Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Ross, Owner of Breathe With Me Yoga, located in Niagara Falls, ON, Canada.

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

I teach yoga classes for families and children. As an extension to those classes, I also support families through group and private coaching. Before the pandemic, Breathe With Me Yoga was offering six to eleven yoga classes a week to families across the Niagara Region. When the pandemic hit, and everything was shut down, I began Story Time Yoga, an online yoga class for children 5-9 years and families 2-9 years. We breathe with a breathing ball and have fun finding the yoga within every new story. Each class ends with relaxation, where we use affirmations and anchor in the lessons we've learned. Every story teaches a lesson about the choices that we have in life. The pandemic allowed us to reach families globally, and we aired 100 episodes across social media platforms. Story Time Yoga is now a TV show on Binge Networks and Traverse TV Network.

Tell us about yourself

In 2011, I experienced postpartum depression and severe anxiety. After a two-and-a-half-year recovery, I returned to my government job stronger than ever and stress-free. Within a month of returning to work, I was feeling the same stress I had felt during my pregnancy. I felt called to find a new path for my life that helped others overcome the same adversities. I volunteered at my son's school in the last mile of my recovery and loved being with the children and guiding them in whatever journey we were on that day. I had also been practicing yoga with my long-time instructor of thirteen years (now 22 years). I was passionate about both and set out to find a way to put it all together. In July of 2014, I became certified as a Children's Yoga Instructor and founded Breathe With Me Yoga. I went on to earn my 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher designation.

As class sizes grew and I began to lose the one-on-one connection with my students, I realized I wanted to help them on a more personal level. That's when I set out to make a more significant difference in the lives of every person I encounter. I am certified as a Mindset Mentor and Clarity Coach and founded Rise2Wellness Inc., where I hand families the keys to mental wellness. Now, with over 20 years of experience in the field of yoga and mindfulness, I unite families, help them to burn off stress-energy and, listen to their bodies, and bring them hope. It is my biggest passion to help children and their parents navigate their way through anxiety, bullying, stress, and positivity. That mission is what motivates me every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I was in business for about a year and a half when two brothers enrolled in my Calm Kids Yoga class. The older brother was very shy. He began his first class curled in the fetal position in a chair by the front door, and couldn't look at or speak to me. I assured his mother that we would get along just fine – and we did. Over the weeks, he slowly inched his way to the side of the room, then into the class, and eventually participated in the full lesson. He was so immersed in the lessons that he wanted to do more. I watched as he broke out of his shell, allowed other students to interact with him, and eventually asked to be my assistant in class. The most inspiring part of the story is that he confided in me that he was being bullied at school and asked me to help him talk with his parents about it. Helping families like this one will always be my biggest accomplishment. When we lead with love and remove judgment, beautiful things happen.

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

One of the hardest things for me as a business owner is being able to do what I love while also running the other aspects of the business. I have learned to do what I am good at and delegate the rest. It takes me ten times as long to complete certain tasks as it does an expert. Therefore, I hire my web designer, accountant, and social media marketer. My good friend, David Corbin, also taught me to "Delegate, don't abdicate." He says if your knowledge in a particular aspect of your business is low before you delegate, you will surrender to someone who could take advantage of you. Therefore, strive to understand that aspect of your business before you delegate it. There is definitely a balance to be found for any business owner.

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

I would guide any new business owner to do the following:

  1. Find a mentor or a coach who has done what you are trying to do. They have the wisdom to get you where you want to be in less time.
  2. Find a like-minded community of networkers and support each other. When you talk with people and find out about them, it makes it easier for you to serve them and others. It also makes it easier to find the resources you need when you need them.
  3. Serve people rather than trying to sell them. Bob Burg and John David Mann said it best in The Go-Giver ~ "If you want more success, find a way to serve more people."

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.

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