Monday was an emotional day for me. I officially closed down Stuff Talks, the company I had opened a little over a year ago. Although I live in India, I had opened the company in Singapore for a bunch of reasons, including ease of business. The downside to that system is the high administrative cost: it costs several thousand dollars a year just to keep it open.
My other business, ECRUU, is also incorporated in Singapore. That business is earning more than enough to cover the additional costs and make it worthwhile. This wasn’t (isn’t) the case with Stuff Talks. While I have regular business flowing in, it is far from enough to justify the existing administrative costs.
I’ve been thinking about what to do about it for months. The idea of closing it down was painful. I felt like a failure and I kept thinking that I should give it more time. When I spoke with my accountant, he also suggested some ways to lower the costs, arguing that it was easier to make the company dormant than to close it down.
Building a company takes years. I would know, this is my second business. Yet, because I felt so passionate about it, I was convinced that I could turn it into a viable business in no time. I kept looking for what I was doing wrong to explain why this wasn’t the case. I kept thinking there must be something I wasn’t seeing.
Until I read about another coach I know announcing she was closing down her business and going back to being a lawyer.
I had a long chat with her about the reasons behind her choice. Her coaching business was doing okay, she’d been running it for 6-7 years and she’d just rebranded. But the truth is that she was earning no way near what she used to make as a lawyer. While she loved coaching, it took a lot more hours and mental load than when she added up the (long) hours she pulled in as a lawyer. She was tired of earning “not enough” which was making her experience bitter, especially as her needs were growing as her family was expanding.
We also talked about how everyone (especially women) was becoming a coach. There is a big trend for women to leave their corporate jobs and retrain, sometimes for years, to start their own business in coaching or therapy (sometimes it’s not called coaching per se, but it often is a form of coaching).
I’m part of a group of female entrepreneurs, most of whom are coaches and a few are therapists, and I recognise my journey in many of them. We feel we don’t fit in the corporate world, we experienced coaching or therapy that really helped us and we want others to feel that transformation too. The world of self development can be very attractive, attractive enough to want to earn a living from it.
Some people do very well. But most don’t. And it takes much more hours and mental space to make a coaching business viable than the hours you put in your day job. Not always, but often.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, or that it can’t be done. For me, it just means that I want to reassess my expectations and adjust the space I give to that business in my day to day life.
I am passionate about self development, about how the mind works and about people becoming more aligned with themselves. This is the journey that I’m on and that I wish for everyone – should it suit them.
So I will continue to do what I do, but in a different way.
Instead of trying to push my coaching programmes, instead of trying to convince the world they need to be coached (because, frankly, most don’t!), instead of trying to put my life out there as an inspiration of what can be done (I really hate doing that), instead of feeling weighed down by thoughts that Stuff Talks, as a business, is not developing as fast as I want it to, instead of feeling like a failure, instead of all of that, I will focus on the bits that I love doing.
I love understanding why we do the things we do, especially the things that often make us miserable. I love understanding how the human mind and emotions work. I love meeting amazing people, I love to share what I have learned, what I am struggling with and what I am working towards. I love to conduct workshops at my farm with the horses, and I love doing online coaching sessions. I’m just going to free myself from the notion that it has to be a “viable” business because, truth be told, Stuff Talks brings me much more than just money. It enriches my life with ideas and people, and I’m very grateful for that.
So while I closed down Stuff Talks as a business per se, it continues to exist (under a new simplified and cheaper locally based structure) so that I can continue to get (and give) the good without being weighed down by the bad.
I know many women out there are looking for more “purposeful” and “meaningful” jobs. Many want to be entrepreneurs and do their own thing. That’s amazing and I’m so happy for you. I’m just sharing my own experience in case it can help someone, and to show there isn’t just one way of doing things.
As I go forward, I am planning to switch from the “coaching advice” directive towards more of a sharing narrative, where I bring you on my journey with me. Please feel free to unsubscribe to the newsletter if that’s not what you’re after.
If you’d like to join me on this journey, I’d love to hear more about you. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What do you want from your life?