Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cindie Helmer, owner of Essential Health Massage Therapy, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're a health care clinic that offers Registered Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Psychotherapy. Our clients come from all walks of life and cover all ages. We treat people with acute and chronic injuries and pain and those looking to incorporate massage and physiotherapy into regular health care routines.
Tell us about yourself
When I was in my 30's, I was working a job that was soul-crushing for me. I had no idea what I wanted to be "when I grew up." So I took an online career assessment. I was shocked to learn that many career suggestions were in health care. That wasn't an area I had ever considered for myself professionally. I waited six months and took the assessment again to see if anything might change. It didn't. However, I wasn't really interested in the options suggested to me, nursing, pharmacology, radiology technician, etc.
I started to think about what matters to me when I think about health care. Most of our health care system is focused on treatment. We don't put any focus on prevention...and that's what matters to me. So I started looking for health care options that focus on prevention, and I found massage therapy. I love the idea of preventing pain or injury before it even has the opportunity to affect someone. I love having the ability to help people learn about their bodies and how to take better care of themselves to keep them functioning for whatever their daily routines are!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel like passing the 3 and 5 year milestones are big accomplishments for any entrepreneur! But I think I'm most proud of creating a nurturing and supportive environment for therapists to work in so that we can collaborate and learn from each other to provide the best possible care to our clients!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I would say the hardest thing is managing people. That's on all levels. The people who work in the clinic are my first concern. Making sure each self-employed therapist feels valued and that they have a say in how the business moves forward is vital.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Figure out what you don't know and ask an expert. That could be a lawyer, an accountant, or someone already doing what you aspire to do. No one knows everything, and that's totally ok! You'll find people who are able and want to help you!
- Don't be afraid of missteps. I'm not a big fan of the word failure - we all make decisions that might involve bad timing or targeting the wrong market. That's ok! These are learning opportunities. I think we learn more from mistakes than successes. Missteps are great opportunities to learn, readjust, and then move forward.
- Be the best you can at customer service. Everyone wants to be treated well and with respect. Think about your business from the customer service experience and make it the best you can!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Be prepared for anything. There are lots of ups and downs as an entrepreneur. If the last couple of years have taught us nothing else, it's that anything can happen. Try to place your business in a position to make it through tough times. Keep a savings account. Be flexible and creative in how you are able to provide your product or service. A little bit of planning can aid in preventing downtime!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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