Let’s Meet Some SOULpreneurs
Most of the examples we have of successful entrepreneurs are focused on the external benchmarks like fame and fortune. But what about the inner measures like staying true to your heart? The SOULpreneur journey is about harmonizing the needs of your heart and your wallet.
It’s hard to stay the course on this counter-cultural SOULpreneur journey if we don’t have enough role models for it. But they are out there! So I’m going to feature them on my blog, starting today.
Because the most visible business models are of white extroverted men, I’m going to try to balance that out with having a preference for sharing stories from women, introverts, people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, and others who are underrepresented in the public eye.
I hope you’ll feel supported and inspired as we gain an inside view of the SOULpreneur journey. I’m asking them some juicy questions about the ups and downs and how they are making it work (including money stuff).
Meet SOULpreneur Diana Chaplin
The first SOULpreneur I’d like to introduce you to is Diana Chaplin who is based in Western Massachusetts (USA).
Diana is a Copywriter & Content Creator who I admire for bringing such a positive and thoughtful approach to everything she does, whether welcoming a new member to her coworking space, or providing warm and confident guidance to a copywriting client who is feeling overwhelmed by their website content.
I’m excited for you to get to know her and learn from her SOULpreneur journey. Her answers to my questions went deep!
Diana runs her business while also co-parenting two young children (ages 1 and 5) and taking good care of her own wellness. I’m impressed!
It fascinates me that she began life in Russia, and now she knows English better than most of us. I imagine that early immigrant experience has been a pivotal part of forming her talents and resiliency.
Below are Diana’s answers to my questions. We began with some basics for context, and then wow, she gave us some great wisdom and practical tips to inspire you, whether you’re just considering self-employment or are well into the journey. Enjoy.
Val: Let’s start with some basics. What is the primary service of your business?
Diana: I provide freelance copywriting, content strategy, and branding for conscious businesses and entrepreneurs who seek to make the world a better place.
Val: What do you love about what you do?
Diana: On a personal level it’s the joy of combining my passion for creativity with my skills in organization and management, but on a bigger scale it’s also the knowledge that I’m helping to create more good in the world. I’m thoughtful about working with businesses who I believe are creating a happier and healthier society and planet, so I feel deeply nourished in contributing to positive change.
Also, I am excited by the self-employment freedom to craft my career and my offerings based on following my genuine interests.
Val: How long have you been working on this business and how do you feel about the progress you’re making?
Diana: I’m just shy of a year on a freelance basis, but I’ve been working in the realm of content and communication for about 10 years now so it’s more the self-employment part that I’m still getting used to. Every week I feel increasingly clear and confident about the path I’m on as an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got it all figured out just yet.
I’ve had many ups and downs since I began working for myself but every down also came with a valuable opportunity to learn something, and I took those opportunities to reflect and improve rather than get caught up in fear or uncertainty. I’m happy with the direction it’s already going, and I look forward with positivity towards how this will continue to unfold.
Val: I love your attitude! Now that we’ve got some context, let’s get into the deeper stuff.
How do you feel about the word SOULpreneur? How is it connected for you personally or emotionally?
Diana: I definitely resonate with this term because I consider myself to be a soulful person, and I believe that businesses can be soulful too. This is a relatively new concept in our economic paradigm because we used to operate under the assumption that the sole purpose of a business is to make money – a goal which often involved sleazy practices and carelessness towards others – but business can be much more than that.
A business can be a way to manifest great ideas while being mindful about serving the needs of others, and also creating abundance for the business owner. Now that’s good for everyone!
Calling myself a SOULpreneur instantly connects me to this larger vision of a future that includes more happiness and fulfillment in society and the world. It connects me with my deepest desires for the world I wish to co-create for my children.
Val: How has your SOULpreneur journey changed you? For instance, can you share how it’s led to any personal growth, including any current growth areas?
Diana: Working for myself has been H-A-R-D, no doubt about that. It has challenged me in many ways. The lack of a boss has forced me to be a better decision-maker. The lack of structure has made me think more deeply about how I’m prioritizing my time and where I’m putting my energy. And the lack of knowing certain things has made me figure those things out or connect with others for help.
Self-employment has also resulted in a much stronger connection to my intuition, my sense of true self, my core values, my big WHY. Being a SOULpreneur has invited me to look within myself and really ask what I’m doing in this world, how I’m contributing, who I really am and what I really want. This is powerful stuff!
Being on your own, professionally-speaking, is hard because it turns you inside out and shows you what you’re really made of, and that is both scary and exhilarating.
Lately I’ve been challenging myself to get to the root of what makes me unique, how to structure my work and services, and how to pursue the kinds of projects that really light me up inside. I’m still working on it but I’m already feeling more confident in what I have to offer.
Val: I love what you’re saying so far. That’s how I feel too! It’s been a powerful journey of growth for me. I so resonate with how you describe it.
Let’s talk money now. How do you feel about the money side of business and getting paid fairly for your services?
Diana: I still have some uncertainties around how much I “should” charge for my services, how much I’m “worth,” and whether I should be worried about earning “enough” in the work that I do.
And yet I avoid fear and resistance about money, and as such I am generally comfortable talking about money and telling clients how much I charge in an honest and matter-of-fact kind of way. Over time I’ve realized that if I’m awkward around money, then other people will be too, but if I say “Here are the great services I offer and this is what I charge, sounds good?” then other people come to the situation with the same warm and resistance-free attitude.
Val: How do you feel about what you’re earning so far?
Diana: In a practical sense I am not really earning what I need to live the life I want yet. On the other hand I feel as though I have a positive relationship with money. I am abundant in so many ways: in having a family I love, in living in a beautiful place surrounded by nature, in having enriching relationships.
Despite any uncertainties about my income I always seem to have enough for the important things and I regularly give money away through donations and gifts. Money comes in, it goes out, and there is a flow.
It helps that I have some savings from years of working and saving from my previous jobs, so that if I have a slow month in terms of client work I can dip into savings and tell myself to do better next month to make up for it without the immense pressure of having nothing at all to fall back on.
Val: If you have a mindfulness or spiritual practice that’s helpful for this journey, would you mind sharing something about it and how it helps you?
Diana: Nature is my source of calm and creativity. I feel very mindful and connected when I’m outdoors, inhaling the aromas around me, feeling the wind in my hair or listening to the birds. It instantly ignites powerful present moment awareness and fills me with boundless gratitude for life and the ability to experience such wonders.
I also need time and space to be quietly alone indoors on a regular basis to recharge my energy on many levels. Sometimes this involves meditation, yoga, reading, writing, photography, design, or doing crafts. I have many creative interests and doing them brings me into the flow of my intuition and nourishes my spirit.
All of these things are like fertile soil to my personal and professional growth that allows me to be truly attuned to the needs of my clients, to their audience, and to shifting energies of the world itself, something that allows me to dig deeper and produce great work.
Val: Your centeredness is palpable when I talk to you. Now I know your secret!
What sources of inspiration have helped you along this SOULpreneur journey, especially in the starting phase?
Diana: Many positive influences have come to inspire me over time, including the book Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence Boldt, as well as The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte.
More importantly it was the thoughtful observation of others who were doing inspiring things that really helped move me from within. In my previous job I watched many uncertain new business owners slowly build a brand and create highly successful businesses and that made me think “if they can do it, so can I!” So I always recommend new entrepreneurs find a role model, a coach (like you!), or a fellow business owner they admire, and connect with them if possible, or just learn from them.
It was also the process of doing that created the main motivation like a domino effect. Each step unfolded and led to the next. That’s where success really comes from: hands-on practice.
My heart’s own signals have been a major driver in this. After living in a busy city for many years I yearned to be in a calmer environment, closer to nature. The pull was strong enough that I took a huge leap by moving without having any concrete career plans in place. I trusted that my career would fall into place if I followed my heart. After moving I created my website, began connecting with people both locally and online, and my business grew steadily from there. I leapt and the net appeared. It’s been an awesome ride ever since — and now I get to live in a beautiful place!
Val: Does your introverted or extroverted nature feel relevant to your self-employment experience?
Diana: Yes. Being an introvert and someone who is intuitively able to look beyond the outer layers is definitely a strength. It helps me really understand my clients and be able to fill in the gaps where they might be struggling. And my introspective nature helps me refine my skills in writing and looking holistically at all of the offerings of a business so that I can assess how good content fits in to the big picture.
That being said, if I was a little more outgoing I would probably go to more events and meet more people and perhaps have more clients, so the key is to find a balance. I respect and appreciate my need for quiet and alone time, but I also recognize the value in challenging myself with showing up when opportunities present themselves.
Val: This is all so helpful. Any final words of wisdom?
Diana: Yes, I think the most important – and also the most difficult – aspect of being a SOULpreneur is to look within yourself and constantly ask yourself “What do I really want?” and “How am I meant to be of service in this world?”
The answers to these questions take a while to reveal themselves and it takes ongoing inner digging and extraction of ideas, beliefs, strengths, and talents through self-expression in order to uncover your powerful core, but it is a practice greatly worth pursuing because it is ultimately the path to aligning your work with your life’s true calling. Inward and upward!
Val: Is there anything specific you’d like people to know about you and your services?
Diana: I’m offering a free 30-minute branding and content consultation to anyone who contacts me at Dianachaplin.com and mentions that that they read this interview. I also have a blog post your audience might enjoy:
How Intuition and Synchronicity Can Revolutionize Your Business.
Val: That sounds great. Thank you for sharing so much honesty with us. We all need more of the inside stories. (That blog post sounds great! I’ll check it out.)
Stay tuned for upcoming SOULpreneur profiles.
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