Go-To-Guide: Starting Your Holistic Business
Are you a wellness practitioner or holistic health advocate? Maybe you’re an herbalist looking to create herbal products, or you’re a yoga teacher looking to teach independently. Regardless of what kind of holistic practice you’re engaging in, there are a great handful of matters you must take into consideration when make the choice to grow passion into business.
When I decided to co-found the Herb + Nectar Pop-Up Tea Bar & Apothecary alongside my business partner, Jen, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. We had been manifesting these ideas for months, going from wanting to create a cafe, to a bulk herb shop, to finally, a tea company and apothecary.
After months of brainstorming, meeting, and planning our next moves - we decided to just begin. We both jumped in and began this thing - fast. As Herb + Nectar began to grow, so did the demand for events, pop-ups, and even stocking within local stores. But as we began to grow - the questions began to flow in. “Are you licensed?” “Is all of your tea organic?” “Where do you source your products?” “Do you have a food permit?” “Are you certified?” “What is your mission?”
While we had gotten our bases covered when we started - we definitely weren’t prepared for many of the questions that were being asked. And while it’s okay to say, “I don’t know,” and “I’ll get back to you,” sometimes, the safer and more professional route is basically - know your shit, come prepared, and always operate a clean business.
If this hasn’t scared you off yet (which I hope it doesn’t, because running a business is truly wonderful and fulfilling!), I’ve included some great baseline tips below to help you create your business with finesse.
1. Define Your Niche
One of the first things we had to do was to define our niche, identify our target audience, and establish our brand.
As a practicing herbalist, Reiki master, and wellness writer, I had massive plans to do all three of these things as offerings of wellness that I could share with the public. I wanted to make teas and tinctures, offer reiki sessions, create wellness content, and honestly - anything I could think of suddenly became a new business project. Suddenly I found myself wanting to make soaps, and candles. I wanted to teach crystal healing and meditation workshops! In no time, I realized that the more ideas that came to mind, the more projects I was starting. The lines of my passions were blurring, and that is not where I wanted to be.
For those who want to start a holistic business, I know right away that many of you also practice multiple modalities, and while it may be tempting to want to cover each and everything you are capable of doing (which is a lot!) you MUST narrow down your niche.
Why? Because you want to truly offer a service or create a product that you can build upon without draining yourself or your resources. Bust out a notebook and create a mind-map that allows you to truly take your ideas visually. Write out everything you want to accomplish and offer, and when you’re done, take a deep breath and be honest with yourself. Cross things off that are beyond your bandwidth. Circle the things that you can begin now.
2. Build Your Foundations
Now that you’ve got your niche down - you absolutely MUST build your foundations. Do your research. What kinds of permits will you need? Do you have a business license? What certifications do you need in order to take your practice public? Do you need a physical space? Will you need insurance? All of these questions are vital to running your business properly, legally, and efficiently. One of our favorite resources is LegalZoom. LegalZoom is a great online resource that can help you establish your business, the right way.
3. Establish Your Brand
Beyond permits, you must establish your brand. Defining your niche allowed you to choose a practice you want to evolve. Establishing your brand however is essentially your key guide to knowing your voice, building your aesthetic, and visually sharing your business values. All of these factors contribute to how you convey your message to your audience and will influence the visuals and content you’ll be sharing.
By going through the fundamentals of establishing your unique brand, we can move forward in building upon that base to ensure that your customer, client, or guest can walk away with your brand and image at the top of their mind.
Who are you? What makes your brand or product the best? What persona does your business represent, what feelings will you evoke? What are the key messages you want to relay, and how will you relay them?
This is where we brainstorm. Get out the workbook and take note of all the ideas you have for your business. Write down your intentions for your business, your 3-month plan, your 6-month plan, and your 1-year plan. Envision what you want your brand to be, and begin to watch it come to life.
4. Bring Your Company to Life
With these tools and frameworks in mind, the only thing you have left to consider is your consistency and dedication. More often than not, I found myself beginning projects and never finishing them - but in order to start a business, you must keep going. Cliches aside, like Confucius says, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Colleen is a California-based reiki master, budding herbalist, and writer for her personal holistic wellness blog, Om in Bloom. As a 2nd generation Filipina and advocate for people of color in wellness, she strives to inspire others to explore all the Earth has to offer through holistic practices. Over 10 years of Folk Dance experience with PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company in San Diego has exposed her to many beautiful intersectional lenses across various regions of the Philippines and ignited her passion and appreciation for her culture and history. Today, she continues to explore through her research in ancient Filipino healing, and hopes to uncover the holistic practices amongst her ancestry.