Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melisa Mitchell, Founder of The Space Within Reiki, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Through century-old healing techniques, The Space Within Reiki provides emotional, spiritual, and physical support to those asking the Universe for guidance. I am a Holy Fire® III Usui and Karuna® Reiki master, Certified Medical Reiki Master, certified animal Reiki practitioner, trained crystal healer, empowerment coach, and experienced educator who is passionate about the importance of self-care and about empowering my clients to heal through Reiki. Through one-on-one in-person and distance energy healing sessions, Reiki training classes, and other workshops, I work to support my community to heal themselves, change their lives, and grow boundlessly into their highest best.
Reiki energy can be offered in support of conventional and complementary medical treatments for a variety of physical, mental, and emotional illnesses and conditions, as well as for spiritual healing. I have supported my clients in managing chronic pain, side effects of chemotherapy, migraines, grief, anxiety, insomnia, depression, effects of trauma and abuse, and recovery from addiction.
In addition to using crystals as part of my energy healing sessions, I also have a portable crystal shop that allows me to offer helpful stones to my clients and to the public at various events in the area.
Tell us about yourself
I started my business by chance after having an established career as a high school English teacher, which I've been doing since 2002. Around year 15 of my teaching career, my friend asked me if I wanted to take a Reiki I and II class with her. I was eager to learn about this energy after first learning about it at my summer job when I started teaching. My boss had told me about Reiki and then asked her friend to give me a first-level attunement. I didn't understand the energy or how to use it and knew nothing about the Usui system – I was eager to learn more and to find out how to use it to help make my classroom a healing environment for my students.
The Reiki class was amazing. I had the chance to practice on and with other people, to learn about the history and origins of the system, to learn about the structures within the system, to feel the energy for the first time, and to sit in meditation more deeply than my practice had ever taken me before. It was transformative. After our Reiki II attunement on the second day of the class, the instructor said that we now had all we needed to "hang out our shingles" and call ourselves Reiki practitioners. I chuckled to myself, assuring myself that I was simply a high school teacher, not an aspiring professional Reiki practitioner. At the same time, at that moment, I knew with absolute certainty that this was exactly what I would become.
I am not impulsive or spontaneous. I do not like change. I did not know how I could possibly be a Reiki practitioner: I knew nothing about starting a business, how to get clients, what to charge them, or where I could practice. I’d taken the class for my own edification and to support my students, but as much as I resisted, I knew with deep certainty that it would be my next step. I talked through my epiphany with my acupuncturist, who smiled and said, very matter-of-factly, “You’ll practice here” at her center, Woodberry Wellness.
Within six months, while still teaching full-time, I had an established client base, some who came every week, some every other week, and some monthly. I continued my Reiki studies, earned the title of Reiki Master Teacher, and started teaching Reiki training classes to interested students in Baltimore. Before long, I began to offer other workshops about using crystals and working with the chakras.
From the beginning, my clients had epiphanies in their sessions, wept inconsolably as they released things they’d been holding onto for years, processed trauma, and joyfully shared the shifts they saw in their lives after they started coming. The healing Reiki has offered my clients makes me feel so grateful for this opportunity. This gratitude helps to motivate me to continue to build my practice while still working full-time as a public school teacher. It's a lot, but it's worth it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments have been becoming the owner of a successful Reiki practice that survived the pandemic lockdown (while still working full-time as a public school teacher) and having so many clients who have experienced dramatic shifts during the time we worked together.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It is very hard sometimes to trust the process: things don't always happen on our own timeline. It's hard to be patient with periods of slow growth. There have been times when I've tried to push things by paying a lot of money for advertising, which has yielded nothing in the way of new clients. Knowing when to push and when to just be open and show up to do the work has been really hard – I've wasted a lot of money on marketing that went nowhere because I was impatient and going after the wrong audience.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would most strongly recommend that you do something that inspires you and helps you develop a clear vision for your business. If you don't have a passion to fuel your drive, then you won't have anything to push you through the hard and lean times, and if you don't have a vision, you won't be clear on what you're working toward.
- Find a business mentor – someone who has their own small business in your state and who knows the ins and outs: how to get a business license, how and when to pay taxes, how to get a business bank account, what kind of liability insurance to get, and the long list of other things need to be taken into consideration. It doesn't have to be a formal arrangement, but it's good to have someone to ask questions during the first couple of years.
- Know your target market: who do you want to pay attention to your business's social media content, who do you want to pay for your services or buy your product, and who do you want to serve? Think about ages, genders, social and economic backgrounds, races, geographic areas, and every other demographic you can think of. Be as clear as you can, and focus on those people. If you are going after the wrong market, your business will not be successful, costing you lots of wasted time and money.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Find what you are called to do and be really clear about what that is, down to tiny details. Don't just follow the money: follow your intuition about what you're supposed to do, then work your butt off to make it happen.
Where can people find you and your business?
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