Donna Farchione of Breathe Yoga Studio
Amidst the venture capitalists and startup business owners, I met Donna Farchione, owner of the franchisee Syracuse Breathe Yoga Studio. Through Donna’s presentation, I’ve noticed many entrepreneurs share the same sentiment: they were scared but excited, and felt a need to follow a passion. This passion, of course, turned into a successful business.
Donna’s studio is the first in the franchise; her business will make or break future stores in the chain, and making sure she’s happy with the brand is essential. I’ve heard that franchises must stick closely to brand guidelines, and so was surprised to hear Donna is given leeway in her business, though it wasn’t noted what this “leeway” entails. Presentation is key to a chain; decor and shop items are from the same warehouse, and Donna must hire the brand’s graphic designer for all marketing collateral, even sticking to brand smoothie recipes with no exception.
Something that resonated with me is the thought Donna shared about her first time as a “boss.” She felt she had to pretend to know things, and she is finally letting go of this feeling. I work in a digital space and, as technology changes so constantly, it may be hard to keep up. As long as I understand how to learn new things, I should feel comfortable, and quite confident, saying I don’t know something and that I can quickly learn.
It makes sense Donna’s work moved her through acting, to therapy, to yoga. Her presentation gave way to much deeper issues concerning the self and self-care in business, a point to which most entrepreneurs don’t speak. I liked her sentiment that a business owner should “clean up whatever you’re operating on top of.” In other words, work on your internal issues so they don’t impact your business, or your work relationships. This way, too, you can better focus. Being present and mindful is extremely important to your mental health; running a business already takes a toll.
Entrepreneurs largely agree there is no vacation time, little friend and family time — and plenty of stress — when first starting a business. Donna has just hit the 20-month mark on her business, and still speaks of limited family time. It was great to hear, however, that her daughter has been working with her and their relationship has grown stronger.
While seemingly counterintuitive, working with someone is a bit like traveling with someone; you see this person through their highs and lows, and spend entire days together. In fact, people who work a “normal nine-to-five” job spend more waking hours with a close co-worker than with their significant other. Working with family can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding.