Looking back, it seems the seeds of my entrepreneurial journey were planted firmly in my youth. While I did not make a formal transition from a corporate employee to business owner until just the last few years, I have always had an entrepreneurial approach to navigating through the challenges and opportunities faced throughout my personal and professional life.
I have always drawn on a core set of values or “toolkit” modelled on many of the attributes of successful entrepreneurs. Persistence, determination, vision, focus and a willingness to “zig” when others tell you that you should “zag” are all entrepreneurial attributes that I fall back on to meet both challenges and opportunities.
My story is certainly not a typical story of business success – if there even is such a thing as “typical” in an entrepreneurial journey. There is no standard “Alex P Keaton goes to Harvard business school” story here (shoutout to the 80s folks who remember the classic show Family Ties). I have evolved to this place of business ownership more through loss, failures, lessons learned and a long road to self-belief vs. any classic business training. In that sense, I believe that the true credentials of an entrepreneurare not determined by where you went to school or what formal accreditation you may have. Rather, entrepreneurialism is rooted in who you are as a person and how you approach the challenges that life and business inevitably throws your way.
Like many, I did not intentionally set out on a path towards business ownership. Though poetry and creative writing had been a passion of mine since childhood and I always had visions of one day writing a book, my entrepreneurial journey in the writing and digital publishing space through Omathome did not start in earnest until 2019. Prior to that, I had spent 20 years on a decidedly corporate employee path working my way up to management roles with one of Canada’s leading banks and a Regional Government entity. It was during my time in this latter role that I both lost myself and ultimately found the purpose that would fuel my entrepreneurial journey.
For me, 2019 was a pivotal year of rebirth– finding a sense of value after years of stress/mental health challenges, resolving a human rights / toxic work environment matter and finding release from a narcissistic relationship.In essence, I hit career and personal life rock bottombefore I was to find my true calling – sharing my passion for writing and poetry to help, inspire and heal.
Omathome was the business vehicle for me to deliver value to others. Originally, the business – a side gig at the time – was started to provide a forum to promote physical well-being leveraging my yoga teaching certification.However, beyond physical fitness, I continued to draw on creative writing and poetry to help balance the “whole person” – mind, body, and soul. Today, Omathome has evolved into a vibrant global community for supporting mental health and healing through soulful poetry and inspirational writing.
Still, my journey was not purely an artistic one. I understood that for me to make this a career and not simply a private interest, I would need to approach writing as both a passion and look for opportunities to share in ways that might stand out from the crowd. Without any formal business training, I set out to leave the corporate world and “make a go” of Omathome. My basic business challenge -likethat faced by other new businesses – was to find the right alignment of Market-Message-Medium.
Market:The first challenge I faced was a simple one –was there a market? Would anyone be interested in what I had to say? Would anyone care?In a classic business sense, the question would have been, is there market demand for my services? Rather than getting bogged down in questions of market demand (and trust me many questioned why I would turn to writing instead of pursuing a “real job”), I decided to simply throw myself into writing from the heart. I instinctively knew that there were many others like me who had struggled to find work-life balance and who may be experiencing their own mental health battles. As it turns out, my market was the world– offering a borderless and almost limitless market for inspiration. People from all walks of life, economic realities, and social backgrounds, have a universal desire to find peace and purpose in an increasingly chaotic world. This was brought into stark focus with the impact of the global pandemic hitting home in 2020.Social distancing undermines a fundamental human need to connect and at any given time what “feeds the soul” may be very different from one person to the next. As such, I try to target my writing to address various market needs for connection and engagement spanning themes of hope, mental health, human connection, dignity, and love.
Message:The second consideration was what to write. What was it that people wanted or needed to hear? My approach was to simply speak my truth and write from the heart. I focused on experiences I understood, sought to provoke thinking without judgment and to offer a voice to the voiceless. I wrote vulnerably about personal adversities, struggles and the quest for emotional healing.I joined several social media platforms, participated in numerous networking events/groups and actively sought outany opportunity to connect with others. I went “where the people were” to find connections, perspectives, and input from others. From there, I have been able to better tailor content to hopefully both inspire and help others.
Medium:My intent with Omathome was to deliver as much good to as many people as I could reach. At the time I started writing and sharing, LinkedIn was viewed primarily as a resume/job sharing site with some valuable learning resources. But what was also true was that there was a human being behind each of the carefully crafted resumes – each with a unique story and their own set of challenges and needs. I decided to focus my efforts on LinkedIn as the primary medium for sharing my writing. With frequent posting (almost daily) and a commitment to engage as fully as possible with all those who interact, comment etc. with my writing, I have been thrilled to see my passion for helping others unfold into a business and online media presence of 160,000+ followers and growing. The LinkedIn community has been generous in bestowing their own monikers of appreciation for my work calling me the “Word Jedi Poetess” and referring to my writers’ pen as the “Golden Word Guns”.
I believe that staying true to your vision and core values is vital to entrepreneurial success. Approaching things with passion, humility, curiosity, focus, determination, quality, and a commitment to treating everyone as a Human “WORTH” Beingremains as important throughoutyour entrepreneurial journey as it was at the outset of your business. Those who stay true and consistent to these vital credentials of an entrepreneur are well positioned to find both business success and personal fulfillment.
Through it all, my aim has been to remain authentic, consistent and to focus on quality. When you focus on doing the right things for the right reasons, success is often the happy by-product – not by accident but by design. As I embark on the next chapter of my journey, publishing my first book in response to requests from my digital media client base, I reflect on how the entrepreneurial seeds planted as a child have blossomed into opportunities and fulfillment for which I could only have dreamed.Beautiful People – with gratitude. Stay tuned.