Combining a love of writing and a search for mindfulness to create a business

Combining a love of writing and a search for mindfulness to create a business
Daniela Bragato
Daniela BragatoWomen MAKE Stories

Posted: Wed 13th Jan 2021

A job she didn't find fulfilling and a love for writing inspired Daniela Bragato to start Women MAKE Stories.

The company provides writing and mindfulness workshops that allow women to reconnect with their body and mind in an encouraging community of like-minded people.

Daniela shares the story behind her brand and how signing up to a Bootcamp for service businesses through the Amazon Small Business Accelerator has boosted her entrepreneurial skills.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in 218 bitesize videos.  
If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log-in to your learning dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

How did you come up with your business idea?

I came up with the idea of Women MAKE Stories because I was going through a very tough time at work: the job was affecting my mental health. I wasn't as creative as I wanted to be and I wasn't learning so I knew I had to make some changes in my life.

I quit the job and attended many women's events and listened to their stories. I realised there were many other women stuck in a job that wasn't bringing them joy and they felt overwhelmed, anxious and stressed and with little time to dedicate to their passions. That day I realised I could combine the two things I love the most: writing and mindfulness to help other women in a similar situation.

I attended courses on how to turn your idea into a business, built my website and created my first offering: writing and mindfulness workshops. I also trained to become a mindfulness teacher and built on my creative writing degree with other writing courses more specifically for wellbeing.

What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I started to lay the foundations of my business during lockdown but after a while I felt a little lost. I had done so much on my own and had so many ideas in my head but I didn't know how to create a business plan and wasn't sure what to do next. I realised I needed someone who had been in my position before and could give me a sense of direction and also some motivation for when things were a bit harder.

I didn't know much about working with a business coach but I knew I wanted to work with a creative woman so I searched on Instagram and found a few that I connected with. I read their stories, looked at the kind of content they posted on Instagram and contacted them.

It was hard to choose one because they were all incredible and qualified women, but I'm happy I have chosen Lauren as my business coach. We did 10 sessions during which we touched on all aspects of setting up and running a business from mindset to more practical things like creating a business plan.

Some of my goals were: launching my website, hosting my first events and showing up on social media and I'm proud to say that I have achieved them all. I'm still catching up with Lauren on a monthly basis to ensure that I'm on track with my new goals.

Having a business coach is invaluable, I know I can go to her with any questions or doubts I have and if I get stuck we can reflect on the whys and what I can do to overcome that barrier. When hard times hit and you lose a bit of confidence it's nice to have a business coach who really believes in you and your abilities to make it. Sometimes a little extra push is all you need.

Women MAKE Stories
Image credit: Sophie Carefull

Why did you decide to apply for the Amazon Small Business Accelerator Bootcamp?

I am a big fan of Enterprise Nation as they offer a lot of resources for new business owners like me so I knew the Bootcamp was going to be great!

I decided to apply for the Amazon Bootcamp because as a new business I needed to have a solid understanding of what it really means to set up your own business. I feel there are a lot of courses and workshops out there but it's hard to find one course that covers it all.

It's also hard to find specific information for service business owners so when I saw that Enterprise Nation had partnered with Amazon to offer the free Bootcamp, I immediately filled in the application form.

What elements of the Bootcamp did you find useful?

The session on how to set your prices was very valuable on both a practical and mindset side of things (watch a video with tips on pricing here). I think it's still very much a taboo to talk about money and how much our time is worth, especially for women so it was good to get that insight.

At the time I had to decide how much to charge for my workshops and didn't know where to start. At the end of the workshop, I realised that I was undervaluing myself and my offering so I corrected my price which was more in line with the market.

I also enjoyed the tips on how to be camera confident. As a shy person I have to work a lot on this and so learning how to put myself out there, especially on social media, was very important to me. When you're a small business owner it's important that your clients can relate to you as a person so showing my face, my values and what the business stands for is key and being able to do it with confidence is a game changer.

The session around legal terms and conditions (T&Cs) was useful too because this is one of those topics that isn't covered often but it's extremely important. I had so many questions and doubts and it was good to have those answered during the session. Having worked in communications and marketing I know about GDPR and other legal things that you have to put in place, but it's tricky to find the right people who can help you draft T&Cs or a privacy policy. When you're an employee it's all done for you so you don't question it but when you set up your own business you have to worry about all aspects.

The session around tax and accountants was useful for similar reasons. I think there's a misconception that setting up a business is just about having an idea and creating your brand but there are also a lot of practicalities that need to be addressed too. Learning more about taxes, how much I must put aside each month, the differences between being a sole trader or a limited company and whether I need an accountant was helpful.

How has COVID-19 affected your business?

As I only launched my business in September 2020, I haven't been affected as much as other small business owners so far. But I did have to pivot to hosting online workshops instead of in-person which was my initial idea. I only managed to host one event in real life back in August which went really well.

I was a bit skeptical about doing my workshops online because seeing how the attendees interacted with each other during the physical event and how the atmosphere was so relaxed, friendly and cosy, I was scared it would be difficult to convey the same online. I was also very aware of Zoom fatigue but to my surprise, all the attendees were very happy to connect with other womxn and share their experiences and reflections in such difficult times.

All the writing exercises and meditations could be easily done online too. I have a few collaborations coming up in the new year and it's nice to know that whatever happens I can still offer my services online.

Which other entrepreneurs inspire you and why?

I have met so many incredible women entrepreneurs on Instagram and the ones that most inspire me are the 'ordinary' ones, the ones who share a similar story to me and who are about slow and steady growth rather than banging on about the constant hustle.

I appreciate the ones who show the reality and the struggles that are part of being a woman entrepreneur rather than just glamourising it and making it all about followers, likes and money.

What are your tips for business success?

Never give up even when things seem tough. When I feel like I'm going through a rough time, I always go back to my why; why I started, why I'm doing this and why it's meaningful for me and for the people that I'm trying to reach. Going back to my purpose helps me to keep believing in myself and what I do even when other people can't see the value of what I'm doing.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in 218 bitesize videos.  
If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log-in to your learning dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

Daniela Bragato
Daniela BragatoWomen MAKE Stories

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