Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Svitlana Nalywayko, Founder of Breathe Yoga & Wellness Centre, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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

We are one of Toronto's leading yoga schools, offering yoga classes and Yoga Teacher Certification programs for the last 20 years.

Tell us about yourself

I started my yoga studio after going through a year of transition. I had been working as a consultant for the British Government in Russia, and my contract ended. Coming back home to Canada unemployed, I knew I wanted a change but had no idea what I wanted to do.

I started practicing yoga with a friend (who was also unemployed). We hired a yoga teacher, did yoga in my friend's living room, and drank wine afterward to figure out our lives. One day after a year of yoga, making great progress within my practice, and loving it, my friend said, " Svitlana, you should open a yoga studio." And it was one of those aha moments - it was exactly what I wanted to do as I had found my passion.

I had my yoga studio open within six weeks. That was over 20 years ago. Every day since then, I love my job as I see students literally transforming their lives by sitting on their yoga mats in quietude and contemplation. So many students of ours have upended their lives for the better - left bad jobs, left bad or abusive marriages, started new careers, have become better parents, partners, and friends by waking up on their yoga mats.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have to say that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is creating a community of people who are enhancing their lives through becoming healthier - mentally, physically, and spiritually.

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

The hardest thing about being a business owner is making the very tough decision to say goodbye to employees when it becomes apparent that their values are not aligned with your business, especially with the people we are serving.

In the end, your employees have to be on the same page as you are in your dedication to serving your clients in the very best way possible. Unfortunately, even in the yoga business, there is a lot of instructor ego that often supersedes your customers' needs.

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

First and foremost, you should be completely passionate about your business. You want to be excited about going to work every single day. Your passion is what will fuel you with energy and motivation for constantly growing your business and serving your clients well. You will want to be the best at what you do naturally.

My business mentor taught me that the very best thing I could do to grow my business was to hire the very best people I could find --people who were better than me at everything and not to be afraid of the risk of them overshadowing me. And do your most darn to keep them. He was so right!

I would also suggest not giving up too easily on the concepts that you believe in that are not succeeding as quickly as you'd like them to be. Often things take time to grow, and your intuition is right more often than not. Trust your gut.

Finally, if you are running a retail type of business, cleanliness REALLY matters. Have a spotless place of business and keep it fresh with little reno projects - people really notice and appreciate your efforts.
Also, I always recommend starting small to learn organically and learn from your mistakes at a little financial cost.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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