After the birth of her child, Marika changed her focus from physiotherapy to pilates, where she specializes in working with women during and after pregnancy. Her interview inspires us to find our own voice in our business and stay on task with our own to-do lists!
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
I worked in physiotherapy clinics for many years – and I loved it! I loved combining exercise therapy and manual treatment to get the best outcomes with my patients. After having children though, my focus changed and I became more interested in working with women who were pregnant or had just had a baby. I was surprised by how much my own body had changed in pregnancy and the length of time it took to feel strong and “normal” again. I wanted to combine my personal and clinical experience into a new business model so I commenced my pilates business just over a year ago. I consider it holistic as I offer education on topics such as preparing for birth, and I collaborate with other professionals in the birthing field such as hypnobirthing instructors, doulas, midwives and naturopaths.
Tell us about your business or practice.
Dynamic Strength Physiotherapy offers 3 types of exercise classes:
- Pregnancy Pilates and Education (incl information on how to prepare for a positive birth experience)
- Mums and Bubs Pilates
- Pilates for Fitness (pilates plus HIIT – so much fun!)
What is your current business model?
Group exercise classes based in Perth, Australia.
BUT…I am in the process of developing an online business to bring these classes to a wider community. Watch this space!
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
Gosh there have been so many! I love seeing the women who were in my pregnancy classes come to the Mums and Bubs classes with their new babies. I also love getting feedback from new mums saying that they had such an amazing birth experience and that they could not have achieved it without all the information they had received from the pregnancy classes. I just got a text about an hour ago from one of my clients telling me that she was in labour! I am so excited for her and can’t wait to hear her birth story.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
The administration time! When I started the business I had zero clients, so I had plenty of time to work on my website, bookings, billing etc. Now that the business is so busy, I do find that the administration side of things takes up a lot more time.
How have you overcome those challenges?
I’ve just adapted as time has gone on and tried to streamline the administration side of things as much as possible. I have also contacted companies directly to find the best ways to use their products.
How do you find new clients?
Some come through word of mouth (existing clients and friends). Others find my via Google search and Google Ads. I also have colleagues refer from other industries, such as hypnobirthing instructors and doulas.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
I find that if I chat to them on the phone, they nearly always book in. People do like the personalised service that comes with a small business, where the person answering the phone is the person providing the service. I make sure that potential clients know the difference in the services that I provide, and how much more they get with coming from my classes rather than standard pilates classes.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
Just provide a great service. Many of my pregnant clients attend right up until they give birth and then return for the postnatal classes. Part of that is that they have trust in me and my skills – they know that I will look after them and make sure that they are exercising safely. Because we have built up that relationship, they also know that they can ask me questions at any time and that I will always refer them to other health professionals for treatment when needed. The classes are very social too, and the ladies develop bonds of friendship, which is so important at this stage in their life.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
Great question! There are always bits and pieces that just need to be done, such as keeping the calendar up to date and answering emails and phone calls. I’m less productive with the business development side of things, which I tend to do in bits and pieces when I think about it! Now that I am developing on online version of my business, I need to keep myself focussed by making to-do lists so that I can stay on target.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure that there is anything I would do differently to be honest. Any mistakes that I have made along the way have been such great learning opportunities. I was so lucky to have great friends who pushed me to start this business – their faith in me was invaluable. Everything I have learnt from my pilates business has been so useful for the start of my new online business. I have that experience from teaching so many clients – what they are looking for, what they struggle with etc. I encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a business to just jump in and do it. You can only learn through trying, failing, learning and continuing.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Don’t try and be like anyone else. Find your own voice. Early on I felt that I had to do the traditional physiotherapy-pilates classes, but soon realised that that wasn’t me. Once I was true to my self and what I believed, the work became so much more fun. I realised that I didn’t need to be like everyone else, and in fact I would be more successful by differentiating myself from the crowd.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
- Cliniko (my booking software) – although I would like one with a group bookings feature! Yes you could do it on excel, but if you have more than a few clients, consider it a good investment. It is so easy for me to email invoices to my clients and run reports when needed.
- My laptop and mobile phone! I am frequently on these, answering emails and updating my website
- Theraband – so light and easy to take to classes. And so versatile!
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
When I took the leap and used Google Ads, it was very beneficial for growing my business. I was reluctant to pay for advertising and wanted to just allow my business to grow organically, but when you are new to a city and don’t have a lot of referrers, you need to get people in through the door.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
I don’t know if it is crazy, but at the start I drove around the every hospital and GP clinic within about 10kms of my business, dropping off leaflets. I must have dropped off about 1000 leaflets and received maybe 2 patients as a result! I now use my leaflets more strategically!
What is your favorite indulgence?
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Eel – in Fiji. Really didn’t like it.
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
St Lucia, Caribbean
Last book you read?
Audio book- Move your DNA (Katy Bowman)
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Oh that just makes me feel really sad just thinking about it! I would die of boredom 😉
At a pinch…I would say green vegetables
What is your go-to breakfast?
We start the morning with cooked vegetables (usually in coconut milk) and eggs.
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
It’s capacity for healing.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
My boss is pretty awesome and gives me lots of time off 😉
Seriously though, I just love being able to stretch my creative legs as well as use the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years.
Marika Hart is a Physiotherapist based out of Perth, Western Australia. You can find out more about Marika and her business, Dynamic Strength Physiotherapy, by visiting www.dynamicstrengthphysio.com.au.