Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cathy Walker, Owner of Nest Health Collective, located in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a physiotherapist and the owner of Nest Health Collective in Port Coquitlam, BC. I help women to stay active through all phases of life. Whether you are trying to keep up with your weekend hobbies or struggling with aging, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, and everything in between, women are not little men, and their physical health should be treated individually.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up as a dancer and have been very flexible my whole life. With that flexibility came lots of injuries, pain, and other symptoms over the years. I found that healthcare providers would often call me “too sensitive.” I felt like no one quite knew what to do with someone flexible like me. That’s what inspired me to become a physiotherapist.
I started my business when I was less than a year postpartum. I wanted to provide the physiotherapy and strengthening programs that I needed as I transitioned through different phases of my life. I opened my clinic to help other women feel seen and heard. I want women to not be limited by their pain and to feel strong in their bodies. Nobody is too sensitive the body is simply trying to tell you something, and I want to help interpret that message!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In March of 2020, I had been in business for five months when the College of Physiotherapists mandated us to shut down in-person practice due to the CoVid-19 pandemic. I am really proud of how quickly I pivoted from in-person to virtual physiotherapy. Within a matter of days, I was able to build a thriving practice from the comfort of my own home. Nowadays, I mostly treat in-person, but I still love treating virtually and have continued to incorporate it as a part of my practice.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is the uncertainty. There isn’t anyone there directing you on how to deal with problems when they come up. Nobody is there to decide what is the best way to grow your business. You have to step up and figure it out!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For physiotherapists, my first tip is to build a brand before you start your practice. Get your own website and a dedicated, professional social media channel. Learning these skills before you make the big leap will make it much easier later on.
Secondly, grow your caseload. You want to be well-known within your community before starting your business. Healthcare services are often sought out through word of mouth, so you want to build a tribe of diehard fans first. You can do this by looking at what makes you unique. Did you play a particular sport growing up, or do you have a unique hobby now? Get involved in those communities and let people get to know you as the go-to person.
Lastly, ask an entrepreneur who has already opened a clinic. People want to see you succeed, but you need to ask for help in order to receive it. Personally, I love helping other people get started in opening their businesses.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
While owning a clinic is challenging, and there are days when the challenges seem insurmountable, starting Nest Health was the best professional decision I have ever made! If you want to know more, find me at My Story or My Instagram.
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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