Whether you’re an entrepreneur or working in any job for that matter, imagine working and simply doing your job on a daily basis. Then, you have health issues which no doctor can identify and address–until during a scan, the health issue/scare is finally diagnosed.
Within a year and with proper nutrition and a healthy diet, you lose significant weight and ultimately, you’re completely off medications and start a successful business
Sounds like a dream?
No, this is Cassie Solbelton’s journey. Sobelton’s an entrepreneur, author, health and wellness expert and a public speaker. Her health journey led her to start a company focused on providing corporate (and individual) wellness programs.
I recently caught up with Solbelton to discuss her personal health journey, starting a successful corporate wellness company and why it’s important for all of us to be concerned about our health–whether an entrepreneur or not.
Lee: You have an interesting story regarding your personal situation. What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and, in particular, why a keen focus on health and wellness?
I was in the automotive steel industry when I was having major health issues and recurring stomach problems. I went from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out what was going on and was unsuccessful until I ended up in the ER with a ruptured appendix. During the CT scan, found that I had very severe/progressed crohn’s disease.
I was in the hospital for weeks & sent home with a couple dozen pills to take daily (for the rest of my life). I knew nothing about health, but something inside me knew this wasn’t right. I was determined to change my lifestyle, get healthy & reverse my condition. So, I went on a journey: studying health, holistic medicine, nutrition and mind/body/spirit connection – and within 1 year, I was off all my meds, lost 40 pounds & had absolutely no symptoms. I found that everyone around me saw the change & wanted to talk to me about it. I was being requested to meet with 10 people a week & knew I had to make this my next career
Lee: This led you to start your company, SynBella and becoming a speaker and author.
I launched SynBella, a corporate employee wellness provider. We help organizations understand the impact of unhealthy employees on their bottom line & put programs in place to make employees more healthy. And most recently, I have started speaking on health & wellness to large audiences & groups, which is how the book was born. The book summarizes ways to make healthy upgrades in one’s life in an easy & digestible manner.
Lee: Starting out, I’m sure you had challenges. Highlight a couple and share how you overcame them.
Yes!! The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) came into effect shortly after I started my business. It d everyone to death regarding making any changes, including implementing a wellness program for their employees. I overcame this by partnering with benefit brokers to make sure we were compliant & offering services that would not disrupt their situations.
Another is that there has been a surge of wellness providers in the marketplace in the last 5 years. It’s become the new “hot topic” and wellness the new “buzz word” and it took me 2 years and nearly $100,000 to create my own online portal. Subsequently, some of the big companies came in and threw seven figures. We had beautiful portals up and was up and running in 6 months. It was scary!
But, I found the benefit brokers locally that were actually driving the sourcing for wellness programs for employers & partnered with them to help spread the word. I also found a unique niche of doing onsite services locally and offered that in conjunction with our portal as an incentive to use us. As well, I became a WBENC (Woman Business Enterprise) certified company, which many of the auto suppliers especially value.
Lee: What types of products and services do you offer?
Sobelton: We offer a web portal that helps companies aggregate employee health information to understand which areas to focus on. The employee takes an HRA (Health Risk Assessment) & gets Biometric screenings. That data is uploaded into the portal (HIPAA compliant) so the employer can understand what types of health issues are costing them the most money. The corporation can then choose to incentive it’s employees to better their health (in all or specified areas).
We also offer onsite services, such as flu vaccination clinics, annual physicals with physicians, educational lunch & learn presentations on various topics (like nutrition, fitness, stress reduction, etc.), full service health fairs & educational days, onsite fitness/yoga classes, meditation & relaxation classes, etc.
Lee: Entrepreneurs often state they don’t have time for their health. What do you tell them?
Sobelton: “How do you ever find time to shower? Every, single day???? ” – of course, I say this with a smile on my face, and then tell them that we all make time for what is important. Just like making time to shower every day & all the other rituals in our life, health has to be the same.
As well, I like to remind people that being healthy means being productive. One example: When the body is fed the proper foods, neurotransmitters are firing properly in the brain, which makes us more sharp, productive, efficient, as well as improves memory. Another example: meditating every day for 20 minutes will cut the hours of sleep you need & take stress out of your life and you’ll start seeing things from a different perspective, which often leads to great insights and revelations….personally & professionally.
Lee: Now you’re sharing your story in a book. Why did you decide to become an author and what’s your vision for the book?
Sobelton: My vision with the book is to help people learn how to transform their health, one step at a time. Often wellness or nutrition experts are over the top & it seems daunting and overwhelming. I want people to know that one change a week/month/quarter will add up over time & make you healthier. Just like all of our bad habits didn’t form overnight, we can slowly learn how to replace bad habits with good habits without feeling like it’s a burden. It’s actually very easy if approached in this manner.
Lee: What’s been your marketing and communications approach to deliver key messages?
Sobelton: Through SynBella, as well as teaching various courses & speaking on the topic as often as possible. We rely heavily on social media & various speaker’s bureaus.
Lee: What advice would you give to those who wanting to start a business AND starting their health and wellness journey?
Sobelton: Business: Be ready for a loooooong journey! Everything is 100 times harder than it seems. You need to be prepared to not have an income for 5+ years. In addition, the people who surround you must be supportive & encouraging.
Health & wellness: start small. Start where you can. Swap out a few bad habits for a few good habits (trying to stop them all together is much more difficult than a swap out).