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4.11 | Why I Never Scaled My Solo Coaching Biz

Welcome to Devotional Anarchy, a podcast about intimate embodied leadership that is radically human, honest AF and thereby inherently disruptive to systems of disempowerment and disconnection. I’m Isha Vela, trauma psychologists, certified somatic practitioner, wealth wizard, licensed financial professional leadership coach, and intuitive business mentor. You’re here because you know self intimacy and self knowledge is the source of everything you want to create in your life. And that building safety and trust in your bodies would allows you to fully own and stored your energy in the direction of your desires. This season, get ready for deep dives into wealth building spirituality, emotional leadership, and human centered business with an activist twist. The conversations and tools shared in this podcast are your permission slip to manifest a life and business that lights your soul on fire and supports collective liberation. 

Isha Vela 0:02
Uh, hello and welcome to another episode I never planned on doing

Isha Vela 0:08
so, um, so this episode just kind of has been bubbling in my bubbling into my field, which is usually how the episodes come up, but it arose as something that I needed to share with you, and I needed to share it with you, because it’s about giving you permission to do things differently and to do things your way.

Isha Vela 0:37
And it feels vulnerable to share this, because anytime I present something that’s countercultural or that

Isha Vela 0:48
is different, there’s a part of me that that is afraid that it’s wrong because it’s different, because I’ve Been so socialized to just find my way into belonging as quickly as possible and not stand out. You know, the truth is, is that I, in a lot of ways, I can’t help but stand out, and yet, I’m still, you know, there’s still a part of me that wants to kind of do things the way other people do them, and I I kind of can’t

Isha Vela 1:23
So with all of this emphasis on scaling your business and scaling it to six and seven figures, I wanted to come in and share my story of why I didn’t do that with My coaching business.

Isha Vela 1:41
And it’s not because I don’t have ambition. I definitely I’m ambitious like crazy, but

Isha Vela 1:49
I want to back up. I want to back up and sort of start from the beginning. So when I transitioned from being a trauma psychologist and a somatic practitioner with my brick and mortar practice into being a coach. I had a really big vision, and I had big ambitions.

Isha Vela 2:10
And in fact, I had seen like when I say that I had a big vision I had I’d actually had a vision. I’d received sort of intuitive hits about what it was going to look like and what I was going to be doing. It was really sort of fleshed out. And this was at, this was when this was in. This was before 2020, so around 2017

Isha Vela 2:36
2018 I’d had this vision, and I’d been progressively moving toward the vision like, you know, getting up really early in the morning when my kids were still asleep, when the world was still asleep, and putting in one or two hours into my business, right? Whether it was like watching a YouTube video to, like, understand how to use this particular platform or how to, I don’t know, some tech thing, right?

Isha Vela 3:03
And when I had this vision, I was really afraid because, you know, there was a part of me that, like, loved to just hide and be in the background and like, kind of like, oh yeah, don’t bother me over here. And I could feel the part of me that also wanted to be well known in the industry. And that’s the part of me that I began to nurture and Stoke as part of like bringing myself out into the online space and into the world.

Isha Vela 3:32
And at that time I, you know, around 2018 I’d graduated from my somatic certification program. I knew that I had the education and the wisdom to lead, right? I part of, like, part of what I’d been working on for those four years is really trusting my voice and trusting that I had the leadership,

Isha Vela 3:55
yeah, and trusting what I knew, right?

Isha Vela 3:59
Like, eradicating self doubt, transmuting self doubt into trust. And at that time, I also had the money to invest in support. And I was, you know, I I moved from, you know, group program to group program and business coaching that was going to support me and guide me through, mostly, like the tech you know, that I thought that I needed, or the strategies to get myself out there. And, you know, especially around 2020, when lockdown happened, like the culture at the time was very much about scaling,

Isha Vela 4:38
and it was very much about, like, big business, right? Like Boss, boss, moves, you know, big money vibes, you know, all of that. And I was very caught up in that swirl

Isha Vela 4:52
of scaling to six and multi, multi, six figures, so, and it was intoxicating, like it was.

Isha Vela 5:00
The energy was like, it was like high. Everybody was riding it and

Isha Vela 5:08
and I saw everywhere that I looked, I saw people like and there were just coaching programs helping people get to that place. And at some point in my entrepreneurial journey, I got to a place where

Isha Vela 5:23
I got to the precipice of that next level, where I realized that the next step was going to involve me

Isha Vela 5:32
hiring a team, like hiring people, building a team, managing that team, delegating, building standard operating procedures, right, so that I could step away if I needed to.

Isha Vela 5:48
And there was something in me right, something like a small voice in me that was like, I don’t know, and

Isha Vela 6:00
there was a part of me that knew that it would come at a sacrifice to my family, and

Isha Vela 6:10
that was a sacrifice that I wasn’t willing to make at that time because of, you know, my co parenting situation and um,

Isha Vela 6:23
and even though I knew that I would have more support right by having a team,

Isha Vela 6:30
the management part would, I knew the management piece of it would eat up a lot of my capacity,

Isha Vela 6:38

Isha Vela 6:41
I also knew that, like, having people on payroll and having to, like, do that type of work,

Isha Vela 6:49
or any of that, like, just wasn’t appealing to me. So it was kind of like it that part of it turned me off.

Isha Vela 6:58
And then there was the aspect of my health and my body.

Isha Vela 7:04
So my body, at some level, was not willing to be in CEO boss moves.

Isha Vela 7:12
You know, as a chronic illness survivor, there was a part of me that was like, Yeah, we’re not doing that. We’re not going to do, that

Isha Vela 7:23
my body intuitively knew there was, like, there was a knowing that felt very much like a true knowing versus a fear response that I would have to sort of like, bring my body into a level of holding

Isha Vela 7:44
that I knew, that I could do, but that would be damaging, that there would be some cost involved to my to my energy and to my health, and so my body just knows what Those things are. And even though I don’t have the Necessarily, the the clear articulation of why that wasn’t an option for me at that time, my body was just, it just gently said

Isha Vela 8:14

Isha Vela 8:16

Isha Vela 8:18
you know, then there was the aspect of my age, which is,

Isha Vela 8:22
you know, I feel like a lot of people in the online space don’t talk about this. They don’t talk and

Isha Vela 8:31
next podcast episode coming up, we’re going to be talking about menopause, money and business. Anyway, let’s talk about it a little bit right now. So there was the aspect of my age. I was already in my late 40s, and I could feel myself. I could feel the way that I used my energy. I could feel that shifting and changing. Um,

Isha Vela 8:57
I needed to rest more, right? I have a lot of energy, and I noticed that I needed to rest more, and that I was slowing down in ways that felt really healthy to me.

Isha Vela 9:12
I noticed myself needing to incubate a lot more, needing not to be so like out in the world. This was around, let’s say, 2000 beginning of 2022 when I noticed that it was No, I was no longer sort of like doing this, but needing to like,

Isha Vela 9:31
I’m feeling like this, this inward, right? And it, and it may have to do, or may not have to do with age, but I felt it was very much like just the time in my life, and it coincided with with,

Isha Vela 9:46
you know, being almost 50

Isha Vela 9:48

Isha Vela 9:50
yeah, just in short, everything that I knew that I would need to do to scale my coaching business wasn’t appealing to me. And when I talked.

Isha Vela 10:00
About my coaching business. I specifically mean my solo coaching business, because I think that what, what I need to mention to you as part of this conversation is that

Isha Vela 10:11
what was being promoted was the the CEO at the top model right, where it’s just like solo, solopreneur, boss, rich money vibes.

Isha Vela 10:27
That kind of a coaching model, sort of like a,

Isha Vela 10:33
if you’re watching this on video, my hands are forming a pyramid.

Isha Vela 10:37
Because, you know, a lot of people have talked about the the the solo coaching model is being a little bit of a pyramid scheme, right, where it’s like, you know, we like thrive, or we basically siphon money from more coaches, needing, needing these services. And, you know, whatever. I’m not going to get into it here, but

Isha Vela 10:57
you know what I’m talking about.

Isha Vela 10:59

Isha Vela 11:02
at some point I like as vibe I could as I could feel my body saying, no,

Isha Vela 11:10
ah, I stopped investing in support. So I kind of said, You know what? I’m gonna I’m gonna stop here and see where I land.

Isha Vela 11:19
And then after I stopped investing in support, shortly thereafter, I also stopped wanting to launch, and I had just started this, like, polyamory, you know, program, like it was called, like, I don’t know

Isha Vela 11:36
what it was called, I forget what it’s called, but it was just kind of like I I had the the turn on event, the opening event. And the intention was to, you know, send a series of emails, you know, inviting people into this group program and supporting people in in learning how to navigate those you know, opening their relationship if they were brand new to polyamory, right? So really like valuable service and somatic and conscious communication, all that kind of stuff. But it’s kind of like it just it kind of like a left the desire just kind of left my body. And so at that moment, I was like, wow, well, I’m gonna have to do something, because I, you know, I need to make money, but I don’t want to, like, keep finding clients in this way, like, you know, opening and a free event, having a free event, and then bringing people in through that, and then having them be part of this launch or program. So I stepped back, I and I leaned into more therapy style services, right? So I wasn’t, you know, chasing leads anymore. I was just kind of like, Yep, I put my profile up on, you know,

Isha Vela 12:53
a search website that is designed for therapists and psychologists. And I was like, You know what? I’m going to rest for a moment and figure out what this is about, right, what the next steps are, because I kind of reached this place where it was like, No, but I didn’t. I didn’t also have what was next. So I was just like, okay, and it felt really great for a while, like, it felt great because money was still coming in. I didn’t,

Isha Vela 13:21
right, like I said I didn’t have to chase leads, didn’t have to find clients, they were coming to me easily. And that was like, wow, that’s like, that’s a lot less effort than what I’ve been putting in. And I was like, Oh, this is really nice.

Isha Vela 13:35
And then, and that

Isha Vela 13:38
felt really good. And and part of what felt really good was that I, I loved the the feeling of like, I love the smallness of my business. I love that I I kept the intimacy in my work. Instead of focusing on being out there,

Isha Vela 13:57
I was like, Oh no. This is really like, you know, connection with my clients, not running groups of 30 people, and that just felt really good to me. And I know that there’s so many ways to scale your business without losing that sense of intimacy. But again, it would have involved paying a team, and I didn’t want to do that.

Isha Vela 14:19
And one thing that I discovered from that, from that period of time where I was sort of in this limbo of No, but I don’t know what’s next, was that I I discovered that part of my desire to scale was coming from an ego driven place. Was part of the there was a part of me that wanted to get really big and be a leader and be well known, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I could feel the part of me where it was ego driven, where I wanted to be seen and I wanted to be liked, and I wanted to, you know.

Isha Vela 15:00
Yeah, and that’s where, like, I feel like, when I when I unconsciously noticed that that’s when my body was like, Eh, let’s hold on just a second, and let’s take a step back. So, so that was part of it. And so I’m really grateful to my body and to my intuition and to whatever else was, like, whatever other part of me was noticing that so that I could be in integrity.

Isha Vela 15:29
And then the other part that I’ve mentioned before is that I was tired of solopreneurship. I think that part of my no was like, I don’t want to be at the top, like, I don’t want to be at the top and alone, because that’s just that just like, felt kind of like, yeah, like, I’m alone a lot. And I think that I was moving, like, with the awareness of moving from that hyper independent, I can do it all from I want to do it in community. I want to do it with other people. I want to, I want to be part of a group, you know, and be co creating with other people, so that I was shifting out of this individualistic kind of model of doing business into a collective model so and that was just shifting organically. I didn’t like necessarily intend for things to go in that direction, but it was just like it was just part of my noticing that desire and and moving from that like no and not really knowing what my yes was yet in that moment. So just listening to The Know, following the know, having that weird

Isha Vela 16:45
interim, kind of limbo period where I didn’t know, like, Okay, well, what’s going to happen next? And then feeling that desire to like, oh yeah, like other people,

Isha Vela 16:58
yeah. And another element that I that I want to speak to,

Isha Vela 17:04
you know, and I’ve spoken about this before, a lot of my containers, and a lot of what I was supporting people with was, like getting out of their comfort zone and being a discomfort and being part like growing as an entrepreneur. And I’d been out of my comfort zone for a long time.

Isha Vela 17:25
And I’ve said before, like, especially if you’re in business, if, especially if you’re in a spiritual business, it’s going to bring up all of your

Isha Vela 17:34
and you know, part of the entrepreneurial journey is, is taking the opportunity to heal those things that come up. And I did a hell of a lot of healing around my visibility. I did a hell of a lot of shadow work. I refined my messaging. I found my voice like even anchored even deeper into my truth. Marketing and Sales became fun for me. Instead of like, being like, Oh, I’m putting myself out there and sales. And I felt super empowered and confident, right, full of conviction about my value and my passion around how I serve people and how I support,

Isha Vela 18:16
you know, evolution, collective evolution, all those things, right?

Isha Vela 18:21
And then there’s a place where I was like, Okay, that’s enough. Like, I don’t want to, like, keep doing that. Like it felt I was kind of, like, done with the discomfort. And not from a place of, oh, I want to be comfortable and I don’t want to be uncomfortable anymore. It wasn’t like that, but it’s like,

Isha Vela 18:40
my my co parenting relationship was so uncomfortable, and then on, spiritual entrepreneurship was uncomfortable, and it was just, it just became like,

Isha Vela 18:55
Wow, just, I’ve just developed so much skill and resilience around being uncomfortable until I was kind of like, done. It was like, You know what? That’s enough.

Isha Vela 19:10
I’ve decided it’s okay to be comfortable.

Isha Vela 19:14
And you know, you get to decide when,

Isha Vela 19:18
when it’s time to heal something, and, you know, when it’s time to heal something through your business, and when it’s like, you know what? It’s just, no, we’re not doing that, you know? We just, it’s just going to be easy. We’re just going to skip over that part, you know, so

Isha Vela 19:35
so that that was that, right? Like just being in so much discomfort and really, like accessing so much in resilience and skill, right? Like I was really in that resilience work, and it was great for me, like it was like Mega capacitation time.

Isha Vela 19:50
And then when my ex husband died, it really shifted the course of my life. Like I.

Isha Vela 20:00
And I’m not saying like the decision to to not scale had already happened, like a year prior to that, but his loss shifted, or rather deepened my priorities around keeping things really manageable and simple and grounded.

Isha Vela 20:20
And by that time, I had already, like I was about six months into my finance business, and that was, you know, that that obviously was really, it was an answer to my prayers around

Isha Vela 20:37
being part of a team, working collectively,

Isha Vela 20:43
leveraging, leveraging a team, right? So scaling, but not doing it in a solo way.

Isha Vela 20:52
And this finance business also uses a lot more old school methods for connecting with people, like, like just calling them on the phone, for example, reaching out to people, you know, which felt really, really good. It just felt good again. There was, like, that intimacy piece to it.

Isha Vela 21:13
And, you know, yeah, there was the intimacy piece. It felt really about, like connection and, and,

Isha Vela 21:22
and don’t get me wrong, I love automation, and I love automation. I love sort of the simplicity of knowing, like emails are being sent out at a certain time and I don’t have to worry about that. It takes right? It takes a load off. But I also really like the personalized experience that I got to to express through the finance business. And, you know, the model that, that collective, model that that I work in in finance, has challenged me in ways that I didn’t expect because, you know, I noticed the parts of me that that were kind of individualistic, right? Like, as I was shifting from solopreneurship into a more collective model, I was just kind of like, Oh, I’m sharing this. I’m sharing what I get paid with this other person, you know, like, it brought up some for me. So that felt like the work that I needed to do in that moment of like transitioning from individualistic models of working into collective models of co creation and working, and even how we get paid so

Isha Vela 22:35
and then on top of that, because the finance services that we offer are free, right? We don’t charge a sitting fee, like most financial

Isha Vela 22:48
professionals do, right? In the traditional financial services industry, it shifted me from, from a mindset of like, you know, every interaction has to be paid, right? Like, you know every every hour is a paid hour.

Isha Vela 23:05
And so I it really challenged me to let go of the idea that money needed to be exchanged so And it shifted me more into like just being of service and and letting go of the outcome that money was going to be on the other side of that interaction.

Isha Vela 23:24
So that’s something that I wasn’t wasn’t expecting at all,

Isha Vela 23:28
and I discovered that I love offering people something that is free, with no no strings attached, and that I feel is disruptive in a world where there’s always that quid pro quo, that expectation of monetary exchange, and that it’s often couched in this,

Isha Vela 23:51
this idea of like, you know, your time is is your time is money. And, you know, yes, my time is absolutely valuable, and I do want to set boundaries around that. And I do set boundaries around my time. And yet, there’s something freeing. There’s something that is that is opening about just offering knowledge and information to people who need it. And I want to share this like, I feel like part of the motivation

Isha Vela 24:25
for sharing this is really like the

Isha Vela 24:29
I feel like the what’s underscoring, or what’s like, what’s underneath this share this episode is

Isha Vela 24:39
uncolonization. Right? On colonization from the traditional coaching model. And so,

Isha Vela 24:48
you know what I want to offer again is like, is permission to to not scale,

Isha Vela 24:54
permission to not have coaching or healing.

Isha Vela 25:00
Uh, or group coaching programs, anything like just coaching in general, be your your sole income. It doesn’t have to look the way it does in in the industry, right in the field, you can have it be just one piece of your business, or one, one portion of your income, let’s say, right? And I’ve you know, there’s other episodes about multiple streams of income. Listen to that. It’s great,

Isha Vela 25:33
but yeah, really thinking about

Isha Vela 25:37
just doing it differently and doing it your way, and that, you know you can be a healer and also like and a coach and a mentor of whatever you want to call yourself. And you can also be of service in another industry. You can be of service in another area

Isha Vela 25:58
where you can express your passions, right? Like, you can have a a coaching business and, you know, or you can have a business running retreats, and you can have a business that’s

Isha Vela 26:11
like, where you do, like, I don’t know, children’s photography, for example, and that both, maybe both have a theme around being seen, you know, but that you get to express a part of your creativity in different ways, and that you get to offer maybe a healing experience even through the photography work, you know, I feel like

Isha Vela 26:34
there’s because of where we are, sort of in this in this economic climate, there’s a lot of healers that have gone back into nine to five jobs

Isha Vela 26:48

Isha Vela 26:49
right into a variety of different sectors.

Isha Vela 26:53
And so what I want to say about that is that, you know, you can still be a healer, and you know,

Isha Vela 27:02
exercise or express what you’ve learned in those settings, in those business settings, I think it’s still revolutionary to to show up in an embodied way, or to bring a level of awareness and conversation. And

Isha Vela 27:27
I don’t know, I’m sounding vague as I say this, but,

Isha Vela 27:31
you know, for example, like I used to have a mailman who was really amazing, and he, yeah, he delivered the mail. He was always on time, blah blah, you know, blah blah, blah. But he was also, like, this incredible human being, and

Isha Vela 27:49
when he delivered my mail, he would like talk to me about the flowers in my front yard and make recommendations about, like, you know, my gardening, because he was also an avid gardener. So like he had this passion that went beyond, you know, delivering the mail. And he expressed that, and he talked to people about what he was passionate about. And for me, having him as my mailman was a healing experience. I’ve had that, you know, I’ve had that with people at, you know, car rental places where the energy of that person was so like it just touched me so deeply. Like the way they attended to me, the way they served me, felt like a healing experience. And so, you know, if you are someone who is, who is diversifying your income if you’re someone who, if you are a coach or a healer or a mentor, and you also have another job where you’re not necessarily doing that type of work specifically, like, Please trust that that is good for the world Also, and good even for that, that sector of business, because how you show up really, really matters and

Isha Vela 29:09
and not everybody is not everybody is designed to scale their business to six figures. That is not for everyone, and to uphold it as where you need to get to, I think is, is really just toxic and

Isha Vela 29:27
not helpful,

Isha Vela 29:29
not helpful and and we want to you want to be careful in you know, when you’re moving towards that, to really be in Integrity, not only with your capacity,

Isha Vela 29:41
with your desires, but like, what’s really, really good for you and obviously for your family as well. Because, you know, you know, honestly speaking, it’s something that I could do, but it would be out of integrity for me. Energetically, it would be out of integrity for me, just I know that I wouldn’t like it eventually.

Isha Vela 30:00
It would like be something that I would have to burn down anyway, because it would just, it would be unappealing to me on in the long run. And I’m glad that I caught it