Miranda: Hi everybody! It’s Miranda Nahmias, and I’m here today with another Woahpreneur interview with my friend Kathy Stowell. She is amazing and she’s actually a client of mine. I just love her spirit and her business, and she is just super cool, and she is going to share a little bit about herself and her life and business today, and I hope that you guys get some inspiration from it. So Kathy, welcome. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and your business?
Kathy: Sure. Thanks for having me, I’m so excited. I’m Kathy Stowell, and I am the Mama Bliss and Biz coach over at Bliss Beyond Naptime and I’m also the founder of Mama Bliss Coaching School, which is a coaching training program for moms that’s really mom-centric. So, I train other moms to coach other moms towards deeper self care, creativity, values and simplicity, so they can work from home like I do. It’s pretty lovely here, I live in Nelson, BC.
Miranda: You mentioned to me earlier that, before you had your children, you did some things to get yourself ready to have a kids, some alternative health things. Can you talk a little bit about the acupuncture that you did, as well as the throat chakra?
Kathy: Here’s the backstory — I was single throughout my whole twenties, and then I turned 29 and I’m like, “I better find my soulmate like today. I want to hang with him before we start having kids.” I’m really good at manifesting things. So, I manifested him, and I recognized him right away, because I was asking the universe for this mixture of Christopher Atkins and Gene Wilder, like Willy Wonka, and there he was and I’m like — that’s him. It was quite intentional, just knowing that we wanted to have kids within the couple of years, but I really wanted to do a deep cleanse, like physical cleanse, just release toxins, but also ancestry stuff. Like, my father and I had this really weird relationship and weird dynamic, and it kind of exploded actually on my wedding day. It was really bizarre. And so, after that I was just like “Woah, I need to address this.”
At the time, my husband had benefits and acupuncture getting covered. So I went in there and it was just the wildest experience. The guy, he was just like a really tall and beautiful Indian man and he was like “You liked horses as a little girl.” And I’m like “Yeah…” He was saying all these weird things and then the final thing he said was “Tell me about the relationship with your father.” I didn’t even say anything to him. As soon as he said that, I started balling my eyes out and I started telling the story about what happened at my wedding, and the next thing you know I’m horizontal and I have about a hundred needles in me. I didn’t even notice! And he just left me in the room alone to cry, and I could feel the waves of electrical currents. So, afterwards he says: “You had some energy blockage in the throat area.” So that’s how the throat chakra came about.
The chakra are all these different energy centers in your body. Having a blockage usually relates to expressing yourself, like you’re not expressing what you need to do. So, he said in order to address this, you should do some kind of creative play every day. I think that was around the time I discovered The Artist’s Way, which is this awesome book, and I still follow some of its suggestions. My favorite one is “take yourself on an artist day.” So that was pretty much the first thing I did. You know, I went into an art supply store, and just like grabbed things and went home. I asked my mother in law to teach me to knit, and I just really, finally, went with it. Painting… everything. And it just was like this snowball effect. I turned into this crazy crafting monster that basically led me to my blog, which basically led me to what I’m doing today.
Miranda: Wow, that’s so awesome. Sounds like a really exciting, creative journey. What’s your favorite creative play activity?
Kathy: Well, these things, I’m looking at it right now, I don’t know if this counts, but it’s my new thing…I’m into jigsaw puzzles, kind of embarrassing. And I’m like the only one in my family, like we would go on a weekend family getaway and I would bring my puzzle, and everyone’s like “Oh my God.” But now my favorite thing to do is work on a puzzle and listen to e-courses.
Miranda: Oh, that’s a good thing to be doing at a same time!
Kathy: Yeah, I alternate between that and The Bachelorette. Besides that, I love sewing. I still sew quite often. And my blog, of course. My business is such a creative outlet. I keep having all these ideas, so yeah, that’s a huge part of my creative outlet these days.
Miranda: Let’s talk about that journey, how you went from doing this creative play to starting a blog, and now you have a successful business and this coaching school!
Kathy: So, when our firstborn was about a year old, we finally took the plunge and moved from our hometown to the boonies, which is 8 hours away from any major center. We purchased some land and we had this mission. It was kind of like our second date talk, like “What’s your dream?” “I want to have a hobby farm one day.”
So, we were both keen on it, and the blog, as I was saying, was a way to share the creative outlet stuff. But then it was also documenting our kind of permaculture attempts in farming and also homeschooling. I was actually homeschooling my daughter for a few years. And I started connecting with these women all over the world, back when my daughter was a baby. Some of us are still good friends. And my daughter, by the way, just turned thirteen, so I’ve been blogging for a long time.
To help us earn income, I started thinking about how I could monetize my online time. I was really into spinning yarn, so I opened up an Etsy shop selling my creative wears. Eventually I decided just to scale and offer an e-course for moms who want to sew, who live in the backwoods and who have little rug rats around and are finding it hard to find the time. And so I called it Backwoods Mama Sew Camp, and it was so much fun. The patterns were downloaded and then each week we would work as a team, together, and I would give all these video instructions on how to do it.
And the whole premise of it was “let go of the perfection.” That came from my time growing up with my mom. I kept asking her to teach me how to sew. My mother is so funny. She’s from Peru, so whenever I imitate her, I sound like an angry pirate, but that’s just my Spanish accent. So, I would be sewing and she would be like “Ayyy Kathy you need to rip this out, it’s not perfect.” So, I grew up thinking that I didn’t have the personality to sew, because I don’t care if it’s perfect. But after having kids, I just had this fire in me to make my own clothes, I don’t know. So yes, the premise was you can do this, and I showed a lot of shortcuts.
My whole approach to doing anything with kids around, is to do things in even just 5-minute chunks here and there. The mantra of the course was “good from far, but far from good.” And I really enjoyed it! First of all, I was making an income without leaving my home, so that was cool. But I also really enjoyed getting to connect more intimately with my blog followers.
Eventually, I wanted to go deeper, so that’s when I decided to get certified as a creativity coach and also as a simplicity parenting coach. I feel that the principals from that, even though it’s a parenting philosophy, it’s more than that — it’s a life philosophy. It’s really afforded me the time and energy to do my thing while my kids did their thing, which is just being kids. So yeah, I got certified and then I created Mama Bliss coaching, which took bits and pieces from the simplicity and the creative processes, and I started coaching my readers and followers. Ultimately, they started saying “I want to do what you’re doing.” And that’s when Mama Bliss Coaching School was founded.
Miranda: I love that. And I like that you really did take all these aspects from all the things that you’ve learned, and the different parts of your life, and put that into this signature program that you have. It just sounds like it must be so effective. I really would like to hear if you have any tips or suggestions on that perfection thing? Because I feel like everybody who owns a business probably at some point has suffered from that need to have that perfection, and it can really get you stuck. What are your thoughts on that?
Kathy: Oh totally, it’s very paralyzing. This is a huge piece of my creativity coaching training. Perfection is the ultimate creative block. It’s so funny — I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, but in some respects I am.
The big, beautiful, romantic entryway for me, for embracing my imperfections (it’s super corny, brace yourself) — when my husband and I first started dating, he would leave me all these poems before he would go to work. And one of the poems he wrote, was about the concept of wabi-sabi, which is this Japanese philosophy of seeing the beauty of imperfections. So he wrote a poem for me one day called Wabi-Kathy and it was really cute and it was just saying how he loves my imperfections and that was such a great reminder for me, just to embrace it and celebrate it.
In terms of making steps toward your business goals, it’s just like a favorite tool in creativity coaching, it’s doing the shitty first draft, you know. And I’ve written a whole website in one crappy first draft and I sold that business, and it still stands today. And I’m like “Whoa, they kept that?!”
But sometimes the muse inspires and you just have to break the seal of getting the flow going. So I often coach my clients to put it out there, especially online, because you can go back and fix it. Like an e-course — just get it up there. You can always go back and tweak it. The important thing is just to do it, because you can go crazy trying to perfect things.
Miranda: You’re speaking my language. I’m constantly telling my students — just do it! You can always go back and make it perfect later.
Kathy: Exactly. And then also, the imperfection piece, it really makes you relatable, you know. As long as you stay professional about it. And there are ways you can get second pair of eyes just to make sure there’s no glaring typos, but yeah, as I say to my kids: “Whatevs.”
Miranda: Love it. Alright, well thank you so much for all of your story. All of this is very inspiring, to go out there and just do that. I want to do creative play now, I want to go and paint or something. Talking with you was very inspiring and I love the whole story of your business and how you’re doing the Mama Bliss Coaching School now. Thank you so much for being here!
Kathy: Thanks for inviting me. This was so much fun!