Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Tien, Founder of Bear Pawz Massage Therapy LLC., located in Aurora, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a solo Massage therapist and Small Business Owner. I practice therapeutic and relaxation massages for a variety of clients. Our attitude is that all our clients are already wonderful and complete! It is my perspective that everyone can receive the benefits of massage and an intentional relationship with a skilled practitioner. My business takes a body positive approach as a reminder of every-bodys worth. You don't have to be in any specific condition or with any particular fitness goal to see a massage therapist, it's my model not to judge. Too many products and advertisements out there focus on images and standards that are unrealistic and discouraging. Everyone deserves to be supported and accepted for who they are, and I want every client to feel fully welcomed. It's my interest to serve your best interest.

Tell us about yourself

I wanted to be my own boss while offering a skill I found personally meaningful. I would love to keep meeting clients that seek a continuous therapeutic relationship. I first got interested in Bodywork through learning Usui Reiki Energy Work. This no touch or light touch method of energy work can offer an emotional benefit and guide a healing intuition, yet it does not teach one how to manipulate the body tissue directly. To get a deeper education in Professional practices as well as Anatomy and Physiology I chose to go to the Denver Integrative Massage School, completing it in February 2022 and shortly after receiving my license. I've also practiced Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong for a decade. While Western Medicine can be great and truly effective as a treatment, I also believe in the use of some complementary and alternative medicines to provide more options for people to lead their own wellness.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Learning how to manage and organize a business on my own. Managing time and being my own boss. It is very rewarding to set your own hours and be able to take off whenever you need to. I'm happy to have made a custom website for myself, as well as social pages. Some of what I have made is intended to go to charity, the main one that comes to mind is The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO, where big cats and other animals that were exploited for entertainment and exotic pets are rescued and given large new habitats.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It is difficult to know what risks to take. Starting out, it's not clear how busy you'll be. It also makes you deeply consider your role in the world and the impact you have in your field. In my experience the process is slow but promising. As a Massage Therapist you're expected to maintain a high level of ethical conduct, as well as take continuing education. You also need to treat yourself right through self-care, like receiving massages from others, meditation practices, dieting well, getting a little bit of activity and exercise, and managing expectations.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Write a business plan that says what you do and what you see it becoming. Calculate your startup costs. Learn how to use a black book to keep track of income and expenses. Do some industry research, and find out if there's a market for what you intend to offer. Check out state and federal laws regarding your enterprise. Research the different types of business structures. When you're ready, file a business according to your needs. Make sure what you want to do as a business is fulfilling and something you can get behind and stick with.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Massage Therapy is a great field to get into. Try to support other businesses that have a similar outlook on the world. Consider the environmental impact in terms of what you need to be supplied, and how much waste will be generated.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.