Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hernan Carvente-Martinez, Founder and CEO of Healing Ninjas, Inc., located in Queens, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am building a social enterprise to create access to health and wellness resources for communities of color. I aim to develop a web-based platform and app to allow people to find wellness resources near them. I am particularly interested in uplifting and partnering with BIPOC-owned businesses in the wellness space. My customers would be BIPOC people who are currently seeking resources to support their overall well-being and improve their mental and physical health.

Tell us about yourself

I am a formerly incarcerated Chicano, community organizer, and social entrepreneur. After a decade of advocacy to close youth prisons and empower formerly incarcerated youth, I made it my mission to reimagine wellness and mental health for all New Yorkers. As a suicide survivor and someone working with people who have experienced all kinds of trauma, I saw a gap in how people talked about and accessed different wellness and healing modalities.

As a result, I founded Healing Ninjas, Inc., a social enterprise dedicated to de-stigmatizing mental health and wellness and providing access to traditional and non-traditional resources across NYC’s five boroughs. I am motivated to continue doing this work because of my own lived experience and because of all the young community organizers that I've had the pleasure to mentor and support in their leadership journey. Mental health and wellness is not a commonly discussed topic in communities of color, and I want to change that and end the stigma around it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment was being able to trademark the Healing Ninjas brand under the clothing category and finally releasing the first batch of shirts to the world for sale. I had never sold anything before, so learning about pricing, shipping, and how to process sales was truly an interesting process. Having come from the non-profit sector, I have had a huge learning curve when it comes to managing a business but having had this small win was entirely worth it.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is constantly thinking about the future of the business and feeling like you cannot make mistakes. Running a business is like going through a constant state of trial and error, and sometimes, you just need to try things and see if they work. It's also hard to run a business early on when you have very little revenue, and most of the money comes out of your own pocket. However, to be a successful business owner, you must believe in your own idea no matter how many times you fail.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't be afraid to fail on your first idea. Many business leaders started multiple companies before finally landing on that multi-million dollar idea.
  2. Don't do it all alone; hire or contract your weaknesses. If you're not good at digital marketing, find a friend or contract someone who can do that. If you are not good with finances, then work with someone who loves numbers! Building the right team can be a make or break for any business.
  3. Building a business idea can be emotionally and physically taxing. Be sure to take care of yourself, including daily and weekly activities to fill up your cup. You deserve to feel good while building your business idea.

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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