Ngan Pham is the Founder of Yoga Phamily. Yoga Phamily is the only family-centric yoga studio in San Francisco. Its mission is to share the wisdom of yoga in an inspiring and family-friendly community to foster freedom, peace, and happiness. The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center took a moment to catch up with Ngan’s journey thus far.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
NP: Entrepreneurship means bravery and courage to me. It is the courage to go into a land that is unknown without losing enthusiasm even though everyone around you is saying “no, go to where it is safe and certain!”
How did your company come to be?
I was working at a daycare and teaching yoga classes at night. The owner of the daycare asked me to teach the toddler’s yoga and then I thought why not combine all this! Our yoga studio is called “Yoga Phamily.” We have prenatal, baby & me, adult yoga with childcare, toddler’s yoga, and family yoga where grandma, auntie, uncle, etc. can come!
What is the biggest experience or lesson gained on your journey so far?
My biggest lesson is take time to hire people, really get to know them, especially when things get difficult because letting people go is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. The second lesson would be to pivot fast! If you find something isn’t working or using too much of your resources without much benefit, change!
How is your company changing the landscape?
Yoga Phamily is changing the landscape of San Francisco as there aren’t many kid friendly things out here. We are supporting parents who can’t find time to practice self care to help them show up as their best for their families. We also are introducing meditation to children as young as 1 year old.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
I would say hire slow and be as scrappy as you can be in the beginning. Only start adding resources when you see that it is absolutely necessary.
What advice/credo do you live by as you grow the business / what is your professional and personal mission statement?
My advice is to stand strong and focus on what you are really trying to do. There are a lot of distractors out there that don’t add value to the actual services or products. My professional and personal mission statement is doing the right thing no matter how costly or difficult it can be because it usually comes back in the end.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners? What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?
We have a collaborative and transparent work environment. My advice is to hire people who have the same values as you do. The minute you hear someone err on the side of “what’s in it for me?” I would not hire them because they do not have a collaborative mentality.
Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?
Oddly, I go to YouTube and podcast. There is so much information out there by so many successful people who have already done it. Whatever I am struggling with at the moment, I will search on YouTube or a podcast for that exact topic and listen to it while getting ready for work.
What does “success” look like for you? What do you think will help you achieve it?
Success to me is when I am able to finally tell my dad he can stop working at the factory, when I can give my mom a chance to do something she is passionate about, to take my sister and her 4 kids on their very first vacation, and where all the yoga teachers at Yoga Phamily can be self sustaining. As long as I provide value to my customers, help, and development the people that work at Yoga Phamily, I think success is achievable.
What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.
My darkest moment was when I had to let people go who did not fit in the culture of the company. My proudest moment was opening the studio in San Francisco because there were so many hurdles to jump over and never in a million years did I actually think I could do my own business in something that I love in the most expensive city in the United States.
What lesson did 2019 have for you? What do you look forward to in 2020?
The lesson I learned in 2019 was to stand firm in what I believe in and never let the voice of conformity persuade me to do things others want. In 2020, I look forward to bringing yoga to more families and giving more opportunities for yoga instructors to spread their love and knowledge to those families.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
My morning routine consists of doing a 10 min meditation where I say the mantra “Thank you, God for today and keeping my family safe, happy, and healthy. Please use me to be of service today to do the things that are right”, I drink a black coffee with a bit of cinnamon, I go for a run, list 3 things I am grateful for, and then I’m off to teach yoga or do childcare at Yoga Phamily.
What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as, as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be that I was a kind and giving person who fully accepted and developed people in their truest talents.