As a mum in business finding balance and keeping a clear head can be the biggest challenge. I've been working with Tina Bruce from Restore a yoga mum the past two years to get her story out there through photography for her social media content. Here is Tina's story on how she created a space for women everywhere to enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a waitress for a very cheesy celebration buffet restaurant called Valentines. They made us sing 'happy birthday' at the guest's table.
When did you start your own business?
I started my own business teaching yoga at the start of 2016. After completing my teacher training diploma I couldn't wait to be my own boss. My friend offered me her studio space in my local suburb. She runs a business called Madam Heap - The school for Mindful Living. So it was a perfect fit that we share a space and complement our offerings to our clients.
Why did you begin your business?
It was really a health crisis which started the ball rolling. I spent many years juggling a career and children always rushing from one thing to the next. As a result, I physically burnt out in my corporate role as a medical device technician.
Shingles left me with a chronic pain condition that made me unable to go on. I needed to slow down my life and Yin yoga happened to be the only thing which took my pain away. I completely fell in love with the practice and straight away made the connection between the mind and the body when it comes to managing stress.
My story wasn't uncommon as I began to notice so many women around me trying to 'do it all'. I knew then I had something of value to offer the working mums in my community. Hence "Restore a Yoga Mum" and my own style of "Mindful Yoga" was born.
Was there a defining moment that made you start your own business?
There were two defining moments. The first was having to crawl up the stairs to bed when I got home from work because I was in too much pain to walk.
Without your health you literally have nothing so it should be your number one priority. I made the decision to resign the following week.
The second defining moment was the same year when both my daughters started school. I was wishing for work that could fit within school hours. My husband worked long hours and I needed better flexible options which my corporate employer couldn't offer. This reinforced my decision to leave and start my own business answering only to myself.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Being a sole operator. There are so many big yoga studios around now I wondered whether the days of the sole operating yoga teacher were over. Being a boutique space it turned out that I could host more intimate classes and offer a unique environment where the students felt comfortable.
I also attract women who wouldn't go to a big yoga studio which can be intimidating if you are not a 'yogi'. I have discovered there are other teachers doing it solo and we have since collaborated to offer special events. Keeping up your own yoga practice is crucial and will keep you motivated!
How do you find balance or between business, kids and personal life?
I designed my business to fit around my family. My life now is much more simple on purpose. However, I still get help when I need and believe in outsourcing as much as possible. My husband and I are much happier and have better quality time when we don't need to clean the house.
How did you prepare yourself to start your business?
Everything just fell into place within the same week. I finished my Advanced Diploma, was offered a local space and ordered a bunch of props. That was it. Then all I needed to prepare was my first class plan and a whole lot of courage. I was shitting myself.
It's a very hard question because how do you know when you are ready to do something?
Always start before you are ready. Trust the universe will support you.
What was the biggest fear or challenge for you starting your own business?
Public speaking. Once I got over the initial nerves everything started to flow from the heart. Being authentically you takes the fear away.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
They were dear friends. Bless them for being my most loyal clients. Never underestimate word of mouth in the school yard.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I drop the kids off to school then ride my bike to the studio to prepare. By lunchtime I am free to go and do my own yoga practice. Then it's home for lunch and a little reading and planning creative ideas for new classes.
What do you love most about your job?
I adore the community of women it has created. We are all the same in that we all need time out and stillness to recharge and restore our energy. I love that I see my friends everyday and can help them become more mindful. I have also watched the relationships of students in my classes grow. It's beautiful to hold space for them each week.
Who are your biggest role models or influences that have impacted your career?
What's next for you and your business?
I'm going to follow my gut instinct which is to continue teaching mindful yoga and specialise my services into more of a medical intuitive role. I believe there are so many people out there suffering in pain and with autoimmune diseases due to our 'busy' culture. I would like to become the whole healing package :)
Any words of wisdom for those thinking of starting a business?
Don't waste another day working inside someone else's dream.
How has working with Prue as your photographer contributed to your business?
She is a breath of fresh air. Her confidence is reassuring and she just gets it. She follows your dream with you, not just in front of you with a camera.
What are you listening to right now?
Anugama, Jason Isbell, Trevor Hall, Katy Perry, Moana soundtrack
Quote that keeps you inspired?
No one is you and that is your power.
What do you value most in life?
Health, family and compassion for all beings.
What is the vision statement for your business?
I think I just discovered it answering these questions....The Whole Healing Package.
You can experience Tina's "whole healing package" restorative yoga and mediation by booking a call through her website.
I worked closely with illustrator and graphic designer Hannah Sutton to create consistent branding imagery for Tina's website and social media feed. Get in touch if you want to make your business shine with beautiful branded photography.