Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kye Peven, Director of Whole Systems Healthcare, located in Seattle, WA, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

Whole Systems Healthcare is a nonprofit building the first healthcare system focused on integrative and alternative health. The conventional healthcare system is focused primarily on treating and managing disease, and we desperately need a system that focuses on promoting health as a complement to the existing system. As a naturopathic and Chinese medicine doctor, my role is to remove obstacles and blocks to health along with supporting and stimulating people's innate healing abilities. My patients are those who are ready to take responsibility for their health and interested in understanding how they become sick so that they can move forward into greater vitality and well-being.

Tell us about yourself

I've always been interested in science and found an aptitude for it, earning a B.S. from UC Berkeley in Materials Science and Engineering, with minors in Nuclear Engineering and Energy Management. I believed that applying my interest in technology would help make the world a better place. In my senior year, I began to practice Vipassana meditation. I realized health was more important to happiness and well-being than technological advancements and material creations. My initial interest in health was sparked by the desire to understand my own body at a deeper level, which began even as I was working to earn my bachelor's degree. I never found conventional medicine to be able to satisfy this curiosity, as with its focus on disease and pathology, it had little to offer in the way of insights into the human condition or constitution. I wanted a form of medicine that could tell me how my entire being fit together, that would link the body, emotions, and thoughts into a coherent whole.

I started looking for a person-centered system that revolved around natural therapies, was truly health-focused, and integrated all levels of the human experience. Having grown up in a family where Chinese herbs were the default for colds and flus, I was already familiar with the basic tenets of Chinese Medicine. I came upon the field of Naturopathic Medicine. I knew instantly that it was the link between tradition and science he had been looking for. The result was a 6-year program at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) and two degrees: Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) and Doctor of Science in Oriental Medicine (DSOM). During the program, I also became a licensed massage therapist and practiced massage and bodywork professionally for several years while completing my degrees.

Now, 5 years into practice, I find the work immensely satisfying. My favorite aspect is connecting the dots for people and witnessing how they transform their lives when they have a new story of health.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm in the process of moving into a larger clinic space and looking for additional providers to join my practice. I've built everything from the ground up with no additional investment money beyond my own.

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

Wearing so many hats. I would love just to see people and treat them, but I have to do admin, marketing, tech support, everything!

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

Love your work, ask for help, and don't give up.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My dream is to create a Community Health Center that focuses on everything outside of urgent, emergency, and specialist care. There would be multiple different types of medicine, from holistic primary care to energy healing to movement classes, workshops, seminars, etc. We would have a teaching kitchen and a cafe where people could eat dishes made from the types of ingredients being recommended to the people. There would be a fully stocked alternative pharmacy and other amenities that I'm sure I haven't thought of yet. All this would be paid for on a subscription/membership model, with additional funding from government programs to be able to serve people who can't afford it on their own.

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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