Welcome to our wāhine in business series - where we interview some incredible women we have been privileged to work with. Maddi Parker is the first up and we're so excited to share her journey with you...
What is your business and how did you get into it at the start?
Live Well is my business, offering a combination of (mostly) Massage Therapy with a side of Naturopathy.
My business has evolved a lot over the last 5 years, starting off with 1:1 natural health consultations working with nutrition, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes to support women with mainly reproductive and menstrual related disorders. To now, predominantly working with Massage Therapy to support a range of people with different ailments including headaches, chronic pain, stress, tightness and overall wellness.
Because of my foundation as a Naturopath, I believe that as a Massage Therapist, I am able to provide a truly holistic therapy with your whole body in mind.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Funnily enough, I never saw it any other way or had many other options.
When I finished my Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine degree, there were very slim pickings of jobs which you could be employed for as a Naturopath. My instagram had gained a little bit of traction over the years sharing my knowledge about the menstrual cycle and women's health, so the next step was offering workshops and 1:1 consultations. I happily did this over a couple of years before falling in love with Massage Therapy.
Because I had laid a lot of groundwork on social media over a few years as a Naturopath, when I had finished my Massage diploma I had the best audience already right in front of me (lots of individuals who already trusted my work and saw value in looking after their body). Thereafter Live Well formed and I have now massaged and met over 500 beautiful humans!
What are some of the obstacles that you have faced and how have you overcome these?
The biggest obstacle I faced was boundaries - particularly with energy separation. When I was solely a Naturopath, I found it very hard separating myself from my client's issues and at times felt like I was experiencing many of the physical ailments people saw me for. I think because I was quite young at the time (21/22) and stepping into a very vulnerable, sharing space for people whilst still trying to figure out who I was as a person - I didn't have the tools in place to protect my own energy.
I noticed this only after a couple of years, and as a result decided to participate in LOTS of counseling and gathering tools to ascertain stronger boundaries within myself. Around this time I started my Massage diploma, and noticed very quickly that Massage gave me this beautiful space where I was able to give to clients without feeling like my boundaries were lacking. Whether it's because there is less verbal communication involved in massage, or whether it's where I was meant to be - regardless the energetic boundary felt so natural and sure enough, Massage ended up taking over and now that has become my main focus!
What advice can you give to other women looking to branch out on their own?
Life is bloody long, why not try all the different things & follow your heart's desire for work? Worst case scenario you'll have to go back to your original day job. Best case scenario, you're generating your own income, you have no one telling you what to do - and you can enjoy longer lunch breaks.
I think for 20 and 30 something-year-olds, it's the consistent income that most people love and are afraid to give up. And fair enough. But I always say, start with it on the side or part time, that way your income isn't completely compromised - and then if it works, jump in!
You yourself are an inspiration to many women, who has inspired you?
Oh thanks Renew Team <3
I am in a book club with six of my close friends. I have known these girls for many years, but there is something different about coming together and discussing our individual thoughts on a topic or a book - it's gives you an insight into how different people really see the world and where they sit in it - I am constantly inspired by alternate ways to see things outside my own lenses (that I would have never thought about before) and learning from the knowledge of them all.
And of course my mum, Leigh. She is one of the most creative, brilliant and strongest women I know. She is always painting something, crafting, making kimchi, or conjuring up her next project. If she can see it in her head, she will make it happen. I can't wait for her to quit her day job, and flip furniture for a living (haha!).
She's my biggest cheerleader, but I'm also hers.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I am one of those people that cannot go without breakfast - for my own sanity and others haha
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am a few weeks away from finishing a Diploma in business accounting (haha!) I fell in love with doing my own bookkeeping over the years, and really want to support small and start up businesses in their finances.
So hopefully in 5 years time I'll be zooming bookkeeping clients; massaging clients as well as spending time in my massive garden & in the chicken coop.
Any other comments about you or your story that will be beneficial to mention?
Sustaining and having your own business is not always easy, and I definitely have days where I wish I had picked an easier road for myself. But whenever I get to take a midday walk; sit in the sun; take a day off because why not; read my book on a Wednesday morning at 10am; and get to pick my own working hours and schedule - I am reminded that these moments make life so much better and that I wouldn't have it any other way! I recommend trying it out if you have an idea :)
Thank you for reading!
We loved being able to share Maddi's story on our blog, and have her as our first guest on our "Wāhine in Business" Series. Starting in business at a young age, and still thriving - now adding new tools to her basket of knowledge - who knows where Maddi will be next.
If you're looking to find her online, click on the below buttons!