Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Harrison Irons, Founder of Southern Ketamine and Wellness, located in Birmingham, AL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Southern Ketamine and Wellness is a ketamine infusion clinic. We offer hope to people who have been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and PTSD. We also utilize ketamine to treat people who suffer from certain chronic pain conditions as well. Our customers are those who are tired of not finding relief with the traditional approach of allopathic medicine.
Tell us about yourself
I went into medical school with the same goals as all of my peers - I wanted to help people. After medical school, I completed my anesthesiology training, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the role of supporting patients safely through surgeries. While I didn't hate the concise patient interactions involved in anesthesiology, I desired a more hands-on approach to patient care, so I decided to pursue a fellowship in pain management.
Pain management allowed me to develop a rapport and long-lasting relationship with patients where I was directly involved in their care rather than playing an ancillary role. Through my experiences, I learned that there was significant co-morbid mental health disease in the chronic pain population. This sparked my curiosity and interest in the groundbreaking research regarding ketamine treatments for those who suffer from mental health and/or chronic pain. It was one of those revelations that just felt meant to be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is very simple: we have had the opportunity and privilege to drastically improve people's lives, reclaim who they are, and live a life that they deserve and are worth living.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things I have learned about being a business owner is taking emotion out of the equation. I've spent my entire career empathizing with patients and treating them to the best of my abilities without judging them based on their income or insurance coverage. At Southern Ketamine and Wellness, insurance will not cover our services, so people have to pay out of pocket for it. I really wish this wasn't the case. I would absolutely love to be able to offer ketamine to every appropriate patient suffering from treatment-resistant depression, but that just isn't reality. I would soon go out of business and lose my ability to care for the community. Unfortunately, I now have to consider business expenses and how to make a business not fail, which are things I haven't had to do in the past.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you open a business that focuses on helping people, then you cannot fail. If you want to help people more than you want to pay yourself, then you will succeed.
- Running a business is hard, particularly for those like me who don't have any formal training or education in it. There is no instruction manual on what to do. However, if you stay focused on your mission and why you began the business in the first place, then those small bumps in the road of running a business won't feel so jarring.
- Growing a business can be frustrating, as I have found. There are so many different ways to market a business nowadays with the endless outlets on the internet. The most underrated and underappreciated marketing tool I feel is word of mouth. If you focus on treating everyone the way you would treat your friends or family, then the word will get out, and you will see growth. These things just take time, and patience is key.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are on the cusp of a very exciting time in the field of mental health. There is a lot of buzz around reexamining substances for their potential medicinal benefits that used to be considered taboo. Even though our country is growing and thriving, we have never seen higher rates of mental illness. The traditional approach to mental health is obviously not working for everyone. With the reintroduction of psychedelics and their novel way of treating mental health and healing the brain, I think we are about to see America become a lot happier again.
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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