Entrepreneur Interview – Universal Life & Light
I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Sharon and Charley of Universal Life & Light recently. I met them when I was a vendor at their Mystical Winds holistic fairs about two years ago. Both Sharon and Charley made my experience at their fairs the most enjoyable, special and family orientated experience ever! If you love the metaphysical, then I highly recommend you make a trip to one of their events. You just might want to stay for hours and I’m pretty certain you’ll feel like you’ve gained new friends and a sense of community.
Sharon is a shamanic crystal healer and facilitates shamanic drum making classes. Her other gifts lie in healing and guiding through self love, releasing that which is ready to be released and she helps guide people to their own self awareness. Charley reads auras and chakras for health and balance; his main drive is balance. He has an ability to see and read auras, how they connect to the chakras and the energy flow of the body. Charley also helps to rebalance and realign people’s energy and he teaches the various ways to do these things.
The goal of these entrepreneur posts is to provide you, as a reader, with the encouragement of following your own dreams and making them a reality. What better way than to satisfy a passion (mental wellness) than taking that leap of faith and stepping into a new realm filled with possibilities?
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture and how did the idea come about?
S: I had a vision of us running a holistic fair a month or two after we admitted we had gifts. We mentioned it this to two of our friends and discovered some friends of theirs were looking to sell their fair.
C: Sharon and I are Universal Life & Light, which I started years ago but didn’t do anything with it. Meeting Sharon, we came together and decided to use our gifts to help other people and so we started participating in physic fairs doing healings.
Describe/outline your typical day and how many hours do you work on average?
C: My typical day consists of managing our website, changing out floor plans, keep things flowing and setting appointments for both of us depending on what someone needs. I do readings and healings out of World Beyond in Marysville. Sometimes I can spend the entire day on the website. People can call to book a table at our fairs, schedule healings, readings or classes. I often spend 4-5 hours a day on phone calls.
S: Having a day job, I spend an hour on average per day on the fair with bookings, floor plans and such. Drum classes takes about 9-10 hours a month and the running the fairs takes about 12-16 hours once a month.
Has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
S: It brought us closer together as we work on it. It’s fun doing something together. What I’m not good at he is, and vice versa.
C: We’ve been told that we are the perfect team. Sharon and I recognize what the other is comfortable with and not. We talk about that without any struggle and split off what one wants to do, and based on our varying strengths.
What motivates you?
S: Community. I love the amazing people we’ve met and worked with. We get people together, promote and build community, and we have made some amazing friendships. The vendors wander around and make connections. If you’re not having fun, you’re not creating miracles. Once I read the mission statement of the fair from the previous owners, it rang loudly for me as what I saw in my vision.
C: Community. We found something that we started and it’s not ours anymore; we started the process with creating a community and bringing people together. There are a minimum of three new people who join the fair each time. We receive calls from people from out of state to come and be part of the fair. It’s expanded beyond what we thought about, which is the exciting part. It’s fascinating. Sometimes people come up to us at the end with a giant smile, saying I didn’t make a dime this time, but they will come back for every fair as they say it was such a wonderful space. Before the start of each fair we open with a circle of the vendors and I read the mission statement and speak from my heart. It’s like a brand new day for me. I get to be a part of that beautiful moment and enjoy the love that begins.
How do you generate new ideas?
S: Community. Ask lots of questions and ask spirit. Vendors are surprised an happy that we listen to their suggestions and ideas. I don’t understand the surprise, I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t want to know. I don’t have all the answers, but a community does.
C: The community steps up and gives us tips and tells about new venues we can find. We take all of that in and research ourselves when we get those pieces. We’re going to do a Bellevue show because one of our vendors recommended it.
How do you define success?
S: Success is how many people rave about what we’re doing and the feedback that we are where we are supposed to be. Also, that I can be me and it’s not only ok, it is appreciated. That is success to me.
C: The way I live today I am surrounded by people that genuinely love me because I am me. That’s what success is. I can live my life as me and other people love it.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
S: So many in the community. Most of the inspiration comes from seeing what others do, noticing what doesn’t work and figuring out ways to make it work.
C: There no one person. I agree with Sharon. Inspiration comes little pieces at a time.
How do you build a successful customer base?
S: By treating those like you want to be treated. Brainstorm with vendors – one asked who your focus is: participants (vendors) or guests. It’s the participants as they take care of the guests. It’s all about customer service.
C: Being able to treat them with respect as to who they are. When our vendors come to us, they come to us for the respect we show them. It’s all about community.
How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
S: There are people who are not ready to step up as a vendor and they come and help us set up the fairs and learn. We often do trade and barter.
C: We have some helpers, not staff. We do trades with them. Some are my student and they learn from the vendors. Sharon does trades with crystals, stones and readings. Vendors will give services to our helpers in exchange for their help.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
S: Being too nice for my own good and being taken advantage of. We’re people persons and it ends up being harmful to me and us. People are making suggestions about raising table/booth fees, assuring that it’s ok. We are huge on creating community; the thought never occurred to us that they would help us. It never occurred to us to ask for help.
C: We’ve lost money because of being too nice. We don’t actually make money. It would be beautiful when we make money from the fairs. At the moment it’s done purely out of love and the vision of what was needed in the world. One of the vendors got donations from every vendor at the Lynnwood fair as we were $150 under until they raised funds for us to more than break even.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
S: Being open and willing to change and feedback from the community. We can’t figure it all out for our own. Believing in what you’re doing and have a passion. There may be times of struggle, but remembering why you do it can bring you back.
C: Have passion for what you do. A true sense of self is the only thing that makes it work. Knowing who I am; that I’m comfortable with me. Then I have the strength to step into the unknown. Believe in what you do.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
S: I use to segregate the analytical and spiritual but have found out they work really well together. Watching the community grow and shift. Being ok to be me was huge. I usually hid in big groups. And when one of the vendors stepped up to help us in need.
C: Our first large Everett fair. The room was over 6,000 square feet. We had almost 100 vendors. When we had our opening circle there was an explosion in my heart that all of these people came; came for us because of what we have created for them. It was the most amazing day.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
S: Being in charge, but not having to be in the forefront. Being in the spiritual community, we can be ourselves and thrive.
C: I get to exercise my blatant overzealousness of having fun. I have the most wonderful time flitting around, talking to everyone. It gives me that peace that I need. People love me for who I am, no matter what.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
S: Making money. We see a vision of it becoming a big, international fair at the Seattle Center. Hopefully I don’t have my day job by then. Creating a living out of this rather than it being on the side.
C: We’re able to live without having a day job. I have this visual picture of a giant arena. A passion begins as something fun and is often a secondary part. It takes a while for it to become a primary source of your income. It takes a little while to build it up. Passion and the drive we have, we’re willing to take the time to do that.
Any words of advice for my readers?
S: Find the passion in your business. Be willing to look outside the box to make it work. People often struggle on their own; ask until you find someone to help you. Have a support group to encourage and support you, pull you out of struggle.
C: Passion. Find the thing that you are passionate about and don’t let anything stop you from fulfilling it. Trust others to help; there is someone out there who knows the information you need. Having been a computer tech, I learned, I don’t have to know everything, I can find the answers to what I need.
If you are interested in attending one of Sharon and Charley’s fairs, receiving services or taking one of their classes, you can reach them via their website:
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