Seven years ago, Simi Botic was working as a corporate healthcare attorney. Her day-to-day had a steady and consistent rhythm: in the office at 7:45 am; return home between 5 and 6 pm; go to the gym or take a class after work; spend time with friends; end the night nestled in front of the TV before the next day began. At the time, Simi was working with a health coach to heal her relationship with food. Through this, Simi developed her own passion for helping people do the same.
While still practicing law, Simi went back to school for her coaching certification and then ultimately transitioned to full-time health coaching. The decision to pursue professional coaching was a gradual process that unfolded over time. She recalls the decision “clicking” with her when she started seeing clients, and this transition took place over 2 years. While coaching part-time, she taught barre classes and worked as a freelance writer.
Seven years later, Simi works full-time as an intuitive eating counselor and health coach. She defines this as helping women with mindset, behavior, and lifestyle changes that support their goals, with a focus around intuitive eating, body image healing, and releasing perfectionism. She calls out a few key tools that helped her kick off her business: MailChimp, an email marketing tool (she now uses ConvertKit), The Wonder Jam, a creative studio based in Columbus, Ohio, and a business coach. Having a solid support system cheering her on was also a major motivator for her. Simi’s credits her supportive base of friends and family for helping her take her business from a dream to a reality.
Simi first started developing her client base by working with acquaintances or friends of co-workers from her law firm. Her part-time job working as a barre studio instructor also helped her connect with clients. As her business began growing, she saw changes in the ways she connected with clients. While she initially began gaining clients through referrals and word-of-mouth, this evolved into connecting with clients through social media, her blog posts, or podcasts that she was featured on.
Simi and her husband, Tim, are parents to their two children, Osh and Yasmina. On a busy workday, she’s able to spend time with them between client calls and responding to emails. She refers to them as “kiddos,” and it’s clear that having the opportunity to both work and parent in the same space means a lot to her. Simi’s advice to parents hoping to start their own business involves realistic goal setting and setting clear expectations for yourself, “Set realistic goals / to-do's for yourself and, when possible, carve out devoted time to do it. If you have an hour or two to work but you know what you're doing to dive into when that hour begins, you'll be so much more productive! I've found that trying to multitask working while parenting is a recipe for feeling really out of sorts.”
For many business owners, a shift occurs when starting a family and having children. As both a parent and business owner, Simi has found that she has to be more structured with her work time while she has childcare. For Simi, striving for a healthy balance means intentionally carving out time for the things she loves and the people she wants to spend time with. While navigating parenting and owning a business can be a period of transition for business owners with children, it also allows for a business owner to spend time with their children in a way that a traditional job wouldn’t allow for. Much like many parts of entrepreneurship, parenting and owning a business is a constant balance, but one where, as Simi demonstrates, you can dedicate your energy to both.
“Set realistic goals / to-do's for yourself and, when possible, carve out devoted time to do it. If you have an hour or two to work but you know what you're doing to dive into when that hour begins, you'll be so much more productive! I've found that trying to multitask working while parenting is a recipe for feeling really out of sorts.”
Through running her business, Simi has set both personal and professional boundaries. Before she starts working with someone, Simi communicates her availability in an initial consultation and then reiterates the same information in a client contract. Setting clear boundaries before working together ensures everyone is on the same page. She also has worked to set personal boundaries for herself. If she starts to feel overwhelmed about her business, life or balancing commitments, she practices putting away all of her screens and doing something outside in fresh air or with people she loves. To put it simply, Simi says, “It just feels good to be human!”
Simi has built an extensive following on social media (most notably on Instagram), and it’s not hard to see why. On a platform that boasts perfection and invokes comparison, Simi serves as an authentic, vulnerable voice, rising above the noise that can feel overwhelming and unattainable to users.
While social media is a major part of how Simi connects to her community of clients and fellow health professionals, she recognizes her own need to set boundaries with social platforms. She sets aside 45-minutes a day to be on social media. When her allotted time is up, she deletes the app off of her phone. Instead of scheduling her posts, Simi lets inspiration guide how frequently she posts on social media. A social media calendar isn’t dictating what Simi posts on a daily basis. If she wants to share her thoughts on a topic, she does. Many of her posts are followed by a flood of comments from friends and clients who resonate with her and her messages surrounding letting go of perfection. What makes Simi’s account so relatable isn’t that it’s filled with photos portraying perfection or perfectly edited photos. If you scroll through her account, you’ll find a photo of a bowl of mashed potatoes (made by her mom) and a caption about learning to love a dish that used to terrify her, a handful of shells and a few words about letting go of comparison, and a snapshot of her daughter sitting on her lap as she responds to client emails. More than likely, Simi’s followers have all been there, and that’s a large part of what has helped Simi connect with her online community.
Her advice to business owners wanting to use their voice on social media is simple, “Let your authentic voice come through. Nobody can be you but you!” She stays true to her word, whether sharing a post about body image or recording her thoughts about parenting on her Instagram stories, Simi’s authenticity is what has cultivated an online community of people willing to share both their struggles, triumphs and everything in between.
Simi’s journey of coming into her own as an entrepreneur and health coach has no defined endpoint. When Simi talks about her law career, she remembers feeling like there was a tangible goal that she was working toward. Navigating a self-employed career path has meant discovering that an endpoint isn’t quite as clear and defined. While this uncertainty can be a point of trepidation for new business owners, it offers a lot of excitement and a chance to try new things, fail, and try again with something new. As Simi reflects on her coaching career, she shares her advice to new business owners: “Practice gratitude for the awesome parts of the work as often as possible– it will help on those days where it feels so tough! Also, get support. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and isolating and I've found that support and community are so invaluable along the way!”
A major part of what Simi has learned about herself through owning her own business is a message echoed in her book, Letting Go of Leo, where Simi writes about breaking up with perfection and learning to fully accept herself for who she is. As an entrepreneur, she’s had to let go of her mistakes along the way and embrace the imperfection of the process. When she moves forward, she always aims to come from a place of doing good.
Simi’s career highlights the triumphs and struggles of entrepreneurship and self-employment. A career path that can feel overwhelming also allows business owners like Simi to pave their own way, establishing a peer network and building a community unique to their business offerings. But what stands out in Simi’s story isn’t perfection. Owning a business isn’t perfect; it’s about embracing the imperfection and working to always be better and do better next time. It’s hard work and requires patience, grit, and perseverance. Maybe most important of all: it doesn’t happen overnight. But based on Simi’s story– someone determined to use her passions to start a business and champion a supportive, engaging community– this journey could be the best part of it all.