How to Create a Resilient Wellness Business

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Written by Joanna Sapir

Being “fully-booked” is not the answer… 

For years I’ve been coaching wellness practitioners to grow their businesses. During that time, I’ve identified 4 stages a business moves through as it grows towards resiliency. 

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that practitioners often stop at the third stage—where things are good enough—but so much more is possible when you move to the fourth stage and create a resilient business. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at each stage. Knowing these stages in advance enables us to foresee obstacles, to take on the right mindset and beliefs, and provides a guide for the moments we find ourselves confused and deflated. 

You can use this to assess the stage of business you’re at, identify areas you might be struggling with and get clarity on a path to overcome the hurdles you’re facing in getting to the next level. You’ll also learn how and why it’s important to get to the top level and create a truly resilient business.  

Stage 1 — The Wobbly Business. 

The wobbly business is the first step in just about every wellness business — the difference is the amount of time that a practitioner spends here. This is when you’re just getting started. 

On the inside, you might be suffering from a fear of not being good enough, of failing or a crippling sense of scarcity. Where people get stuck, is they think they need to do, have or create X, Y, Z in order to get the business off the ground. It could be a new website, the perfect marketing campaign, a better logo or a new 5-day challenge.

There are loads of gurus out there marketing to this stage of business, telling us you need to have whatever they’re offering in order to be successful. But it’s just not true. In this stage you might find yourself buying program after program from people who are teaching a specific marketing tactic in the hopes that somehow it will suddenly give birth to your business. It won’t.

The longer you stay in this stage, the harder it is to get out of it. Fear begets fear and you can start spiraling downwards quickly until the result is a total failure to launch. 

To exit this stage, you have to be courageous and believe in yourself, without needing anyone else’s validation. Take a leap of faith and just start offering your services to the people that need them. You have to learn to be ok with what you might have previously seen as ‘failure’, to understand it simply as more data, that people will say no, that family and friends might judge us – and you have to do it all anyway. 

You have to KNOW you have something valuable to offer the world. You have to believe in what you’re offering and know how important it is for the people that need it. That’s faith, and it’s essential to your business growth. 

The lesson to be learned in this stage is that you can get clients and start making income without any fancy website or marketing campaigns. You just have to believe in yourself, be courageous and start trying. That’s how you’ll move into the next stage, The Capable Business. 

Stage 2 – The Capable Business

In this stage, some regular money is coming in and the business may have some infrastructure, but everything is still very unpredictable. 

The practitioner has jumped the fear line and is being courageous — they’re experimenting, making offers, serving clients and trying to see what works, but everything is still clouded by uncertainty and irregularity. Income is still completely dependent on clients booking and showing up for sessions which is not always the case. 

On the inside, the practitioner feels slightly more capable. They’ve proven the business is feasible, that the services work.

Now it’s time to figure out how to grow, get more clients and make more money. 

From this stage, we still haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s really possible — for ourselves, our clients and our impact on the world. 

Luckily, getting to stage 3 does not require a big leap. 

The simple lesson to be learned here is to see what gains traction and do more of that. 

Stage 3 – The Strong Business

In stage three, the business feels established. People know you, your referrals are strong and you’re getting to have an impact on the world. Clients are regular – you might even be booked out months in advance. It seems like this is “it”, like this is what you’ve been working for. 

On the outside it can look like the business is super successful. Under the surface however, there’s a roller coaster of good and bad months. 

Income is not predictable and still may not be the level or amount the practitioner wants. There are cancellations that take away income, busy then slow weeks, and the practitioner is stuck in the weeds of the business. 

The biggest stressor of a business at this level is that everything falls on the practitioner’s shoulders. Even if some tasks have been outsourced, the practitioner is still in charge of absolutely everything. If this is you, it can feel like a heavy weight. 

What if you, your child or a parent get sick? And what about the future? When you leave your business, there’s no more income. If you’ve made enough to save for retirement then great, but if not, the business does not stand on its own. It’s just you showing up to do the work. You’re still trading your time for dollars.

This is the good enough stage, and it’s where many people stop.

Most practitioners are unaware a higher stage of business is even possible. 

To move out of this stage, you have to want more than what is good enough and realize that something better is possible. 

Just imagine — an awesome team so everything doesn’t fall on your shoulders; regular, allotted time for your self-care, family, and relationships; the ability to go on vacation and have your business continue growing and steady, predictable income so you can properly plan your personal business future. Ultimately, what’s possible is having a fulfilling, profitable business that you love, and the freedom to live your life the way you want.

Stage 4 — The Resilient Business

The Resilient Business runs on its own. It has the capacity to meet whatever comes its way; to be agile and shift without a huge amount of stress. 

Systems are automated and delegated, everything is no longer on the shoulders of the practitioner. The mission and purpose of the business doesn’t change, however it’s now the systems that provide the transformation to clients. 

You are the leader of your company, not simply the practitioner doing the client services. You set the vision for the business and then lead it to get there. 

In a Resilient Business, you can take vacations without your business shutting down. You can take care of a sick child or parent and your business continues without you. You can focus on teaching other practitioners and expand your impact tenfold rather than being stuck in the day-to-day. 

You get to design your life exactly as you want it. You have time for your own self-care, your family relationships, hobbies, sports, fitness — all the things that get squeezed out when you’re in the Capable or Strong stages and are just focused on booking sessions. In a Resilient Business, you get to do the things you want to do, and live an amazing life while serving clients at the highest level possible. 

When you create a resilient business, you show up for the world in a bigger, better and more powerful way than ever before. As more and more people are seeking ways to live healthier lives, to reconnect with themselves and nature, to dismantle systems of oppression, to catalyze liberation and to be part of a movement to create a more just and sustainable world, we need effective practitioners, teachers, and healers to help and lead. I believe that this is the beginning of a revolution and evolution.

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Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners and coaches build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

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