5 Things I Wish Holistic Business Owners Did Better

Nearly every holistic practitioner I know either lives at the poverty line or requires a second earner (spouse, roommate, family member, etc.) to live independently. Quite often, they teach about manifesting abundance. Or they renounce capitalism while also complaining about the poor attendance at their workshop, class, or community event. 

Here is what I wish you knew:

1. You are a business.

If you are offering something in exchange for energy (money, food, lodging, etc) and you are dependent on this exchange to live, then you are running a business. It doesn’t matter if you are a yoga instructor, teach a healing modality, or access the Akashic records – you are running a business. 

2. You should learn how to run a business.

Even if you are the only person in your business, you should learn a few fundamentals. You need to understand social marketing, market segmentation, who attends your business, how to build and manage a budget, how to grow a business, financial record keeping and allowable expenses and tax deductions.

3. Posting events all over Facebook is not enough 

Social marketing is powerful. Knowing how to use Facebook advertising can get you exposed to people who may not know you. But passive event posting will not get you the numbers you want. It might be ok for low cost or free introductory sessions but you will not sell out a $1000 per person retreat or an 8 week workshop series this way. A deeper commitment from your market requires a long term business model. Most holistic practitioners think in one-off interactions instead of how to build a stable revenue model. 

4. Learning about business IS manifesting abundance

The law of attraction says you need to be energetically in alignment with your intent. If your vision is about a stable personal income, you need to know enough to be energetically aligned with a stable source or sources of income.

5. Your market probably wants you to be in a business partnership

The most successful holistic businesses today are established practices with unique add ons. You are probably the add on. The profitable businesses are covered by insurance: naturopath, yoga (sometimes), massage therapy, chiropractor, etc. These businesses can access a stable market and often co-locate with other practitioners to have offices, community presence, and workshop space. They then rent to you as an add on, so they make more money. 

Or someone runs a festival and invites you to run a session, promising you exposure and maybe a small fee. They are charging for registration, sponsors and sellers. They will walk away with 5 digit earnings and you probably made $200 or less. 

If you partnered, what could you do? 

I am so frustrated by these things I am thinking of running small workshops and coaching for people who see this in their own pattern. If you are interested, let me know. (So I can understand my market!)

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Repaired With Gold

gold pot

One of the fun parts of my incarnation is that I fall a lot. When I was a teen, I would fall going UP the stairs. In university, I would run for the bus and slip on grass. I have fallen down stairs and broken my wrist. I fell when climbing a fence a year ago, and hurt a few spots. This month, I fell on my own knee while planting my vegetable garden, and bruised my ribs. Bruised ribs and broken ribs feel the same, but have less risk when bruised.

I have a high pain tolerance, yet these ribs tested that. I would say my pain history in life would go: broken wrist, child birth, bruised ribs.

And yet, I am deeply grateful for this injury. I learned how many people love me in my life – a reflection of how Life loves me. I had friends show up out of no where to help. Some picked my child up from school because driving was too hard and probably unsafe for me. Some friends fed me. Some friends watched my pets. Some friends checked in on me and sent me love. As much as my rib could not support me, my circle DID support me.

More than that, it was a deeply spiritual experience. No one but you can explore your relationship with pain. For the first time, I understood what my teacher, Christopher Wallis, meant when he said that you get to a point in life of being grateful for everything, even dog poop. My gratitude for what this has opened in me is profound. When I shared that with him, he wrote this to me:

“You’re more beautiful for having been broken.

People tend to think that something has gone wrong when they’re wounded, or hurt, or broken, and that healing is fixing that wrongness and getting ‘back’ to a good or ‘normal’ condition. But consider this: just as, in the context of weight training, the muscles need to actually tear (get damaged) in order to rebuild stronger, why not consider the parallel possibility that we actually *need* to get hurt/wounded/broken in order to grow stronger and more compassionate?

In that light, nothing ever goes ‘wrong’. And being wounded can be a gift.

The Japanese have a word for this, from the context of artfully repaired pottery: kintsukuroi, “more beautiful for having been broken.” – Christopher Wallis

When I told a friend I could not visit her because I needed to rest, she offered to do healing work with me. I turned her down, because I was loving the work I was doing on my own. I shared that with her, and she commented I was handling it with ease and grace and a smile on my face. I absently agreed, but inside I knew that was not the truth of it.

To handle it with ease and grace and a smile would be to deny what is. The pain is. Sometimes I am at ease. Sometimes I am not. Sometimes I am smiling, and sometimes I am irritable or crying. Why should I be at ease and grace and smiling? That is some form of spiritual overlay on how we think spiritual people are – these detached spirits walking on air and sunshine. What is true is that I am not suffering from the beliefs I lay over the pain. I remember the quotation: In life, pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. – Haruki Murakami

I like the words of Matt Licatta on what happens as we grow spiritually and heal:

“There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world.

There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.

There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you’d be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.

Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.

While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.” – Matt Licatta