Hello Dear Readers,
If you stopped by my site, you're probably expecting me to be talking about my writing and my books. But today, I'd like to take a moment to celebrate my ten year anniversary as a business owner! It was in the Spring of 2005 that I founded ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy, personal training, and yoga business.
I had spent twenty years prior to that working as a Physical Therapy Assistant, teaching learn to skate and power skating programs, and raising my two sons. All that time I had been wondering if I would ever have the opportunity to be my own boss, set my own schedule, and be paid what I felt my time was worth to me.
Then one day, around the time I turned forty and my youngest son was in high school, I decided it was now or never. I'd been studying yoga for several years and felt that my PT and martial arts training, along with my skills as a skating instructor were the perfect combination that would make me an excellent yoga instructor. However, I wasn't ready to open my own studio and dive into it full time when my hands on practice was such an integral part of me. I'd done a tremendous amount of continuing education in the field of manual therapy, and more than anything, I wanted to treat patients with a more holistic approach. So I worked part time for a year while I was in massage school, took my personal training certification, and did a year of yoga teacher training before quitting my "day job" and embarking on an epic adventure into the healing arts and entrepreneurship.
It was also around that time that I had rekindled a romance with "the one who got away," and we moved up into the Berkshires, an hour away from where I'd established my practice. That put a slight hitch in my giddy-up, but I love our country home and credit this major shift to awakening my muse and starting me on the path to writing romantic fiction.
I persevered, bought an economical vehicle (I love my VW TDI and its 45 MPG), and traveled an hour to work 4x per week for the next seven years. Then one day, on my long ride to work, I realized how much time I was spending in the car, and added it to all the time I was sitting at home and writing. I found that at least 8 hours of my week were a complete waste of time...unless listening to books on CD can be considered productive. In my business owner's eyes, it was lost revenue and a full day's work I was missing out on.
So I moved my practice to East Granby, CT., which cut my drive time in half, but meant starting from near scratch building a new clientele, since only a handful of my regulars followed me across the river. I've slowly built up the business again, but it hasn't come easy or been steady, and I think I know why. The greatest struggle in running two businesses is that neither one gets my full attention. And where your attention and intention are...so lies your success. This makes perfect sense to me, but what's a busy lady like me to do? Eighty hour work weeks are clearly not the answer. I had to remind myself that I am the boss! I can work as much or as little as i want. I just have to be able to live with the result, LOL.
I've had to take a hard look at my two jobs and try to find some balance.
Now, I work three days a week at the office (doing between 8, to as many as 15, massages a week) and then I'm home three days a week to work on writing related activities. I try to give myself at least one day off a week, but inevitably, I end up working on some part of the writing business on my "off" day. If I don't at least go through my e-mail in-box, it quickly builds up to a half day of just weeding through and catching up, which is NOT a productive use of my time.
Another solution for me is integrating the two jobs. I've amassed a fair number of young adult fiction now (with nine products currently on my cybershelf), and this year I plan on adding two novella length sequels to SAVAGE CINDERELLA, my Wattpad phenom with 3 million reads. I'm hoping that some of those readers will appreciate more of Brinn and her journey. In the meantime, I'm working on an Ergonomics and Self Care book, which will incorporate my health and wellness knowledge with what I've learned from my writing life.
I'm so excited about this project! I already have some workshops planned at the upcoming NECRWA conference in April and the National RWA conference in NYC in July! It will allow me to help so many people who are suffering from the "sedentary lifestyle syndrome" that is running rampant, and will give me a focus for growing my writing career as well.(Read more about my favorite writing conferences over at the Secrets of 7 Scribes.) I'll be talking more about this project as it comes together, but for now, I'll leave you with my TOP 3 exercises for correcting your posture.
Rounded shoulder, forward head posture is the root of all evil when it comes to contributing factors for neck pain. Anterior muscles of the chest and shoulders tighten while posterior musculature (designed to hold us upright) become overstretched and weak. Learn where good posture is and check in frequently throughout the day to find it again. Remind yourself to sit up straight, shoulders back, head in alignment with shoulders and hips.
1) Stretch pectoral and anterior shoulder muscles by clasping hands behind back and squeezing shoulder blades together. Take deep breaths and hold 10-20 seconds. Repeat hourly to combat the effects of prolonged sitting.
2) Bank robber exercise: Stand with your back against a wall with your feet six inches from the wall and shoulder width apart. Raise your arms so that your shoulders and elbows are at 90 degree angles and the backs of your arms are resting against the wall. Your hands may not reach the wall at first if your shoulders and chest muscles are tight, but that’s okay. Your flexibility will improve over time. Do the best you can to get as much of the back of your arms to touch as possible, and then slowly raise and lower arms in a “stick-em-up” motion, maintaining contact with the wall behind you. Repeat this motion slowly, 5-10x, respecting your ROM limitations, and focusing on your breath throughout the movement.
3) Serving Hors d'oeuvres: Stand up straight with elbows in at your sides and bent to 90 degrees/palms facing up as if holding a tray on each hand. Keep your elbows in and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Rotate your hands outward as if serving hors d'oeuvres to people on either side of you. Repeat 5-10 times slowly, engaging the external rotators of the shoulders to strengthen postural muscles and stave off muscle imbalances. Basically, I give you these silly images to help you remember the exercise. Obviously, no trays—or guests—are needed to complete this activity.
I'd like to say that being my own boss is easier than working for someone else, but I'd be lying. There is a ruthless sense of responsibility that goes with it, driving me to be tougher on myself than any boss I've ever had. I put in longer hours, I only have myself to blame when something fails to produce a positive result, and when I don't work, I don't get paid, so vacations are something I have to save up for and plan ahead. But those are just the downside to owning my business. The tradeoffs for the upside.
The upside comes in the form of the freedom to make my own schedule, be in control of my productivity, and the satisfaction of knowing that whatever happens, my fate is in my own hands. Those are priceless commodities and so worth all the hard work. I can't imagine going back and working for anyone else again. If you've thought about this for yourself, don't let fear of failure stop you! Failure is the best teacher, and the only real failure is in not trying.
Here's to women in business and being your own boss! You can do it!!
If you could be your own boss, what would be your perfect job?