I believe everyone has a ‘North Star‘ which is a sense of purpose in our lives and is an inner compass to discover our own goals and big dreams. Once we are aligned and on the path to our place of happiness and true contentment in life, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding adventure. To kick start my own collection of North Star interviews with inspiring ladies I have come into contact with through my own business journey, I wanted to interview one of my first ever clients, Sophie Kirk.
Sophie is the founder and director of The Holistic Healthcare Group, based in Crondall Surrey. Sophie began her adventure in the holistic health industry by starting off by studying Chinese medicine. She completed an integrative approach BSc (Hons) degree which means she studied both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and The Five Element Theory.
Through learning this integrative approach she looked very closely into the body, emotions, and systems and how they interact. This caused her to take a keen interest in mental health and wrote her research dissertation on Bipolar disorder and then went into private practice specialising in treating mental ill-health. Sophie recognised she needed to further her skills to complement and integrate with the knowledge she already had to gone on to study Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), The Science of Wellbeing and become an Anxiety UK Approved practitioner.
Since then, Sophie has gone on further to support her patients by niching further into supporting people and their mental health, by offering solutions in the workplace, schools and online clinics.
Please read further to discover the magic behind Sophie’s north star mission. 👇✨
Hey Sophie, could you tell me why you decided to launch your business, The Holistic Healthcare Group?
There are a few different areas of my business, so I will address them separately.
The Virtual Clinic – I wanted to provide a professional space for therapists to work as a team, holistically. I recognised early on in my private practice that having a team of therapists with different practises was key to ensure you can provide all possible help to your patients that they might need. This currently operates online as our virtual clinic.
Schools & Universities – I have a huge passion to make changes in the way the children in the UK are educated, I believe we have failed them for long enough and we need to step up. Putting emotional intelligence as equal to academic intelligence will create happy, thriving children and adults. There has been a decade long deterioration in children’s mental health and we need to do something about it, teaching preventative tools in school and creating routines to support these is key.
Businesses – To support all the generations of children who have already grown up and not had the education and support they should have had in school! We need to bring this to workplaces to help people understand and manage their emotions daily and what to do/where to go should things get too much. Looking at this in a holistic way rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we are all different and we need to find what works for us, but to do that we need to know about the options available.
Melp – To create a product that can bring mental health education and support to people in an easily accessible and affordable way, right from their mobile phones.
Not-for-profit – A vision of mental health support for all in the UK. HHG donates 10% off all profits to our sister NFP company to provide mental health education and support to children and young adults that can’t otherwise access it.
What was it that motivated you to train in the holistic healthcare industry?
I became disillusioned with our healthcare processes early on, I am not saying they don’t have their place but to claim they are the ONLY or BEST option for everything and everyone is blinkered at best. I always wanted to help people and make a difference so I just had to work out which way I would do that, I started with a degree in Chinese medicine where I forged a keen interest in mental health and then went on to study CBT amongst other CPD courses.
How did you take it from an idea to a reality – what were the first few steps you took?
With great excitement, drive, belief and passion! I remember talking to therapists about the school projects around my kitchen table years ago before I even opened the clinic. In all honesty, my first few steps were more like a leap, looking back I maybe should have done things a little slower and more organised but, as you know I have ideas and I tend to get excited about them and just go with it! This is a blessing and a curse, but that is me I guess.
What lessons in business have you learned along the way?
Push yourself and ensure you are slightly out of your comfort zone and learning all the time. I get incredibly bored when things are stagnant or just ticking over, inspiration needs drive and action to thrive.
What do you accredit the success and growth of your business?
Drive, passion, resilience. There have been some super tough times so be ready for that, I won’t give up though. I never have and I am not about to start anytime soon!
I know you’ve niched your business to focus more on supporting people’s mental health. What inspired you to make this change?
The clear lack of understanding people have on this subject was highlighted to me when talking to my eldest daughters’ friends when they were heading into year 10 and starting to get stressed and anxious about the work and exams ahead. None of them knew that first of all, this was all totally normal. But they also had no strategies to help them manage and work through these anxious feelings or any idea of where or how to get help.
This area needs a new practical and organised approach. I spend a lot of time talking with therapists and it is easy for us to think people know the simple things as it is part of our lives, but they don’t and they should, but no one has bothered telling them until it is all too late and they are already on the therapy chair. Surely prevention is better than cure always….. in fact, I know it is!
How do you help support people struggling with mental health?
In many ways, I hope we have an option for everyone. From prevention to cure and everything in between! Some of the services we offer are –
- Education – from 5yrs to 50+ we have education in mental health for all
- Teacher training – to help teachers keep up good wellness habits. For them and the children
- 121 therapist support. In person, virtually, in business, in schools
- Wellbeing classes – all ages
- After school clubs
- Lunch and learns
- Resources (Melp magazine, blogs, worksheets etc)
- Tracking and analytics for businesses and schools
Can you also tell me more about your most recent launch with the Melp app?
Melp is our mental health support app. Currently with over 200 videos, pdfs and audios. And we add new content every month. It is multi-modality so has all options and the tools and techniques that are all provided to us by real therapists that we work closely with. They use these tools in clinics with their patients every day.
Sign up to the Melp app here.. https://melp-app.com/ ✨
What does having a beautiful and aligned brand mean to you and your business?
I think branding is really important when building a business, a beautiful and aligned brand will reflect you and your business giving people trust in what you do. If time and understanding are not put into this then why would people trust you to look after them? After all, a poorly branded business shows a lack of care and consideration for what you do and how you present yourself to the world.
Luckily, I discovered your services early on which is something I am very grateful for, having someone to help guide and develop the brand with you is key. I knew what I wanted and how I wanted to be seen but didn’t quite know how to present it, that’s is where your skills come in 😊
What benefits have you seen since having your branding and website re-done?
There have been many changes over the last 18 months and I wanted to really make sure that the website and brand reflected the business how it is now, which is why I wanted to update pages and improve visitors experience when using the site. I really feel the changes are spot on now and people looking at the site can navigate and understand the many services we offer and also feel the passion and drive behind our projects.
There is an increase of people visiting the site now and that continues to grow. I also feel it gives me a place to direct people to or revisit myself should I need to be reminded of my ‘why’ in business. It perfectly represents me and HHG.
I have been working with Gemma and Adam at Infinity Creative for a few years now and they have been incredible! I feel so thankful we crossed paths. They have both gone above and beyond the call of duty time and time again and the designs and work is second to none. Gemma really has a skill in understanding how you want to be seen and creating beautiful, unique and professional branding. Their work is consistent and never falters. Thank you Gemma and Adam 😊✨– Sophie Kirk // The Holistic Healthcare Group
What would you say to someone in business who might be considering rebranding but isn’t sure?
Do it! If this is something you are considering then you must not feel connected to what you already have, you need to feel sure that your brand is reflecting who you are and your business. If you have any doubts then changes need to be made, trust your intuition.
What is your favourite inspirational quote/life mantra?
“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions be louder than your words”
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated”
Have you read an amazing business book or podcast that you can recommend?
What is your ‘North Star’ mission in life? (The ultimate goal you wish to achieve)
Every child and adult in the UK to have access to full mental health education and support when they need it. Schools to be able to focus more on making happy children than ones that can pass a test (I do know this is not the school or teacher fault, it is a system that sucks!).
What advice would you give someone who is looking to turn their idea into a successful business?
If you are going to do it then DO IT! Don’t fluff around it, full in or full out. You can’t create the business or life you want by putting half effort in.
Where can my audience find you?
Email: [email protected]