Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Salle Hayden, Principal at StarBright Light Therapy, located in San Jose, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
StarBright Light Therapy uses LED lights in neoprene pads of various sized and numbers of diodes to increase circulation and reduce pain locally (under the pad) and generally (throughout the body). Our systems can be extensive - a 6-port controller and six pads - to simple as a 2-port controller with one pad. Because this is medical equipment, the FDA has cleared us to say that our polychromatic (each pad has at least two colors) light systems help the body release nitric oxide for relaxing blood vessel walls to increase blood flow and reduce or relieve pain.
Our customers have different reasons for renting or buying our systems. But pain is always a big factor in their wish to have something at home they can share with family and friends who also have pain.
Tell us about yourself
In 2013 my son, the creative director of the corporation InLight Therapy, which builds and distributes light systems, asked me if I would be interested in a new business that I could build to help myself and others. I tried the lights and found out that the claims of pain relief were true when my peripheral neuropathy was relieved a lot, and arthritis in my hands was so reduced that I could again play the piano. I signed on then and have been representing the company as an Authorized Representative since then.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have been a teacher my whole life, in Japan as a teacher of English as a foreign language and here when I returned to work on my Masters in Linguistics in TESOL for adult education. I have carried my love of teaching into letting everyone know about polychromatic light therapy (using red light therapy with infrared and blue lights added) as a way to increase the quality of life without invasive procedures or drugs.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Networking during the pandemic was very difficult, but I have been a member of BNI (Business Networking International) since October 2019, so we just took our chapter online, and I was able to talk about my systems. Before the pandemic, demonstrating the lights was easy, and now it's getting easier again, but for a while, it was merely a matter of trust for my customers. That can be difficult.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you know your own vision and mission, what you give, and who you give it to.
- Understand your brand and how to express it.
- Network every chance you get, and don't be afraid to ask for the sale.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Keep a balance between business and "life." Don't come to the end of your life wishing you had spent more time with loved ones or that you had traveled more. Do it now! And network along the way.
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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