This story is about…
Female Entrepreneur: Marie Matter
Company: Passage des Chevaux- Classical Dressage
She started her business because: of her love for horses.
Age range: 30s
What motivated you to start your business?
When I was 2 years old my parents took me for my first pony ride – from that moment on my life revolved around horses. Mum often shares this story:
We walked into some stables when Marie was about 3 or 4 years old, she took a deep breath and said “Oh mummy, can you smell it? Isn’t it beautiful?”
I think mum knew right then and there that horses were always going to play a big role in my life. Other horse people will understand when I say it’s not something you choose – you’re definitely born with this passion.
Growing up I rode horses as often as I could and everything I owned had some relevance to a horse. When I got to my late teens/early 20’s I decided to take a break while I completed University, to ‘make a life for myself’, but something was missing.
After I finished University I moved to South Korea for 18 months teaching English. This was an amazing growing experience to say the least but still, something was missing. During my time in Korea my sister-in-law very sadly passed away from Cancer – this gave me the motivation to come home and start riding again. With an abundance of motivation I found some amazing instructors who began to fill my head with knowledge and gave me the experience I needed to start teaching on my own.
A couple of years go by and still I feel like something is missing. I then received news that sadly one of my best friends passed away from cancer – this sent me into a whirlwind of thoughts and prompted me to reassess what I was doing and whether I was living my dreams. So off to the psychologist I went to try and work out what was missing from my life. Within minutes of entering the room she had me sorted – to her it was obvious. I loved horses and I loved teaching, why not combine my 2 passions. It was like a bolt of lightning hit me – one of those “aha” moments where everything seems to finally make sense. From that day on it’s been all systems go with advertising, setting up my Facebook page, finding the right branding for my business and of course networking.
I am still working full time in Human Resources for a University whilst progressing my business. I’m finding the more I live my passion the more I get back out of life and know I’m doing exactly what I was born to be doing and I am loving every minute of it.
Tell us about your business…
Passage des Chevaux- Classical Dressage or pathway of the horse as it translates in English has been established to assist riders to improve their communication with horses. I teach a very clear and uncomplicated way to ride horses which results in happy horse and rider combinations. We are currently looking to purchase a property where I can base my business, in the meantime I am travelling for lessons and clinics all over Adelaide, South Australia. Distance is no barrier either- this year we have a clinic scheduled in Perth and lessons booked in Switzerland. To become a part of our growing community visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pathwayofthehorse
What is a day in the life of you like?
My days are extremely busy fitting in full time work, teaching, riding and Yoga twice a week. An average day consists of waking, feeding animals, working, returning home to respond to any emails and phone calls I may have missed, teaching and attempting to ride my own horse if time permits. I also spend time on facebook checking messages/ friend requests, networking and posting on my business page. As mentioned earlier I practise Yoga on Monday and Thursdays and have 1 hour of meditation every other day.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced so far is believing in myself, letting my business grow naturally and trusting my instincts.
How did you overcome these challenges?
The most important thing I have learnt out of this venture is to take care of my well-being both physically and emotionally. Yoga has been an imperative part of my life as it helps me strengthen my body and to still my mind. I have an extremely supportive husband who believes whole heartedly in my business venture – this really helps me keep going during difficult times. It’s not easy to trust your instincts, but I realised that as soon as I stopped following what everyone else thought I should do and started following my own intuition, great things began to happen. I have made some amazing networks both in Australia and globally. Truly believing in my vision for the business has given me the freedom to be creative and to realise that anything is possible.
What have you found to be the most effective way to get new clients?
Facebook has been an excellent free advertising tool for my business and most of my new clients have come from seeing my business page. Word of mouth is also an extremely effective way to get new clients as well.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Be true to yourself and trust your instincts. Keep an open mind and never lose sight of the bigger picture. But above all else – follow your dreams wholeheartedly and don’t be afraid to have a sense of humour.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Horses keep me motivated- they are beautiful animals who share so much love, all you have to do is learn how to listen to them. I find practising Yoga twice a week really helps me keep motivated during difficult times. During my Yoga practise I gain clarity and am able to nourish my passion greatly. I never realised how much I ignored my inner voice until I started listening to it. I am of the belief that everything happens as it should, so in difficult times I consciously take a moment to reflect on everything that has gone well, this helps me keep the difficult times in perspective. Sometimes we can lose sight of our goals because we are subconsciously holding onto difficulties. Once we learn to accept that these times will inevitably happen- the bad times don’t seem like such a struggle anymore. I also have an amazingly supportive husband and family network who believe in my dream and encourage me to be the best I can be every day. Finally, when I make mistakes I’ve learnt to forgive myself instead of raking myself over hot coals about what I should or could have done differently.
What’s your favourite quote?
My favourite quote comes from my high school Japanese teacher, who also sadly passed away from cancer-
“I would rather have 3 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special”
Who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from many people- too numerous to mention. I recently had the absolute pleasure to meet one of the most prominent tabla players in the world Ustad Tari Khan. He is so inspiring as he lives from the heart, you can see every time he touches his drum that he is doing exactly what he was born to do and this is exactly how I feel about teaching and riding horses.
Do you have a business philosophy?
My business philosophies are:
Be kind to yourself and to others
Really understand your clientele
Listen more and never assume
Always remember that everyone has the potential to be brilliant
When problems seem unmanageable remember to take it one step at a time
Communication is the key to success