We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Steginus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
While I try to avoid the word “should,” I believe that what you do should also serve you. I wanted to start my own business to serve my community and people all around the world while also aligning with my values and giving me what I need in life: freedom, creativity, connection, and fulfillment. I’m a very independent, self-disciplined person, and I’ll always choose to carve out my own path versus try to morph to fit into someone else’s predefined box. Before I began building my business, I really struggled to “fit” into predefined professional roles related to my background in social work. I knew I could help people in a meaningful way and based on my unique strengths and interests so I slowly began to find and create opportunities to do that. What started small—teaching local workshops, freelance writing for different health websites, and connecting with entrepreneurs with similar interests—eventually snowballed into much larger opportunities as I gained comfort, confidence, and connections. I would definitely say it’s served me well to remain patient. I’ve gone through periods where I dropped everything to pursue my craft and build my business (like quitting my job to finish writing two books with no income). But in those early days, I usually had a day job or juggled a few different things to make an income. Sometimes you have to build the bridge instead of take the leap. You have to play the long game.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is ever-evolving. What started with me teaching local organizations about self-care for employees now looks like online clients and courses, regular speaking engagements, and two books—”Self Care at Work” and “Everyday Mindfulness”—designed to bring a practical approach to these often flowery or elusive concepts in order to help people integrate them into their everyday lives. My journey into entrepreneurship began in 2015 when I worked as a business manager with a local entrepreneur. I remember having so many lightbulb moments where I realized that I can serve others in my own way and actually make a living doing so. I grew up in a small community where most men went into trades and most women pursued nursing or teaching (or social work, like me) so entrepreneurship was all very new and exciting to me! It certainly wasn’t a linear or overnight process, and I’ve often balanced creating online resources with working a day job (or multiple jobs). One of the main realizations I’ve come to is that there is no “right” way to do business. Someone else’s approach or blueprint might not work for you. For example, instead of being super active on social media, I tend to utilize other platforms: podcasts, guest posting on related blogs, free course snippets on course marketplaces (i.e., Skillshare and Udemy), and sharing updates with my newsletter subscribers. I’ve found that finding what works for my audience AND for me (instead of forcing myself to use a platform or approach I don’t enjoy) allows me to show up more consistently and in a far more meaningful way. And it makes this creative process fun!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve gained so much from so many people over the years. First, a shoutout to my amazing mother for always encouraging me to ask questions and for trusting and supporting me throughout all the bold choices I’ve made. Second, I’m forever thankful for my loving partner, John, for recognizing and celebrating all of my efforts and for reminding me to shine my light. That man inspires me every day.