Updated: Mar 15
In this weekly blog series we aim to highlight fantastic creative people mainly from SE London who we either work with or admire every week! This week its Anja David founder of East Dulwich Reiki
1. What led you to start up your business?
Back in 2012, I had 2 small children and my husband became suddenly very ill. He had a lung infection, which came out of nowhere. He was in a coma for 3 weeks in Kings College Hospital, literally fighting for his life.
During that time, I was in the room with him, holding his feet in my hands and I felt a buzzing sensation in my palms, and I saw bright orbs of light around him.
Thankfully he fully recovered and we returned slowly back to “normal” life.
I kept remembering what had happened and I started to research what I might have experienced.
A good friend kept telling me about Reiki, it sounded very “out there” but I was intrigued.
I found a local Reiki 1 course and started my training.
I very quickly found Reiki to be a fabulous tool for de-stressing, upping my energy levels and helping me to cope better with everyday life.
I went on to train to practitioner level, printed my business cards, bought a portable massage couch and started giving treatments.
2. What were the biggest obstacles to starting up?
CONFIDENCE, that was a massive block.
I really doubted that I could create a business around a therapy that’s still quite new and difficult to explain.
But, I had seen and felt the results so I just stuck my neck out, described it as best I could and got on with trying to deliver the best experience possible to the clients that came through my door.
TIME, I had 2 small children to look after and no close family to help out.
Luckily, most clients work, so they want to have treatments in the evenings and weekends.
So, my lovely, supportive husband has been amazing at looking after the girls and whipping up his special pasta sauce after a hectic week at work, whilst clients visit for their treatments in my tranquil Reiki loft.
Luckily things have moved on and I now work at the Dulwich Therapy Rooms in Lordship Lane, and I also hold workshops and Reiki sessions at LevelSix in Peckham Levels.
Though I do still see some clients at home, as our space is so lovely and peaceful.
3. What do you love about your business?
I love helping people along on their paths through life.
We all have a story to tell, and it’s a privilege to be a part of a clients’ healing journey.
I’ve never been very good at small talk at parties, I tend to get quite quickly into deep conversations, soul searching and discussing what’s really going on beneath the surface.
So in a Reiki session it’s a helpful trait to be able to use my intuition to get to the heart of the matter, and help clients to open up.
4. Who would be your dream client?
That’s so hard to say, Reiki can literally help anyone and everyone!
I’ve just launched a new course for Parents & Babies, I actually attune the Mums so they can give themselves and their babies Reiki whenever they wish.
It’s lovely to be able to help new parents learn a skill that can help everyone to bond and adjust to the changes that a new baby brings.
Stressed out Mums & Dads, teenage angst and exam stress, chronic illness, anxiety, support through grief or job changes. You name it, Reiki can help it.
But if I could pick, I’d love to treat Oprah (because she’s amazing), Kate Moss (because I’ve always adored her uniqueness & cool style) and Donald Trump (because he could certainly benefit from some calm rebalancing).
5. Where would you like to take your business ultimately?
I’d like to earn a decent salary that will allow me to spend some of my time volunteering in cancer & palliative care centres.
I’d like to be a spokesperson for Reiki in the media, with a view to it becoming a more mainstream healing therapy.
I’ve got a goal list as long as your arm, but one of my objectives is to appear on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour one day!
6. Where have you received the most support along your journey?
Oh, it has to be my husband Kevin, he’s been so good at listening to me and proof reading all the material I write.
He’s an amazing soundboard and a lovely strong shoulder to cry on.
I’ve also met a group of amazing women along my journey, each one at a different time has believed in me and been the wind beneath my wings.
Catherine Arnold from catherinearnoldnutrition.com has been a huge inspiration from the start. We met when she was teaching yoga at my daughter’s school, life threw us together with a series of hard to ignore serendipitous events. Her passion for life, healthy eating and all-round upbeat support is priceless.
I think I should also mention the fact that the universe really does have my back, and yours. If you believe in yourself and you act from your heart, things have a way of working out. I’m kind of quoting Gabby Bernstein there, and she’s absolutely right!
7. Would you consider going back to employment for someone else now?
No, I don’t think I could. I have too much to do.
I’ve had some great bosses over the years and I’ve had some amazing jobs, I’ve worked in a radio station, flirted with modelling, I sold caviar to Princess Diana and I was an Air Stewardess. I did my own version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” long before the book was even published! After suffering a broken heart exquisitely administered by a handsome French man whilst I was working in Kuala Lumpur - I quit my job, sold my London flat and moved to Bali!
I feel that all my past experiences have led me to this point and working for myself, is definitely the best road ahead!
I love the fact that I can organise my working day around our 3 girls. I rarely miss a school play and I’m able to be there for them when they rush home from school, full of play, gossip and starving hungry.
8. What do you consider the key skills a small business person must have?
You need to have passion, tenacity and be quite single minded.
Set your path and start walking.
Be honest about where your weaker areas are and either get some training or outsource to people who can easily help with areas that you might otherwise struggle with.
Honesty and integrity go a long way. Self Confidence is a must, if you don’t believe in yourself, that’s a huge block to getting things going.
Everyone suffers from moments of doubt, but positive affirmations, goal setting and networking all help.
9. Have you been influenced by any business books or blogs recently?
I’ve really enjoyed listening to Holly Tucker’s podcasts “Conversations of Inspiration”.
I always come away with an idea, a tip or just feeling much more uplifted and positive about my next steps.
10. What would your top tips be to anyone considering starting their own business?
Be brave, be positive, have faith in yourself.
Dare to dream big and surround yourself with people who support and inspire you.
Set your price and don’t give your goodness away for free or for too heavily a discounted rate.
Allow yourself downtime to read, study and contemplate.
Take good care of yourself, I eat really healthily and I try to run 3 times a week.
I love yoga and Pilates, if I can’t get to a class then I do some stretches in the evening when the kids have gone to bed.
11. Do you think networking is important for your business?
Yes, it’s hugely important. I try to attend networking events at least once a month.
I’m actually quite a shy person, I don’t find it easy being in big groups of people, I much prefer one to ones.
However, if I push myself to go, I know that I’ll come away with a gold nugget every single time!
Each event helps me to make new connections, I get new ideas and I come away feeling so supported and positive.
People need people and I think there is so much to gain from meeting others and hearing their stories.
Thank you so much Anja for such an inspiring interview!
If you'd like to contact Anja
Don't miss reading more in the 'Have you Met?' series
Interview 18- Maddy Carrick
Interview 17 Anja David
Interview 16 -Bridget Daley
Interview 15 -Karen Arthur
Interview 14 -Rebecca Trowbridge
Interview 13 -Angélina Jandolo
Interview 12 -Kelly Harris
Interview 11 -Sara Dalrymple
Interview 10 -Ciarán O'Fathaigh
Interview 9 -Elizabeth Knights Trench
Interview 8 -Aba Edwards-Idun
Interview 7 -Roxsanne Slatford
Interview 6 -Lara Pearce
Interview 5 -Ashanti Jason
Interview 4- Shannon Reed
Interview 3 -Claire Connor
Interview 2 -Becca Teers
Interview 1 -Cat Bateman
Singing for my Supper
If you enjoyed reading this article and maybe others I've written, found a tip that worked for you or learned something new, it would be great if you'd consider sending me the price of a cup of coffee :) https://www.paypal.me/thanksforreading/2.50
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