the concepts take hold, and I think a meaningful change was taking place. That's very rewarding! I've also been delighted by how seamlessly the transition to online programming has been, and in fact, is what inspired the new community platform.

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

Fully embracing the transition from a passion project to a full-time business. This requires focusing on important details, like financial projections, that require skills that may not come naturally. As a small business owner, you need to take on all sorts of tasks that are outside of your 'passion' but are essential to achieving your goals and the vision of the company.

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

  1. Embrace an online-first mentality. With few exceptions, your business can reach a larger customer base by establishing an online presence.
  2. Think global. There's no reason your business needs to be bound by city, region, or even national boundaries. You might find your largest customer base is in Korea or Colombia.
  3. Focus. It's super easy to jump from project to project in your business and not execute well on any of them. I've had the most success when I double down on a strategy. If it fails, I will at least have learned something from seeing it through.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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