Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Van Antwerp, owner of Integral Travel, located in Lyons, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Integral Travel is a medium for personal and community transformation. We empower people to take control of their own health through wellness education. We offer everything from guided meditations to cleanses to wellness retreats.
We serve people who are tired of the daily grind, stressed out, and feel like they can't keep up. We offer tools to those who are sick of the traditional medical model that simply gives them a pill to mask their symptoms but never addresses the root cause of their issues. We teach people how to unlock the natural capacity of their bodies to heal themselves by unwinding the stress response.
We help people reignite the light in their eyes, experience awe and wonder again, and transform their lives from the inside out.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a good listener. And as such, people LOVE spilling their guts to me. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "I've never told anyone this before, but..." or "I don't know why I'm telling you this..." I wanted a way to help people more deeply, more than just by listening. So I went to massage school, thinking I would just help people relieve the stress in their bodies.
The journey I embarked upon with that decision has led me to where I am today. I learned to feel the energy, not only in other people's bodies but in my own - which gave me the capacity to transform my emotional state from one of anxiety to one of open-heartedness. I got certified to teach qigong and yoga and went back to massage school as a teacher's assistant and then as a lead instructor. I started meditating. Through this process, I unwound my own tendency to anxiety. I overcame my addictions. I faced my body-image issues.
All the while, I was yearning to travel, having had some amazing and defining travels in my youth. When the opportunity came to combine all of my life lessons in a teaching role while traveling came into my life, I felt a giant YES! And I've been working on that ever since.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is not what most people would consider an "accomplishment" but rather a quality that I've learned. Perseverance. When you believe in something strongly enough, deeply enough, and are willing to work hard enough for it, you will accomplish it.
That's how I feel about Integral Travel and what we're accomplishing with every offering, every class, every retreat. We want to change the world by changing people's lives and healing their hearts, one at a time. It's taken incredible perseverance to get us where we are today.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Especially in the beginning stages of growing a business, the hardest thing is doing everything yourself. You are the grand visionary and creator, yes, but you're also doing the marketing and the bookkeeping, and the sales, and the website. It takes an incredible amount of organization and flexibility to switch roles that way and carry it all.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in marketing! You can have the best idea in the world, but if you don't have a way to spread the word so others can find out about it, then you're dead in the water.
- Stick with it. Starting a business is incredibly exciting, and working for yourself is amazingly freeing. But it's not without its challenges. You have to deeply know your WHY to find the energy to keep going when the going gets tough.
- It's said that successful entrepreneurs have had 3-5 business failures before they hit on an idea that takes off. So if you start and the business doesn't work, you have to close it for whatever reason, don't consider yourself a failure. Learn from your mistakes, get back out there and try again!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you are struggling in ANY way, working too hard, have health issues coming up, and can't get a handle on your stress - you can change your life. You are more powerful than you know.
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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