Harriet is a yoga teacher and CEO and Lead Trainer of the UK based charity, Yoga Quota. I had the pleasure to photograph some of the teachers at Yoga Quota previously and was delighted when Harriet reached out for her own personal brand photos. She wanted photos that reflected her big personality and vibrant energy. Oxford has been Harriet’s home in the UK ever since she first moved here, so it was an obvious choice to use various locations around the city as our backdrop.
Rather than hearing from me, though, I think it’s so much better to hear from Harriet herself. I sent her some questions that she kindly answered about her work, motivation, and any advice she has for others.
Let’s hear from Harriet…
Can you tell me about what you do and how you got into it?:
I’m the CEO and Lead Trainer of Yoga Quota — I’ve been practicing yoga for 15 years, and teaching for 4 years. I’m originally from Brisbane, Australia, and moved to Oxford nearly 3 years ago. Yoga Quota was the first yoga studio I went to on arrival…and I guess I’ve just never left! I wouldn’t be the same person without my yoga practice, and I love sharing my enthusiasm with my students, colleagues and teacher trainees. An average day doesn’t really exist for me, which I love. I might be teaching room of trainees how to make yoga inclusive and accessible; attending meetings with our charity partners; or working from home with my cat Queenie.
Why do you do what you do?:
Because I love it! And it keeps me engaged, challenged and interested. I get bored ridiculously quickly, and I love that there’s so much variation in what I do, the people I work with, the places I get to go, and the problems that I get to solve.
What do you like best about what you do? :
The impact is pretty amazing! In May 2018, Yoga Quota taught 70 charity classes (that’s nearly 350 individual visits!). Knowing that I played a role in that never gets old. I also love teaching, like really love it. Whether it’s sharing something new with my regular clients, or helping trainees develop into their own amazing teachers, it’s so fulfilling.
Working for yourself can be difficult at times. What do you do to stay motivated?:
I *love* my home office. It’s full of plants, and I have a ritual around how I start working when I sit down. Small things like that make a big difference. But I’m also a fan of regularly scheduling days off. I feel like downtime is a big issue when you work for yourself or run an organisation: it just goes out the window. So I’m always looking for the next day that I can block out. This week I’m taking a day to visit a friend in London, we’re going to get massages, do a yoga class and get lunch. It’s a bit indulgent, but worth it. I regularly work 12-14 hour days, so having a day off like that is a real treat, and I enjoy it so much! It really helps me stay motivated.
What are your dreams for your business moving forward?:
World Domination! Joking but not joking! Over the next year I’m aiming to continue growing Yoga Quota within the UK. I’m also keen to take our trainings on the road, and start making international trips. So more yoga, more travel and more educating!
Do you have any advice for any other solopreneurs or small businesses?:
Have an amazing community around you, whether that’s online or in person. People you can turn to for advice, support and sense-checking. I could not do what I do without my team at Yoga Quota, my friends, family and online buddies. It’s so crucial to combat the isolation that working for yourself or running an organisation can bring with it.
Did you read any blogs to help you with your business or creative life? If so, which ones::
I’m really bad a reading blogs! How about a book list instead?
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me – essential reading, I adore her writing on women & feminism
Darren Main, The Yogi Entrepreneur – a little out of date now, but essential business principles/approaches for yoga teachers/businesses
Sam Harris, Waking Up – a great read, about spirituality from a neuroscience/secular perspective
Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – again, essential reading for anyone (but particularly if you live in the UK)
Min Jin Lee, Pachinko – one of the best novels I’ve read so far in 2018