Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marie Gallagher, Owner of The Healing Path Massage & Wellness, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founder and owner of The Healing Path Massage & Wellness, located in Historic Fell's Point, Baltimore. We have an excellent, professional team of massage therapists and estheticians with over 30 years of combined experience. We specialize in custom signature massage, prenatal massage, sports massage, specialty massage treatments, skin care treatments, and therapeutic stretch sessions. We serve our local community, the greater Baltimore area, guests of the Sagamore Pendry Hotel, the employees and healthcare workers of The Johns Hopkins Medical System and Nursing school, as well as travelers visiting Baltimore.
Tell us about yourself
I have a passion for helping others, and I love creating a space for our team of wellness professionals to do what they love. I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.S in Family Studies, intending to obtain a Masters in Social Work, but by chance was introduced to massage therapy and fell in love with it. I began as a solo practitioner in 1999 in Annapolis and moved to Baltimore in 2000 to be closer to my sister, who was undergoing Breast Cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins (she passed at the young age of 40). I rented a room in Federal Hill to begin my massage practice. While working with clients, they asked me where they should take yoga, receive acupuncture or find other wellness modalities. Realizing there was no place that offered those services, I decided to create The Healing Path Massage & Wellness.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating an idea and committing to see it through no matter what comes our way. Without a business background, I made many mistakes, and I still do, but I try to learn from all of them and do it better next time. I opened with a small 600-square-foot treatment room as a solo practitioner and, over the years, expanded to 3 locations, navigated a recession and a pandemic... so I guess surviving and still thriving is the accomplishment. However, I would not have been able to without the support of my team and their dedication to trust me, the vision, and the process.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Taking risks with no safety net and it can be lonely at times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your tribe. You must have a positive support system that believes in you and what you are trying to achieve. There are many naysayers... those are not your people. It is important to have good counsel to make sound decisions; however, seek other entrepreneurs or those you trust who are also risk takers. They understand your mindset and what you are going through, and you can learn from their past mistakes and accomplishments.
- Trust your Team. In the beginning, I worked 14 - 16 hour days because I thought I had to do it all. You will wear many hats, so learn to delegate. Delegating the things that are not your skill set or what you do not enjoy doing, this will help you avoid burnout, maintain your passion, and keep it fun. It also creates job opportunities for those who enjoy doing those tasks, which will help you continue to grow.
- Continue learning. Work on the business, not just in the business. There are books, podcasts, organizations, and trainings about being an entrepreneur... use those resources to help you succeed.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you have a dream and a vision, it is up to you to see it through. No one can do this for you. Any time I fear trying something new, I think about what my good friend said to me... "Marie...the water is never going to get any warmer; you just need to dive in". I have been doing this for over 20 years now, and there have been many challenges, but it has been and still is an extremely rewarding journey... so dive in!
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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