These are a few interview style questions that we put to Tania Diggory about her battle with work life balance as she breaks into the mental health and wellbeing industry with her company Calmer, which helps startups manage and maintain their health and wellbeing as they navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
Start-up projects and entrepreneurship are a big talking point right now with a move away from faceless corporate jobs towards the dream of ‘making your stamp on your industry’. But what is it really like for a young adult trying to make their way in an ever-condensing market of brands and influencers? Read Tania’s answers to find out.
What is your role now and what are the main responsibilities for you?
I’m the founder and director of Calmer, a platform that supports entrepreneurs with their mental health and wellbeing. My main responsibilities are managing the overall operations of the business, building valuable partnerships and creating content for our workshops, events and online products.
How long have you been doing this for and what did you do before?
I’ve run my own dance company since 2010, firstly running a dance school and then moving on to produce a series of events and festivals that celebrated the history of street dance and hip-hop culture. Calmer was created off the back of my experience in running different businesses.
Can you think of any key challenges you had to overcome and how did you battle them to get to where you are?
The biggest challenge I’ve overcome is learning to manage my own wellbeing while running a business. As an entrepreneur you’ll always come across situations that will challenge you, but because your business is so personal to you these challenges can often feel magnified. I lived with anxiety attacks during the early stages of running my events business, and through developing coping strategies and receiving support from loved ones I learnt how to manage it and overcome it. Now I want to help other entrepreneurs achieve the same. While there are undoubtedly many rewards to running your own business, the fact is it takes a tremendous amount of courage, persistence and resilience – which can feel like a lot to take on your shoulders. I’ve mentored a lot of entrepreneurs who have lived with anxiety and depression and from these experiences it became clear there is a gap in the market to serve entrepreneurs in this way – to help them manage their wellbeing. This is the inspiration behind Calmer; it was created to offer entrepreneurs unique support services and access to a growing network of like-minded people.
What is the dream, or where would you like to see yourself in five or ten years?
My dream is for Calmer to become an internationally recognized organisation for supporting entrepreneurs with their mental health and wellbeing. I hope that as it grow it also helps to change the stigma attached to mental health concerns. We have a lot of exciting plans for the future and I feel passionate that our support system can create the positive change that is needed in the lives of entrepreneurs around the world.
How do you find balancing lifestyle and downtime with your job?
I ensure that each week I balance my time by setting my own office hours for my business (in the same way you’d have set office hours working for a company) and I spend time with loved ones, read, write, do yoga and dance – every week. Of course, some days it’ll feel like the business demands more of your time, but I believe it’s just as important to make time for things that bring you joy and keep you centred, as you navigate the entrepreneurial journey. Your downtime also gives you time for reflection outside of running a business, and I’ve often found that it’s in your downtime when inspiration strikes!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young spark looking to start their business, what would that be?
Understand why you want to start up your business. Your ‘why’ and passion for what you do is essential, it will inform all of your decisions about your business moving forward and remind you of the big picture. I’d recommend reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek and he also has a brilliant TED Talk.
What has been your favourite event you have attended this month? If not month, this year?
This month I attended The Watford Expo, which showcased a fantastic range of independent businesses and keynote speakers, particularly focusing on supporting startups. From that one event, I ended up making ten valuable connections and well as sourcing new funding and promotional opportunities for Calmer. I believe networking events always provide value and you never know the kind of connections you’ll make – it’s how I ended up meeting the yada team!
And finally, what do you think is the best part about being an upcoming, self-employed business owner right now?
It’s an incredible feeling to see your own ideas and efforts come to life and there’s never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur. The job market is changing so much and with digital platforms providing lucrative opportunities for small businesses, lots of people are feeling inspired to collaborate and launch their own startup. It’s amazing to witness!
Thank you so much for talking to us and telling us about your experiences!
Tania will be launching an event series called The Calmer Community next Wednesday at The Canvas in Shoreditch. It’s a space were entrepreneurs can come together for support but also network, so follow this link for all the information and head over to join this creative and supportive community!
Do you have any tips or advice on how to overcome challenges in the working world? Let us know by talking to us on Twitter!
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