Claudia Hanna is a Mediterranean Lifestyle Coach. Claudia was a management consultant for years before trading power suits for flip-flops and beach sarongs for a simpler, healthier life in Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite. She now writes her own blog, Live Like a Goddess, which is focused on introducing the Mediterranean Lifestyle to the West. Claudia teaches over 30 Mediterranean Cooking Classes a year, including encouraging children to make healthier, wiser food choices. She is a regular contributor for national media blogs Mind Body Soul, Women Who Live on Rocks, Expat.com and more. She is a regular on-air contributor for health pundits. She is currently working on her own television and YouTube series. Claudia is married to her own Adonis and they have two pretty awesome kids together.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
It was a natural, organic growth. When we moved to Cyprus nearly a decade ago, many friends and family from the US wanted to know about life on the island. It started as a newsletter blast, then it morphed into a blog. Then I realized the value that was being created by sharing tidbits of information of the Mediterranean Lifestyle (this is the critical component often neglected in our media outlets – it’s not all about the Diet. It’s the Lifestyle that has people living so well and so long). I began teaching, writing, speaking and coaching about what I learned. The changes I saw in myself (losing weight, cholesterol and sugar numbers dropping and becoming a happier, healthier person) were evident and replicated in my clients, time and time again.
Tell us about your business.
Live Like a Goddess is a consultancy business meant to transform today’s frazzled, busy woman over a 5-week period, based on my proprietary 5 Pillars for Goddess Living. Clients see a dramatic change in their overall appearance and quality of life in a short amount of time. Women are the lynchpins of our society – both at home and at work. Caring for the whole of the person, from career to family, is critical in creating lasting transformations.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
For those women who want more than a 5-week transformation at home, Live Like a Goddess has an immersion program we run a couple of times per year. I organize 10-day tours to Cyprus in a 5-star, all-inclusive beach front hotel. Women are not only pampered, but are taught the essential Goddess skills of the 5 Pillars. Included in the 10-days are wine tastings at local vineyards, belly dancing and yoga instructions on the private beach, Turkish “hammam” spa exfoliation, trekking through the original Temple of Aphrodite – where Homer claims the Goddess of Love and Beauty was born. Naturally, the tour will also include Mediterranean foods and how to replicate and incorporate them in our Western diets.
The next Live Like a Goddess Tour is scheduled for October 2017. Visit www.livelikeagoddess.com for more information.
- MBA in Corporate Finance, Emory University
- BA in Economics & Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
- Semi-Finalist in a Food Network travel food competition
- Currently working on a new television series “Mediterranean Comes to the Valley”
- Currently working on a Nutritionist degree
Where is your business based?
Mostly online, however I am based 50% of my time in Virginia, outside of Washington DC, and 50% of my time in Cyprus.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I found a need and filled it. By providing overworked, overstressed and oftentimes overweight women the necessary tools in place to regain control of their lives, in a hugely organic and authentic way. As a former management consultant, I can easily identify with my target audience of exhausted women. I do not believe women need to overhaul their entire life and move to the Mediterranean (as I did) to gain the experiences that women in the Mediterranean naturally know. I help bring the two worlds together.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
My business was very slow to begin, as I was mostly writing from a rock in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It definitely did not feel like a business at first. It was only when I began to teach cooking classes in the US, and to meet with customers individually that my business took off. I think there is so much information online it can be difficult to find your voice and to be heard. I believe that while social media is extremely valuable, it’s also limited. We human beings are social creatures, and we crave personal relationships.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
It sounds strange, but the biggest challenge I had was turning a “free informational blog” into a money-making enterprise. With so much free information online, I couldn’t figure out how to start making money from my ideas, rather than just hand them out to stand out.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I made the decision that if I wanted to be taken seriously, then I had to value myself and my time first. It is worth something in the marketplace, and I shouldn’t sell myself or my time short.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I joined a number of women’s entrepreneurial groups – both online and in person. I love my online community, because there is always someone available to give you a quick, motivating thumbs up.
But I also attend two separate, monthly women’s groups that have been a game-changer for me. The respect and integrity I hold from the women in these groups have kept me sane. They are a wonderful sounding board, and, more importantly, help me when I am “stuck” or need real help. For example, if I need an attorney or a contact at the Small Business Development agency, or at the local television station – there’s someone who knows someone who knows someone. We share contacts and advice freely. I love that.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t know many Mediterranean Lifestyle Coaches out there. Most Life Coaches look at a client’s career and perhaps keep it aligned with their personal life. Most Nutritionists are focused on eating healthy. I am combining the two, since food is an integral part of life and health.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Don’t forget to breathe. And pray. You can’t control every aspect of your life. But you can always remember to breathe and pray.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Discover what makes you unique – what is your value proposition? Then figure out what it is worth in the marketplace. That’s how you will know how to price yourself. And don’t price yourself too low! Men rarely do this – it’s oftentimes women who belabor and question what we bring to the table.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
What I learned in business school and multi-national corporations as a corporate consultant I use for myself in my business, but in a smaller-scale. Most of these resources you can find online – Mission Statement, Vision Statement, SWAT Analysis. Build yourself a mini business plan and stick to it. Don’t get sidetracked with all the noise that’s out there.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I wrote an article that went viral for Mind Body Green a year ago. I pull it out from time to time to remind myself of my message if I get too overwhelmed: Health Lessons I Learned From Living in the Mediterranean.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am gaining a Nutritionist degree to supplement my innate knowledge in the industry.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I am super excited to be working on a couple of new television shows – one locally and one (fingers crossed) nationally that will elevate my exposure as a Mediterranean Lifestyle Coach.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
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