Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey by launching a health and wellness business but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Gaetz, co-founder of Holsana, based in Toronto, Canada.

Tell us all about your business...

My partner and I started Holsana to make plant medicines more accessible, focusing on helping people sleep better. Plants have been used as medicines for thousands of years and have been the basis for tons of modern drugs (aspirin, for example). Many countries still use plants as part of their healthcare systems, but we’ve gotten away from that in North America. We are building Holsana to make the best plant medicines from around the world accessible in North America! We are focused on supporting sleep to start because it’s so essential to our overall health, but it’s an area that many people struggle with. Clinical studies have found certain plant medicines outperform prescription sleep medications like benzodiazepines without any side effects!

What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?

I was first introduced to plant medicines through my wife, who grew up using plants medicinally. My background is in biochemistry research, so I was pretty skeptical at first. But as I researched more about pharmacological and clinical studies on plants and experienced the benefits first hand, I became convinced. Ultimately, Holsana is about improving people’s health and quality of life. If we can help more people experience the benefits of plant medicines, then Holsana is a success!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Well, we are launching in the next couple of months, so I hope our most significant accomplishments are yet to come! I would say so far; I’m most proud of our commitment to safe and efficacious products. A lot of companies cut corners, especially in the natural health products space. At Holsana, we’ve gone through having our products licensed by Health Canada. We go above and beyond minimum regulatory requirements to have all our ingredients tested for authenticity by a 3rd party laboratory. While this takes longer and is more expensive, we want to make sure anyone taking Holsana products can sleep easy (pun intended!).

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

For me, it has probably been getting comfortable with uncertainty. When you’re just starting, there are so many unknowns and so many possibilities. Should we launch in just Canada? Just the U.S.? Both at the same time? How does that affect where we manufacture the products? Where do we test the products?... you get the idea.

What is the top tip you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?

  1. Know your company’s purpose.
  2. Don’t be paralyzed by uncertainty. Make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time.
  3. As an entrepreneur, you can get a lot of advice, which is (mostly) great! Remember that the person giving advice comes from their own experiences and biases. Not all advice will be relevant and meaningful for you and your business, so try to pass advice through your filter, accounting for the specific situation and the person offering the advice.

Where can people find you online?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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