Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tamara Hartson, Co-Owner of River Stone Wellness Centre, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

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

I co-own River Stone Wellness Centre in Terwillegar with my sister and mother. We are a family-owned and operated clinic, and we first opened in 2015. We are confident that we are both a wonderful place to come and a wonderful place to work. Our primary goal is to help people improve their quality of life, whether that means providing relaxation massage to cope with the stressors of daily life or providing complete care and management for injuries and trauma. We offer all of the major modalities, including chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage, manual osteopathy, acupuncture, and red-light laser therapy. We have an integrated approach to wellness, and our clients can opt for various combinations of treatments to meet their needs. Our practitioners enjoy working together and finding the best blend of modalities to help our clients. Come in good, leave better.

Tell us about yourself

I am a life-long learner, but most of what I choose to study is always rooted in the sciences. My first degree was in Environmental Sciences, then a master's in Natural Health, and now I am a Manual Osteopath and Advanced Photobiomodulation Technician. I had the idea to start this clinic when my sister and mother wanted to start a business. We are all interested in health and wellness, and it seemed like a natural route for us to take. My mother manages all the admin side, and my sister is an accountant and business manager. I am the only owner/practitioner. I focus on clients with injuries and chronic or acute pain by providing manual osteopathy and photobiomodulation (red-light laser therapy). As a Manual Osteopath, I primarily focus on Osteopathic articulation, alignment, and joint manipulation. With a hands-on approach and my handheld lasers, I love seeing the pain people are experiencing disappear as they heal and return to wellness.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment as a business is definitely our growth and popularity, two aspects of our success of which I am very proud. We grew extremely fast and had to open a second space in 2019, and we already feel like we need more! We are very dedicated to our clients, and our word-of-mouth referrals drive our growth. My biggest accomplishment as a practitioner is the growing number of clients who are now pain-free and happy!

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

While there are many struggles with owning a business, the hardest thing for me is when a client has a bad experience or is unhappy. Thankfully, this doesn't happen often! I am so invested in every client that comes in, whether I am their practitioner or not, that a complaint really gets me to the core. Sometimes it's just unlucky circumstances, but because we try so hard and care so much, it can really knock the stuffing out of us. Of course, we always deal with such things face-on and make sure that we continually step up our game. I'm proud of what we do and everyone we work with, and because of our dedication, these kinds of experiences are becoming increasingly rare.

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

  1. Choose something you love to do and are good at doing. Otherwise, your business either won't succeed or won't be fulfilling or both.
  2. Own the mistakes. There are always ups and downs in the beginning, and when you make a blunder, don't try to hide it or deny it. Hold it up for all to see and for you to learn from, then keep moving forward.
  3. Don't try to do everything. Do what you're good at, and leave the things you're not good at to someone who is. For example, I hate looking at the numbers and the bottom line, but my sister loves it, so we each do what we're good at.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I often hear that you have to fail before you succeed. I have had other businesses and other jobs that didn't exactly fail but didn't amount to much. I think when you get the blend just right between workload, doing something you love, and doing something you're good at, then the path is clear and easy. Running your own business is a lot of work; you have to be brave, honest, and hard-working. When you get the blend just right then the magic happens and you succeed. As a family and team, we continually bounce ideas and problems off each other, and we benefit from each other's input when we make decisions. While some people can make a go of business ownership alone, it can be much easier if you are partnered with people you can trust.

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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