While I was starting SO Many Words, I realized that there were quite a few people in my network, tribe and Facebook circle who had paved the way before me. These people - former classmates, teammates, neighbors - had followed their dreams and ideas and started their own business. In the spirit of inspiring and standing on the shoulders of giants, I am happy to present SO Many Words' "Start-up Spotlight" series. Start-ups don't have to be tech-related; start-ups are young businesses that are, well, starting up!
I'd like to kick off this series with a Q&A with Anneliese Pyatt, founder of Wildflower Family Wellness, yoga instructor and a childhood friend of mine. She's a Bellevue, WA native who started her business in Colorado where she lived for 10 years before moving back to the Seattle area recently. I was interested in how Anneliese started her business and what challenges she overcame during the start-up process. In this interview, she talks about her inspiration, authenticity, the most rewarding aspects of being a nutrition therapist and her favorite meal.
Let’s start with you – who are you, where are you from, what is your background?
My name is Anneliese Pyatt, and I’m from Bellevue, WA. I’ve lived in Colorado for the last 10 years but am in the process of moving back to Seattle with my fiancé and our dog. I am a certified Master Nutrition Therapist and yoga instructor. My practice is called Wildflower Family Wellness and I specialize in supporting digestive health, immune response, allergies and inflammation.
Describe the road from International Relations to Nutrition Therapy? (Note: Anneliese earned a university degree in International Relations.)
The underlying motive for me has always been empowering others to take control of their wellbeing. In college, I loved reading the newspaper and talking about political theory, so International Studies was a natural fit. After spending my junior year living in Cape Town, South Africa, I became slightly jaded by the seemingly low success rate of western organizations/nonprofits working abroad. I came to the realization that change has to occur “by the people and for the people." After college, I moved to Boulder and by way of acupuncture, energy healers and finally a nutritionist, was called to study holistic nutrition myself. It felt like the most encompassing tool I could access that would support my own journey, and empower others to advocate for their health.
What is Wildflower Family Wellness and how did it come into being?
I developed Wildflower Family Wellness during my first year at Nutrition Therapy Institute (NTI). I was working on a case study and creating some preliminary forms for a private practice. I knew I wanted to work with parents and kids eventually and so the term ‘family’ felt really relevant. Wildflower evokes a sense of fortitude, in being able to grow and thrive in even the harshest conditions, so the name just made sense. What’s funny is that soon after graduating, it became clear that I could speak so much more personally to digestive wellness, as I had had years of personal experience with it. My hope and belief is that after I have kids of my own I’ll redesign my practice to focus on physical and behavioral imbalances in kids, but for now I’m sticking to what I know, which is inflammatory conditions related to the health of the gut.
What inspired you to start your own business? Was it something you always wanted to do, or an idea you had after a specific event, experience or interaction?
To be totally honest, I’ve always had a bit of an issue with authority, so the idea of having freedom of time was a hugely motivating factor for me in choosing a career path. Upon enrolling at NTI, I knew that starting my own practice was what I wanted. The creative options felt limitless and I loved thinking about how I was going to practically apply what I was learning to my business.
Where does your daily inspiration come from?
So much of the body’s ability to heal holistically is rooted in trust. The same goes for taking a leap like opening your own business. Teaching and practicing yoga serves as a daily reminder to hold the vision and trust the process – both in my personal and professional lives. I’ve noticed in my business that the times when creativity and inspiration are running high, more clients are coming in. When I’m stuck, business suffers. It’s a very energetic relationship. This quote has also given me the motivation to change the things that aren’t working – even if that means diving back into the unknown: “Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” –Chris Brogan
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the start-up process?
To be honest, it still feels like I’m in the start-up phase. I think that most schools that focus on the healing arts, churn out really passionate and committed individuals who want to share their gifts with the world, but have been given very little practical business training. I went to school to become a nutrition therapist, and in that sense I succeeded; I didn’t go to school to learn how to run a business, so it has been a challenge to learn that on the fly. I’m lucky to have incredible support from my partner (also an entrepreneur) and some powerful female influences in my community.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting and running Wildflower Family Wellness?
I have clients who have been told by their doctors or gastroenterologists that there’s nothing wrong with them, but whose lives are being impacted daily by discomfort or pain. It’s incredibly rewarding to come at the issue from a different perspective than what a doctor will typically offer and get a client to see results. Hearing about the successes of my clients, whether it’s no more pain after eating, or reduced seasonal allergy symptoms, or better sleep and more energy, are very tangible affirmations that my career is supportive of my overarching goals as a human.
As a business owner, how do you make time for yourself? And do you think making time for yourself is important to a successful business?
Absolutely. Again, when my energy is right, business feels more easeful and is certainly more lucrative. For me that means managing stress, getting on my mat, and setting aside an evening with friends to kick back.
What advice or tips do you have for someone thinking about starting their own business?
Get comfortable setting both intentions and goals. Get comfortable talking about money. Get really clear on your finances and goals for the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get yourself a support team that you can turn to when you’re questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing. If the purpose isn’t clear, take time for reflection.
And finally, what is your favorite meal and an interesting fact about yourself?
Favorite meal: Grilled wild caught salmon with asparagus, or breakfast burritos, depending on the day.
Interesting fact: I once lived in a teepee for a month working on an organic farm. That’s where I learned that spinach ought to have flavor and egg yolks ought to be orange.
If you're interested in learning more about Anneliese and her business or scheduling a consultation, check out her website or reach out to her at: Anneliese@WildflowerFamilyWellness.com