I’m going to be interviewing Solopreneurs about how they started their businesses and became self-employed, as well as a peek into their “typical” day and what advice they have for others who are also aspiring to journey down the path of self employment.
For anyone unfamiliar with the term “Solopreneur”, it is a term used to describe an Entrepreneur who runs their own business pretty much single-handedly. They might have a few contractors for hire, but do not have any full-time employees and have the full responsibility of running all aspects of their business on their own.
I am considered a Solopreneur in running my freelance business and I thought it would be really insightful to interview some fellow Solopreneurs in different fields and pick their brains a bit!
Today’s post is extra special, not only because it’s my first Solopreneur interview, but because I had the wonderful opportunity to interview my lovely friend Sara Larsen. She is my real life friend, people! I actually met her when we were both Project Managers at our last office job that we both eventually ended up leaving to pursue self employment. She is one of the hardest working and most dedicated people I’ve ever met and I feel very blessed to call her my friend. I know you will enjoy the advice she has to share with us today!
Interview With A Nutritionist and Running Coach:
Meet Coach Sara
Sara or “Coach Sara”, as many of her clients refer to her, is a certified holistic nutritionist and running coach. She started her business Coach Sara in January 2014. Coach Sara offers personal coaching for individuals motivated to move forward in any or all areas of wellness: nutrition, fitness, running, weight management, stress management, and energy levels.
She is on a mission to empower individuals to love and appreciate their bodies and guide them to make positive lifestyle changes. To inspire others to become happy and fit in all parts of life and free themselves from the food and weight battle.
Tell us a bit about the Solopreneur behind the business:
I live in Glenview, Illinois with my husband Tony and we are expecting our first child early September. I love running or maybe I should say I’m obsessed with running. I’m even more obsessed with the baby girl growing inside my belly. I was born and raised in Chicago, went to college in Florida and moved back and met my wonderful husband. My passions in life are being active, experimenting with healthy and delicious foods, learning everything I can about nutrition and fitness, and sharing that knowledge with others. I wake up each day excited to do what I love!
What was your career or profession prior to starting your business?
Before I started Coach Sara I was a project manager for advertising and marketing firms. Two years into my career, I snapped, and realized I was extremely unhappy so I decided to jump off the safe path I was on. I quit my full time job, went back to school for nutrition and I never looked back.
I decided to be my own boss and start my own business because I was able to create a job that I was passionate about that provided me with the expansiveness and freedom that I desired. And in some ways I needed to create something that encompassed who I was because I didn’t seem to fit in the molds that I was told to work in.
What does a “typical” work day for you look like?
Truthfully, there is no typical “day in my life” as a nutritionist and running coach. It varies based on priorities and projects. I would say that as a business owner/solopreneur, my life is far from glamorous, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
A normal workday looks like this: I wake up early in the morning for a healthy breakfast and to write emails and read a few of my favorite blogs. The rest of the morning is dedicated to social media and marketing projects. In the afternoon I have sessions with clients and a few nights a week I drive to the city to coach with Chicago Endurance Sports.
What are the biggest benefits and drawbacks of being self-employed?
Being self-employed seemed like a dream at first. I pictured myself in full control of my destiny and free from bosses barking at me to meet a quota. It seemed like I would be living the good life – and in many ways it is, but in other ways I have found a few challenges.
The main benefit is that I’m doing something I’m truly passionate about. I create my projects, design my own work environment, and choose the clients I want to work with. No longer do I have to fit within the confines of old ways of doing things. The greatest joy is helping people get healthy to live the life of their dreams.
One drawback to owning my own business is not having an office to focus. When my husband is around, it can be hard to focus and I’ve found myself easily distracted. Another drawback is that people think I’m always available so I’ve had to learn how to set boundaries with them.
What have been the best tools you’ve used to promote your business?
I believe it’s not all about the mediums, but how the promotion is done. There’s sometimes a thin line between providing value and being too spammy. Social media and blogging have helped me create connections, but I’ve been able to grow my network the most by building relationships in the Chicago running community and getting out at networking events.
What are the greatest lessons you have learned while working for yourself?
It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to be scared. Just try not to make the same mistakes repeatedly. If doesn’t matter if you are scared and on a difficult path. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t making progress as quickly as someone else would. All that matters is that you take a step, and keep taking them, even if you don’t know where they’re leading.
What are your strategies for maintaining a work-life balance?
- Unplug everyday
- Make a to-do list each morning
- Spend an hour doing something active everyday
- Meal plan and prep every Sunday
- Plan dates with my husband and family
- Focus on what’s important
What advice do you have for aspiring Solopreneurs?
Don’t be scared! Readjustment takes time and energy. Going from the structured, fast pace of a 9-to-5 job to wild freedom is an adjustment, but get comfortable being uncomfortable. As a solopreneur, especially in the beginning, you’ve got to get comfortable not knowing exactly where every dollar will come from. Some things sell and some things flop. Try to get comfortable riding the wave without freaking out.
Coach Sara is a certified holistic nutritionist and running coach. She believes a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and helps her clients create small shifts that have a big impact on their health. She is also the creator of a fabulous Clean Eating Program that helps her clients recharge, nourish, & kick start their metabolism.
What are your thoughts on the life of a nutritionist and running coach?
If you have any questions on becoming a nutritionist/running coach, the journey to self employment, or anything else your heart desires, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Sara will be replying to your comments 🙂 .
If you are a Solopreneur interested in being featured in this series, please contact me. I’d love to have you!
Photo source: Ashley Ella Design