Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with William Jackson, Founder of SkillfulMeans, located in North Easton, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We help meditation teachers Identify a clear target audience, build and maintain an engaged online community without dealing with the complications of the technology or business models. Our goal is to create a platform and marketplace where the enthusiast meditation students can find teachers, classes, and community to refresh their practice on a daily basis and where meditation teachers can host, organize and promote their online and local products and services and maintain their communities.
Tell us about yourself
I am Dr. William Jackson, former Buddhist Monk, Clinical Health Psychologist, and CEO of SkillfulMeans. Let me tell you a little bit about what all of those mean and why it is important for what we are building together.
At age 22, I left being an actor as an ADHD and substance-abusing kid and became a fully ordained Buddhist monk in Frankfurt, Germany. That means to celebrate, head shaved, robe gave away all my possessions the whole deal.
I quickly developed my meditation practice and headed to Myanmar, which is a place, if you are serious about meditation, you will find yourself at one point or another. 6 months into a Meditation Retreat where I was meditating 10 to 14 hours a day and just a couple of days before hurricane Nargis hit Mayanmar killing 138000 people, and almost killing me, I had two realizations.
The first is that my once substance infuse, ADHD mind had now transformed into one of the most concentrated wholesome minds that I had ever encountered, and I thought to myself, "if I can do this, just about anybody that I know can."
In the second realization, I thought about my family and my friends and that I wanted to share this practice with them. I wanted to share that this amazing transformation was possible, that I knew how it worked and that I had found the thing that I believed everybody was looking for. I realized that to get them really interested, to help them to have the same experience, I would have to walk them through the essential method, but they're not going to shave their heads, wear a robe, or give away all their possessions and travel to Myanmar. I would have to create a program and organization that spoke to them in a way they're familiar with and create a program and community that they would be interested in with their busy lives, kids, and jobs.
I opened my eyes and saw all the monks sitting in the Dharma Hall, peacefully in meditation, surrounded by the verdant jungle, birds, and lizards chirping, and I thought, "shit." To do that, I will have to take the robs off, go back to school, get a Ph.D. in psychology or something, start a family, and then an organization that doesn't exist yet. That was 13 years ago. I have two crazy kids, a beautiful wife, and Doctorate in psychology; I have begun a profitable organization that is doing exactly what I want. Now we are looking to scale.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We have created a community where we are already helping hundreds of people; soon, thousands will train in meditation for a specific purpose. To have people come to me after one of our courses and say that it changed their life makes everything worth it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Split attention. I have practiced for so long to concentrate my mind on one thing, and I know the calming, soothing, and productivity that comes from single-tasking. However, as a business owner, I have 20 different tasks, five meetings, and ten things to delegate every day. Ultimately it is not the number of things I have to do that bothers me, but it is the task switching.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
It is more work than you can imagine, so make sure people in your inner circle will be able to support you in this decision, and you will be able to continue supporting them. There is no self; we are all connected, and you make a decision to devote a tremendous amount of time to something that means that they are going to feel it. It has to be something you really believe in.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Meditating often makes everything better.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.