Welcome to All In, where we sit down with some of the most inspiring people in the wellness industry to find out how they got their start, their successes and their struggles, and their top advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Up next: Anne Matthews, creator of Energy Tree Acupuncture and the Energy Tree Makeover.
Can you recall the first inspiration you had to start your own business(es)?
I worked for a fitness corporation (in Vancouver) to put myself through Traditional Chinese Medicine College when I first started developing a business plan for an acupuncture clinic. I wanted to create an accessible clinic where cost wouldn’t be a deterrent from getting frequent acupuncture treatments (to actually address health concerns).
What were some of your early challenges? How did this differ between Energy Tree Makeover and Energy Tree Acupuncture?
The greatest challenge was learning how to separate my professional life from my personal life (and how to avoid taking my work home with me). I still struggle to separate my personal life from my work life – my boundaries still need fortification. In both businesses I over involve myself in my patients’ and clients’ success. I need to take a step back and trust the process (and the social networks that I’ve put in place).
Were you also working a full time job when you launched your business (as a side hustle) or did you go full-force into the new business? Would you recommend the approach you took?
I jumped into starting my clinic (full-time). As an avid “Dragons Den” enthusiast, I knew that the Dragons always look for belief and conviction in all the projects that they support. I needed to scare myself into pushing the envelope. I don’t regret it.
From what we can tell, you’re the sole founder of both of your companies. Did you make a conscious decision to go into business without a partner? If so, why, and how has the decision to go that route been both rewarding and challenging?
There are people who are good at working with others…and then there is me. I need to be in control of my projects, ideas and design – because I have a very specific vision. But, to be totally transparent, I also need to work on delegation (it’s the next phase of my evolution).
What kinds of challenges have you encountered as a female entrepreneur?
My greatest challenge has also been my greatest gift: my children. I care for my children 85% of the time – getting help from my ex-husband (the father of my eldest two) and my husband (the father of my younger two) the remaining 15% of the time. Essentially, the amount of time that I have to devote to my work outside of the clinic has been compressed into very early and very late hours when babies sleep. It been very challenging this last time around.
What are some challenges you still face today? Are these different in the two businesses?
The greatest challenge is trying to make enough time for everything that’s on my plate. I’ve given up on balance (especially a “healthy balance”) and instead, I focus on being a present parent and an engaged practitioner and coach.
Launching – and then running – your own business (let alone businesses and raising four beautiful kids) can be overwhelming. How do you stay focused and on track on a day-to-day basis? What are some of your top tips?
My number one tip is to make a list of what you need to get done. One list for your business and one list for your home. I used to schedule my work and my workouts, but now I only schedule calls, pick ups and drop offs. I used to get really annoyed by the uncertainty of each day, but learning to be flexible has actually really helped me in my fitness business and with my patients at Energy Tree Acupuncture.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as it relates to running your own business
Something that I’ve been focusing on is that you can’t ever have a business that focuses on high quality and low cost, just as you can’t have a business that focuses on low volume and high cost. Compensation is an important part of the transaction of energy and healing (but first, I had to learn to value myself).
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a woman interested in going out on her own?
Have a really clear idea of what you want to do and who you want to help. Then, go for it.
About Your Company:
One of the first things we learn about starting a successful business is that you have to relieve a pain point for the public. What was the problem you set out to solve with your Energy Tree Makeover and how have you solved it?
The Energy Makeover was originally designed for my fertility patients at Energy Tree Acupuncture. Exercise – the right kind and the right amount – is essential for helping PCOS and to help avoid or remedy Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, by way of avoiding excessive cardio. For me, after Zoe, It became a really amazing tool – especially as a new mom with limited ability to leave the house – to regularly workout (especially in the winter). Essentially, I created a workout plan that is suitable for beginners and advanced athletes, can be done at home, requires little equipment, gets amazing results, and ensures that participants have a healthy (not excessive) way to move their body, to benefit their body.
You recently decided to ditch a six-week program in favour of a monthly program. Have you found this to be more effective for members so far? How did that transition go?
For the members, it was a win win. It’s the same concept, same content, but more accessible (for a much lower cost). For me, initially it has been a huge cut (same effort – much less money). But with anything, it will require time to build the volume that will eventually make it a sustainable business.
Why did you use the community studio model with Energy Tree Acupuncture? How do you manage to handle so many patients at one time, while still making sure that everyone gets the attention and help they need?
I’m really passionate about the community model at Energy Tree Acupuncture as group healing is incredibly powerful. I review everyone’s chart the night before I see them and check on my patients throughout the week. I know what’s going on with all of my patients, because I make a point of knowing. I’ve been lost in the medical system before. Feeling like no one cares is beyond disheartening and I think it’s detrimental to achieving positive outcomes. Thus, I only take patients two days a week and focus on them completely until they heal (the main conditions I treat are dysmenorrhea, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, PCOS and HA) or get pregnant. Then I take new patients. I’m actually going to start an “Acu baby” wall to keep track of all of the sweet little success stories!