Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Smith, founder of Progressive Chiropractic, located in Victoria, BC, Canada.

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

Ultimately, I am in the 'quality of life' business. When people come to me for help, it's because they are experiencing a deficit in some aspect of their health that is keeping them from either doing something they would like to do or being what they would like to be. By working with my clientele, I am able to help move people closer to their full potential and the best possible version of themselves. In essence, that's what people are really after. Once we achieve the improvement people are after, I do my best to encourage care that maintains these positive changes.

The actual way I help people achieve this happens to be through working with the spine, extremity joints, and the soft tissues attached to them, and encouraging lifestyle change, all of which are very powerful vehicles for affecting an individual's health.

Tell us about yourself

I am currently looking at life through the lens of a very blessed and happily married 38-year-old father of two toddlers and solopreneur of my clinic Progressive Chiropractic where I have operated for 10.5 years. I love what I do and am clear about wanting the best for my beautiful family while doing my best to give my all to every patient I see. I like to look at my life as beautifully simple: I take care of my patients, I take care of my family, I do my best to take care of myself, and I mow my lawn when it starts looking shabby. In the meantime, I try not to take on too many other extraneous obligations. It's a pretty cliche 'suburban dad' traditional life role in a world with so much non-traditional and varied work/life experiences, but I love it.

My calling to entrepreneurship was an extension of my calling to chiropractic. I truly had an 'aha' moment when observing a chiropractor at work that sparked my passion for it. At that moment, it became very clear that it was my calling. After graduating from chiropractic school and having no major obligations, I decided to take the exhilarating and nervous leap into business ownership, fueled by enthusiasm, a belief in my relatively unique approach to chiropractic, and probably a little bit of naïve optimism. I didn't join up with another clinic as most new graduates do because I didn't want to be pushed into a particular mold of practicing. Ultimately, I wanted to retain the freedom to do things the way I was passionate about and believed in. I needed the equipment, office space, and creative freedom to be able to do that. Looking back, I'm glad that I did because it forced me to learn and grow in ways I never expected.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

A person's health affects everything they are, everything that they do, and everyone that they know. When I put my hands on someone and help them see the world with clearer eyes (with a better outlook, more energy, less pain, etc.), it's very much like throwing a little pebble into a pond, with the ripples spreading from that person's life experience and affecting everyone and everything around them. Multiply this by the roughly 60,000 interactions I've had with patients, and I've unknowingly and indirectly affected the lives of more people and positively influenced more situations than I can possibly comprehend. Even if I were to stop practicing today, that would be a lasting legacy that nothing could ever erase and one that I would be very proud of (no enduring Fortune 500 company named after me needed it).

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

I've learned that the Type-A personality that I've used to my advantage to help build my practice does not necessarily lend itself to embracing uncertainty and accepting the fact that certain things are out of my control. Like, for example, whether that new patient I saw today will follow my care recommendations, whether this month will be as good as last month, how much my rent will increase, or whether this global pandemic will ever end.

For me, it is a daily practice of staying in the moment with the patient and focusing on the small but important sliver of things that are in my control rather than focusing on the things that aren't.

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

  1. Start with what is truly important to you. Does owning a business actually align with the things that are most important to you, or are you fooling yourself or trying to live someone else's version of success?
  2. Accept the fact that you are embarking on the path of the uncommon. This is going to require you to live an uncommon life and give more of yourself than the average person- are you up for it?
  3. Be sure to 'count the cost'- of owning a business, but also of having a family, owning a home, having a social life, taking nice vacations, having six-pack abs, etc., etc. With our social media-influenced perception of how our lives ought to be' we have probably never been more enamored with the idea of having it all, but how realistic is that really? Maybe when starting a business, a healthier mindset is "I will try my best to have it all, but if I can't have it all, I am willing to give up X, Y, and Z in order to have A, B, and C."

Where can people find you and your business?


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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