Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Clark, Founder of Five Elements Herbals, located in Spokane, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Five Elements Herbals, LLC is an herbal clinic and small apothecary located in Spokane, WA. I recently moved to the area, so everything is mobile/telehealth for the moment, but I hope to have a physical location in the next 3-5 years and a wellness/healing center outside of town in the next 7-10 years. My typical clientele is those who are looking to add another team member to their healthcare team. Typically this is the person who has had a specific health issue for a long time and hasn’t found relief from what they’ve tried so far. They’re the person who’s “Tried everything.” I’ve worked with people who have GI issues, chronic pain, mood issues, ED, hormone imbalances, and sleep disorders, just to name a few. Ideally, my customers are the people who are ready to work for their change. Herbs don’t work like pharmaceuticals, and they typically require more effort from the client to see results. My clients are motivated to feel better.
Tell us about yourself
I’ve always been fond of plants. I grew up drinking chamomile tea and helping my mother tend to her roses, but my story really starts shortly after college. I went through about five years of my life where I was either sick, injured, struggling with my mental health, or some combination of the three. I guess you could say I fall into the classic “Wounded Healer” archetype. For my birthday, I received a beginning herbalism book, and it just took off from there. I was suddenly and seemingly magically able to address a lot of my issues using just that one book of herbs I could find at the grocery store. It gave me a sense of power and autonomy like I had found myself again.
Without knowing what it would look like, I knew I had to do more to share this magic with others. Herbs pair perfectly with my passion for the planet and sustainability, and I thought that, with my journalism degree, I’d be able to share what I learned through writing. That was in 2017. Fast forward to today, and I have a clinical certification from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and am so grateful that I get to help share herbalism with my community.
Somedays, running my baby business can be difficult. It needs a lot of attention and care. It’s such an honor to have clients who trust me to help them with their health conditions, and I feel a lot of pressure to get results for them. More importantly, though, my motivation comes from the fact that I know herbs work. It takes time, consistency, and patience, but they work. It’s a combination of herbs, lifestyle, nutrition, and mindset that really will shift it for people. Herbalism is part of a 6,000 + year-old tradition of healing, and there is wisdom beyond what I know. I do my best to trust that the plants will work their magic. I’m just there to help facilitate it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest success to date is getting clients results and sharing in their joys. That’s the whole reason I do what I do: to help people. Learning that someone’s quality of life has improved based on an herbal protocol and formulas I made for them is indescribable. As I said, when I found herbalism, I also rediscovered my autonomy. Helping others to do that, too, is the best feeling. Whether they are 16 or 60, my goal for every client is that they can chase their goals and dreams because they feel healthier.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Convincing people that you actually run a business and that it’s not a hobby? I’m just kidding, kind of. I’m not sure, actually! Keep in mind my business is in its infancy—I’ve only officially been in business for about a year and registered in WA state since July. I still work more hours per week at a restaurant here in Spokane than I do for myself, and some days, I don’t feel like an herbalist at all. There are a lot of parts that are hard: keeping track of expenses and inventory, placing orders, keeping up with emails, spreadsheets, and invoices, running my social media, writing a newsletter, creating three, six, and 12-month plans and income projections, the list is seemingly endless. But there are a ton of joys too! Writing and making medicine for a living are the biggest ones. Seeing the joy people experience when they start to feel better is the best part. Plus, the fact that I’ll someday be able to set my own schedule is a huge motivator. I’m super fortunate to have an incredibly supportive partner, family, and friends, which makes things easier, even when I’m struggling to think it’s all possible.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Try it! Don’t be reckless; keep your day job, but go for it! Set realistic and attainable goals and allow yourself the time you need to meet them. If you have a dream, chase it.
- Find a mentor and role model. The Small Business Association of America is an amazing resource! They can help you create a business plan, pair you with a mentor, and they have a ton of webinars and events. Plus, it’s all free! Yes, FREE!
- Lastly, get super clear on your vision and then go make it real. I’m a big fan of Pinterest for making vision boards and setting a mood for how you want your dream to look. What’s your “why”? Why do you want to pursue this business? When you know why everything else comes from there.
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.