Today we are featuring a fabulous interview with a wise woman, Kaya Singer. She is founder of Awakening Business, which is a business that offers a mentoring community and support for women entrepreneurs who are ready to step into their true voice and develop a business around their purpose or, as Kaya says, their legacy. She has her own podcast, “Business the Wise Woman Way”, and is in the midst of writing a book, “Clear and Focus to Grow Your Business”, as well as 20 other e-books and programs. She’s 67 years old, has a lot of energy, and is producing a lot of stuff. In this interview she gives us a lot of tips on how to focus your energy so that you can be productive and have a sustainable business that feeds your heart at the same time.
Kaya: I grew up in the 1950s, where girls were told that they were just going to get married, and there was’t really any kind of encouragement or expectation that they should have a profession, or a career, or anything. That was my message, but it wasn’t me. I thought there was a part of me that just wasn’t acknowledged, I think. Even as a young child I knew that there was something missing.
I went off to college because my parents believed in having the girls educated, even though we weren’t getting trained for anything. It’s kind of crazy. I majored in fine arts, because I loved it. I started working with clay and that’s what I did and loved it. I became a potter and my very first business when I got out of college was making pottery and selling it at craft fairs.
I did it for seven years. I had no clue that I owned a business. I was just being a potter, and being an artist, and having fun, and doing what I liked doing. So I missed a lot of the business part of it and although I did well at it, I would have done a lot better if I knew I was doing a business and running it that way. And at some point when I hurt my back, I thought, “I can’t do this any more, it’s too hard on my body.” So I quit. Looking back years later, I realized if I had had a business mindset, I wouldn’t have quit. I would have hired people to help me.
Kaya: Now I see all of that. But I’ve had a lot of little businesses along the way and over the years I learned more and more. I have always put having fun, life experience, fully living life much more in the forefront and being more important than making money or having a successful business. And I didn’t really consciously know that I was doing that until I got close to 50. And I thought, oh my God, I need to actually finally step into learning about business and the world of money. It was just part of the developmental stage, I think, plus the fact that my only child was moving across the world and I needed the money to go back and forth to see him.
I was living in New Zealand and having a great life experience – dancing on the beach, living in community, and being creative – and I made enough money for everything. But I didn’t make enough extra money to have that sustainable lifestyle I wanted to have in the future. I started to realize how important that was. I have a whole background of 30 years of working with women, being in women’s gatherings, being a facilitator, and helping women to step into a place of confidence, so I realized that there were a lot of women like me who didn’t know how to actually create their own business. And I’m talking about women who are creative types, healers, coaches, counselors, writers – people who have a service business that they start from doing what they love but don’t really know how to stand in that place of power to make it sustainable. So that’s sort of my mission really.
I started developing the skills to do that myself, getting a lot of help. And now that’s what I help other women to do. I’m 67 now, and helping women to really create a legacy, a business that’s standing for what they really believe in, in their wise women years. That’s what it’s all about for me.
Meredith: How do you think starting a business is different in your wise women years versus in your middle years, or even when you’re younger?
Kaya: There are quite a few women who do start businesses.
Meredith: Sure, because they retire and discover they don’t have enough money or whatever.
Kaya: Yeah, they retire from their day job, which wasn’t actually feeding them. There are women who come to me after they’ve been in a corporate job for years, or their children have grown up, and they finally think, “It’s time for me to do what I really want to do.” There are a couple of differences:
One is that women have a lot of life experience at that age. They may not have the business skills, but they have life experience and they realize that this is the time. They have the wisdom, and the time is now. And I think a lot of those women are much more. They see the time thing, that they don’t have years and years to make this happen. They want to make it happen right now. That’s one big difference. They have the life experience to back them up. Some of them have the money to actually put into the business. But quite a few don’t because, like me, they hadn’t been living their life in that way. I think that’s one way that women who are older have an advantage – they have the wisdom.
I think the younger women who are starting a business have much more of an ability to take risks. They’re more spontaneous, and they kind of see, “Oh, I have my whole life ahead of me, so I can try things. If they don’t work, I’ll try something else.”
Jasper: Do you find that with somebody coming out of a corporate environment, their mindset as an employee is very different from somebody running a business? Do you find that plays into some of the people that you are helping?
Kaya: The mindset is quite different, because when you have a job – and I want to be honest/transparent here that I’ve never worked in a corporate job, and I’ve hardly had any jobs because I’ve been self-employed my whole life. But what I do know from the jobs I’ve had and working with my clients is that you’re working for somebody else’s business basically – it’s not yours. You’re not the one that holds the mission; you’re simply given a responsibility and you do your job and you get paid for it, right?
Certainly, when you own your own business, you have to wear multiple hats. You have to be the visionary, you have to be the manager, you have to be the technician. You do the work, you have to manage people, and you have to learn how to do the things that you’re not good at. You have to do everything when you run a business, or find people who can help you. It’s a quite different mindset than when you’re given a job, when you’re maybe just doing that particular part and there are other people who are holding the greater vision for the whole company.
Meredith: And I think that’s one of the things that is tricky, especially if you’re doing a service-based business, right?
Meredith: So you’re doing something for people. It’s tricky, like with your pottery studio, to get that business mindset, to even think that it’s okay to hire people to help you.
Kaya: That’s right. And the other thing I think with most of my clients who have a service-based or a creative type of business – I think it’s especially true for the service businesses, but it’s also true for artists as well – is they feel like their business is such a reflection of them. Let’s say you’re a copywriter or a coach and people come to you for your help. It feels like it’s about YOU that they’re hiring.
And that is quite different than owning a retail store, for instance, when you can kind of hide behind the counter and people are coming in just to look at products. But when you have a service business, it’s about you. And I think people have to get their mind around the fact that they have to actually market themselves. It’s about who they are. It’s really about standing in that place of marketing yourself, and knowing what makes you attractive.
Kaya is sharing her step by step system for filling your coaching practice in a free weinbar:
How to Attract Bees to Pollen and Keep Them Coming Back For More
Wednesday January 14 10AM Pacific, 1Pm Eastern (There will be replays and additional sessions – so sign up even if you can’t make it on the 14th.
This training is perfect if you….
- Want more leads; people who will turn into paying clients!
- Are unsure how to look and be more attractive.
- Have no idea why people don’t seem to want what you are offering.
- Aren’t getting enough people to show up for your programs.
- Don’t know what to do differently to create that Buzz!
I know you will love this and feel very inspired by her teachings, so register here!
Kaya Singer Tips
1) Look at your own attitudes about yourself – your own power, your wisdom – you don’t have to wait until you are 60 to own your power and wisdom. Allow your wisdom to come through.
2) What ways are you holding yourself back – e.g., lack of self confidence, ‘not good enough,’ etc. – from embracing that wisdom more fully? How are you hiding yourself?
3) What are you needing to let go of – e.g., like an idea, or a mindset?
Guest – Kaya Singer – Awakening Business
I started working with small business owners in 1997, while still in New Zealand, and I realized that this was my passion, helping highly impassioned entrepreneurs to stretch and grow past the obstacles that keep them from their success! I help people to find the path to marketing, leveraging and monetizing their business.
My special gift is my ability to really connect with your deep wisdom and to help you grow your business from that place. I see things that you might not see in yourself. I love creating processes and tools that make it easy to for you understand how to translate your passion into a profitable business. My mission is to help women entrepreneurs to stand in their power, be the leaders they are meant to be and then make change in the world!
My masters is in counseling and I was a family therapist for 20 years, however I’ve also owned five start-up businesses, including a pottery business, health food venture, a bicycle shop and a publishing company. I shifted from a family therapy practice into facilitating leadership training and team building seminars for organizations and then found my home with solopereneurs, which is where my heart is.
After living in New Zealand for 12 years, I now live in Portland, Oregon with my husband. We are dual citizens and although my family roots are here in Oregon, New Zealand is my soul home and my community there helped me to become who I am today.
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