The Holy Business of Business
Lessons Learned from 10 years of Entrepreneurship

Sofia Alvim, Goddess & Soul Alignment Coach

May 24, 2017

November 13th, 2006 was the day I left my last job in Corporate America for a path unknown. I had little savings, no job prospects and no earthly idea what I would do with myself. My corporate job at an oil services company was coming to an end and the job offered to me felt like an impossible feat to take on.

I had no plans to start any business, but all I knew is after 11 years of working for others, I couldn’t continue to work at another soul-sucking job. I clearly remember saying out loud “Universe, I’m taking a leap here. Catch me if I fall…” Being a person previously driven by so much fear, it was huge to leap with no net.

I began working at a Pilates studio bringing order to the chaos of its business operations and “organizing” things. It was there that I had the lightbulb moment to start my own business as a Professional Organizer and lept out into the unknown world of entrepreneurship.

I got my first client and my second and a referral for my third and a taste of what it would be like to create my own path in the professional world. I’d worked for business owners and entrepreneurs my whole life and was about to become one.

The last 10 years have been a learning experience to say the least and the lessons i’ve learned have spill over into my personal life, because it’s all the same thing.

Lessons

1. Live your truth. 

If you are not in alignment with yourself and your own flavor of doings things, your business will feel out of alignment with you and so will your clients.

At the beginning of my career as an organizer, I really wanted to call myself a holistic professional organizer + life coach and sadly, I didn’t. I wanted my business to be about helping people let go of clutter in ways that went beyond their space, like it is today! My own process in letting clutter go was so deep and cathartic for me and I wanted to model and impart this to my clients. However, when I started in 2006, I didn’t feel confident enough to do that. My company started out as Sofia’s Organizing Solutions which was more about the solutions and less about the cathartic process.

I was afraid that clients wouldn’t hire me if I was too holistic, too deep, too passionate. And no one had ever heard of a holistic professional organizer back then, so surely I couldn’t be the first. I wasn’t as fulfilled in running this business as early on as I could have. I was afraid to truly coach clients the way I knew I could.

Today my businesses reflect me fully. It could not be more real, deep, or resonant with who I am out in the world in real life. The energy of my websites from my branding to my words and my offerings, reflect exactly who I am and what I believe in. My business reflects how I am good at serving others in this paradigm. This is true with A Life Uncluttered and even  moreso with The Contemporary Goddess. Both are the truest, honest and most visible expression of who I am and what I believe in business and in life.

2. Be yourself, fully. Do not attempt to be a replica of your competitor and not who or what you think your audience will like.

I found myself trying to be like every other organizer who talked about tips and tricks, etc. and nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t my thing. I wrote fluff blog posts for SEO and likability and not what I really what I felt called to write. I was even told by one entrepreneur to blog with an enthusiastic and chipper, cheerleaderey voice (blehhh, that’s not me) and when I heard that my heart sank and I lost the desire to write at all. I decided if I didn’t feel called to write anything that would inspire others in my own voice, then I wouldn’t blog anymore.

When I finally figured this out, the words started coming and I started a blog on Huffington Post. I was able to finally be myself in business the way I showed up in real life.

At some point, your audience/clients/tribe will see through the BS and the mask you are attempting to hide under. Just be you, fully and as authentically as possible and you will magnetize the clients and opportunities that resonate with you.

Dare to be different and stand out from the crowd.

3. You can change your mind! Your business will go through various iterations because as you evolve, so does your business.

I started as Sofia’s Organizing Solutions and rebranded to A Life Uncluttered. I had multiple versions of branding for each. I changed my offerings and rates may times as my business evolved.

You have to constantly check in with yourself about what feels good to you and doesn’t and tweak stuff as you go along. Remember the goal is for you to feel into what works for you and what doesn’t. Experiment, play and try things out! Be ok with being flexible.

Maybe it’s what offerings to add or drop or adjusting what you charge or what your working hours are. Maybe you choose to stop working with a certain type of client. Let working with misaligned people be a lesson on who NOT to work with in the future. The don’t-wants only get you closer to the do-wants.

Against my desire, I went to a ton of networking meetings, handed out business cards to show myself that I was a go-getter. I did this for 2 years and I did get some clients that way but I still disliked going to these meetings. I didn’t like the salesy vibe that permeated every single event.  Don’t want to go networking meetings or dress like your competitors? Then don’t.

It’s your business. You can say yes, you can say no. You can try things out and you can change your mind. All of this is normal and good, because it’s evolution.

4. Trust yourself. Do not give your power away to someone else simply because they have an opinion. 

When I knew I wanted to reach people and help them unclutter in a deeper way, I made the mistake of listening to a family member who kept saying “well maybe people don’t want to go that deep. Maybe they just want to get organized.” Fear of branding myself as a holistic organizer/life coach kept me paralyzed. And I let her voice be my truth.  

First of all, she’d never owned a business and second of all, that is not me. I am not just an organizer. I am a catalyst who helps others activate change in their life, through the process of getting uncluttered.

It is true, there are those people who just want to hire an organizer and have a pinterest-perfect closet. I later realized what I wished I’d said to her : “Then those are not my people. My people know that this process can change their life in lasting ways and they embrace it.”. My only regret is that I didn’t trust myself sooner and get to the truth of who I was and yet this was a lesson I needed under my belt for the future.

Do not let someone else, no matter who it is, a coach or a mentor or anyone else dictate what is right for you. You know who you are better than anyone and who you show up as business, is up to you.

5. Reach for resonance. In others words, make a living to thrive and expand but don’t let money be your only motivation.

Do not offer or launch things just because they will make you money. Offer them because they are what your heart and soul are guiding you to do and because you can be of service in your own unique way. I made this mistake years when trying to launch a new website with offerings that felt forced, strained and with little joy or soulful motivation. I nearly lost my joy of being an entrepreneur during this time. I was on my way to a disaster because I thought it was the only way to make money and not how I could serve best. When I put too much pressure on myself to come up with something that would be lucrative, I realized how awful it felt and abandoned the project.

Ask yourself, how can I do the most good with this business of mine? If this is your mantra, the money will come and flow to you with much more ease and flow!

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ~ Jim Morrison

6. Your life lessons will be the same lessons in your business. 

Next to romantic relationships, nothing brings up your shit more than owning and running your own business.

There is no escaping your shit just because you work for yourself and by default, it asks a lot of you personally and professionally.

Issues of self-worth, self-doubt, patterns of people-pleasing and unhealthy boundaries, limiting beliefs about money/abundance, fear of being visible and different, etc., you name it. You might you’ve might have experienced some or all of these in your personal life and they will reveal themselves for you to unravel here as well.

Being in charge of how I make a living has been a mirror of epic proportion. There is no one to face or answer to but you, yourself and you again.

You are responsible for generating and maintaining the energy of the business and steering the ship in whatever direction you choose. Every decision can feel like a test and a leap of faith and yet It is one of the avenues through which I grew and became more of myself.

7. Don’t isolate! Seek support from those who understand what it is like to be self-employed and run a business. 

As I mentioned above, unless you have a business partner, you are the one who is responsible for everything and thus working for yourself can feel quite lonely or isolating at times.

It was super helpful for me to connect with others who were in the same boat so I didn’t feel so isolated in the path of entrepreneurship. I’d reach out to my favorite colleague and friend who was also a professional organizer and we’d discuss our struggles, ideas and successes and strategize together about to improve our respective businesses. If I had a question about something with a client or a new offering I was working on or a new way of doing things, she was always there to listen and provide objective feedback. She also knew exactly what it was like to run this type of company.

For most of my 10 years in as entrepreneur I outsourced little and did most everything myself, from web & graphic design, to bookkeeping, to copywriting and marketing. But at some point, I felt the need for another set of eyes to walk with me more frequently and eventually, I invested in working with a coach who I admired and resonated with tremendously. Her guidance, support and feedback has been invaluable to me because I see how she shows up authentically in everything she does in her own business and she encourages me to the same in mine.

8. There is purpose in what you do, no matter what it is. 

To carry around what is no longer needed is a burden on us that we carry far too long. Life is too short for that. Whether it’s the stuff of everyday life such as our belongings or the toxic beliefs we have about ourselves or the relationships that longer serve us, it’s all clutter. I learned this for myself first by letting go of my own clutter and I continue this uncluttering process of removing what needs to go. I learn in it in all areas of life, not just in my physical space. As I learned, I became more refined in how I relayed it to others through my offerings.

It became quite apparent later on that beyond organizing, my gift is to help others liberate themselves from whatever stops them from being their most powerful authentic selves. I feel a call to do this work with women. Whether through soul alignment coaching, writing, intuiting what comes through someone’s energy field or what have you. I get out of the way and I let Source and Spirit work through me and guide me into who to help and how. I shapeshift, I adapt and I hold space for you to unleash your truest self.

As scary as it is to be the commander of this entrepreneurial life ship, I would have it no other way. Every initiation and hurdle has been absolutely worth it as have been the successes and gifts. The biggest one is to know that the work I do on the world, is meaningful and serves someone else.

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