Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Catherine Aquino, Owner of Aquino Acupuncture & Holistic Health, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and use acupuncture, herbs, supplements, as well as nutrition and lifestyle advice to help my clients enhance their health and wellness. Sometimes patients seek my services because they are in pain, and headaches and back or knee pain are very common reasons to come into our office; however, many of my patients are women going through hormone changes or fertility challenges.

Tell us about yourself

Soon after graduating from college with a degree in finance, my life path took a direction than initially anticipated. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and we kept him home, and I helped care for him. This was a very difficult time, but it was also one of the most beautiful experiences and an honor. It gave me perspective and clarity on what was truly important in life. The loss of my father was a key turning point, and it ignited a calling to be of service and be a part of the health care profession.

This eventually led me to my career in Chinese medicine 22 years ago. In the early years, I was drawn to work with a patient trying to conceive because it often calls for an intimate and deep level of work, and I find it very rewarding. I started taking every continuing education course I could find, and together with clinical experience, I became a specialist. However, it wasn’t until my own fertility challenges and pregnancy losses did my desire and compassion to help others reached an entirely new level.

And then, in 2014, I found a lump in my breast, and that moment changed me once again. I was diagnosed with aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer and learned I'm a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation. With my amazing western medical team, the support of holistic medicine, family, and friends, I received the care and support necessary, and to date (knock on wood), I have no evidence of disease. However, this challenge forever changed who I am as a person and as a practitioner. Working with clients going through health challenges motivates me each day because I have been in their shoes, and I know we can make a difference together.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My sense of accomplishment comes from my relationship and feedback from my patients. Sometimes someone calls after 15 plus years and says how much our work together meant to them. Sometimes it’s the little things like a conversation we shared, and they tell me it changed their perspective and therefore changed their life. And sometimes, I’m lucky enough to help someone in their fertility journey, and it becomes the miracle they always dreamed of. Many stories happen in the clinic, and it’s an honor to be a part of them.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Deciding what to do yourself and what to delegate. There are always so many things to do, and sometimes it feels overwhelming.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Hire your supportive cast before you need them. Waiting to make enough money to hire support and help is logical, but it can really hinder your growth. For example, many colleagues don’t hire front desk personnel or an office manager because they’re not busy enough; however, that means you’re doing everything yourself when you should be focusing on the bigger plan and strategizing for your business and sharing your skills and gifts. If you’re doing everything, you’re not able to grow your business, and you’re sure to burn out. It’s hard to delegate but so important to let go of some tasks so you can have the energy to focus on the bigger plan.
  2. Be Generous. In the medical business, referrals are very common. Patients often need a specialist or different type of doctor, and I feel it’s my duty to have good specialists to refer them to. I don’t network to get referrals; I network so I can make referrals, and if it ends up reciprocal, that’s wonderful, but again network and refer without expectations.
  3. Along the same lines, try and say yes. Say yes to opportunities to teach and share about your business without expecting anything in return. Sharing knowledge or helping someone when you can with what you do is very rewarding. There will be times when everyone needs something from you and your business (if you’re lucky); try and do what you can. The energy you receive from spreading good mojo is invaluable.

Where can people find you and your business?


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