Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lara Wharton, owner of Listen Lightly, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I teach people how to be more peaceful! Through meditation, self-kindness, self-awareness practices, and gratitude. With simple daily practices that absolutely anyone can do, I help people relax their nervous systems to sleep better and find relief from almost any health issues they are facing. Once the nervous system is relaxed, we can better manage our emotions and think more clearly. Then, with practice and consistency, we can re-wire our brain to be our kind ally (instead of our harsh critic!). We find acceptance for ourselves. Then, we can be the best version of ourselves and live with more freedom and happiness.
I teach these techniques in corporate workshops (now mostly online), private sessions, and retreats (my personal favorite and most impactful). Anyone can be my customer, and although I've primarily worked in corporate settings over the last few years, I'm moving into offering more retreats now, which is exciting.
Tell us about yourself
I know how it feels to live with anxiety, chronic pain, and a lot of suffering because that was my life when I was a corporate securities lawyer. I hit a breaking point in 2016 and decided I couldn't live that way anymore, and I dove deeper into the meditation and yoga practice I had begun when I had trained as a yoga teacher in India before going to law school. Meditation cured my chronic back pain and helped me gain control over my anxiety.
I started teaching my legal colleagues these techniques before I left my firm. They saw such tremendous results so quickly that I knew I had huge value as a meditation teacher, helping people who were suffering to find a better way to live. I haven't looked back since. The feedback I receive from my clients is so fulfilling. Teaching helps me practice what I preach, so I have become more and more fulfilled throughout the process. It's been wonderful, and I am motivated to reach more and more people to show them there is a better way.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Soon after I transitioned careers, I was hired in many major companies in Toronto that trusted me to speak to their employees as a wellness expert. Creating my own job and speaking to large rooms of people like myself, and sharing what I know can help them has been so rewarding - I can't believe it's my job. Bringing people on retreats and seeing the massive transformations that can happen within a short period of condensed practice is also incredibly gratifying.
I guess my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is creating a business that I love to work on that is seamlessly integrated into my life. I feel like I'm just being myself anytime I teach; it's my passion, it comes naturally and helps people. I'm so grateful I made the leap to change careers.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Although I mentioned that my work is seamlessly integrated into my life. Having your own business means that if you're not working, the business isn't moving forward, so it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between working and not working. The first few years were very stressful as I built up a client base, and the balance definitely wasn't there.
You have to be self-motivated, which isn't for everyone. You have to be able to depend on yourself. To trust yourself. To forgive yourself when you make mistakes. To keep going when you fail at parts of the job. It's very emotional and a lot of work to stay centered throughout the process.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, meditate! Learning about yourself and showing up as the most balanced, best version of yourself will lead to success. Second, don't sweat the small stuff. Everyone makes mistakes. We're all human. Be kind to everyone, be honest, and keep going. Third, believe you can achieve your goal. Believe in yourself. Then just show up every day. A small step every day is all it takes.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Everyone should meditate. I know it's hard at first, but the benefits are endless. If you haven't started yet, give it a dedicated try. It's the best thing you can do for your health and long-term happiness.
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.
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