the wet spaghetti phase. (shit togetherness part two)

in part one of this simple shit togethering method, we went through a few key elements to basic shit cohesion, or what it is to start something new for yourself and make it look as though you already know what you’re doing when you clearly fucking do not.

these steps are:

do something.
put information about it on the internet.
make it pretty.
continue investing time and energy into being excellent at what you do.

so now that you’re knee-deep in shit togetherness, somewhere on this path, you will inevitably enter into a wilderness of sorts. for a few, this wilderness is invigorating and exciting. for most, this wild desert sucks your life force before you can even draft an email, leaving you in a downward spiral of netflix and self loathing. and this wilderness is not rife with foliage. no. it is instead filled with boiled carbohydrates.

that’s right. welcome to the wet spaghetti wild west, bitches.

*cue the tumbleweeds.*

this challenging landscape is unrelenting, unforgiving, and completely barren in places. but if you can be patient, sensitive, and aware, it can also be a wellspring of unique and brilliant ideas.

the fuck are you talking about, rae?

right. the wet spaghetti wild west is what i call the part of the entrepreneurial journey where you’re starting to realize that you actually don’t know THAT much about exactly what it is that you do. is just boutique travel throughout southeast asia, or do you do other regions, too? do you only tutor kids with learning disabilities, or are you open to other students as well? do you only review restaurants, or do you also include breweries? so you’re faced with having to throw all of your ideas at the wall, like cooked noodles, to see what sticks.

and suddenly your cool new idea feels like that bottomless bowl of olive garden linguini that poisons you with every bite but leaves you so overwhelmingly full you can’t even leave the table. so you just die instead.

but i promise you, this stage is very much on the beaten path of what it is to start something for yourself. the truth is, you will never know exactly what it is that you do until you do it. and until you do a lot of things that you don’t do.

what happened for me

when i arrived in saigon from korea, i was really burnt out and totally “over” yoga. i’d been managing studios and classes, organizing other teachers, teaching classes, working about fifty other jobs, and still trying (unsuccessfully) to find time to do my own practice…which was also exploding into an absolute shitshow of sun salutations and angst.

so i got to saigon, and i said fuck it. and then i slept for about 18 months.

k, that’s another post entirely, but let’s flash forward. after spending time trying out other classes, i gained an appreciation for the positive aspects of what we’d been doing in seoul. and i realized that it just wasn’t happening in saigon. in seoul, we had a really cool vibe. we had a solid group of non-competitive, friendly people who loved to practice, drink beer, and have fun. it wasn’t pretentious. it didn’t feel ritzy. but still, everyone was progressing and invested in the practice, as well as the community. we weren’t just some classes. we were friends.

so i decided to invest 100% in the part that i loved, and fuck the rest.

i took all of the furniture out of my house, posted about myself and my classes on facebook, and lo and behold: home yoga saigon was born. no other teachers to handle. no one else to answer to. no extra rent. just a few classes a week at first. group classes. poorly attended, but those who came were motivated and loyal. it was a place, like the name suggests, that felt like “home.”

eventually, the ashtagna vinyasa i used to teach stopped serving me, and it became excruciating to keep wande gurunaming in class when my personal practice no longer looked anything like that. eventually, i came out of the closet as a “recovering ashtangi” and started teaching what i was really interested in.

and because the community aspect of my offerings was so strong, and because of my sincerity, i didn’t lose ANY clients. in fact, something else started to happen entirely.

as my practice and teaching began to reflect my beliefs, namely that pain management was a low-hanging fruit, and that full-blown, near miraculous recovery and healing were possible, my business began to shift to almost entirely private clients. healing advanced practitioners and other yoga teachers. allowing them to practice with a freedom and ease they thought impossible while still navigating the waters of advanced asana. then it blossomed into also working with pre- and post-natal clients, absolute beginners who were too intimidated for group class, and professionals who needed sessions that fit into their busy schedules.

so here i was. in a developing country where i didn’t speak the language and most yoga classes were less than $5. offering private sessions in english for $50 a pop. with a waitlist because it became so popular. with clients progressing faster than i would have believed and with a job 100% in alignment with who i am. ALL IN MY HOUSE, so i didn’t even have to commute.

clearly i did not set out to do that. and i had no fucking idea that that’s what would take off!

in the beginning i offered everything. group, private, workshops, beginner, hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, yin. but eventually, something stuck. and i gave myself to it fully. and now i am…honestly? i’m kind of an expert. in what it is to use yoga asana individually and medicinally. and that is not something many teachers really know how to do. not to mention…i love the fucking fuck out of it.

what that means for you

you do not need to be everything for everyone. you won’t be. you can’t be.

however, in the very early stages, when you’re transitioning your side hustle into your full time jam sauce, it’s totally normal to be as much as you can to as many people as you can. not so that you exhaust yourself and send mixed messages. but so you can really feel into what it is you have to offer to the people who want it.

it’s ok to offer six services. you won’t be overworked because four of them won’t take off! so eventually, you taper off to the two that people really seem to love. you fortify those few products or services or experiences or whatever with your full effort and integrity. knowing that you are genuinely and excellently filling a need. and with a little time, you can see clearly which of your wet spaghetti ideas have “stuck” to the wall.

stay the course in the wet spaghetti wild west. you will eventually build a life for yourself there. and there is no braver, more beautiful place to call home.

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