- Building small businesses from scratch and picking up skills within employment while we prepare
- Knowing when you’re ready to take the leap
- Offering services and the unique challenges of creating a product based business
- Creating balance and solid structures to avoid financial hick ups
- Working with plants all day
- How Sarah found her focus by offering celiac safe, gluten free herbal products
Listen to the Embodied Business Podcast
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.
You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter - I offer free monthly Spark Sessions and share resources, ideas & new episodes about once per month over on Substack ⋒
Hey, everyone, welcome back to the DIY small business podcast. I’m super glad you’re here. And I’m excited to bring you another interview episode today, this time with the wonderful Sarah of Warren and sage. We spoke about building a small business from scratch and picking skills as you’re still in employment. And we also spoke about knowing when you’re ready to take the leap, offering unique services and challenges of creating a product based business. We talked about creating balance and solid structures and being with plans all the time, and about all kinds of other big and small things that you experience in that collab as you’re becoming part of the small business world. See, I hope you enjoyed the interview. And I’m here you have questions, I’m sure Sara would love to hear from you too. And you can find all her links in the show notes. Just a few announcements for me, before we start, I’m really excited to be offering a live workshop series summary about long term content strategy, because I know this is something that many of you have asked about. So last week, we kicked off with an intro about autochartist strategy and kind of really, with the aim to set intentions and get an overview of the different tools and approaches that are and just didn’t really get clear on what we want to achieve. And the next week on the 24th. And running a workshop on blogging and podcasting, I’m really, really passionate about because I think these are super important ways for us to own our own media and create platforms for ourselves that are going beyond social media. Because social media is beautiful and amazing and such an empowering way to build a small business in some ways. But it can also be draining. And I think it’s important that we do our own things as well. Yeah, join me for that, if you’re interested, there’s two more workshops coming up after that one is on finding your voice and telling stories and authentic and boundaries in a sustainable base. And then the last one, this series is all about getting organised and really loving spreadsheets. And like I’m the queen of spreadsheet that just really fucking love them. And I’m sharing them in their workshop. So you can copy mine and make it your own and share all kinds of other beautiful resources. These workshops are available for everyone on Patreon. So you can pledge $3 or more, you’ll get access to replays from past workshops and other programmes that I’m running as well. And on that load, I’m planning something really exciting because I know many of us are really thinking and dreaming about and also struggling with with the values that are underpinning our work and our businesses. This is something that’s coming up in conversations that I have with people and monitoring all the time. And so I’m creating a 33 day, daily journaling challenge, were you receiving a daily journaling or journaling prompt every day for 33 days, makes sense. And we’ll explore together as a group, what business values mean to us and how they interrelate to what what we’re doing every day with how we’re making decisions in our business, and how we’re trading with other people. And we’ll get to have conversations about that, including on a live workshop. So that’s going to be available for patrons to and it’s coming up in August. So that is the next thing that kind of coming up after this workshop series. And if you interested in that, check out the link in the show notes as well. But now finally, for today’s show, thank you so much for listening and for being here. Hey, everyone, I’m super excited to bring you another interview today. This time, I’m talking to Sarah of Ronan, sage, who I’ve been following on Instagram for a while and who does Beautiful, beautiful work with patterns, and who’s also working in online marketing. So we share this live of having two different businesses and very similar passions. And I’m super excited that she reached out to talk to me because as you know, I really want to tell business stories, I want to see how other people are doing things. And I want us to have more of a sense of community and less aloneness, because I think while we swimming in this little Instagram bubble in a really beautiful way, it can also feel like we’re reinventing the wheel by ourselves. So let’s hear how Sarah has built her business and what she has to say Actually, I’m super excited. Sara, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. So um, for those of us who don’t know, you, maybe not so many, but because we are from we having a shared audience in some ways, but can you tell us where you are in the world and also what your business is about or kind of what titles you hold or how would you describe your work? Yeah, so
I live in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. So The southeastern United States for anyone who doesn’t know. And quite literally the heart of it from my rooftop, I can see the Capitol Building. So I’m very much an urban dweller. And I am I own two businesses. So as the majority of my work these days is with Roman and sage kind of going into that direction or full time, hopefully. But the work that I do with Rowan and sage is rooted in cultivating bio regionally sourced herbal products. So we’re only using herbs local to our bio region, or grown here, either in in our own garden or from farmers that we know and trust. And I do one on one wellness consultations with individuals, which is where I can bring kind of a broader scope of the work that I have studied over the years. So it’s not just herbalism. But it’s also supplementation and nutrition and spiritual practices, and really like a true holistic form of helping someone experienced their most vibrant expression of well being. But outside of that, the other work that I do is in digital marketing, which I think it’s really funny. So many people in herbalism seem to also do digital marketing. But it was it’s been what I’ve been doing for the last six years professionally, doing some web design as well. And primarily working in this realm of social media.
Cool. Do you want to tell us how this came to be like, Did you Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? Or did you ever have a an employment kind of job? And then you suddenly woke up? and were like, No. How did this happen?
Well, for starters, I was raised by two people always have their own business, my parents didn’t. My, my both of my parents contracted for other people, but they never really held like a standard, regular job with stable income and benefits and all this kind of stuff. So growing up, I saw them build businesses fail, over and over and over again, always pick themselves back up and then succeed, and then probably fail again. And so the cycle goes on. So I wasn’t really raised in this mindset of like, Oh, you have to go and work for someone else. And that’s the only way that you can succeed. So that was my kind of introduction to the small business, entrepreneur life. But then when I was young, when I was 17, I got diagnosed with celiac disease. And up until that point, I was working at summer camp, and I was an assistant equestrian instructor and like, working at the ice cream shop in the summertime trying to have normal teenager jobs. But when I got sick, I couldn’t have any job. There was nothing I could do. That was going to prepare me for like working for someone else. And then when I went to college, I wanted to get a job. I wanted to be earning my own income, but I could I just knew like waitressing working in food service, there was no way with having a chronic illness and never having a reliable schedule. It just was never gonna happen. And I might illness me celiac disease. So working in like the food and food service industry was going to keep me chronically ill. So I was downright unemployable. And I ended up actually like taking my first steps into my current career after I walked outside of my apartment, and my car had gotten booted the night before in my parking lot. And I was like, on my way to a final crying my eyes out was $75 that I didn’t have. And my neighbour found me in the parking lot crying asked me what was going on. I was telling her like, I just can’t afford to pay this. I don’t have a job. And I was 19 at the time. And she said, Oh, well, I’m a real estate agent, come to admin at my office. And I was like, oh, okay, I can do this. It was like 12 bucks an hour, which was good when you’re 19. And I went to this office 15 minutes away three days a week for like three or four hours and just did a bunch of like admin paperwork. And in the cult, the company culture was very much about educating the business owners how they could be better business owners and how to do marketing and because the agents I was working for never wanted to go to those classes, I was going to those classes, taking notes, and then teaching the agents what I learned. So I ended up getting this like Crash Course education and how to run a business and ended up running other people’s businesses for two years. And then someone would say, Oh, I need help with my website. And I’m like, I can’t figure it out. Or I need a postcard for this listing. And I’m like, I know Photoshop. So I just started picking up all these little skills. And of course, lots of bad things happen when you work for other people, and you’re young. And I didn’t have the best relationships with some of my employers. And it was truly, I won’t even blame them. It was very much I need to work for myself. And it took me having some not so fun or pleasant situations. with certain employers that I did work for, for me to be like, I should start doing this on my own. And so I started doing more freelance work, and then but my own business, but with doing marketing, work and design, work, everything, it was never what I really wanted to do, you know, it wasn’t my undergrad or anything. It was just kind of what I fell into doing. But I knew along the way that I if I worked for lots of different types of businesses, and learned so many different skills, they would all help me build a business for myself in the long run. And so that was my strategy for my early 20s. It was really like, how many things can I learn how to do that are gonna help me run a business?
And then it finally got to the point where I was like, cool, Rowan, and sage is the thing that I want to do. Let’s flex all these skills. And do it for myself.
Wow, that’s amazing. What was your undergrad?
Oh, I have a degree in psychology. So I have a Bachelors of Science in psych, which is much more like research focused. And I’m one degree short from a pre med. One on one credit short from a pre med degree. I didn’t take my second round of biology.
Fair enough. That’s cool. Oh, man, I can see so much of myself and your story. I also started working for other small companies as my first job. Weirdly, it was when I was 11. I was like, I want to make my own money now like this. Because my mom was a single parent at the time available money. And I had all these desires. And I was just like, well, just gonna try. And I just approached his ad agency in my hometown. I was like, didn’t really tell them how old I was. But I was just like, I would love to do some ads. And then I think I’m good at this. And I organised and they were like, yeah, cool. Here’s minimum wage, I guess. Just try it.
No, no, it’s not. It’s definitely not legal. But I also didn’t have a contract, you know, that didn’t know how old I was. And so yeah, that was weird. I did that for two years. And then, yeah, I also worked for other small companies and just tried to be as observant as possible, to see like, how they were doing things, how they were failing. And, yeah, but a good approach.
At some point, when you’re working for other people, and you realise, like I could do this 10 times better and much more efficiently.
Why do you? Why would you keep working for them, you’ve learned everything that you’re going to have needed to learn in that position. And that was also a big key learning point. Throughout my process. Over the years, I’ve had some really nasty, quick fire termination of contracts in my employment history. Because I’m a little a little bit of a smartass. I will wear that with honour. But it took me learning that I have to recognise like, oh, I’ve learned everything that I can here, it’s time for me to move on. It took me having some really bad situations where I didn’t honour that and didn’t leave on my own terms for me to then really get clear on like my own boundaries and how I want to run my own business. Because there were so many situations that I should have just walked away from like,
totally. But oh, well, here we are, we found our path in the end. So obviously, it’s so beautiful that you work in these two different worlds as well. And I’m just kind of wondering, in your day to day life, what do you love about being in these two worlds? Like, how’s that feeling for you? Is that a period of transition? have you planned it to be this way? Or, like what do you see in your future if you want to share?
Yeah, well, just for some backstory, I started doing my work in marketing, almost seven years ago. And Rohan and sage was only born in November of 2018. Sorry, 2017 not last year. So really, like last year was our first year in business. And this year was the first year I started taking on clients one on one and last year, we were just doing a console line. So at the start of this year, I was like, okay, rolling in stages into the point where it can sustain all my income, I still have to be managing my own clients and a contract for an agency and I have to do that to make up my income. I’m going to be really tough. hired this year, like I have to do have to work two full time jobs. I am like my own robot, and he was my partner, but he works a full time job in film. So he is working 12 hours a day every day. So he’s not really like, helping me with the digital marketing and the emails and all that kind of stuff. So I’m a one woman show, and I’m running other people’s marketing strategies. So this year, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being exhausted all the time and just doing doing what it takes to get it to the point where then I can fully transition into working and ruin and sage without having a major hiccup in my finances. So I kind of planned for my days to be busy. But I would also say, compared to people working nine to five, I am so less busy. I have the privilege of waking up without an alarm clock and making a cup of tea and walking to the garden. And also going to the garden and harvesting plants is like kind of my job. I can come home and have a bite of lunch and hop on my console calls and do the few hours of work I need to do for other clients every day. And then in the evenings, I can work on revenue and sage stuff and be working on our website wireframe that I’m, I’ve been building out and write, copy and work on our blogs and stuff like that. So really, I don’t have super structured days. And I’ve tried to say like, okay, on Tuesdays, I’m going to batch this. And on Wednesdays, I’m going to work nine to three on this. And it just doesn’t work for me. I keep a planner on my desk that has all the things I have to do every day, and then everything I would like to accomplish that week. And I just, I do what I have to do that day first, and then I tackle everything else. And if I don’t want to work on it, and I don’t have to work on it that day, I put my computer away.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me, I don’t use an alarm either. And it’s just the most beautiful way to start your day, I think is fine, not being woken up and just chill with the energy of your body and your cycle and all these different things. So high five, one that
have to wake up with my partner wakes up with an alarm. So what I’ll wake up, but I don’t actually have to get out of bed. Yeah, you can lay there for another half an hour, just stretch and yawn.
Yeah, get a second snuggle. And if I’m lucky, and he’s not running out the door. Yeah, that’s something I really love about working in these two fields as well or, you know, like having a background similar to yours, where I was kind of observing, observing, in the first few years of my web design business, what people were struggling with, and what they found hard. And I just spend a tonne of time by myself, teaching myself these skills. And I’m such an introvert and I love being at home. And so actually also need a tonne of time at home. So I think in a way for me was a similar situation, I knew I couldn’t hold down an outside world office job for all of my 20s I needed to find another way of doing things. And I really loved researching stuff and teaching myself. And if you then build a second business, you know, like I have daydrian rose and you have run and said, it becomes so much easier to move pretty fast. And to just have an idea and make it happen and put it online and to see the greater picture of things. And that’s why I’m so passionate about teaching people web design or, you know, having them through the DIY small business school that I’m running. Because once you understand the key concepts and a good process of flow, you can break the rules and become so much more creative. And I think it’s really empowering to have an idea and be able to bring it into the world pretty quickly without needing to hire five different people. And if you need to hire them, of course cool. Like you know, definitely invest in that support if you can, and you need to, but it’s also Yeah, really empowering to be able to do that yourself. So
one of the most joyous experiences is when you’ve been trying to figure out a line of code and then you get it to work. You may have started working at noon and the sun may have set while you’re sitting at your desk. But when you break it you’re like Yes, yes. teaching yourself those skills is incredible. I do think some people are more naturally geared towards that than others. If you’re a really good problem solver, you can probably run your own business. But if you can’t cultivate your own systems, and like hold yourself accountable because no one else is going to tell you to do things you have to do know about of like opting into someone’s freebie or watching that webinar. It’s going to make you do the thing. So I think people who are really able to challenge themselves and like always be learning and always be researching stuff and always be think keeping tabs in their brain of the things that they would like to do. They can totally succeed and do things five times faster than some agencies and large corporations could do things. And I’ll say with Rowan and sage, you can scrub back on my feet, there’s one picture, it’s like an empty tincture bottle flatlay with like, all my crystals around it, and it was basically me just saying, You know what, I want to do the thing. I want to work with plants all day, I want to work with people in plants. And then like three months later, I launched our product line. Amazing.
I mean, that’s literally how long it takes to make a peak good painting shirt, you know? So that’s amazing. Um, so that would also be my next question. How did you decide on really focusing on pants and people like you say, you know, I imagine that maybe it had something to do with your celiac disease as well that you wanted to work in that field. But I would love to know more about that.
Yeah, so as a kid, I was always a plant person, like, my family lives on four acres of land up about 40 minutes north of the city was like, so beautiful. There’s fields and creeks everywhere, that all run into the biggest river here and just like land to truly wander around on. And my, I was basically an only child, my brother’s nine years older than me. So every day after school, my parents were still at work, I would just walk around the woods and talk to plants. And like, play, pretend and build little forts and TVs in the woods and stuff. And just that was like my form of entertainment. So I was always geared towards being a plant person. And on my dad’s side of the family were farmers. And so we always had a garden and like, agriculture was part of my life growing up, I always had this intrinsic connection to plants. And then when I got sick, as a young teenager, I had two years of not knowing what was wrong. And like no one could figure it out. Doctors misdiagnosed me all just the worst situation to go through at age 17. And then I went to a naturopath and my mom took me to the statue path. He’s amazing, I love him. And he looked at my, he like looked at my tongue did the whole TCM diagnosis thing, did this like weird electronic feedback stuff, looked at my labs, my blood work and just looks at me and says you have celiac disease. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. Because I didn’t get a true perfect diagnosis, I kept on coming up with false positives. But he was able to look at the patterns holistically and see what was going on in my body and knew that I had a predisposition to a genetically, some of my family members have celiac, I was like you should start going gluten free now is what you need to do. And he put me on all these different herbal supplements to help me heal. And like just really encouraged me to get outside. And in that moment of I never knew when I wanted to be I didn’t like want to be a doctor or anything. I wanted to be a veterinarian for a while, but then I couldn’t bear the thought of putting down beautiful animals. I had no clue what I want it to be. And here came this person who not only touched me personally and helped me heal, but showed me that like, Oh, you can heal people with plants. And it seems so silly for that to be a revelation because it seems like the most obvious thing in the world. And that’s kind of what clicked in me in that moment of Oh, wait, no, this is this is the thing that we’re supposed to be doing. This is how it’s supposed to be. So it was much more about returning back to like returning to nature coming home to nature, through the experience that was facilitated by this naturopathic doctor that I won’t say like, made me into a plant person, but brought me back into being the plant person. I was all along. As cheesy as that sounds.
No, that makes total sense. I think that yeah, that’s beautiful. Did you have any worries or concerns when you were kind of planting the seed in your mind to to grow this business?
In some ways, yes. But I knew it was going to work. Because the fundamental thing that Rohan and sage is built off of is providing herbal products for people who are not being seen by our wellness industry. And I have another podcast interview coming up. But the natural path that where I’m going to dive really deeply into CLA So if people are following me, they can go check that out should be out sometime this summer. But when you have celiac disease, you’re told Oh, you just have to go gluten free. Like you just have to stop eating gluten. And so most people think of the obvious places where gluten is going to come up. But they don’t think about like medications, which in the US, they don’t have to legally label gluten and medications. And I think Britain’s a lot better about that. think they’re a little clear about gluten in the UK. But people don’t think about Oh, cross contamination, or, oh, I want to heal naturally. But is this actually safe for me. And so I knew that by building a product that was made in a 100% celiac safe kitchen, because it’s made in my kitchen. I knew like I was going out and harvesting the herbs myself and making things people would feel so much safer. So I knew that even though that might serve a small audience, it was going to work. There are people who have celiac disease who want resources to support their health naturally. And there’s no one in the industry outrightly being transparent about if it’s truly gluten free, they might have gluten free on their label. But you still have no idea how those herbs were processed or grown. And I there’s like one company in the United States that I trust.
Okay, that’s great. Yeah, that’s such a beautiful way to work with your own story and and create something that’s totally your service to other people as well. So yeah,
well, then even then I would say the majority of people who do support us and the people that I work with don’t have celiac disease. But that was kind of my intention. And I think that, with all the knowledge that I have, doing marketing and stuff, I had really clear goals on what we needed to who we needed to reach what we needed to achieve in our first year of business to build a platform to where I could then take other risks, or I could just hyper focus on celiac, and people would still come and support the work. But yeah, I totally trusted that it was going to work. There was the first six months of running the business, I was having a lot of anxiety and like full blown breakdowns that some people witnessed on Instagram last year. Where I was like, I don’t, I don’t know how this can possibly work. We broken even, but we were not turning a profit. And I was really delusioned by the rest of the field of like, quote unquote, Instagram or realism. Because it’s so beautiful. And everyone, you see all these gorgeous photos of plants and people living in relationship with plants. And it’s like, Oh, it’s so lovely, that you don’t think about the fact that the majority of those people posting beautiful pictures of plants probably aren’t actually financially profiting off of their business. So I was very disillusioned. I was like, Oh, I can walk into this. And I can immediately start selling like crazy, and everything’s gonna go great. And that was when I felt lied to by my peers in the industry, because I’m getting a lot of people just don’t talk about.
Yeah, I feel that is changing a little bit. But it’s in its infancy, I totally, totally hear what you mean. Yeah, I just recorded I actually just published yesterday, an episode about mistakes and working with contraction in business. And actually, listening back to it, I thought like this so much more, I actually I’ve made three times as many mistakes. And I actually, this was just like scratching the surface of what I actually want to talk about more. So I’m really glad you’re bringing this up. And I think, especially running a product based business is a much bigger risk, then a service based one in many cases, you know, having overhead, needing space, needing to invest in plans and products and manpower and all these things. So and then also having the logistics to think about, like packaging Stuff and Being reliable as to when something goes out and reaches the right person. And those that say I have stressed me out. Oh, no. Respect for you trying it anyway and succeeding. And I think you’re totally right, that we need to talk about that more. I think a lot of people that run my harbour businesses either have have a partner that can support them financially or for some other reason don’t need to rely on that income, which is totally cool. You know, like, I’m not saying those people are not allowed to have those heavy businesses, but I think we do definitely need to talk more about sustainability. And who has access to, to taking that risk and building that kind of business and what does it take and how long does it take and what support is available for us. I think that’s Good evening. Yeah,
yeah, absolutely. And I think some people are doing a really wonderful job of being transparent. And others, which I won’t name, any names aren’t talking about how they are being financially supported, or the privilege that they are rooted in, or the affiliate marketing partnerships that they have that float their income all year long. And I, it’s so weird in this business, I think it’s very, very much has to do with the societal relationship with healing. Especially since this industry is dominated by femme identifying people are size women like, it’s, we have a terrible relationship with worth, as it is reflected in financial income. And I think a lot of people have a hard time talking about it. But it’s weird, because in every other industry, if someone hired me as a consultant to come in, I’d say, Show me your p&l. And it’s an, it’s like, so clear, if I look at your profit and loss statements, I can tell you what’s wrong in your business. But there’s something about like, in the healing world, I don’t even know if people are keeping track of spreadsheets, profit and loss. Do people actually know what their overhead is? Do they know how to cut costs on that? And no one is that transparent about it?
Yeah, that’s true. I think there’s also so all of what you said yes. And then also, I think, so many of us are rightfully, deeply critical of capitalism. And so I think some of those passwords, like profit and loss, branding, you know, can feel really icky for us. And like, that’s true for me, too. Sometimes I am self conscious and alike. I recently created offer, for example, that I felt excited, but also a bit shy about like, there was some imposter syndrome around that as well. And I had a mentoring session with someone I really respect and like, really, really loved and was honest about that was like, I really know that this is going to be great for people who commit to it. But I’m still also feeling shy about it. And I just, just feel I’m worried that I’ve just made it look really beautiful. And actually, I can’t, you know, like, I can’t deliver what I’m, what I’m creating, and what I’m creating to look pretty. So and So yeah, that made me question branding a little bit and spread some some feelings. But I think there is definitely a way in which we can work with all these tools and concepts in a really empowering, critical, liberating way. And I think that we can discard them altogether, just because they are currently coming out of the system that is so deeply flawed, you know, we have to also acknowledge that we are still operating within that. And that we have to make a living and that that harm reduction is something really beautiful that we can do like, just just to, for example, supporting people and creating a livelihood that is more sustainable for their health and well being is something I am so passionate about like that is I yeah, it just, you know, I’m just 100% behind that. And yeah,
no, I’m thinking about it constantly. And I mean, I hate capitalism. I absolutely hate it. Much to my parents dismay, and my mom came from the USSR. So she’s very much like any form of socialism leads to communism. I am I’m very staunchly against that ideology. I the way that capitalism affects all aspects of ourselves, the way that it is just the intersectionality between it and like every other issue in Western society, is grotesque. But at the same time, I can’t truly subvert the system. Like there’s nothing I can really do to get away from it. If I want to enjoy. Like being able to go to the grocery store and driving my car down the road or even living in a community that’s walkable. I would have to go totally off the grid and not live in a western country to be able to actually get away from the hard thumb of capitalism. But what I can do is infiltrate the system and work within it, to support others who are being oppressed by it. So it’s taking me a really long time to get comfortable with wealth. But the more I have, the more I can do. I only need so much. But if I can build significant amounts of wealth and I mean like literal financial dollar signs in my bank account, as well as community and resources and all these other measures of wealth, if I can help That and I can feel taken care of, I can do so much more good work. For other people, I can contribute more, I can spend more time volunteering rather than working constantly. And I know I have a lot of privilege to be able to even accumulate that wealth in the first place. But I accept that and I want to work within it and so that I can do more. I mean, our ultimate goal with Rowan and sage be to accrue enough wealth within the business that Ian and I can purchase a homestead and a large swath of land and open up like a trade like a skill share school type of thing where people can come in, and they can learn. And we can have more of like a space where people can cultivate relationship to the land, and relearn these skills that are their birthright in the first place. That would be wonderful. But in order to do it, we would have to have significant amounts of money coming in. So there’s so many things that I want to do and that I want to give away and offerings that I want to make. And every time I send out a proposal for anything, I’m like, Oh, my God, that number is way too high. Then I talked to other business mentors and other people, and they’re like, you can charge three times that amount, and you’ll be fine. So money at this point for me within the business has become kind of an imaginary number. And I think it’s partially because it’s electronic. People aren’t giving me like cold, hard cash, I just see this dollar amount in my bank account fluctuate. And I really just see it as a measure of energetic exchange these days. So my pricing is high, like in my marketing work, but I have seven years of experience and case studies to back that up. But still, every time no matter how many proposals I send, every time I’m like, Is this too much? Or is it enough? Am I undervaluing the work? Because in in herbalism, and healing work in consulting, in marketing, you’ll have someone charging $12 an hour, and then you’ll have someone charging $350 an hour. And like, there’s no common ground or clear range of like, Oh, this person has this much experience. So it’s worth that much. People just like throw a number amounts on stuff.
Yeah, yeah. I think I think pricing and the relationship to self worth. And the way we see our future, and the way through trade with other people is super interesting. And, yeah, it’s very interconnected. And in a way very fucked up. But like you said, there’s no, there’s no via base of which we can work off. There’s such a wide range of possibilities and how you can do that. And I find it really healing in a way to, to trade with people directly one to one like, just doesn’t compare in any way to this really cold soulless transaction that we all have to do when we go to the supermarket, we fill out a basket, and then we go to the checkout, and we pay and we have totally lost touch with the the way the things that we buy have come to be in the world, you know, there’s been all these different stages that we’ve been totally removed from in a way. And so creating something and then looking someone in the eye more or less, whether that’s on the internet, or we live and say, This is what I like would like to have for it. What, how does that feel for you? And I think that’s a constant conversation that we have a small business owners, where we are offering something, naming a price, finding our own piece with that price, and then seeing what happens. And I think that in itself has been like a really big journey of self development for me. And yeah, so that’s really interesting to hear. And I really hope that you get to have your problem, or your small hopeful day. Yeah, that sounds great.
I also have beautiful.
Yeah, yeah, I think you’re right. I think sometimes I am worried that we are kind of glorifying endless wealth accumulation too much. But I think actually, that’s, that’s a really important thing to talk about, as well. And like, the intentions behind that really matter I feel in the media. And there was an example. I mean, that really spoke to me and I really want to try to get it together. But basically, it was like, I think I’m not getting it together. I was sorry. But there was like a, like a, like a top 10 list or whatever in the Financial Times. And basically the mean was about how we are totally normalising this really intense wealth accumulation. And I think so often people rightfully again, they’re critical of that, but then kind of reject that to a point where we feel it’s impossible to create our own dreams and to stay in touch with the intentions behind them because You know, none of us, I would assume, one to fly a private jet around the world 10 times or, you know, like, and I think that there will be always a lot of trial and error and understanding how these great visions come to be like, I would, for example, really love to have a queer club, where we can do it with like local quiz in the UK that have a difficult time accessing other kinds of employment or creative work that would bring them joy. And where people can truly find working conditions that are good for them, within the abilities within maybe they the chronic illnesses that they have. And I would love to have this beautiful space by the sea where people can come and leave, or pottery, run that place collectively and sell it, we could have a nice little online shop, some of our proceeds could go to other community projects. And people could just drop into that space, when they can, you know, when when they have energy, and then whatever it gets may get sold. And then we split the proceeds. That’s kind of my dream. And I know that’s going to take some capital as well. So
I mean, it’s still just to exist in this world, we have to be accruing money. I’ve done so much barter and trade in my business so much. And it’s not really something I actively do currently, especially with marketing, because unless it’s really, really a sweet deal for me. And I end up sure I might get something out of it. But I end up like them stressed about the light bill. So I will take on barter and trade agreements, as long as my basic needs and overhead is met.
we were. But if we were in a perfect world, I would trade everything. Like I would love to just go to the farmers market and say, Oh, well, here are six bottles of elderberry syrup. Again, like, that would be so incredible. But unfortunately, we still have to like pay the lifestyle and all this kind of stuff. So when it comes to accruing endless wealth, like no, not everyone needs to be a millionaire. Absolutely not. But creating a net worth of a few $100,000 is not that much in the grand scheme of things when it comes to like living in the society that we live in. And it took me years to really understand that $5,000 is a lot of money in certain circumstances. But at the end of the day, it’s really not that much at all. It can be gone in an instant, it can be burnt up with one car accident, or one need to go to the doctor. And like charging that much money for something that’s going to bring endless value and can with like branding, some of one of the things you’re mentioning, charging several $1,000 for someone to then make a few $100,000. That business. It’s like when you think about things in those terms, it doesn’t seem like that much at all. It’s a drop in the bucket. I’m always telling people to charge more. Especially femmes and queer people who are working in business, I’m like charged six times more, it’s fine. You deserve it. I mean, I still see healers and whatnot, charging $25 for a session with them. And one of my friends and teachers Her name is Kate, she made this comment on an Instagram Live a while ago that really resonated with me. And she was saying that when we don’t accurately depict our value and the energetic exchange, and how that translates into a financial investment, when we don’t actually accurately share that financial cost with the client. And they end up getting like a sweeter deal from us. We they we leave them indebted to us. Because we put more of an energetic output out there than what we’re receiving back.
And it creates resentment. And that’s not good for anyone involved. Yeah, yeah. Oh, go ahead. No, no, no, you go ahead.
I’m just gonna say when I got that through my head, I was like, wow, yeah. Wow. There’s so much more here than just how much it costs to make something and what the industry typically marks it up as, like the energetic value of this offering. What is that? How is that actually reflected in the final price?
Yeah, and I think also we have a responsibility to educate and be transparent about that. Because if people that have never run the Small Business themselves, sometimes look at hourly rates, and I like what the fuck, but there’s just so much today, you know, it’s just that I get paid 40 times my hourly rate a week like a wrench, you know? kotlin and social media and overhead and software and all these different things. And I think it is really good for us to be transparent about how an hourly rate or package price or whatever comes to be, and how much you know how much it takes for a small business to create a product line that is sustainable for them?
Well, at the end of the day, are we even charging enough? Because when it comes to hourly rates, are we not always thinking about our businesses? How do I actually like estimate the amount of time the amount of hours I actually work in the week, like, billable hours for me is a non existent entity. Because every moment of my life, I’m I’m trying to get my brain to shut up. So I can just have a moment of peace, not thinking about my business. So me charging X amount for an hour is really like, Okay, well, I’m going to charge you for that hour. But I’m going to keep thinking about you. Like every day that week. And if I have a good idea, I’m not going to withhold that information from you. So it’s so much more than that.
Yeah, I think I think I agree with what you’re saying. And I also often carry my client stories with me. And I’m trying to get better at having an energetic boundaries around that and to really kind of like, because because we’re running differences as well, for me, it’s really important to kind of be in one headspace, and then be in another headspace and to be really clear about these different things. And the other thing I think is, I do really think that accessibility and healing is really important. But I love that we have so many tools now that we can utilise to own our prices and make our work sustainable on every single level for us. And at the same time, think about how we can support folks that just don’t have the ability to spend that kind of cash. And I think that is this is really not a requirement for every business to do that at every stage, like you said, I think it’s really important to say that we are looking into battering or sliding scales, or that kind of stuff at the point where our basic needs are met. And for many of us, that’s not going to be in the first couple of years of building in your business. And I think no one should ever feel ashamed about that. Because it’s just, again, that wouldn’t serve anyone if we were to deplete ourselves trying to make that happen. And at the same time, I really excited that sliding scales become becoming more normalised for example, that more people are talking about them and that clients, whether or not they run businesses themselves, also a kind of more open to having a dialogue and thinking about where they’re placing themselves. And that’s on that scale. I think that’s a really empowering experience to think about, you know, like, what is my, what is roughly my household income? Like, where am I within that system? You know, like, how much can I afford? And what how would that feel and this energetic exchange with this person that I’m trying to make some kind of deal with? So yeah, so many feelings, thank you for your
course. And with all the exciting scale and everything, I think, and you do this really beautifully in your business, where you have many different avenues of which you share information at all different sorts of price points. And I think that, as a marketer, I take away the feel good feelings of it. Like Yes, it’s beautiful social change, amazing. But take away that from it as a marketer. And as a business owner, if you want to succeed in business, you better have multiple avenues of reaching people at all different stages, it’s the only way you’re going to be able to grow something big enough to actually help tonnes of people. Because as a service provider, if you’re doing a service based industry, if you’re working in a service based industry, there’s only so many clients you can take on, you might work with 25 to 50 people the whole year. You know what, if you’re really cranking projects out every month, you might work with 10 people a year, you know, how much of an impact can you make with those 10 people just if you’re offering a one on one service with them. So I agree, I mean, not everyone can do sliding scale to start and I don’t really advertise our sliding scale I do a little bit I say I you know, I’m never going to turn anyone away. If you’re really going through it, I’m here for you. But in my like marketing work, I keep two spots open for nonprofits every year and those nonprofits get a 40% off discount my rate. I am able to do that because I have figured out how much money it costs for me how much I lose by giving that discount and I adjusted all of my other project pricing accordingly. So I’m not actually losing anything. My clients are paying it forward so that businesses who needed the most can get the help. And I want and I want to see the same thing in the healing space. If I have 10 clients who are paying top tier for my price, and I can take on 12 clients at a time, then I have the opportunity for two people to get like a community supported scholarship to get the work that they need. Now, what I’ve really gotten clear on with my own business in terms of in the healing space, we have a product line. So that can be accessible for lots of different people. We have the blog and social media and I share a lot of free information there. But at the end of the day, the problems that I really work with with people’s health are like majorly chronic, multifaceted. I’m getting individuals who have major autoimmune diseases and complex thyroid issues, and dietary concerns that are beyond just like eliminating sugar, stuff that is really, it’s not just an acute situation. And so I’ve kind of resigned myself to knowing that the people who are going to be able to afford my work or the people who have already been working within the medical industrial complex, and spending a lot of money on their health care. And that’s just the types of people who’ve been attracted to my work. I’m not the herbalist who’s going to go, I’m not the herbalist working at the free clinic doing like acute trauma care, or cold and flu care and things that a lot of folks like everyone’s dealing with all the time. But there are so many herbalists who are doing.
that’s just not I don’t think that’s going to end up being my specialty. I could do it. But it’s not just that there isn’t any money. And it’s just these, the other types of people are the people who are coming to me. So now, of course, chronic disease affects people of all socio economic statuses. But at the baseline with the work that I’ve been doing, what I’m doing, the feedback I’m getting from clients is the financial investment is worth it to them, because they will do whatever it takes to feel better.
when people are investing in something that way, and they’re showing up for themselves, that way, the price doesn’t matter, they’ll figure out how to make it work. But for some folks who just want to, like bring herbs into their life, working with the community herbalist, going to your local Co Op getting to know people around who are leading like plant walks, that’s going to be the best way for you to have the information that’s most accessible to you. Working one on one with like a specialist probably is not what you need.
Yeah, totally. I also really want to respect your time, and we don’t have a tonne left. But I also want to say I really love your Instagram presence. Like you said, you share a tonne of really valuable free information. And I just wanted to see if you maybe have one tip for a beginner who’s starting out in their business and feels a little bit overwhelmed with all the different things that we could be doing all the time is to like what do you think is most important right now? Where would you in which direction? Would you point them to?
Yeah, well, in terms of marketing, you’re going to have to do it, you just need to pick which Avenue is going to be best for you. So when we started growing and sage, me having the marketing mindset was like, Oh, I have to be on Facebook, I have to have Pinterest, and Instagram, I have to send out a newsletter. And then I removed the half two or the should and was like what is the one thing that I can do consistently for a whole year? Like I’m going to, I’m going to run a social experiment in my business, what is the one thing I can do? And I was like Instagram, I will post on Instagram five to seven days a week, every week for all of 2018. And I did it I think I took like two few day breaks all of last year. But I didn’t do anything else. I wasn’t working on Facebook, I wasn’t really actively doing anything on Pinterest, I was like barely blogging and sending a newsletter was the worst. It still gives me anxiety. But I was I said for one year, I’m going to do this. And I’m really going to do it right. And I’m going to create metrics, and I’m going to track it. And I’m going to like really put organic content out there. And it I mean, it succeeded, we were able to build an audience of over 10,000 people in eight months. And then when I was like, Oh, I don’t have to do this as much anymore because I have an engaged audience. Now let’s start converting them to the newsletter. Now let’s start making stronger sales pitches. Now looks like use monetize this audience that we’ve built through the one thing we committed to doing. And sure if I had been doing my email strategy the whole time, I probably have more people on my list but it’s fine. Yeah. So with just new people starting out, when you’re running your business, figure out the things that you have to do and just resign yourself to doing them. You have to make your products, you have to pitch yourself, you have to actively be seeking uncomfortable situations that are going to help you grow. But you don’t have to be showing up on every single social media platform. You don’t have to be doing what your competitors are doing. You need to do what’s most authentic for you. So just pick one thing, and then do it and like, stick to it. Do it for three to six months, because there’s no way you’re ever going to know if something works, until you consistently do it for a long period of time.
Yeah, that’s super true. I think consistency is emotionally supportive and also effective. I also feel like emotionally, it’s really important for us, because we have to, like you said, really motivate ourselves and keep ourselves accountable. And there’s something very beautiful in being devoted to a specific thing. In a way, I feel like there’s often a case where we are really having to discipline ourselves and make a plan and an extra sheet. And you know, this is what I’m committing to. But eventually, as we see it working, it becomes devotion. It just feels so beautiful. So yeah, a lot of people ask
me, like, how did you post on Instagram every day, like, how are you not burned out. And then like, while I was really burned out for those first couple of months that I was having to build this
But when you start to do it more and more frequently, it becomes really easy to write copy that sounds like you, it becomes easy to pay attention on your walks and take 10 pictures that you can recycle throughout the month. And sometimes depending on what’s going on in my life, I sit down and they schedule our posts. But most of the time, it’s like, oh, I know, I need to post around this time to receive maximum engagement. I’m just gonna sit down for 10 minutes at that time and get it done. So it’s like all other aspects of life practising these skills reinforces the habit and makes it easier for us to do it. So continuing to build your marketing strategy, writing headline copy for your website, developing a new opt in, it becomes second nature. You just have to go through those first couple of months of growing pains to get comfortable doing it. And every time you launch something, it’s going to feel scary, and you’re probably going to experience some level of imposter syndrome. But the more that you do it, the less scary that it gets. So I mean, I want everyone to go out there and execute on their ideas and share them and make changes where they need to, but actually see what happens when they really do commit themselves to their good idea for a long period of time. Because they’re you might really help a lot of people by just sharing what you feel like you should share with the world. Even if it’s as silly as like sending an email to someone with a thought that was in your mind that week. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be radical.
Yeah, that’s true. Thank you so much. And before we go, what are you currently offering and where can people find you.
So you can find my herbal line, our full line of celiac safe remedies and other items for self care over at Rowan and sage calm, our shop link is right on the homepage. And then I’ll be opening up my consultation practice in the next couple of weeks. So this is we’re recording this at the end of May concerts will be open in June. So if you’d like to work one on one with me, there’s also a link up there.
And then when it comes to my marketing work, I’m not currently taking on new clients speak if you want to learn more about my work, then my website for marketing is www dot S dash c dot digital. I’m sure we’ll link that up. And I also have a Patreon. So Patreon I’m kind of playing with actually are you in you, inadvertently you didn’t personally encourage me to get on Patreon. But your work on Patreon encouraged me to get on Patreon. And sorry, Patreon is where I’m hoping to in the future share more of not just like herbal ism, and case studies and all the things I don’t get to share on Instagram, but also share some more business trainings. And do more of like a group mentorship type of offering in there for people who are running a healing business. So I’m happy to do that as far and our Patreon it’s just patreon.com. forward slash Reuben and search. Cool. It’s everything I’m doing.
Thank you so much for sharing and for all the wisdom that you shared with us today. Thank you. It’s been really great to talk to you.
Oh, thank you so much for having me and I I could chat about this stuff all day. So to time