How to Do It 'Your Own Way': From a Naturopathic Doctor who LOVES her profession but was taught NOTHING with regards to how to run a thriving business

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Dr. Salna Smith from Kale & Coffee and now Meal Garden Professional used to be happy following the standard nutritional practitioner "rules", but soon enough her yearning for a more exploratory practice in a relatively new 'niche' became too strong to ignore. Here's how she made it work, and continues to seek out growth opportunities to support a thriving clientele, business, and self!


Entrepreneurship – where to start?!

I’ve known I wasn’t the best employee since I began my journey as a Naturopathic Doc in downtown Toronto in 2005. I loved the collaboration with other health practitioners and craved being around like minded people, (I joke that I love the health bubble we in the wellness industry live in), but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do it ‘my way’ one day.

While I’ve been a full time ND for over a decade, it’s been the last few years that have shaped my practice into one that consists of me, finally niched down and focusing on my local home based concierge practice and broadening my telemedicine practice in Alberta Canada.

So as a Naturopathic Doctor who LOVES her profession but was taught NOTHING with regards to how to run a thriving business - What have I learned thus far?

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  • It’s ok to think outside the box…and act on it – our profession teaches trading dollars for hours and while that’s fine for some, it never sat right with me. I wanted to help MORE people and I wanted the RIGHT people to be able to access me if we were a good fit to work together. Enter telemedicine. It’s still a work in progress as a profession, but I’m moving forward within the constructs currently laid out in order to provide optimal patient care and it feels amazing to be doing something more on the cutting edge of medicine.

  • Making mistakes is part of the journey – I’ve made some doozies. From the more mundane systems-not-in-place (ie online scheduling errors, website malfunctions), to lacking clarity for the confines of what our profession can provide and when all is said and done, I haven’t yet viewed one as an actual “mistake”. I think when you love something, there are no mistakes, only solutions, or pivots. It’s exciting to know you’re blazing ahead, doing your best for the greater good. That makes it all worthwhile.

  • Enlist a mentor – it can be lonely to be the sole one responsible for your business. You’re the receptionist, marketer & practitioner along with other home/family responsibilities. And it can be a lot. Tasks can get forgotten, things are easily disorganized and this can create a sense of overwhelm. I used to think a paper business planner was all I needed (HA!) but to have someone help prioritize tasks and help with execution has been invaluable.

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Telemedicine and niching down (i.e. I have a drive to support women with Adrenal Fatigue and Hormonal Imbalances) is a relatively new concept for ND’s and isn’t something taught in school.

It’s been bumpy, rewarding, with more bumps but always a choice I’m SO happy I made and one I don’t see myself trading for a brick and mortar space anytime soon.