Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Doris Ward, founder and owner of Doris Ward Coaching, located in Cornwall, PE, Canada.

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

I help women feel finally feel good in their bodies and free around food so they can finally break free from the relentless negative self-talk, boring exercise, and food jail. Using mindfulness, movement, coaching, and education, I provide support to women to help them find a type of exercise they enjoy, learn how to have less obsession and control around food, and feel more comfortable and confident in their skin.

My signature program is my BODY CONFIDENCE FOOD FREEDOM coaching program which includes a framework to help my clients explore their beliefs about their body and relationship with food and discover enjoyment in exercise again. This mindfulness-based framework focuses on acceptance, non-judgment, letting go, and gratitude.

One-on-one Pilates coaching, Fitness Coaching, and Life Coaching programs are other services I offer, all to help women feel their best. I support them in learning to empower themselves and finally be accountable so they can be consistent, reach their goals and build those positive, long-lasting health-enhancing habits they truly desire.

Tell us about yourself

Fitness and taking care of myself started when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in the early 2000s. I quickly took action and started a fitness routine, and researched nutrition so I could reduce my symptoms. Not long after my diagnosis, I joined the local gym and was inspired to become a certified personal trainer. I earned my certification in 2003 and since then have added Pilates, Yoga, MBSR, Meditation, Group Fitness, Indoor Cycling, Intuitive Eating, and Body Positivity to my training and certification list.

In 2014, I opened my business, and in 2018, I transitioned from traditional personal training to coaching on improving body image through mindfulness. I never looked back. Coaching from a weight-neutral, non-diet point of view feels authentic and the best way to support the women I work with. In the past 19+ years, I've worked in this industry, I have yet to work with a woman that hasn't struggled in some way with her body image, food choices, or relationship to exercise. The work I do today is all about confidence, acceptance, self-care, and mindful living. I love it and so do my clients!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment, honestly, is when my clients feel their best. Sure, I have won awards and been acknowledged in the industry, and I am proud of those things, of course, but the important and most meaningful part of my role is truly supporting the women I work with to ensure they have the support, resources, encouragement, and information they need to feel, be and move their best.

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

There are many pros to being an entrepreneur. In fact, I love a lot of aspect of it and learned a great deal from my father, who was self-employed for 30 years. I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and I like that about myself. I'd have to say the hardest thing about being a business owner right now is the financial instability.

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

  1. Team up with a mentor.
  2. When you experience a setback, because you will, look for the lessons.
  3. Know who is in your support team and lean on them.
  4. Support other business owners by lifting them up with encouragement, referring business their way and sharing better practices. Keeping industry "secrets" and going it alone is not the way to grow or be successful. Be kind, and offer help and genuine support to others, because there is room for everyone.
  5. Invest in lifelong learning. It will be some of the best money you spend for both your personal and professional future. Every year I sign up for workshops, webinars and courses and they have been invaluable.
  6. Set clear boundaries with your clients and lead by example by honouring your own self-care. Having healthy boundaries is part of taking good care of yourself which helps to keep your "battery" from running low from life's ups and downs.
  7. Focus more on customer service, and offering value rather than numbers. What you offer and how you treat people will always outshine numbers and sales targets.
  8. Let go of all or nothing thinking. Instead, focus on big picture thinking, outside-the-box thinking and critical thinking skills.
  9. Understand and stay within your scope of practice.
  10. Send thank you notes. Clients deserve to know how much you appreciate them as well as others that take the time to help you along your entrepreneurial path. I regularly send thank you cards and emails to clients, people in my network and to those that refer business my way.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had as a business owner and for working in the health and fitness industry. I have grown so much, and I am most grateful that I made the shift from focusing on weight loss to focusing on simply feeling good in our body and taking care of it and appreciating it. So many of us use exercise as a way to shrink ourselves both physically and in spirit. I'm working to change that.

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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