Giving a Voice to the Health & Wellness Community in Vancouver
When we first contacted EHF Vancouver (Entrepreneurs in Health & Fitness), we were intrigued by not only the community they are building, but the branding and the person behind it. It's funny, because we want to expand our interviews to include men and we thought we were contacting a guy because the branding looks more masculine-inclined. Funnily enough, when we reached out to EHF, a woman named Nadya responded. She later explained how happy she was to hear this as it was her goal to get men involved and feel comfortable right away.
When it came time to sitting down together, in walked in this vibrant and lively woman who enjoys laughing at herself and making jokes. Instantly, their was a friendship and a sense of comraderie over brand perosonality-building and creating connections with entrepreneurs. If you haven't yet met Nadya Pecherskaya, you will want to know her after this interview as she's giving her community (of men and women) a voice and her enthusiasm is infectious.
1. What made you want to form EHF Vancouver?
Well a little bit about my background: I am a self-employed Nutritionist and have been working for the past 3 years in Toronto and Ottawa. When I moved here, it was just me. I wanted to meet people, but found there was a lack of community in the wellness industry. So when I finally moved to Vancouver, which was always a dream of mine, I was so excited to get out and meet interesting people (like Danielle Wiebe of VCBB). I’d been actively searching to connect and collaborate with like-minded people. I would find some here and there, but not a group in my industry. After being here for 4 months, the idea came along that perhaps I should create it. The more I researched, I thought about “What events do I want to go to? What do I want to see? Education and community.” I’m the demographic of my ideal community. I felt there was a lack of business education in our wellness schools and I wondered “Where else can you learn business alongside training in health-related fields?” (I have BComm in Finance) There was such a big gap, so I formed the group in June 2016 with the goal to combine business coaching/collaboration and health and wellness community.
2. What are your plans for business growth?
Working as a nutritionist for the past 3 years, the community doesn’t have much of a voice. Our health system is controlled by big corporations and government. The laws are super out-dated. It’s very frustrating for the health community to constantly go against this grain. (Canada’s food guide is based on the economy of the country and not necessarily on people’s health). I find there’s a lot of forward thinking entrepreneurs in Canada. The end goal is to give a nation-wide voice to the wellness industry.
Smaller goals: With the help of the community and business education, we can help on the local level for individual businesses to succeed. The more we have success, the more “power” we have.
3. From a marketing perspective, what do you want your website to do for EHF?
To list events and for members to blog and gain more exposure. I’m working with a local guy for SEO. We just launched our website to support growth of our communities on Facebook, Instagram.
For business growth, I’m relying on personal connections and word of mouth to grow EHF for now. I think to grow nationally, I will rely on those connections. I want to have nation-wide network that’s very focused on local businesses. First, I want to prove the concept in downtown Vancouver, then Fraser Valley and Squamish. So I can test those areas before expanding to other cities like, Toronto and Ottawa. I need to make sure there’s an actual need in the market and that I can deliver the value first. Then, I’ll know how to deliver the value to the rest of the community.
4. What is your hope for wellness entrepreneurs to find in their collaboration (granular level)?
I hope they can find they have a support system. That they have people who’ll have their backs, who can also collaborate with them. To know they can rely on other people to help their business grow and gain exposure.
5. Do you have any recommendations for those looking to begin a career in health and wellness?
First of all, you have to put yourself out there. A lot of people come out of training and think the clients will come. You must tell everyone you are looking for clients. You need to practice as much as possible, despite the price so you feel very confident for when you get the full-paying client. You need to feel like you can deliver 100% value and your clients can feel it. Don’t be afraid to fail. That’s why we have this community. To share ‘failing’ stories so you know you’re not alone, but on a road to success.
Perhaps start with a part-time job to be financially secure. So you don’t feel pressure to give up quickly if you have setbacks.
6. Do you plan to monetize EHF if this is taking so much of your time?
Since I want it to grow and become a “larger-than-me-network” I can’t continue to work on it by myself and need people to help me. I have very supportive friends in the community that have been helping me to far. With that being said, if I want to move forward, I need to extend help to website developers, lawyers, social media management, etc. I do need to pay them and myself. I plan to monetize it, so I can continue this for the community. There are a few different channels we are working on and one being the membership platform and the second being the sponsorship program. In the future, we’d like to collaborate with other business as affiliates. But right now, we’re focusing on membership and sponsorship. We are launching these in January! I’m so excited!
7. What’s a day in the life for Nadya?
For the week: it’s usually scheduled ahead. I try to schedule my week on Sunday. I make the heaviest days Monday-Thursday and try to make Friday so it’s a little easier on me. I schedule meetings I enjoy the most on Saturday and Sundays.
In the morning, the first thing I do is get up make myself tea and open Facebook (trying to break a that habit, definitely a no-no). It’s super overwhelming first thing in the morning (laughing at herself). I usually have meetings throughout the day. A lot of times, I’m busy attending network events at night. Like Vancity Business Babes or charity fitness classes. There’s always something happening that I try to attend. I’m new to the city and I feel the pressure to know the city better and get to know the community. Oh, and Tuesday is my office day where I focus on my nutrition business and see my clients. I’m finding it increasingly difficult because I’m focusing so much on EHF. However, I’ve been loving it because I just love connecting with like-minded people.