As a busy mom to three little girls under the age of six, the thought of owning my own business and time was exciting, yet terrifying! When I was on maternity leave for our third daughter, I knew going back to my previous position as a Developmental Services Worker was not an option. I worked shift work, and that was difficult on my family and me. With the support of my amazing husband and family, I took a leap of faith and registered to become a homeopath.
My training to become a homeopath was intense and very rewarding. Unfortunately, very little time was spent on how to open and run a homeopathic practise. Once I graduated, I was ready to hit the ground running … except I had no idea what direction to take.
My first surprise
I thought I knew absolutely nothing about starting a business, even though I had owned a successful multi-level marketing scrapbooking business for five years. In my mind, I didn’t feel like it counted because I was not part of the start-up of that business and they were not my original ideas.
Boy was I wrong! Regardless of the industry, building a successful business is all about relationships with your future and current customers. These customers come to you because you are selling a product or offering a service that they need or desire. What sets you apart from your competitors is that they have connected with you on some level.
In my business as a homeopath, this is simple. I spend hours with my patients getting to know them and understanding their health concerns. It is only natural, the sharing of personal struggles and experiences when we are in the consultation room.
My first step
One of the very first items that I crossed of my list was to create a professional email address that reflected my future business. I did this while I was completing my homeopathic training. Having an email address made me feel professional and I know it made me look professional as well. I have had numerous emails in my life, but this is the address I use daily.
There was something about getting my business email address that made my dream a reality.
Next I signed up for every free product that would help me start up my practise. I signed up for email lists from other well-known and successful homeopaths. I watched and followed in their footsteps for months. I listened to teleconference after teleconference about starting my own business. I went to the local newspapers, as we lived in a small farming community, and they were more than happy to write an article showcasing me and my new business.
My biggest challenge
My biggest challenge in starting a business was very few people actually knew what homeopathy was. People had heard of naturopathic and Chinese medicine, but rarely did they know about homeopathy. I spent most of my time educating people, which also helped me build relationships. I led workshops where I spoke in front of groups of people and I participated in wellness fairs. You name it, I did it!
While I was not getting paid to speak in front of groups, I was immersing myself in my community. Our community was getting to know me on a professional level and they were learning how homeopathy could help them change their lives. I was building natural relationships, and those relationships were pivotal in the beginning of my practise.
I continue to receive referrals from those very first relationships that I built as a homeopath and new business owner.
The one constant that has not changed is that I am still educating people; however, I am not promoting homeopathy as much now. I realized over the years that so many of us are not taking the time to listen to our bodies. We have no idea that we actually require the care of multiple healthcare experts. So this is where my focus has changed, to teach people to listen to their bodies and build a healthcare team that works for them, not against them!
What actually worked
Finding a mentor was one of the first (and best) things I ever did for my business. My mentor was able to help me focus on what I needed to grow my homeopathic practise, instead of constantly running on a hamster wheel. We created an action list, which was as follows:
Create a kick ASS business name
Once I had a name, I bought the URL that ultimately helped me stand out from all the rest! This is not an easy task. I shed tears over choosing my perfect URL. I sat in front of a white board with my mentor and wrote down different words that came to me. There were probably 20 words that were meaningful to me and spoke to my avatar or target market.
From those 20 words, I cut the list down to three. Then we rearranged the words on the whiteboard. When the words lined up and I visually saw my URL for the first time, I cried. Those three words will forever represent who I was in that moment, who I wanted to work with and who I strive to be: STRONG HEALTHY MOMS.
Build a website that’s user-friendly
When I say build, I paid someone to design my website! I selected a web designer who was referred to me by my mentor. I discussed with the web designer what I needed my website to do for my business. My first website was nothing fancy, but it was functional and it was what I could afford. It was a place where I could send my future patients and business contacts to learn more about homeopathy and what services I could provide.
Write useful content that feels true to you
When it came to content on my website, I followed a layout that was provided to me by my mentor. I tweaked the wording and arrangement to make it my own. I shared my personal story, and how homeopathy helped me to overcome debilitating anxiety. I had a blog that was connected to my website, where I wrote bi-weekly articles to help increase my following and website traffic.
The content on my website and blog allowed followers to get to know me on a personal level and my homeopathic practise grew.
My website was by far my largest and best investment! Over the years it has morphed and changed. It has been taken down and put back up. This is the one business tool that is linked to ME and my business. It reflects who I am, what I do and how I can HELP others take control of their lives with homeopathic medicine.
Tips for all new mompreneurs
First, do not overthink everything. It’s important to take your time and reflect and make sure that your business decisions are in line with your business vision. However, some of the best ideas are the ones that are developed on the fly and just expand over time.
I know, I know. You’ve heard this over a million times. Then why are so many of us still not doing it, including me? I made some of the best decisions for my business and myself when I actually listened to my own instincts. I have also made some of my biggest mistakes in business, when I didn’t list to my gut! We are all forever students, and the moment that you stop learning, your business will come to a standstill.
Become a homeopath your way
Get excited about your new business. Hang the proverbial shingle and scream your passion from the rooftop! Your business is an extension of you, so take the time to love and nurture both.