Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health & wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Carr, Owner of  TCM Active Life Health Clinic, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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

I'm a registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine. My patients are diverse and come in to address a wide range of health issues, from pain, digestive woes, autoimmune conditions, and hormonal imbalance to stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Some of my patients have a medical diagnosis, but many have undiagnosed conditions that the conventional system hasn't been able to adequately address. I also have a number of patients who come in for "wellness" treatments, using our sessions and my recommendations as a way to stay as healthy as possible.

Tell us about yourself

I knew that I wanted to get into healthcare since I was a kid. My mom's a nurse, and at age 12, I started to really struggle with knee pain. I had physiotherapy and had to wear awful knee braces and shoe orthotics (which meant orthopedic-like--in my pre-teen and teen mind--shoes). My knee pain persisted, so I knew I wanted to treat others with pain in the future. I got a B.Sc. in kinesiology with an aim to go into sports medicine. But as part of my resume-building efforts for my medical school application, I took a job doing research at a medical university in Japan.

After living in Japan for two years, my mind shifted enough that when I returned to Canada and stumbled on a book about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I knew that was my path. I love that I get to really get to know my patients and that we work together to find ways to help them reach their health goals. I also love that it's always a challenge, and my day has so much variety.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I knew absolutely nothing about running a business when I started my practice. I had learned a lot about the human body through my nearly decade of studies, but I didn't know how to get patients into my clinic. I think my biggest business accomplishment is now running two clinics and selling a mobile acupuncture business I had started and built up.

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

I think the hardest thing is "selling myself." I was taught to be humble, almost to a fault. But when the product you are selling is your own service, you have to learn how to promote your own skills, knowledge, and experience. That's why I like running a second clinic where I don't ever plan to practice in. I can promote them unabashedly. It's also a lot of hours and multitasking that go into being a business owner. But, thankfully, I actually like that.

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

  1. Make sure you love what you do because running your business rather than working for someone else is usually a lot more work, especially at the start.
  2. Talk to people in your field to find out what they do to run similar businesses.
  3. Celebrate the little wins. There are often small wins we don't notice, while we sure pick up on all the annoying little obstacles and challenges. Those obstacles help us to ultimately succeed, but celebrating the small victories makes the day-to-day much easier.

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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