My new life as a business woman
So less than three months ago I quit my job as a doctor. I had no back up plan. I also had no desire or intention of working or going back to traditional medicine in the near future.
I did however have huge dreams on my heart that had been slowly cultivating over the last 24 months.
I have seen chronic disease ravage people’s lives. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain abounded. A lot of it, I knew could be prevented with what we put into our mouths.
Within a month of quitting my job we had launched our plant based food business ‘Dr’s orders’ as a part of my Holistic Website “The Healthy Hiccup.”
I firmly believe that Food is medicine.
Both are based on the belief that what we eat is the most powerful tool we have to promoting our health.
Knowing this I am determined to empower people with knowledge and the tools to change their lives rather than treat the symptoms of chronic disease with pharmacology and pills. I yearn to inspire my patients and readers and illustrate that changing one’s diet and lifestyle is so completely achievable. It is within everyone’s reach. That way we could put out the source of the fire rather than just control the flames. I have huge dreams of how to achieve this. One of them is to build an international platform for holistic health. I desire to be a voice of insight regarding nutritional knowledge, a voice of transparency about my own journey, as well as a source of practical information regarding recipes, cooking and lifestyle changes.
After I stopped working I knew that now was a time to turn my dreaming into a reality.
Starting my business
I was walking with my husband one day and I had an idea which I was convinced was from God. “Healthy food for Busy people.” What if I, the doctor, designed plant-based, nutrient packed meals, precooked and ready to eat, each week for people. I would introduce them to healthy food, with local ingredients that would taste delicious. I would call it “Dr’s Orders.” I could change people’s tastebuds and illustrate that healthy food can actually change your life. Once the business idea was off the ground it could contribute to providing a platform to create workshops, health seminars, cooking classes, health retreats, and recipe books. The sky was the limit.
From Inside thoughts to Planning for Action
Going from a ‘great idea’ to an actual business was the part where I faltered. However, God provided us with the right people at the right time every step of the way. It has been so supernatural how it has all happened.
We have never owned a business. Seriously Mark and I are so green and new at this it is almost comical. Every step of the way has been a miracle of the blessing of God and His kindness to us. Every step of the way we have been overwhelmed at the generosity and open heartedness of our friends, family, and community around us.
As I had quit my job out of the blue with no savings I had to enter a whole new world of faith and walking in the provision of the Father. Due to my job security as a Doctor, it was new for us to not have a steady reliable income. On top of that, starting a business with no savings or promise of steady future income was a whole new ball game for me especially. The provision of God, so far has been so opulent it is overwhelming. He has provided so lavishly that it makes me cry even as I write this.
First of all my close girlfriend Steph built me a website for my business Dr’s Orders and for my international health platform called The Healthy Hiccup. The website blew my mind. It took all the ideas out of my head and expressed them in the most beautiful, creative, clean and classy way. It made me cry with joy. Steph took my dream as if it were hers and made it a reality. She worked with me to create an eBook. She spent days, weeks even of her time and didn’t charge me a cent. She told me that she felt like what I had to say was worth investing in. She did it out of love for me and a belief in my destiny.
It overwhelms me to just write about it.
Mark’s brother Joe has run a successful business for years. He sat down with us and listened to our business ideas. He then set up an excel spreadsheet and business plan and took us through it. We had never even opened excel in our life. It was life changing. I don’t even want to get into what our business would have been like without this. We would have been drowning from the very beginning.
The week prior to starting, our beloved friends Sylvia and Rob gifted me a thermomix. Yes you read correctly. They gave me a thermomix! People, I have dreamt for years about owning a thermomix. You have no idea how much this meant to me. It was like a sweet kiss from Jesus. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, Rob told us that the Lord had told him to make us a couch and a dining table. Both of which we desired and told each other we wanted, but at the time could not financially afford. We hadn’t told a soul besides each other. But God knew and Rob was listening to his Father.
We started our business a month after we had the idea and in week one we had 11 customers!! Most were complete strangers except for our incredible friends Kara and Stu, Samantha and Graham who were among our first customers that first week. They ordered two lots of meals pouring their finances into our dreams.
As we had limited funds to start and did not want to go into debt we were determined to use what we had. I had one pot (which was not very big), one knife (five years old) which I had stolen from Mark’s parents when I moved to Darwin. We bought a rice cooker and a big fry pan which we determined were the bare essentials.
The second week we had 17 customers. Money was starting to come in, however as we had never owned a business Mark had no idea how to pay me! How much needed to go to tax? Or super? Or overheads? We had no idea. That day on our walk we prayed for a financial advisor. Someone to teach us. Our close friend Naomi’s father happened to be visiting that weekend from NSW. He offered to sit down with Mark. In four hours he taught Mark what would have taken us years to learn. He took our excel and made it do things we didn’t even know were possible. He equipped Mark like he would his own son.
By one month into business we had 23 regular customers. Money was still tight. I was still cooking on the same pots I used for Mark and myself. I was still using the same knife. Cooking 150 meals in two days with one blunt knife was certainly perfecting patience in me. My beloved friends Caleb and Chloe secretly went out and bought me my dream knife set. Not just one knife but a whole set. They also splurged on things that I didn’t need but wanted. As if that wasn’t enough she gave me all her pots and pans. The girl has been on MasterChef. She has destiny to start and run her own cooking business. Her equipment was legit! And yet she gave it all to me. She chose at this time to serve my dream and vision over her own.
Now we have 30 regular customers in just 5 weeks. This was our aim when we launched!
The love and generosity of my friends and the love and generosity of Jesus is astounding.
Then for the cherry on top. My sister happened to move from Brisbane too, three doors down. She took over my photography and Instagram. She helped me with groceries, organised my kitchen, helped with packaging and everything else in between. My brother in law Jake would run from his house to help me lift boxes of groceries inside. The day they arrived they subscribed to my business. Their presence is a sweet gift from Jesus.
I could go on and on about the opulent provision of the Father in a season where Mark and I were so vulnerable and new.
I continue to use the word overwhelming because we are genuinely so very overwhelmed.
Lessons I am learning
I am learning that willingness to learn and to be transparent is a key to success
There is a slight temptation to pretend that we had it all together. To “fake it till we make it”. However, we have been overwhelmed by the way people are so eager to teach and share if you just ask and stay humble. You are not defined by what you do, so reach out!
I am learning that ‘we are better together’
Rather than compare or compete, I have been so blessed by the way other business owners, friends and family have been so willing to pour their wisdom, resources and finances into my business. Instead of having a mindset of competition or feeling threatened, people have been so willing to work and collaborate together. This has been powerful. Among us, some of us have great contacts, others have great marketing skills, others have more resources, and others are better with media, still others are killing it at finance and administration. If we all use our gifting to benefit each other it is incredible what we can all achieve in collaboration!
I am learning that business is constant
It is non-stop. It is personal. You wear your heart on your sleeve. There is no one else except yourself to blame if something does not come good. All the business owners know what I’m talking about. All the employees, have some mercy! And because it is so constant, make sure it is something you really love to do so that it rarely even feels like work!
I am learning to enjoy the process
In medicine it was ingrained in me to reach the end point. Get into medicine, then get through medicine, then get through internship, get into a specialty. The list goes on. With this mindset I feel like I lost the ability to enjoy the process in an effort to achieve the destination.
I am learning that the process is just as important than the destination.
I am learning to relish humble beginnings, and to enjoy the lessons along the way. Cherish the moments. Take every opportunity to learn and be grateful.
I am learning to put people and passion first and Business Second
At the end of the day I know that I am doing this because I want people to live healthy, empowered lives. Hence changing lives is my priority, and business comes second to people. Having this mindset makes everything worthwhile. If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.
I am learning that people are kind
I have been so touched with the support and kindness of everyone of my Dr’s orders tribe so far. People’s support, and willingness to overlook mistakes have touched Mark and I deeply. People really are generally full of grace and kindness when you just have a go!
Dreams for the future
I have so many dreams on my heart. I truly believe that ‘The Healthy Hiccup’ will become an international success. I believe it will be a voice of holistic wellness, inspirational writing, nutritional information, recipes and health retreats. I believe that it will be a place where women can be real and inspired.
I believe that Dr’s Orders will become a well-known and well-loved business all over Australia and perhaps the world where people are nourished mind, body and soul. I believe it with all my heart.
Because I believe this I wanted to document from the beginning the story of how it began.
The little brown doctor, who quit her job and started a cooking business with one knife and one big pot. Who started writing articles on her own at her desk that nobody asked for and only a handful of people read. I wanted to document the business that a community of people saw before it began and sowed into with their time, money, and lives. I wanted to write about the business that was birthed from a God given idea and provided for miraculously every step of the way.
From humble beginnings to international success
We dared to believe that we heard His voice and that He would provide people, money, finance and influence. My success will have everything to do my Father and will be a reflection of the way He loves to bless and honour His children.
What dreams has He put on your heart?
I thank each and every one of you for believing in me.
You’re deeply loved and richly cherished
The Healthy Hiccup