Irene Fitzpatrick, HealingIntuit

Melbourne VIC | September 2018

Irene1What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I was on the NEIS Program last year so in total, I’ve been operating about a year and 9 months. I do holistic massage and Reiki which is a little different from mainstream remedial massage and that’s probably made it a little more difficult to get up and running. I’ve been working out of a strength studio in Flemington. I started there in January last year but haven’t gotten very busy. I’m subcontracting at a wellness clinic in Essendon as well and that’s a good environment, but I haven’t built the clientele yet. They’re a very busy clinic so Gina suggested presenting a promo to get past clients back in. The owner is on board with it so it’s just about getting the message out. Ideally it would be nice to be under my own steam, have my own clients. I have maybe 4 or 5 regular people who come to see me but to be self-sufficient, I need a few more.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
I was in Canada for 23 years and came back to be closer to my mum. She passed away 4 months later, after I had started NEIS as well so I had to put that on hold.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
I was trying to look for part-time work but I’m over 50, I was 51 when I came back. It’s a whole different ball game trying to get work at my age. I contacted Sarina Russo who suggested NEIS and that’s how I met Gina. She’s very knowledgeable and kind. She has good ideas.

Why did you want to go into business?
I’ve always felt I needed to be helping people in some way which is a broad spectrum of stuff and I’ve been on that path in my past jobs as well. I started getting into a spiritual practice that made me hone in to this and realise this is what I wanted to do as a life purpose. I help people understand what’s going on in their bodies and help facilitate their own healing process. It sounds alternative and people find it hard to understand or justify monetarily but I guess that’s why I’m sticking it out, because it’s what I’m called to do.

What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
I wouldn’t say I’m an amazing business person. I have the will and the sense but I’m not that way inclined. Gina has been really great. She has the knowledge and is very good on the ideas. Marketing for me is me talking to you and you getting a good feeling, trusting me and then coming to see me. But I know that it needs to be bigger than that. She helps give me ideas and suggests other things I could look at doing to put myself out there. She knows I find it difficult but when she suggests something I try to do it and I’ve had people respond to those things.

What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
I think it has been having someone who can keep you on track because it can get very discouraging. There’s been a lot of other stuff going on as well. I was out of home and I wasn’t settled. Gina been such a good support. She’s very good at meeting you where you are and helps by looking at what would benefit the person at that point in time. She’s a good business person and genuinely cares so wants to see people doing well in their businesses and in life.

Did you get a loan from MR? How did you use the loan?
I did, and I’ve already paid it back, in the first year. It was helpful getting me started and enabled me to pay the rent at the strength studio I work out of.

Irene2What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Marketing. Getting myself out there and having the confidence to do that. I’m not very good at selling myself. I just think people will re-book because they enjoy the session. I’m getting better but self-marketing has always been a challenge.

What has been the biggest success to date?
I go to Kensington Markets once a month and I do well there. They know me there now and people will book me beforehand or vendors will try to see me while I’m out there. Gina suggested I try to find another one but the success of this one has been because it’s indoor and I have a room. I have that privacy and you can’t do Reiki around a lot of noise.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I would like to achieve a clientele of people who are drawn to working on themselves in a different way, that allows me to facilitate that and to be financially self-sufficient. I don’t want to rely on Centrelink or NEIS. I just want to be doing my thing.

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