Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. John Dempster, ND, Founder and Owner of The Dempster Clinic - Center for Functional Medicine, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

I founded The Dempster Clinic - Center for Functional Medicine in 2006, located in Toronto, Ontario. I focus on a functional medicine approach to help each and every patient create a program to help achieve their specific health goals by focusing on a customized, root-cause-oriented approach. I work largely with those with an auto-immune illness, chronic digestive issues, and those looking to achieve their highest level of health and wellness.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up always being interested in medicine. Growing up in a small town, my only exposure to medicine was from our local family doctor. At the age of 13, I lost two uncles in the same year to chronic disease, both of which we were told later were primarily linked to their diet and lifestyle. As a result, my parents began to focus on eating healthy and creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle for themselves and their kids.

This really stuck with me, and as I was studying Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph, I naturally gravitated to a number of courses in clinical nutrition and nutritional science. As I was applying to traditional medical schools, I always asked about how much nutrition was taught as part of their curriculum. At the time, I was told, depending on the school, 0-4 hours (during the entire MD training!). Serendipitously I was then introduced to Naturopathic Medicine, of which clinical nutrition is a core component of the curriculum, and the rest, as they say - is history.

Since becoming a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and achieving an advanced fellowship in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, I am motivated each day by the opportunity to help link arms with my patients and truly become a partner in their healthcare. I thrive on watching my patients succeed in achieving their health goals.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been having the honour to be part of so many of my patients' health journeys, many of whom have struggled with serious, debilitating, and life-altering conditions. This is an honour like no other and one that I am grateful for being given the opportunity every day.

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

As medical professionals, we are taught a lot about healing and medicine - but not about how to run a business. This is often learned by being 'thrown into the fire,' and we quickly realize we have to wear many hats to keep a clinic operating at a high level.

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

  1. Mentor those who you want to emulate. Have multiple mentors.
  2. Join a mastermind with like-minded business owners. Strategic Coach (with Dan Sullivan) is one that I often recommend.
  3. Get out and go for it. Don't be afraid to fail.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Continue to learn and master your craft. It's not about achieving a perfect business; it's about progress and forward momentum. If you improve your skill and business acumen slowly, but over time, this creates a massive potential for exponential growth. Go for it!!

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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