Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Mittlesteadt, owner of The Artist Within, located in Weston, WI ,USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I've been a creative person my entire life and was a professional artist for over 40 years. My business name, "The Artist Within," comes from the art workshops I conducted back in the 1990s, where my life coaching started. Interestingly enough, though I was an artist teaching other artists about art, what I ended up teaching them was how to find their deeper purpose in life, which of course, gave their work (and life) more meaning and fulfillment. Of course, this just carried over to my teaching far beyond my art career.
Over the years, my coaching has changed and evolved. As I grew more personally and spiritually, I found that everything that matters in life is about relationships. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important and the relationships we have with others, personally and professionally. So, over the last few years, my focus has been more on helping others create better relationships by understanding that everything we express in our thoughts, beliefs, and behavior needs to come from a place of love.
The Artist Within's mission statement is to create a world of love, one relationship at a time. And it really does all start with you and me, and each of us becoming the best version of ourselves and sharing that with others. If you want to make a difference in the world, be the difference.
Tell us about yourself
I had always wanted to become a minister from my early twenties. So I studied religion, psychology, philosophy, and human behavior, so it was only natural that I would end up in a profession helping others. It wasn’t until my teenage boys became addicted to drugs that I saw the world was crumbling from within, but I wanted to understand why on a deeper level. So I went back to college as an older student and got a degree to study psychology and counseling formally. I found it quite eye-opening what a mess our mental and physical “health care” system is, so I went into coaching instead of becoming a counselor or therapist.
Every day, what motivates me is my love for others and seeing all the unnecessary suffering around me. I want to help change the world, and the only way I know how to do this is by being a light for others. I’ve come full circle in many ways as I still minister to people about love itself and expressing it in everything we do. That is my message to others. Be Love itself. It has to come from within.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It’s difficult for me to define what my biggest accomplishment is. We are always measuring ourselves. First, we compare ourselves with others, and because we live in a very hectic, fast-paced world where everyone demands quick fixes but only wants “soundbite” answers, the clients I have are anxiety-ridden and highly stressed out because there are no quick fixes or short solutions. The truth is, it’s just going to take a lot of personal work and time. Time people mistakenly think they don’t have.
So, for me, every client I can talk off, that proverbial ledge of stress and anxiety is a major accomplishment. This is no small feat. The vast majority of people are on this ledge, as evidenced by the state of our mental and physical health these days. Every person I help off that ledge, and teaching them to slow down is a big accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being able to focus on the very thing you started your business for. There are so many hats one must wear, from marketing to bookkeeping to the administration of day-to-day tasks that can be overwhelming, to the point where it’s difficult to find the spare time to do the work you love.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do everything out of love. Live with purpose and make a difference in the world.
- Learn and master marketing. I spent a great deal of my career struggling because no one knew about it while I had a lot to offer. It’s the old question, “If a tree falls in the woods, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
- Make sure you take care of the business side of your business. You can be the expert, the absolute best at what you do, but if nobody knows about it, what difference are you making?
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Live with purpose. “Memento Mori” is Latin for, “Remember you must die.” While it seems rather somber to think about, it is also quite sobering to face that reality. Death is Life’s greatest teacher. Make the most out of your life while you still can.
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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