Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gregory Stern, founder of From the Ground Up Physiothérapie, located in Côte Saint-Luc, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
From the Ground Up is a Montreal, Quebec-based health education & physiotherapy clinic offering prevention, injury management, and sports performance training services. We take a whole-body movement-based approach to treat the root causes of your pain rather than simply focusing on your symptoms and isolated muscles & joints.
A lot of people think about traditional physio as a passive process whereby they lie on a bed like a limp fish getting treated, hoping their therapist will fix them. At the From the Ground Up, we understand that in order to create long-lasting change for our clients, we need to empower our clients to take an active role in the treatment process and teach them to move in new ways that allow their pain area to work together with the rest of the body.
We focus on helping our clients build strength and mobility in a progressive pain-free manner to help them return to functioning on a high level in their everyday life and return to the activities that are meaningful to them. Our clients span across all age ranges. No matter the age, if someone is dealing with an acute or chronic issue, looking to stay pain-free or optimize their athletic performance, we help guide people on a journey towards a more active movement lifestyle so they can reach their full potential.
Tell us about yourself
My passion for movement and helping others along their own health journey developed from my own physical struggles. In 2013, I sustained an ankle injury that would forever change my life. What appeared to be a routine ankle sprain while playing football developed into a chronic problem in my foot that caused me constant pain for four years.
I consulted and worked with many different rehab professionals to no avail and eventually underwent surgery. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of my journey, as compensatory movement patterns triggered hip and back pain that had not been there prior to the operation. I had reached a low point and was struggling for answers. It was at this point that I knew I needed to dive deeper in order to understand my body if I was ever going to escape the pain I was experiencing.
While my professional education includes a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Kinesiology and a Master in Physical Therapy at McGill University, my curiosity has always extended far beyond the classroom. I have spent thousands of hours learning from books and coaches online, attending courses and trying to gather as many perspectives as possible on different therapeutic approaches, researching and experimenting with which methods work and which don't.
I began to incorporate a comprehensive approach that looked at the root causes behind my pain that were continuing to contribute to my poor global movement patterns. Over time, I diligently and methodically applied the concepts that I learned to slowly restructure my body.
Thankfully, I am now able to experience life pain-free, play the sports I love unimpeded by fear and go for long hikes barefoot (yes, you read that correctly!) after not being able to stand for more than a few seconds without pain.
With From the Ground Up, my aim is to help guide people through their own path of self-discovery on their health journeys and guide people to not only be pain-free but to thrive in their everyday lives. Injuries are not only a process of recovery but discovery, an opportunity to learn, be curious, to better understand your body, correct issues, improve efficiency and performance and tap into the potential you never knew you had!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner thus far in my career has been my ability to help many clients with a history of years of chronic pain be able to return to activities that were meaningful to them EVEN WHEN they failed traditional approaches and had been around the houses for their problem.
By listening to their story, understanding their injury history, performing a detailed movement assessment, formulating a treatment plan together with these clients, and following a progressive strength/mobility protocol, I was able to help these individuals when they thought they were going to have to live with their pain forever.
My personal journey of pain and subsequent education through various mentorships has exposed me to a unique movement-based approach that most other therapists are not aware of. I feel proud that I can help people with complicated cases find relief and form meaningful relationships to impact their global health.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is realizing that I cannot get everything done at the speed in which I want. I am an ambitious, driven individual with lots of ideas and projects in mind that I want to get launched to scale my impact to more individuals.
However, given that I am running the day-to-day of my business, seeing 25-30 clients weekly, sending off clients' home exercise programs, taking care of accounting and invoices, and creating social media content, project time often gets put on the back burner. Learning how to create space and time for business development is something that I am prioritizing as of late. That said, it is important to remind myself of the expression, "Rome wasn't built in a day," so that I can ease the pressure I put on myself and be content with what I've already created, and remember to trust the process.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be absolutely obsessed with whatever you're working on. It's cliché, but if you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.
- Focus on helping other individuals; even if I've been having a bad day, when my day is revolved around helping others, my focus goes off myself onto others.
- Invest in your education and seek out mentors that are doing what you want to do. Most people that are successful in their field are happy to share their advice if you have the courage to ask.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am working on a self-guided training program called Mastering the Fundamentals. This is a 6-week program that teaches you the best way to use your body's full movements to help you walk with more ease, run with less effort, and make your body perform better in everyday life. This program recognizes the interconnection between the whole body and that nothing works in isolation.
This will be released in the next few months, so stay on the lookout for that! I also host interactive educational workshops on a variety of topics, including back & hip health, foot & ankle health, running, breathing, and sleep. These workshops provide simple, actionable guidance on reclaiming strong, pain-free, and resilient bodies. Having the skills and knowledge to take care of yourself is a vital part of wellbeing. Our workshops are geared to everyone (symptomatic or not) seeking to optimize their physical health and improve their movement and lifestyle. We also offer workshops to corporate teams, schools, and private groups.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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