In February this year, I was invited to an interview with lifestlye and design blogger/coach/lifestyler Carmen Darwin. Featured for her section called Her Design Story, she asked me many questions that both clarified and intensified my convictions, goals, ideals and plans for the future! If you want to know more about me I advise you to read this interview – and for your own business, maybe just ask yourself the questions that Carmen asked me!
Read the re-posted interview below and of course feel free to share & comment. Don’t forget to have a look at more of these stories on Carmen’s website.
by Carmen Darwin – http://www.carmendarwin.com/marie-piazza/
Saint Lucia, West Indies (Caribbean)
Holistic Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Visionary Connector & Creative Lifestyle Strategist
Tell us a bit about the business that you are creating?
My company is I am Ready World, redefining “experiences worth sharing”. My business Marie Piazza the Home for Shape up Your Lifestyle serves as an intentional guide for the courageous ageless woman over 45 who wants to live life at her finest.
I help women online entrepreneurs transform from “nothing fits” to fit and fabulous. So, they say YES to getting their passion work done and fitting into their favorite clothes again. I work on Mind, Body, Freedom & Soul, taking the mystery out of self-care with ease and confidence for work and play.
My tagline is “Shape Up Your Lifestyle”. which encompasses Business and downtime. My audience description is an intentional guide for the courageous ageless woman. My Private Facebook Page – The Courageous Ageless Woman’s Club.
My Business also has the “Shape up Your Lifestyle Academy” which consists of programs, courses, masterminds, masterclasses, workshops, retreats and more.
I have been in health, fitness, wellness and sport most of my life. Over a year ago, I closed my brick and mortar health and fitness club of over 20 years and went full on into creating a passionate online business I know and love. I have spent the past 4 years, researching, failing, winning, learning and doing me!
What are your three core values in your working life right now?
Love, trust and freedom.
What's the hardest part of running a business from home?
I lived the first four years of my life on a tropical island. I have come full circle and I now live on this same soul island. I grew up and went to school in London, UK and San Diego, California.
The hardest part of running my business from home is trying to do too much/too little and getting the right balance. Also, staying inspired while working alone. Also, balancing my workspace beautifully, so I can focus on my work in a nurturing environment and where I can create and let it flow with ease. I thrive on beauty, love, and order with a little whimsy and wonderful oddity.
What fears did you have about starting your business?
Being at home would make me lazy.
Wasting time and not making any money.
Not being authentic to my vision.
Finding meaningful mentors/friends and connections.
Wading through the overwhelm through the tech in the online market.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned in running your home based business?
I should have done it sooner. I needed to not have FOMO (fear of missing out) and trust my gut in decision making. I love it and it has taught me that I am the boss of my happiness and my work. My family gets to see more of me and it is a truly authentic and sustainable way to run a business. It is very cool to have this creative option for such freedom.
What's the best piece of business advice you've been given?
“Enjoy the journey whilst you pursue the destination”. Learn to receive and give love. It was not those exact words, those are mine but that is the gist of it. I am the boss of my happiness and if I don’t love myself how can I love others and enjoy the things I want from my life! I believe this to be true even more so now that I am ageless.
What's a summary of the pathway it took to get to where you are now?
In no particular order I have been a track and field athlete, model, dancer, paralegal, PR & marketing director, personal trainer, fitness trainer, admin manager, secretary, restaurant owner, health and fitness club owner, group fitness instructor, health coach, life coach, event coordinator, yoga teacher, Pilates teacher, fabric artist, mentor, business start-up coach etc. etc. My business names have been Sportivo Health and Fitness Club, Jazzercise Franchise, Les Mills Franchise. Key Largo Pizzeria, Il Pappa Restaurant. I’ve had multiple group fitness certifications, wannabe designer, MAP motivation coaching, Founder of Courageous Ageless Woman’s club, Shape up your Life Academy, public speaker, writer, and now an online entrepreneur.
I am sure I have missed something ? I love to explore and change whilst my foundation remains solid. I just love working with people and transforming the love they have for their lives.
How do you find the right balance between being a partner, wife or mother and running your business?
It has been very hard. I am not even sure how I did it but I stayed organized, brought my best, rested when I needed to. I have three boys and I am married to a challenging Italian ? and we run a busy Italian restaurant plus two other smaller businesses. I did find the right balance, but eventually, I realized the balance had to be within me not outside of me. It would never be perfect but once you lose a sense of yourself it is very hard to be totally at peace with being everything to everyone else, even though you do an outstanding job. I must have got most of it right because we are all still standing and thriving. My biggest aha for balance was to ask and receive support when offered. Of course, you can do it alone but it is so lovely to accept and learn that sometimes you can’t.
On a scale of 1-10 how much does your business light you up?
Honestly 10. The tech frustrates me for online work but my actual work that I produce and create. I give a 10 for sure. I am inspired and proud of the amazing women I work with 1-1 and in workshops, courses, and retreats. The lifestyle they have achieved and how they look and feel tells me I am on the right path, I am so proud of them. I love working so much with women that if it was not a business I would do it for free. I always over deliver and focus on my most outstanding customer service over dollars every time. I am 100% in. I also love it when my clients and I are absolutely the right fit, it is priceless. Therefore, it is so important to me to create relationships rather than just clients who pay and I offer free consultations with my courage calls.
What do you wish you had in your business that you are still seeking?
More financial stability and a program menu for passive income. I am getting there with the financials as I took a course to manage how I make and spend my income a lot better and value my worth and not give it all away. So, the top priority was financial independence and I am happy to say I am very very close to my goals.
I want to outsource tasks that I need to learn but not actually have to do daily, like tech. I am happy to hire a sidekick, a VA or people who are experts in some fields of services that I need. For example, website building, managing social media, design, to name a few.
In moments of doubt, how do you overcome it and lift yourself back up?
I have some great support groups and masterminds that I participate in. My mother is my rock and I have a very close cousin and some very key long-time friends all over the planet. My faith in God and my spirituality keeps me positive and thankful. I am an optimist and love to surround myself with similar people and experiences that lift me up.
My body, mind, and soul are what I keep fine-tuned to stay on top of it all. If all else fails, I just dance, move, head to nature or find a creative outlet to shake me out of it. It always works. I also remember how far I have come and how fortunate I am and how thankful I am for that.
Who is your support crew if you have one?
God, the universe….my mother, my cousin, my boys, my work, my team, my brother, my best longtime friends worldwide.
How important are grit, determination, and persistence to you in growing your business?
It is all of me. Without it, I would have stopped already. Given up. Dropped out. I reinvent and realign myself daily.
Which of your personal traits are you most proud of?
Caring, supportive, creativity, strength, empathetic listener, positive attitude and hopefulness and hard work to overcome challenges. I’m a visionary connector and lifestyle strategist. I have been described as the Queen of Sharing and the King of Connections!
What's the hardest thing about being your own boss?
Sometimes it is lonely making decisions without a sounding board. Staying the course when no one really gets what you do because you don’t have a “job” they recognize or understand. lol
What sacrifices have you made starting a business?
Financial losses (living on less), closing a previously successful business and my marriage. Not loving myself first and making me a priority, less time with friends and less travel. This is all temporary.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
From divine intervention. The people I work with, my clients, my friends and people new to the online world and those who are crushing it with their own unique brand and confidence. I love beautiful surroundings, the ability to create my own income, my personal time to myself.
Who's a woman you deeply admire?
My mother of course. She sacrificed leaving me behind at two years old to live with my great-grandmother as she and my father pursued a better life in London, UK. They were working hard in a challenging environment and coming back for me and my brother as promised.
She keeps her energy and is such a love bunny for everyone who meets her. She’s soft and strong. My mother is the original Shero when it comes to family and kids. She has conquered so many amazing things in life and continues to do so. She is just beautiful.
Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou come in a little way behind.
What do you still want to achieve on a personal level?
I want to remain confident in my ability to create my own income and be confident in not always taking the road well-trodden. My personal love and self-care of myself is my utmost goal and not to compromise myself for love or money. Travel more and meet new people. Live every day with ease and joy and happiness and total financial independence and to reach my goal income.
Name one thing you can’t live without each day.
My children…they are a real part of me. They have grown so fast and are making their own lives. On the same level, love, and respect for myself. I am working on it being first.