Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marina Vander Heyden, founder of Sprowt App, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sprowt is a mobile application helping people feel adaptable, peaceful, and resilient through integrative practices. Our customers are therapists, growth-oriented individuals, and organizations focused on well-being.
Tell us about yourself
I have always loved helping people feel good, although I needed to figure out a career path. So starting working from a young age in many roles, from hospitality to e-commerce to finance and fashion, as well as with elderly, disabled, and dying individuals. As a result, I learned much about the realities of being human.
In my last full-time job, I worked in finance, underwriting, and brokering mortgages at a top-performing firm. To manage stress, I took courses on mindfulness and psychology and became a yoga, meditation, and breathwork teacher. Unexpectedly I got let go from my finance position and knew I had to make a change. At the same time, I had been doing therapy and found a disconnect between integrating the wisdom from a weekly one-hour therapy session and the other one hundred eleven waking hours of the week. I met others that had experienced the same and wanted a reliable resource to practice mental and emotional well-being. That's when I had the idea to create an app - Sprowt.
I took hundreds of hours of courses and training to create practices to help people healthily feel emotions, heal painful perceptions and grow into their best selves. These practices integrate psychology, hypnosis, mindfulness, breathwork, and music therapy for immersive experiences intended to transform the inner world. The app launched in August 2022 on both Android and Apple. Every day I wake up grateful to create content and run a business that helps people nurture peace, adaptability, and strength from within. It motivates me that people are becoming more aware of how their mental and emotional health affects virtually every aspect of their life. I'm excited to create and collaborate with other passionate professionals to make Sprowt and the community the best they can be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment with Sprowt is organically finding brand champions early on and having a supportive and engaged subscriber base.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the most challenging parts of being a business owner is learning all aspects of owning, operating, and growing a business, then wearing all the different hats at once to make it work. It's a juggling act.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Only start a business you care about. If your heart isn't truly in it, you won't want to stick with it through the hard times (there are always hard times).
- Do your research. Know your competitors better than they know themselves. Know the ins and outs and all relevant metrics and statistics of your market. You need to be crystal clear on your industry, growth potential, and opportunities. You can use this research to define your unfair advantage.
- Be careful who you work with and hire. The people who work on your business or project early on can make or break it. So make sure you interview and communicate thoroughly and trust your instincts. In almost every industry, people are the most valuable currency.
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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