Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Courtney Zeller, Owner of GoodMedizen PS INC., located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
GoodMedizen is a Holistic Health Clinic in Downtown Seattle. We specialize in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Esthetics. We strive to be an integral part of a new generation of traditional practitioners that have emerged in American healthcare, offering a unique perspective of patient autonomy and psychological-physiological integration in the maintenance of health.
Tell us about yourself
I first knew that I wanted to practice medicine while taking an elective psychology class in the Running Start program at Cascadia College. From day one, I was so drawn to it and couldn’t get enough. The standard treatment for psychological conditions was very troublesome to me, even at 16 years old. It seemed like pharmaceuticals were, in most cases, the only real option. Wherever therapy couldn’t go, medications did. Because of this, I had chosen to pursue a career in psychiatry to have the credentials to take on the more difficult cases, use medication only when absolutely necessary, and devise alternative and holistic ways of helping these people who were clearly suffering.
Even back then, I had a holistic mind, though I didn’t even know the term “holistic medicine” yet! I was focused on the interplay between psychological and physiological pain and how to lessen both to help people to heal. Little did I know how far that concept would end up going in my life!
Two years later, I was studying at the University of Washington towards a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and getting all of my Pre-Med classes done with the plan of attending Medical School the following year. While I was getting frustrated with the pharmaceutical complex-driven program, I was still on my mission to find better ways of treatment for psychology patients and mostly enjoying school.
Then something happened that changed everything… My migraines, which I had been struggling with since age 12, became debilitating. I was getting them a few times per week, they would last up to 3 days, and I couldn’t function. I saw countless doctors and specialists, and it seemed as if no one could help me. I had to take a hardship withdrawal from my studies for a quarter because I simply could not function.
I grew increasingly frustrated with doctors until, one day, I finally had enough. I was on day two of a migraine, and it was “a bad one.” I had an appointment with a new doctor to re-evaluate my migraines. I lived a few blocks from the office, and I remember stumbling, trying to walk there with my eyes mostly closed to block out what seemed like piercing bright light (it was Seattle, in the fall, it was not very bright out…). I made it to the office and was hopeful that this doctor would be the one to figure it out, the one who would help me.
Well, I was wrong. Like all the others before him, the doctor offered me opioid pain killers, to which I responded that I couldn’t take them and that it should be in my chart that I cannot take them because they make me violently ill. The doctor then threw his arms up in the air, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “well, I don’t know what you want me to do then!” Now crying, I told him I wanted him to figure out what was wrong with me. Why an otherwise healthy young girl was struggling almost daily with debilitating pain. He again threw his arms up, said there was nothing more he could do if I didn’t want to take the medication, and walked out of the room. I was devastated.
Days, weeks, or months went by, I am really not sure – pain does that to one’s memory, but somewhere along the line, a friend convinced me to try acupuncture. I was TERRIFIED of needles, so it was a pretty hard sell, but I was desperate! I wanted my life back! So, I went, and it was maybe my life's single most defining choice.
I had some relief with my first visit. It wasn’t magic by any means, it was subtle, but it was almost as if the edge of pain that I was on, even on my “good days,” wasn’t as bad. It was enough to get me to go again. And again. And again. After a few months of acupuncture treatment, Chinese Herbs, and some exercises to do as homework, I began living a migraine-free life. Yes, MIGRAINE FREE! Other than a few migraines while I was pregnant with my son, I have continued to be migraine free ever since.
I just completely fell in love with the medicine; I couldn’t get enough!
So, instead of applying for Medical School, I applied to Bastyr University and pursued a master of science in acupuncture. Fast forward 14 years later, I am STILL in love with this medicine and am thankful every day for the honor of using it with my patients.
I feel so privileged to be practicing Chinese Medicine at this time in history because we have been able to (and continue to) unravel so much about how it actually works. Western Science has been making extraordinary steps in understanding the power of this incredible medicine. This gives me the ability to explain what I am doing with patients. It helps them understand their treatment, allowing them to take an active role in their healthcare.
On a daily basis, I get to help ease suffering and empower people to take control of their health! I get to utilize science while also performing art. I get to help people gain freedom from pain and to get more enjoyment from life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating an open and nurturing environment where both my patients and employees can thrive! My employees are encouraged to grow in their individual career goals, and I help them accomplish their best every step of the way. I absolutely love seeing every individual with any encounters with my business have a positive experience that will help them in their journey. Whether it is a patient or an employee, if I can't get them to where they need to be, I work with them to find a place that will.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balance is probably the most difficult concept to maintain as a business owner—the balance between doing what I love (patient care) and the admin side of things. My amazing employees help immensely with that, but it's always something that takes constant attention. Then, of course, work and home life balance. When you love what you do, it's easy to spend too many hours at the office :)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Transparency and authenticity: the more honest you are with yourself, your employees, and your customers, the happier you will be. I have the motto "I only want happy people here," and the only way to accomplish that is to make sure you are authentic every step of the way.
- Spend time thinking about your ideals: ideal clients, ideal employees, etc. When you really sit down and chart out what these look like, then you can direct your focus better in all aspects. Don't chase a sale; rather, attract the people you can genuinely help!
- Get a coach! Business coach. Niche coach. Marketing coach. Self-development coach. Any or all. Find someone you resonate with who can help you along the way. We spend so much time, energy, and money figuring things out the hard way. The sooner you get a coach, the quicker you will reach your goals (and create a bigger vision to have even more impact and fulfillment!)
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
LOVE what you do. If there is an aspect of your business that you dread, outsource it! Whether an employee, a virtual assistant, a single hired job, or even an app, just get the assistance you need so you don't get burned out on the little things. YOU are the visionary; your job should be nurturing and growing that vision!
Where can people find you and your business?
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