Self-Employed Wellness

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Self-Employed Wellness

Dr. Sarah Duke is a Doctor of Chiropractic & Massage Therapist and Shane Duke is a Licensed Massage Therapist. Together they own and operate Austin Community Wellness PLLC in Austin, Texas. The goal of Austin Community Wellness is to bring balance back to your body so it can function optimally and help you live your best life.

When and why did you join the NASE?
Dr. Sarah at Austin Community Wellness has been a member of the NASE since October of 2018 because of its vast network of businesses that are there to help grow other small businesses. This has been an absolute essential platform for finding the resources that ACW needs to grow.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?
Dr. Sarah started doing massage right out of high school to earn money through college, and she absolutely fell in love with helping people maintain their bodies. She wanted to go all the way to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic, so she could help people on a more advanced level. Shane became a massage therapist in his early 20s as health and wellness have always been an important part of his life. He has never found anything else that has brought him as much passion and joy as helping the body heal naturally.

When and why did you start your business?
Dr. Sarah and Shane have dreamed about having a clinic together since before Dr. Sarah started chiropractic school in 2009, and after years of hard work, preparation and saving, they were able to break off from working for other people to open Austin Community Wellness April 1, 2017. They wanted to create a Mom and Pop healing journey for people that was all inclusive for total body care.

How do you market your business?
Austin Community Wellness markets itself primarily through providing top quality care that speaks for itself. Dr. Sarah and Shane have a longstanding reputation of excellent bodywork that has translated into a longstanding clientele base. Their focus has been Google reviews from clientele, but word of mouth has still brought in the largest percentage of new patients to the clinic. They send out review requests regularly to build their online profile, and they also create videos discussing the various topics that they address in a clinical setting that could impact other people’s lives via their YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. They have also created a video series discussing each individual treatment that they do in the clinic to give the patients a walk through of what to expect from beginning to the end while they are in the clinic.

What challenges have you faced in your business?
Dr. Sarah started Austin Community Wellness in a small shared space with a group of other related small businesses that moved to a larger shared space within the first 5 months. Shane joined Austin Community Wellness after the move because the new building had space for him to work in as well, but the owner of the larger facility added too many similar practitioners to the building leaving no room for any one of them to grow. At the 2 year mark of business for Austin Community Wellness, the building was so overcrowded that the patients started to complain about the noise levels in the building at all times, the lack of parking and Dr. Sarah and Shane were having difficulty booking space to see their patients due to rooms not being available. They had to find the perfect location to move to yet again because they simply outgrew the space. Since patient satisfaction is the number one priority, Austin Community Wellness decided to go solo, and they moved into a smaller location that consisted of just Dr. Sarah and Shane. They didn’t realize it at the time but moving to a new location boosted the business significantly because they were no longer competing with multiple other practitioners on Google Maps for who would pop up first at the same address. They were now popping up as their own entity for the location.

Do you have any employees?
Austin Community Wellness has 1 employee in addition to Dr. Sarah and Shane who runs the front desk part time. They are looking to make this a full-time position soon as they get them fully trained for all the office tasks.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day for you?
Austin Community Wellness sees patients 3 afternoons/nights a week and 3 mornings/afternoons a week to cater to those who need before work, lunch and after work appointments. They are open M-F seeing patients 27 hours a week with Thursdays open to patients mornings/afternoons & nights. The other hours of the week are spent creating educational videos, brainstorming on future marketing projects and discussing growth opportunities.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
Dr. Sarah simply loves being a boss woman. She loves to empower people and grow to heights that you cannot achieve while working for somebody else. Shane loves creating new treatments and quite frankly treating people the way he wants to with techniques that he has created. He can do so much more in a clinical setting than a spa treatment. There is true power, honor and pride in building something from an idea, seeding it and watching that grow into something that is real and sustainable, and being able to build that with your life partner is incredible.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
The best compliments that we get from our patients are the referrals they send our way. Sure, we get the “oooohhhsss” and “aaawwweeesss” on a daily basis, but when those people tell others to come and see us, that means that they went out of their way to make sure somebody else knew there is help out there for them. It is such an honor to know that we are that little something that is impacting somebody else’s life.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
Don’t give up. If owning a business were easy, everyone would be doing it. There are times that business is so slow, you’re going to think that it will never go up again, and there are times when business is so good that you never think it will go back down. Make sure you are always prepared for both scenarios financially and emotionally.

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