Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alyssa McLean, Founder of Kind Living Nutrition & Wellness, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Kind Living Nutrition & Wellness, I offer one-on-one support to people who want to connect with their bodies, free their spirits, and explore holistic, fully embodied nourishment practices for sustainable wellness in the long term. Through coaching, mentorship, and facilitation, my clients do the deep work to establish accessible self-care and self-awareness practices that honor the whole of them—my work with each client is unique, and it always honors each person's story, circumstances, and the systems that impact them. Mental, physical, spiritual, vocational, relational, and community wellness are all topics that get explored in my work with clients, with a focus on tuning into the body's messages and how to respond to them in loving, nourishing ways.
Tell us about yourself
I was a practicing therapist for about 8 years before I made the switch to coaching and facilitation. Initially, I worked primarily with nutrition-focused goals, and as my company continued to grow, I recognized that the support I really wanted to offer was more expansive than that. Collectively, we aren't really encouraged to be embodied in our daily lives—it's more common that we think only from the neck up, and that can leave us pretty disconnected from our full selves, including our pleasures, our needs, our purposes, and our communities. A more embodied approach to wellness can help folks to be more present and aligned with themselves, and it can also offer more connection with how our larger systems can impact our health.
Embodiment can be a really important piece of challenging white supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, and ableism... it supports our ability to notice where those things reside within our own selves and to begin to explore how we might work together to create something better. Of course, as a white woman, these are not ideas that come from me—there are so many Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color who have been doing this work for a long time. I'm hopeful that my offering to clients can serve to support those ideas and to be a small piece of working toward collective, total liberation for all. I firmly believe that a more embodied, holistic, connected way of being with ourselves and each other is a piece of that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, I think my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is simply being a business owner! When I first started out, I was pretty sure I would never figure out all the ins and outs of the role—I knew I had the experience in working with clients, but creating something like Kind Living and just having faith in myself that I could do it was truly a big stretch for me. Staying the course, trusting the pivots, and continuing to get up after each perceived failure was (and is!) hard, and I'm so glad that I've kept going with it. Getting to do this work is such a gift!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a solo business owner can be pretty isolating. And a lot of what you do to make it work is invisible to most people—I sometimes find myself feeling like I have to justify how I spend my time, as though if people know how hard I'm working, it will make me a legitimate business owner. Being a solopreneur forces you to face your shadows head-on, all your insecurities, your feelings about money, how you define your worth, what "productivity" and "success" mean...and all of that is happening as you're also managing just the daily tasks and client work. It's certainly not for the faint of heart, but it can be well worth the effort.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your people. I'm a part of a holistic business circle, and I also have had the immense privilege of becoming friends with other solo entrepreneurs who can understand the challenges of the work on a deeper level than some of my other supports might. This work can feel lonely, but you're not alone, I promise! There is definitely someone else out there who would respond with an enthusiastic "Me too!" if you shared your struggles with them.
- Allow yourself to pivot. Just because you start with one niche or offering, doesn't mean you can't shift. At first, I was worried I'd look like I was flaky or wishy-washy, but it actually was just that we couldn't predict the future, and it's ok and natural to change. Trust yourself, listen to your body's messages, and don't worry about optics.
- Be yourself. You are not synonymous with your work (and thinking that can definitely lead to burnout), but if your work doesn't have you at the core of it, it won't feel as fulfilling and authentic. Business is political. Have opinions, share them, and let them be a part of your work. You are not for everyone, and everyone is not for you, and the truer you are to yourself, the more likely it is that the right clients for you will come your way.
- Remember—even if it looks like everyone else was able to make a "successful" business right away (whatever "success" even means!), it's ok if your pace is slower. Your path is your own, and it doesn't need to look like anyone else's way of doing 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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