Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shirley Estey, owner of Kitsilano Physiotherapy Clinic, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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

My business is an orthopedic physiotherapy clinic. Our customers are people in Vancouver, primarily around the Kitsilano area, who are experiencing physical pain or limitations in their bodies and looking for a physiotherapist. We also offer kinesiology for individuals looking to increase their strength and fitness. We offer our patients an individual-based assessment which leads to treatments to decrease pain and restore daily function.

Tell us about yourself

I've been a physiotherapist for 12 years. I started working at Kitsilano Physiotherapy Clinic 11 years ago. In 2018, the opportunity to buy Kitsilano Physiotherapy clinic from the previous owner was given to me, and I was delighted. From that moment, I took over the clinic while I was on maternity leave with my son and made changes to make the clinic more accessible to people in the area. Since I have been a physiotherapist working at the clinic for over a decade, I know many of the patients very well and have treated many people in the Kitsilano area. I am motivated each day to continue working on the business by providing a clinic where patients know that every treatment is designed with the patients' needs in mind.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Growing the Kitsilano Physiotherapy clinic practice. When I first purchased the clinic four years ago, three physiotherapists and one massage therapist worked at the clinic. Now there are seven physiotherapists, one kinesiologist, and one massage therapist. Creating an environment where therapists are comfortable coming to work every day while doubling the size of the clinic is my biggest accomplishment as a business owner.

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

The hardest thing about being a business owner is tackling the problems that arise from equipment failure to an upset patient or correcting staffing mistakes. The constant problem solving needed to be done while still being a practicing physiotherapist myself and finding time to fit everything in a day.

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

  1. Start a business doing something that you are passionate about. There are ups and downs with any job or business, but when you are doing something you thoroughly enjoy, it is easy to work through the difficult times and appreciate the positives the business brings.
  2. Start each day with goals or a to-do list of what you want to accomplish. When you have a plan and can see that you are conquering that plan each day, it doesn't make all the tasks involved in owning a business seem daunting.
  3. Be comfortable asking for advice and tips from people who have run and grown a business. Some of the best advice you will get are from learning about those before you who have had success in a business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When I first started at Kitsilano Physiotherapy Clinic, I never knew I would be the clinic owner one day. I naturally enjoyed my patient caseload, taking physiotherapy courses to strengthen my treatment skills, and growing a caseload. I'm often asked what it is like to own a business. Still, I feel like the clinic is more of a space where I hope physiotherapists grow as practitioners. We are all able to work together to provide care for the patients in our community.

As a business owner, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the administration and marketing necessary to grow a business. I am constantly learning new skills each week and couldn't imagine doing anything other than being a physiotherapist who runs a private practice clinic.

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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