Susanna Halonen, known as the Happyologist, is a happiness coach and writer. She uses the science of happiness and human performance to coach you into your happiest, best performing you. She is also the author of Screw Finding Your Passion. For more, visit Happyologist.co.uk.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Susanna did a TON of work for a company, who mistakenly (even with a signed contract) thought she was doing the work for FREE. Listen in to what went wrong and how Susanna avoided this in the future…
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Best Business Book
- Screw Finding Your Passion by Susanna Halonen
Susanna Halonen: Oh, yes, absolutely!
Interviewer: Yes! Susanna, known as the Happyologist is a happiness coach and writer. She uses the science of happiness in human performance to coach you into your happiest best performing you. She is also the author of Screw Finding Your Passion. For more, visit Happyologist.co.uk. Susanna, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse in your personal life.
Susanna Halonen: So I'm a happiness life coach basically and I'm based in London, though I am originally from Finland. So I'm one of these globetrotters that has kind of grown up a little bit everywhere. Before I became a Happyologist I actually already had kind of two careers so I've tried and tested a few things. So I do have a huge love for horses, which I still do and I still have a horse. I compete very ambitiously but originally I thought that would be kind of my livelihood and that's what I wanted to do 24/7.
But actually when I tried it, I realized I didn't want to turn that passion into a money-making thing because it started to kill my love for it. So I started to realize there are some passions that kind of need to be kept aside and just enjoyed really. Then I just went into the corporate world, dove straight in, did a few years of marketing, communications, a few different bits. But again, I kind of found myself feeling a little bit unfulfilled. I felt like there was something more that I wanted to do and something a little bit more meaningful.
Through basically my own kind of journey of coaching and studying all the personal development out there, I came across positive psychology, which was basically kind of my epiphany moment. When I found it, I was like oh, my God, this is what I need to be doing. From that moment onwards it was all these little steps that I took to basically become a coach and do a Master's in Positive Psychology, so I could really specialize in that science of happiness and human performance.
Interviewer: So I found that comment really fascinating when you shared that you didn’t want to keep doing your passion if you got paid for it because you felt like it would kind of ruin it so you wanted to kind of separate those two. There's just been a lot of studies and I'm sure just you being a Happyologist definitely know some really in-depth studies about this. But I can remember reading and hearing and listening to podcasts about how, you know, with kids if they're just drawing and they just love to draw and they're having so much fun doing it and if you just leave them alone. They're just passionate and having a great time and then when you say hey, I’m going to give you a $1.00 for every time you create a great picture here, it kind of takes away their love and their passion. It just turns into work. It turns into a job and they stop doing it. They just don't want to do it anymore. It just becomes again something that they're just not passionate about.
So without going too far off into this direction because it's just kind of an interesting segway because I'm really interested about this. But can you just kind of succinctly talk about that for a minute?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, no absolutely. That's basically exactly what my research has been about – about this kind of new avenue to passion and that actually if we try and monetize all the passions that we have, we try to actually kill our enjoyment from it. So they actually start to work against our happiness, which is completely contradictory. That's basically all that science that I've done and all the research I've done there is basically what made me come up with that slightly controversial title for my book and really talk about how finding your passion is not always the right way to go.
Also, because passion is kind of a positive source of energy so we all have that within us anyway. So we can actually choose to bring it out whenever we want and we don't need to just tie it to one thing or one activity. So I kind of like the more all encompassing type of passion that really takes over all of basically your whole life.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, that controversial title once again is Screw Finding Your Passion. I'll tell you the first time that something like that kind of became apparent to me that that was a possibility was reading Michael Gerber's E-Myth Revisited where he was talking about how somebody that loves to bake decided to open up a bake shop and now they just hated it because again just because you love to bake doesn't mean you should own a bakery. Someone that loved doing [inaudible] [00:04:22] opened up like a hardware store and again it's very interesting to go down that road, Fire Nation.
But before we kind of get too off track, Susanna, I want to talk about you and revenue because we are entrepreneurs, we are small business owners. Viable businesses mean revenues has to be coming in the door, so how do you, Susanna, generate revenue in your business today?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, so there's a few different things I do because I do like variety. I do believe that is the spice of life. So I do one-to-one coaching basically with individuals so they can buy like one off sessions or group programs. I also do group workshops to the public and also keynote talks and this could be for different types of organizations. I also work with a few universities and some workshops that I opened to the whole public as well. So those are kind of the main sources of revenue that I have. Also, of course, since my book has been out that does generate some parts of income as well.
In the works I am currently designing my first online course so that will be a nice addition as well.
Interviewer: So, Susanna, I really want to focus now on your journey as an entrepreneur. I mean, you have traveled a lot. You have a lot of different passions. You have a lot of different things that you are doing right now. You're living in London. What is not just the tough times that you go through, but what you consider the toughest? I want you to tell us the story of your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Don't pull any punches. Bring us to that moment. Tell us (Fire Nation) that story.
Susanna Halonen: My worse moment was definitely earlier this year. I had basically just delivered a Passion Workshop for a team and an organization. It was basically like a global fitness brand that specialized in yoga wear. I loved running the workshop for them. The energy was great. The vibe was great, so I was really high in positive energy afterwards so it was a great experience. Then, of course, after every workshop you know what happens? I send an invoice through for my services as, you know, any trainer or coach would do. That's when I started to get a few surprises. I basically sent over the invoice for the agreed amount.
I didn't hear back from them for about a week, so I chased it up again and then I ended up getting a really awkward reply saying that they had thought the workshop had been for free. So first I was like whoa, what's going on here? Did I not send the proposal? Did they not sign it off? Did I do something wrong? Did we not have clear communication? So I started to go through my inbox manically like oh, my God, was this my mistake? I was like no, there's the proposal. Oh, there's them signing it off. That's their approval. That's them booking and yes, my price is in the proposal. Everything was in place so then I was like this is really weird. Then I started to actually doubt my ability. So I'm like oh, my God, was my workshop so bad that they didn't want to pay for it? Was it because they didn't think it was adequate? Then I was thinking well, no actually because when I was delivering the workshop, the vibe in that room was great. I really enjoyed it.
The people were laughing, smiling, lots of positive energy so that didn't really match that kind of belief that I tried to put there in as a warning sign. Then I kind of started to blame myself a little bit because usually when I do book workshops in or talks, I get a signed contract when someone books one in to clarify the date, time, price, and any other details. But because they were such a kind of big respectable brand that was really aligned with my values, I kind of felt like I don't need to do them. I trust them.
They are totally on my radar and we are completely on the same zone. Then I was like okay maybe I shouldn't have done that. But after that kind of that moment, then I started to – obviously then we had a conversation about it and there was a lot of confusion. Then as a gesture of goodwill I was like well, okay, I'm not sure what's happened here because obviously you signed off the proposal, but as a gesture of goodwill and because I still hope to do future work with you, I'll give you a little bit of a discount to basically just kind of get us towards reaching some agreement, which again they didn't really show much interest in.
So I feel like I kind of met them more than halfway and they were just not budging and that's when I started to get a little bit more on the side of getting a bit pissed off and feeling quite disrespected.
Susanna Halonen: Eventually, it was only basically a threat of lawyers that got them to agree to pay and even then they were like well, do you want to give more discount? I'm like no, because this whole experience has been a flipping mess.
Interviewer: Now did you ever get to the bottom of why they missed that proposal? I mean, obviously, they signed off on the proposal but the actual dollar amount that was supposed to be exchanged, the compensation with them? Did that ever get kind of like flattened out?
Susanna Halonen: Well, no because they basically said well, yeah, we read the proposal and we saw it but we thought this was kind of like a trial workshop. I said well, even if I do trial workshops I charge for them because a trial workshop is kind of for usually a bigger training agreement, so there was never any discount of the fee being waived or anything like that. So it was a little bit confusion of what had happened and I'm not sure anyone quite understood how that – yeah, to be honest, I still don't understand where they got the idea of it being for free.
Interviewer: Something that pops into my mind that I know a lot of people do that I work with, that are independent contractors – like for instance, my web developer and graphic designers and things along those lines is when we come to an agreement, I am actually putting down a deposit. I know right away that this deposit is No. 1 holding this work that's going to be done and is obviously going towards the balance of when it's paid. Have you ever kind of like thought maybe how in the future you might have a deposit upfront so people know that this IS exactly what it is and then going forward this will be like what the completion of that compensation is?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, I think now what I have in place is basically this contract that I just get them to sign off because I think working with individuals they basically now pay me upfront, which is a lot easier. But with bigger organizations they have a little bit more red tape and it takes longer for them to process payments and things like that. So I've kind of suggested the deposit idea a few times but not many of them have bought into it. But now my learning definitely from that experience was get that signed contract with all the details and then there's no discussion and everything is really crystal clear.
Interviewer: It's a great lesson. It’s a struggle that we as entrepreneurs are going to be facing, Fire Nation. So, Susanna, I am really glad you brought that up so people can even see that hey, people like Susanna, the Happyologist herself, has faced these things and still struggles with them going forward. So what I kind of want to do is shift, Susanna, to another story but this one is going to be a story of you having an epiphany moment, having an aha moment of some kind. Now, I know that you've had a lot of these in your journey. I'm sure the name of your book Screw Finding Your Passion was an aha moment of some sort. Hey, maybe that's the story you're going to tell but you know, Fire Nation, we are entrepreneurs. What's an aha moment you have had and a story that you can tell around that?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, it's actually an aha moment that I had with one of my good friends, Hannah. We kind of always meet together over dinner and brainstorm about stuff. She's another kind of fellow positive psychologist, so we are very on the same wavelength. I always talk to her about my business and about the stuff that's going on. I like to talk to her about some of my biggest inspirations as well, like to name just a few, like Shawn Achor, Oprah, Murray [inaudible] [00:12:42], Yoga Girl, things like that. Basically all these amazing people who I follow and I'm inspired by.
I always kept saying to her – basically this was a while back – I would be like God, they all have like such amazing different unique paths and I don't know which of those paths to follow. She just looked at me. She is originally from Lapland, which is northern part of Finland, so she's got this elf magic about her anyway. She's just looked at me and she just said, "Honey, you're not supposed to follow anyone else's path. You need to create your own path, a Susanna path."
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, and I was just like oh, duh, of course. Why on Earth am I trying to follow all these paths from the other people or like mix all those different paths into one because those paths are theirs. They are not mine. You know, sure I can take inspiration from them and learn from them and get positive energy from the journeys that they've taken but in the end I need to look at inwards into my heart and say okay, what is it that's most meaningful to me? What is it that I love doing the most? What am I actually good at?
What kind of people do I want to work with? What kind of lifestyle do I want alongside my business? Those are kind of the questions that started to really reignite oh, okay, this is the path that I want for myself. And no, I don't need to follow that person's path or that person's path but actually just create my own unique path for myself. So that was, yeah, that was a good reminder from her on that.
Interviewer: I love that epiphany that you had because, Fire Nation, who do you want to attract to you? What type of people do you want to surround yourself with and the type of people you're inspired by and that inspire you in all of these things? So what it really comes down to is you need to be yourself. You need to find who you are and the message you want to put out there in the world and let the right people come and find you because of that. If you're not being you, if you're not being genuine, if you're not being – you know, for me if I'm not being JLD I am not going to be attracting the right listeners to my podcast – people that I actually want to engage with.
So just be so comfortable by being you and guess what the best part about that is? Nobody can do better you than you. You are the best you that's out there, so just take comfort in that fact. Susanna, you have a lot of strengths but what would you consider your No. 1 weakness?
Susanna Halonen: My biggest weakness, I think, is actually never wanting to stop work. I kind of love my business maybe sometimes a bit too much and I kind of need to create my own appointments in the evenings or weekends and stuff to make sure I actually step away from it as well and just go have a good time. I think because I have such a good time with my business, sometimes I get a bit sucked into it.
Interviewer: What is your biggest strength?
Susanna Halonen: My biggest strength is definitely attention to detail. Some people call me a bit borderline OCD and perfectionist, so I've learned to own up to it and use it to my advantage because it's just something that comes naturally to me. I love detail, so yeah.
Interviewer: Again, I love it. You know, this is Susanna – she is just owning up to it. This is who I am she said. Like, this is who I am so she is going to be the best part of that and find the pros there and the positives. So, Susanna, what is one thing above everything else that has you most fired up today?
Susanna Halonen: Actually, it's designing my first online course because I've been thinking about it for a long time but I'm finally get to kind of grips to it and getting comfortable on camera and putting myself kind of out there in that online course format. So I'm really excited to be working on that and that should be up for grabs in January, as well, for people so it's just around the corner, which is quite exciting.
Interviewer: Well, that's exciting and by the time this goes live it will actually be live so where can Fire Nation find out more?
Susanna Halonen: Just come to my website Happyologist.co.uk and there will be a specific tab for online courses and so there you will find basically all the details about the ones I'm offering.
Interviewer: Beautiful! Fire Nation, we have some amazing intel value bonds galore coming up in the Lightning Round but let me take a quick minute to thank our sponsors. Susanna, are you prepared for the Lightning Rounds?
Susanna Halonen: Oh, yeah, absolutely!
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Susanna Halonen: Actually, it was fear of the unknown really. Everyone in my immediate family has kind of taken the corporate route so I thought really it was kind of the only path there was and everything else was really almost nonexistent and unknown. But actually when I started to explore options and taking little steps forward, I started to realize the unknown isn’t that bad and by taking those tiny steps forward we can fight that fear.
Interviewer: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, this is a good one and this is one that I definitely listen to and say to myself basically every day and that's take care of yourself or you can't take care of anyone else. Especially as an entrepreneur, you are your biggest asset so you need to make sure you eat well, you exercise, you sleep enough, you get enough rest or you're not going to be able to do any of the amazing work that you are meant to do.
Interviewer: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Susanna Halonen: That's definitely my morning routine. I start every day with a guided meditation for ten minutes. Then I do kind of some light yoga for 15 minutes and then I have hot water with lemon and ginger and that kind of just awakens my body, gets my circulation flowing and then gets my brain on fire as well.
Interviewer: Love that. Can you share an internet resource like Evernotes with Fire Nation?
Susanna Halonen: Yes, one that I've started to use this year is called Acuity Scheduling. I don't know if I'm pronouncing it right but it's A-C-U-I-T-Y. That basically enables me to sell my coaching packages without any admin because people can really see the different programs, options, access my calendar, book appointments, make payments, accept terms and conditions and the full works on that one thing on my website. It's just kind of a plug-in I've added, so it's super easy and it really helps me to be more productive and not basically waste my time on an admin.
Interviewer: So if you could recommend one book for our listeners to join Screw Finding Your Passion on our bookshelves, what book would it be and why?
Susanna Halonen: That would definitely be The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I mean, this is the book that totally changed my life and inspired me to become the Happyologist. So he was really my introduction to positive psychology and that was one of those epiphany moments I had and I realized wow, it is happiness that fuels success and not the other way around. His book really talks about all the research behind that and also the practical how-to on getting started on that journey.
Interviewer: Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio so I teamed up with Audible and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audiobook for free at EOFirebook.com. Susanna, this is the last question of the Lightning Round but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to Earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Susanna Halonen: This is such a great question and I've talked about it to my friends and family and we've all been like oh, my God, what would you do? So I totally love it. I think the first thing I would do is actually adopt a rescue dog that would help me to basically start a new life in this new world. Then I would start blogging about our new friendship so similarly as this rescue dog that I got as my new friend, new family member, he kind of gets a second chance by being adopted by me. Equally I kind of get a second chance or a second life in this new world. So what I would do is I would basically blog and write about how this dog teaches the best happiness lessons about unconditional love, about playing, about being in the moment, about making the most out of life, and then I think on the seventh day I would basically crate an online happiness course on how to choose happiness the simple way like a dog.
Interviewer: I do see on your About Me Page, under My Story, a great picture of you and a great looking dog. Who is that?
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, that's Juno. That's actually my brother's dog so I call her my niece.
Interviewer: Juno – beautiful! So, Susanna, let's end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance the best way that we can connect with you and then we'll say goodbye.
Susanna Halonen: Yeah, absolutely. Definitely come over to my website Happyologist.co.uk so you can sign up to a free Happiness Newsletter there and of course you will also find all my social media links as well. I'm obviously on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it, so you can come and chat to me whichever medium you basically prefer.
Interviewer: Nice. A parting piece of guidance?
Susanna Halonen: I think the main thing when it comes to happiness is to really remember to be grateful. Also because I think gratitude is really something that's going to help you to also overcome challenges and those tricky bits through your entrepreneurial moments as well. Gratitude is that one thing that helps you to be more positive, more creative, have more perspective, and to really keep going. So if there's one thing that you could do to basically become more optimistic, it's actually to finish every day by writing three things that you are grateful for in that day.
If you do that for 21 days in a row, that's when you start to turn gratitude into a habit and that's when you start to turn also optimism into a habit because those two are very, very interlinked.
Interviewer: Yeah, I've always loved the quote that happiness stems from gratefulness. That's why when I was creating my first book The Freedom Journal, every night I had people write down two wonderful things that happened today because so often we reflect on what we didn't do. We need to reflect on what we did do that was wonderful as well.
Susanna Halonen: Absolutely.
Interviewer: So, Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hanging out with SH and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Susanna in the search bar. Her Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about with all links to all stuff that we've chatting about, and of course Screw Finding Your Passion, Susanna's book will be linked up there. You can just put that right into Amazon. Happyologist.co.uk – go there directly and I just want to say, Susanna, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
Susanna Halonen: Thanks so much. It was amazing to be here.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, your time is your most precious asset. Don't allow yourself to get stood up. It's time to stand up. Take control of your calendar today with Acuity Scheduling. Visit acuityscheduling.com/fire and get 45 days –
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