Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tess Jewell-Larsen, a stress and burnout coach, based in Gijón, Spain.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I empower women professionals, small business owners, and high-achievers to leave burnout and stress in the ashes while they achieve balance, clarity, and creativity in their work and daily life. I emphasize breath support, mindful movement, stress management, nervous system resiliency, mindset and lifestyle shifts, and taking small steps that build up so that my clients feel more joyful, balanced, and optimistic and thrive no matter what obstacles come their way.
Tell us about yourself
Over the course of seven years, I slowly burnt myself out in a job that didn’t fulfill me and didn’t offer me the sort of support, appreciation, or growth that I was looking for. I stayed because it paid the bills, I got on well with my colleagues, and, probably the best part of all, I got to help people. What I didn’t realize until much later was that I wasn’t helping myself.
Little by little, my creativity drained away. I became increasingly negative—which is big for me because, in general, I’m a very positive, “glass half-full” sort of gal. I got sick more often. I wasn’t prioritizing my self-care routines as much. I started withdrawing from my friends and family. My relationship with my husband was fraying. And I would find myself curled up in a ball on the kitchen floor, sobbing, feeling as if the world was crashing around me, confused as to how I got there. But I didn’t connect the dots. At the time, these seemed like completely separate issues. And then COVID-19 hit. And things escalated to the point where I realized I really couldn’t go on any longer as I had been. I needed to make a change. So I did. I handed in my notice, finished up my contract, and left. And I’ve never looked back.
A couple of years before, I had trained to be a yoga teacher and had been teaching on the side of my “real job,” mainly for fun because it was something I enjoyed. When COVID hit, I dove into my yoga practice, and it was my lifeline that I held onto to keep myself from drowning. When I quit my job, I spent the next year or so training virtually—in mindfulness coaching, mental health, pelvic health, yoga therapy, and the list goes on—with experts from all over the world to heal myself from the inside out.
Through those training, I started putting myself back together bit by bit. After a while, I realized that I was passionate about sharing what I had learned and found that helped me, and others find solace in what I was sharing. I realized that helping others step out of their own persistent stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout was something that not only lit me up but it has changed the lives of so many others and helped them step into a life they love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment is not only having a positive, empowering effect in the lives of the women I work with but a positive effect on the lives of those around them, as well. When one person feels full, bright, and strong, they share that energy with the world around them, like beautiful ripples of positivity through our communities.
I’ll share an example. I have a client who told me a few months ago that because of the work that we’d been doing together, she had been able to help her daughter through a pretty traumatic moment in her life that caused her to fall into a panic attack, which had left her stranded. My client was able to share the same techniques that we’d practiced in our sessions together to help her daughter calm down enough that she could then safely get in her car and drive back home to her family.
Knowing that through my work, I am able to not only empower the women I work with directly to start taking the reins back in their lives but that through the work we do together, the lives of those around them are also enhanced, that is the biggest accomplishment that I could ever want. I am incredibly grateful and humbled that I have the opportunity to work with these women and truly make a difference in the world.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things I’ve found since becoming an entrepreneur is to not fall back into burnout again. As my own boss, it took me a while to build and keep sustainable boundaries that keep me healthy, joyful, and balanced. Working from home and setting my own hours is great, but it also means that I have to be extra vigilant in how I show up for myself. It is too easy to get pulled in, do everything, and then get spit back out again.
I’ve had to become stricter with myself and build a good support team around me, so I don’t fall back in. And when I notice I am on a dangerous trajectory, I take a step back to see where I need to re-establish a boundary that I may have dropped or check in with myself to see if there are any pivots or shifts I can make to support myself better moving forward. It’s very important that I practice what I preach and take my own medicine, so to speak!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create good supportive boundaries that you can integrate into your life in a sustainable manner. And don’t beat yourself up if you drop the ball; life happens. Do your best, and when you need help, reach out!
- Pay attention to your body’s signals. Listen to when your body is telling you to take a step back to recoup. Don’t drive yourself into your exhaust fumes. Fill up way before your gaslight comes on!
- Enjoy the journey! It’s so easy to get lost in focusing solely on our goal that we forget to appreciate where we are now—even if that now isn’t always pretty. There is beauty in the ups and downs of the journey. Learn from it all, and appreciate it all so that when the right door opens, you can use all that you’ve gained before to guide you forward.
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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