Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kathy Gruver, Stress, Mindset and Communication Expert, Inspiring you to change, Professional Speaker, Award-Winning Author, and Personal Coach, located in Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

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

I have a few different aspects of my business. I have a private practice where I see individuals and couples for life coaching. I have an office in Santa Barbara, California, and I also see people from around the world virtually.

I'm also a motivational speaker, where I travel around the world, helping people with stress, communication, mindfulness, and overcoming resistance to change.

In my coaching practice, I see couples who are struggling with triggers and communication barriers. I love working with my couples and also see quite a few people individually. These tend to be folks in transition, leaving a job, having just left a relationship, changing locations… I love helping people find their true north, identify goals and also bring out the best parts of themselves. I do that by asking powerful questions and by doing a lot of work with ego states.

For my talks and workshops, I work with a lot of companies, associations, and organizations who want to help their staff and members realize their true potential. I teach stress reduction as well as communication strategies, conscious leadership, and soft skills like overcoming resistance to change.

Tell us about yourself

My motivation comes from my drive to help people be their best selves. Whether I'm coaching, writing my next book or article, doing my podcast, or standing in front of hundreds speaking, I really do have an urge to help people make better choices. I educate people that they have options in how they live their lives, and hopefully, that inspires them to make those choices.

I started out as a massage therapist many decades ago, very accidentally, as my career trajectory was actually as an actress in Hollywood. But when I moved to Santa Barbara, California, I started a private massage practice, and I began to realize that my clients wanted a true health practitioner, not just someone to put an elbow in the knot that was bothering them in their shoulder. And as a lifelong learner and strongly curious person, I started studying more and more. I realized the more I knew, the more I could help the people in front of me. I studied mind-body medicine at Harvard; I got my master's and Ph.D. from an amazing school out of Alabama; I became a hypnotherapist, a Reiki master, a massage Doula, and finally started doing more life coaching. It has been a matter of me following the breadcrumbs, not necessarily sure where it was going to lead me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Frankly, I think just doing it at all. So many people say they want to be an entrepreneur or business owner, and it just doesn't happen for them. My motto is 'go for it, and I think that has really driven me forward. I also surrounded myself with people who wanted me to succeed; I could bounce ideas off of them and express my fears. Having those accidental mentors has really meant a lot to me.

When I got picked as a top massage practice two years in a row and then was selected as a winner of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award, I think I knew I had gotten somewhere. Then there was the billboard in Times Square, which was pretty cool. And then there's the hugs and the tears and the thank you's when you help affect someone's life.

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

At least when you're starting out, you have to do everything! Finally, as my business grew, I outsourced my laundry (as a massage therapist), and I've had an assistant for over a decade. No man is an island, and I think, especially as a woman business owners, we feel like we can do it all, so we should. I don't think that's smart. I think work/life balance was a big struggle for me. I remember my partner standing in a parking lot while I was on the phone trying to get massages booked while we were supposed to be on vacation. It's hard to find that time off because you are the business.

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

  1. I think the most important thing is asking yourself what you really want. Know what your end goal is, and you'll have an easier time getting there. No one gets into an Uber and says, "Take me somewhere." I think if you have a destination in mind, then the journey isn't as scary.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people. Maybe it's your partner or girlfriends or clergy or other business owners. I think having someone to bounce ideas off of and to support you through the ups and downs is immensely important.
  3. And finally, be gentle with yourself. Not everything is going to work the first time. Have grace and recognize that there is no failure there is only feedback. Take what you learn along the way and use it as a lesson, not an excuse to beat yourself up. Gentleness is key!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just Go For It!!!

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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