Sick and tired of being fat, sick and nearly dead, Mike disentangled himself from his prior paradigm and embraced a new life and business of health and vitality. His interview inspires us to recognize that we are all continually evolving, to listen to ourselves and to realize the power of self-care.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
It was a combination of things that led me to make the transition. I grew tired of the rat race, which was really just a force-based system I had to detangle from and peel away the layers. It’s not easy to let go of stuff but I had to identify them as no longer serving my highest good.
I was also sick and tired of being fat, sick, and nearly dead from that very lifestyle and belief system. I also saw how everyone around me from family to co-workers were being eaten up by this unhealthy paradigm. I knew I had to transform or die. I wanted to be happy and healthy. It was a transition that began 8 years ago and only has come to full fruition and meaning in the last few years.
I use transformation instead of change because change signifies that you can go back to the old ways. Transformation is permanent and moving forward and I was emptying myself of all that warrior and soldier mentality. I realized it could only carry me so far. I had to learn, to adapt, to evolve.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I combine my expertise and knowledge in retail, marketing, e-commerce, fitness, health and wellness to create my own unique business. On one aspect I can be classified as a holistic business consultant, which encompasses everything I have learned working in Canada and the United States the last 27 years.
The other aspect is that I am my own brand with the skillsets that can cross over to fitness training, nutrition, supplements up to and including conceptualization, product design, formulation, and manufacturing to retail and multiple channel expertise for distribution. Add to that my corporate background in hiring, training, and developing employees, managers, and franchise owners for both the United States and Canada.
As a broker I’m able to provide a diverse selection of organic food products, raw materials, and supplements to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
My favorite moments over the years boils down to the independence I have on a personal level to be doing what makes me happy. The other part of that is in making a difference with someone else’s health, wellbeing, and business. I realized over the last couple of years that everything is really tied together. There’s no such thing for me as separating my personal and business entities. I am both of them in mind, body, and spirit.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
I find that sometimes my ego rears its head along with a mix of fear and logic mixed in that stymies my development. That’s why I’ve come to realize I’ll never be a finished product. One true constant in life is change and I embrace that more often than I did before.
How have you overcome those challenges?
When I started applying daily gratitudes and meditation to focus on myself first things really took off. It’s easy to get caught up in the many challenges we face and we consciously and unconsciously take on other’s fears, projections, and unreasonable expectations. Once I started to really live in the now, let go of the past, and not worry about the future I was happier and healthier. When you are faced with a choice to do something for your very survival you very quickly learn that life is too short.
How do you find new clients?
I primarily use social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter along with my referral and professional network. Even after I’ve left the different companies I’ve worked for I’ve maintained my ties with everyone. There’s a difference between burning bridges and letting go of what no longer serves you for your highest good.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
Just by being authentic, patient, honest, and a quiet confidence in what I have to offer. I’m not driven by desperation or try to use marketing tricks to secure a deal. I just allowed myself to finally be me. What people see in my social media and Internet presence backs up my authenticity. I embrace and embody the lifestyle, services, and products that I offer to my clients.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
Always stay engaged either through polite and friendly weekly greetings via email or social media, sharing relevant information one can apply to both business and personal life, remembering work anniversaries, birthdays, special events. A thank you note goes a long way. When you talk to them always sound that you are happy when you project your voice over the phone. Happiness is infectious.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
Daily gratitude and affirmations first thing before I get up and before I go to bed. Ten minutes of just focusing on my breathing first thing in the morning while listening to meditation music and harmonic healing frequencies. Then I make sure I drink 24 ounces of pure water with a slice or two of lemon.
During the day when things can get quite hectic I make sure to pause, step back, push myself away from the phone and computer, and just focus again on breathing for about five minutes. I let time be my ally instead of being my opponent.
At night I dabble in social media and share new information I find interesting. Then before going to bed I listen to meditation music.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would listen to myself more, trust my instincts, be more patient, and recognize when to let go and move forward. Most importantly I would take care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health above all.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
I got too caught up in the dream and I did not plan properly and over extended myself in every aspect. I also was too stubborn for my own good and thought I knew everything and refused to ask for help. I also let my emotions, fears, and anxiety take hold of me and I got disillusioned and depressed. I did not give my body and mind time to rest or heal up. It was always just go, go, go with no heed for the consequences.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
The advent of social media and the Internet has helped to transform and define me and how I’m able to reach and communicate with everyone. In particular, LinkedIn and Facebook have helped me be my authentic self.
Next would be the use of the laptop, smartphone, tablet, and the cloud to harness the voluminous information at my disposal. Technology allows me to further my personal and business development as I’m able to read or listen to top business, spiritual, and fitness experts on a regular basis. Technology allows me to run a borderless business.
The third one would be following the top business professionals in different fields and gain insight. Knowing what they read, eat, drink, and do on a daily basis gives great insight to how they became successful.
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Social media by far has allowed me to find the necessary connections that take my business to the next level. Secondly, being confident and authentic in myself and knowing what is for my highest good.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
I would say becoming my own brand and claiming myself as my own property to be forged by myself instead of letting others dictate who, what, where I should be.
What is your favorite indulgence?
I have to have my chocolate.
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Outside of balut, which is a Filipino delicacy, I’d have to say eating a still-beating cobra heart with a swig of snake wine in Vietnam would be the most exotic for me.
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
It’s a tie between the Grand Canyon in Arizona and The Rocky Mountains in Canada.
Last book you read?
Power Up Your Brain- The Neuroscience of Enlightenment
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
What is your go-to breakfast?
I make my own high protein, gluten-free pancakes with pumpkin and chia seeds, virgin coconut oil, and a bit of organic maple syrup. I wash it down with a smoothie made with light coconut milk, hemp protein powder, blueberries, spinach, kale, maca, and greens powder. It’s perfect after my fasted state morning workouts.
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
Its infinite capacity to heal if you allow your mind and spirit to believe it is so.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Freedom, creativity, independence
Mike Pestano is a Holistic Entrepreneur based out of California. You can find out more about him and his business, Iron Eagle Health and Marketing, at www.ironeaglehealth.com.