Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health & wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew McGregor, Owner of The Hermit’s Lamp, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started out reading tarot for folks professionally in 2001. I worked out of another store in town before starting out on my own and eventually building my own shop. The people who come into the shop range from curious to serious, and we work hard to make everyone feel welcome. As a card reader, I tend to attract people who want long-term relationships with their readers. I have many clients I’ve known for over 20 years.
Tell us about yourself
Despite reading tarot and being on a spiritual journey since the mid-'80s, it never occurred to me that I might work as a reader. Instead, I went to art school and found my way to working in advertising. It really wasn’t for me. After a few years, I started to burn out and look around for other opportunities when a friend offered me a gig as a card reader to get me through while I figured out what was next.
Though I did not know it, that was the road I was looking for. I’ve always been entrepreneurially inclined. I’m deeply motivated by my kids. Both to provide for them and also to show them how you can make your passions happen.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In March 2019, my store burned down. It was a total loss, and it took almost a year to find the right place and rebuild. Of course, we all know what march 2020 brought. And rolling into covid after the fire made for some really trying times.
Coming back from the fire was a huge deal. Building and expanding during covid crowns that achievement. Being able to work with loss and huge uncertainty is not a path I would have chosen, but I"m very proud of how I"ve come through it so far...
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Carrying everyone else is the hardest part for me. My staff relies on me for their lively lives. My family relies on me for everything. And my customers rely on my integrity and care to help them with their lives. It is a lot to hold space and work for so many people, but also tremendously rewarding.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, I’d say you need to be very professional in the way you run the business. Learn the rules around money, taxes, codes, and by-laws, so you don’t get a nasty surprise. It is crucial to know personally about them all, even if you hire a bookkeeper or a lawyer, so you can review their work.
Second, build relationships. It is easy to look at the short term-especially if money is tight-but treat people like you will know them in 20 years. Help them feel great about you and your work. It is one of the best marketing tools you can ever have.
Third, things change. Stay up to date and try not to get jaded about it. Right now, it is a short video. Next year it might be back to photos or who knows what. Try things out and stay engaged with all of it. If you decide something isn’t for you after trying it, great. But it is part of the job to know what is going on in marketing at all times.
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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