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Kimberley Chan: From Corporate Lawyer to Meditation Teacher

Oct 10, 2017

Kimberley Chan devoted over a decade to a career as a senior lawyer in international corporate organisations – which meant long, hard hours, high pressure and no room for failure. Whilst she had a solid, well-paying job, lived in a beautiful house in a gorgeous part of Sydney and was surrounded by a loving family and friends, she felt drained of life and by life. She was spent.

After completing a major corporate restructure that took almost a year to complete, Kimberley felt absolutely depleted, leading her GP to send her off for the usual myriad of blood tests. When the results showed everything to be fine, it was then suggested Kimberley try meditation.

Kimberley spent a year of dipping her toes into various meditation styles – from mindfulness breathing to Buddhist, with varying degrees of success – before coming across Vedic Meditation.

Since completing her year-long integrated initiator training in 2015, Kimberley has graduated as a meditation teacher and established her own Sydney practice, Kimberley Chan Meditation. Today, she works with a broad spectrum of clients, from corporate professionals to mothers, students and kids as young as 7 years old.

Kimberley is passionate about making Vedic Meditation accessible, practical and easy to incorporate into our modern lives. She loves teaching people meditation as the foundation to become more grounded, creative, healthier and happier.

Meditate with Kimberley
Kimberley runs both private and group courses comprising of 3 sessions from her Balmain-based studio, as well as a guided meditation class at The YogaBar in Sydney CBD.  Further information about pricing, what to expect and course dates can be found at kimberleychanmeditation.com.au.

Extra note – in the interview I also mentioned an organisation called ‘Altspc’ and I described it  like ‘Airbnb’ for business.  If you’d like to learn more about this organisation, head over to: https://www.altspc.com/en.   The website says “Altspc puts unused or vacant space to better use by connecting it with freelancers, start-ups and small to medium businesses that need it.”

To listen into my conversation with Kimberley Chan:

You can listen right here on the Healthy Numbers website.

You can listen to the full interview on iTunes click here.

You can listen to the full interview on Stitcher click here.

The full transcript of my interview with Kimberly Chan is below:

Ingrid:                 Hello, and today, we are talking to Kimberley Chan. Kimberley has a terrific start-up story for us. Good afternoon, Kim.

Kimberley:         Hi, Ingrid. Nice to meet you.

Ingrid:                 Nice to meet you as well. Kim, let’s get started. What is your business? What business are you in?

Kimberley:         I run a business called Kimberley Chan Meditations, so I teach a meditation technique called vedic meditation, which is a very ancient technique that comes from India but is really universal in nature. It uses a mantra to help guide us through the more active thought-filled states of our minds towards the deeper, quieter, subtle states.  And in the process, it basically helps us to release all our daily stresses that accumulate and also the long health stresses that we may be carrying that we’re not aware of.

I teach people to meditate, and in the process, helping them to release stress and usually creating space for them to do the things that they really want to do and to live the fullest expression of their lives.

Ingrid:                 Oh my gosh, and you just have the most amazing voice, Kimberley. I already feel more relaxed. (both laugh)

Kimberley:         You know, it’s hilarious. The lady who interviewed me about a month ago said the same thing. I haven’t listened to my voice because I’m a bit embarrassed to, but I need to perhaps.

Ingrid:                 You perhaps need to, indeed. Kim, when did you start this business?

Kimberley:         I started teaching in November 2015, pretty much straight after I finished graduating in India in October 2015. Pretty much just got straight into it mainly because I had people who knew I was training to become a teacher, and so they were keen to learn. The moment I graduated, I was ready. I managed to find a space. I started teaching straight away.

Ingrid:                 Fantastic. Now, why did you start this business? Obviously, you learned how to meditate, but why did you want to start a business about meditation?

Kimberley:         That’s a good question because I’m the last person to think that I could be a meditation teacher. I’m actually a trained corporate lawyer, and I worked in corporate law for over 15 years in big companies and really had your standard corporate lawyer experience, working really long hours. It was at the end of a particularly harrying transaction that lasted more than a year that I went to see the doctor because I was just feeling flat and tired. The doctor did a whole bunch of tests, and everything came out fine. You know, I was lucky I had a very progressive GP who said, “Well, you know, before we try medicating, perhaps we should try other things. Maybe exercise, maybe some meditation.”

That led me to the whole path of meditation. I started learning it. It was some time down the track, maybe, that six, eight months after I was practising  regularly that people started noticing that I was feeling better and looking better and sounding happier and was more productive in the work that I was doing and just had better relationships with people.

They asked me what I was doing, and it took me a little while to put the dots together. It was really meditation. They started asking me, “Where can I learn,” and I’d tell them. Some of them learned from my teacher. Then, some of them came back and said, “Well, what about learning with you?” I was like, “No, I’m a lawyer, not a teacher.” When people just kept asking me, and then, one day, I was speaking to my teacher. He said, “Well, why don’t you train to be a teacher? There’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t be a corporate lawyer and a meditation teacher, if you like.” I thought about it, and I thought, “Well, okay. I’ll give it a go.” That’s pretty much how it started. I never set out to become a teacher. I set out to learn meditation, and then along the way, became a teacher.

Ingrid:                 That led you to having a business because it becomes a business then as well, doesn’t it?

Kimberley:         Yes. That’s right, yes.

Ingrid:                 What did you want this business to give you? You accidentally became a teacher. That led you to a business, so what did you want from the business, from day one? What did you think the business would do for you?

Kimberley:         I wanted to make meditation as accessible as possible. As lovely as meditation is, I think it still suffers from a bit of a PR problem. You know, I think saying they want meditation tends to give people the impression that you have to go somewhere far away, removed from society in a very quiet place hidden away. People wearing white robes or having become a vegetarian. There is a really strong spiritual religious connotation to meditation, and I really felt that there was an opportunity for meditation to be much more practical, to be very modern and to be taught in a way that made it accessible to people like me, you know? People who have corporate jobs, who have big busy lives and really needed something but didn’t really know what it was. It’s a simple enough practise, so that was really my goal in starting to teach, was to show people that meditation, that I’m probably not the kind of person you typically think would be a meditation teacher or a practitioner, and yet I can do it, so you can too.

Ingrid:                 That’s great. Thanks. This is one of my favourite questions. When did you realise that you were actually in business? When did the business actually become real? For lots of people when they answer that question, it’s a different answer for most people. What was it that made it feel like it was a business?

Kimberley:         Well, there are a couple of pivotal moments. I think I realised that – when I received my first course client, someone actually paid me to teach them and to talk to them about meditation. That was quite a big moment for me. Then, I think that the next one was really when I went from teaching one and then to another and then to another. There was just a continuous line of students. That made me realise it wasn’t a one-off thing, that it was something that was going to continue, and that this was the real thing. There are people here who genuinely want to learn. I just kept teaching whoever came along, pretty much. It’s continued, so here we are.

Ingrid:                 I guess it’s real. We’re going to talk about what customers want and how you know about that. You have spoken about this, that people asked you. Then, as you just said, they came back. Then, more came, but how do you know? How did you know this was a viable business? What’s the reinforcement that the business has efficacy and continues? I think you pretty much have answered this, but is there anything you would add?

Kimberley:         Yes. It’s interesting because I think even though meditation has been in the mainstream for a while, I think it’s not really until very recently that it’s become much more something that is being practised in schools and in corporations and more in the mainstream sites. It’s not really seen so much now as that hippy-dippy practise from the 60’s and 70’s. It’s now been backed by alot more science. The level of interest is so different. I can remember speaking to my teacher who started teaching 20 years ago. He said when he used to say he was a meditation teacher, people would go, “Not really sure what to talk about with you now.” Now, when he goes into parties, and he says he’s a meditation teacher, he can’t get away. People just keep asking him questions.

I’ve had very similar experiences where people ask what I do. I say, “I teach meditation.” It sparks a whole chain of questions. I think there’s very few people I’ve met who are not aware of meditation and are not curious about it and what it could possibly do for them. I think it’s not a fad. I think it’s really coming into its own. You know, along with the likes of yoga and all that kind of thing, I think that whole mindfulness getting a bit more into the pace of life slowing a bit and deepening the moment is a genuine need of the time.

Ingrid:                 I think that’s very insightful, Kimberley. I think you’re right. It has really evolved because 20 years ago, people were talking about mindfulness and meditation, but they were the outlyers, weren’t they, whereas now, as you say things have changed.  I love the way you said that. He said he was a meditation teacher. People didn’t know what to talk to him about. There was that uncomfortable silence.

Kimberley:         Yes, yes, it’s like, “Oh….?” and they back away from him. Now we can’t get enough. “Oh, what do you teach? How do you teach? Where do you teach,

Ingrid:                 People know what he’s talking about.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 My next question is about money. There’s a couple questions about money. I guess because of what you said about meditation, there possibly isn’t a lot of money to set this up, but in terms of the business, whatever funding you needed, how did you find funding in the early days? Then, how do you fund expansion? What is involved? Then, I am going to ask you separately about a pricing strategy. It’s really about getting the money to get started.

Kimberley:         Yes, so the money to get started was entirely mine. I basically pulled a certain amount from my savings. You are right in terms of setting up a meditation business, is not as capital intensive as a lot of other businesses. You have to spend a lot of time figuring out exactly where I wanted to teach in terms of the space, and then trying to … Obviously, I hire a space with an existing business, and then trying to make sure that it all lines up in terms of the times. I think for me, the cost of setting up the business has been more in terms of time and figuring out the location for the studio rather than the cash aspect of it, but I am looking for my own space now. That, in itself, is interesting in Sydney, as you can imagine. You know space is very expensive, so that’s my current challenge.

Ingrid:                 Yes, and really, it is about having … If you’re going to pay the rent for space, how many hours out of the 24 hours are you actually going to use it, because you’re paying for the entire seven days, 24 hours. Yes.

Kimberley:         Yes, that’s right.

Ingrid:                 Actually, Kim, there’s a really interesting new group that’s come up that’s ‘altspc’ I think is the name. It’s like Airbnb but for businesses.

Kimberley:         Oh, right.

Ingrid:                 It’s encouraging people who have a business to put their business on this … I’ll put it in the show notes because I just don’t have it to hand at the moment, but it’s matching people up with who has got a space where it’s not being used so that businesses can actually … It’s not an app yet. It’s actually website-based. They cover the insurance. It’s a really interesting idea. We went to a promotion for it last week.

Yes, there’s lots of businesses that have got this space. It’s not used at various times of the day, depending on the business. That’s the thing that maybe could be helpful to you as you look at the space, to share a space with other people.

It’s a bit like co-working but a next extension to that, you know?

Kimberley:         Yes because I know when I eventually get my own space, I will be open to the possibility of hiring it out to a yoga teacher or someone who wants to teach an hour a week or something, because why should this space just sit there unused? I think our ideas of space and using space has changed quite a lot in the last few years with Airbnb and things like that. That’s great, thank you.

Ingrid:                 I think people are much more willing, much more willing to share something with others rather than saying, “This is mine,” and being very proprietry about it.

Kimberley:         Yes. Yes, yes.

Ingrid:                 In terms of processing strategies, clearly you’re making money from this. Just, by the way, for the listeners, have you stopped working as a lawyer? You do this permanently, or are you still doing some legal work as well?

Kimberley:         I do some ad hoc legal work, but I have stopped working full-time as a corporate lawyer.

Ingrid:                 This is your business and your income?

Kimberley:         Yes, this is my business. In terms of the pricing strategy, you know, I was really guided by what my teacher was charging and what my peers charge. We pretty much all charge roughly the same.

With vedic meditation, we do come from a long line of teachers in our tradition that extends back 5,000 years. You’ll find if you ever do some Google research on vedic medication teachers, we pretty much all charge roughly about the same. It’s not like we have an agreement or anything like that, but we just all come out….. It’s because we all commiit a set amount of time to teaching, and so our fees are generally about the same.

Ingrid:                 Okay.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 Yes, thanks, and people are happy to pay it, so that’s working?

Kimberley:         Yes. Yes because they get a reasonable amount of instruction and time in terms of learning the meditation. Most people don’t really have an issue with the course when it comes to learning it properly.

Ingrid:                 Yes, lovely. How do you find new customers? How do you know who they are, where they are … In specifics, or as general as you like. Where are these people and how do they find you?

Kimberley:         Everyone sets up a website these days, don’t they? One of the very first things everyone tells you to do. Of course, I did that as well, but to be absolutely honest with you, most of my customers don’t come through the website, I mean they may refer to my website at some point in time, but they don’t … The website doesn’t drive the customers.

For me, when I finished graduating, and I was trained as a teacher, the first set of customers, or students that I had were obviously my friends and my family. Then, it’s really been through word of mouth. With mediation and teaching, I find that, that is the most powerful way to attract new students is to have someone experience me as a teacher, experience my technique, go away and practice the meditation for a period of time. Enjoy the benefits and feel the difference for themselves. Then, other people around them start to notice it. They’ll ask them questions. Then, they’ll bet talking, “Oh, oh, I learn meditation.” Then, that’s usually how I get most of my students through word of mouth referrals.

You know, they’ll have a look at the website, but that’s not what drives them to me. It’s generally knowing someone who’s learned with me. That, I find, is usually how I get most of my students.

Ingrid:                 That’s lovely. That’s such a nice story.

Kimberley:         It’s old-fashioned, isn’t it?

Ingrid:                 Interesting how things go around in circles, isn’t it?

Kimberley:         Yes. It is, it is.  Like I said, the website is important to have, absolutely, because I think when someone refers someone to you, the first thing you will do is to go on Google and do a search and see what we can find about them. It’s useful from that point of view. It establishes credibility and gives a person a sense of what to expect, but for me, it doesn’t drive people through it. That comes via my students and the people whom I’ve taught.

Ingrid:                 Who you’ve taught. This is an extra question around that. Do you actively seek that your students recommend others? Do you actually ask for referrals, or do you let that happen organically?

Kimberley:         I don’t. I don’t ask for referrals, but I do make it known to them that if they do refer someone to me or in some cases, I’ve had someone who’s referred five or six students to me, I’ll say to them I’ll give them a special rate for course fees. That might just help them along, but I don’t necessarily ask for referrals.

Ingrid:                 I was just curious.

Kimberley:         I think it usually happens organically, you know?

Ingrid:                 That happens. It does.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 Especially, as you said, people have noticed the difference in the person and then say, “What are you doing? I want some of that. I want what you’ve got.”

Kimberley:         Yes. That’s really the best advertising, isn’t it, really?

Ingrid:                 Certainly. It certainly is. Complete shift in gear. What’s your exit strategy? You don’t have to tell us. Do you have an exit strategy? Is this something that goes on forever? Yes, what’s your … begin with the end in mind strategy around this.

Kimberley:         I don’t think I have one

Ingrid:                 That’s okay.

Kimberley:         I’m just contemplating. Someone asked me this question not that long ago. It’s funny because, I also don’t believe in retirement, so that’s maybe why I don’t have an exit strategy. I don’t know whether it’s partly to do with my culture, but we don’t really retire. Retirement is quite a foreign concept to my family and me. I expect to be doing something and being of service right up to the very end. Not to say that I’m going to work full-time and continue to teach meditation full-time, but I expect I will be teaching meditation up until the time I pass on. Not full-time, but certainly for a very long time. I don’t really have an exit strategy, sorry. That’s not a very good answer, isn’t it?

Ingrid:                 That’s perfectly fine. No, it’s a perfect answer. You’d be surprised. I’ve done more than 40 interviews. I think there’s only two people who have an exit strategy, so you’re right up there.

Kimberley:         Should we have an exit strategy?

Ingrid:                 Well, I guess it depends on  what it is that the business is giving you. Some people actually do believe that there is a point in time in the future when they won’t be doing the business. They would like to either sell it, or they’ll just wrap it up. There’s some end-point for them. I’m with you about the retirement thing. You know, I can’t imagine not doing anything. I think retirement is a word that belongs in another –

Kimberley:         Era.

Ingrid:                 It really is. It’s a redundant word. I think we need a new word …

Kimberley:         We do, don’t we?

Ingrid:                 For whatever this is that we’re all going to do for the next how ever long we’re going to do it. We don’t have that word yet. There’s a few people playing around, but you’re right. I think it’s becoming more and more, not just cultural now, but I think there’s other people saying, “Well, I can’t imagine sitting on a porch in a rocking chair or playing golf.” Whatever the retirement picture is. Yes, I think that’s a-

Kimberley:         We’re living longer too, so it’s interesting when people talk about retirement because you could retire at 65, but we could all probably end up closer, living closer to 100. Even that’s another 40 years.

Ingrid:                 Yes, and it’s a long time to do nothing, you know?

Kimberley:         Yes, yes, absolutely.

Ingrid:                 Whatever this nothing is.

Kimberley:         I think that is a challenge though, isn’t it, for us, really, to try to figure out what it means.

Ingrid:                 I think the thing though too, Kim, is as people get older, everything takes a little bit longer.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 Yes. I mean as you get into your 70’s and 80’s, everything just takes that little bit longer. The reason there’s not as much time to do as much either. Anyway, that’s another conversation for another podcast, I think.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 Okay, so let’s have some reflective questions. Regarding the business side of this meditation, what is the one thing you really wish you had done differently at the beginning?

Kimberley:         I think sometimes, I wish I had started a bit sooner, that I had trained to become a teacher sooner, but I also realise that I don’t think I was necessarily ready to teach because I do enjoy teaching so much. I go, “Oh, I wish I had done it sooner,” but I also realise that, I think, when I was sickly, I wasn’t in a space to be teaching up until fairly recently. That’s really the only regret I have, I think.

Ingrid:                 It’s a really common one.

Kimberley:         That I wish I had done it sooner? Yes, yes.

Ingrid:                 Yes, it’s very common among people in business. Once they get into their business, they’re like, “Man, why did I wait so long to get onto this,” yes.

Kimberley:         Yes. It’s a funny though, isn’t it? I don’t know. Is it the fear of going on your own is quite real, especially if you’re like me, when you only ever worked for someone, it’s a complete change of mindset.

Ingrid:                 I talk about, and you know, I’m not the only talking about this concept, but it’s entrepreneurial gravity. It’s that idea of gravity holds us onto the earth to stop us from flying away. Getting a business off the ground is like launching a rocket. If you think about those A380’s heading down the runway, they run and they run and they run. Then, eventually, they just take off. It takes such a lot of effort to get a business going.

Kimberley:         That’s true.

Ingrid:                 That is one of the ways that I help explain that idea that we can’t start earlier because we’re on the runway. We’re warming up the engines of the rocket. Yes, it just takes us a lot of time.

Kimberley:         Yes, yes. No, that’s a good analogy. I like that.

Ingrid:                 Thank you, thank you. This is a different question. Is there something that you wish you had known from the start? If somebody had said to you, “Here’s some information about running a business,” that you could have found useful from the beginning.

Kimberley:         I would say, and you might find this funny, but when you run a business, you’re everything. You know, I came from working in large corporate organisations where there was a department for everything. When I started teaching, I realised I was the ‘department of everything’, which included IT, included taking the calls, including replying to all the e-mails, setting up the room and hiring the space. At the beginning anyway, before you can afford to get any assistance, you’re it, which means you’ve got to be the front person. You’ve got to be the behind-the-scenes person. You’ve got to be the accountant. You’ve got to be the PR person. You’ve got to be, you know, the face of the business and really, particularly in meditation, you cannot have a bad day because people are looking at me and how I react and respond to things an example of what it’s like to have a meditation practise, a regular meditation practice. Yes, so it would be that basically, when you start a business, you’re it. Don’t expect that there’s going to be someone helping you out for a while, anyway.

Ingrid:                 I have to say that is the best way I’ve ever heard that explained, that you’re the department for everything.

Kimberley:         You are.

Ingrid:                 It’s so true. It’s so true.

Kimberley:         Really, you’re the IT that’s always like, “Crap, we’ve got to figure this out,” you know? There’s no one you can ring up and go, “So my computer does not work. I’ve tried this and this,” you know? It’s like, “Figure it out.”

Ingrid:                 You are the department of everything. That’s so cool. A slightly different aspect, so who, apart from yourself … Obviously, your teacher. You’ve talked about your teacher quite a lot. As you’ve grown your meditation practice and your business for teaching meditation, and you can either name names or you can just talk about the person in concept. Who’s been of greatest assistance to you?

Kimberley:         I would say my students have been the greatest assistance to me because they’ve been very … Every person that I teach, I spend a bit of time in the follow up and also getting feedback. They’ve given me the most useful feedback, in terms of how I structure my teaching, what they found useful, what they found a bit difficult to understand. It’s really helped me refine the way I now present my course and the amount of time I spend in certain aspects of it and others. I’ve just found that my students, generally, have been very, very good in helping  me refine the way I’ve done things in the business. Some things that I’ve tried that haven’t quite worked out, they’ve told me as well. I’ve been quite lucky. These aren’t just necessarily people I know. I’m talking about people that I … Who are now friends, of friends, of friends kind of thing. They’ve been very good in giving feedback and really helping me refine the offering and also the way I present my business and the way the business sits, in terms of what it offers to them.

Ingrid:                 That’s terrific.

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 They are. My next question was going to be around who can give you really good feedback, but it sounds like you’ve pretty much answered that as well. It is your clients that give you the feedback.

Kimberley:         Yes, but I would say also, the general public’s been pretty good. You know, the example I gave earlier about we’re now having the conversation with people about meditation. I do take quite a lot of notes in terms of listening to what people say and getting a real sense of what the general or mainstream view is on meditation. Then, refining and structuring my presentation. Occasionally, I do go into corporate, so when I meet people to do intro talks, it helps a lot. There’s a lot, there’s a huge spectrum of opinions when it comes to meditation. I know I’m in probably the minority, in terms of the knowledge I have of meditation. I find feedback from the public quite interesting.

Ingrid:                 That’s terrific because yes, it just changes how you do everything, doesn’t it?

Kimberley:         Yes, yes, it does. It just makes me realise things that, sometimes I think are important from a teacher’s point of view. They don’t even register with the number of people that I’ve taught. It’s like, “Okay. Good to know,” because we can get a bit … Yes, I think we can get a bit caught up with that.

Ingrid:                 We can become quite myopic in our own selves and what we believe.

Kimberley:         Absolutely.

Ingrid:                 If someone comes to you and says, “I’m thinking about starting my own business,” what would you tell them?

Kimberley:         It’s a general rule. I tend to be … I like to be more supportive than not. I have this philosophy, and this could get us in all kinds of trouble, but my view is that do the thing that your 80-year-old self would be proud you did, all right? My view is if you generally have a business idea that you think has legs, and you want to give it a go, then, go for it because I think at the end of the day, the worse thing that could happen is it doesn’t work. That’s a better outcome to have and to know, rather than the, “What if,” or “If only I did.” I would rather have lived and failed than not have tried at all. That’s my general philosophy in life. My view is if you really have an idea that you’ve tested out, and you think has legs. You’ve done the research, then I think you should go for it.

Ingrid:                 I like your caveat around that, that you’ve tested it out. It has viability, and it would really … Yes.

Kimberley:         I mean we’re talking a feasible business idea, not just something that just came to you overnight, you know, in a dream kind of thing. It’s got to be grounded.

Ingrid:                 There’s got to be somebody who wants to pay for it.

Kimberley:         Somewhat reality. Yes. Oh, God, what do I know, you know? Apple seems to be doing just fine. (Both laugh)

Ingrid:                 What three characteristics do you think you have that make you successful in your business? What is it about you?

Kimberley:         I would say that I’m very, very persistent. This was explained to me the other day by one of the researchers who does research on relationships. He was talking about people who are good at beginnings, people who are good at middles and people who are good at endings. Some people are good at all three things. He said to me, “You’re also one who’s good at all three things,” because what happens … He was like, in terms of a lot of businesses, he would say, “Be really good at starting. It’s very exciting to start something.” Then, inevitably, we get to the middle. The middle is just not very sexy, you know? The middle is a lot of hard work. If you look at the way success is, it’s not a straight line. You can have a peak, have a trough. You go round-about. Sometimes, you do a U-turn. Then, you go forward again. I think I’m very persistent. I’m very patient, so I do the middle part really well. I think that helps a lot.

I have a larger view of life, so I take a much longer perspective of life than normal. If I’m having a patch where business is a little bit quiet or things are not going to plan, I tend not to get too carried away. I tend to enlarge my sample of life and remember that just before this patch, there were good things. There will be good things after this patch as well. I guess you could say I have a glass-half-full perspective. That’s two things.

The third thing, I think, is I’m very thorough. I do a lot of preparations, which is why I like the analogy that you had about the plane on the runway. You know, I do a lot of work behind the scenes before I get to the door and when I greet my students. I think that helps a lot, particularly when it comes to teaching and teaching something like meditation. I think those are the attributes.

Ingrid:                 Yes, yes, so the persistence, the glass-half-full global, the bigger picture and the preparation. That’s terrific. If you think about this person who came to you and said they wanted to start a business, would they be the attributes you would think they need? Do you think there’s something else that somebody, a budding start-up would need?

Kimberley:         I think it would be helpful to have those attributes, but I think enthusiasm and the passion for what you’re doing is important as well. Sometimes, I’ve had friends who have started businesses based on the fact that they think they’ll be profitable and without any genuine enthusiasm or love for what it is that they’re making or selling. I think that always shows through. I think you can always … People can always spot the sincerity or lack of sincerity behind a business venture. It’s not to say that you can see it, but it’s an energy like you’re feeling. You can get a sense that, that will either pull people in or people will just be indifferent. Of course, they can feel it. I know I’m a meditation teacher, so I talk about energies and all that, but it’s not really, it’s not a hippy-dippy thing. It is a genuine thing. I think we can all tell, regardless if whether they’re spiritual or not.

Ingrid:                 Yes, yes. I think you’re right. Also, because now, more than ever, people have so much more choice. If there is indifference, it doesn’t even have to be bad. It just has to be indifference that people will go somewhere where the energy is better.

Kimberley:         I mean, you know, cafes or coffee in Sydney is a classic thing. There’s good coffee everywhere, but there will always be coffee places that you’ll go back to and others that you just won’t. It’s not got to do with the coffee. I mean the coffee is pretty much the same, I would say. Not same but in terms of the levels of … It’s good, generally, everywhere, but you’re going back not just for the coffee, you know? It’s for the energy. It’s for the feeling that you get when you go into that particular café, the conversations you have, the rapport and all that.

Ingrid:                 Yes, you’re absolutely right. We’re lucky. It’s pretty much good coffee everywhere in Sydney, isn’t it?

Kimberley:         Yes, I know, I know.

Ingrid:                 We are spoilt.

Kimberley:         No first world problems here. (both laugh)

Ingrid:                 Absolutely. Kim, thanks so much for your time today. If people in Sydney want to find you, it’s kimberleychanmeditation.com.au, is that right?

Kimberley:         Yes.

Ingrid:                 Now, what about people who are not lucky enough to be in Sydney? Do we have a way that people who aren’t in Sydney can access your brilliance?

Kimberley:         Look, it’s possible that I can, and I have taught in Melbourne a couple of times. It’s something I am open to if there’s enough people wanting to learn. I have flown across to Melbourne, and I’m open to doing that in Brisbane or Adelaide. Yes, it is one of those business structures where it is reliant on the individual.

Ingrid:                 What is there – five million people in Sydney?  So I reckon if you get started soon, we can contact everybody, can we? (Both laugh)

Kimberley:         Yes, so I’m definitely open to travelling and do … I have done some corporate inter-state as well, so that’s always open.

Ingrid:                 That’s lovely.

Kimberley:         The best thing to do is just to either ring me or e-mail me, and we’ll start a dialogue conversation. Anything is possible, you know?

Ingrid:                 Anything is possible, indeed.

Kimberley:         It’s really not that big a country. It’s easily accessible.

Ingrid:                 It certainly is. Now, as we draw this conversation to a close, is there anything else that you would add, so that people listening to this podcast are predominantly people who are thinking about starting a business or maybe in those early days. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you or that you’ve come across in your experience in business that you would add before we go?

Kimberley:         I would say this might come out sounding a bit wrong. I think it’s really normal for people, when they’re wanting to start a business or they have an idea to run it by family and friends. I don’t think that, that’s a bad idea, but what I do say is to remember that whatever opinions or responses that are given to you, are given to you from the perspective of that individual is not an opinion based on your abilities. It’s their opinion based on how they would feel about the idea if they had to do it. I think it can be very limiting.

Ingrid:                 That’s very wise. That’s very wise.

Kimberley:         It can be a bit limiting sometimes. Certainly, I encountered that because as you can imagine, there are not a lot of meditation teachers out there. I mean I’m the first meditation teacher in my family and certainly amongst my friends. When I did float the idea of becoming a meditation teacher, and particularly, given my corporate lawyer background, no one was supportive, funny enough.

Ingrid:                 Gee, go figure.

Kimberley:         That’s fine. That’s fine because it was so outside the realm of their understanding. It’s very hard for them to have given me any other advice. I value their advice but also understood that it was something completely brand new. There was only one way for me to figure it out, and that was for me to do it. People mean well, but they can only speak from their perspective is what I’m trying to say. I’m not saying don’t listen to what they’re saying, but just remember that they always speak from their point of view. If you’re trying to do something for the first time that no one in your family or your circle of friends has done, it can be hard for them to guide you, and you shouldn’t be discouraged.

Ingrid:                 That’s up to them, and as you said, if it all lines up, give it a go. Yes, that’s terrific. Kimberley, thanks so much for your time.

Kimberley:         Thank you.

Ingrid:                 It’s been a terrific conversation. Thanks very much.

Kimberley:         Thank you. Thanks, Ingrid.

 

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