Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Monica Wong, Owner of Ohana Counseling & HypnoBirthing, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

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

I operate a dual practice that focuses on empowering women and couples for birth (by teaching HypnoBirthing) and life (offering counselling and hypnotherapy for fertility, mental health, and coaching). I have an amazing opportunity to teach individuals how to utilize their mind-body connection in order to accomplish amazing things, from birthing with confidence and calm to minimizing anxiety and feeling confident and competent. I love what I do because it is a lifelong skill I teach my clients. I guide them, but the power and change come from them. My ideal clients are those wanting change and are willing to do the work it takes!

Tell us about yourself

I started out in my undergrad thinking I would work with youth in the community, but I somehow lucked out and got into a practicum that involved counselling and was usually reserved for grad students. This practicum sparked an excitement for counselling, and I ended up going into grad school right away to become a therapist. My work placements offered growth and learning, and I went on to own and run my own private practice. HypnoBirthing came into play after I completed grad school. I learned about hypnosis for birth and mental health from an adjunct Professor, Professor Aladdin, who worked at one of the local hospitals. Once I became pregnant, I bought the HypnoBirthing book but didn't find an instructor. I realized during my first childbirth that a good read and a good attitude was not enough, not for me anyhow! When my oldest was 6 months old, I flew to Toronto to learn to teach as I was determined to offer this amazing program to the women of Calgary and for myself. As fate would have it, I became pregnant with my second two months after my training and took the course as a student and with my husband. I went on to have an amazing birth with him and my youngest and have been teaching HypnoBirthing for nearly 9-10 years.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is my clients. Learning how my couples were empowered and how my clients were over to work through (and continue to work through) their struggles is what brings me joy as a therapist and business owner. The referrals I get from word of mouth is something I feel proud of.

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

Learning to create boundaries when you work for yourself and have children is an ongoing negotiation and challenge. Starting up a business and getting known is A LOT of work, and I had to do a lot of pounding the pavement in the beginning. I still need to advertise new groups when they come up, but I don't like multi-tasking the running of my business while caring for my children. It can be hard at times because I work around their schedules, which can be busy and fluctuate at times. So the hardest things continue to be the hardest thing, but it is something I'm signed up for and want to continue to address!

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

  1. Garner support wherever you can; we weren't made to do this alone!
  2. Ask successful people what they did/how they maintain it/what are the parts they love/don't like, then decide what works for you and your lifestyle.
  3. Be ready for lots of work in the beginning and negotiate boundaries, so you work hard but still take care of Yourself and do this because you Love it. It's something you really want to invest your time and energy into.

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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