How to Prepare for and Respond to Natural and Community Disasters as a Spiritual Entrepreneur

Several tornadoes made their way through my home state of Iowa yesterday afternoon, damaging homes and businesses. Images and videos began flooding social media almost immediately.

Last night I woke in the wee hours and couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind turned to our spiritual + holistic community and I wondered how everyone had fared.

As I laid there, I got the urge to get up and put together some tips on how to first prepare for a disaster as a spiritual entrepreneur, and second, how to respond to a community disaster as a spiritual entrepreneur.

Now, this is the first time I’ve really ever thought about this topic so the list may not be comprehensive. If you have any additional tips, please let me know! I will be adding to this post as new ideas come up.

First…

 

How to Prepare for a Natural or Community Disaster as a Spiritual Entrepreneur

🦉 Have a safety plan, emergency plan, evacuation plan, and communication plan. Try to make them consistent across most kinds of disasters that could potentially happen near your business, and include info about safety before, during, and after the disaster.

🦉 Have at least 2 methods of access to client, supplier, and employee contact information.

🦉 Be insured.

🦉 Have all of your materials, books/records, and policies up to date and always backed up.

🦉 Have clear instructions that someone else could follow incase something happens to you, designate at least one person to handle those things, and have a meeting with them to go over everything.

🦉 Have emergency contact info accessible in at least 3 places.

🦉 Keep a list of your preferred practitioners for your own physical and emotional health.

🦉 Have an accessible first aid kit and other emergency supplies.

🦉 Make sure your fire extinguishers are up to date, accessible, and you know how to use them.

🦉 Know how you can best serve others within your wheelhouse if they experience a disaster. Prepare the details of that so you will be able to quickly offer it when it happens. Include this in your procedures and policies guides so you can jump in right away.

You can find more information about disaster preparedness for businesses here: https://www.ready.gov/business

 

 

How to Respond to a Natural or Community Disaster as a Spiritual Entrepreneur

 

Take care of yourself and your business first:

🦉 Implement your safety, emergency, evacuation, and communication plans.

🦉 See trusted practitioners to help you through any physical or emotional trauma.

🦉 Communicate your needs with your loved ones, support team, clients, suppliers, employees, and community, as appropriate.

 

 

If you and your business are safe, take care of your community next:

🦉 Honor your limitations and boundaries. Do what you can within your limits and remind yourself that it isn’t all yours to do. Block out your schedule if needed, until you are re-grounded and ready to serve. Stay on top of your well-being.

🦉 Check in with your clients about their safety and needs. Offer your services where appropriate. Act as quickly as possible.

🦉 Check local news sources about the needs of affected communities. Offer your services where appropriate. Act as quickly as possible.

🦉 Mobilize others to help where appropriate. Act as quickly as possible.

🦉 Spread a message of love, kindness, and unity.

 

 

When you’re not sure what to do:

🦉 Hold space for those affected.

🦉 Designate time to send energy or intentions of comfort, peace, and healing.

🦉 Meditate on how you can best serve.

🦉 Reflect on what learning this situation is offering to you.

🦉 Ask your colleagues, network, or community.

 

Stay prepared, safe, well, and loving, Friends! 

The Steps I Took to Change My Spiritual Business’ Name, Re-Brand, and Register as an LLC

{This post contains some affiliate links. This means when you purchase products or services through those links, I will gratefully receive a commission from that company, at no extra cost to you. I ONLY promote products and services I believe in.}

When I started my spiritual business in 2014, I did everything the simplest and fastest way I could. Two of the decisions I made to keep things easy and fast were:

• I chose to run as a sole proprietorship and
• I hired a branding company to come up with my business name and logo.

My business was about 50% virtual services and 50% in-person services, so I did not have the same needs as a brick and mortar business. These decisions served me beautifully well and allowed me to keep moving forward so I could focus on my offerings.

After about 3 years, though, I knew I was going to change my business’ legal structure to an LLC and re-name it, because I had become much clearer on who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to serve them. The name and structure no longer fit.

In Year 4 of business, I came up with a concrete plan.

Here are the action steps I took to change my business’ name, change to an LLC, and re-brand:

1. Decided new name.

This took longer than I thought it would. These are the things I did to help me formulate the new name, in no particular order:
• Listed out relevant keywords for what my business does, who I am in it, and who I want to serve. Listed synonyms of those words. Crossed out things that didn’t feel aligned. Mixed and matched words together.
• Meditated on the topic: “My business name”.
• Shamanic Journeyed on the topic: “My business name”.
• Channeled my spirit team asking for guidance.
• Waited, gave it time, and stepped away from the topic to work on other things.
• Searched for the names I liked to see if they were trademarked or if the domain names were already taken.
• Tuned in with my intuition if each potential name was “in my business’ and my best interest and highest good”.

2. Registered as an LLC.

I contacted local offices of SOS (Secretary of State), SBA (Small Business Administration), and SBDC (Small Business Development Center) to ask how to change from a sole proprietor to an LLC and change the name while keeping the EIN. I was referred around quite a lot and wasted days waiting to hear back (in some cases, I never did receive a response). Ultimately, I found the most helpful information, including how to write an Operating Agreement, at: https://www.llcuniversity.com/

Once I had the information prepared, I went on the Secretary of State website and submitted the form and payment online. I waited 3 weeks and still had not received any word about it, so I called their office. The clerk I spoke with said it had been approved and a packet of papers should arrive in the postal mail any day. Another week went by and I still had no received anything in the mail, so I called again. This second clerk I spoke with went above and beyond by printing a new set of papers and delivering it into the mail that day, even though it was the end of the business day and mail had already gone out. I received both the originals and the copies she’d prepared for me within a few days.

3. Bought a new domain.

I knew that my LLC name was available so as soon as I had filed the paperwork with the Secretary of State, I purchased the domain name. I had already done research to find an eco-friendly web host, because it is increasingly important to me to align my business practices with my values. I found GreenGeeks – their affordability was the icing on top. I will also say that I have used their Customer Support chat option 2 or 3 times now and they have been super quick and efficient. I am 100% pleased with their service!

Besides purchasing the domain, I also did the following on it:

Set up an email address on the new domain and then had it routed to G Suite (a Google service) so that I can manage my email through Gmail. It’s just my preference, because I find it easier to access and use than through webmail. I did find it to be a confusing process, but the customer chat support was helpful and effective in walking me through.

Set up the new website. I love WordPress, but I had to decide what theme to install on it. I perused other spiritual entrepreneurs’ websites and I started noticing that there was a certain style to which I was really drawn. I asked the entrepreneurs who owned those sites and kept hearing rave reviews about the Divi theme, offered by Elegant Themes. It was a bit of a cost investment and there was a learning curve since my past theme was entirely different, but now I love it. It offers so much flexibility and creativity, and once you get the hang of it, you can make your website look pretty much however you want.

Designed and published the most important starter webpages. For me, these were:
Home
About
Community (descriptions of and links to the 2 groups I facilitate)
Contact
Launch to Luminary (a listing of my programs)
Legal (terms of service, copyright policy, payment policy, etc.)
Privacy Policy (this needed its own page to accommodate the GDPR practices, about which I had to do quite a bit of research)
Confirmation of subscription (for when someone confirms their subscription to my email newsletter)

4. Created a “Branding Style Guide.”

I actually worked on this while waiting for my LLC to be approved because I knew I needed to have the elements of it worked out to use on my website. I created a Word document that I can open anytime I’m doing design work and writing content, so that my branding is always consistent.

Whether I create a blog post, an info-product, an email newsletter, a social media post, or anything else, all I have to do is go to my Branding Style Guide document and copy and paste hex codes or text. There were several parts to this:

Business vision – the dream you have or the vision you see as it relates to your work; the big-picture goal or outcome your business is going to be part of achieving.

Business mission – the purpose of your business: who you serve, how you serve them, and what you’re helping them to do. I created 3 versions of this: the full mission, a shorter version, and an even shorter version for use on various platforms that might have a text limit.

Business message – the 1 main message you would share with others that relates to your work.

Personal transformation story – where you share the stepping stones you walked that are relevant to where you are today and why you are doing the work you’re doing.

{Side note: A business’ vision, mission, and message should fit and make sense together. If yours don’t, re-work one or more of them, making sure they’re aligned with who you want to serve and how you want to serve them.}

Business values – what you want your business to convey, what values you want to adhere to, and how you want your clients to feel about your business. I categorized mine and then wrote out statements about each value.

Branding colors – In general, it’s recommended to 3 main colors: a dominant color (for things like your logo, menu tabs, highlights for important info, titles, headlines, and buttons) and 2 accents colors. One accent color would be for current menu tab, subtitles, highlighting secondary information, and scroll buttons and the second accent color would be for Call to Action buttons.

To choose this, I searched for color palettes with the hex codes provided. There are a ton of websites where you can find these, such as http://www.color-hex.com/color-palettes/. I looked for a color palette that had shades of my favorite colors. You can also find sites that you can upload your own photo of choice and the site will pick out colors from the photo and provide the hex codes.

Once I had my colors, I also looked up the hue, saturation, tint, and shade codes for each color so I have variations to work with when I need it. In my Branding Style Guide, I listed my colors and their hex codes so I can quickly copy and paste.

Fonts – I used the default text provided in my website settings as my main standard text font for simplicity’s sake. I also chose a clean and legible font, slightly different than my main content font, to use for things like my logo and header graphics, a second font which has more character for things like infographics, graphics, and mixes with the clean-legible font for titles on header graphics, and 1 last font for an accent on occasion. I listed these 4 fonts and their uses on my Branding Style Guide.

Logo – Using the colors and fonts I chose, and incorporating a design element that made sense with my brand, I played around on Canva until I came up with a version I loved. I saved it, downloaded it as a .png and then uploaded it to Luna Pic to remove the white background so I have an invisible background version to use when necessary.

Social media links and usernames – I listed out each social media URL so I can quickly copy and paste them when needed.

Blog categories and tags – I listed out 3 main categories I write blog posts about, and then sub-categories within each. These keywords are what I use as my blog categories and tags, so I can be consistent and strategic when setting up new blog posts.

5. Created new header images for social media accounts and emails.

I used Canva to design these and for each one, I used my colors and fonts and included a photo of myself. I created 1 image for each social media platform and 1 for email headers, and then let them sit until I moved through the other prep-work.

6. Set up new email newsletter list.

I have been using AWeber since I started my business and love how easy it is to set up automated emails and broadcasts.

I use one main newsletter list that goes out to everyone, and then separate lists for each individual offering. I set up the new main list with the new business name, email address, logo, etc.

Next I created a “Template” that will already be loaded with my header image, social media links in a sidebar, signature, etc. when I create all newsletters in the future.

I then went back to Word to outline and write out a welcome email series. I wrote 4 emails with this basic structure:

Email 1: Gratitude for signing up for my emails, sharing my business message and purpose, 3 first steps (whitelisting my email address, Liking my page on Facebook, and answering an engagement question), and a teaser to the next email.
Email 2: A story and related resource (I chose a downloadable ebook) that provides value and another teaser to the next email.
Email 3: A more personal note about who I am, my personal transformation story, business mission, and another relevant and valuable resource.
Email 4: An invitation to engage with me on all of my social media platforms and another valuable resource.

After I had these written in Word, I set them up with formatting and images into individual messages, which I then set up as a follow-up series. Each email in the series is scheduled to be delivered 2 days after the last.

I will add a 5th email once I’m ready, which will gently introduce subscribers to my paid programs.

At this point, I FINALLY received the LLC approval paperwork!

I dove right in to the next steps:

7. Registered for new EIN.

For the sake of ease, I really wanted to keep my same EIN number and I decided to talk to an IRS representative about my options. The representative I spoke with said I could either get a new EIN since the business was now an LLC, or I could set up a DBA linking both business names and use the same EIN. I really wanted everything to be streamlined, and for the old business name no longer to exist at all so it wouldn’t be confusing to anyone, so I decided that the best option for the long run would be to set up a new EIN. Thankfully the process is super simple and quick on the IRS website.

8. Set up a new business bank account and closed the old bank account.

I gathered all of my important papers – LLC approval from the Secretary of State, new EIN document, old EIN document, and Operating Agreement, as well as my old bank account information and headed to my financial institute. I bank through a local credit union that feels aligned to my values. I am thankful that more and more “socially responsible”, conscious banking options are available these days. I had been hoping that I would be able to just change the business name on my account, but since there was a new EIN number from the one I opened the account with, they had to close that account and open a new one. It took maybe an hour and then that big item was checked off my to-do list.

9. Changed name on business PayPal account and updated the linked banking info.

I use PayPal to receive and send online payments for my business, and it was quick and easy to update my business name, email address, and bank routing info. I also took a minute to delete out any products I knew I would no longer be offering.

At this point, I had done what I could behind the scenes. Everything moving forward would be visible to my followers and subscribers, so I knew I needed to give them a heads-up about the changes. Here’s what I did:

10. Posted a heads-up on Facebook.

On my business Facebook page, I shared that I’d be changing my business name soon and to keep an eye out for an announcement about it. I then shared that post to my personal page so my friends and family would also know my exciting news.

11. Sent a heads-up email newsletter.

I shared with all of my subscribers about the changes in my business, giving a heads-up that they would start seeing the name change on social media platforms, and asking them to just hold tight while I fixed all of my URLs and linked everything together. I let them know that they’d receive an official announcement was everything was completed. Lastly, I invited them to unsubscribe if it no longer felt aligned to receive my emails.

12. Updated all of my platforms and accounts.

This included changing the business name, username, links, descriptions/bios, and header images on:
• Facebook business page (including updating the vanity link and creating a Milestone)
• Facebook personal page
• Twitter
• Pinterest
• Instagram
• LinkedIn
• My 2 Facebook groups
• My online scheduling program that clients use to book sessions, Venosoul (a membership database to find holistic practitioners in the US), affiliate sites and accounts, and other membership sites

13. Used the new social media URLs to:

• Update my email newsletter welcome series and template
• Update my new website
• Create an email signature that I set up in my Gmail and all AWeber lists

14. Updated my AWeber email lists.

I went through each list and changed my business name, logo, and signature, then set up a rule that anytime someone subscribes to my new email list, it will remove them from all of the old lists they were on from former products or services. Eventually I want to remove those lists altogether, so this will help transition active subscribers over.

15. Re-routed my old website to my new website.

This means that when someone goes to my old website, they will automatically be sent to the new one instead. Once I save all of my old webpages and content into an external hard drive, I will shut down the old domain account altogether.

16. Made the official announcement.

I did this through an email newsletter to all of my subscribers and on all social media platforms including on my personal Facebook page and in my groups, with an invitation to visit the new website and sign up for my new email list.

I continue to update my new email address and business information on vendor accounts and email subscriptions as they come in.

All in all, once I had decided on a new business name and with working very limited part-time hours, this process from start to finish took about 5 weeks. I came out of it ready to dive right into preparing for my next program!

I didn’t want to be “spiritually lazy”.

This morning the words “spiritually lazy” flitted through my mind.

I had just dropped off my son to his Kindergarten classroom and stopped to chat with the principal outside of the school. As a constant and enthusiastic volunteer at the school, I interact with her frequently and had been in touch with her via email in the last couple of days regarding plans for Teacher Appreciation Week next week, so we touched base about that. Then we gabbed about the fact that several teachers were gone today, and with it being a beautiful Spring Friday, the principal predicted that today would be a “busy” day for her. (She did say this with a laugh! Humor is such a great tool!) I chuckled too and told her that if there was anything I’d be able to help with, to just call. She remarked, “Why don’t you just go ahead and get your substitute teaching license?” I laughed and said I had thought about it, and then waved and went on my way down the sidewalk.

As I started off, quick thoughts rolled through my mind about it. I honestly had thought about getting the substitute license and had looked at the requirements and training registration website several times. Each time, I had decided that it just isn’t the right time, and maybe not even the right thing for me. I preach alignment, and I try to live by it too. Every time I’ve tuned into that possibility, it just hasn’t felt aligned. A big reason is that if I choose to do it, it will undoubtedly take my time, attention, and energy away from my own work. It will take me in a different direction, and Heaven knows a Gemini like me is always in a constant state of flux as it is!

My business is my spirituality.

The two are so intertwined that I often can’t distinguish between them. My business tends to mirror my exploration through this vast, wild existence. (In fact, recently I have been amused at a very clear parallel between my spiritual business and my literal house. More to share on that in a bit.) I love that I can use my spiritual and personal exploration and development in my work, and that the simple act of moving through my journey can become of service to others. Always as I’m processing through something personally, my business ebbs and flows along with it.

Anyway, back to the sidewalk this morning…

During that once-again tug-of-war in my mind about the whole substitute teaching thing is when the words “spiritually lazy” floated through.

I think it was my own inner judgment popping in that decided that if I took time “away” from my business-work to substitute teach, therefore taking me “away” from my spiritual work, I would be acting lazy in my spirituality. Because substituting is not spiritual?? And because we need to be on a strict regimen of spiritual practice?? Haha!! Oh, that inner judge needs a cuddle and a beach resort vacation, doesn’t she??

In my work with students and clients, I have witnessed this come up a bunch.

Sometimes we forget the “spirit” in “spiritual” and we assign ourselves to a regimen of practices: meditate every morning, do Reiki every evening, pray every night, eat this or that, avoid eating this or that, cleanse our crystals every Full Moon, smudge our house every New Moon, the list goes on and on….

And this is all for the sake of what? Being a “spiritual” person.

Being spiritually connected.

Well guess what?

You CAN’T BE spiritually DIS-connected.

You can’t!

You ARE spirituality. You are SPIRIT!  You can’t NOT be Spirit!

Therefore, no matter what you do, no matter what “path” you take, no matter what decision or action you make, YOU ARE BEING SPIRITUAL. You ARE spiritually connected. Everything you experience is all part of your piece of the All That Is pie.

You can change your career and still be spiritually on-path.

You can adorn your body with tattoos, piercings, fat, scars, make-up, clothing, accessories and still be spiritually on-path.

You can pray to Creator or pray to flowers and still be spiritually on-path.

You can eat or drink whatever you choose and still be spiritually on-path.

You can feel bliss, grief, and rage and still be spiritually on-path.

You can claim political, religious, demographic, and any other kind of labels and still be spiritually on-path.

All That Is is not concerned with which directions you choose to go. You can never NOT be part of the All. You can never be banished from it; you can never be removed from your connection to Spirit, because you ARE Spirit. One tiny, beautiful, blessed little crystal in the lattice.

Give yourself a break.

You don’t have to work so hard to get “back on path”. You don’t have to worry about taking the “wrong” turns. You’ve never left the path. You’ve never taken a wrong turn. There IS no wrong turn. There IS no path. And anytime you feel otherwise, circle back around to the idea of alignment. Ask yourself, “Does this [fill in the blank] feel aligned for me right now?” If it doesn’t, make a different choice.

You are spiritual and you are doing just fine at it.

Amber

Oh yeah… that earlier reference to the parallel between my business and my house? Well, they are both in the midst of big big BIG structural tune-ups. Great stuff coming! Keep your eyes peeled.