Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey by launching a wellness business but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Diana Choi, co-founder of The Holistic Panda, based in Vancouver, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Holistic Panda is a discovery and booking platform for wellness services, including life and health coaching, alternative medicine, energy therapies, mind and body healing work, and holistic beauty treatments. Much like how Airbnb helps users find accommodations based on their travel needs, we allow users to find and book wellness services based on their health goals. We are also the first Asian-conscious wellness platform with the mission to help the Asian community easily navigate their wellness/self-healing journeys and find the support that they need, including culturally competent providers who can understand them.
Tell us about yourself
My co-founder (who is also Asian) and I both experienced burnout and depression. We found wellness services and holistic practitioners who supported us in our healing journeys, but that was after extensive independent research and trial and error sessions with practitioners who didn't get us and understand how our cultural background influenced our identities and experiences. Hence we wanted to create a platform that can help other Asian Americans easily find the wellness resources and providers to help them achieve their health goals. What motivates me is knowing what I went through and how hard it was to openly talk about my mental health challenges to my friends and family when there is so much stigma around mental health in our culture. I felt alone and unsupported. I hope through our platform, people in our community know they can find support and that the journey to achieving wellness doesn't have to be a solo journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When we hear feedback from our users of how our events or practitioners have helped support them in a time of need. Since COVID, I think all of our mental well-being has taken a severe hit. A lot more people are experiencing (more) anxiety and stress. Knowing that our platform can be of service to people in need is the most rewarding aspect of the job.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There is a lot of uncertainty building and working in an early-stage startup. There is no defined roadmap or systems, or processes in play. Instead, you're building things from the ground up, which means wearing multiple hats at once. I would compare it to running a marathon but at a sprint pace. Things take time to mature and grow, but you have to learn your lessons and pivot quickly if things aren't working. It takes a tremendous amount of grit, patience, flexibility, open-mindedness, and above all, self-compassion.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't go all-in unless you have a solid plan in place, and even then, be OK with that plan changing along the way.
- There will be many challenging but rewarding moments; be patient and be compassionate to yourself, especially when things don't turn out the way you had anticipated.
- Last but not least, be obsessed with the problem and your mission, not the product or a financial-motivated goal.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.