It’s our monthly Bengaluru Vegans Potluck picnic at Cubbon Park. The grass is soft and cozy, the food is delicious, the conversations are fun and uplifting. We usually have a mix of new and regular attendees so there’s always a round of introductions.
It’s my turn. I speak about my vegan journey, the ethical reasons that convinced me, how veganism turned me into a chef, blogger, teacher, entrepreneur, and finally now a holistic business coach and mentor.
“That’s the gist of it,” I say, “unless anyone has any questions.”
G asks, “What’s the biggest challenge faced by vegan entrepreneurs?”
Even before he completes the question I hastily respond, “other people!” I mistakenly think he’s asking what the biggest challenge faced by vegans is. Hehehe Then I register the word “entrepreneurs” and pause for a moment. I need to think about this one.
Ask me about the various challenges vegan/conscious entrepreneurs face and I can shoot off a long list. But I’ve never considered what the single biggest challenge is.
At the potluck I share a few pain points and hurdles off the top my head. But over the weekend I can’t help but give the question a lot more thought. I mull over the areas in which my coaching clients seek my help most. Each business has its own unique set of pain points, but many challenges are shared across the board.
What’s the common denominator? Is there one at all? Can any challenge be singled out as the biggest?
My brain keeps computing it in the background all weekend. Then the answer suddenly dawns on me. “Ohhhh.” It should’ve been obvious! Especially considering how much I harp on about it on my blog, podcast, and Insta posts. Haha
I didn’t think I could narrow it down but it turns out that there is indeed one challenge that can be singled out as THE biggest. So many pain points and issues different people deal with while running a conscious business lead back to that one area being the weak link.
Here are some things I’ve often heard vegan entrepreneurs say:
- “They’ve not paid for the order I sent last week. How do I ask for my money now? I feel so uncomfortable.”
- “She placed an order for today at 2 am last night. I had to wake up really early and start baking it. Why do people expect last minute service?”
- “What can I do? My customers call me often, so I’m constantly with my phone, even when I should be spending quality time with loved ones.”
- “What me-time? What self-care? I’ve got too many emails, and social media comments and messages to respond to!”
- “I never asked for it, but he inundated me with ‘advice’ about my business. Why do I have to listen politely and justify my decisions? Now I feel too drained to work.”
- “They’re also a vegan organisation. How can I refuse to collaborate with them, even though I know we’re not a good fit?”
- “Most people love my products, but now I got this one bad review from a dissatisfied customer and I’m so upset. How do I make everyone happy?”
- “My business occupies my mind day and night. How do I stop worrying about it constantly?”
- “Vegan food is delicious! How do I convince *everyone* to even try it with an open mind? These mental blocks are so tiresome to deal with.”
- “Even though my business is vegan, various customers have additional opposing expectations: healthy vs junky, gourmet vs affordable… Is all my effort even worth it if I can’t please them anyway?”
If you’re a conscious vegan entrepreneur, I bet you were like, “OMG yes!” “Totally!” “Haha so true” “I thought I was the only one”, while reading a bunch (or maybe all) of those. 😅
I asked my Instagram community what they thought the biggest challenge faced by vegan entrepreneurs is and got a couple of comments and DMs with very valid points.
Based on them, my own experience as a vegan entrepreneur, and the many insightful conversations I’ve had with business owners, content creators, educators, health professionals, artists, etc., in the vegan community over the years, here’s my perspective.
Those emotions I shared above stem from different kinds of situations. But there’s one major issue underlying all of them…
A LACK OF HEALTHY BOUNDARIES!
I know boundary issues are common across the board in businesses, relationships, and personal lives. They’re by no means unique to only vegan entrepreneurs.
However, I’ve repeatedly seen that conscious vegan entrepreneurs tend to be effing terrible at maintaining boundaries. We’re way worse than the others! 😂
- Obligated to please everyone in the vegan community.
- Hesitant to say NO to the wrong opportunities.
- The need to be available to our team and clients constantly.
- Guilty and personally responsible when people refuse to even try vegan food and products.
- Afraid to delegate important tasks because we believe our business should be perfect.
All these issues are just the tip of the big, hulking, boundary-disrespecting iceberg.
Healthy Boundaries result in:
- Time freedom
- Mental peace
- Joyful relationships
- Work life harmony
- Deeper sense of fulfilment
- And so much more!
So please, pleaaaseeeee make building strong boundaries your top priority. Then watch how a whole bunch of the daily hassles you face get wiped out! ☺️♥️
If you’re unsure how to go about it, here are a few links that you might find helpful:
What others think of your business, is none of your business!
How to be a boundaries boss, for conscious entrepreneurs
The Magic of Delegation – Episode 09
“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.
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