Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jenine Lehfeldt, owner of Sweet Serenity Yoga and Wellness, located in Delta, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Your age? Your gender? Your fitness level?
Does. Not. Matter.
Our commUNITY is for everyBODY
Take your first #smallstep to your #biggoals
At Sweet Serenity Yoga and Wellness, we give you the tools you need to make healthy, positive choices and get you actively involved in your own self-care. We offer a variety of In-studio and Virtual Classes from traditional Yoga, Barre, Fusion, and Dance Fitness in the Heart of North Delta. We also offer video-on-demand, private one-on-one sessions as well as Yoga Therapy and Reiki services.
The objective of opening this studio is to provide a safe, nurturing, and accessible space. A place where we can all let our guards down and open their hearts. A Safe space to freely laugh or cry and feel through whatever it is we're facing in life. Together we aim to expand in the future to further our reach and lend that helping hand to those who seek it.
We have three main pillars in our business model:
- Mental health and recovery: I am a suicide survivor and recovering alcoholic with nearly 5years of sobriety. We lead fundraisers such as NamaSlay Yoga or Barre, where the class is set to hard virtuosic music like Hard rock and metal for our local family and community services society, Deltassist, and the mental health programs they run.
- Animal advocacy: I work closely with a local animal rescue, Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary, by transporting animals, working out at the farm, and running the administration and social channels for them. We also lead fundraisers like Cat yoga at the studio, where people can participate by donating to a yoga class while having kittens run all over them.
- Small Business: We support local small businesses by having annual events showcasing their wares and services. Every year we hold a Facebook live event in which upwards of 20 local businesses' have prizes available to win for the community. It's a fun and interactive event where people not only can win prizes but get to know more about their local shops! At Christmas time, we do a 12days of Christmas giveaway where every day, a different local small business takes over our Instagram account where people can again win prizes, and the participating company gets more followers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surviving the Pandemic! Within our first year and a half of opening, we were filling classes. We began paying down debt in January/February of 2019 when the pandemic hit in March of 2020. Yet we've survived to this point! Between sheer grit and determination, I researched and pivoted our studio to online in the first week of the pandemic. We faced many obstacles, including being closed for a total of 304 days out of two years and losing 75% of our student base. We have since been able to re-open this past January. We are cautiously optimistic as we start to see new and old faces return to the studio. In order to survive, we sold off all our yoga and fitness props, ran fundraisers benefiting ourselves and our affiliate animal rescue, and ran virtual-only classes during mandated shutdowns, affording us the opportunity to record empty classrooms for our newest venture into Video-on-demand offerings. Limited class capacity, during the times we were allowed to be open, created further difficulties in even reaching a breakeven per class and has set us back significantly to where we had foreseen ourselves pre-COVID. But, we're still here!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Work-life balance! As an entrepreneur, your business is your child - and more than a full-time job. Clearly, work-life balance harmony is not considered one of the defining characteristics of the life of an entrepreneur; no doubt, 24/7 work requirements and a passion (that may sometimes border on obsession) can be difficult to balance against the focus and presence required to maintain a healthy relationship with others and the self. If you're at all like me, you probably feel like a broken record when catching up with friends and family. It pains me to hear myself saying for what seems like the millionth time, "Oh, I'm super busy as usual," or "Life has been nuts for the last couple of months," or "The insanity never ends!".
Despite the efficient work habits and systems that I've developed over the years since the pandemic, I find myself struggling and sweating to keep all the balls in the air!
I am in the process of developing new work habits that align with my natural rhythms and temperament, which I've come to understand better these past two years.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Write a business plan! It is your own guide to give you the bigger picture of your dreams and how to navigate, making them into a reality. Don't know how? Find someone who does or takes a class and get a firm understanding of how to write a business plan so you can apply for loans and grants and just create a map for yourself and get firm on your ideas.
- When applying for loans and grants, apply for more money than you think you need as a startup! There will always be overhead that you can plan ahead for, but you need backup for variable expenses and unforeseen circumstances like... your steam mop breaks or your computer crashes, or worst of all, you're not seeing the abundance of people walk through your door that you'd hoped for.
- Delegate. Do not try to do it ALL alone! Of course, when we first start out, we're so pumped up on the adrenaline of opening our doors to the public, and we think, "I can do this, I got this, I can't afford staff right away," but let me tell you. You can't afford not to hire staff - without them; you're creating a recipe for a very fast burnout. So when creating that business plan, make sure to account for the hiring of staff into the budget.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.