Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Susan Crawford, founder of Meraki Inspired Coaching & Consultation Inc., located in Burlington, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
It's impossible to talk about Meraki Inspired without first talking about the origin of the name. Meraki is a Greek word that loosely translates to the soul, creativity, and love you put into something; it's leaving the essence of yourself in all that you do. Basically, it's like when you have the most amazing meal, and you say, "I can taste the love" - that's Meraki!
Meraki Inspired Coaching & Consultation Inc. is a space for people who have the courage to Be and Do different. So many of us spend our time and energy pleasing, proving, performing, and perfecting ourselves (and our lives) to the point where we don't even recognize ourselves anymore. We have become contortionists who have forced ourselves into a box that was never meant for us but dictated by our family, society, our peers, and even ourselves. We forgot who we were before the world told us who to be.
Our mission at Meraki Inspired is to show people what's possible when they choose an unconventional life. We do this by helping our clients find fulfillment, happiness, and success on their terms. We offer 1-on-1 and group coaching programs for people who, like the founder Susan Crawford, feel stuck at a crossroads in life or work, are looking to re-ignite their spark, are on the edge of possibility, or just want more out of life.
I'm a Mentor to the unconventional and wayfinder for the soul. What I do at Meraki Inspired is teach you how to find your way back to yourself.
Our signature offer is the Find Your Way program for women who are ready to remember who they are by reconnecting with the 4 Coordinates of their Inner Compass. For those people who want to take baby steps and explore the world of self-development and transformation a bit slower, we offer Masterclasses including: "The Power of No" and "Overcome Your Overwhelm." Wherever you are on your journey, I encourage you to invest in yourself because you are worthy of the life you want. When you choose courage over comfort and put yourself first, everything changes.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Susan Crawford, I go by a lot of titles, including mom, partner, woman, entrepreneur, cycle breaker, and free spirit, but I wasn't always this way! I spent most of my life following the rules, being a "good girl" and people-pleasing for approval, love, and acceptance. I worked in a cushy corporate job for eight years and knew I had won the "Golden Ticket" (or at least that's what I was told). I had the pension, benefits, and paycheque that were supposed to keep me safe and secure till retirement, but everything changed when the work and leadership became toxic.
I was trapped in a soul-sucking job while navigating the identity crisis of motherhood, wondering if this was the life I wanted. It was so difficult trying to hear the small voice inside me that said it was time to leave that toxic job while battling the fears, self-doubt, and "other opinions' that said I should stay. It was at that time I discovered coaching and began my journey of transformation. It was here I found my voice and my courage, determination, and grit. Inspired by Moana (yes, from Disney), I knew that this was a matter of life or soul death. I wasn't ready to exchange my identity or integrity for places and spaces that required me to be someone I'm not. In 2018 I walked away with a business ready to bloom, and I haven't looked back.
What motivates me to do what I do is the power of possibility and the exquisite moments of choice we have every day to change the life we have for the life we love. When I work with clients, I help them navigate that space in between where they are now and where they aspire to be, and that brings me such joy. I teach women how to be Unapologetic, Unconventional, and Unfuckwithable in life and work - and my gawd, does that feel good!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments is my willingness to keep moving forward despite any challenges and setbacks that may come up. In 2020, my social media accounts were hacked. I lost everything - all of my content, connections, relationships that I had been building since the beginning. I was devastated, but I believe it was my mindset that got me through - it shifted my perspective and kept me moving. If I had gotten caught up in the 'woe is me mentality, I would have focused on everything I lost instead of everything I had the potential to create. My heart, my Why, my reason for doing this work is ultimately what keep me going.
Secondly, as a mom of 2 girls, one of the biggest personal accomplishments owning a business has afforded me is being a role model that is breaking generational patterns and trailblazing a new path for generations to come. I have made the boldest, audacious, and terrifying choices to be where I am now, and I am constantly learning and growing. On top of that, I am simultaneously unlearning old behaviours, thought patterns, and beliefs that were passed down from my upbringing, learning that there is another way, and teaching them what is possible if they trust and follow the voice inside that will never steer them wrong.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I'm not sure there is one thing; actually, it's many things that oscillate daily! Comparison and self-doubt are always present, and fear is riding shotgun. Keeping myself in check requires me to constantly come back to the essence of who I am, what I do, and why I do it. There are so many distractions and things to pull us off course as business owners. When we get caught up in that noise, we lose our sense of direction, feel ungrounded, and oftentimes spin in uncertainty. Staying focused on my goals, vision, and what success means allows me to put blinders on to what everyone else is doing - especially when looking at social media and everyone selling the "magic solution" to success.
I have learned that although my way may not be the 'best' way, it's what feels aligned, powerful, and right for me. If you can find that for yourself and trust it, you won't get distracted or discouraged by what everyone else is doing. It's not easy, but the times when I tried to follow what others were doing, it rarely worked. I have always come back to what makes sense for me while honouring my personality, cycles, goals, and vision for the life I am creating. People work with me because of who I am; if I stay true to my essence, I can't fail.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Get a coach. My coach has changed my life and has helped move me through the conscious and subconscious blocks that stand between me and the future I want for myself and my family. You've got to do the inner work because it's often the stuff we've buried deep (insecurities, fear, doubt, shame, worthiness, etc.) that will emerge when you start, run and grow your business.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up, challenge, and inspire you. I wouldn't be here without the support of my partner and family. From quitting my job to starting a business, you need people in your corner to remind you of who you are. Also, find your community. Being a business owner can be lonely, so I encourage you to find others and work to build together.
If you've left a toxic 9-5 job, the best advice I was ever given was to unpack and heal from your experience, or you cannot move forward. It was only when I did this with my coach that I was truly able to immerse myself in entrepreneurship and ENJOY the freedom I chose for myself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Always leave space for magic.
Rest is the key to sustainability for your business.
If it's not a Hell Yes, it's a no (take this from someone who is impulsive and a people pleaser) - if it's not a good fit, let it go. What's yours will never pass you by.
Let your work/business be easy. You're allowed to enjoy the ride!
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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