I met Kelly Newsome during an advanced teacher training workshop and was immediately struck by her confident presence and positive energy. I have followed the development of her Ritual Care Company with great interest and was curious to hear how she transitioned from practicing law to teaching yoga and serving as a doula to creating a holistic self-care service serving professional women.
I am pleased to share her story in our Trailblazers interview series. Read on...
How did you know it was time to make a change?
There are a number of moments that marked my transition from business lawyer to wellness advising, yoga teaching, and doula work - it was a long process - but I knew it was time to completely switch gears one night when I was looking for a job.
I had spent the year traveling around the world, and when I came home, it was time to "get serious" again. I remember sitting at my parents' dining table, with my laptop, on job search websites for legal and nonprofit positions. I didn't want to apply for the jobs I saw, much less actually do them. I started thinking. I'd always liked working for companies, but I wondered what it might be like to work for myself, independently, full-time. I'd been teaching yoga while traveling, and I had forged relationships with various entrepreneurs throughout the years as I was researching career transition, so it seemed do-able.
That night, staring bleakly at my laptop, I decided to try a yoga business until I found a "real job." I committed to trying it full time for a year, with a 6-month reality check, and began vision boarding as fast as I could without cutting or glueing myself to my posterboard.
Luckily, before the 6 month mark I'd realized quickly just how real - and amazing - the job was. I never went back to those job sites again.
What gave you the confidence you needed to move forward?
First, I created a business based on a former career I knew well, in my ideal client market sector, having already been my ideal client. I committed my private client work specifically to women lawyers, and since I'd been at a firm and in the public sector as a yoga-practicing attorney, I felt really solid about the impact this practice could have on that lifestyle.
Second, I made a nest egg. I started saving more money a couple of years before my transition because even though I didn't know what I'd do with it, I knew I'd do something. I started out with about nine months' worth of minimum salary. I couldn't shop the same way, but my necessary expenses would be covered. Oh, and I didn't object to my parents' basement as a back-up plan. :)
Third, I practiced stillness and spirituality. I spent a lot of that pre-transition time in stillness - meditation, yoga postures, journaling quietly, hanging out in the park, breathing, finding peaceful moments while I was on the road around the world. I read about, listened to, and studied different aspects of spirituality. This gave me a really beautiful foundation in faith, that I'm still ever grateful to hold.
Who/what inspires you today?
The universe. The little things that happen every day! The book passage I read or song lyric I happen to hear, that resonates. My 2-year old niece's voicemails. The cloud that's shaped like a heart. The one message that I end up teaching in the same week to each of my private clients, who somehow all need to hear the same universal theme (and how it ends up helping me too!). The patience, the love and space my partner holds for me. Our adorable, sweet cats, who remind me every day how to take it easy. My brothers, and their efforts to be exceptional people and chart their own paths. And strangers who are kind to each other.
What are you dreaming about now?
My new "umbrella" company, Ritual Care Co.!! It's been incubating for a while, and I estimate it'll take another 3-5 years to really get it going, but it's one of my favorite daydreams. I'm thrilled about the private client services, like revised and streamlined advising to help women bring out the best versions of themselves, using super simple self-care strategies. I adore my "private client business primer" advising work that serves new yoga teachers and helps them confidently establish successful, sustainable solo private practices...while also learning lessons they can apply to all areas of their lives. I love the "birth day basics" course intensive that gives busy parents an efficient, effective way to educate themselves in preparation for the birth of their babies. And the newest project - gorgeous, handcrafted "care kits" with wellness treats to make self-care simple. All dreams coming true.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Do what makes you feel good. This is one of my greatest learnings, and my top lesson with my private clients. It's easier said than done, but once you really get this one and learn how to practice it, it starts to clarify every decision out there.
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started?
Pretty much everything that I teach in my business primer curriculum...which is actually why I created it. If I could've just paid someone to teach me how to have a successful private yoga practice - things like how to create your own signature offering, or which bookkeeping/invoice software to use, or what an operations guide is and how to make one. Experience helped a lot, but knowing that stuff up front could've saved me a lot of hours and a ton of tears.
What encouragement can you offer someone who wants to make a change but is apprehensive?
Listen to the still, small voice inside of you, the one that you can hear after you meditate for a while, or hang out in nature, or while you've got that post-savasana glow. Keep a notebook of everything that it tells you, and on a fresh page and with a fresh, nonjudgmental, curious mind, note what keeps you from doing it.
Then, keep writing, about anything that connects with what feels good and true to you. Invest in a coach or advisor who can support you, expand your vision and help you create a positive return on your investment (in terms of income, learning and experience). And, of course, breathe.