“I do, what feels instinctively like me. Every time I do that, it’s been right for my business.”
Working from her gut instincts is what Kareena has always done and this was a large part of her career as an international circus performer. Kareena graced New York City’s famous Broadway stage and toured all across the world for 20 years, but the next chapter was starting a family and with that, stepping away from the touring lifestyle.
“When you start from scratch, you can do anything… that was daunting.” Kareena openly stated. All too right – with all the various career possibilities and paths, where do you start? This isn’t an uncommon feeling either, especially for stay at home parents, that take time out of their career to raise and support their family. Kareena sat down with Victoria, co-founder of Altspc to share her journey and how her new business, The Manifesto, came to be.
V: Love the business cards, they’re bright pink! You don’t see that every day.
K: Everyone said to me, don’t use pink, so I used pink and I’ve had lots of comments. I think they attract the right clients! You can’t take these things too seriously.
V: You’ve had an amazing career travelling the world. To start, I’d love you to share how you went from this to find your new passion.
K: I spent 20 years touring with circus companies and physical theatre productions and after I started a family, I needed to retrain as I chose to not tour with two small children. When I stopped performing and realised I could do anything, it was pretty broad and it took me 4 years to truly decide what to do. I was lucky that I could stay at home with my kids, think about it and make the right decision for me.
V: Was there an “aha” moment for you or what was it that pulled you towards working as a counsellor and life coach?
K: I felt it was something I inherently did in my life. I was always someone who talked to their friends when they were down. The funny thing is, when I retrained I realised that I wasn’t doing any of it and that I was simply listening as a friend. But when I decided to go towards this line of work, this is what pulled me towards it, as it felt like a good fit for my personality as well.
V: The Manifesto, your business name, it’s intriguing. What does it encapsulate for you?
K: The Manifesto has been around in my mind for many years, but I officially began seeing clients in November of last year. The name is a mission statement – what do you want your life, your manifesto, to look like? The coaching arm of my business very much focuses on this and figures out what’s in the way for each individual to get them to where they want to be. A lot of the work I do is to challenge traditional stories and narratives, in order to help individuals to write their own path.
V: What has been the biggest hurdle so far?
K: Well, actually it went gangbusters as soon as I opened the doors, which was pretty exciting and scary! I had braced myself for a slow start and really prepared myself to go slowly, but it didn’t quite happen like that. I instantly got clients and was off and running.
V: That’s fantastic. What was it that helped you the most?
K: I started a Facebook page and reached out to my network, which got me referrals. I randomly have some clients that found me via Instagram and I think it has a lot to do with the aesthetic I choose, the images and text I share. I put out things that I like to look at. For example, an image that really speaks to me, and it’s pulling people in that would naturally gravitate towards the same things. Also interestingly, almost all of my clients are artists! I think it’s no coincidence, as it’s my background.
I do think my biggest hurdle right now is space and I think that’s the case with lots of therapists. Where do you work from as you’re building your client base? But also, when someone rings you, you don’t want to say to them “I’ll get back to you and tell you where we’ll meet”. For me, I’ve been trying to work out how to have a space, but without the full-time commitment, which is how I came across Altspc. Now I can say, “I’ll find a space near you” or “I’m working out of these two spaces this month, do either suit?” it’s great!
V: What about practising out of your home? I feel a lot of individuals struggle with this, no matter the industry.
K: I don’t want to bring clients into my personal space as I find it hard to switch off from my own environment and to be honest, my house is always a mess! I didn’t want them stepping on Lego. Plus I found the flexibility of Altspc, of working out of the space when I need it, to be a perfect fit.
V: What are the key things that have helped you start your business?
K: I’m keeping my expectations small and building slowly as I want to get it right. I want to be professional and not take on too many clients. I think the key is manageability.
V: To finish off, if individuals within the Altspc community are interested in getting in touch, tell me a little about your client base and what type of individuals are coming to see you?
I specifically work with individuals going through life transitions. Whether it’s a work transition, or raising kids, or if you’re unhappy in your practice. I’m interested in lifting life experiences and helping people to write their own manifesto.