Friday, January 11, 2013

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Barbara Lynn Cantone of Body&Soul Restorations

Meet Barbara Lynn Cantone, our Spotlight Entrepreneur for January. Barbara Lynn is a great example of someone who's career path naturally progressed to self-employment after years of working for others.  Barbara Lynn found an industry that fulfilled her and when an opportunity presented itself to become her own boss, she seized it.   One of the things I love about Barbara's business is her mission to make #citylifelivable. Throughout her Long Island City, NY spa, her targeted treatments and her products she has infused the essence of this critical restorative and preventative principle.  Read on to learn more about Barbara's business Body & Soul Restorations, her tips for balancing work and home life, and small business resources she can't live without.
Barbara Lynn Cantone Body and Soul Restorations
Tell us about your business, Body&Soul Restorations:
Body & Soul Restorations is a holistic body therapy brand that creates products and provides services that cater to the unique stresses of an urban environment. We aim to make #citylifeliveable.

We currently offer a menu of services that includes skin therapy, massage therapy, prenatal body therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, energy work, and meditation training in our Long Island City treatment room.

Our products for home care are designed to assist the body's inherent ability to fight stress and disease through the use of botanicals and minerals. They are made by hand and 100% natural (organic when possible).

When did you decide it was the right time to take the leap into self-employment?
The decision to build my own business was a gradual one for me. Holistic body therapy is my third career; in past lives I was in magazine advertising production and then not-for-profit arts development. When I made the transition into wellness therapy, I didn’t intend to have my own treatment room – I just wanted to find a trade where I could better myself and others without being tied to a laptop for 12 hours a day. But after two years working in the spa industry, I knew I would never be happy working to fulfill someone else’s vision. So when an opportunity to open my own space came up I jumped on it.

What's the most challenging aspect about being an entrepreneur?
Juggling. Time. Work. Energy. Family...

What is your #1 tip for balancing work and family?
My 2013 resolution is to stop work at a certain time each day. This is very tricky when you are both a practitioner and the sole administrator in a business. Even trickier when that business belongs to YOU. For several years, I would see clients all day and then come home, eat dinner and go straight to my laptop to handle all the other business involved in owning a business. It became overwhelming and I found myself needing the same therapies that I was offering to my clients because of burnout! This year, I’ve set days/times to work as a practitioner and as an administrator. Hopefully, that will allow me to set better boundaries with regard to my family time.

I’m also a big believer in yoga and exercise. Being able to take an hour, 2-3 times a week, makes all the difference in keeping me centered. And when I am centered, I’m better able to manage my work and life.

What small business resource(s) can you NOT live without?

  • Evernote. I use it constantly. For notes on my blog. For formulas for products I’m developing. For to-do lists. For research notes. I can access it anywhere via my phone or iPad. 
  • The Square.  When I started my business, I began with a traditional merchant account to accept credit card payments from clients. I couldn’t afford to take American Express or Discover, and even still I was losing money with transactions. God bless The Square! It’s both an application and a small plastic attachment that plugs right into your phone or tablet. Swipe the card. Square accepts all 4 major credit cards, charges an across the board % per transaction and then deposits the money into your bank account THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY. It’s a miracle for small businesses.
  • Come to think of it, I guess that also means I couldn’t live without my iPad! Obviously, I use it for all of the above and also for scheduling appointments, email, correspondence, conference calls, etc. And for occasionally watching Arrested Development in my downtime.

What advice would you give to a friend who was thinking about starting a business?
Be open minded. I’ve set up services and created products that I thought for sure would be successful only to find out no one is interested, or that the market is limited. A great example of this is my bath soak line. Most clients LOVE the salts and essential oils and wanted to reap the benefits of the aromatherapy but just didn’t have time to take a bath. (Many of my clients live in apartments and don’t even have a bathtub!) So I went back to the drawing board, did a little bit of research to find out how clients could benefit from aromatherapy in another form, and then launched my line of candles. Same essential oils, different medium. Very popular.

Favorite social media site?

I’m a very visual learner, so I’ve loved using Instagram to to take photos of all the things that I think make #citylifeliveable. It’s a great way of visually documenting ideas. I’m not sure what will happen with their application over the coming months as they work out their new policies with regard to copyright, ownership, etc. But for now, I use it all the time.

I also love Tumblr. I use it to tie in all my other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) The ease of using one site to manage all the others is a real blessing when you are a one-woman show.

What book has been an inspiration to you as an entrepreneur?
I’ve honestly used more blogs and online resources than books with regard to business. Currently, the two articles that have made the most impression on me are:

When you're not working, what's your favorite activity?

  • Yoga
  • Spending time playing Wii Just Dance with nieces (they are the light of my life)
  • Drinking a really good vodka martini and doing the crossword with my husband

Barbara Lynn Cantone
Body&Soul Restorations

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