From Corporate Banker to Yoga Teacher

Patricia Petersen is the owner of Petersen Wellness Clinic in Vancouver, a calm and serene sanctuary devoted to Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Patricia was a participant in FWE’s Member Forum.

From corporate banking to yoga teacher to healer, it’s been an amazing journey for me. I always had an entrepreneurial drive in me as I grew up in Singapore where my family owned two different businesses. I was involved in the operations of the businesses from a young age.

After university, I spent 5 years in a management role in corporate banking. It was obvious from the beginning that I was not suited for the corporate world. While I enjoyed the problem solving aspects of my job and interacting with customers, I felt helpless when I noticed my staff and my own health deteriorating due to the work environment.

My childhood dream was to be a doctor and I remember telling my father when I was 8 years old that that was my goal. This led me to study Traditional Chinese Medicine.

After working at different clinics for 5 years, my husband and I decided to start our own business, Petersen Wellness and Massage Therapy Clinic. Our clinic is a calm and serene sanctuary devoted to Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our mission is to provide the best quality care and to create a safe and joyful space for healing. With a growing and loyal client base, expansion has been steady.

One of my biggest challenges has been time management. In the beginning, it was website design, copy writing, designing a logo, business card design and picking out office furniture. Now that the business is up and running, finding the time to do administrative work like accounting, banking, marketing, social media and writing blogs while treating patients can be challenging. I love connecting with patients but was very bogged down by administrative work.  I learned really quickly how to schedule my time so I have the time and energy to be present with my patients. I now use Google Calendar; I have one for myself and one for the household. This has helped me manage my schedule efficiently.

I also learned the important lesson that hiring people is essential to free me to be a co-owner. It was difficult to let go of certain responsibilities, but I decided to hire professionals for time-consuming areas such as bookkeeping and accounting. And then I also created a support system of mentors and advisors who offer great advice and help when needed. These resources have helped me manage my time productively.

The second challenge is self-care. It’s easy to put self-care on the back burner as there is always work to do, networking events to attend and patients to see. However, I realized quickly that if I do not take care of myself, my business and relationships suffer. I decided to use a calendar to schedule some “ME” time. I now schedule self-care like going for a run, yoga class or reading into my calendar before any other events.

Based on my experience, I would like to offer 3 pieces of advice to new entrepreneurs:

1. Hire a mentor/coach

A great coach keeps you grounded and calm when you get overwhelmed. When you are in the midst of operating the business, it can be hard to see things from a different angle. A great coach can do that for you, be your sounding board and hold space. Your coach is like your personal cheerleader. If a coach isn’t an option, there are various programs like FWE’s Mentor Program, which can pair you with a Mentor to provide 1:1 insight, feedback, and to ask you tough questions

2. Do not fear failure

If you truly believe in your dreams, go for it. Take chances and along the way, you will meet amazing people who will show up for you and walk the path with you. I decided to take on the entrepreneur journey as I wanted to help people, to create a space where my patients can heal and live life to their fullest potential. Was it scary? You bet! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
 3. Use business resources

Several small business service providers in BC provide immense business resources to help entrepreneurs. Organisations like FWE offer incredible support to women entrepreneurs. I attended their Member Forum which helped me immensely. The Member Forum is a safe and supportive environment where you get to meet other entrepreneurs and share any challenges you might have. You are supported the whole time and you walk away with new ideas on how to run your business. I have made great connections and gained skills in marketing and how to approach social media more effectively.

For fresh ideas and untapped creativity, sign up for our upcoming Member Forums. Discuss your latest business opportunities and challenges with up to 12 members at one time in a supportive, facilitated environment.