Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katherine Lash, Owner of SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats, located in Sedona, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats was launched in 2007. It is a holistic spiritual retreat center focused on customizing retreats to help heal the mind, body, and spirit. SpiritQuest offers couples retreats, healing retreats, spiritual retreats, wellness retreats, and family retreats. Our practitioners are coaches who specialize in building healthy relationships, whether it be with themselves or others. SpiritQuest assists people who are wanting tools for self-growth. Some transitional points in a person's life may be facing a divorce, working through a breakup, grieving the loss of someone, losing a job, feeling no sense of purpose, or being consumed by anxiety. These are just a few of the situations SpiritQuest addresses. The company puts a great deal of emphasis on communication, conflict resolution, appreciation, right action, integral living, making amends, and finding purpose. SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats goes deep, and the results are transformational. Sometimes just shifting the way a person thinks results in seeing the world in a whole new way.
SpiritQuest also offers women's retreats and men's retreats, exploring stress relief, the balance of family versus work life, and healthy living. Retreats for women address negative body image, low self-esteem, and women empowerment. Men's retreats help men find balance and alignment in their lives. These retreats happen seven days a week and are non-denominational. However, SpiritQuest also creates bonding experiences with fun and adventure. Our vortex retreats are a way to explore the vortex energies of Sedona, AZ, out on the red rocks. These experiences are vacations that will form memories to last a lifetime!
Tell us about yourself
I am a mother of two daughters with two degrees: one in Education and one in Metaphysics. I started teaching secondary education at the age of 22 and served as an English teacher for 15 years. I have always been a teacher and leader at heart. At the turn of the century, I decided I needed more in my life, so I embarked on a trip to Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand, and Bali. Over the course of 5 years, I traveled back and forth, from East to West, gaining a wealth of experience and understanding of the human condition. I was very interested in Ayurvedic medicine and its holistic approach to health. I realized that while it's important to have specialists that assist with a particular condition, what was sorely missing was a mind, body, and spirit approach where balance was achieved in life.
This balance involves learning to "let it go" and developing a spiritual practice that aligns us with our purpose. When we gain the tools for taking care of the physical body, calming the mental & emotional body, and validating our inner "soul selves," we begin to sleep better and release the angst that wreaks havoc with our nervous system. This is when true healing can begin. I will also say that personally, I experienced a segment of my life that I will call the "dark night of the soul" where I had to overcome panic attacks and depressive states of mind. I had to gain tools to overcome dark thoughts and a sense of being lost. My travels assisted me with holistic techniques to heal myself. With this knowledge, I returned to the States and launched SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats. Each day I am motivated to help others find these tools and techniques so they can live a stress-free and joyful life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is growing a company from a sketch on a napkin to a successful retreat center with a staff of over 30 people. The staff and programs have transformed the lives of thousands of people across the country. I believe that I am contributing to raising the consciousness on the planet. What I mean by "raising consciousness" is that in this day and age of the hustle and bustle, there is a renewed awareness to slow down, be present at the moment, and show up for each other. Life is about supporting each other and building a culture of inclusion.
Diversity is to be celebrated, and at the same time, finding common ground with those we interact with helps us all feel connected. It's important to feel that we belong. SpiritQuest helps foster these values. Of course, I support these values in my own family and feel proud to build a family business where my husband and two children can participate. Belonging creates a sense of purpose.
I also have implemented programs for donations to support our "furry friends." SpiritQuest contributes to the local Humane Society to assist in finding good homes for abandoned animals. As well, SpiritQuest donates to the local House of Ruth. One in four women will experience some kind of physical abuse by their intimate partners. The House of Ruth supports victims of domestic abuse, promoting justice and equity. The House of Ruth also helps young pregnant mothers find shelter, supplies, and assistance.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is keeping my own life in balance. Because I am the CEO of my company, I have had to learn to delegate tasks and have personal boundaries for self-care. It's easy to teach others what they need to do to live a life of peace, joy, and balance. The real challenge is to live what I teach and not put too much pressure on myself. Additionally, It is important for me to stay in touch with Nature. Thus, walks in Nature, enjoying the sunset and the moon cycles, and taking a dip in the creek are of high priority to me. I also always find time for family and friends. I love being a "chess buddy" to my little 10-year-old grandson. We are both learning and with that comes a lot of laughter.
Similarly, Sunday family dinners are a priority for me. Moreover, I pay close attention to getting lots of sleep and eating well. Let's not forget the healing power of sunlight and exercise. I incorporate these into my routine as well. Because I am able to keep this balance, I am able to pay attention when my staff members need something. I remember years ago when I worked at a spa as an esthetician. I had a manager who was sorely overworked. Yet, no matter what she was doing, even if I caught her on the run in the hallway, she would stop, look me straight in the eyes, tune out everything else, and give me her full attention. I have carried that with me for over 20 years. Since she made me feel validated and heard, I have, in turn, given that same gift to hundreds of people.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Before you start a business, do your homework. Take the time to explore the demand for what you are thinking of offering in relation to the area. What does the competition look like, where would be the ideal location, and what are the demographics of the area? Who might your services or products appeal to? Create a business plan and get clear on your mission.
- Keep things simple. When launching a business, don't get overly complicated. Allow yourself to grow at a healthy pace. Many businesses invest too much upfront and crash before they become fully established. Others can't keep up with the growth pace and cannot meet the demand. Either way, it requires a strategic approach to move and grow in a manageable and healthy way.
- Early on, create a code of ethics to lean on. This code expresses to staff members and clients who you are and what you stand for. This code establishes what is acceptable or in alignment with your values. This is the perfect way to weed out those who are not a "match" for your business. Money is not the bottom line. More important is for you and your customer to be congruent. This way, they will return, and you can build a culture and a following.
- Always maintain quality with your services or products. Never cut corners or trim too much, losing the "flavor" of what you initially offered. If you want return customers, keep with your reputation, even if it means sacrificing a dollar or two. Sometimes owners trim budgets to save a dollar and end up losing a customer. Be fair in your pricing and always provide what you promised.
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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