#72 From Homegrown to Healthcare Hub: A Naturopathic Doctors Journey to Scaling

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Dive into the latest podcast episode where Dr. Aalia Avelin shares her incredible journey from nursing to naturopathic medicine. Join the conversation as she unfolds her path to becoming a licensed naturopathic physician, the founder of Kundalini Mastery, and the force behind the Radiant Skin Method.

Key Takeaways:

•From Witnessing Flaws to Finding Solutions: Dr. Avelin’s personal experience and training unveiled the limitations of traditional medicine, leading her to discover the transformative power of naturopathic medicine.

•Overcoming Fear and Embracing Alignment: Opening her own practice wasn’t without its challenges. However, trusting the signs and embracing a growth mindset allowed her to overcome fears and achieve success.

•Networking and Building Trust: Effective communication and building relationships within the community were crucial for spreading the word about her practice and attracting patients.

•Delegation and Empowering Your Team: Creating a strong team with the right values and skills enabled Dr. Avelin to delegate, take time off, and ensure the smooth operation of her practice.

•Clear Plan with Openness to Possibilities: Balancing a well-defined vision with adaptability to unforeseen opportunities and guidance is essential for navigating the journey towards your goals.

 

Transcript:

 Hello and welcome to today’s episode where I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Aalia Avelin, who is a licensed naturopathic physician and co owner and operator of AW Health Institute. Alia graduated from SCNM in 2020 with her doctorate in naturopathic medicine, founder of Kundalini Mastery and the founder of the Radiant Skin Method, Alia has a rigorous training of four years fully accredited in medical school.

She also has 10 years of experience as a Kundalini Yoga instructor and has training further in hypnosis. is a Reggie Level 1 Certified Practitioner and is here to share her tips and strategies with her career, how it’s evolved, and what’s been working for her in her business. Welcome Aalia! I am so interested to see how your career has developed.

You’ve gone from being a kundalini yoga instructor, I see that you’ve got this amazing radiant skin method as well, plus now, Under your belt, having your doctorate in naturopathic medicine, how did it all start for you? Hi Amita, thank you so much for having me on the show. You are awesome in everything you do and everything I’ve heard on your podcast thus far.

So it’s such an honor to be here. Thank you. My journey had gotten started essentially when I was quite young, I would say maybe like 10 or 12 years ago. I discovered in nursing school that something was off in the program that I was learning, as well as the health care system. I saw that there was a broken system because somebody close to me, my mother, was experiencing worsening health and worsening of symptoms despite her being fully covered by health care and having some of the best insurance.

She just kept getting sicker. And during this time of discovery, I was actually all. Also training to be a kundalini yoga instructor. So it kind of all happened at once, you know, how we’re just very multifactorial is this life that we live, right? And, um, in hindsight, it made sense as this transformation was going on of becoming a kundalini yogi, becoming, uh, dedicated to my self practice and then dedicated to my mom’s health all at the same time.

So I saw her getting sicker and sicker and I had come across. In nursing school, another program called naturopathic medicine. And I had no idea it even existed, but the second I heard about it, it resonated entirely. Why? Because I saw a doctor who cured his own Lyme disease with a raw food diet and he shared his testimony and that testimony sat in my heart and I said, there’s got to be something not right with my only a youthful 40 year old mom on 15 medications and still getting sicker and sicker.

So that allowed me to open my eyes and I transitioned by from schools from nursing to naturopathic undergrad. There was an undergrad program near me in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Went to that undergrad program in not pre med but pre naturopathic medicine. So essentially everything pre med, but you get, I had gotten these classes such as, um, nutrition, dietary strategies, healthcare management.

Um, so I could see not only how to learn the basics of pre med, but also these extras that really supplemented and complimented the naturopathic understanding, knowledge, and lifestyle. Yeah. So I love that. I love the program. It was incredibly beneficial. It was exciting. I felt very aligned because this is what I’ve always wanted.

I’ve always wanted to be a healer, to address health care in this way that now is in a model that makes sense. And once I made the transition, I feel like my life had blossomed. Um, Kundalini yoga practice was taking off. My education and, and, um, desire to look at different medical schools for naturopathic medicine was taking off.

So I got accepted into medical school. I just took my daughter and everything I owned, put it in my car and drove across country and came to Arizona in the US. Well, here I am and yeah, I’ve been practicing for over three years now and have my own practice, my own clinic. We have four other, four doctors total working with us.

I love it. I love being a business owner and I also love being a doctor. Yeah. And it’s always interesting to hear, um, you know, as, as practitioners within the health and the natural healthcare industry more specifically, how often it is that we’ve got that personal experience that draws us to wanting to further our career in natural medicine and find alternatives or complimentary, um, Medicine that can sit alongside your traditional Western medicine for you, you’ve had your mom that was, um, you know, a big trigger for you to try and follow this path for you.

Now it’s taken to opening up your own practice and having four other practitioners there. That’s fantastic for you doing that earlier. What has been the biggest challenge in opening up that practice? You know, the biggest challenge I would say would be my own mental blocks and maybe periods of lack of faith.

Is this going to work? Are we going to be able to do this? You know, I started this practice. Out of the comfort of my own home because I was blessed to have started during the virtual uproar where, you know, zoom became so popular virtual appointments, all of the restrictions of having to see your patients in person were lifted for COVID.

So it was truly a blessing for me and I was like, okay, let me start low overhead in my own home and see my patients virtually, which was amazing because me and my partner. We’re both practicing. So we had our own separate room to see patients in and then our own separate room to see virtual patients in and that was it.

And having that comfort lasted about two years. We were satisfied. We were staying humble and everybody loved it. All of our patients loved it, even when they came in person. Yeah. And it was time then after two years, we were like, okay, we’re starting to get heavy traffic here and our outdoor porch can no longer be our waiting room.

This isn’t working. Yeah. Talk about started from the bottom right started from the living room. Yeah. And, uh, it was, you know, not, not something I like to brag about, but it worked well and our patients loved it. They felt at home, they can get any snack they wanted. We can cook them, we can brew them tea or coffee.

And they’re like, Oh, this feels like our home. This is beautiful. So anyway, it was time to make the jump and the jump was. Let’s get a five room clinic. This is big. Yeah. And we had, um, found the perfect place, a little outdated. So we were a little hesitant. And then before we know it, the perfect place that we found, which was just a block north from our house had gone off the market.

And we were like, Oh, I guess we’ve got to keep looking. We can’t put all of our eggs and hopes in one basket. And a couple months later. It came back on the market and I found it immediately. And I was like, okay, it’s time. We’ve got to jump on this. Turns out they took it off the market so that you can renovate it and they can put everything in place for us.

It felt like God’s hands, you know, just. Yeah, it’s all renovated. It’s all perfect for you. And then in that moment, I know that when we’re making big jumps and there’s fear, fear is one resistance, right? It’s our own personal fear. Like I was talking about earlier, that was the biggest challenge is getting past that.

But when we have clear signs that God is working in our life in a way where he’s kind of setting it up for us. You know, he’s renovated the building for us. He even dropped the price down back to the original cost before it was renovated for us. Right. We, we negotiated and everything was working out for us.

And when we see things in alignment like that, that’s a clear yes to me. Like, yeah, get past the fears. There is light on the other side and it is time to open up the space to allow in abundance. And we’ve got to open that door. We’ve got to just not know what’s on the other side and just trust. Yeah. And so that was a huge lesson for me getting past that fear.

Yeah. And you’re right, you know, I think that as business owners, um, especially within healthcare. I know that, you know, when I opened up my first naturopathic clinic, I had the same fears. Um, my business started with a health food store and a naturopathic clinic. And I, you know, I remember those thoughts.

No, I’m not good enough. I can’t do this. I don’t know enough. I need more experience. And you keep telling yourself these things yet. Like you said, when there’s alignment, the property shows itself, or you have the perfect opportunity of finances coming in or, you know, everything just starts to lead the way that says.

You need to get over the fear, work through that and take that step and the patients show up, you know, they come with that open, that, that surrendering and that opening of like, this is going to work. And no, we didn’t take out any loans for this place. We have been just building from the bottom and any.

Extra income or capital we made in our practice, we put it right back in and we just keep rolling it over. And I’m still just baffled that we haven’t because from where we were just a little over three years ago to now is. It’s a beautiful thing and it doesn’t always look like the typical, okay, you’re going to start a business, take out a loan or take out some kind of, um, your savings, personal, whatever it looks, we just didn’t have to, we, we did have, um, a decent amount of inflow of patients to where it could cover our basis and more.

Yeah. And, you know, I think talking about finances as well, I think that’s really important. Um, because, you know, when you’re starting off in business, it can be a huge risk and a huge stress to have to take out a loan, um, if that’s how you have to start your business. And if there’s opportunity of being able to actually build that capital behind you and do it that way.

Definitely can lessen the stress and the fear factor and allow you to take that opportunity. So you were definitely lucky in being able to do that without worrying about the extra burden of alone. That’s right. Um, Leah, I wanted to ask you, going into that, opening your doors and seeing that influx of patients come to you, what, in terms of the initial strategy for getting your name out there, letting people know that you existed, what did that look like?

What did you do? Right. Well, people don’t know we’re here unless we tell them. And so we’ve got to tell them somehow. Uh, we could have the best services, the best healthcare options, best prices, which we were pretty competitive, I must say. And if people don’t know about it, they’re not going to show up. So what we had done is really utilized.

Our, our mentor and really who originally started this practice in Mexico was my partner, Dr. Maxwell, Alan Maxwell’s father, Dr. Kurt Maxwell. And he put in a lot of the grit for us as far as his following because he provided such great service, such great pain relief, naturally rebuilding joints, getting people out of chronic pain, and that spreads like wildfire.

So it’s word of mouth. We saw how successful it was with him. So we decided let’s continue that model. Let’s continue word of mouth. And how do we do that? We’ve just got to start linking up with people local to where our practice started with opened, which is three hours from where his dad’s practice had originally started 30 years ago in 1996, essentially.

So almost 30 years ago. Yeah. So if that’s the case, how do we connect with people? We joined every networking group we could. We joined a local one in Tempe. We joined a local one in just about 20 minutes from us in Scottsdale. We checked out something here in America called the Chamber of Commerce, where it’s like just a huge Each city or town has one.

It’s a huge network of different resources for business owners, etc. And so we had joined that as well and just got our word out. And all it takes is a getting some really good results with a couple of people and proving our authority, our knowledge. The fact that we run on almost 30 years of trialed and tested protocols, we’ve got all of that.

We’re locked and loaded and we just Did this networking group and, uh, for, to get the word out, essentially, that’s what we did. Um, our local following is growing and it’s, it’s worked out very, very well. And then that rolls over into our really good Google reviews. And I know you’re really familiar with the Google SEO and I listened to your podcast, keeping it updated.

Check it, you know, keeping it going. And so I was like, okay, let’s add another photo. Let’s add things here. Yeah. What has really surged our Google, um, what do they call it? Google inquiries or I think, you know, hits from Google essentially have been the reviews. So if there’s a happy patient, then have them share immediately when they’re, when they’re feeling really good, when they’re feeling happy.

So that, that was helpful. Yeah, definitely. I think, um, you know, today when we are so much more, um, focused on digital, um, tools like that, having your Google reviews, being really active with that, um, and getting everyone into the habit of asking for those reviews or having a process in place where that’s just a natural progression for patients.

Um, you know, it simplifies it and it does the work for you in the background. But like you said, you know, Coming back to the networking aspect, you can’t be the world’s best, best kept secret, right? You need to be able to get out and talk to people and networking. Definitely. I know for so many healthcare practitioners and business owners in general, including myself, that that’s always worked really well of just having an open conversation about what it is you do, who you work with, and People start to remember that and share that information with people that they meet in their lives.

That’s right. Yeah. And that’s the most beautiful part about word of mouth is that they are, people are hearing it from people they trust. And people are, they’re almost, it’s, it’s, it’s own filtration system for us. So. Hmm. They’re sharing their experience and they’re saying, Hey, just bring more money than a copay because we are a cash based practice and then they’re prepared and we are getting the people who are either financially ready to make a decision for prevention or to get better.

But also the people who may not be financially well off to afford, you know, more than a copay. Yeah. And. Also are willing to do what it takes to get the cash, to take it out of the savings, to make it work because it’s so effective. And that’s important. It’s putting our money where for our health is very important and also, um, putting it somewhere where we know it’s going to show results.

Exactly. Yes, definitely. And Being, having the business now for, um, just over three years and having the physical premises now that you’ve got with the other doctors there, what has been your biggest win so far? Oh, biggest win. You know, I feel like I’ve come such a far way with delegation to my people, my team that I work with, and I have a tendency towards leaning towards doing everything on my own and asking for help and a huge win has been able to delegate and train my team to a way where I can literally take a month off right now and I trust my team to operate this facility, which is a beautiful thing.

I trust the other doctors with my patients. I trust the my front desk to work with and do all of our. All of the things accounting and keeping and it’s just, I think that’s a huge win to have such a beautiful team that I trust that are well trained, integrous, and that’s the building blocks of a practice.

So that’s a huge win for me. And. It’s the, it’s the bones. It’s the bones of the practice. And I want my team to be, to continue to be happy and to feel like they want to come to work. And they also can take time off if they ever need. And I, it’s always about open communication. And, you know, we’re all adults here.

There’s no. There’s no limited time that my, my team can take off. They can, they’re always welcome to communicate if they need time. And that’s, I think a very different, um, approach to business rather than, you know, the two weeks PTO or this amount of time. Like it’s, it’s open and everybody loves to work here.

So they don’t ever abuse it, which is really nice. Which is great. So yeah, I feel like the team acquiring the team has been a big win and, you know, talking about team and it is the foundation because it holds the business together. And if you can get the right people to be with you as part of that foundation, it means that they’re like you said, they’re happy.

It means that your patients are happy. They’re well looked after. Forms this beautiful ecosystem for you in that process of, um, getting that right team. Cause I think that that’s often the biggest struggle for a lot of business owners is how do you go about choosing the right team? How did you approach that?

So we. It’s so interesting as far as the team of doctors, we have had exposure to a lot of our colleagues that we could see ourselves working with. So we’ve hosted a retreat before because I am a yoga instructor and, and we’ve, um, wanted to promote health in different ways. So retreats have been one of our desired ways of doing that.

And at that time we had to acquire a team and so we just kind of scanned our group of colleagues and to see what are the things and qualities that are really. Just innate to most people that we can’t really be trained. So there’s things that people can be trained in. And there’s things that there’s qualities that people just have naturally.

And we looked for qualities of just very easygoing people, uh, dedicated or people are easily trainable also, which is a great, but not everybody has it honest, integrous and the really heart center. We had a colleague, um, Dr. Libby, that we just hired her a month or two ago, and she, our only exposure was actually working with her at a retreat.

And when you get to work with somebody for four days straight, waking and sleeping and setting up and taking down all of these. Different aspects of the retreat, then we were able to see, okay, this is how this person operates. And so really like a working interview is what it was. And we knew we wanted to work with her ever since.

And so our front desk, she had actually just come through the networking group. Okay. The networking group owner had contacted us and said, Hey. And she’s not even part of the networking group. She was just this guy’s neighbor. And we were like, okay, let’s invite her out lunch. She’s extremely experienced.

She’s opened up and operated plenty of dental offices. And she wants to work a naturopath. I was like, well, this seems divine because we don’t know what we’re doing. And we would love to hire somebody who does. And this is about a year ago. And so we went out to lunch with her. And again, it’s like a. Part one of the interview, I would say, is having lunch with somebody and then asking the right questions, seeing where people’s head and heart are at.

And then again, having her work for us just kind of month by month to see how it worked. And it worked out beautifully. She was able to implement systems that were missing, um, account for things that we had missed, and she has been such a critical moving piece in our practice and we’re, we’re more than grateful.

So how to acquire the team partially. Getting clear on what that team would look like. And we were very clear on having a heart centered, loving, um, flexible, easy team that’s trainable and very hard workers, but also love to have fun. And, and we surely did attract that and we didn’t let a moment go by before we snatched them and we’re like, yep, you’re coming with us.

I think, you know, you did hit the nail on the head when you said that they. They need to align with what you feel is important in terms of your values and being able to spend four days with somebody working alongside them first before you approach them about working further and continuing that relationship.

I think that that’s, you know. An amazing opportunity because you really do get to know people and understand what works for them, if that works for you and where their alignment really is. Um, I like the fact that you mentioned trainable because I’ve been interviewing a few people and that’s something that’s been common, you know.

Being having people that are open to learning and wanting to grow their skills yet bring their experience along with them. Um, it definitely makes for a good foundation. Um, and earlier before I agree. And, yeah. Um, yeah. Uh, before we go earlier, I just wanted to ask you for. Our listeners out there that are listening today to you and your journey and are thinking about doing a similar thing, opening up their own practice.

What would be your last pearl of wisdom that you’d like to leave them with? I have a delicate balance of a clear plan and where you want to go and openness to allowing in whatever it’s going to take to get there. And Listening to kind of the flow of where you’re being guided. Um, we may be guided away from that final plan.

Uh, we may be guided there to our final plan even sooner than we could ever imagine. So, truly having the openness and also the discipline to get there. Believe in yourself, definitely, and hire people that know more than you, if you can, because it will be greatly beneficial. I mean, hire either a mentor, Greater than you that has done it before a mentor, ideally have a mentor.

You don’t even have to hire a mentor and just the best to already just use what already other people have already done and make it either work better or, or just follow their path and be open to whatever other things come onto your path. And. Have a good team. Definitely have a good team. Don’t do it alone.

Just make a team, make it a family and treat your patients like family because that’s just what people want. They want to feel connected to you. They want to have somebody they trust and somebody who takes Quality time with them to really hear their concerns. And so those will be my few tips that I have left you.

Thank you, Leah. I think every one of them has real importance and significance when starting up. So thank you for being so open with sharing that. Um, and thank you again for being here today and sharing your journey with all our listeners. And I know that they will get a lot of value from caring. How easy it is when everything is in alignment.

Right. Right. Yeah. Make sure that inner world is in alignment and truly everything else will come into play for us. I mean, everything is working out for us for sure. So thank you so much.

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