Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health & fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Damien Jackson-Ricketts, Owner of Stoke Physical Therapy, located in Portland, OR, USA.

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

My business is called Stoke Physical Therapy. I help outdoor athletes across all skill levels train smarter, avoid/recover from injuries, and optimize their physical performance. I’m a one-man team for now!

Tell us about yourself

My main passions are health, fitness, and getting out into nature. I grew up in a small town in rural Virginia surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. Spending time outdoors has always been a big part of my life. My passion for health and fitness developed through a weightlifting elective that quickly became my favorite class in high school.

When it came time to pick a career path in college, I naturally gravitated toward the health and fitness field. I had some experience with physical therapy through sports injuries in the past, so decided to pursue that as a career.

Hiking, camping, surfing, and mountain biking are some of my favorite ways to spend my time. Given how important these activities are to me, I fully understand how frustrating it is to be sidelined by an injury. I find it incredibly rewarding to help people overcome obstacles   holding them back from the activities they love.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is moving from LA to Portland. When I moved to Portland, I essentially had no network and had to start building from scratch. It has been a huge challenge and an awesome learning experience. In the year since moving, I've built the business from scratch to the point that it now feels at least somewhat sustainable

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

The hardest part is trying to manage everything that needs to be done. I always say that I spend most of my time doing things that I've never done before and have no idea how to do. Over time, I've realized that being able to find trustworthy people to outsource certain parts of my business is crucial.

Even that comes with the challenge of figuring out who you can trust and how much you can afford to pay for their service. There is a lot to juggle, and it can feel overwhelming at times.

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

  1. Just go for it! If you keep waiting for the perfect moment, you'll end up waiting forever. Yes, there are a lot of things that you don't know how to do, but it will always be that way, and you'll figure it out.
  2. Start building out a team of people you trust to help with parts of the business that fall outside your knowledge or abilities. As tempting as it may be to try to do everything yourself, you'll get much better results, save time, and ultimately make more money if you learn to ask for help.
  3. Just keep going! It takes a lot of consistent, sustained effort to get a business off the ground. There may seem to be no indication that you're making any progress at all, but if you just keep working at it, the results will eventually come!
    Just a disclaimer, I am still working on 2 and 3 here also. It's an ongoing process!

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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