Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Jennifer Santamaria, licensed Physical Therapy, located in San Marcos, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am Dr. Jennifer Santamaria, founder and owner of Femme Strong Physical Therapy- a specialized, mobile physical therapy practice that focuses on guiding women through recovery from various pelvic floor & orthopedic dysfunctions such as incontinence, leaky bladder, pelvic pain, and prolapse. I work with women of all stages of life, including young adulthood, childbearing years, and menopause.
Tell us about yourself
After graduating, I began working in an orthopedic physical therapy clinic. Within a year, I began feeling unfulfilled, and that worried me. I couldn't be feeling this way! I realized there was something I had to change, so I started thinking about what that could be. I've always been a huge advocate for women and realized that I could provide for them on another level via my career.
In school, we had taken a one-hour lecture on pelvic floor physical therapy, and when I remembered that, it was like a lightbulb lit in my head. That's what I could do, become a pelvic floor PT and serve as many women as I could. I began treating in the same clinic I was at, but there were so many limitations, and insurance nonsense I had to abide by that kept me from feeling proud of my work.
That's when I realized that I had to start my own practice to be able to have full autonomy and treat as I deemed fit, and so that's when Femme Strong was created. I started my practice as a side hustle and then finally dove full-time into it. There's a lack of support for women's pelvic health in our country, as well as a gap in the knowledge needed to treat pelvic dysfunction.
What many people and medical providers don't realize is that women are incredibly susceptible to pelvic floor dysfunction - whether from various types of traumas, pregnancy, and birth, or menopausal changes. To be a part of the small physical therapist population that can provide this level of specialized care for women is a huge honor and really makes me proud of the work I provide - it's ultimately why I left general outpatient physical therapy and got into it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My practice provides mobile pelvic floor and orthopedic physical therapy services to women in the San Diego and Temecula regions. I work with women of different ages to address the pelvic health issues they are facing and help them return to whatever life goals and aspirations they've put on hold due to their symptoms.
There's no such thing as "grin and bare it" or "that's what happens when you ______" when you talk to me - pelvic floor symptoms CAN be addressed holistically and reduced with the proper guidance.
Because our whole body is interconnected by fascia (one of the most notable connective tissues), my practice is very holistic and addresses the entire body, not just the pelvic floor. It just so happens that the TMJ pain you've been having directly correlates to the built-up tension you carry in your pelvic floor that makes you have pain with insertion.
Or the ankle injury you got ten years ago is part of the reason you pee your pants a little when you run. The whole body talks to itself and has ripple effects from one end to the other. Not many therapists treat in this manner, but because I want to get down to the root cause of a woman's symptoms - I address the entire body and work through it as needed.
I'm so proud of the practice I've created and the opportunities I'm able to provide women. It's truly fulfilling when a woman goes through a debilitating traumatic experience yet is able to return to her life feeling empowered, confident, and ready to take on the world, all thanks to the guidance I was able to provide. There's no better feeling.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's on my own - sometimes it gets lonely. Having to make all the decisions without bouncing ideas around with a team, not having someone who understands my business on the level that I do, and just being a one-woman show can get a bit stressful.
Ultimately, I'm incredibly happy I have the ability to make all decisions and run my practice as I please, but the weight of being solo is tough sometimes. I know a time will come when I get to grow my team, so I look forward to that happening in the future!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It's fine to start as a side hustle, but know that at some point, you'll have to go full-time in order to grow into the vision you have for it.
- If you have no business experience, definitely hire a business coach - someone who's experienced enough within your particular niche to really give you all the best guidance!
- Always have the next goal in mind. Keep the fire under you going and fuel it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Even if you're not someone who experiences pelvic floor dysfunction, talk about it with friends and family. Spread the word! There's always someone listening who will benefit from this information!
And when it comes to being a woman business owner, be proud and flaunt it! Let's keep encouraging and motivating each other. I'm always happy to meet with anyone who wants accountability or a support system within this lonely business owner world!
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.