We are in the midst of a technological revolution. It is pretty obvious when we look at all of the smart phones surrounding us 24/7. But that is not the revolution I am talking about. Today, we are using technology in ways that revolutionize how we show up in the world, how we work and how we live. Slowly slipping away are the 9-5 workdays, the sunless hours inside a cubicle, and counting down the minutes until happy hour. In fact, for me, it has been just over two years since I've shown up for "regular" work hours.
That is not to say I am unemployed. Two years ago I made the leap into the realm of the self-employed. At the time, I had been at my job as marketing director of a popular California yoga center for almost three years. To plenty of people around me, it was a dream job. I had a studio to teach yoga at, a regular salary, health insurance and paid vacation, not to mention I worked a mere two minute walk from my adorable Midtown apartment. It was a pretty sweet life; one that I knew would not be sustainable forever. I knew, deep down, that what I really wanted was freedom- the freedom that comes only from being your own boss.
I am 31 years old. I have been self-employed for just over two years, and today, I am working from a beach-side table on the coast of Bali. I have been here with my partner for the last 10 days and we have 18 glorious days ahead of us bouncing around the Indonesian Islands. That's a total of 4 weeks away from my desk at home, my clients, and my normal routine. And you know what, it's totally okay. In fact, two of my main clients were here with us just a few days ago - taking a total of two weeks away from the brick and mortar of their own studio.
When I started organizing my business two years ago, there were several guiding principles that I developed at the onset:
I wanted to work with yoga studios and others in the health and wellness arena to organize and implement their marketing strategies.
I wanted to work with people that had similar values as mine.
I wanted to keep my business as lean as possible (i.e. little/no overhead).
I wanted to be able to pick up my work and travel.
With these four principles as my foundation, I began to organize my business. The process I used to bring life to my little start-up would become the basis of how I work with clients. What starting off as simply "marketing health and wellness businesses" quickly evolved into business development and marketing - the two being so closely related that it is completely ineffective to work on one without the other. In fact, I have noticed over and over that when the two are out of balance, nothing else seems to function successfully. Without a sound business plan, goals and a strategic plan, there really is nothing to build a marketing plan around.
The businesses that are most successful are the ones that know who they are, what they have to offer, why they offer it and how they are going to connect with people.
The process that helped me build my dream life would become the foundation of the business that I would create. It is a process that I use personally and professionally every day. It has three main components:
1. Set my goals: Write them down, say them out loud, and share them others.
2. Develop a plan to attain each goal: Each goal will have its own strategy to fulfill even though they are generally intertwined with one another. This helps each goal receive individual attention.
3. Constantly review my progress and adapt when necessary.
It seems so simple, but putting it into effect can be quite challenging, for many reasons. For many people, myself included, we have grand ideas, but we become paralyzed by trying to figure out where to begin.
Two years ago I set an intention: I wanted to be self-employed. I wanted to own a business that allowed me to do work that I love, with people I love, and in places that I love. I had this dream for as long as I could remember, but it seemed vague, unstable, and full of uncertainty. When my thirtieth birthday was on the horizon, I decided that it was time to take a leap, and put faith in myself and my community. I set out to manifest my dream life. Now, with success under my belt, I am excited to share the inner workings of my endeavors.
Jennifer "Skondasana" Skondin
Jennifer Skondin has 15 years of experience as a graphic designer and 10 years of experience in communications and PR. In 2008 she discovered yoga and turned her attention and energy to teaching yoga and helping yoga studios and teachers find success through marketing and outreach. She loves to take her work on the road, with computer in tow and clients connected via Skype, she often finds herself working next to the ocean, whether it's the coast of Carmel, CA or the white sand beaches of the Gilies in Indonesia.