Self-employment is a crazy thing. I’ve owned my own massage practice for over six years. It took five years before it was really, truly running itself. I was booked weeks in advance; I stopped printing business cards; I could afford health insurance; I worked exclusively in my specialty of injury recovery and abdominal adhesions; I was really, really good at my job.
Building that business took so much work. It took so much thinking and planning and trial-and-error and networking and coaching and self-transformation and time to build exactly the business I wanted that I swore I would NEVER start another business. It’s just too hard. And the gods laughed at me.
After two years of sacroiliac pain and (the final straw) three weeks of not being able to walk, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. The thing about AS is that I can’t be a full-time massage therapist if I want to do other things that are kind of hard on my spine (read: backpacking and gardening). So now, because I want to keep backpacking and gardening, I am starting a new business. And the process is exactly what I remember.
What new business? Well, because all forms of arthritis benefit from healthy movement, I am moving into my real dream, my “real” job of teaching yoga full time. Everyone says that outside of owning a studio or being one of the “hot shots” there’s no money in teaching yoga. Maybe they’re right, but I do have some assets. For one, I know how to realistically plan income and expenses – I know how to price and how to give excellent value for the price. For two, I already have my own space that can comfortably accommodate myself plus five yoginis.
Yes, I have some other assets, too. For (another) one, I know how much work building this new business going to be – no matter what anyone who is trying to sell me something says. I have a decent-sized network – a network built for something else but that may still provide some openings for growth. I have a source of passive income in the abdominal adhesion videos (small at present but primed for rapid growth). I have an ebook in the final stages of formatting and another one about to be written. I have a blog and a website that I built myself and was able to re-build myself. And, oh yes, I have had the most excellent yoga teacher training on the planet.
What does all of this mean? Nothing if I don’t wake up most mornings and work. Some days I will be ecstatic about building this new business! Other days I will lay on the couch with my old cat, eat bon-bons and potato chips (neither of which is on my new life-long anti-inflammatory diet, by the way), and never get up.
At the end of it all, five years from now I hope to re-read this post and think, “Yep, number two was a charm. I’m NEVER starting another new business!”
Want to see the new business? Small-Group Yoga!
- Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.
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