What a 30-day Yoga Challenge is Teaching Me About Starting a Business

On my first full day of self-employment a few weeks ago, I also started a 30-day yoga challenge through a YouTube channel called Yoga with Adriene. In addition to keeping myself centered, the yoga practice has been insightful as I start Condurrio. Here’s what I’ve learned (so far):

It’s taking longer than expected.

I’m on day 24 of this yoga challenge and it’s taken me 32 days to get here. Starting a business is much like that. I’d love to say I’m making speedy process on all of my tasks, but the fact is that many things are taking longer than expected.

It’s a journey.

I’m intentionally writing this article before completing the yoga challenge because it’s not really about marking an X in the Day 30 checkbox. The yoga will continue, as will developing my company. There may come a time where I don’t feel like I’m in start-up mode, but I don’t envision ever feeling like: “That’s it. I know everything I need to know.” Marketing and technology will continue to change, faster and faster. Today’s answers may be obsolete tomorrow. In fact, it’s likely that tomorrow will bring new questions that haven’t been considered.

Successful companies–small or large, young or established—evolve constantly. The powerhouse companies are the ones that use the changing world to redefine themselves and stay relevant. It’s important to embrace the constantly shifting landscape as an opportunity to pursue instead of a challenge to overcome.

It’s the little things that make a big difference.

I’m a runner, and I foolishly assumed I had strong legs. Boy, has yoga proven me wrong. In practicing yoga, I’m discovering just how many tiny muscles are necessary for balance poses, even the simple positions. I’ve tipped over more than once. As I continue my practice, those small muscles are strengthening and I’m much more solid.

Similar to relying on those small muscles to provide stability, starting a business is more about the little things than the big things. I come from the corporate world where I feel confident about my strength in marketing strategy and tactics, but will that experience alone make me prosper as a business owner? A good product or service is only a portion of a company’s success. It’s everything else that goes along with the product or service that determines how well a company does.

It’s about being authentic.

As much as I would like to go to a yoga studio, family commitments make it easier to do the videos at home. While I’ve done many yoga videos before, I never found one that I looked forward to doing. Most videos try to be ‘yoga-y’ (to use the technical term) but it’s very hard to convey that Zen, yoga studio vibe from a video. Adriene is a real person with a genuine, unconventional personality that shines through in her videos. The end result is that I feel like I’m in a class with HER and not watching a YouTube video.

As I start my business, it’s important to be true to who I am in the marketplace. I’m not a large consulting group like DemandGen, BlueWolf or Perkuto; nor do I wish to be. I started Condurrio as a sole proprietor with the goal of helping smaller marketing teams that might find the larger consulting firms out of their budget. The knowledge and services provided by those larger firms are top notch, but I’m seeking a different client and providing a unique service.

At a recent inbound marketing conference, Aaron Kahlow, (Chief Marketing & Product Officer of Conscious Company Media) shared the importance of being true to yourself and vulnerable as a leader. Although confidence is a big part of it, being raw and open may be more vital to true success. It’s how we build genuine connections to collaborate and improve the working world for all of us.

I feel exceptionally vulnerable writing about the challenges of starting Condurrio. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and sharing my process in this open manner is the best way to connect with all of you. After all, yoga is about connecting with yourself and embracing the world around you. The best way to begin my business is with a similar honest and authentic approach.

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