Interested in starting your entrepreneurial journey in personal development but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shafaq Tirmizi, founder of Phoenicia - from Ontario, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I'm a Certified Mindset Success Coach & Strategist who works with clients with high ambitions but are usually overworking themselves to "earn" their achievements. People who are ready to be challenged but need self-compassion. People who get excited about the next big thing but can't celebrate their wins. People who want to play with their thinking but need validation.

I can do that with ease because my strength lies in seeing people underneath their labels for who they are. I create the space for them to be whoever they want to be, even if that doesn't align with their perceived identity. I coach the person behind the persona! ​ I hold up the mirror for you. We work to harmonize your ambitions with the most important relationship you have - with yourself.

Tell us about yourself

I graduated with a Finance degree from an elite school and worked a corporate job in the same industry for a couple of years. Life was good, but it wasn't. I was in a toxic social environment, I had no motivation to go to work, I didn't know what I wanted to do instead, and I was terrified of spending time with myself. Three words – Authenticity, Ambition, Independence. As it turns out, these three words are my top three values. But I wasn't living them. I was not at peace because I was so disconnected from who I truly am.

In an attempt to reduce the pain this internal conflict was causing, I set out on my journey of self-discovery. This path has led me to countless aha moments, self-awareness, and, most of all, the self-confidence needed to live life on my terms without seeking external validation. While I worked with my coach to find my authenticity, I also discovered my purpose to serve others standing where I was years ago. This is what I believe I was born to do - coach, guide, teach, mentor. Have been doing it my whole life. It's not worked for me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Staying true to my authentic voice and not getting carried away by the wrong motivators. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about earning through your purpose, but that's not the big WHY behind what I'm doing. The WHY needs to be bigger; it comes from love, purpose, passion, and service. Then, of course, you are here to financially support yourself and create freedom in every sense of the word. But if that is your only motivation, you'll get tired very quickly because you are not in love with the process; you are in love with the outcome. Knowing who you are will bring you closer to what you want. That is one thing you can't compromise on for shortcuts that will make you the most money. You won't be able to sustain it.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Doing everything else, along with what you are passionate about. I love to coach and teach. But to build a business around it and make it something that sustains you is a lot more work than just focusing on the craft. It would help if you had the discipline and the consistency to get you going every day. I still struggle with that, which is why it is so important to have your WHY figured out.

Nothing else will motivate you to continue the grind. It's part of stepping into the entrepreneurial mindset instead of an employee mindset. You are responsible for it all. However, if you are aligned within yourself and doing things out of love, you realize that you are not alone. The universe steps in and sends opportunities your way. It sends you people you can collaborate with. Help that you need but can't pull off on your own. Things start to flow. But for that to happen, you need to find your center and create a daily habit to connect with it.

What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Understand the motivation behind starting your business. Is it coming from fear or love? Are you running towards something or away from something? If it's fear, think again. Keep digging until you get to love.
  2. Cultivate patience - to try things, to learn a whole new set of skills, to research, to let yourself transition into a completely different state of mind, to be kinder to yourself. Be in it for the long haul - it's a relationship that requires serious commitment (which is why the only reason to start is for love, not pressure).
  3. Fail! If you got it "right" the first time, you aren't exploring your potential. This won't be a linear journey. Iterate and the reiterate. Reinvent yourself throughout different seasons; get creative and be bold. Push your boundaries and play with them. This is your baby. Enjoy the journey.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am spiritually inclined and a coach, so I can't help myself but stress that the "work" never stops. By work, I don't mean the physical act of working on things external to you. The result means going within. The journey home. Peeling away the layers of conditioning and getting closer to who you are. THAT is the only job. Everything else - business, relationships, career, money, family - all aligns when you are true to your inner work.

If you don't have awareness within yourself, you're not in touch with the voice within you. And if you are not listening to that voice, you'll forever be chasing tips, advice, role models, and prescriptions to sort out whatever you think is wrong. I'm all about help, but your life is your responsibility. You owe it to yourself to have a relationship with your spirit. You'll meet the good, the bad, the ugly, but it will be all you. Perfectly imperfect. Learn to embrace that. Be curious about yourself. Enjoy the human experience. As my coach always says, "Play the game."

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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