Spotlight: Yumi Sakugawa
YUMI SAKUGAWA is an Ignatz Awards nominated comic book artist and the author of YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE and other mindfulness books and the proprietor of Yumiverse. On August 15th, 2019 Amelia Hruby talked with Yumi about her experience in Concepts & Conception and what she’s up to now. This is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation.
How did Feminist Business School change your business in a significant way?
I see business now as a creative, intuitive, interdisciplinary practice that can be a vessel for my purpose and also for my pleasure and joy, and can be a conduit for abundance, not only for myself but for the people around me, the community, and the planet at large. Before Feminist Business School I had the more patriarchal view of business—like it's all about numbers and being good… you have to go to business school, you have to get an MBA, you have to already be good at counting and numbers. And I didn't have any of that. And so I feel like what Feminist Business School did was that it really opened a whole world of possibilities for me where I feel empowered to step into business and making money and being a solopreneur and independent artist on my own terms instead of feeling like I have to conform to an already existing, constricted idea of what it means to do business and make money.
What were your favorite parts of the course?
I have so many favorite parts, but off the top of my head, I think what really helped me was to see business—particularly my own business—as its own separate independent entity from me. What Jenn removed the idea that I am my business. Instead she introduced me to the paradigm that I am my own separate independent entity with my own needs and desires. And my business is its own separate entity with its own needs and desires.
I can have a symbiotic relationship with my business that supports me instead of creating the situation, which I think a lot of entrepreneurs get into, of allowing the business to take over our lives, which deprives us of pleasure, which deprives us of our free time, which deprives us of having the space and freedom to take care of ourselves, and replicates a lot of the same problems that would happen in an office job where you are overworked, you are stressed out, you don't have time for your own personal life and your own personal passions and you start doing a lot of things that you don't want to do, which may be exactly why you left your day job or traditional job setting.
I am so grateful to Feminist Business School for introducing me to the idea that I need to explicitly know for myself what I want to get out of running my own business. So, having time and space for pleasure, having time and space or rest, having time and space for the priorities in my life, which can be anything from having time to enjoy meaningful relationships to being able to exercise my creativity—a healthy business model, that's not codependent and all-consuming. I never would've considered that before Feminist Business School, because I had the idea that if you’re starting your own business or being a freelancer, then you have to constantly be working and if you're not working all the time, then you're doing something wrong.
I also want to say I'm just so thankful for even the really straight forward FBS principles like You Have A Body which so simple and yet so profound. It points to how that principal is so lacking in this current patriarchal capitalist system that we're all a part of. The wisdom of Feminist Business School reminds me of what's possible and empowers me with the sense that with my business and with my own vision, I can be a part of co-creating a better reality instead of playing by the same rules of the same tired game that is not beneficial to the planet as a whole and to most people. So that's another reason—one of many reasons—why I'm forever grateful to have been a part of Feminist Business School.
Who would you recommend Feminist Business School for?
I would recommend Feminist Business School for all creative women and non-binary femmes who have a desire to take the idea of living an empowered independent life by being a business owner or a solopreneur or an independent artist to the next level, but they're not sure how to do it. What's so beautiful about Feminist Business School is that it introduces you to a whole world of ideas. Most importantly, I think what Feminist Business School emphasizes again and again is that you can trust your own intuition and your own inner knowledge—that whatever you don't know, you have the means to figure it out one way or another.
Is there an example you can think of in your business where that really was the case—where you really felt that was true for you? You knew that you knew something and your intuition kind of guided you toward it in your business.
Yes. So I took Concepts & Conception in 2016 and I feel like three years later, a lot of the ideas that were planted are rising to the surface in a more obvious way. For example, I'm finally really coming to terms with the fact that my personal finance habits can be a lot better. And so I trusted my own intuition to reach out to fellow artists, friends in the community to create these accountability partners. We have a system now where we meet every two weeks and we discuss our business and personal finance status and we share our goals on how we can get better with money. And I also started doing mastermind groups with my friends where we regularly meet and each person is given twenty minutes to crowdsource a problem or an issue. And we spend those twenty minutes helping this person with the issue, taking turns sharing information and resources.
And so I feel like I've been listening to an inner compass to reach out for help and to seek the communal resources and wisdom that are already present in my relationships, trusting that I can figure it out collectively and grow in-tandem with my other artist and solopreneur friends so that we can all get empowered together as a community instead of feeling like we have to, separately and in isolation, read all these personal finance books and feel overwhelmed.
It's the ethos of Feminist Business School that gave me the mindset that we can grow as a community and instead of having to figure everything out all by ourselves and be intimidated by areas of business that feel like they are out of our wheelhouse.
Stepping a little bit outside of Feminist Business School now, what's going on with your business now? What exciting things are happening for you in late 2019 and heading into 2020?
So many exciting things! I'm working on a book proposal which I'm almost done with. I can't quite talk about what the book is about yet, but it's really exciting. My college friend and I, we are planning on launching a series of workshops, events, meet-ups, retreats, and online courses that cater specifically to creative Asian American woman living in the Los Angeles area.
That’s another area where I feel like I am very consciously applying the Feminist Business School ethos—I am reminding myself and my collaborator friend that we can be experimental, we can be playful. It's okay that we don't have all the branding or the mission statement figured out. We're just trusting that in the process of doing these events and workshops and other offerings, the character and the flavor of the mission will refine and reveal itself through the process of doing.
Those are the main things. I'm just working on a new book then I'm working towards offering workshops, events, meet ups in, in person and also online.
Those are two really big and exciting things!
[Laughs] Oh yeah, that is a lot. Thank you for the reminder.
So, just one final question: if you had a friend who was thinking about taking Feminist Business School and came to you asking if they should do it, what advice would you give that person?
I would say, yes, take this course. It is life-changing, and it will equip you with life-changing paradigms and perspectives and resources and tools that will improve not only your business but your whole life. I think what's so beautiful about Feminist Business School is that yes, a lot of the principles apply to your own personal business practice, but because it is so holistic and interdisciplinary, a lot of the tools and exercises that we learned can be applied to the rest of our lives. So I also want to say that it is called Feminist Business School, but I feel like it could be called Feminist Life School. It’s just going to improve your whole life. It's really fun and challenging and you connect with a lot of awesome woman and there really is nothing else like Feminist Business School. I'm just so happy that I made this investment, and so I feel like it totally is worth the time and the investment.