Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cyndy Sotomayor, Founder of Yoga with Cyndy, located in Babylon, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am an independent Certified Yoga Teacher. I specialize in teaching yoga to those who identify as plus-sized, curvy, or fat women who feel intimidated going to a typical yoga studio with tall, thin, beautiful people! I started Yoga with Cyndy as a seasonal business, teaching yoga classes during the summer at the beach in Long Island, New York, and by the end of my first summer, I had people asking me when will the following season start again.
Tell us about yourself
I am a former corporate girl who has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I'm also a former gym rat and runner. A friend invited me to join him at yoga class because he thought it would be a good addition to my running routine. I walked into that first class and hated every minute of it until I walked out of the studio feeling like a million bucks! From that moment on, I was hooked on yoga and started a collection of key tags for as many yoga studios as I could go to in and around NYC and Long Island. After several years of practicing yoga and taking trips all over the world (including Costa Rica and Thailand), I decided that I had finally found my passion - to share yoga with others. The thing I loved the most about the true practice of yoga is that there was no competition with anyone - everyone had their own individual practice, and we all progressed in our own time. There was truly no judgment. As a woman who had struggled with her weight and had become a gym rat in order to try and one day become thin and lean, it was wonderful to be in a place where I could be myself. Until the day I went to a yoga class, and a teacher told me I would have to lose weight to become a yoga teacher because I "needed to look like a yoga teacher." I decided right at that moment that I would prove her wrong, and I have! Just because I have some extra curves doesn't mean I'm a beginner or need an easy yoga class. I absolutely love working with curvy, plus-sized women and watching them embrace who they are and develop the confidence that comes from being healthy and fit. In our space, we don't promote obesity or unhealthy eating habits. It's all about being healthy and happy! Every day I meet so many women (and men!) who were so afraid to try a yoga class and tell me they're so grateful that I have created a community where we support and empower women and as I like to say, "We're only strangers for five minutes!"
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner is to have created a yoga community where everyone who wants to practice yoga is welcome to practice. Sometimes I enjoy just watching a group of my yogis practicing, and I love seeing people of different shapes, sizes, colors, and ethnicities all practicing yoga together and talking to each other.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As much as I love owning my own business, it's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns! When you are a solopreneur, you are the CEO, Manager, and Employee. It definitely takes time to learn how to find balance in your workday for all aspects.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Being a business owner can be an amazing experience, but it can also be hard, frustrating, and lonely. Make sure you surround yourself with a positive group of people. Remember - it may not be your family, friends, or significant other, and that's ok.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Schedule your "off" time and stick to it. We all need a break, and constantly thinking about your business will lead to burnout and hating what you do.
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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