Category Archives: starting a business

New Marketing Scheme: Look Healthy

Seeing Beauty

A few weeks ago my sister got married. Though I am obviously biased, I mean this quite seriously when I say she was the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen. She was radiant and graceful and rosy-checked and full of love. It was a sight to behold. But it wasn’t the makeup and the hairstyle, though wow, they did a very good job with both. When we met up in my parent’s kitchen the morning of the wedding and she was standing there with her hair dirty from sleep and her face unwashed she was equally as beautiful as ten hours later walking down the aisle.

Sitting there for a couple of hours in the beauty salon watching as the amazing stylist fluffed and powdered and prepped her hair for her updo I kept commenting that her face looked magnificent. In the three weeks before the wedding she went and received one facial a week in addition to working out and drinking lots of water. Without question I had never seen her glow with such health.

New Marketing Scheme

It got me thinking and its been on my mind ever since. I want to radiate that kind of health. At some point our society said it was okay for doctors to be overweight and for nurses to smoke. It was okay for therapists to be stressed out and massage therapists to go without bodywork.

Well this acupuncturist and yoga teacher is fed up with it. I want you to want my business because you think I am an excellent example of health. If I don’t look healthy enough yet don’t bring me your business.

Starting this week I am challenging myself to be as healthy as possible, to keep better boundaries around work time, to exercise more, to spend more time doing fun outdoor activities, to cook healthier foods and to nourish my soul amidst everything.

So in addition to postering, online advertising and increasing my SEO I’m going to woo new patients with my glowing complexion and boundless energy.

Demand More

If you don’t need acupuncture right now then I highly suggest you start demanding more of your care providers. Find someone who is fit, who has a good glow in their face, who knows more than you about health. I once had a substantially overweight doctor ask me in a very condescending tone if I exercised regularly. I almost punched him. Health providers shouldn’t ask questions unless they can back it up with their own personal experience.

Who is a Health Care Provider?

Yesterday I was talking about this with my husband and we talked about how unhealthy so many Western medical professionals look. He then joked that it is like going to see a skinny chef. I thought about it for a second and said that I want to go to restaurants where there are skinny chefs. It means they are remembering to eat healthy meals at reasonable hours and that the food they sell has healthy ingredients. When I challenged my husband with this comeback he laughed and said that is because I think chefs are health care providers as well. I agree completely. Everyone out there making food, discussing our health, leading us in exercise routines or talking about our mental health is a health care provider. Demand more of them all!

Balance: Juggling Business, Life, and Sanity

Everyone knows the perks of owning your own business, but the downsides are less obvious. I love Window of Heaven Acupuncture & Yoga. It is the most exciting and wonderful job I could possibly imagine, but I think I need to remember it is a job from time to time.

When I am passionate about something my work ethic goes slightly haywire. The month of October has been a crash course in how much my mind can sustain.

Grad school is nothing compared to the hours I’ve been putting in behind my computer writing blog posts, planning marketing schemes, seeing patients, scheduling appointments and keeping up correspondence with long lost friends who have swept back into my life through the start of this business. Whew. It’s been great and it’s been full.

It isn’t sustainable, even if it is tons of fun. Bosses don’t require employees to show up for work before they shower or brush their teeth. I should be drawing the boundaries within the business in a more precise fashion.

I decided to make and publish new employment rules for Window of Heaven employees. Right now they only pertain to me, but I will respect them more if I contemplate having future employees.

  1. No work before 8am or after 9pm (small steps)
  2. Show up clean, fed and dressed to the office every morning
  3. Weekend work is capped at 5 hours per weekend
  4. Employees are required to attend one yoga class per week in addition to personal practice for inspiration purposes
  5. Lunch is to be eaten before 12:00pm every day
  6. Employees must drink 6+ glasses of water every day during work
  7. Vacations and days off are fully unplugged (no email, no facebook, no phone)

I am the owner of Window of Heaven Acupuncture & Yoga, but I’m also a yogini, teacher, fiction writer, poet, avid reader, wife, sister, daughter, friend, dancer, bread baker, church member, walker, biker, movie watcher, gardener, cleaner, organizer and napper.

Running a heart-centered business requires that I am in balance in my life. Balance, like chaos, is contagious. Which would I prefer my patients catch? The answer is obvious.

This post will go live, I hope at least, on Friday morning at 9am.  When it goes live I plan to be sitting having my hair done in a fancy salon in preparation for my sister’s wedding. Most of this week I won’t be working or thinking about work. I’ll be playing the role of sister (and Matron of Honor) full time. See you again Monday the 29th.

Gateways

Yesterday was my first official day in my amazing space downtown. As I busied myself before my first appointment I remembered a thousand and one things that were crucial and needed immediate doing. This is how it always happens. That is, how I lose track of time and end up late. It was only while speedwalking downtown that I realized I had not left time to buy tape to put up my new door signs that my husband just finished designing. Rather than be more stressed and more late, I thought I would just put the sign up after my last appointment. Big mistake.

None of my clients could find the space. Even though they all immediately went to the right door number they were terrified to knock on the door because my name wasn’t there. I ended up in the hallway ushering flustered and stressed clients into my office. That wasn’t how I had imagined it. I want the step into the waiting room to be the first step towards recovery, not the first step towards raising one’s blood pressure.

Then I returned home and checked messages to find that no one had left a message all day long. I was crushed, not a single person had called. Then I realized I hadn’t put my new business announcement on my voicemail message. That is when it hit. Gateways. All the doorways, all the avenues, all the entrances to my new business were blocked. What a way to send the signal out to the universe that I am still a hurried and frantic rush of preparations.

So here it is. The signs are on the door. The message has been changed. Preparations will never be fully done, but I am ready to start. I declare to all the universe that I am now ready and willing to treat people. Let the phone calls and emails and inquiries begin.

All of this makes me think about a friend who after years of feeling stuck in a challenging job decided to clear away the overgrown bushes from the front yard of her house and almost immediately she got a new job and changed her life.

Gateways are important. Think about the quality of the immune system as we head into flu season. Think about the importance of boundaries in professional and personal relationships. Gateways make or break us. For three years I’ve been telling people I’m tired. And while it was true, it was a way of closing doors. In the last year of grad school I didn’t sub for the other yoga teachers at the Y and my class attendance dropped a little. Not much, but definitely a little. You might think they are not related, but I do. I was saying no to everything. Every gateway in my life was closed to get me through to the end of school.

Things are different now. After six weeks of sleeping in my own bed I am feeling quite recharged. I’m living in the moment in between a forward fold and backbend where you resettle the spine, soften the body and then anchor down through the tail to flow open. I’m right there, right now. The number of doors and windows necessary to open this business, and to really return to my community, feels immense. But I’m up for the challenge.

My History of Beginnings

Starting this new business is a definite beginning, but unexpectedly it is also a spiraling back to the numerous places in my life that helped bring me to this point. This whirling of names and faces from the past coming out to show support reaffirms I am on the right course and that somehow all along they saw this coming.

I started practicing yoga in my bedroom when I was a freshman in high school. Every night after my parents went to sleep I would pull out my copy of The Sivananda Companion to Yoga. This creased and flattened book introduced me to pranayama, meditation, postures and a healthy diet. When I started practicing I didn’t know anyone else who did yoga. Literally no one. My mother and aunt had taken one class together in the 70s, but that was it. This was before google and certainly before the idea of finding a yoga studio in the yellow pages was feasible.

I was alone in this new exciting world. Everyone in my life knew the word “yoga” the way they knew the word “tofu” but had never tried either. I still remember the first time I saw a “Namaste” bumper sticker. My father and I were in Santa Fe and we took a picture of it we were so excited.

In college the yoga morphed into dance and from there into the desire for anatomy training. When I graduated from college I just decided to pick a town, move there and figure life out. Because the universe provides in its mysterious ways I stumbled into my first job and found my first two mentors. These two amazing co-workers taught me everything I know about employment, job searches and how to build a career.

I was your typical post-private school elitist who thought I could just roll out a resume and everyone would come knocking at my door. But you don’t make or even start a career by looking through the want ads. My two brilliant co-workers taught me the first step to getting a job is knowing what it is you want and what it is you have to offer. Then they taught me not to compartmentalize my life. Instead of thinking of writing as my only career option and having a mile long list of interests and passions, I could design a career path. I could imagine a career that incorporated writing, yoga, health, nutrition, business, organizing things, planning, birthwork, sexualities, researching, helping others and dance all at the same time. In fact if I could figure out an angle and had the guts to try, I could actually make a living from the delightful mix of all of my interests.

Now years later, though not many, I’ve got my angle. For five years the IRS has received taxes from the occupation: yoga teacher. This year I could add the occupations: acupuncturist, herbalist, doula, writer and business owner to the list, but I won’t in order to avoid confusing them.

My point is your path is there for the finding. You must first know deeply what it is you want. You have to find that which causes the utmost passion. That which makes you desperate to know more. Then you brainstorm and push and pull. You ask questions, you get hung up and you get confused. Yet all the while you have to trust that your desires are worth exploring. Let me say that again, your desires are worth exploring.

As my insightful father-in-law said to me the other day “You’re going to have a rich time building this practice, whether you get rich or not.” This has already proven itself tenfold. The opening of this business has reminded me of the richness of my community. Thank you to my marvelous network of loved ones, friends, mentors, inspirations, students, teachers, clients and patients. This beginning is the most spectacular homecoming of my life.

Life Changes

We all go through them. They spring up just at the moment we thought we were getting comfortable. And then boom, life goes haywire. I’m in a life change right now. Starting my own business, or a different aspect of the business and simply finishing school is a major life change. Like all things that I do, this change is rather scattered, chaotic and ungraceful. Things will eventually smooth out. I know this and I’m doing my best to open my self to the universe and just trust.

One of the key components to my yoga teaching is the lesson of allowance. I teach it because it baffles me. The more I teach it, the more I can almost see it and the more I know I need it in my life. The way I teach it to beginners is simply by asking them to witness their breath. Everyone can do that. Everyone can watch his or herself breathe (insert feel if the word watch scares you too much). But the practice, as every advanced yoga practitioner knows, is to watch the breath and not change it. Just witness it with all of its gloriously perfect imperfection and let it stay as it is. Some people don’t breath, they gasp every now and then. Others pant little shallow breaths. Other people are shallow breathers who every once in a while give a huge sigh to release the breathing diaphragm.  Whatever our pattern is, we obviously do it all day long—making it a rather sustainable practice. We are not going to keel over momentarily for breathing so poorly, but as soon as we witness the breath we want it to change. We want it to be better.

Right now I am witnessing the life change. I am seeing that I have successfully graduated from school and I am honoring that in all its significance. But I also want to hit the ground running with my new business. So I am alternating between periods of deep rest and insane activity. Which looks more like not sleeping at night and needing to take long naps to catch up. Not very effective.

So here is my goal for myself and the one I challenge you to on this rainy day when the seasons are adjusting slightly, but steadily. What is the change coming? Name it. Spell it out. Right it down. Read it to yourself. Then sit for as long as you can—60 seconds, 5 minutes, whatever you can spare and just watch your body respond. Allow your body to just be present with it. Racing heart, rapid breathing, extreme fatigue, sheer panic, excitement, smiling, release of the jaw, tension in the neck. There is no negative, there is no positive. There is just response. Stay present, stay interested and then get up and go face the change head on.

Conversation Officially Started

After three years of Acupuncture school and roughly 90,000 miles of driving the Mass Pike to class and home again I am in recovery, both intellectually and physically.  While I am, of course, grappling with the threat of pending student loans and the usual concerns about starting a new part of my business, I am struggling with something new I didn’t expect—a loss of community to discuss the zillion things I am forever contemplating. In the last three years I’ve started making brief manifestos of discoveries I had made about the body at the beginning of each of my yoga classes. And while I will no doubt still be doing that, I want a place to go into greater detail and allow for links to further information for those that are interested in the topic.

Instead of branching out into this next phase alone, I’m reaching out for you. I already know who I am. I am Courtney Hill Wulsin, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Yoga Teacher, Writer, Doula, Dancer, Reiki Master. I specialize in teaching people how to find comfort in their body and enjoy the sensuality of movement and awareness. It is you that interests me as I start this communication with the greater world.

You must be a reader who finds interest in the body and mind. You would have to be a wandering sort, like myself, who seeks answers in unusual places and never trusts anything that doesn’t resonate inside the body, as well as inside the mind. You would be interested in medicine as a means to prevent disease, not cure it. You would define wellness not as an absence of symptoms, but as a strength and sturdiness of body that brings you joy and comfort. You would be interested in learning about all the systems of the body and how to use metaphor to understand those systems. You would have to be an art lover and see the body as the world’s most beautiful work of art. If those things do describe you than perhaps you would care about my ramblings, even if you don’t attend my classes or seek out my services as an acupuncturist.

I am starting to write today as a declaration. I want to integrate. For three years I’ve been integrating with select, classmates, students and clients, but now I’m throwing the doors open and asking for others to join me on this path. Come integrate with me, suggest books, correct me, ask questions, get confused, get excited. Whatever it is. This is Window of Heaven Acupuncture and Yoga and I am Courtney Hill Wulsin and as of today, we are open for business. Conversation officially started.