While it took more than a decade for Rachel Limjoco-Bonifacio of Treehouse Yoga to trade high heels and office swivel chairs for bare feet and yoga mats, she has always been focused on one thing: her passion for teaching.
After thirteen years in the corporate world (the last few years of that, as a training manager in UnionBank of the Philippines), she decided that it was time to make a career shift.
And this is when she discovered something bigger and crazier to fuel her passion.
Below, Taxumo Hero Rach shares the secret to facing one’s weaknesses (and other nuggets of advice for every Filipino small business owner and self-employed professional who’s dreaming of doing something amazing.)
Discovering Her Passion
You’re a yoga teacher now, but you had a corporate job before. Why did you decide to make the leap?
Teaching has always been a passion. I even remember back in 2002 when an interviewer asked the 21-year-old me what my purpose in life is. My reply was, “I want to change the world, one class at a time–I want to be a trainer.”
I guess I’ve always wanted to have an influence on people. To make them pause and reassess their lives and see how they can make a difference. Even as they go about their daily routine.
How different is your lifestyle now and when you were employed? Walk us through in your regular day.
Oh, VERY! The corporate life was a tough one, but it was generally kind to me, relatively speaking. Back then, I spent nine or ten hours of my day working. I’d train a class of 20 or 30 for the whole nine hours—in high heels! Then I’d be the first to log out at exactly 5:30 P.M. so I can run to the nearest yoga studio to de-stress. I’d even take two classes back-to-back, which is roughly three hours in total. Then I’d head home around 10 P.M. to shower and sleep, and I’d do it all again tomorrow.
A regular day for me would start at 5 A.M., prepping food for the kids before sending them off to school. At 7 A.M., I’d be having breakfast with my husband (and our cats). I usually have private classes in the weekdays, but will be free by lunchtime to cook dinner (yes, dinner!)–because some days I have a 2 P.M., a 5 P.M., or a 7 P.M. class. When I don’t, I get to attend online courses, work on back-office stuff, and yes, I get to take a nap or play video games, too!
One of the best things about running Treehouse Yoga is the simplicity of its operations: all the teachers have their own key to the studio. They trained everyone to handle registration and payment, memorize students’ names, do face-to-face marketing, handle attendance, and close up the place once they are done with class. I don’t even have to be there and the studio will run on its own! This means I have more time with family and errands, more time to improve my craft, and more time to do back office work—the website, taxes, business registration, accounting, data analytics, coaching teachers and students alike, among many others.
It’s an advantage, too, that we’re a community studio and we’re not competing with huge, commercial yoga studios—everyone knows everyone else and are very welcoming of new faces.
You seem to be passionate about the work that you do. Why do you think it’s important to pursue your passion?
Passion is such a big word, most often misunderstood. I am passionate about what I do, but it’s not the passion that drives me. It’s the purpose behind that passion. Probably just like anyone, no matter how much one loves what he or she does, there will be days when passion alone is not enough to make you get out of bed. Sometimes the fire is just isn’t there. But when you come back to your WHY–WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?–then THAT makes me get up, show up, and give my best. I think it’s important to embrace not one’s passion, but more like one’s big, crazy purpose, you know, like “Changing the world, one class at a time!” It is bigger than me, bigger than everyone else.
I know it sounds like a Miss Universe answer, but it is what’s in my heart. This purpose that I and the rest of the Treehouse Yoga teachers align with is important, because this makes us give our best in every single class.
Sharing Her Passion
What advice can you give to people who are also planning to focus on their passion? A lot of people might be scared to pursue their passion. What steps can they take to align their lives closer to their dreams?
If we’re talking about people who want to take on a dream, a goal, or a hobby in the form of a business, my pieces of advice are the following:
- EVALUATE YOUR PURPOSE. Why are you doing this? What is the big picture? Sometimes simply earning money is not enough as a driving force.
- FOCUS. Follow one straight line first. Start with Step 1, and be good at it before moving on to the next. Ideation and brainstorming are great. But, I think people have a hard time moving forward and get overwhelmed later on because they get trapped in these tools. You can file and save those ideas for later. Focus on the fundamentals: nature of business, feasibility studies, operations design, business permits, BIR registration, etc.
- MAKE YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sole proprietor or with partners–a simple operation to begin with allows you to focus on the more important aspect of the business: the quality of your service.
- FIND A PARTNER WHOSE STRENGTH IS YOUR WEAKNESS. Let’s face it–you don’t want to do some stuff. Find someone who likes doing the stuff you don’t like doing and watch your business flourish!
- DON’T GET TOO RILED UP ABOUT PROFITS. INSTEAD, BUILD A GOOD REPUTATION. My yoga teacher-slash-mentor told me, “If your heart is in the right place, the money will follow.” I still take this seriously to this day.
Passion and Taxes
Let’s talk about taxes. Did those worry you when you took the leap?
Oh yes! I was terrified at the idea that I will have to do all of the paperwork. Sure, I can do it, but if I WANT to is a different conversation altogether! Tax filing was one of those things that I DON’T want to do. I mean, I want to pay my taxes, but I dread the entire process: physically lining up at the city hall or the bank to fill out forms and pay, or what-have-you. I even considered quitting and just going back to corporate just because of this!
How has Taxumo helped ease your worries and do more of the things you love?
Remember when I said “Find a partner whose strength is your weakness”? That’s exactly what I did! Taxumo was that perfect partner for me. Having the ability to do my taxes online is my single, most favorite piece of back office work I enjoy. In fact, I make it even more enjoyable by making it my “business owner alone time”–I go to a coffee shop with my laptop in tow, with some happy Spotify playlist to keep me company. I get everything done in a matter of minutes (this includes encoding backlogs, haha!)
What advice can you give to solopreneurs and freelancers who are scared about taxes?
Where do you dream to be five, ten years from now?
I see my future as a blank canvas: I can paint anything over it! But for sure, I wish to still be aligned with my life purpose, regardless of what I would be doing then. It’s an exciting future for me and for Treehouse Yoga.
Ready to discover your passion? Join Rach and Taxumo‘s growing number of passionate entrepreneurs who are finding how easy it is to focus more on their passion and purpose, and worry less about their taxes! Sign up at Taxumo today.