Anu Paavola is the Director of Jivita Ayurveda, an organic Ayurvedic spa and food shop in Brent, London, that she launched two and half years ago.
Published byon February 9, 2014, by http://precioussuccess.com/
What drove you to start your own business?
I had planned to open an Ayurvedic health clinic since I started my degree studies in the subject matter. Knowing that it would be very difficult to find employment in Ayurvedic medicine, I knew that the only way for me to make a living out of it would be to set up my own practice. I wasn’t initially planning to offer beauty treatments or to have a retail space, but it all nicely and organically developed into it within a few years from starting.
What was your career path prior to starting your business?
I had done lots of studies in university both in Finland and Italy but hadn’t quite found out what I wanted to do. I had dived into yoga practice and the attraction towards spirituality was strong. I found ayurveda soon after starting my yoga practice and the rest followed naturally until I found a degree course in ayurveda and decided that was my path.
Tell us about the business planning stage (for example: did you write a business plan? did you contact any business support agencies?)?
I did write a draft of a business plan and contacted the Brent Business Ventures (BBV) to guide me through the start. BBV was very helpful and gave me all the information I needed for set up.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I don’t plan too much ahead. I have ideas about the future I want but my main focus is on the present and how to make things work best now. This approach has been very fruitful and has taken me further than I ever expected within the time I’ve practiced ayurveda.
My motivation arises from the spirit. I tune in with myself every morning with my yoga practice. I do mainly breathing exercises for energising and meditation for inspiration. I see clients for consultation, massages, beauty and manage the shop. I am engaged in education and I teach ayurveda at Yoga London and write a blog and give expert advice on-line (www.Feeling-Fab.com).
I am a single mother of a 2-year old, so days can get quite long. The energy and motivation I get from my morning yoga practice is priceless. It really is behind everything I’ve achieved.
What are you working on at the moment and can you describe your typical working day?
Apart from receiving clients in the centre, I am writing a book on ayurveda and working on creating a retreat space with someone. This is very exciting as it is one of my dreams starting to become true. My days usually start by taking my daughter to the child-minder’s and then receiving clients until the evening. When I pick her up we spend time together until she goes to bed and then I pick up on writing and admin stuff.
How do you work on making your business grow?
First of all I make sure the experience in our centre is memorable. Word of mouth is very important for me. I also use social media and my own website to reach out to people and so far we are growing steadily.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
The best thing is that I am living my own dream. What I do doesn’t feel like work. It is my passion and I enjoy every moment of it.
What are the challenges of working for yourself and how do you tackle them
The main challenge is to keep focused. If I don’t keep up with my yoga practice, I will become distracted and start procrastinating. I cannot allow this to happen. So, I guess the main challenge is to get up in the morning to do my practice. After that I have no problems, just things to resolve.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
I greatly admire Dr John Douillard. He comes from Deepak Chopra’s school and of course the latter is doing a great job in propagating the word of nearly anything related to the evolution of the soul. They are doing exactly what I want to be doing, bringing ayurveda to the general awareness, teaching how ayurveda is universal: it can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and at any time regardless of the cultural framework.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?
It was from my parents. I have had many pieces of advice from my dad, who also is a business owner, and cannot really identify which was the most important one. I also had lots of support from my friend’s parents and they have been key people to help me to start-up.
What are the 3 books, websites or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?
The Business of Creativity: An expert guide to starting and growing a business in the creative sector by Michael Jacobsen. This book is the first one I actually read from start to end. It’s a well-written manual for set up.
Brent Business Venture www.bbv.co.uk. Free advice for setting up a business in Brent, London
A New Earth by Eckarth Tolle. My manual for life.
What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?
My business is about increasing health and wellbeing not only of my clients but also of myself. I need to relax for work. If I am stressed I pass a negative energy to my clients. The fastest way for me to come back to balance is to do yoga nidra, a deep relaxation practice which I listen from Spotify or iTunes. I rarely have time to go out but I do enjoy good company, a glass of wine and dancing. I also enjoy chanting and go to the Hare Krishna’s with my daughter when I get a chance. My dream place to be is somewhere in the Mediterranean, not doing much, just enjoying the sounds and the smell of the sea.