Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Amber McKinnon ND, owner of Naturally Inclined Health, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Naturally Inclined Health is an integrated naturopathic medical clinic. We are passionate about health education, personal empowerment, and patient-centered care. We pride ourselves on providing award-winning care that is rooted in science and grounded in naturopathic principles. We really shine in helping people who have been struggling with health concerns that they have not been able to resolve and helping to optimize health. Some of our favorite conditions to treat include hormones and women's health, pregnancy and fertility, thyroid disorders, fatigue, stress and burnout, sleep dysfunction, anxiety and depression, pain syndromes, and chronic illness.
What is a naturopathic doctor?
The boring explanation: An ND is a regulated health professional with a minimum of 8 years of post-secondary education, having passed North American and jurisdictional licensing exams to receive the ability to practice naturopathic medicine.
What you need to know: Naturopathic doctors work specifically to decode specific health concerns and strategize a plan forward. We love working with people whether they know a lot or just a little about their health issues. Think of us as your personalized health detective with the goal to educate, empower, simplify, and inspire people toward their best health.
We believe that when people are well, they can change the world.
Tell us about yourself
I started Naturally Inclined health because, after several years in practice, I wanted to offer a different kind of clinical experience for my patients and the other health providers on the team. I had the vision to build a space where patients and naturopathic doctors could really thrive. I have infused a lot of myself into the clinic, from the design to the systems. I have been very selective about the offerings and, most importantly, our team! I am so honored to have found the people I have to work alongside me. They are an incredible group of caring, committed, and knowledgeable people. Together they have helped me create a warm, inviting, safe, inclusive, collaborative, respectful, and healing environment.
As for myself personally, like many doctors, I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people. I was always fascinated by the health sciences and had personal experiences that thrust me into the world of medicine at a young age. This sent me on an academic mission that landed me with a specialized B.Sc degree in immunology and infection, an amazing research experience with the department of medical microbiology and immunology at the U of A, and finally, a degree in naturopathic medicine in 2010.
I have been dedicated to my naturopathic medical practice and the profession since then. I have seen the difference naturopathic medicine makes in so many people's lives. This really fueled my dedication and moved me to team up with a small group of amazing women to build our professional association, the Alberta Associate of Naturopathic Doctors. The association continues to thrive as it works to promote, protect, and advance the practice of naturopathic medicine in Alberta. I a quite proud to have been a part of making this a reality.
Why do I continue to do it? Naturopathic medicine is amazing, and because working with people is amazing! Sharing wins, working through struggles, and watching people grow are all so rewarding! The opportunity to shine a light forward and be a part of another person’s journey is really special. Working with people keeps me humble, keeps me searching, and keeps me learning and growing myself, it fuels me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building the team and work environment at Naturally Inclined Health. Each person has been carefully and thoughtfully selected. Each practitioner and staff member has been hand-selected, bringing together a truly special group of people and creating an environment where the passion and enthusiasm for health are palpable. This makes for a wonderful work environment and patient experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Naturally Inclined Health finished renovations and opened its official doors less than one year before the start of the pandemic. I think most people running a business during this time would say this has been a challenge. Like many business owners, I had big decisions to make and a lot to navigate for my practice, the clinic, and the association.
For the association, early in the pandemic, I was a part of providing a number of resources to NDs across the province to help navigate the pandemic. I also advocated for regulatory change that would allow NDs to provide virtual care in Alberta.
For Naturally Inclined Health, the pressure of the pandemic forced me to really dig deep, prioritize, and innovate. Providing care in the traditional way was no longer possible, and I found a number of creative solutions to continue to support patients during this time. This allowed me to explore more of the creative side of business ownership and entrepreneurship, there are still ideas budding and brewing from this time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Expect to make mistakes. If you haven’t made any mistakes, you haven’t been in business long enough, or you haven’t moved out of your comfort zone. Making mistakes is not a problem, not learning from them is!
- Prioritize time to plan and dream for your business. It is easy to get stuck in the weeds and forget where you are going and why. Having a clear vision and mission will help you to keep looking forward and keep you on track when the road gets bumpy.
- You will learn as you go. It is impossible to have all of the answers, and you need to start somewhere, so just do it, just start.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remember that business can be fun, creative, and rewarding, and if you don't like it, you can change it... you are the boss.
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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