Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kathryn Hofer, Founder of Modern Planner, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Modern Planner helps high-achieving, hard-working women slow down, create space for what truly matters, and make meaningful progress toward their goals by living an intentional life.
My Planning Circle meets online as a group for monthly, quarterly, and annual planning sessions, where we reflect on what worked and what didn't in the past and actively create our own vision and schedule for the days, weeks, and months ahead. In every session, we encourage each other to push forward and stay accountable to each other to stay on track. It's become such an uplifting and welcoming community! I also work with women one-on-one as a planning partner who provides accountability and support. I help them define priorities, organize their systems, refine their schedule, create goals, and develop actionable next steps.
Tell us about yourself
My first experience with burnout happened when I was 19 years old. I was a college student, and I was way overcommitted to all the courses and activities in my schedule. For three days, I had no energy. I literally couldn't do anything.
My second burnout experience was much worse. I was 25. I was stretched thin to the point where I was in constant pain. I wasn't sleeping. I should have been excitedly planning my wedding, but instead, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. And three months after my marriage, my medical problems got so bad that I could barely walk or breathe.
That's when I hit the "pause" button and began digging deep into how I was living my life. I began therapy, and I read every piece of research I could get my hands on about tackling overwhelm and stress. From there, I experimented with my own habits and exercises that made me more conscious about my state of mind and state of health. And after seeing them work in my own life – by the time I was 30, I was the happiest and healthiest I had ever been – I knew I could help others address their problems before they hit a crisis point as I did.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am most proud every time I use my skills and what I'm passionate about to make a real, tangible difference in women's lives. Each healthy boundary that someone creates, each business that grows, each schedule that changes for the better, and each woman who takes control of her own life motivates me to keep doing what I'm doing. After my experience with burnout and depression, every single person who steps off that hamster wheel and chooses a more intentional and purposeful path makes my journey worthwhile.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Paving my own path was one of the hardest parts of my journey over the last eight years. When I first started out, I was listening to so much advice and trying to follow it all. I spent way more time on social media than I preferred, I didn't create a solid marketing plan, and I was trying a jumble of tactics to get customers, hoping one would stick better than the others. The longer I have been on this journey, I have gotten more confident knowing what works for me and what I enjoy doing. I've also found mentorship and support that lines up with the type of business I run. (Hint - I'm not about the constant hustle and maximizing results as fast as possible I'm about living my life in a way that's meaningful to me and building a business with slow and steady growth).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For someone starting a business today, I would say get really clear on your foundation before you start marketing yourself. Know exactly who you serve, where you can find them, what their problems are and how you can solve those problems before you do anything else.
If you're currently running a business, I would definitely recommend getting really good at listening to your intuition and your customers. There is always competing advice out there for business owners, and your intuition can help you discern which strategies and tactics align with your values. And your customers' feedback is gold – it can help you uncover new insights you'd never notice on your own!
And my tip for those growing their business: make sure you are intentional and purposeful about how you grow. Do it at your own pace, in a way that you and your team can manage, and don't try to "keep up" with scaling advice that doesn't fit you or your business model.
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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