Business Healer & Gentle Guide: Meet Mara Glatzel

Once or twice a month on Annapurna Living we spotlight a creative entrepreneur who chooses to do business with integrity and soul. Today, please enjoy our conversation with business mentor & guide, Mara Glatzel.
All photos by  Joe Navas.

All photos by Joe Navas.

Hello! Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How does your heart manifest in the world?

Hey there! I'm Mara Glatzel. I am an intuitive guide and business mentor living on the outer shores of Cape Cod in a tiny seaside village. I'm drawn to this work because I am lit up by lit up women, women who are carving out space for themselves within their own lives. Over the last seven years, I have nurtured and tended to my cozy corner of the internet, turning it into a wild community for feminine conversations about intention, deep devotion, and inspiration for showing up each day and actively participating in your beautiful life.

My work is important because____.

My work is important because you are important. Because the quality of your life is important. Whether or not it feels like it, you are at the epicenter of your life. This means that when you feel supported—deliciously nourished, lovingly tended to, and divinely inspired—your life begins to reflect that each and every day. Too many women are walking the Earth burnt out and unsure of how to trust themselves. Too many women are spending their precious days striving to be more in order to be seen as good enough, and, in the process, are getting further and further away from themselves. Those are the women for me. The burnt out, the bewildered, and the ready—the women who are hungry to carve out space for themselves in their own lives.

What does soulful business mean to you? What motivates you?

Soulful business means showing up in the world in a way that is in energetic integrity with my spirit. It means that I make decisions from a place of deep honesty around my goals and desires instead of following the current trends, doing something just because I’m comparing myself to someone else, or because I think it will make me a lot of quick cash. It’s thoughtful, intentional, and sometimes difficult to achieve. There will always be shiny objects or flattering opportunities, but to me, showing up fully in my business means seeing through my ego and considering what it truly means to be of service to my clients and larger audience. I want my brand to feel cohesive, bright, and honest - and that requires that I am careful about how I conduct myself. We all have bad days or moments when we want to vent or receive validation, but I endeavor not to put anything out in my business (or life) that isn’t useful and productive. The best motivating factor for this is how deliciously good it feels to be honest. Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” I live by that principle, partially because I have an awful memory and partially because that is the approach that allows me to live in best alignment with my spirit.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

When I was first starting my business, I worked 1:1 with the brilliant and soulful Nona Jordan to sort out my money mindset after getting real clear that I’d need to do some work on my relationship to money if I was going to work for myself full time. I remember this one session where I was wailing about being stressed about “being totally broke” and feeling like it was too risky to do it anymore. She very matter of factly asked, “How much money exactly do you have?” In that moment, I had about $12 and I told her so. She responded and told me that even $12 was more than $0, and that I should be more accurate with my language around money. This was the smallest moment in a series of conversations, but it’s had a huge impact on how I empowered I feel in my business. I honor every single dollar, because it has been made with my mind and with my heart. And, I have learned to be very patient with myself over the years, as my business has grown and become infinitely more stable. Underneath that lesson for me was the decision about whether or not I thought that I was a good risk—whether or not I trusted myself deeply to follow through. Cultivating that trust has been the most valuable thing that I have done over the last years in business for myself. I know, now, that I have my own back and that I am allowed to create my own measures of success. Money can be made, but that deep feeling of self-assuredness is priceless.

What is the best business advice you would give?

Create your own measures of success and decide for yourself when enough is enough. These two concepts will save you from burnout again and again. When you are running an online business, it is too easy to feel as though you need to be connected 24/7. Even though the internet doesn’t sleep, you really need to. Deciding for myself when enough was enough helped me create better boundaries with my work. It allowed me feel proud of my work for the day before closing up shop and getting back to enjoying my life. Choose measures of success that a human can truly achieve, and then adjust them as necessary. Do not, under any circumstances, forget to celebrate yourself and all of the hard work that you are doing.

How do you stay connected to loved ones when deeply entrenched in work?

This was such a challenge in my first couple of years of business! I didn’t have any boundaries with my business and so it spilled over into every nook and cranny of my life, leaving me with very little time to pay attention to my sweetheart or those around me. At the time, it was a mixture of being so afraid that if I left my business, even for a couple of hours, it would all fall down around me and the fact that it lit me up so much I didn’t want to put it down. But the truth is, my business thrives in my absence. It thrives when I take the time to connect with the things that are the most important to me. Now, I work to have better boundaries, so that I can enjoy the space around work. I don’t answer emails at night. I put my phone down when someone is speaking to me. I make an extra effort to carve out sweet time with my partner so that she knows that I love her most of all. I try to get outside every day to disconnect for an hour. For me, the important piece is remembering that this connection nourishes me deeply. It enables me to show up better for my writing and for my clients. It’s this reminder that keeps me returning to these actions, even when the to do’s pile up.

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? How do you work with or around it?

Hands down, my biggest challenge as an entrepreneur has been reminding myself to put my work down and do things for myself. As a recovering perfectionist, there is a piece here about expecting excellence and wanting to be of service in the best way possible, but mostly this is about my huge love for my work. I am the kind of person that pours myself into something fully, especially when I am inspired by it, and it has been a huge challenge for me to learn how to love my work while also staying connected to and inspired by other parts of my life as well. The main way that I work with this is that I decide what I’m going to get done each morning. There are always many, many lists of things that I want to do, but there are only so many workable hours in the day. So, I create a micro list of a couple of items that I will accomplish during the day before heading out for a social engagement or cooking dinner. When that list is done, I give myself full permission to move on to the next thing. Oftentimes this is resting or doing something silly or frivolous, and this suits me. It feels so good to take care of myself that allowing myself this space helps make this more of a ritual. As I make this space for myself, I am able to see how that space nourishes and energizes my work, and I find my rhythm in the cycle of rest and creation.

When you feel burned out or uninspired, what lights your fire again? Please share a personal mantra, motto, or ritual for when you feel drained. How do you stay nourished and inspired as a soulful creative?

Walk away. Whenever I’m feeling lost or disengaged from my work I try not to push myself too hard. I find that if I am able to close my computer and get out of my house, I am easily able to find my drive again. In the summer, I love to hop in my car and head out to the ocean or a pond near my house and throw myself in the water. In the winter, sometimes this is a brisk walk followed by a hot shower. For me, there is something about rituals with water that help me scrub off that feeling of malaise has been following me around, and connect back to myself.

How do you start your work day?

These days my morning absolutely must start with breakfast. Before I was pregnant, I would wake up and drink coffee until I was starving around noon, but now, nothing begins until I drink 32 ounces of water and I scramble myself some eggs. It has been beautiful learning how to create this new morning ritual for myself, and it helps me feel into that invisible boundary between my life and my work day. I also find that it helps to wash my face and change into what I affectionately like to refer to as my work pajamas. (As in, not the pajamas I sleep in, but, let’s be real, yoga pants and sweaters are practically pajamas in disguise.)

If you could do something else as a vocation, what would it be?

My “official” training is in social work with a specialization in trauma research and the neurobiology of attachment. While I was getting my masters I found myself fascinated by trauma work within military settings. In spending time with my extended family members, I found myself particularly interested in working with the families of military personnel who were deployed. In another life, this is definitely the work that I am doing.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

It was at about six o’clock in the morning in the middle of January in a hotel in Vermont. I had been crying for days as I readied myself to finish up my social work degree but kept finding myself filled to the brim with anxiety and distress about finding a job within my field. I felt lost and totally overwhelmed by my life. I had never wanted to be an entrepreneur, because it seems associated with certain failure and financial hardship. I was the kind of kid (of entrepreneurs) that dreamed of commuting to work and business casual outfits and a 401k. That early morning in Vermont, I asked myself, “What would you do if this was the last year of your life?” and I was pretty damn surprised to find out that the answer was to start my own business. It felt scary and uncertain, but it also felt like the first right fit in a long time. I started my business later that month, moving to working for myself full-time about six months later. And, honestly, I have loved it so much that I never looked back.

Who supports you?

My biggest supporter is my sweetheart, Cookie Hebert. I remember the first day when I came home to tell her that I was not, in fact, going to become a social worker and that I would be starting my own business instead (despite the $100,000 of loans I had taken out to fund my education). There were a few tears, but mostly there was so much love and acceptance. She held my hand through early tear-filled launches and cooked me dinner when I have been wildly trying to meet a deadline. I couldn’t do this work without her love and care. I also feel really blessed to be supported by an awesome family and circle of friends. It is really magical to have people around you who understand this kind of work and are excited to celebrate achievements with you. I’m an introvert so I don’t need a huge network of people to feel connected, but I just can’t get enough of this crew of amazing people.

What is your business philosophy?

I strive to create experiences, courses, and products that are both beautiful and profoundly useful. This philosophy is one part aesthetic and one part functionality, which appeals so well to my personality. I adore luxury for luxury’s sake and think that there is something nourishing and uplifting about crafting uncommonly beautiful experiences. I find that often women have a difficult time giving things to themselves, so it is also important that the things I create are useful. That there is a purpose to them, even if that purpose is just to uplift or inspire.

What are your favorite entrepreneurial resources? Business mentors? Please share books, websites, and more.

My favorite books for getting into the creative, abundant business mindset are The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson, and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Over the course of the last couple of years, I have worked with Nona Jordan who does impeccable money-related work, Melani Marx who is a wonderful and compassionate healer, and Brenda Errichiello, a phenomenal book coach who is currently helping my craft my first book. My absolute favorite web designer is the fabulous Evan Leah Quinn of SixteenJuly and my assistant Shauna Reid totally rocks. And, finally, I think that any type of organizational system is seriously useful (and crucial to my business success). I use these mega calendars from Paper Source and they delight me to no end.

Tell us a story or describe a time when something occurred in your business that made your heart leap and you KNEW you were doing the right thing.

A couple of years ago I ran my first in-person retreat in Truro, MA. I had been yearning to gather women in person for years but had been so nervous about my ability to curate an experience deserving of others showing up and taking part. The weekend was absolutely amazing, but the real moment happened the day after everyone had packed up and left. I woke up in the gorgeous house that I had rented for the event and couldn’t stop smiling. Running retreats was something that had been in my heart for so long, and this first even broke me open in the best possible way. Somehow, over the course of those four days, I had become a woman who leads retreats. This inner transition marked a huge milestone for my business. I have run many retreats since then, but I don’t think I will ever forget waking up that morning and feeling so celebratory about the good work that I had done. I live for that moment when, exhausted and exhilarated, I couldn’t stop smiling as I reveled in the realization that I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, doing the work that I was put on this planet to do.

Please share any messages, wisdom, stories, or insights you have gathered through your entrepreneurial journey.

You are the only one who is going to be able to determine whether or not breaking out on your own is worth the risk. This is deep work, soul work, and it will take you into realms in your relationship with yourself that you may have never explored before. Stay connected to your purpose and to the idea of being of service in whatever way you can, because this is the piece that will carry you through the moments of self-doubt or fear. You get to have your own back even if everyone else thinks that you are crazy. You are your own greatest support network, so make sure that you are well rested, nourished, and tended to. Trust yourself. Don’t forget that you get to take it at your own pace. You are allowed to move in your own right timing.

About Mara—

Mara Glatzel is an intuitive guide and business mentor for women with the sacred (and stubborn) desire to belong to themselves. In gathering women together, her work facilitates daily conversations about intention, truth, and celebration. That means more joy and more grit—and vibrant authenticity to spare. Hang out with Mara on Instagram, Facebook, or sign-up to receive weekly missives filled to the brim with the absolute best of what she’s got—unfiltered vulnerability and heart-opening encouragement.