FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. Over and over again, this statement proves to be true. Every day, thousands of millennials venture into entrepreneurship, facing and beating their fear regardless of the potential failure. Spend a night in Washington DC and you would easily attend a dozen of networking events with excited, ambitious, bold and courageous young entrepreneurs. Times are different and millennials have embraced this lifestyle.
I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting Chrissy Martin, a young entrepreneur who is breaking barriers just like our previous features in this series. After working for three years in a promising engineering position, Chrissy discovered a new passion and went after it. I would bet that many of us experience that feeling but never take the leap of faith. Chrissy did, assuming some serious risks. But it was all worth it.
Like any smart entrepreneur, Chrissy Martin realized that progress means change and improvement. She recently re-launched her website emeraldearthyoga.com and Money-Smart Millennials decided to have a chat with her. This short interview is full of an incredible mindset any budding millennial entrepreneur should embrace. Enjoy!
So, tell me a little bit about your background and how you got here
I grew up in NJ and I think very early in middle school I decided that I wanted be an engineer. I was obsessed with space and I was also really into physics and math. I went to University of Maryland College Park for engineering and I got my degree in aerospace engineering. I did the space concentration because merging my love of all things space-related and engineering was the best fit.
I had been an intern at the naval base out in NJ when I just graduated high school. So, I had a foot in the door and eventually they offered me a position as a systems engineer. It was just a little bit different from working on satellites but I enjoyed the work. After a while of growing up and coming to know myself better, I started realizing that life was passing me by and every day was going by so fast and I didn’t have anything to hold on to. I struggled a bit with that for a while, and that was when I went to my first yoga class.
I was so confused by how good I felt; I’ve never felt like so calm, so happy and euphoric after an exercise. I learned later that yoga is not just about exercise, it’s about calming the thoughts that are constantly running through your mind, allowing you to really appreciate the present moment. I was just hooked.
How did you turn it into a business?
I then started a home yoga practice. It was convenient for me to come home from work and put on yoga tutorial online and do yoga class and that was how I built my practice. After some time, I realized that I wanted to start teaching this to other people and [you know] long story short I wanted to take what I’ve learned and the things that I’ve enjoyed about having a yoga practice and teach it to other people. Maybe show them how it can change your life in a lot of ways.
What was the big turning point?
I wanted to get certified to be a yoga teacher and I took a leap of faith and went to Costa Rica for 21 days. I ended my job at a nonprofit in DC and I went and got certified all at once and that was definitely crazy. However, it solidified it for me. I knew that I wanted to teach yoga to others. My idea was to take what I’ve learned as a student and add my own unique spin on it and put my personality into it. It’s like a double whammy because I can feel fulfilled and earn an income while helping other people get more connected and improve their lives even just a little bit.
How did you get your first clients?
I got my very first clients (members) by reaching out to friends and family and asking if they would be interested in being active on my website so I can get really honest, constructive criticism. I’ve really been enjoying creating content for them because a big reason why I created my site is to be very personalized to my members’ needs. This was also a helpful strategy for new members to feel comfortable joining a group of people who are already enjoying and benefiting from my membership content.
Along the way, you must have encountered obstacles and people telling you that you shouldn’t risk so much (your career as an engineer). How did you deal with it and what do you recommend to the budding entrepreneurs out there?
I’ve definitely encountered obstacles and people telling me that I shouldn’t risk starting an online yoga business. Fortunately for me, though, the people in my life who were initially very skeptical and worried for me ended up becoming very supportive after seeing how dedicated I am to what I love. In terms of encountering obstacles, what’s been working for me is to remind myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and there will always be “good days” and “not so good days” in business but the key is to be consistent and stay positive. My goal is to work the problem and move on with as much enthusiasm as I can muster! My biggest two recommendations to new entrepreneurs out there are to:
1) Create a very clear vision for your business / passion project
2) Always keep that vision in the forefront of your mind – – *especially* when the going gets tough.
You will be working a full-time job while building your business. How do you manage it all?
I’ll manage working a full-time job while building my business by working towards being very efficient at:
1) My full-time job; I say this because I want to avoid any distractions at work that would cause me to have to stay late at work. I will be using my off time for my business so if I’m not efficient enough at my full-time gig to get to work on time, get all my work done for the day, and leave work on time, it’s not going to leave me with much time for my business. On days that are necessarily busier, like big reviews or when I travel for work, I will adjust accordingly.
2) My online yoga business; I want to streamline as many processes like blogging, email marketing, etc. so that I spend my time wisely while working on my business tasks. I’m also planning on researching and hiring a business coach to help me with time management and efficiency in running my business. I believe this will help me not feel so overwhelmed with having a full-time job, a growing business, and family that I want to spend lots of time with.
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