Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carrie Dillman, owner of Mulberry Wellness, located in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

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

My business is a health and wellness clinic - Mulberry Wellness. It’s a little place on the corner of Bay and Mulberry in downtown Hamilton, with an office pup - Cole (probably the real reason people keep coming back), a laid-back yet professional environment, and the friendliest staff. We pride ourselves on a holistic, research-based, multi-disciplinary approach to health and wellness, with a skilled team of Physiotherapists, Osteopathic Practitioners, Registered Massage Therapists, Dieticians, Naturopathic Doctors, and Counsellors.

We treat the whole family - all ages and types of people, with a bit of specialization in pediatrics! You may see one of our physiotherapists working with a little one on motor development while grandma goes for a massage, dad sees osteo for that low back pain, mom works with the naturopath postpartum, and a sibling sees another physio for that sports injury, all while Cole keeps everyone in line.

Tell us about yourself

Owning a business was never something that was on my list, but I always knew what type of clinic I wanted to work at – somewhere that was all about patient care, where the treatment was more important than the number of people you saw in an hour, where people could have their healthcare needs to be met in one coordinated place. I wanted the freedom to offer care and programs I felt would make a difference and the ability to do my best to make care available to as many people as possible in the way they needed. Somewhere along the way, I figured out I could create that, and the rest really fell into place slowly, from my own mobile business to working out of a room in my house to Mulberry and the wonderful team it has now! Plus, I get to bring my dog to work!

My clients motivate me – from infants to geriatrics, I love working with people and seeing the changes they can make when pointed in the right direction. The Mulberry team motivates me – it’s such a privilege to get to work with a group of people who are so passionate about what they do and who do it so well. Lastly, I’ve got an amazing support system outside of work – the most supportive fiancé, anyone could ask for, parents and four brothers who are always there when I need them, and some incredible friends who keep me going. I really think Mulberry is something special, and I’m excited to see where else it can go – that’s pretty motivating!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think I have to mention two. One is the team I’ve found, or rather the team that’s found, Mulberry. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by incredible staff and practitioners. Not only are they excellent at what they do, but they are also great people that make coming to ‘work’ a pleasure. The second, which is largely related to the team, is the special place that Mulberry has become for so many people looking to improve or maintain their health and wellness. Every time a client tells me that Mulberry is different, that it feels comfortable and homey, that they feel valued and listened to, and that they feel it’s made a difference to them or their family, I get that little sense of pride, knowing my vision for the space I wanted to create is now a reality for more than just me.

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

I find balance hard. The balance of treating and working with clients, which I love and is why I started Mulberry in the first place, with the time needed to manage the business, engage the team, and the work that is needed to see it grow. Also, the balance of running a business and trying to have some semblance of a personal and family life. I’m still working on both aspects of balance and think I always will be. It’s a work in progress.

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

  1. Just start! Big or small, begin working towards your goal. There is never a right time or a 100% clear sign. Mulberry started at the exact wrong time in my life, but the opportunity came up, and I decided to jump in. Over the past three years, there have been times I regretted that jump, but overall, I’m incredibly glad I did.
  2. Surround yourself with good people, play to their strengths - which can often overcome your weaknesses - and ask them for help or advice when you need to. The people in my life, both personal and professional, have made Mulberry and all its growth possible.
  3. Make sure you’re following your passion! Opening a business or being self-employed is not a 9-5 job; it’s going to take a whole lot of your time, energy, and mental space, particularly in the start-up phase. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you’re not going to be able to keep it up, or at least you’re not going to enjoy what you’ll spend so much of your time on

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Keep going. There will be days you want to throw in the towel – a problem you can’t seem to fix, an obstacle that seems too big, things going the opposite direction you hoped and worked for. Those days, or months, pass, and in the grand scheme of things, you’ll look back and wonder why they seemed so big. Or you’ll know exactly why and be damn proud of what you overcame!

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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