Welcome to another NEW small business chat! Today we’re meeting Karem Barratt from Journeying Soul, who got in touch via my contact form after reading some of the other chats and was keen to get involved (although I mainly publish updates these days, there are weeks where I have a slot free, so if you would like to take part, do get in touch). Karem is an Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor and Coach. Journeying Soul deals with personal and spiritual transformation through bespoke ceremonies (wedding blessing, funerals, namings, and so forth); spiritual counselling and coaching; and spiritual/personal development workshops, courses and lectures. This is certainly an area we haven’t covered in these chats before, so welcome Karem and how did you get started?
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
My business is called Journeying Soul Ltd. I set it up in June 2013.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I wanted the freedom of offering my services according to my vision and values.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I felt there was a bit of a void for people who were spiritual but not religious in the ceremonies areas: they either had to accept the rituals and ceremonies that are offered by established religions, which may not necessarily reflect their own spiritual views, or go down the Humanist or Registrar option, which do not acknowledge their spirituality. As for the spiritual counselling and coaching, again, I felt that for people who are spiritual or wanting to explore spirituality in their own terms, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of counsel out there, to help them create a plan or a path, without trying to impose certain beliefs or world-views.
Had you run your own business before?
Yes. I had a language company before and I still do some language teaching.
How did you do it? Did you launch full time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I launched full time – but I was also clear that it would take time for the business to bloom and grow.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
The importance of contacts and networking.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Not to compare myself to anyone else’s experience and process.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I had started to promote myself earlier, get myself out there, even do some free work to get myself known and not wait until the end of the training.
What are you glad you did?
I’m glad that I have taken the time to develop a vision of the project and that I have embraced the fact that the service is still very new and original, so it will take some time for people to appreciate all the different aspects of the offer.
What’s your top business tip?
Prioritize what you are going to do and divide your goal into manageable stages.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
I am slowly growing, and in a way diversifying, as new ideas come about the different services I can offer to clients.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
I see myself with a steady flow of workshops and counselling/coaching clients and as an established celebrant.
What an interesting career path, although it’s interesting to note that Karem was already providing a personal and presumably face-to-face service with her language teaching, so there wasn’t too much of a jump there. It’s so important to embrace flexibility in your self-employed career, even more than when you’re in employment: I’m certainly not doing now what I started out doing, and many people have these kinds of changes. It’s important to diversify as well as specialise, and keep adjusting your offering to suit what people actually want, and if she continues doing that, I’m sure Karem will be flourishing in a year’s time.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.