Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Ray (Revée) Barbour, Founder of Barbour Naturopathic Services, Inc., located in Sacramento, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Dr. Ray, and I'm a licensed Naturopathic Physician and medical researcher. I've been in the medical industry for nearly 20 years. I am the founder and CEO of Barbour Naturopathic Services, Inc, which offers direct primary care and holistic medical services in the form of all-inclusive concierge memberships, telemedicine, an herbal shop, and educational health content.
My patients and customers are educated, hard-working professionals seeking high-level, holistic medical care from a doctor they can trust who can provide them with extra time, direct communication, natural therapies, educational resources, and customized treatments to meet every individual's needs.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when conventional medical care focuses more on the business of being sick and making high profits. My clinic and medical services focus on helping patients to self-heal naturally and thrive in living their best lives yet. With a 5-star review rating, I ensure all patients are seen, heard, respected, and supported at the highest level.
Tell us about yourself
Ever since I was a toddler, I knew I wanted to become a healer and help people. I'm very fortunate that my family supported my dream so I could build confidence, pursue my education and gain the experience to achieve my goal.
I became a Naturopathic Doctor because I was tired of seeing the mistreatment of my loved ones, including myself, from the medical industry. I witnessed firsthand that when Black people complain of pain or a medical issue, it's often dismissed or downplayed compared to our other peers. I also knew pharmaceuticals and surgery couldn't be the only options for healing and managing our health. After researching extensively, I came upon naturopathic medicine and learned how to leverage healthy nutrition, lifestyle, herbs, supplements, and other natural therapies as tools for disease resolution and prevention.
Even after working as an associated physician for a while, I recognized that naturopathic medicine also has its problematic biases, and traditional African herbalism was not revered the same as westernized and Eurocentric herbalism. When I tried to encourage one clinic to diversify our treatments to represent and better serve our diverse patient population, I was met with resistance and laid off (i.e., forced out) from the clinic shortly thereafter. Initially, I was devastated and felt betrayed by my own profession until I realized I was being called by a greater power to build the clinic I was trying to help others become.
In January 2018, six weeks after being laid off from my previous employer, I channeled my severance pay into starting my own natural medicine clinic, dba "Dr. Ray, ND: The People's Doctor." I started off being a mobile doctor who worked out of various office spaces and went to people's homes until I was able to afford my own clinic space.
In the beginning, I was very scared to be self-employed and launch a clinic with very little capital. However, working from a place of fear or doubt never serves us well. I learned to change my mindset to focus on the positive outcomes I wanted, and thankfully, everything worked out.
There's been many lessons and challenges over the last five years, but I'm proud to share not only did my clinic survive during the pandemic, but it also served over 500 patients and has given over 2,000 free calls to those wanting to learn about this form of care.
I'm motivated by my soul's mission to serve this world as a healer, teacher, and wellness advocate for those who've been forgotten, dismissed, or are seeking more from life. I know one day, I will help make naturopathic medicine and traditional African medicine both more accessible healthcare options in the near future.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is still being in business after five years despite the high failure rate among small businesses. When I first launched my private practice, I received negative feedback that my business wouldn't last and that I was better off finding another job. What I have realized is I am not in competition with anyone else. The only person I serve and whose opinion matters most is my own. And while that may seem like an arrogant answer, it's from a place of self-love and worth. Unfortunately, too many people worry about what other people think versus finding value in their own vision. It's OK if a business idea doesn't catch on immediately or isn't liked by millions. Those are not the only measurements of success. Instead, be willing to constantly grow, learn and change, even if the progress feels slow. Eventually, you will find what works.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Marketing, marketing, marketing. It sounds so easy, and yet, it can be the hardest aspect of maintaining and gaining effective results for your business. I've tried so many forms of marketing and still haven't discovered the best option yet. Marketing can be both time-consuming and expensive, depending on who is your ideal target and audience. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but my best referral source is still word-of-mouth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Stop waiting for the "best time." There's no time like the present. If you have the idea or vision, trust yourself and go for it. Planning is essential, but you don't have to have everything figured out to get started.
- Ask for help! Don't expect yourself to know everything about running a business right out of the gate. That's foolish to think you don't need any help, even if you do have an MBA or prior experience. Use free small business resources, invest in legal support, and find a business mentor willing to talk to or coach you along the way. It can save you lots of money on costly mistakes too!
- Be prepared for the hardest work of your life! Seriously. Going into business and being self-employed requires grit, tenacity, and unwavering discipline. You're going to work your buns off, but at least it will be something you own and not for somebody else's business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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