Episode 37 Transcript: Finding Peace, Purpose, and Authenticity with Neelma Pyfrom

Brett Follows: Welcome Neelma Pyfrom to the retiring entrepreneur podcast, I am excited to have you here today.

Neelma Pyfrom: Hi, thank you for having me,

Brett Follows: We have seemingly the last six episodes or so have had consultants and coaches for our entrepreneur audience, which have been great, and they’ve talked about different technical aspects of how to operate a business but we have not touched on the person, the business owner themselves. And so I thought with you as a life coach, you would be a wonderful complement for our audience to talk about things that we all have to deal with, and that is the inner voice in our head that is driving us crazy. So I hope to pick your brain and get some information to share with our audience.

Neelma Pyfrom: Glad to be of any help

Brett Follows: So tell me, a life coach, let’s start with that. Tell me about your practice. How did you get to where you are today? And what does the practice look like today?

Neelma Pyfrom: So I actually started out as a director of payroll for many years, spreadsheets, all the formulas, all the calculations, I did it for a very long time, I got to the point where I was starting to feel a little burned out, I wanted something more, and a friend of mine and I were sort of having the same issues at the same time. We ended up looking into life coaching and decided that was the path for us.

Neelma Pyfrom: We did our certification and slowly I started to grow my business, it was very much a side hustle for about two years. And so I was working on a regular job, doing my payroll, and then life coaching on the side, taking care of my daughters, you know, my house, all the things. And then finally, it got to the point where the practice was growing so much so that I couldn’t keep up with my quote-on-quote, my day job, so I ended up leaving, and now I’m a full time coach.

Neelma Pyfrom: The practice is just me, it’s about 15 to 20 clients strong. Some of them I see once a week, some of them I see once every two or three weeks. So scheduling is a huge part of the day as long as I can get it with the girls, to my daughter’s soccer. A lot of my clients tend to be in the teenage range. So anywhere I think my youngest is 12, my eldest is actually 65. And I see them for issues of anxiety, depression, sexuality, spirituality, confidence, it all depends, especially with the age and with the younger ones, it tends to be grades, an overall sense of lack of motivation, they simply just don’t care, then COVID, and that isolation was very hard for a lot of them.

Neelma Pyfrom: So if they had any inclinations towards depressive tendencies, it came to the fore. So it’s been hard for them to reintegrate. Same things similarly faced by the older generations who have to come out again, they have to be back in the fold. I see middle aged women who are looking for a change, career, maybe lifestyle, focus on their health focused on their children, trying to manage the 24 hours in a day that seemingly are never enough.

Brett Follows: Yeah, well, we’ll definitely talk about that. Absolutely. Going back to two years ago when you decided to take the class with your friend, what was it about life coaching that caught your interest? I mean, you could have taken a course on anything, what drew you to the coaching?

Neelma Pyfrom: For me, it was the forward motion of life coaching. So therapy is very, it’s necessary for a lot of things, for trauma counseling, those things are extremely necessary. Life coaching, I see it as a complement to that. So where therapists oftentimes see their clients only once a week and they don’t really have any interaction with them before the next meeting, life coaching is very different, we set our goals, I question my clients. So that’s how we tend to evoke exactly where it is they want to be, what their goals are. I’m a huge proponent of baby steps.

Neelma Pyfrom: We are not leaping tall buildings in a single bound, we don’t do that here, we baby-step it. So if I have a client that comes to me, they want to work on x, we start formulating a plan, and then I check in with them, sometimes every day, sometimes every two or three days to make sure they’re staying on track. They know that I’m there for them if they need to make a phone call, if they’re having a bad day.

Neelma Pyfrom: One of my clients call me the other day, painfully shy and he had just asked a girl at a prom and she said yes. So those are the celebrations that I enjoy having but it was the accountability. There was a notion and the stress on action. It wasn’t going in the past, obviously we do need to talk about those things, but it’s the “okay that happened, what now? How do we heal? How do we move forward?

Brett Follows: Right, I love that. I actually took a quote from your website to enact a change, which I love and I’ll talk more about it, but an act of change mindset moving from a mind of reaction to one of action. So I think very similarly, even in my world, getting clients to take action is sometimes the hardest part. You can talk to them about strategies and whatnot till you’re blue in the face but if they can’t tie that to action, then it really doesn’t do any good.

Neelma Pyfrom: And they have to be ready. I oftentimes have clients whose parents come to me and say, I want you to work with my child, and I ask why? And I’ll ask them, does your child know about me? Do they know what I do? And they’ll be like “Oh no, but they’ll come”, I’m like “No they need to come, they need to want this” change doesn’t happen until you actually 100% want to have.

[08:26] How Neelma Pyfrom addresses the topic of work-life balance with her clients.

Brett Follows: Yeah. I’d like to touch a little bit about the relationship between the business and a business owner. I told you this podcast is mostly about entrepreneurs, and it’s my belief that as a business owner, we have two things. One, we have a relentlessly selfish business partner. And two, we have another business partner that is completely erratic, the selfish is the business itself. So if I own a business, it takes all my time, it takes all my money, it never gives back, it’s always wanting something more, and at the end of the day, I’m left with nothing. So it’s always taken and in that regard, it’s incredibly selfish.

Brett Follows: And then the other part is the schizophrenic stock market or the world, I mean, we have to deal with those things on a constant basis. And the balance between those two is very difficult, and so that’s why we get so working in our business as opposed to on our business, and then the whole time management thing is ultimately where I’m going is work life balance. I know that’s a favorite subject of yours, so talk to me about how you address work life balance, I’m sure it means different things to different people, but what are some of the mechanics of that?

Neelma Pyfrom: So I am by nature, a planner, I always have both a hardcopy, a big paper fan, as well as a Google calendar that the family and I share. I use my Google calendar sort of as my anchor into what has to happen that week, perhaps I have to, you know, the girls have soccer games, they have soccer practices, a doctor’s appointment, that sort of thing. When I first started thinking about my day and how I wanted to create it, it’s about a vision of me. Who is it I want to be?

Neelma Pyfrom: Do I want to be someone who meditates, do I want to be someone who runs? Do I want to be someone who takes time and reads for fun or big on personal development, I love to have those items. The only way that’s going to happen is for them to happen on the calendar. And so I’m a big proponent of put it all on the calendar, even though it fills up all the whitespace, you know what you should be doing, you know what you want to be doing, and keeping that connection, keeping it to the fore. So now I’m happy to say my mornings, especially when I quote-on-quote book-in my days, they start with me and they end with me.

Neelma Pyfrom: So the morning, I exercise I meditate, I get my girls ready for school, we get them to the bus. I have me-time, I read the news, I journal, It’s a busy morning, mind you. I’m up at 5:30 in the morning. But then at night, I have time for myself. I will read a little bit after the girls go to bed. I believe that after a while, you don’t need devices near you.

Neelma Pyfrom: So I try to detach anywhere from a half an hour to an hour before bedtime just to… and also just in the afternoon, spending time with the girls, they come home and they’re frantic, they tell me about what happened in their day, but they’ve got homework, they’ve got soccer, and I have clients. So a lot of it too is setting boundaries. They always know when I come home, if I’ll be with the client, if I have a client and shortly thereafter, do they need to get their soccer stuff on, here is a snack, it’s about preparation.

Neelma Pyfrom: But sometimes, the best laid plans sometimes fall apart, and that’s okay, too. Something happens, this fell apart. Like for instance, today my daughter’s homesick, she’s not well and she’s fine, she knows what she has to do, she’s just laying on her bed relaxing. I’ll check on her after we’re done. It’s not it’s not the end of the world, and I think people need to…I’m sorry, go ahead.

Brett Follows: No, go ahead. That’s okay.

Neelma Pyfrom: I think people just detect and get in touch with who it is they want to be and understanding, I know that one of the big things is, all my to do list and move from day to day to day to day, I don’t get these things done. Well, what are you doing? Are you distracted? Like we call it the half work when you’re sitting there but your phone’s right next to you, you’re like, oh, what’s on Instagram? Let me just check this out real quick. So how focused are you? And I think focus is a big issue nowadays, more so than others. Most of my clients have ADD or ADHD issues. So focus is huge. Getting that traction and away from distraction.

[13:00] How to create good habits to achieve your goals.

Brett Follows: Yeah. That’s the huge part, I think what I was going to say was to complement that is simply, you’re writing it down, I’m sure it’s 80% of it. Just the fact of writing it down. But then how do you hold your clients accountable to actually doing what they say, after they’ve identified, I’m sure their values, like yours is spending time with your girls or whatnot, but how do you hold them accountable? I guess that’s my question, and or how do you create the habits for them to achieve those goals?

Neelma Pyfrom: A lot of it is when we’re talking is maybe I’ll be with a client and they may say “oh I have to write an email”, and I will be like “Okay, let’s write the email” and they’ll go “What do you mean, now?” and I’ll say “Yes now”.  We’ll do it right then in there because if you need to get it done, then you want to get it done. And I’m here to ensure you get it done, let’s do it.

Neelma Pyfrom: If they’re stuck, sometimes they’re stuck. Sometimes it means we need to reevaluate what the goal was, reevaluate the steps. Typically, if a client is having a hard time achieving those steps and getting those things done in the day, there’s something else either physically holding them back, it’s a restraint on their time, it’s not realistic, or it’s something that on some level, they don’t want to do, perhaps they’re not doing it for themselves, they’re doing it for someone else.

Neelma Pyfrom: So when we set goals, we set the SMART goals. So it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time delimited. We try to be as specific as possible. And then, I’m also a huge proponent of celebrate, you did it. Good. How are you going to celebrate? Because when you tie those feelings of celebration together with what you set out to accomplish, it starts to make that habit more of an emotional response, and it starts to tie that together. So neural pathway wise, oh, if I do X, I get Y. So it’s the best way to form a habit. People say it’s about frequency, but that combination is actually the best way to do it.

Brett Follows: Yeah. So I hear a lot of types of time blocking that you’re a fan of, any other tricks of the trade that you recommend? Even things like tracking or things like that? What a little tricks do you have to keep people to…because it’s hard, we set this goal, but you know, we’ll never actually achieve the goal, we’ll just get close to it and then we’ll set another goal and get further away from it, we never actually get to it. So how do you actually actualize the celebration of the progress?

Neelma Pyfrom: So what I do is…we’ll start off with, say I want to lose 40 pounds in a month, okay that sounds like a noble goal. So, in that I see a gap, so how do we bridge that gap? So let’s say “okay, I think I can do 10 pounds in a week, per se”, and then okay, well, what does that mean? What habits have to happen in order to support that? Okay, well, I do need to find some time to run. It has to become realistic. We kind of have to bring it from the ether into reality, and understand.

Neelma Pyfrom: Oh, but you know what, I have this job that takes up these many hours, okay, so then maybe 10 pounds a week is a little much, how about five? The last thing I want to do is to have a client over promise and under deliver, because it takes its toll on their confidence and on their momentum. So I would rather we push to go out and achieve it earlier, like, sweet. We did this, there we go!! Look at us. We’re ahead of the game, because what that does for confidence is such a boost.

[16:37] Where most people tend to go wrong when it comes to their goals, according to Neelma Pyfrom.

Brett Follows: Yeah. So that goes back to baby steps type of thing, mindset. And also, one of my questions was, you know, in regards to goals, where do people go wrong? And is it not creating those smaller wins?

Neelma Pyfrom: Yes, a lot of times, people’s goals aren’t their own. Well, my mom says I should do X or Y, right, but what do you want to do? Do you know it’s interesting sometimes when parents call me because they’ll have a whole bucket list of things they want their child to do or get coached for, and then when I speak to the child, it’s different story altogether. That’s not what they’re seeing or seeing it in that way.

Neelma Pyfrom: So there’s always that disjuncture between the two, but in terms of goals, they have to set their goals, they know what they want, they know what they need to do, and it’s figuring out they need to align with that themselves. Because if they can’t see that as a goal or something that’s going to propel them forward to their best self, they’ll never make the change, they will never start.

Brett Follows: Do you analyze the goals? Do you break them down into quarter? Or does it depend on the client? What are we dealing with?

Neelma Pyfrom: It depends on the client and it depends on the goal. If it’s a very far reaching goal, perhaps they’ve been pretty isolated and they want to get back into joining some clubs they’ve always done before, it’s a matter of… a lot of times, they’ll start to ramp up a little bit and be like, oh, well, I sent email to get back onto this list chat, to get the emails for this group…Okay, great. They have meetings every month but I don’t want to do it this month. Okay, let’s look at next month.

Neelma Pyfrom: What do we need to do? Oh, well, it’s a book club. Okay, did we get the book? Have we done some reading on it? What are we thinking? Are we taking some notes, it’s really engaging them with that goal that is the key, because the further they want to do what they think they want to do it, as they get closer and it’s not ever really about the goal, It’s about the journey. Half the times they get to the goal and they’re like “I don’t really want to do this. I want to do this or that”, and I’ll be like “okay, then let’s go. It’s about learning about yourself along the way.

Brett Follows: And touch a little bit on the business owner about delegation. Do you find people are generally not good at delegation? Delegate too much? Or we need to learn to balance the two.

Neelma Pyfrom: Not good, that’s not good, they want to hoard it and want to keep it because no one else can do it as well as they can. And it’s a very hard mentality to break but a lot of times, it’s what’s holding you back. Are you holding on to this a little too tightly? Are you then sacrificing an opportunity for someone else to grow? And once we start to look into them and we start to figure out, okay, what is it?

Neelma Pyfrom: Maybe you don’t have to delegate this huge task, but can you delegate just a portion out? Do we need to follow up? What will give you the comfort you need to be able to trust this person in order to say they will get it done? And after a few follow ups? You know what, I think they can fly on their own. I have that, you know, I trust them. I trust their abilities, and you can that you start passing on? Oh, I delegated that already. Great. Moving on. Let’s go.

[19:54] How Neelma works with her clients to help them build confidence.

Brett Follows: Yep. And the other point you mentioned was in one of your services, is confidence, get comfortable and more aware of who you are, I mean, I know it all ties together. How do you deal with people who come to you just for that, or if that’s a major topic?

Neelma Pyfrom: Sometimes it’s something that may have rattled them. Sometimes it’s something in their past, perhaps they had a situation in which they were told not to speak, either from a parent, spouse or former relationship, that they’ve lost their voice. And so they don’t know what it’s like to hear themselves speak. They’re so used to living for someone else or maybe people pleasing that they’ve lost that in themselves. And so what it takes is some soul searching. I am not one to say, Okay, well, this bad thing happened.

Neelma Pyfrom: No, I want you to sit with it. What happened? How did it feel? It’s going to suck, it’s going to be discomforting, but it’s the only way for learn. There’s an author Brenee Brown, she talks about not gold plating the grit. That’s right, because you don’t want the hero to just fall down and get right back up, no, you want to see that he fell down on his face, he’s got gravel on his hair, he’s got stones in his teeth, and he’s a mess.

Neelma Pyfrom: Likewise to even with my young girls, if there’s an issue, they’ll be like “oh my gosh”, like a mom, everything I know the answer, and I have to just keep my mouth shut because I want them to live a conscious life, I want them to make their own decisions, otherwise, I’m like, Well, Mom told me blah, blah, blah. But I don’t want to tell them and for my clients, for confidence, a lot of it too is affirmations. Use affirmations.

Neelma Pyfrom: Who is it you want to be when you look at yourself? Or you know, take yourself out of the picture? Oh, I met Brent on the street and he looks great. Oh, really what did you do? Well, he’s doing XYZ, he’s this, this, and this? Are all of those the things you want? How do we get there? What has to happen for you to build that and find that within yourself? It’s there somewhere. We have it at some point. We just need to reengage it.

Brett Follows: So I hear a lot of thinking about the end in mind and working backwards from there. With the confidence and back to your quote I really find in my experience that a lot of us have this reactive mindset as opposed to the creative mindset and me personally, very complying. I think come from divorce family and all, which is pretty normal but I think that reactiveness leads to anxiety, which I know has got to be a big part of what you have to deal with. So talk about most of the anxieties that you see, they’re probably not real, we create them ourselves, and it’s just difficult for us to sit with them and be courageous and authentic and build off of them.

Neelma Pyfrom: With my younger clients, a lot of their anxieties sometimes come from social settings. They get closed off, they don’t know how to react, they don’t know what to say, they’re afraid they’ll sound stupid, they’re so cerebral and so in their head that nothing comes out of their mouth. I’ve had it and the thing about anxiety is anxiety will present so many ways. I myself have anxiety, one of my daughters has anxiety, but I mean, everyone usually has it to some extent. If it’s debilitating, that’s when something needs to be done.

Neelma Pyfrom: But going back to what you were saying. It’s hard to see the end when you’re in the thrills of it and a lot of times like, well, I’m having a panic attack, panic attack. That’s right, the panic attack is going to have to happen, you will get past it, it will happen. One of the things in my practice that I’m big on is meditation, mindfulness. So there’s that stimulus, the response, you could either respond, you can react, responding is where you need to be.

Neelma Pyfrom: So we’re so quick to… well this happens, immediately, your body is already halfway down the road, and we are not in the present moment. And so anxiety always takes us out of that present moment. We’re either ruminating something from our past, or afraid of something to come dropping in to that moment, and when it starts to happen, is extremely, extremely profound.

Neelma Pyfrom: One of my courses, anxiety reimagined, which I put together on my own, was coming at anxiety from not the perspective of a struggle, but more so understanding it as a defense mechanism that’s gone awry. A lot of times, you hear oh, I struggle with this, I struggling against. It’s that fight mentality. I don’t want that in the program. So in the program, I stress more of a befriending, understanding what are your triggers?

Neelma Pyfrom: What are the bodily manifestations? Do you sweat? Does your stomach get upset? Do you want to throw up? You know, it comes in a variety of different ways, my nose gets stuffed up or that my neck hurts. Understanding that the body will have reactions and paying attention to those reactions, like, oh, okay, I think I’m having anxieties coming on, I can start feeling my neck tense up, then we go through the mitigations of it. So we talk about meditation, mindfulness.

Neelma Pyfrom: Self-care is big, if you’re not taking care of yourself, as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. That is paramount. Gratitude, taking some time to be thankful for what you have in your life, and for wishing those well wishes on to others. And then I do with them a lot of visualization. So what this is, is coming at anxiety and seeing what does it look like? What does it feel like? What is it taking from you? We write letters to anxiety, and from the beginning and at the end, and the first letter is usually very angry.

Neelma Pyfrom: Look what you did, you took this from me, you suck, I hate you, and at the end, it’s more like, Ha ha, you suck but I got this, and I understand where you came from, you know, without anxiety, human race wouldn’t survive, we would have been eaten up by a saber tooth tiger or something. So we need it. It just wants to keep you in your comfort zone, it’s a matter of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Neelma Pyfrom: We also do personification, where you start to see anxiety as a person, what are they? What does it look like to you? Are you able to discourse with it? And it’s kind of taking it from what’s inside of you and putting it outside of you and actually looking at it. So it’s a lot, it certainly is, it is an eight week course but we definitely get a lot out of it.

Brett Follows: It is a lot and how long are the meetings? What’s the time factor? I mean, self-reflection and journaling and meditation, most people won’t give themselves 10 minutes of their own type, but they’ll give themselves an hour at the gym or whatever it might be or food shopping or cooking. But the self-reflection and self-care, that’s a lot of time, a lot of effort. Do you have trouble getting clients to be intentional and focus on that?

Neelma Pyfrom: Sometimes, yes, and sometimes it’s I don’t ever want them to feel guilt, I don’t want them to feel bad, because you change so much better by feeling good about something than feeling bad about something, and it’s a matter of just working with them. Okay, well, the kids went to bed, I know but that’s my shower time, we’ll have that 10 minutes in the shower, just dropping into the shower, or you don’t have to be seated on a mat to practice mindfulness, you can do it anywhere.

Neelma Pyfrom: Sometimes it’s a reminder on your phone, hey, it’s three o’clock time and it’s time to get mindful. Take a minute, even if it’s just five or 10 minutes, those little times, those little snippets, when you’re probably doom scrolling through your Facebook, those sometimes are what you need to start changing habits and start reigniting where it was you originally wanted to be.

[28:12] The most important thing Neelma Pyfrom tells her clients who are dealing with anxiety.

Brett Follows: Yes. And if we were just meeting, having this conversation, and you could say, here’s what here’s one thing I would recommend you try. What would that one thing be? In your opinion? Is it journaling, is it meditation? Is it exercise, what would be the first thing you recommend people do to sit with that anxiety?

Neelma Pyfrom: For anxiety, I would say, embrace it, I would say sitting with it meditation-wise. So meditation is great, because it allows you to help yourself focus to be in touch with your body. Once you start to hone that muscle, when anxiety starts to present itself, you oftentimes have a forewarning, you know what’s going to happen, but you also know it’s going to pass. You know what you need to do, I need to excuse myself, I need to go to the restroom, I need to just sit quietly and have a few minutes to myself but you know it’ll pass.

Neelma Pyfrom: So with anxiety, give it time, fighting it, and I’m also very much a fan of leaning into our emotions. Our emotions come to tell us what they need to tell us. All of a sudden, randomly, I could feel something and oh, that’s interesting, I wonder where that’s coming from? Because if you don’t resistance, it’ll always come back in some way, shape or form.

Brett Follows: Yeah. Specific. I’m curious just for you, the mindfulness and the meditation that you do, do you use an app for that? Or are you well-schooled enough that you can do it on your own?

Neelma Pyfrom: Well, I’m actually completing a mindfulness based stress reduction course. So that’s been great. I’ve been doing two and a half hours of class for the past eight weeks, we actually had an all day online meditation.

Brett Follows: Oh, my goodness

Neelma Pyfrom: this past Sunday, it was pretty intense but it was great. It was great. And so yeah, I sometimes use an app. Sometimes I just sit, sometimes I’ll go out to the backyard and just sit and listen to the water. So it all depends on what I’m feeling that particular day, sometimes I’ll want something very much guided. Sometimes I’ll want something lightly guided, sometimes I’m feeling stressed, or I need a little gratitude. I’m just pissed off.

Brett Follows:  And when you journal, do you usually use questions to prompt your writing? Or do you just write whatever is top of mind?

Neelma Pyfrom: Sometimes I just write whatever is top of mind. So in the morning, after I come back from my run or whatever exercise, I sit, I like to read the news, and then I sit and I journal. It’s an app on my phone. I think it’s called like day-one, and I just write how I’m feeling. Was it a hard morning? Was it an easy morning? How did it feel? Something happened last night that’s gotten me upset or angry? And throughout the day, if something really just tweaks me that I just need to get out of my system, I’ll just grab my phone and add on to the journal entry as I see fit. I find it sometimes it’s easier for me as someone who likes to write to see it all in written form.

Brett Follows: Yeah, that’s great. So back to you, as this entrepreneur that you’ve created, I mean, 15 to 20 clients in just two years is pretty good. How did they find you?

Neelma Pyfrom: Word of mouth marketing.

Brett Follows:  Word of mouth marketing? Tell me about that.

Neelma Pyfrom: I did some marketing, not a whole lot but a word of mouth has been the best thing for me. I’m actually on the OCA website as a resource for life coaching and it’s been amazing. I now have referrals that are too deep. So that one person that referred me now they’re referring me on and it’s just been growing.

Neelma Pyfrom: Word of mouth is definitely the biggest and the best way especially I think with life coaching because it’s such a personalized service. It’s not like, oh, hey, you know, this designer’s great, take a look at her stuff, t’s different with life coaching. I think parents especially want to have that trust and to say, Well, why her and not a therapist? And sometimes I think the kids like it better because I don’t have Doctor associated with me, so I’m not a clinician, I’m a real person. We sit and we talk, sometimes our chatters are about what’s going on and hey, did you see this on the internet? That was really great. You know, it’s about building rapport with the kids because if you’re not fully present for them, they know and they don’t trust you, they won’t open up.

Brett Follows: And is there a normal engagement? Does it have to be for three months? Or six months or a year?  Or is it fact dependent upon the client?

Neelma Pyfrom: It depends on the client, it depends on what they’re looking for and how much progress we made. So for our first meeting, I do a free intro session, give them a little homework, what are the goals you’re looking for and if it’s a child or minor, we always have mom or dad in the room to just talk through it and give them a little sense of comfort. After that, we do what we call a discovery session, I send them things beforehand, they see exactly what levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction they have in various areas, they talk about their focus, and what they want to focus on.

Neelma Pyfrom: And as well as I send them a life of values worksheet, that’s kind of just where do they rate their values? What’s important to them? We can’t make changes that go against those values, they won’t stick. Then our next session is setting goals. And we after that, we work towards those goals.

Brett Follows:  Cool. And for you. So what if it’s five years from today? What do you see for the progress of your practice? I mean, you are a mom to beautiful girls, you have a ceiling of time as well. So how many clients do you think you can handle? What would you like it to look like in five years? And then beyond there?

Neelma Pyfrom: I need an admin, that’s for sure. I would love an administrator. Right now, I am called chief cook and bottle washer, I do it all. So someone who can handle just paperwork sometimes, or just maybe setting an appointment or something like that, that’s what I handle right now. So I am super organized, I have lots of systems and processes in place just to make sure I don’t drop a ball. I would love to see probably maybe 25 clients, I would think will be tops. As long as I’m not seeing them every week, I think it’s manageable. I would love to get more into the sphere of writing.

Neelma Pyfrom: So I have blog posts that I do but I’d actually like to publish at some point, maybe some speaking gigs and I think my real passion though is getting more into my workshops, and building out more workshops. So similar to what I’ve done with anxiety reimagined, I want to do one with parents and children, so it’s sort of a family anxiety support system.

Neelma Pyfrom: A lot of times, you hear the kids say, my mom keeps telling me, it’s going to be just fine. She doesn’t get it, moms or dads, they may not know how to speak to them during that, and if you have an anxious child, you probably have an anxious parent with it. I know it from personal experience. And as well as my time management program.

Brett Follows: Yeah. So you could impact more people by that scale. But it’s just a family, you’re not scaling it to be multiple families taking a course at the same time. Gotcha.

Neelma Pyfrom: No, no, I want us tailored to that family because once you inherently get into their dynamic as a family, oh, well, they we don’t normally eat dinner together or you know, every family is different. So I think that personalization of just having and knowing that, okay, this is my mom, but she can support me because she knows my anxiety looks like or even, you know, like, obviously my mom, she’s starting to get really nervous, she’s pacing, maybe we should go for a walk, and just supporting each other. I think it could only strengthen parent child bond.

[36:07] The one thing Neelma wishes she had known when she started her business.

Brett Follows: Yeah. Looking backwards, what’s one thing you wish you knew two years ago or three years ago when you started your business that you know today?

Neelma Pyfrom: How to ask for money, oh, my gosh, that was the hardest thing. So I was all about the life coaching. I was all about the last day behind the scenes. And I’ll do all this work, but it was really hard to put yourself out there and to say, okay, my time is worth X dollars. That was really difficult for me and now it’s a lot better, but that was a very hard. I’m very much like, oh, well do the admin stuff. I’m good. But when you’re actually putting yourself out there, that’s a whole other story. That was very difficult for me

Brett Follows: How do people pay you? I’m always curious about that. Venmo type is the most?

Neelma Pyfrom: Yeah I QuickBooks, I’ll invoice them and they’ll either bring a cheque or they’ll pay via credit card. That’s usually the easiest way for them to handle it. If there’s something else that they want to try, like I’m more than happy to help.

Brett Follows: Yep. Who are some of your role models? Who do you go to for advice? When you feel burnt out or you feel stressed are?

Neelma Pyfrom: Probably my mom. She’s an HR administrator in Florida. She is super magnetic, everyone loves mom. She probably has hundreds of people that she supports. But that woman can tell you every single name of every single one and how many kids they have. And it amazes me how she can know all these people and yet have such personal relationships with them but she’s a workhorse. She is a total workaholic. I really don’t think she sleeps. I guess she still has time to talk to her grandchildren on the phone and yell at them for not calling granny. And so she is absolutely amazing, bright and kind, but definitely firm and definitely is an amazing judge of character. She’s like a superpower. And my husband.

Brett Follows: Your husband, of course, we had to put that in.

Neelma Pyfrom: Also, I could get in trouble.

[38:18] The one book Neelma gifts the most that has inspired her in her own journey of self-development.

Brett Follows: What’s the one book you might give the most?

Neelma Pyfrom: Oh, that’s a good question. I think I’m a bit of a bibliophile of books. I would probably say, Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, and it’s a very popular book, but I listened to it on the audible, and I run and so I was listening to it on there. And I found myself like, all of a sudden, very excited, and my hands up in the air, and I’m like, I felt like a crazy person on the street with my fist pumping and then I put my hand down.

Neelma Pyfrom: But that book is very inspiring. It’s very raw, it’s vulnerable. It’s open. There’s so much strength. I think Glennon Doyle is amazing. I think anything by Brene. Brown is key, because what she does and how she brings it. And another book, if I may have a third, is distractibility by Near Ayalla, and it’s just a really great time management productivity book.

Brett Follows: Okay, great. Cool. Well, we’ll put those in the show notes. Those are great. Thank you

Neelma Pyfrom: for sure.  

Brett Follows: Last question, this podcast is about successful entrepreneurs, and them being able to live their ideal life, hopefully through their business and from their business, what I have learned is that success means different things to different people. So I’m curious Neelma, what is your definition of success to you?

Neelma Pyfrom: I think success is a failing well. So I remember the very beginning of my business, I was terrified to fail. What if this is not a good idea? What if this is just…I second guessed everything and I made it my thing for 2020. Failure was my quote-on-quote word for the year. I will fail I will fail brilliantly, and I will get over it. And I did because if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re never going to fail. And if you don’t fail, you never learn. So I think success for me personally, was learning to fail and fail well, and pick myself up and feel like I suck at this, and then say, okay tomorrow moves on. Let’s go on.

Brett Follows: Yeah, that’s great. I love it. Fail well, I’m going to steal that. I’ve stolen a lot of your time. Neelma Pyfrom thank you so much for your time today on the retiring entrepreneur podcast.

Neelma Pyfrom: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Brett Follows: Have a great day.

Neelma Pyfrom: You too.

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