SUMMARY OF TIPS:

  1. First of all, you’re not alone.
  2. If you are an empath, just accept it.
  3. Then learn how to combat the downsides and enjoy the positives.
  4. And listen to yourself.

Dee: 

This is my first interview on this podcast and I’m so happy it’s with my friend and owner of my absolute favourite store, Tracey Pretty. We’re going to be discussing what it means to be an empath entrepreneur.

Tracey recently opened her boutique Miss Pretty on Church Street in Twickenham and we bonded over her gorgeous jewellery, candles and other items in her shop, as well as the fact that she’s going through the process of acknowledging that she is an empath and what that means for her life and her business. So welcome to the podcast, Tracey. Hello. 

Tracey:

Thank you. Hello. 

Dee: 

Firstly, let’s just tell everyone who doesn’t know yet about Church Street and the Riverside in Twickenham, why we love it and why they should make the journey to visit it if they can. So we were just discussing before we started recording how actually they’ve used it in quite a lot of adverts in films, haven’t they? 

Tracey:

They filmed a lot there last year. It’s a really lovely set location. It reminds me of Little Italy with all the beautiful flowers, close to the river. And I always describe it to my customers because there’s a lot of people in Twickenham that still have only just discovered it as this little hidden gem of Twickenham, off the high streets, all independent boutiques and restaurants. And you’re about a minute away from the Thames. 

Dee:

Lovely pubs on the river. Yeah, loads of parks. You’re really close to Marble Hill House and all the parks along the river,

Tracey

They’re amazing. And I can actually see a boat from my till. So I sit in my shop and I can see a boat on the River Thames. And that reminds me of what an amazing place I’m in. And we are only half an hour away in Twickenham from central London as well. How lucky are we to live in the countryside and have the city.

Dee:

It’s fantastic. And what I always like to do, I have a lot of family that come and visit and that’s one of the days that I always take them out on when I have to sort of babysit, entertain, whatever you want to call it, I’ll combineRichmond and Twickenham and we’ll normally, if it’s nice weather, walk along the river from Richmond to Twickenham, it’s only about half an hour. 45 minutes. And you get like all of the joys of going to Richmond and all the bars along the river, and then you walk along the river, you get to Twickenham and you get to Church Street, which if you don’t know what we’re talking about, you need to Google a picture. It’s this cute little street with cobblestones, like Tracey said, independent shops,

Tracey:

The little fairy lights that switch on it at night as well as at the moment they’re doing alfresco dining. So at nighttime when it’s dusk and all the birds are tweeting, you have these fairy lights and all the restaurants just bring their seating outside in the middle of the road. And it’s just an atmosphere that I don’t think you could create anywhere else. I’ve never seen it. It’s so unique.

Dee:

And then we were right next to Eel Pie Island as well, which is where you had the Rolling Stones recording, Black Sabbath performed there. And now they have this community of artists that live there. I don’t know if you’ve been yet Tracey, but they do open studios twice a year. Oh my God. It’s amazing because you get to go across into the island and see way more of the island that you can normally, you can actually go and see the wharfs that they use as galleries and their little studios, and obviously they’re all a bit kooky, but in a wonderful way. And the art is super affordable as well.

So Tracey, why don’t you tell us about the journey you took to making that decision to opening your own shop? It’s a very, very brave step.

Tracey:

So from a little girl, I always have really lovely memories of my mum with her sewing machine and me having a little toy sewing machine next to her and she’d be making dresses and I’d be making little handkerchiefs to sell to relatives. 

Dee:

That’s so cute. 

Tracey:

I think I really started my little business at four years old at my machine, but fast forward about 20 years later and I lost my path a little bit and went down the route of working in an office, a stressful environment. 

Dee:

Especially when it’s not right for you, right? 

Tracey:

Yeah. Didn’t match my personality. I wasn’t working around people that I would get on with. I would come home feeling anxious and, most of us hate Mondays, but I would absolutely dread Mondays and I needed an outlet.

I needed a hobby and a purpose outside of work. Just something to look forward to. And so I got myself a sewing machine because I had such lovely memories like we do in childhood of doing something. And I started to create little bags and purses and give them to friends. And from there it moved into a business. 

I think I’ve always been a little entrepreneur. From four, I wasn’t just making handkerchiefs, I was selling handkerchiefs. 

-Tracey Pretty from Miss Pretty London

And so my hobby that I picked up in my twenties soon became, not a hobby, but an income stream. But I was making money from selling bags and purses and wallets and it was becoming more of a production line. I was still working in my office Monday to Friday, I say nine to five actually, realistically in London I was leaving at eight and getting home at seven.

And then I was doing my little job on the side. I started a market store in Greenwich to sell my stock as well as online, which I really enjoyed. Working seven days a week wasn’t easy, but I loved it and it was my little hobby. It was my little thing. It was my outlet from my horrible job in the city. 

But strangely when people would say, ‘what do you do for a living?’ I would say I’m a PA and I’d never talk about my business and this amazing, interesting thing that I did on the side. I would just say I’m a PA and describe my job in the office. 

Dee:

It’s so crazy how long it can take some people, no matter how long they’re working on their own business, to admit that that is what they do for a living and it can be very difficult for them to answer that question of what do you do? What’s your employment status or what is your job? 

Tracey:

I would never talk about it. I would never even show people what I made. It was this feeling of this as a hobby? Yet at the time it was a limited company. I was filing accounts and was making profit. I had a marketing budget and it was a full-time sideline that really I should’ve given my job up to focus on, but never had the confidence or the self-belief that I could do this. I always thought I needed that backup being a PA. 

And then, as life always drives you in the direction of where you’re meant to be, unfortunately, I lost my job and was driven to either the choice of ‘am I going to get a job as a PA again or am I going to really focus on my business and have a good shot at this now?’

Dee:

It’s crazy how most people need to have that kind of catalyst to actually make that step into going from being employed to working for yourself.

And quite often that catalyst is not what you would think would be positive. It will be that you’ve lost your job or that you’ve had a health warning or maybe you have kids and the thought of going back to work is just not possible with your childcare problems or whatever. 

Tracey:

I would love to say that I just had the confidence and self-belief and the budget to just give up my job and fly and do my business. But it actually took quite a dark, horrible kick of being sacked to actually do it. And it’s not a pretty story or it’s not a nice start, but it was actually life pointing me in a direction and getting me back on the road to where I’m supposed to be.

Dee:

I think so. That’s life telling you, you need to reevaluate and you’re not doing something right here and you know, this is your warning sign.

This episode specifically is about being an empath entrepreneur. For those of you who don’t really know what an empath is, it’s very different than just being sympathetic or empathetic or a kind person or sensitive. Although if you are an empath, you probably have been told many times that you’re being too sensitive or you’re overly sensitive. Have you heard that one, Tracey?

Tracey:

All the time, all the time.

It was never given to me as a positive thing, it’s like you’re weak. You’re sensitive. You’re overreacting. 

Dee:

But the truth is that we are sensitive if we’re an empath. But it is a positive thing. It’s not just negative, but it can feel negative at times. Like for example, we feel other people’s emotions as our own. Now, this will sound very weird to you if you’re not an empath maybe, but if you are an empath, you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, yeah, that’s me. If someone comes to you with a problem, you feel like it is now your problem. If someone is sad, you will come away from that conversation sad. If someone’s happy, you will come away from that conversation buzzing. 

Tracey:

If someone has bad vibes about them, like they’re angry, you feel that anger. I feel the anxiety of trouble from that person. It’s strange, almost like a superpower that you have. 

Dee:

And I like that word superpower because I like trying to define being an empath in positive because when I try to describe it, I feel like everything I’m using to describe it sounds super negative, but it is a really positive, exciting thing if you know how to deal with it. Right? 

Imagine dealing with not just your own emotions but everyone around you, all of their emotions as well. It’s a fricking roller coaster every single day, isn’t it? And it can be so draining. Even if you’ve got only positive vibes around you, feeling that up, up, up, down, down, down, all the time is exhausting. 

Tracey:

And it makes it difficult to know yourself as well. You’re surrounded by other people’s feelings and you’re feeling what’s going on with them. Actually your own feelings become really clouded, yet you start to lose the sense of self. So it’s really important as an empath to ground yourself and learn ways of living with it.

It is positive, and we are people that will want to help others. And I don’t think we should ever change that. It’s a lovely trait to have to want to fix people, and listen, I love listening to people, do you, Dee?

Dee:

Oh I love it. Because I feel honoured that I get to hear so many stories. Because one of the things about being an empath is people open up to you much more than they would ordinarily. How many times have people seemed shocked that they have told you a story about themselves within minutes of meeting you.

Tracey:

Sometimes I have days of people in need, real need or lonely people, people that have lost partners. I had a lady in who lost her sons and she was just driven into my shop and she opened up to me, which was really beautiful. And I loved listening to her story, but I felt her pain. 

Dee: 

You can’t see, but Tracey’s welling up now even thinking about this memory.

Tracey:

She showed me the clouds in the sky that were angels of her sons. It was a really emotional story. And I left the day feeling really sad. I felt her sadness. I did. But would I change that? No. Because you get to meet the most amazing people from it.

Dee:

And another thing that’s quite common is being exhausted in social situations. I don’t know about you, but I get super nervous about booking anything with a large group of people or in a large space or like a concert or a party or anything like that in advance because I feel like I don’t know how I’m going to feel on that day. I might not be able to cope with it and I hate canceling. 

Tracey:

I got tickets to see Ed Sheeran, who I love and we went to Wembley and I walked out before he even came with stage because I was panicking and couldn’t cope. The sound just radiated from me and I just couldn’t cope with being in that stadium. 

This was before I knew I was an empath.  For some reason felt so bad, leaving and not seeing Ed Sheeran, but I couldn’t be there.

I couldn’t cope. It makes sense to me now. I hate going to hate going to the cinema, which is a shame because my partner loves it. 

For me, it’s a real big deal and I can’t sit there around all these people. It makes me anxious. I don’t enjoy the film. I would rather sit in a room on my own with loved ones and family. 

Dee:

People that understand you as well. Like if you, if you’re having one of those days where you’re really struggling with it, you know they understand you and you don’t have to put on a brave face. 

I’m happy to make plans with my loved ones. I know that no matter how far in the future I plan this, I will probably be in the mood to see my friends or my family. I love going to a concert, but I always feel like I can’t commit until last minute because what if I’m just having one of those days where I’m struggling.

If this sounds like you and you’re like, oh my God, I didn’t even know this thing existed, you know, but it’s totally me. Then check out Judith Orloff.  I would describe her as the authority. She’s got a couple of books on, specifically on being an empath, like The Empath Survival Guide, which is literally my Bible these days. She’s amazing. So do check it out. We’re not just talking this like high level spirit spiritual shit here. There’s a lot of science and facts behind it. I’m just not good at science. 

So some of the things that she would say would help you with this is, a lot of empaths recharge using animals and babies. Do you recharge using animals and babies? So you have two dogs. I have a dog, a cat and a snake. So it’s not a surprise because literally something about playing with animals, it’s proven that animals relieve stress. But with empaths specifically.

Tracey:

That makes sense. And the more you learn about it, and it’s a massive learning curve, I think there’s so much to it that we know and we don’t know in the science side, but also the spiritual side, the proven side, and the bits we’re to learn.

The more you learn, if you are an empath, it just ticks every box.

Dee:

When you’re reading these books, when you’re reading about being an empath, if you are one, you’ll read all these things and go, oh my God, yes, that’s totally me. And also how reassuring is it to know that it’s a thing? It’s not just you ‘overreacting’ and everything or being a ‘pussy’ or being’ weak’ or all of those other things that we have all been called.

Tracey:

It’s almost like being renamed.  That’s how it felt because I knew there was something funny going on with me. I knew there was something going on in my family, but to have this name really helps because it means I have something to Google as well. Me and you, awhen I said I was an empath and you said me too, how else would we have described that without a really long conversation? 

Dee:

So another thing that Judith Orloff recommends, is to avoid television or anything that stresses you out too much before you need to go to sleep because sleep is super important as an empath. It’s important for everyone. But as an empath in terms of rebuilding your energy stores, it’s very important. 

Avoiding large groups of people when you’re feeling low or drained or just not yourself.

Loving your weirdness. Now this is something that’s a big step, right? Like one of the key things about being an empath and coping with it and learning how to live with it in a positive way is to actually identify yourself as an empath. 

And then also to stay away from addictive substances as many of empaths willl use these to dampen their power. I mean I’m laughing a little bit because Tracey and I are holding glasses of wine. 

But I think this is linked to the fact that a lot of empaths struggle with anxiety and depression. So it’s not a surprise that there’s also a high link with people who are in empaths taking substances. 

Tracey:

It is hard to relax after a day of absorbing people’s emotions and the world, and lots more than you can actually visually see, we’re feeling inside as well.

Dee:

So what have you learned to do in a response to these things that can come up as an empath entrepreneur that can be a drain on your energy and to help you bolster up your boundaries, your walls, your strength, your energies?

Tracey:

I’m still learning how to do this, but I have started to meditate, especially at night time. Visualization techniques that a few close friends have taught me to do throughout the day, to protect myself from people that, not knowingly, but will drain my energy. 

So when I first started my shop, I’d get home and I would feel emotionally and mentally tired. And it wasn’t from having a busy day or lots to do or physically being active. It was emotional draining being around people that I wasn’t used to. New souls and new energies and new problems and they were draining me and I knew if I was going to survive with the public and be in my shop and create a really nice atmosphere, I was going to have to think fast of ways of protection for me as a person.

So one of them is a really lovely  visualization technique that I do when someone comes in and they’re telling me their life story, instead of absorbing it, I gently just turn the front of my body away from them. So my chakras aren’t pointing at them. So I’m instantly like protecting my body and my body language is pointing 

Dee: 

So you’re physically putting up a bit of a protection around 

 

Exactly. And it does help me to distance myself from what they 

I still feel and I still want to fix. But when the conversation is finished, I’m not drained. 

I have cut it off and I’ve done what I needed to do and I move on. 

Another one that I’ve just recently learned is, sometimes you can’t, without looking weird, stand with your body pointing one way and your head pointing the other direction.

Dee:

Like a school photo!

Tracey:

So I visualise myself being wrapped in, I used to do it with bubble wrap, because it is soft and squidgy and protective. Because part of being an empath is you don’t want to cut yourself off from the world. So visualizing a solid armour means that you’re just going to put up a massive barrier. And I didn’t want to do that. I still want to feel connected to people. You just want to protect yourself. 

Bubble wrap,  like a nice protection barrier, but actually one of my friends told me to visualise a really nice velvet cloak. I imagine it to be blue, it’s really thick and luxurious, kind of Harry Potter style and and I just wrap myself in it and it’s super soft and it’s super nice and it’s protective and I just hold it around myself until I need to let it go. 

And I’ve been doing that this week and I’ve already noticed a big difference in getting home and feeling mentally more focused and more with it and just a better sense of self, just from visualisation.

Dee:

And obviously these kinds of techniques are useful, even if you don’t identify as an empath, right? I regularly do grounding guided meditations. If you haven’t ever tried one, I recommend Googling them. There’s loads on YouTube and it can help when you’re starting off with any of these things, to have someone talk you through it. Like on those apps like headspace, they’re amazing and some are very short so that you can do them in a couple of minutes in the middle of the day, if you feel yourself getting really anxious or stressed or down because you’ve just had an encounter with someone. I love a good grounding technique.

The tempting thing to do of course, is to say I don’t have time to do any kind of grounding or visualisation or any kind of self care, right? Because it’s the first thing to go, isn’t it? When we feel busy, when we feel stressed, the first thing we cut from our schedule is anything that feels like a luxury and that unfortunately is all of the self-care stuff and really it’s not a luxury is it? It’s a priority. It has to be and especially if you are an empath, to stop you getting to those days where you are too sensitive or whatever, you have to look after yourself or you will run yourself into the ground emotionally.

Tracey:

It’s very easy to spend the day thinking ‘I’m busy and I’m just going to get through it and get through the day. I don’t have time for this visualisation or grounding or a lunch break even’. 

I mean, how important is the lunch break, whether you’re spiritual or not, taking half an hour, an hour, to have a sandwich and give your brain a rest.

Dee:

Go outside and see the sun or just see some nature.

Tracey:

You just get so much more done in the afternoon by having that break, you probably get more done than if you just worked through it. Totally. As an empath,you could just get through the day and not do anything. And then at the end of the day, try and recover what’s left of you. And that’s kind of what I was trying to do, come home mentally drained, not doing anything in the day and trying to pick myself up ready for the next day.

Dee:

The problem is then you’re fighting fires, aren’t you? You’re letting yourself get so run down and then you have to spend so much energy trying to build yourself up again. Isn’t it better just to try to keep yourself on the up?

I love how you described it as a superpower because it harks back to every superhero that we’ve ever grown up with or watched TV series of. 

Tracey:

Like X-Men!

Dee:

They always have this period of finding out who they are and struggling with coming to terms with it. And then learning that it’s fricking awesome. And then being able to use it to save the world.

Tracey:

And also that there’s lots more of them. 

The other thing I do is crystals, which I feel have been guided to me a little bit. I’ve never been interested in crystals. 

Dee:

I have to admit it’s something new for me as well. I mean new in terms of the last couple of years. And for a very, very long time, I would have told you that it was bullshit.

Tracery:

I always skipped it. I was into aromatherapy, I had a big book on it and I really believed in essential oils and aromatherapy and plant healing. 

Dee:

Smells? You get it, right? Who can argue that some smells make you happy and some smells you don’t like? But crystals are a different thing. It’s not as physical. And you think about the people that talk to you about crystals and you think that that’s about me. I can’t be one of those crazy old hippies. Right? But you know, coming along on this journey as an empath and reading more about the crystals, and I still say, I don’t even know if it’s scientifically proven that this crystal will do that or this crystal will do that. But I do believe in the power of belief. And so if I’m holding this crystal, if I’ve got this crystal in my bra or in my handbag, and I feel like it protects me, then it does protect me because I feel more protected.

Tracey:

Almost like the placebo effect.

Dee:

So what I do to help with the mindset stuff and also fitness stuff, I go to yoga. I just find that absolutely amazing for just balancing myself out. Um, it’s, it’s almost like getting in a bit of a metadata state. I’ve never been one that can meditate without any kind of guidance or anything. My mind is just too blaaaaah, I just go off on tangents. But having some kind of guided meditation or doing yoga where you have an instructor talking to you in that soothing voice is just amazing. 

Tracey:

Physical fitness is always good for the mind and soul. 

Dee:

Try out all of these things we’re suggesting because some will work on you and some won’t.

Tracey:

It’s interesting that you say yoga, because that’s closely linked to chakras, and chakras are closely linked to energy. All of these beliefs are thousands of years old. 

Dee:

So in summary, the tips I want you to take away from today is, first of all, that you’re not alone. There are loads of empaths out there, whether they know they’re an empath or not. But tip number one, if you are an empath, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, just don’t deny it. As crazy as it might sound, do some reading on it, accept it, and then you can learn how to protect yourself from the downside, but also how to use it as a positive and use it as an advantage and enjoy it. 

The second tip that we have gone over a lot today is  different ways that you can learn to combat the downside.

Maybe you need to spend time in nature. We didn’t really talk about that too much, but a lot of empaths find that they recharge in nature and we did talk about how they like animals. So maybe you need to get a puppy.

And tip three is to listen to yourself. Listen to your head. Listen to your body. If you really don’t feel up to something, if something’s giving you anxiety at the thought of doing that thing, even if it’s supposed to be a fun social thing, if it’s stressing you out, then chances are it’s just not right for you at this point in time. And just listen to yourself.

Well, Tracey, thank you so much. I’ve kept you long enough. 

Tracey:

Aw, Dee thank you, that’s really nice. I’ve learned a lot. 

Dee:

It’s been so much fun and hopefully other people will feel reassured and feel some understanding from hearing us talk.

Tracey:

I hope so. It’s nice to know we’re not alone, and that you can talk about these things. 

And it’s a really interesting topic. 

Dee:

It’s fascinating. I mean, that’s super fascinating, isn’t it? 

Next time I’m going to be talking about tech that I love, even though I hate tech. 

In the meantime, come join us on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams