Today I interviewed small business owner, Cheryl Clarke, about how she launched her business that helps entrepreneurs improve their energy and mindset. She explains how she applied concepts from her previous corporate marketing role to her small business and what resources she uses for her success. Read on for some great advice from a small business owner who has found success.
Q: Cheryl, you have an intriguing business you recently started called City Calm, which helps entrepreneurs get the energy and the mindset they need for success. What inspired you to launch your business?
A: I have always believed anything is possible, but what I have discovered is that there are a certain amount of inbuilt limitations that have been passed on from our upbringing. It can’t be helped!
Many people say “just go for it”, “ignore whatever is holding you back”. My personal experience is that this isn’t useful advice. Most of what we do day by day is governed by the 95% of us we don’t know about – our subconscious. So how am I supposed to “get over” something I don’t even know exists?
A few years ago I was losing all my self-confidence, going round in circles, always busy but never achieving anything. Feeling more withdrawn, de-motivated and low on energy day by day.
All I ever wanted was to start my own business. All the business and marketing tools were out there but what was blocking me from using any of them was rooted deep inside.
Yoga, mindfulness practice and meditation has helped me to release those blocks and have given me great insight into what I need to do to move forward.
I want to share what I have found to be the most profound tool to realizing your true potential. Entrepreneurs are the visionaries who are going to be creating our future and if we can help even one visionary to realize their potential, this could change the world for the better.
Q: You mentioned you previously worked in the Digital Marketing field. How are you using your marketing knowledge to gain traction for your business? What advice do you have in this area for others just starting a company?
A: The most important shift I had to make in marketing was moving from a macro mentality to a micro one. When you work for large brands like Money Saving Expert you are working with millions of consumers and you have to group people into boxes and speak about them like numbers.
When you are a new startup it is all about quality over quantity. Especially in the wellness industry as it is such an important topic. We are dealing with individual’s health and well-being so for us, right now it is about getting to know our customers really well and helping them.
We have been to speak recently at Web Summit in Dublin, we were part of the Alpha group there. We personally speak to customers who have taken our mindfulness course to get feedback.
We measure how they interact with the messaging on our emails, on social media. And we measure how they use our website and the course itself.
So I think first step is to know your customers really, really well and make sure you are serving them something that will add value. Once you have served a few really well, then you can think about scaling.
Q: Give us an interesting fun fact about the research or development process you went through to start your company.
A: We have been really lucky to find some very talented people who are dedicated to the vision of city calm. For example our meditation expert, Karen Liebenguth, lives in a Buddhist commune and has been teaching mindfulness in London since 2008. She is extremely practiced and knowledgeable.
Q: When you were first starting out, what is one piece of advice you wish you would have had? Did you encounter any unanticipated difficult obstacles?
A: I had the same advice I’m about to give and I ignored it. But it’s really good advice, take note! Make sure you get something else that is non work going on in your life at the same time. Something fun, that involves other people unrelated to what you are doing.
Setting up a business is not a short hike, it is a marathon. And so we need to make sure we are balancing our lives. It also means that you stay nimble and creative. It’s amazing the types of ideas you can get from something totally different to your industry!
Q: How have you grown your business knowledge? Are their specific websites, books, groups of people, or methods you have found most helpful?
A: For marketing I love Neil Patel, Seth Godin & SEOMOZ white board Friday. For business I read entrepreneur.com and inc a lot. I also recommend, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Winners & How They Succeed.
For motivation I always go to Tony Robbins – though he does come with a warning, don’t watch too late or you will never get to sleep!
Q: In your opinion what is the most important activity entrepreneurs can do to ensure success?
A: I believe a regular practice or self-awareness or self-reflection is the most fundamental and important task every entrepreneur should do. If you read about the most successful people, whether in sport, politics, business, acting (will smith springs to mind here), one thing they have in common is a deep awareness about themselves.
They have trained their mind, body and spirit in such a way that they are aligned with the outcome they want to achieve in their life at that point. In order to set out the training they first need to have an awareness about where they are in that moment.
So self-awareness is really, really important. When we start a business it can be very easy to drift into a state of execute, execute, execute without really having a clear strategy or focus. And in this state we tend to procrastinate and waste lots of time. In this state it is difficult to remain in control.
Doing a course like the one we have created, Mindfulness for time management can really help to focus our minds and install this practice of building awareness. This is the fundamental building block towards creating the right mindset; mind, body & spirit for success.