My yoga practice started a few years ago as I was searching for cross training options. Like so many who come to yoga simply seeking fitness, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, nor did I have even an inkling of the impact that yoga would have on my life both personally and professionally. As my practice developed, yoga’s influence allowed me to weave together the threads of my various educational degrees and past professional endeavors into a meaningful focus. Realizing all of the benefits that yoga has brought into my life, I decided to find a way to give something back to yoga and the community that surrounds it. This is how I became a yoga entrepreneur
and my company, Quiet Mountain, was born.
After being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, I reentered the workforce and I began a journey for which I had no map. Quiet Mountain and the innovative yoga props and products it offers came to me in pieces through the course of many savasanas. Each idea inspired the next as I made drawings and refined the vision that was evolving. All the while, my intention of giving something back was at the heart of my journey.
This sense of purpose cleared away the static that had been ever present in my head and revealed my new path. The beauty of this revelation was that I no longer looked at others, wondering if I should be doing what they were or feeling any sense of envy or attachment to someone else’s dream. This journey was made for me and only me. Embracing that thought not only brought me peace, but also a more acute focus, heightened passion and a sense of determination that I energetically applied to the development of my company and products. Trusting these answers affectionately became known as my “yogic leap of faith.”
I have thoughtfully and carefully crafted the designs of Quiet Mountain innovations to reflect the way we live today with careful consideration for time, personal style, comfort, enjoyment and the desire for simplicity, quality and value. My intention is to offer progressive, stylish and intelligent products that serve the disciplines and practitioners of yoga and pilates by offering something no one else has. It has been very empowering to see the tangible fruits of my efforts whether it has been through Quiet Mountain’s philanthropic liaison with Gilda’s Club Worldwide, to which Quiet Mountain donates Whisper mats to support their yoga programs for people living with cancer or receiving feedback from clients whose experience of yoga has been enhanced through the use of my products.
My company’s mission is to take risks and creatively endeavor to enrich the experience of yoga and pilates via my products, while supporting the journey of vibrant health and wholeness. In retrospect, it is fitting that my company byline became “awaken to the possibilities.”
In keeping with my personal mission of giving something back to the community that has embraced and supported my company, I have used the benefits of my own hindsight and the wisdom gained from my various victories and setbacks to assemble a collection of professional advice to share with others who may be embarking on their own journey into uncharted business waters. Learn Not Only To Do What is Right, but to Love What is Right.
Your own foundation of integrity, honesty and straightforwardness will pay off beyond the numbers. Seek out and create honest, above board yoga business
relationships. Be unwilling to compromise and you will not only enjoy strong and lasting yoga business connections that support long term growth, but you’ll sleep alot better. If you are paying attention, it won’t take long to discover those yoga businesses you don’t want to align with. Cut those ties diplomatically and early, having secured a back-up plan before you make your move. The caveat here is that the world is smaller than you think, so conduct yourself with professionalism and kindness at all times regardless of how you might be treated. Give Something for Nothing
Even if you are just getting started, there is always something you can give, whether it’s your time, your service or expertise, or your product. Find a worthy cause and give without expectation of any return to the level that is appropriate for you. This will keep you grounded, connected, and give you something to feel great about when everything else might seem like its going wrong. Select a philanthropic opportunity that “speaks to you,” and make a difference.
The Customer Is Always Right
No matter how you slice it, to be successful in business, the customer is still always right. When it comes to customer service, keep it personal. The more hands on you are, the better. Be willing and quick to correct an error and make it right. This will help to shape the identity of your company and foster trust and longevity. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers, inviting any and all feedback regardless of its nature. When you are the inventor or creator of a product you have invested yourself in the process; your blood, sweat and tears, shall we say.
However, when your product is rejected – and believe me no matter how amazing it is it will be rejected on some level – the rejection is of the product not you. Learn not to take it personally or it will drain your life force before you are even “out of the gate.” Develop a thick skin.Blessings Favor the Prepared
In business, you may never truly feel like you are 100% prepared for any and every situation. The reality is that business changes with lightening speed and the climate is brutal. It’s a little like parenthood; as soon as you think you have it figured out, all the rules change. Read, study and ask questions. Since blessings tend to favor the prepared, it stands to reason that continuous research and preparation will help you stay on the cutting edge and greatly stack the odds of the universe conspiring in your favor.
Commit to the learning process being ongoing, and strive to continually expand on your knowledge of your product or service. Take up the mindset of the eternal student, even if you already consider yourself an expert. You can learn something valuable from everyone you meet, and I mean, EVERYONE. Everyone Is a Potential Contact
Every person you meet provides a wonderful opportunity to practice your “schtick.” No matter how many times you have performed your “30 second commercial,” and I highly recommend adapting one, remember it is still the very first time that particular person has heard it. Make sure you answer the ultimate question of every potential customer: “What’s in it for me?” Everyone you meet is a potential contact. Stay upbeat, informative, brief. Ask questions, and allow for reflection from the listener.
Always carry your business cards, brochures or samples if it is doable. Even if the person does not appear interested, get real! Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t have a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend, or a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who doesn’t love yoga, pilates or a trip to a spa? You do the math. Embrace Your Own Brilliance
Emerson said, “What lies before us and what lies behind us is nothing compared to what lies within us.” We all have great minds, it is just the limiting thoughts that we project over that greatness that minimizes not only our minds, but our dreams. We are all brilliant at something, it’s the nature of life. Quietly access your inner wisdom, and the brilliance of your own mind will be revealed. Don’t be afraid to shine. History’s greatest people endured scrutiny, physical and emotional challenges, threats and mockery for what they believed in. You too may have to endure some criticism in the name of advancing your product. Keep in mind the great people who are remembered in history didn’t always think or act within the realm of the expected or predictable.
Realistically, even if you do everything “right” you will still make mistakes. Find your own voice and let your mistakes lead you to your genius. Dare to believe in your brilliance and live your own version of a fearless, fulfilled life. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “Don’t die with the music still in you.”Let Your Passion Be Your Fuel as Well as Your Voice
Your passion is your greatest advocate in creating a successful yoga business. And it’s free. If you are passionate about your product, everyone will want a piece of the passion and excitement. Passion is an incredibly powerful tool and is monumentally magnetic. A product or service doesn’t have a chance in this brutal market without it. You must be passionate about your endeavor, because even with it, some days you will hate “it,” the whole lot if it! Passion becomes the quintessential element when you don’t have a multi-thousand dollar advertising budget at your disposal. Be your project’s biggest fan by passionately believing in yourself and your products. If you don’t no one else will.
Trust Your Intuition
Albert Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Honor your gift of intuition by spending time cultivating a connection and commit to being unafraid to listen to it. It can be a valuable guide long after the thinking mind has been exhausted. Intuition is incredibly powerful and available to you 24/7, though realize of course that it is never a substitute for diligence and committed work.
Prepare to work harder than you have ever before in the history of your existence. I believe it was Ralph Lauren who remarked, “ The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Truly words to live by. If you can learn to work with and walk in your intuition, add a courageous heart and the determination to see it all through, you’ve got yourself a winning combination. The Mistakes
These final five gems represent the biggest mistakes I made as a budding entrepreneur. Though the memory of them still makes me cringe, I share them in the hope that they might provide an easier road for others who are following this path I have already traveled. Advertise Early
You can advertise even before your product or service is available. Tell everyone you know, implore your family and friends to tell everyone they know, and send press releases to newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Start this process at least nine months before you are ready to bring your product or service to market. Do whatever you can to get the word out. Remember that you are doing well if you hear back from one out of every ten contacts. This one is a major, but worthwhile, time investment. Make sure to use it wisely.Have a Back Up Plan
Even if you think everything is going along just swimmingly, the bottom can and will fall out at any time. Continue to cultivate relationships and make connections to ensure that if one manufacturer decides to drop your product, you are still covered. Always have a Plan B because it can become Plan A at any given moment.Create a Support System
Don’t kid yourself. No matter how fabulous and organized you are, you can’t do everything yourself. You’ll need someone whom you can call on to pitch in, to relieve you if only for a few hours, or just to listen. Have a few trusted individuals in your repertoire with whom you can share your work, brainstorms, successes and failures. A pair of fresh eyes can make all the difference. Ultimately, your health and happiness are more important than the health or success of your company, so don’t sacrifice one for the other. You are never too busy to take a five minute “joy break”, whatever that means for you. Don’t let taking care of yourself be optional. Stay connected to your Source, and make time for what keeps you centered. In the long run, it will get you farther faster than driving yourself into the ground. Continuously Revisit and Reevaluate Your Goals
You may think you have the ultimate plan when you first start your yoga business. But even the best laid plans can become quickly obsolete in this fast paced market. Review your goals and business plan often and don’t be afraid to make changes. Think of your original yoga business plan as a starting point that is forever under construction. You need to be flexible enough to reevaluate so that you can service your customer in the way that they wish to be served. Strive to continually evolve. If your yoga business isn’t dynamic, it’s dead in the water. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The world doesn’t need any help with this one, it will take fine care of that without any help from you, trust me. Mistakes will be made. Lessons will be learned. That’s the bottom line. Don’t get stuck in the “who” or the “how’” of the mistake. In the end, the only thing that really matters is resolving errors quickly, efficiently, effectively, and moving on with a commitment not to repeat them. Taking yourself too seriously and beating yourself up will add a momentous negative energy that literally vacuums every ounce of vitality and creativity from your being. Living the “empty cup” or feeling sorry for yourself won’t make a yoga business great. Be good to yourself, and your yoga business will be all the better for it.
Success does not necessitate being brilliant or amazing everyday. One of the least romanticized but most important elements of becoming successful is to simply make an unequivocal commitment to “show up” every single day regardless of the circumstances. Acceptance of this fact will provide the consistency to keep “the machine” of your endeavor moving forward even when it feels like it has come to a dead stop.
I wish that someone had taken me aside and told me all of these things before I got started. There were times when I felt like I was crazy to take this on and even moments when I wondered whether I had done the right thing. But after all of it, if asked whether I am I glad I did it, my answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ My advice is to cultivate a willingness to be a work-in-progress by celebrating your successes and failures. There is learning, progress, growth and value in each one. We are all merely on our paths, which are fraught with bumps, hills, valleys and plains. Rally your brilliance, passion, energy and commitment and enjoy the process. Take your leap of faith and awaken to the possibilities.
Karen Palaszek RYT, is Entrepreneur and Principal of QUIET MOUNTAIN, a yoga/pilates innovations company, ExploreQuietMountain.com