Inspired by her own journey of healing from what she endearingly calls “non-preferred experiences”, Janet published her first book, Lemons, Lemonade & Life – Practical Steps for Getting the Sweetness Back When Life Goes Sour and a follow-up workbook in the years that followed. She now empowers others with her tools and techniques via workshops and both private and group coaching. Her interview inspires us to stay focused and patient as we nurture and grow our business.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
I have had a heartfelt desire to serve others and to help the world since I was a little girl. I wanted to do something meaningful to contribute. That was my initial intention, and I thought I would be a pediatrician. However, I experienced a lot of twists and turns, and I was actually primed and polished by the school of hard knocks! Once I healed myself from those hard knocks, I felt compelled to share what I learned about HOW to heal from what I call “non-preferred experiences.” I eventually settled into becoming a holistic entrepreneur (I LOVE that term!) after my son was in college, and looking back on it, it evolved very naturally.
Tell us about your business.
I self-published my first book, Lemons, Lemonade & Life – Practical Steps for Getting the Sweetness Back When Life Goes Sour in 2011, and the follow-up workbook, The Lemons, Lemonade & Life Approach to Healing Emotional Eating, a 45-Day Process in 2013. I now teach the tools and techniques via workshops, and I love sharing my story or addressing other topics for speaking engagements.
How would you describe your current business model?
I provide 1:1 coaching (in person and virtually), and group programs. I will be launching the online version of the group program in March 2016, and I am very excited about it! I have created a five-year business plan about which I am very excited. I have plans to implement a membership site and app, among other things. Of course book/ebook/audiobook sales are part of my business model as well.
Is there a certain strategy you’ve found to be the most effective for growing your audience?
Due to the nature of my business, word of mouth has been very effective for me. I garner speaking invitations based upon referral, and my audience is steadily growing. Also, as people read my book and/or complete the 45-Day Process, their testimonials attract others.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?
I must say, the biggest challenge I have faced in running my business is internal. I think many first-time authors dream of having a best-seller as soon as the book comes off the press, and we can spin-off into daydreams about all that would follow: tons of media, accolades, keynote speaking gigs, etc. What I have come to understand that is most important for me is to recognize that lack of immediate financial gain doesn’t equate to failure. Things take time to develop. And, actually, as I look back on it, I am so grateful I have been forced to grow slowly and steadily because I have gained wisdom, patience and have avoided a lot of mistakes!
Pragmatically speaking, as money is the life blood of any business, reigning in my penchant for throwing caution to the wind and allowing my debit card to have racing stripes on it has been a challenge as well. I have had my own bout with “shiny object syndrome” where I threw money at different marketing ideas looking for that magic pill. It didn’t work!
How have you overcome those challenges?
For the first challenge, I think it self-corrected as I continued to stay focused and not throw in the towel when my fairy-tale ending didn’t materialize. The mantra, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” has been very helpful.
For the second challenge, having a sound business plan and sticking to it has worked wonders. I have more clarity and focus on HOW I’m doing what I am doing, rather than running around like a chicken with… well, never mind. I don’t want to use that imagery!
What’s the best way you’ve found to find new clients?
To keep it simple by going to the places online and in person that cater to my audience. Being very clear about my target audience is critical.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
By being my authentically caring self. People can smell bull**** a mile away, and for me it just makes sense to breathe, relax into my intention to serve, and know that I will naturally attract those who feel that working with me will benefit them. There’s no need to force or push it. If I felt that I was forcing or pushing it, I’d have to ask myself why I don’t believe I can be myself and have what I want.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
I would say, avoid depending on or expecting your loved ones to market for you. They love and support you, for sure, but they are busy with their own lives. Of course they will step up to the plate when they can, but when you don’t expect it, you’ll be thrilled when they assist rather than disappointed when they aren’t able to.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
To be willing to grow and evolve.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 6 a.m., drink water, write, do my workout/meditation, drink a smoothie and then hit the ground running, energized and with a smile on my face!
What is your favorite indulgence?
I started to get massages and I love them! I try to get one at least once every month.
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Well, I’ve never deliberately eaten any bugs or anything, but I’m sure there may have been one or two in some processed foods along the way. I know that’s not an answer, but I don’t think I’ve eaten anything truly exotic, but I used to enjoy eating sushi… does that qualify???
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
To date? Harvard University at graduation, hands down!
Last book you read?
“What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)” by Seth Godin. I highly recommend it (or any other of his books)!
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
When I was unhappily obese I would have said “bread and butter” (even though that’s two foods)… Now, I would say grapes.
What is your go-to breakfast?
I prepare smoothies for me and my family in the evenings (kale, spinach and/or chard, chia and flaxseeds, lemon and lime, cucumber and celery, protein powder, apple and banana, beets/beet greens, strawberries and blueberries, pineapple, turmeric and fresh ginger). I drink one each morning to start my day.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
There are so many things, actually. But I think it goes back to the first answer: I have had a heartfelt desire to serve others and to help the world since I was a little girl. I wanted to do something meaningful to contribute. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to do what has always been in me to do!
Janet Thomas is an author, Transformational Speaker, Emotional Healing Expert based out of Los Angeles, California. You can find out more about Janet and her business, Healing Soldier Publishing, by visiting www.janetdthomas.com.