Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura Jean Castelluzzo, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, and Life Coach based in Buffalo, NY, USA.

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

I do acupuncture, massage therapy, and life coaching. Life coaching is available remotely to anyone interested in improving the quality of their life physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, and/or romantically. The acupuncture and massage therapy practice is out of Real Therapeutic Massage, Pilates, and Acupuncture at 4511 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14226.

My customers are typically adult men and women. All people - all ages, genders, races, sexual orientations, etc. are welcome. The most common ailments presented to an acupuncturist tend to be pain-related conditions. For example, arthritis, back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and successfully treating a wide range of conditions. For a list, please go to my website, click on "acupuncture," and scroll down.

Massage therapy is used for the treatment of stress, pain, and more in order to enhance a person's health and well-being. Again for a long list of benefits, please refer to my website.

Tell us about yourself

I have been a practicing life coach, spiritual speaker, and teacher since 2003. In 2005 I graduated from massage school in Williamsville, NY, and in 2011 I graduated with a master's degree in acupuncture at the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Seneca Falls, NY, at the NY Chiropractic College.

I have always been interested in being of service to others. I believe the most important things in life are being happy and feeling good. So I work to help others be happy and feel good. One thing I always make sure to do with all my clients is to give them tools to do on their own time to take the responsibility into their own hands to help themselves feel better, whether it be emotionally or physically.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have been happily self-employed since 2006, except for 4.5 years of working as an acupuncturist for a pain management doctor, who is now referring patients to me from his office. During the time I worked at Dr. Hsu's office, I also maintained my private practice in acupuncture, massage, and life coaching at Real Therapeutics. I am thankful to say that while providing my services to others, I've been able to purchase my own home and car and take myself on vacations. I very much appreciate that I am able to support myself by doing something that I love - helping people feel better and happier.

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

Having a business constantly dealing with people has its ups and downs. Sometimes it is difficult giving my energy to people all day, five days a week, especially to people who are not pleasant to work with. We can't all be roses and sunshine all the time. That's the nature of being human. I do my best to maintain a pleasant manner, and I'm very thankful to work on my garden on the weekends while I take a break from helping people. I also make sure to smudge with white sage every night before going to bed to cleanse myself energetically from the day. People come to me with all kinds of difficult situations. I am thankful and honored to be a trusted professional, and it also comes with a weight. I make sure to spend a good amount of time meditating and releasing any heaviness that I get from the office and elsewhere. I want people to feel comfortable letting go of their heaviness with me. That is part of the healing process when folks are ready for it. We all carry our own heaviness to different degrees.

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

  1. Make sure that you enjoy doing what you are setting out to do because if you are successful, you are going to be doing a lot of it.
  2. Work hard and smart. Set time aside every day to work on your business for at least a few hours. Set time aside every day to work on yourself so that you can have a lot to give and feel good during the process. Be consistent.
  3. The customer is always right; however, you also need to set boundaries for yourself. Only work with people who give you the respect that you deserve. For example, I give my clients one freebie if they miss an appointment or cancel within 24 hours of the appointment time. After that, I charge them the late cancellation fee. If they don't pay the fee and continue to cancel at the last minute without good reason, I do not continue to work with them.
  4. Here's an extra tip - learn discernment around when it is appropriate to give your services away. Working for free or at a lower rate can sometimes help you make connections and possibly get more business. It's also a wonderful thing to be generous when you are able to be for those who can not afford your services. For example, I work on a sliding scale for acupuncture occasionally. I give friends a discount, and I'll work on close friends and family for free when and if it feels balanced to do so, but I don't let people take advantage of me.

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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