Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Crystal Steers, founder of The Chasing Happiness Empire, located in Halifax, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Chasing Happiness Empire is an ever-evolving business, which is why I love what I do. I offer personal coaching for mental health, personal growth, and self-care. Clients come to me when they're looking to make a life change and are unsure how to do that when they are struggling with their mental health or not sure they're on the right path and need some guidance on what to do next.
I also run a book club through the business where we meet online monthly to talk about whatever personal growth and development or lifestyle book we've been reading. I have a podcast as part of the business where I talk to people worldwide about what happiness means to them and how they create a life of meaning and purpose for themselves. I believe that we can learn lessons from the struggles of others, so I use the podcast to help people share their stories so that we can all learn and grow together.
Tell us about yourself
When I graduated from Brock University with my degree in Psychology, I could not utilize my education for my initially planned career path. I found myself in this moment of uncertainty. I had no idea what I would do with my life, where I wanted to go, or basically what my next step was. Because of that, I started working on this business.
This business was founded out of my pursuit of change. A wonderful friend said, "Because you're on this journey to discover something different, you should share your voice with people." And that's ultimately how this business started. My struggles and moments of 'what do I do with my life now?' sharing those with the world. The brand has grown into this incredible, blessed, soul-fulfilling purpose for me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Staying in business. People will tell you the stats about how hard it is to stay in business as a small business owner, but they don't make sense unless you're in it. Running a small business is a lot of work, and most people don't consider or understand the mental toll it can take on you.
For the first four years of my business, I worked a 9-5 job to pay my bills and keep my business running. I worked an 8-hour day for one person and then put in another 8-10 hours a day on my own business, so my personal life took a hit. Not everyone is willing to make that kind of a sacrifice because it's hard. Even when it means taking a part-time job to keep it afloat, staying in business is not something many people would do. I made that choice because this is meaningful to me. So staying in business through the years, even when hard times hit, is what I think my biggest accomplishment is.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The isolation. I'm an introvert by nature, which means I recharge by spending time alone, but you don't realize until you're running your own small business how much you miss having people at the office talk to you. You notice how many days you go without leaving your house, without ever interacting with another human being face-to-face because you're so busy focusing on your business.
Being an entrepreneur can be very isolating and lonely at times. If you don't purposefully schedule activities like networking events and hanging out with friends, you can go months without having some of those interactions.
So finding a way to balance running a business, expanding my business the way that I have, and still maintaining a personal life that gets me out of the house and interacting with other people has been a challenge over the years. It's also probably been one of the essential parts of my personal growth because it is a constant reminder that even though I run my own business, I don't always have to be working.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure that you put a mental health plan in place, especially for your business's first three to five years. Because those are the years, you're going to struggle most with the amount of work and the number of things you need to get done regularly by yourself. So you will find yourself overwhelmed, and you will need time with friends, family, and away from the business enjoying life to remind yourself why you're working so hard.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. So many of the clients that I work with and the business owners I talk to often say that in the first few years, they were afraid to ask for help because they didn't want people to think they were a failure. We tend to forget that if you've never run a business before, you have no idea how to run a business. You don't know what you don't know. If you need help or have questions about something you've never experienced before, you are not a failure.
Get as many resources as you can, and ask as many questions from the people around you and the business owners that you run into as you possibly can. You can never have too much help.
- Remember that no matter what happens with your business, you are not your business. Your whole life, your entire worth is not based on whether or not your business succeeds. The thing that matters, the thing that counts, is that you tried regardless of the success that you end up having. So many people are afraid even to try that if you take that first step, you're already ahead of the game.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think the only other thing I'd like to share is to remind people that it does not matter how old you are. It does not matter where you find yourself in the circumstances in life. You are never too old to follow your passion or find a new purpose in life.
If there is something that sets your soul on fire, find a way to incorporate it into your life, even if no one around you understands it. Because we only get one life, and we might as well live it the way we want to live it to make ourselves happy and inspire those around us.
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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