I was empowered and confident when I first came up with the idea for my business, TTYL. With that said, I learned very quickly when I officially launched in 2018 that I had a lot to learn about building a successful events company.
In the beginning, I wasn’t even charging people to attend events and was using a Word doc to build out my newsletter. Seriously!
So I turned to researching success stories—what worked and what didn’t—and I consumed everything I could about successful founders. During this time, I also became obsessed with podcasts like How I Built This and other business-led content. And I started reading up on wellness trends to ensure that I built my business mindfully. Ironically, because I was juggling a full-time job, a social life, and a side hustle, I burned out fast at the onset of starting my business.
I decided to take a step back and analyze my own wellness before stepping further into launching my business. I knew I needed something to help me get clarity and bridge the overwhelm. Something that had really been calling to me at this time was spirituality. The thing was, I wasn’t exactly the quintessential spiritual candidate. I disliked meditation (and still can’t get into it even though many keep encouraging me), and I didn’t keep a windowsill full of crystals that emitted good energy (although I’ve always thought they looked pretty). What I did know was that the answers I needed were inside me, and I just needed something to help me uncover them.
My spiritual tools of choice? Introspection and connection.
Ironically one of the places I found connection was Facebook. In 2018, I joined a few recommended Facebook Groups, and it was there that I quickly gained an incredible online support system. In one of them, a woman posted that she was getting her coaching certification and was looking for clients to practice on for free. I had heard about life coaching from my sister (who took the certification), but I had never been coached myself. Seeing as how I was on a downward spiral of overwhelm, I decided I had nothing to lose by volunteering.
It only took one session to realize my biggest issue. I spent all this time preaching to everyone about how they should take time to unwind and reflect throughout their week, but I wasn’t taking my own advice. My issue? I wasn’t spending enough time on myself. So, over the next few months, my coach and I developed something we called “solo experiences.” I started to take myself out on dates—without my phone—and journaled about my experiences afterward. I went to everything from comedy shows to concerts and even to dinners where I allowed myself to sit across from my thoughts. I treated myself to my own company.
At the time, I had been suffering from dissociation to the point where the days blurred together, and I felt like someone else was pushing an “on” button every time I woke up.
After six months of this reflective journey, I felt an unexplainable transformation. I was more centered, more focused, and my creative energy was at an all-time high. The craziest part was that I started to manifest connections I didn’t even know I needed through my positive energy. I ended up finding so much clarity that it led me to take a big leap of faith. I left my corporate job, and I kicked my business into high gear. To make this financially possible, I moved back home. I now had time on my side, and the last thing I wanted to do was waste it.
I knew routines were critical for entrepreneurs, so I started to piece mine together. I was up by 6:30am and at the coffee shop working by 9:30am every day, but not before dedicating time to connect. Every morning, I worked out to connect physically; I limited my phone use to connect mentally and spent time with my parents over breakfast to connect emotionally. I saw my burnout and overwhelm disappearing the more I committed to this routine.
And when I wasn’t working on my business or partaking in solo activities, I was out connecting with old friends or making new connections with like-minded people at workshops and events. These gatherings were not only great for research, but the connections I was making fed my soul. I began feeling like I was part of something larger than myself—a community of people bound together by the same purpose: human connection.
This realization is what helped me take my company from 50 to 100. I knew that my business had the potential to foster this same level of connection. All the time I spent at these events made me see that I didn’t have to do it all alone. And all the time I spent being introspective helped me differentiate what I was good at when it came to business and where I needed help. Together, these two discoveries helped me align enough to take my next big leap: make my first hire. I turned to the place that helped me kick off this spiritual journey: Facebook Groups.
I was blown away by the response I received once I put my search into the universe. After interviewing about fifteen people, I narrowed it down to three. And when it came down to making a decision, I followed my intuition—something I had finally reconnected with. I chose someone who was grounded, spiritual, and connected with my company’s mission. Months later, I know my intuition helped me make the right choice for my company.
While it wasn’t Reiki or sage that helped me start my business, the spiritual tools I chose worked like magic. By slowing down, connecting with others, and re-connecting with myself, I turned into the entrepreneur I knew I could be. Sure, I may not have it all figured out, but I have come to accept that no business owner does. The difference is that I now know how to make the right choices for me and my business. When I get overwhelmed, I choose mental breaks over mental anguish. When things take too long, I choose to trust the universe instead of frustration. What I really did throughout all of this was be brave enough to ask for help and to give myself time. And it was time that helped me get clear on what steps I needed to take, and who I needed to bring with me, to manifest the business of my dreams.
Time is of the essence; what will you do with yours?
Content courtesy of Liana Pavane, digital wellness expert and founder of TTYL—a tech-free community dedicated to human connection.
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, LIANA PAVANE
Liana founded TTYL in 2018 to help people have a healthier relationship with technology and social media. Since launching, she has been featured on NY1, Bedford + Bowery, The Joy List, the SHIPS podcast, and more for her work in digital wellness.
As a professional community builder, Liana believes in the power of unplugging and living in the present moment. Her tech-free events have been hosted at prominent spaces such as Athleta, Showfields, The Assemblage, The Phluid Project, and Tijuana Picnic.
Liana is also a born and raised New Yorker who studied theatre at Ithaca College. When she’s not growing her business or hosting an event, you can find Liana networking with like-minded people or finding joy away from her phone.