Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kimberly Taurins, Owner of Union Studio Yoga, located in Houston, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner/founder of Union Studio Yoga. What do I really do and hope that I do? I try to articulate and share some tools that were taught to me that changed my life. That sounds like it was so dramatic, but in all honesty, your life doesn't change, but the way you interact with it does, so I guess EVERYTHING changes. These teachings have existed somewhere between 5000-7000 years, so there must be something about them that works. Once you begin this path, there is an inherent pledge to pass the torch to someone else. There are plenty of books on the subject, but it is only through experience that we truly learn.
Tell us about yourself
I have always been interested in moving my body, yoga seemed like everything I had hoped for in a movement modality, and then I realized there was so much more. I worked in the oil and gas business for about 12 years, then as a stay-at-home mom, an entrepreneur, and a garden teacher. I finally took my yoga practice to a teaching level in 2007. I never wanted to own a studio. I managed one for a time and realized it was a LOT of work, yet here I am. I opened my own studio in March 2016 because I had not found a home that embodied what I believed yoga was and what I had come to know it to be.
Union Studio was founded on 4 pillars, Authenticity, Sincerity, Integrity, and Inclusion. Every day I walk past those pillars at the studio, and I am reminded of why I opened the studio and why I pour my heart and soul into what I do. Honestly, it is the joy of sharing, contributing, and building a community that fuels my passion to keep going. And as your readers probably already know, the business owner is also the janitor. Students usually catch me mopping floors and taking our trash.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our lease at our original location ended in June of 2020, so I began looking for a new home in June of 2019. I knew we needed an upgrade and more space. When I found the M-K-T complex, I started negotiations immediately. It took almost ten months to complete the process, and I signed the lease with a HUGE deposit on March 1, 2020. Two weeks later, lockdown. The process of financing the buildout, organizing contractors, moving, and re-branding, in addition to revamping our whole business from in-person classes to online classes, was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have three kiddos (lol).
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many hats to wear. So many tasks to juggle, as well as build new content and trainings, AND weekly classes. My brain has a hard time switching quickly from the physical parts to the analytical parts and creative parts. I always feel as though I am forgetting something.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do you love it? Are you super passionate about it? IF you are not, don't bother. Being a solopreneur is more than full-time work. It is every day and all day. I love what I do and am passionate, so I feel quite privileged to own a studio and teach yoga.
- Know where you excel and hire a team to help with things you do not. And with that team, manage, but don't micromanage; you hired them for a reason. They know something you do not.
- You cannot be for everyone, so don't try. Be completely clear on who you are for and for whom you are not a fit. Otherwise, you will dilute the unique qualities that separate you from others in the industry.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Yes, I had an opportunity to work with a consultant about our branding.
As I explained what we do:
"At Union Studio, we believe in the power of consistent practice. We help our students create positive, healthy lifestyles by providing a variety of yoga + meditation classes with some of the best instructors in the city. We've seen all types of people benefit from mindful movement and observing the patterns + nuances of the mind. We believe in the power of community (or as the yogis would say, sangha) and look forward to practicing with anyone who walks through the door."
She looked at me and asked, "Wow! It sounds like you do so much more than just yoga. Have you thought about changing your brand to a wellness center?"
I laughed and thought about how the idea of the spiritual and practical life tools of yoga in the west has melted away from the physical practice of gymnastics and contortion. Needless to say, I did not change my brand or name. At Union Studio, we study and teach yoga, which is the Union of mind, body, and spirit through self-study. We commit to teaching these traditions to anyone who walks through the door in a way that makes sense to those students. You are welcome as you are, always.
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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