When crisis calls, you have two choices.

Fight to survive or leverage and thrive.

It is said that it takes a village to nurture and care for one another. What does it mean for a new business, specializing in wellness, to exist in the time COVID-19? As with any health pandemic, the impact is confounded.

For entrepreneurs Kira Buckley and Portia Andrews of HeyyHealer Holistic Health and Wellness Studio, remaining true to the mission and vision was the only priority. It wasn't a matter of it, but rather, how soon would HeyyHealer shift operations to provide a seamless experience and support for their company. To understand their response to the public health crisis is to know their story.

"Heyy Healer."

No matter the tone you use, speaking those words automatically feels like an invitation or calls for your attention. It can even be a simple affirmation that you have the tools within to initiate your journey of healing. For Buckley, HeyyHealer was both an address to her readers and a unifying hashtag she created in 2015.

Besides the foundation of distinct branding, HeyyHealer has roots as an invitation to share stories and create a community. What started as an e-community soon transitioned to an e-commerce business. It also served as a vehicle for Kira to provide virtual services as a certified herbalist and leverage her extensive background in holistic wellness, nutrition coaching, and life coaching.

While Buckley's entrepreneurial journey dates to 2008, HeyyHealer Holistic Health and Wellness Studio of Desoto, Texas, came to life when she partnered with Andrews. Having been best friends for nearly 10 years, the transition to business partners and co-owners was seamless because of the shared vision and leveraging of individual expertise areas: Buckley with the holistic healing background and Andrews with the business savvy and hometown connection to not only create, but innovate.

Here are some insights for entrepreneurs everywhere on navigating business sustainability and balancing the art of human work:

When it comes to marketing and branding a new business, go with what works, but be clear

Even though the HeyyHealer name organically came about as a hashtag, the name wasn't what Buckley would have imagined when initially thinking about her entrepreneurship journey. But like all start-up companies, visions morph and blossom.

"I was thinking of using HeyyHealer in other spaces...[maybe] for a book, podcast or anything else besides the actual business. But, if there's one thing I've learned in marketing and branding, it's you go with what works and has already been sticking. You don't want to change the flow or things people are already familiar with."

While it's critical to have a distinct brand, entrepreneurs must be careful not to hop on the latest trend without taking time to understand the needs of their target audience fully. Andrews notes HeyyHealer's journey—from social media to a website to a faithful community—is a testament to being real with themselves and a deep belief in "if you build it, they will come."

When it comes to managing through change, leaders must embrace it first

For entrepreneurs, the grind is nonstop. When change flips the script, the "respond and survive" light comes on, and it's go time. If leading a team, a crisis of any sort can compound the need to reassure clients and team members of continuity. However, before a leader can positively lead, one must keep it real with their own emotions.

Andrews and Buckley agree it's all about balance. You have to own where you are in a space or time and create what is necessary for you as a leader to thrive. In turn, this inspires your following.

With the economic and global impact of COVID-19, it took HeyyHealer no time to shift operations (literally 3 hours to decide). They began filing their online store, posting on social media, and getting creative on how they could support.

Andrews describes the mentality as "the desire to stay connected with the community is one of the driving forces for figuring out what it looks like and roll with the punches."

Buckley further notes that this perspective recalls knowing the "why" of your business, and, from there, letting the "how" take shape. "Business is my lifestyle. That's just entrepreneurship. We live by a different code; there are no other options."

Connection over competition

In entrepreneurship—or any creative industry—the struggle to stand out among competition is real, even in very niche spaces.  The most confident among us may still find that not everybody will be sold on the vision. This reality calls for a mind shift—connection over competition.

There will be similar products or business lines, but what is your brand’s story?  As an entrepreneur or creative, the learning never stops.  When it comes to competition, entrepreneurs must be cautious not to let the power of a coin or the need to be better than others in the space dominate. This attitude can shine through in your business.

Recognizing your gift is “the power! No one can do what you do because no one can have what you have,” Buckley notes.  It’s that spirit and ability to focus on priorities and true intentions that builds relationships and fosters a community.  When you aim to create a connection without comparison, Buckley shares, “it is okay to look for spaces that mimic or resonate with where you want to be. And when you connect with the right people, especially if their intentions are right, it’s no problem sharing the wealth.”

Authenticity is an entrepreneur's greatest value add

All the business models, branding, and sales mean nothing in the game of sustainability without authenticity throughout the journey.  Clients and customers need to know who you are.  They need to see the triumph, the trials, and the flow. Buckley describes it this way:

"Being an entrepreneur is a creative process. Whether you are a veteran or just starting, understanding the sacredness in knowing your purpose, finding your passion and ways to monetize is nobody's business but yours. And it is essential to create a village in a circle of people that see you and understand how you operate."

Buckley notes further, “it's okay to be protective of your business. It’s using discernment in finding the right people to share with, but also knowing when to be quiet and just do the work. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.”

Amen to that.

Even though HeyyHealer’s brick-and-mortar is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still get your wellness and healing vibes on! The online store is currently open and most sessions, including one-on-ones with Buckley, have been converted to a virtual format.

If it’s musical healing you need, you can hear Andrews’s DJ set on the HeyyHealer Instagram Live weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays, or tune into their many curated Meditate and Chill playlists on Spotify.  

Let the healing vibrations flow!