Entrepreneurship

KNOTEWORTHY: Dr. Daryl Cioffi, Polaris Counseling & Consulting

Dr. Daryl Cioffi, LMHC, Ed.D is the innovative and modern-day wellness doyenne who is reshaping corporate and institutional visions of wellness. As co-founder of her private practice, Polaris Counseling & Consulting, Dr. Cioffi has harnessed the vision to empower individuals in becoming “well beings” into a practice and company that inspires purposeful changes in revolutionary ways. 

In her consulting work Dr. Cioffi specializes in challenging leaders, audiences, and organizations to redefine their values and views of success, wellness, and work-life balance. Her viewpoints and teachings on wellness have reshaped the way we think and practice well-being both in and out of work.

Dr. Cioffi has undoubtedly made her mark, appearing on national radio and print as an expert on wellness in the Huffington Post, Medical Daily and Social Work Today. Her first book "Be Freud" made the Amazon bestsellers list in 2016. A professor of neuropsychology and psychotherapy, Dr. Cioffi teaches and special lectures at many colleges in the New England area when she is not counseling and consulting across the country.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years and have found that while there are an abundance of resources available for individuals in crisis, the same often cannot be said for individuals who fall under the umbrella of something I call “well-ish”. The “well-ish” person is perceivably OK - that is, they don’t have any glaring issues, and they are able to function normally for all intents and purposes. But they aren’t fully satisfied; they possess a deep desire to better themselves and, in a sense, “elevate” their lives. Psychotherapy is often a wonderful option for these individuals, as it is a safe and supportive environment which lends itself to self-reflection, unexpected challenges and important insights. 

My business partner and I designed POLARIS (www.polarisri.com) as a boutique private practice with the vision of creating a haven for the “well-ish” to become whole. By seamlessly combining innovative clinical treatments with the ideals and values of holistic healthcare, we are proud to have cultivated an environment where unbridled wellness is becoming a reality in our client’s lives each and every day. 

As I grow and change, the work that I do is always evolving with me. As part of my doctoral thesis I conducted research on perceptions and practices of wellness among high-ranking executives. It immediately became clear to me that the relationship between wellness and success is a complex one, which is how I started my consulting firm (www.drdarylcioffi.com). It is my hope that by being a strong and steadfast advocate for integrating the concepts of wellness and success, leadership development as a whole will be redefined.

How do you define success? 

Success for me is so multifaceted. For one, it is rooted in wellbeing, in the sense that I would not consider myself successful if my mental, spiritual or physical health were in a state of neglect. It is also freedom - the freedom to create, and plan, and make something happen without restraints. Perhaps most importantly, it is happiness and fulfillment. The second anything starts to feel like work, I know I need to re-evaluate what I am doing because I am not necessarily successful anymore.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I’ve always thought work-life balance was a strange paradox, especially for women. We instinctively want to problem solve, nurture, and see something succeed, yet eventually we end up resent having to give up our personal time (or at time work) to do so. So I am not sure there IS such a thing as work-life balance, especially as a business owner. For me, the goal is trying to master a work-life “sway”. I know that there will be times when my business demands more of my energy and attention, and others when I need to take a step back and dedicate myself to other aspects of my life. When I have a lot on my plate at work, establishing a concrete plan allows me to visualize my workflow and keeps the tasks from getting out of hand. It also helps me organize my time, and allows me to clearly communicate expectations to my family and loved ones. When I do take a break from business mode, I need to trust that my employees and partner can handle things in my absence. To be honest, this was extremely difficult for me at first but over the years I’ve come to realize that it is something that is essential to my own wellness and sanity. Other times, I need to devote my efforts to myself and own personal development. In these times work, family, and even just “life” in general have no place. This time for me is sacred- it’s reading a book, traveling, reflecting quietly, working out (also known as shopping), or taking time out to “recharge” myself. If I can’t be good to myself I can be good to anyone else at my office or in my home.

CONNECT WITH DR. DARYL CIOFFI:

Website: www.drdarylcioffi.com

Instagram: @drdarylcioffi

Facebook: www.facebook.com/daryljcioffi

KNOTEWORTHY: Amy Larson, Overseasoned Amy

Amy is the Founder of Overseasoned, a multifaceted food venture with a fixation on seasonality. 

Overseasoned began as a monthly publication of handmade miniature cookbooks and has grown to include an online store of rad kitchen accessories as well as catering services. 

Amy is obsessed with orienting life around seasonal food, the British Baking Show and her adorable dog Chowder.

She is a self-declared “pasta making queen” and enjoys tasting her way around the Boston food scene with her fiance Dek.

We asked Amy to share with us some insight into her journey to Entrepreneurship, along with some best practices that we hope you'll find valuable! Here's what she said...

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve always been completely food obsessed. I spend a great deal of my free time cooking, baking, reading about food or adventuring to new restaurants. So a few years ago, I wanted to find a creative way to share this passion and the recipes I was writing with my friends and family so I began publishing my recipes in the format of a handwritten, mini cookbook (or zine).

I shared 8 - 10 recipes per month that featured a few ingredients that were particularly seasonal during that time for example, strawberries during June, zucchini during August. I accompanied the recipes with watercolor illustrations and, as the project evolved, color photos. My subscribers really enjoyed being able to physically read the recipes in person and have the mini cookbooks out on their kitchen counter to reference or just for display. 

The recipes and aesthetic for the project were inspired by my childhood growing up with an enormous backyard vegetable garden which yielded so much at times that it was overwhelming to attempt to eat everything. (Think attack of the zucchini vibes). So my mom was always getting creative with her preparations of these fresh veggies. I adopted that same creative and fun-loving mentality towards seasonal cooking and I strove to emphasize it in each monthly issue of Overseasoned. My goal was to show my readers how they can celebrate whatever fruit, vegetable or herb is ripe at the moment through simple recipes.  

I published 18 monthly editions of Overseasoned and have since paused production because I’ve now amassed a collection of recipes which I plan to publish in a long form cookbook. 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

For recipe creation, I’m constantly inspired by ingredients, particularly fruits and vegetables. Everytime I go to the produce section in the grocery store and I see something that’s newly available like fresh figs or garlic scapes or a simple, perfect peach, I am motivated to get to work creating a recipe that will celebrate it. I’m actually over-motivated by produce and my imagination runs wild when I am shopping. I frequently return home with an ambitious list of things to make before my haul goes bad.

I also have a retail component to my Overseasoned business. I designed a collection of kitchen-wares such as tea towels and aprons with my slogan Smash the Garlic and the Patriarchy which I sell and distribute online and in stores across the country from Provincetown  to Chicago to San Francisco. Whenever someone posts a photo of one of my products online, that is so inspiring and motivating to me. I can instantly feel how it resonated with them and touched their life and that gets me so excited. 

What habits have helped make you successful?

Because there are many facets to my business- writing recipes, selling products, catering events- there is a huge variety of tasks that need to get done at any time. I know that I am not always in the mood to take food photos for recipes or assess the analytics of my online store, so I came up with a master list of everything I need to do to run my business and I pick and choose from it depending on how much time I have at hand or how creative I am feeling. I’ve found this to be a very effective way to always be productive.  And as a creative person this is also a forgiving approach because I don’t feel pressure to be inventive and come up with a new recipe or concept every single day and therefore my mind is more relaxed. 

CONNECT WITH OVERSEASONED AMY:

Website: https://www.overseasoned.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/overseasoned_amy/

 

KNOTEWORTHY: Kathryn Ford Richter, Self Care and Mindset Coach

Kathryn Ford Richter is an RN turned Self Care and Mindset Coach. She helps overwhelmed entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, and professionals explore their fears, and increase confidence by taking action and incorporating daily self-care into their lives to feel more empowered and become happier, healthier and ultimately more successful. 

Her background as a nurse, yoga instructor, and essential oils educator reflects in her work with clients, and she loves how her skills complement one another. Kathryn works with clients one on one, as well as offers educational classes to businesses and individuals on how to incorporate essential oils into their lives to improve sleep, decrease stress and improve overall health and wellness. It is her mission to coach as many people as possible so they can feel balanced and have more energy to share their light with the world.

What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

I wish someone told me that being an entrepreneur isn’t always glamorous or sexy as hell as SM has you believe. Truth is for most people, owning your own business is super hard work. I honestly thought I would quit nursing full-time and within a few months my business would be full and I would be loving life. That could not have been further from the truth. While I was loving life, clients did not just magically appear no matter how much manifesting and positive thoughts I put out to the universe. 

I also realized I had a LOT to learn. Not only did I have to learn how to work from home and peacefully co-exist with my husband who also works from home, I needed to learn a whole new skill set. Coaching, yoga, anything health or wellness related I was super confident about, but marketing myself on SM, learning how to send out newsletters and create opt-ins had my brain spinning. 

I just took it day by day and learned a lot of new things. I realized it was going to be a marathon, not a sprint and continued laying the foundation. I am always learning new things every day and am enjoying the process. Some months are better than others which is always just another opportunity for growth. At the end of the day, I ask myself what one thing can I do today that makes me super uncomfortable, yet will bring me one step closer towards my goal. Then I do it before all the self-talk starts chiming in with reasons for why I should keep myself small and comfortable. 

How do you achieve work-life balance? 

Love this question since this is what my business is all about. There is not one size fits all answer for people. For me, I have found that this ebbs and flows based on the season of my life. One of the most important things I do is schedule in time for myself, whether it is a yoga class, time to meditate or just a reminder to take a break. Sometimes I get so in the zone and find setting a timer super helpful to pull me back into my body and serves as a great reminder to slow down.  

I also know that if I don’t schedule in time for myself, the chances of it happening are slim as the days go on. It is not about finding the time it is about creating and prioritizing time for self-care activities. Some of the things that light me up are yoga, meditation, SUP and SUP yoga, swimming, walks and traveling. I try to make sure I schedule in at least one thing per day. 

I look at my schedule for the entire week or month and see what I have going on. My instinct is to say yes if something comes up and I have an opening in my schedule, however, then I realize that I am jammed for three days in a row. Now, I take a moment to look a the bigger picture and decide how much I want to take on that day. If I have an evening event, then I start my day later, so I am not going for 12+ hours. I am all about setting boundaries with those around me when it comes to my time. If I don’t, who will?

Another useful tool for finding a work-life balance is to know your rhythms. For example, I have way more energy in the morning than I do in the evening; therefore I book my essential meetings, calls or any writing during those hours. I can’t tell you how many clients I see trying to fight their rhythms and wonder why they are physically and emotionally exhausted. I have set hours that I work, and then I shut it down. For me, that works. If something pops into my mind, I will set a reminder on my phone to return to it tomorrow. This works really well for me.

The last thing as I could go on and on, is I don’t take myself too seriously. While the work I do is important, no one is going to die if I take a break to recharge myself. I know myself well enough to know when I need to take a break, switch gears or just laugh at my life and remember this is what I chose to create.

How do you define success? 

Such a great question! This answer has shifted for me over the years. For a long time, I thought success was measured financially. My parents always encouraged me to work hard. I worked my ass off as a waitress and later as a nurse, but was not where I wanted to be financially, and I was not healthy. I loved helping people and realized there had to be a better way to be happy, healthy and successful. 

I now look at success as doing what makes me happy while having an impact on the world. It’s about knowing what lights you up, doing it no matter what and not letting anyone or thing hold you back from doing it. It’s about owning who you are as a person, always being on a mission to learn and grow and to carve your path in the world. 

If I can continue doing that while making enough money to support my desired lifestyle then I feel like I am successful. When I look around and see the clients I have helped, my family and friends, and know that I am happy and healthy, that makes me feel successful. 

CONNECT WITH KATHRYN: 

Website: https://www.kathrynfordrichter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.ford.562?fref=search

KNOTEWORTHY: Jillian Ayer, J. Ayer Massage

Jillian Ayer owns J. Ayer Massage in Hingham, Ma. She delivers stress-based relaxation massage to women and has advanced training in oncology massage that she gears toward women and children. 

Jillian has been nominated for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver award twice and for six years has been a partnering massage therapist to Lucy's Love Bus, a non-profit that delivers holistic therapies to children with cancer. As a result of her work with Lucy's Love Bus, Jillian is currently working at Floating Children's Hospital in a pediatric oncology clinic, bone marrow transplant unit and ICU. Jillian's private practice, located on the south shore of Boston, serves women both in optimal health and in cancer treatment. 

Her practice is known for its use of the five senses while delivering a relaxation based massage that is truly both a sensorial experience and deeply relaxing. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in the clients that I work with. Part of my practice is working with women in optimal health, but the other part of my practice is working with women and children that have cancer. Cancer has a way of stripping away all that does not matter and leaving the most beautifully vulnerable parts front and center. It is that kind of beauty, the kind that is honest and

earnest and that is focused on dealing with something out of a soul’s control, that most often builds wisdom and depth in a person. For me, this is what is truly inspirational.

My oncology clients have also helped me create the foundation of everything that I do in my massage practice. Their journeys have taught me how to stand in someone else’s truth whether they are well or sick, to hold deep space for another and reverence for a stranger’s experience while not trying to change it. Their experiences and stories have beckoned me forward, asked me

to sit on the edge of my own discomfort, often while forging a deeper understanding of myself, sometimes causing me to hold my breath but always inviting me to behold the profound simplicity and healing of nurturing touch. These qualities form the soft skills that any good massage therapist should have (beyond their technical knowledge of the body and its muscles).

We build these skills through the life experiences that mature us and the intention to know how to manage our own energy so that we can meet another just where they are. Without these skills, a massage has no depth. 

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

There came a moment when I stopped chasing external success in corporate environments and began listening deeply to myself and the things that made me feel more alive. Mary Oliver, the poet, once said: “ you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” I love to nurture, and getting in touch with that truth inspired me to leave the corporate world and begin my journey as a massage therapist. I think there is a kind of magic that happens when we authentically align with ourselves. I believe that God tucks a love letter into our hearts before (s)he sends us here. We read the love note out loud each time we chose to do what comes most natural to us. Our natural inclinations are like lighthouses to others on the journey. They call in mentors and teachers as we step deeper and deeper into the world with our gifts. I have been blessed that many people have seen the light from my lighthouse and supported my journey. I think that when we just humbly do what we are strongly called to do, when we gently work to perfect what may already be perfect within us, the opportunities and recognition comes; at least this has been my experience. The less striving that I do and the more aligned I humbly remain, the more doors seem to open up for me.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

As a woman who has raised several kids, is caring for aging parents, and owns her own business, I see how vital balance through nurturing myself is for accomplishing all that is asked of me on a daily basis. The concept of building a business for women was simply born with the intention to help other women nurture themselves so they can find balance and continue to do all they do each and every day. Women wear so many hats and do so much for so many that I wanted to create a place where they could come and be cared for themselves. My massage services are specifically geared toward women.

CONNECT WITH J. AYER MASSAGE: 

Website: https://www.jayermassage.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jayermassage/

KNOTEWORTHY: Kristen Hollingsworth, Lolo Poke Beverly

Kristen is a 31-year old mompreneur, with two kids, ages 5 and 2, residing in Lynn, MA. I own two businesses and prides herself on identifying super “niche” product and service ideas in today’s market. 

By trade, Kristen is a cosmetologist, and although she truly loves doing hair, she felt the need to reach a little higher and started her own head lice removal clinic in Danvers (Lice Clinics of America- Danvers). Upon getting her first business under my belt and learning a lot, after falling in love with Poke on a family trip to Hawaii and seeing a hole in the local market, Kristen decided to go for it and opened a traditional poke shop in Beverly, MA. 

As an entrepreneur, Kristen’s goal is to learn something new and make more money each day, always reserving more than enough to give back to her local community. Although balancing life and owning two businesses is hard to put it lightly, Kristen is so fulfilled by her two businesses, and attributes her success to her amazing support system.  

How do you use social media?

Social media is by far the most important, and least expensive form of advertising for both of my businesses. I spend very little if any money at all each month on Social media advertising. I primarily use Instagram and Facebook. My approach is to use both of these websites to engage the surrounding community and create awareness actively. Creating posts that result in a “call to action,” Such as posting questions, contests, or even polls, creates a lot of valuable participation and draws a larger following very easily. 

Creating a social media space where the community, and of course our customers, feel truly valued and involved has not only helped my businesses gain momentum during the growth phase but has also provided us with valuable feedback directly from our target market.

What’s your best hiring tip/secret?

I have to say; staffing is probably my strong suit. I have the natural ability to read people fairly quickly. When I hold an interview, I conduct it as an opportunity to gauge whether I think a person has the right personality to work alongside my existing long-term staff, as well as to get a strong vision of how they will interact with our customers. Having a strong skill set is, but it isn’t the most important part of finding the right person for the job. Everyone can look good on paper, but not everyone has customer Service skills and the ability to be a team player. Social skills, in both the restaurant industry as well as the head lice treatment industry, go a long way. I am always willing to train a person from scratch if they are the right person for my customer base.

When it comes to staffing, my advice is to have specific questions in an interview that will indirectly reveal the personality traits you are looking for, don’t hire anyone that you wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving alone at your place of business, and always go with your gut. Being an entrepreneur offers you the chance to have not only financial freedom but free TIME as well, but that won’t ever happen if you can’t get the right staff in place.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

I always say that entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. In the beginning, if you aren’t willing to literally drop everything and cater to your businesses needs (I call mine my third child), the growth phase will be longer and more difficult. With my first business, Lice Clinics of America-Danvers, I sacrificed a lot. I missed family events, made large financial sacrifices, missed seeing my friends, and was back at work just five days after having my daughter. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but also my greatest professional achievement to have a thriving, profitable business in the first year.

With business number two, Lolo Poke Beverly, I fell right back into that phase where it’s a constant inner battle of whether or not all this sacrifice is worth it. I can assure you, if you have an amazing idea, good work ethic, and are fortunate enough to have a fantastic support system, you can and will succeed. It will never be easy but it will be worthwhile and can entirely change your life for the better.

CONNECT WITH KRISTEN: 

Lolo Poke Beverly:

Website: https://www.lolopokebeverly.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoloPokeBeverly/

KNOTEWORTHY: Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski, Feng Shui Services of New England

Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski, MS, RN, is the owner and principal consultant for Feng Shui Services of New England. She is a certified Feng Shui practitioner and has been consulting and educating about the need for a balanced home and work environment since 2010.  She earned Red Ribbon status through the International Feng Shui Guild and a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association. She teaches and writes on the benefits of Feng Shui throughout New England. 

We asked Julie to share her story regarding her journey to entrepreneurship, along with some questions regarding her business goals, and here's what she shared with us....

We'd love to learn more about your business mission and ultimate entrepreneurial goal?

The mission of Feng Shui Service of New England is to share the ancient Chinese practice of adjusting environments for balance and harmony. The goal is to share these Chinese secrets making them relevant for today. My desire is to educate those who want to create a living and working environment that is loved. My vision entails helping others to stay balanced and true to their wishes and desires. 

What inspired the launch of your business?

I have worked as a nurse in many challenging environments that have often been chaotic and stressful. I learned about the ancient art and science of Feng Shui by accident. Although there are no REAL accidents, in my opinion! 

The Feng Shui talk that replaced a professional workshop presenter was the beginning of a journey of learning, self-exploration, joy and fulfillment. The practice of Feng Shui has deepened my commitment to living a harmonious and balanced life that I enjoy sharing with others. 

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know? 

My business is working with energy or chi. I have found that I need to keep my own personal energy clear and balanced to be an effective consultant and educator. As a result, I have made my Feng Shui business only part of what I do. I work part-time as a nurse, keeping my schedule open for new Feng Shui opportunities. 

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

Networking was not easy for me. During networking events, I spent most of the time collecting business cards. I had hundreds, then thousands. I was overwhelmed. What to do with them?  I created a rule I follow strictly: Collect only a few business cards, and give only a few business cards. Also, I always ask permission before adding someone to my contact list; this keeps my email list scrubbed and pure.

How do you leverage your social media channels for growth? 

Understanding the impact of social media is important for every business owner today. I wanted to stay local. Face-to-face contact is important to me. Therefore, I limit my online presence. I have a Facebook page to keep in touch with clients and folks who are like-minded. I announce upcoming events, give Feng Shui tips and inspirational thoughts on that platform. 

I use email as my main source of communication with clients and potential clients. Because applying Feng Shui to a home is a very personal experience, my finest clients are folks I have met directly at various educational talks. Also, client referrals and recommendations have driven my business.  I consider all presentations, workshops, and classes as marketing for my business and services.

What is your definition of success as an entrepreneur?

The definition of success is different for each person/entrepreneur. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest, there is not enough room at the top. You may have to choose a different, shorter mountain to climb; this is your peak to conquer. Success for me is the comfort of base camp surrounded by the beautiful mountains. 

CONNECT WITH JULIE:

  • Website: http://www.fssone.com

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FSSone/

KNOTEWORTHY: Alex Bynum, EmpowHer You

Alex Bynum is the founder of Empowher You: A Healing Center for Women in Brookline, MA where she has led hundreds of people to healing through ancient empowerment tools. She is also recognized locally as a master networker and leader in the Boston Community. Alex proves that you can connect your passion for people to create results. 

 We asked Alex to share some insight into how she launched her business and how she personally defines Success. Here's what she shared with us... 

What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

Before I started my first business, I wish I had known that there is a Universal Law that states “as within, so without” meaning what’s happening in my internal world is a reflection of what's happening in my external world.

Therefore, when I began my business and was feeling stressed out, anxious, etc. that is what I would get reflected back to me! As soon I began to go more with the flow and let go of fear and doubt, I created peace for myself and thus in my business. 

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

My idea or concept for my business wasn’t mine nor is it anything new. What I mean by that is it’s super ancient!

Once I personally experienced the power of these 3,000 year old ancient empowerment tools that I now facilitate at Empowher You, I was hooked and knew I wanted to help others, too. So grateful!

How do you define success? 

I define success as the ability to help another progress. This isn’t necessarily about just making someone feel better, but what actually serves them in the long run.

Success to me is supporting, nurturing, and loving others as they grow into who they already know themselves to be. 

Whether it's on her podcast, via social media, or at regional events, Alex brings a unique mix of charm, awareness, and discipline to traditional business. 

As a highly demanded expert in the field of healing, her networking and relationship skills have brought her to major companies such as State Street and Whole Foods.

CONNECT WITH ALEX:
Website: http://www.empowheryou.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/empowheryou
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFP14AdRom8X1_vo5b37nzQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/empowheryou

KNOTEWORTHY: Lauren Bateman, LB Music School

Lauren Bateman is the Founder of LB Music School in Medford & Wakefield—an Entrepreneur who took a massive risk in 2010 to leave her secure 9-5 position in the pharmaceutical industry behind to pursue her passion for music. Today, The LB Music School aspires to inspire. They foster creativity and confidence through fun and supportive music instruction, with the goal to help students of all ages develop both life-long discipline and happiness. 

We asked Lauren to share some of her best practices for productivity, and here's what she said...

What's your productivity secret?

I use something called the 5-priority rule. Which is setting 5 things you are committed to completing that day. 3 of those priorities are business related and 2 of them are personal. These tasks can be big or small, but they must be completed by the end of the day. 

A big thing entrepreneurs fall into the trap of, and something I fell into the trap of, is working so much and neglecting some of the personal things in that bring us a lot of joy and pleasure. For me, that’s getting outside and walking by the ocean or hiking in the forest. I love being outside. So once a day, as long as the weather is nice, I will go outside for anywhere from 15 minutes to and hour. Whatever my day calls for. I also like to workout and play videogames. So I throw that into the mix too.

By keeping to the 5 priorities, I ensure that I am moving my business forward every day. At the same time, I am also maintaining my sanity and the elusive work-life balance. And the great thing about the 5 priorities rule is that once those 3 business tasks are out of the way, the rest of the day is yours. If you want to work more, you can. We all know that the work never ends. If you want don’t to work more, you don’t have to but you don’t have to feel guilty about not getting any work done.

How do you define success?

Success is different for everyone. We all have our own definition of what makes us successful. For me, it’s building a life that allows you to get everything you want from it so that you can wake up every morning excited to start the day.

I did that by building a business that allows me the freedom to take time off for my family and myself when I want to. It’s something that grows even if I’m not there every second of the day. Success is inspiring those around me and encouraging them to reach for their goals by being myself and sharing my life them via social media. It’s about leaving people better than when I found them and trying to impact everyone I meet in a positive way. Those are some of my ideas on success.

How did you get to where you are today?

People think it’s weird that I teach music and own a music school but don’t have a degree in music. I used to work for a pharmaceutical company and my background is in Biology and Archaeology. I know, totally makes sense, right? 

In my 20s, I decided that working an 8 hour a day job wasn’t for me. I loved science but it really wasn’t my passion and I was feeling bogged down and unhappy. I really loved performing music and writing songs. So I quit my job (which was about $65,000 at the time with great benefits and a possible yearend bonus) to pursue a career in music. My first month in business I made only $400. 
I know. Totally rolling in it.

The first few years were not easy. I would get up at 5am on Sunday mornings to go flyer cars and I would get to Porter Square at 5:30am during the week to busk in the Subways for money. Whatever I needed to do to get myself out there, promote my business and earn money. I built my business up all by myself until I become overbooked and had to hire someone to help me take on the surplus. Then I had to hire another teacher and decided I should probably move the business out of the house. I moved into a commercial location in November of 2012 and haven’t looked back. 

The biggest people to help me on my journey was my parents. They never said no to me or that I couldn’t do anything. I know they had their worries and concerns, but they know I’m determined when I set my mind to something and that I’m persistent. They taught me about hard work and sweat equity and both of the them own or had owned business at one point. So I kind of learned the benefits of owning your own business from them.

I have to thank my sister who bought me a guitar when I was in high school. My mom told her not to because I wouldn’t do anything with it. I don’t blame her because I wasted my piano lessons when I was younger. I’m really glad she didn’t listen and I’m glad I loved the instrument enough to teach myself how to play it. 

Of course, no business is amazing unless you have the support of wonderful staff. My employees have been through some highs and lows with me and I am forever grateful for their hard work and dedication. They really make the music school the success it is because they are in the school day in and day out making our customers happy.

Last, but not least, I have to thank my fiancé who has supported me the entire way. We had only dated for many 3-4 months when I announced to her that I was quitting my job to pursue my passion. I think most people would have run away. Somehow, she just knew everything was going to be alright and instead of discouraging me, she always encourages me to think bigger and aim higher. When I wanted to get a small commercial space to play it safe, she encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and go big. She has been my sounding board and my biggest support. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her input, love, dedication and advice.

CONNECT WITH LAUREN:
Website: http://www.lbmusicschool.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lbmusicschool
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