3 Lessons from Teresa Gawey on the Do It My Way Podcast

D2 founder Deedra Determan recently welcomed Teresa Gawey on the Do It My Way Podcast. Teresa is a Tulsa native who is all about giving back to the community. She has worked for various profit and non-profit organizations, including the Tulsa Area United Way and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Her current project is chairing the 2024 Cooking Up Compassion event to benefit Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma, which will take place this February. 

When Teresa started her family, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom, which she did for over a decade. Then, at age 49, she began a new, unexpected career when she opened SALT Yoga in 2013. SALT quickly became one of the most popular and successful yoga studios in Tulsa. 

“I loved being a stay-at-home mom. I loved being with my kids, but there was something in the back of my mind that just, it wasn’t enough. I wanted something that I could sink my teeth into. I wanted something where I could use my brain. And I prayed about it — [I said], ‘Show me the path.’ I needed something of my own to occupy my mind,” Teresa said. 

Teresa is an incredible woman with an inspiring career journey. As someone who has had several different career paths, all while juggling being a busy mom, Teresa had so many great insights to share with listeners of the podcast!

Three Takeaways from Deedra’s Conversation with Teresa Gawey

1. Being an Entrepreneur Is Hard at First 

When you’re building up your business, you have to do every job yourself, even the not-so-glamorous ones. 

When Teresa first started SALT Yoga, she initially had to take on many different roles while trying to scale the business. In the beginning, Teresa had to handle much of the not-so-fun work that comes with entrepreneurship, like taking out the trash, cleaning the studio, dealing with upset clients, and firing employees who weren’t the right fit. 

While the beginning stages of starting her business were not always glamorous, Teresa said she’s thankful for those experiences. Because she has done almost every part of running the business herself at some point, she can empathize and relate to her employees, and they respect her. 

2. Creating an Inclusive, Friendly Culture at Your Business Is Essential for Success

When Teresa opened SALT Yoga, she said one of her top priorities was creating an environment that was friendly and welcoming to everyone. Yoga can be a little intimidating to someone who hasn’t practiced yoga before. To help with this, Teresa focused on making the studio feel very approachable for people of all backgrounds and abilities. 

“We opened the studio with the intention of making yoga fun. Yoga is not serious. It should be fun and it should be for everyone. No matter the age, no matter the body type, males, females. We want everyone to feel included and welcome when they come to SALT,” Teresa said. 

She also trained her employees to learn every client’s name and greet them when they come in for a class, so they feel comfortable, acknowledged, and excited. This practice is one of the reasons why SALT has been such a successful yoga studio for a decade now! 

3. Just Go for It!

As Teresa was getting ready to open SALT Yoga, she and her husband were worried that no one would come. They were scared that something they had put so much time, money, and energy into might not work. Ultimately, though, Teresa said she had to put her fears aside and know that even if it wasn’t a success, she had still created something she was proud of. 

“We were scared. I mean, we used to laugh and say, ‘I don’t know if anyone’s going to come. People may not come.’ And so if they don’t, we’ll have a studio that we can practice in, that we like. Because we really built a studio where we wanted to practice. But you know what, you need to conquer those fears. Once you dive into it, you look back and say ‘Why was I so scared?’” 

Teresa said her advice to anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business is to just go for it. Don’t overthink and don’t talk yourself out of it — if there is something you feel called to do, pursue that dream! 

Listen to Teresa’s full episode of the Do It My Way podcast