Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Heather Fitzgerald, Founder of Strategic Nutrition & Holistic Therapies, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a Registered Dietitian specializing in Functional Medicine, Metabolic Disorders, Micronutrients, and Hormone deficiencies. My customers are both men and women aged 25-70+ who are looking to lose weight, slow down the aging process, prevent the chronic diseases associated with aging, and who are looking for someone to provide them with a comprehensive and personalized assessment of their overall health. This includes diet, of course, as the foundation, but it also includes identifying one's particular nutrient and/or hormone deficiencies and risk factors and creating a treatment plan that is both functional and targeted to help my patients reach their personal health and wellness goals. I utilize some of the most progressive diagnostics and testing available and will do comprehensive blood analysis on nearly all my new patients. I also utilize other types of specialized testing and diagnostics, such as food allergy testing, DNA/Genetic mutation testing, toxic and heavy metal testing, neurotransmitter testing, as well as comprehensive gastrointestinal testing. The goal is to identify the source of the patient's issues or complaints, rather than the conventional medicine model, which solely treats the symptoms along with educating and empowering my patients with the tools and information to successfully implement the changes necessary to achieve optimal health.
Tell us about yourself
I was a rare bird in that I declared my major when I entered university, so I always knew I wanted to study and practice nutritional science and dietetics. I had many years working alongside doctors in their practices, gaining clinical experience and more knowledge. In 2014, I decided to go into my own private practice, and that's when the hard work really began. Building my business, continuing my education, and supporting patients to their best and healthiest. What inspires me most are my patients. Listening to their personal stories, the struggles and challenges they've faced and overcome gives me the drive to not only face my own obstacles but inspires me more to help them achieve wellness and balance in all areas of their lives. Because our health is more than just the physical aspects, as that is directly related to one's emotional well-being and how we live our lives each day, I am also motivated by knowledge and keeping up on the latest developments in research and the newest diagnostics and natural treatments that become available, so I can better support my patients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been building my client base. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to run a successful business, especially a business that is all about caring for people. It takes commitment, follow-through, and the ability to connect with people authentically. Because of that dedication, I have entire families in my client base and have built my practice solely through word of mouth, which I am very proud of.
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 that it never shuts down. When it's yours, even when the last patient exits the door, there are so many tasks to complete, and so when the office door closes and I head home for the day, I still have a thousand things in my mind that has to be completed or checked off my list. I find that very challenging, but even more so, in the past few years, I've found that delegating to staff has been a process for me. I had to learn to trust others to do the tasks that I had built my practice doing. And being somewhat of a 'control freak,' it took me time to let go of that and allow the support that I desperately needed. That took me about a year to adjust, and even through the loss of one vital staff member, and the hiring and training of another, I got through it and continue to work on handing off the things that I had to in order to attend to the most essential tasks, connecting and communicating with my patients. It's a process, and I think everyone who owns a growing business needs to find their way in this area of receiving support from others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top three tips that I recommend to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business are:
- LOVE what you do. If you don't absolutely love what your business is about or what it sells, it's going to be difficult to stay focused and more difficult to be successful.
- Keep your head to the grindstone. Go the extra mile, complete tasks, and do what you say you will do. This builds your integrity and the trust of your customers or patients.
- Be prepared for challenges and obstacles, and do not be afraid to ASK for help from others!
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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