Name: Sharon Gardner

Age: 49

Job title: Naturopathic Practitioner

Time in current role: 6 years

Sharon is a naturopath, plant-based nutritionist, wellness coach and pilates teacher. Visit her website here

Why did you decide to start your business?

I used to work as an administrator so my job was very much desk-bound. As I approached my late 20s and early 30s I began experiencing a number of ailments which had a negative affect on my health and I was told that most of the issues I was experiencing were age-related so I just lived with them. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with an allergy to the sun that everything changed, thus my journey to wellness began. I now live virtually ailment-free, take no medication, and have more energy and stamina than ever before.

My company was set up during my last year of university in 2012, and has been growing ever since. A year after graduating I completed my diploma in teaching pilates so I now have a variety of skills that I’m able to use to support others with sustainable approaches to managing their health and wellness.

What are the key functions of your role?

I wear many hats. As part of my naturopathic training I studied health sciences, so I’m kind of like your alternative GP. I spend a lot of time when I’m not with clients researching the latest health and wellness evidence to ensure my skills are up-to-date. I’m a plant-based nutritionist so I’m also in the kitchen a lot creating recipes to share with my clients. As a pilates teacher I educate my students about the importance of proper alignment, posture and health.

Talk us through your typical working day

The only real typical working day for me is on a Monday when I teach my own pilates classes locally. Other than that it really depends on my client load and where they’re based as I work with people both locally and abroad which means I could be seeing someone face-to-face or via video call.

As well as running my own workshops and courses I’m also commissioned to teach classes and courses for other organisations such as Made In Hackney, which is a charity whose mission is to bring plant-based education to wider communities.

Your favourite part of the job?

I love the freedom of being able to choose what jobs I want to do and having the ability to be creative, whether I’m designing a program or workshop, or putting together plant-based snacks and treats in the kitchen. I love being able to teach a class one day and run a pop-up event the next. I also love sharing my story and journey with others in hope that I can inspire them to take the necessary steps towards starting their own journeys. In essence, I love my job!

…and the part you could do without?

Admin. I worked for many years as an administrator so I really could do without this part. The other thing would have to be social media engagement as that’s a job within itself!

How would your staff and/or clients describe you in three words?

Passionate about health 🙂

Plans for the future?

I’m planning to write a book about my journey which I hope will serve as a wellness guide to inspire others to become the CEO of their own health and wellbeing. My other passion is collaborations, so partnering with other like-minded businesses to create opportunities and events to further spread the message of wellness.

Finally, I’d love to complete my masters degree in Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing. So there is a lot on my to do list at present.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Working for yourself comes with a whole host of challenges, especially if you’re starting from the ground up as you’re responsible for just about everything. But don’t be put off – it can be very rewarding too.

A business plan is a good place to start as you’ll have something to refer to and revisit as your business grows. A mentor can also be an asset as they can help you stay on track and support you along the way.

Finally and most importantly, make sure you’re passionate about whatever you choose to do. That way you’ll have a reason to get up each day and put in the hours. Let your passion be your driving force.

Posted by:Carly Lewis-Oduntan

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