Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Tanaka, a somatic attachment coach, and yoga, qigong & meditation instructor based in Santa Cruz, CA, USA.

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

I help people overcome challenges in relationships and work caused by early childhood attachment trauma. My customers are often high-functioning adults who are successful but also suffer from disconnection from their feelings/needs, people-pleasing tendencies, overtaking feelings of disconnection, and excessive self-reliance. They tend to be growth-oriented people.

Tell us about yourself

I got into this line of work while working out the effects of my childhood trauma. After years of yoga, meditation, and personal growth work, it became apparent that many of the symptoms I still suffered from were rooted in how my body and nervous system carried coping strategies formed during my childhood.

I began diving deep into my own healing and eventually started to work with others on these issues. Then I discovered that almost everyone I know suffered from some form of this. As I refined my methods, it became clear to me that I needed to do my part to spread access to the resources that can help us and increase awareness of the issue.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is supporting my clients in making meaningful changes in their inner experience that translates to them being able to live a life that is authentic to them. I'm both focused on shifting how we relate to ourselves internally and to our bodies and creating positive change in our behaviors. When they go together, people truly flourish. Without realizing it, many of us live lives predetermined by our coping strategies. For example, many of us sacrifice our authenticity to live a life seeking approval that fills the void we experienced in the emotional neglect of our childhood.

Or we shut down and give up easily when faced with difficult emotions or experiences that mirror our childhood experience of helplessness. When we build an inner capacity to truly love and support these parts of ourselves, amazing changes happen in our lives. I feel the excitement around the fact that many of my clients have made big changes in their work relationships, boundary setting, choosing more suitable relationship partners, and moving towards careers that align with their true selves.

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

Being a one-person show, learning to ask for help and delegate has been a challenge. Constantly needing to learn new skill sets to up-level and scale what I'm doing is definitely challenging. But luckily, I'm learning to get help on all levels, and I'm actually enjoying the process of learning skills like copywriting, marketing, and sales that I swore off when I was younger.

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

That's a great question.

  1. Learn how to relate to marketing in a way that resonates with you. It made a world of difference when I started seeing marketing as my responsibility to make my services accessible and visible to those who need them.
  2. As soon as possible, get and hire help where you need it if needed. Working with coaches, therapists and contractors allowed me to make progress in areas of my business that were stagnant for years. I really wish I had gotten more help earlier.
  3. Have a growth mindset and always develop and refine your relationship with yourself. For most of us, our business depends on our capacity, vision, and well-being. If you're constantly growing, overcoming your shortcomings, being open to feedback, and keeping your life in balance, your mental and physical well-being is constantly up-leveling; it will definitely show up in your business.

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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