Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Edward, founder of LORA Concepts Inc., located in Waterdown, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide meditation and stress management solutions to busy professionals through my company, LORA Concepts Inc. Loving-kindness, openness, relatability, and authenticity (the acronym that is the source of the business' name) are the cornerstones of what LORA Concepts and I stand for. Through LORA Concepts Inc., I work with individuals and businesses to help them harness the power of meditation and yoga. I offer concrete ways to apply these concepts to their everyday lives, including how to manage stress and build confidence. I offer in-person and virtual sessions on topics like managing your thoughts, cultivating positive relationships, increasing self-awareness, and improving focus and concentration. This company is an extension of who I am and what I've been doing for so much of my life: helping others be their best. I have a unique combination of training and experience that enables me to relate to people's challenges and offer relevant advice for navigating them.
Tell us about yourself
I've been there. I know what it's like. The intense workload. The thrill of closing the deal. The pressure of presentations. The stress of deadlines. The frustration of red tape and shifting priorities. Having too much to do and no idea where to start.
Believing so much in yourself in one moment and doubting everything in the next. Having a job you enjoy but being overwhelmed. Having a job you do not enjoy and not knowing how to cope. The paradox of being confident and capable yet fearing failure.
I've been working in corporate since I was in school. I did some consulting while finishing school. Then, once graduated, I embarked on a rewarding career that has included roles in business development, credit underwriting, employee enablement, and adult learning.
I have benefited from each of these opportunities. But I've also experienced the stressors that can accompany day-to-day life in these types of roles. In fact, throughout the nearly two decades I've spent in the corporate world, I've struggled on and off with anxiety, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and depression.
I have been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for years. I completed 400+ rigorous hours of teacher training in both yoga and meditation, which included studying techniques and philosophies. I've applied concepts from these disciplines in practical ways to my own life, sometimes intentionally and sometimes without even realizing it. I've been blown away time and again by how the concepts from these ancient traditions have improved all facets of my life in very pragmatic ways.
So, I established LORA Concepts Inc. to help other professionals improve their lives in much the same way.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I launched LORA Concepts Inc. a couple of months ago and am very proud of this accomplishment! I work full-time in a completely different, high-pressure industry. So, I had to bring LORA Concepts Inc. to life in my spare time. It required (and continues to require) a lot of work in the early mornings, in late evenings, and on weekends.
I have an education in business and have worked with businesses a lot throughout my career. But it’s quite a different story to start and manage your own business! I’m proud of launching and of the encouraging response I’ve received to date, but I’m equally proud of all the little (and not so little) challenges I had to overcome to get me to this point. It has been an incredible learning experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I work full-time for a large corporation. So, whenever I run into challenges, there’s someone to call for help: I can contact a helpdesk for IT problems, a legal department for guidance on complying with legislation, or a marketing department for advice on branding. Finding help in those areas is not so easy when you have your own business. You have to solve most problems yourself, and doing that requires research, reaching out to people in your network, and, above all, patience. These little problems can be discouraging.
After all, I want to spend my time on business development or content creation! However, I’ve learned that these problems are part of being a business owner. Sometimes you have to spend hours learning about a problem or process you really don’t care to learn about, merely because it has to be done. What may surprise you is that solving these problems – even the annoying ones – end up being one of the most rewarding aspects of owning a business. It’s exciting to find a solution to something that had you totally puzzled about in the beginning.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make smart sacrifices. Yes, starting and owning a business requires sacrifice, particularly if you are like me and doing it as a side business to start. However, it's important to acknowledge that not all sacrifices are made equal. For instance, don't sacrifice time with your family only to spend hours scrolling through social media. Sacrifice the fluff and keep the important things. I feel strongly that one of those important things is "me time": time for you to decompress, relax, and focus on self-care. It's easy to divert that time to your business, but you'll risk burning out. If you don't prioritize your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, your business is nothing.
- Limit how much you compare yourself to others. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others on social media: personally and professionally. Yes, it's a good business practice to understand who your competition is or how they approach their markets. But don't live and die by social media. Like with personal posts, business owners will only post the good stuff, the highlights. That can be discouraging because you could be sitting there, surrounded by endless tasks and problems, and wondering, "What am I doing wrong?" The answer is "nothing." Everyone has that experience but they don't tend to post about it.
- Think about how you are going to attract clients. Whatever your business is, you're likely very passionate about what it is you do. For instance, as I prepared to launch LORA Concepts Inc., I wanted to spend all my time on content development: setting up my website, creating workshops, etc. That is the fun part! However, whatever you are selling is meaningless if you have no one to sell to. So, before you launch, give some thought to how you are going to develop your business: Where can you advertise? Are there networking associations you can join? Who in your network could introduce you to potential clients? It may be scary because it brings up the inevitable thought, "What if no one wants my service or product?". But you're far better off addressing that question directly and figuring out how you'll get business early on than launching and then panicking over whether you'll ever make money.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As every entrepreneur will tell you, starting and managing your own business is a lot of work. So, make sure you take the time to celebrate the fact that you're actually doing it, no matter how little progress you feel you are making! Celebrate the things you get done.
When starting a business, it can feel like there isn't enough time to get everything done, especially if you've got another job and are doing this on the side. So, at the end of the day or week, it's easy to look at your to-do list and dwell on all the things you did NOT get done and glaze over the things you did accomplish. Don't let yourself do that. Starting a business is an incredible feat. It doesn't matter how many tasks you get done in a day or week because the reality is that you could have easily chosen to do something else like sleep in or go out with friends. Instead, you made a sacrifice and worked on your business. Many people want to start businesses, but only a few take steps towards making that a reality… and THAT deserves celebration, no matter how small the step may be!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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