Recently, I got an email message from GoSolo.com, a digital magazine on Entrepreneurship. They wanted to interview me as a “successful” entrepreneur. Really?
I have taught Tai Chi and Qigong to men and women of various ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. My youngest students were 6 and oldest 106 and I have taught all age groups in between. There are students, professors, engineers, homemakers, lawyers, doctors, fitness instructors, Tai chi teachers, and even Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighters. In the past 13 years, I have taught over 10,000 people from over 30 countries. The truth is that more than half of them attended my Tai Chi/Qigong classes for free. I offered more than 120 free Tai Chi and Qigong classes between March 2020 and March 2021 when COVID was ravaging across the continents and millions were dead — vaccines were first available in December 2021. My wish was that people practice Tai Chi so they could combat the COVID virus by strengthening their immunity and the loneliness and depression due to shelter-in-place. I am not tech savvy. After struggling to learn the technology, I spent my own fund to purchase computer software and hardware to live stream lessons to my four Facebook pages and Youtube. I appreciate many of my fellow Tai Chi instructors pitched in and taught as guest instructors. Many sent feedback and you can read some samples here. Knowing people were helped is most rewarding.
I have written more than 700 articles to bring up the awareness of the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong since 2009. This is another money losing endeavor. I was approached by companies to do marketing tie-ins so I can have financial gain. I turned them down for two reasons: first I want to maintain the journalistic integrity and secondly I am just too lay back to handle any monetary related logistics.
Dan and a few colleagues at work urged me to teach them Tai Chi when they saw me practice during lunch break. I declined the suggestion since I was a student myself. At their constant requests, I started a Tai Chi group at work. The experience was good and frustrating. Some of the students were eager to learn and practiced after the class; many were too busy to make learning a priority and missed classes. I had to teach the same movements again and again, which bored the diligently students and they complained. Finally Dan told me straightforward that no one takes the free lessons seriously. People seldom make a commitment if they don’t have skin in the game. I don’t totally agree with this statement. Sifus Allen Zaklad and Kevin Siddons have enjoyed success with free teaching and I have much respect for them. But I took Dan’s advice and started conducting paid lessons so I can support my free teaching and free article sharing on www.violetlitaichi.com.
Since i’m not teaching for profit and having no business plan, I don’t feel that I am qualified as an entrepreneur. I thanked them and told them not to waste their precious time and resources on me. They were sincere and still did the interview with me. Here are my short answers to their questions.