Health is something that's relevant to everyone. If your health isn't on par every aspect of your life will suffer. You'll make poorer decisions, enjoy things less, and find yourself with less and less creative energy. At least that's how it was for me.
I began having bouts of extreme fatigue, strange reactions to food, and started gaining weight uncontrollably. I saw doctors, one after another, and even went off the beaten path to nutritionists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors.
It was a long road and nothing improved quickly. I found that most doctors, at least the more traditional ones I saw, had very inflexible approaches for diagnosis. They more or less looked up a series of symptoms and determined if they checked enough boxes to meet the requirements for a specific diagnosis. Here were my symptoms:
- Sluggish Mental Performance
- Weight Gain
- Lack of Motivation
The first three doctors I saw all said the same thing: depression and/or anxiety. I'm not saying I couldn't have been happier but I felt there was a more physical basis for my woes.
Three years and nearly $60,000 later, I'd been through the rungs with a handful of local Integrative doctors. It turned out I had a bacterial infection, some food sensitivities, and a handful of vitamin deficiencies. After several months of initial therapy (supplements, exercise, clean diet, exercise) I couldn't ignore the improvements. I felt great. I had energy all day long, felt creative again, and would describe my day-to-day experience as 'having finally come up for air.'
Then I realized something. I was kind of depressed. Not in the way that the first few doctors had meant but certainly in a way, I shouldn't be. Then it dawned on me: I had all this renewed vigor for life and I was still confined to my stifling 9 to 5. I wasn't depressed: I'd just outgrown my lifestyle.
I started brainstorming ideas on where I could see myself going. I became an avid reader of sites like Healthline, Optimus Medica, VeryWellHealth, and MindBodyGreen. These sites were built around communities that offered insight into health issues that I'd never even heard of—but seemed to be affecting millions of people. How could that be?
Then it dawned on me—the majority of the articles, comments, and discussions on these websites focused on non-pharmaceutical therapies. Eating organic whole food diets isn't something you need a prescription for. Phizer doesn't hold a patent for walking 30 minutes each day. The local drugstore doesn't have a yoga program you can join. That was it—there wasn't money in these types of healthcare plans.
Boy was I wrong about that one.
The dietary and supplements industry is one of the most rapidly-growing industries in the world. I attribute it to the decline of our collective health meeting with the increased negligence of institutional health care. Simply put: people are taking matters into their own hands.
That's when I not only found my passion but also realized my escape route from my 9 to 5. I started plotting during the days and taking actionable steps in the evenings. I was going to launch a local health-first business that accommodated everything I was reading about. Nutrition, fitness, and education.
I'm going to skip over some of the nitty gritty, but the course of events went something like this:
- Realized there wasn't any real competition locally
- Confirmed a demand with simple polling/localized CPC campaigns
- Found some investors
- Found some real estate
- Took some notes from other successful businesses in adjacent areas
- Didn't try to re-invent the wheel
Let me stress that last point. I've realized that people interested in health have two things in common: they want to feel good and they want to learn. At first glance that doesn't sound like the core-principle for a business model. Let me explain.
My original business plan was to set up a local gym-type space that would sell supplements and offer free educational courses. I don't regret the concept but the initial execution didn't think big enough.
Version two was the same basic design but the educational materials quickly became digitized. Videos were created during classtimes and posted online. These videos began reaching viewers far outside my local demo.
Then the fitness products and nutritional products got branded and advertisements for these products were shown as adverts during the educational videos and to local patrons.
My main revenue quickly pivoted from local sales to online. The local footprint quickly became the 'cost of business' in the sense that it was the source of content-generation and inspiration. I was spending everyday with people interested in health. I became engrossed in the learning process myself. I had my finger on the pulse of what health-conscious consumers wanted.
From there, things continued to build. As I found financial confidence, I began investing in similar local businesses, a handful of web properties, and even a regional tutoring program that had outdoors-based educational programs after school.
It's been a whirlwind of a ride but I've loved every moment. I'm here to say that if you want to escape the rat race, feel better, and do something you're proud of: just start doing it.