I founded Lakeside Wellness based on principals that wellness practitioners:
- Need creative freedom to run your business independently, in the manner in which you are most comfortable.
- Should have a safe environment in which to work among like-minded practitioners, not isolated and alone with new clients we know nothing about coming in for their first appointment.
- Should not be paying out hefty commissions for marketing but should, instead, learn to market and grow your own business and keep 100% of what you make.
- Can work together cohesively; sharing space, marketing and administrative responsibilities, etc., to keep costs and to-do lists minimal.
Before entering the massage program at American Institute of Massage (now Lotus School of Integrated Professions) in Richmond’s West End, I worked as a relationship manager for J.P. Morgan Chase. Prior to that, I worked in the classifieds department at Style Weekly. I majored in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University.
I’ve often said that I’m not sure I could have made it on my own as a business owner if I did not have this extensive background; it really seems like the universe had me on this track long before it actually happened.
Upon earning my license to practice as a massage therapist, I began my job search. My goal was never actually to become a business owner; it had really never even crossed my mind. But as I went on interview after interview and received various “offers”, I began to worry that I had made a huge mistake. I would quickly do the math and realize that a 50/50 or 60/40 “split” would cut my previous income in half.
On top of such a drastic cut to my income, many of the businesses I interviewed for practiced what I now realize are violations of federal labor laws – hiring me as an independent contractor, but treating me like an employee.
Finally, with no previous business ownership experience, I took a HUGE leap of faith and chose to rent a tiny little room in the back of a hair salon instead of going to work somewhere that I knew was not suitable for me.
So there I was. With a $400 monthly rent on top of my mortgage and car payment. With ZERO clients. Like so many other people, I just figured that if I built it, they would come. But reality set in and I quickly realized life does not work that way.
Once again, I was scared out of my mind. Fortunately for me, Living Social had just launched in Richmond and my Mom sent me their info. I ran a 75-minute hot stone special and sold over 300 of them in one day. Now I never want to see another hot stone again. LOL, but the point is, it got people on my table. It got me busy. I was working my butt off for a fraction of my regular rate, but I didn’t care; I was busy!
I had more lessons to learn. I’m a rule-follower, so I ignored my intuition and practiced what I had been taught in school. And my client retention dropped. So I decided to pursue a career as a Chiropractor; it had to be easier to build a business as a Chiropractor! Fortunately for me, the housing market had just crashed and my husband and I were upside down in our mortgage; no way was I selling our home to move to Florida and rack up 6 figures in debt for Chiropractic school!
So I launched my second Living Social feature; this time, without those dreaded hot stones! And I did things MY way. I threw out everything I had learned in school, and I started LISTENING to my clients. And to my SELF. And suddenly – well, more accurately, FINALLY – I. WAS. SLAMMED.
I was booked several months in advance. I was earning my full rate, offering packages because I wanted to. I was earning more than I ever had. And I LOVED my job.
Enter Lakeside Wellness
Once again, I feel that the universe had plans for me of which I was unaware. I was very content renting a room in a yoga studio, making a good living, and doing my own thing.
I had become enamored with the idea of helping other people achieve the same level of freedom and happiness that I had found. I even launched a website in order to help others achieve this goal.
Then, things started to change at the studio and I became concerned that my little room rental was going to disappear. I suddenly felt like I needed to leave, and like I needed to do it quickly. Given that I had moved several times in just a few years, I decided that I wanted to find somewhere more stable to avoid yet another move in my future. Based on my previous experiences, I no longer trusted other people to provide that stability so I decided to create my own space.
What I was not willing to do was to create a situation similar to those that had sent me running for the hills. I was not going to do what I had refused to succumb myself to and take hefty commissions for work that practitioners are fully capable of doing. I refused to “box people in” and tell them how they were going to market their own business.
I DID want to create an environment that made me feel safe and surrounded me with other business owners. I wanted to be independent but less isolated than I had in the past. I wanted to offer assistance to people who were starting out and had no idea what to do.
And so I did. Fast-forward to today, and what you have is Lakeside Wellness. It is still new to me, so I am learning as I go. I’m consistently looking for ways to improve our setup and help the practitioners who work here to succeed and achieve the same level of success that I did.
So if you’re a wellness practitioner looking to make it on your own, no matter where you are on your path, Lakeside Wellness has space for you!
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