Samantha Gowing has close to 20 years of experience in improving the health and well-being of Australians. Her background as a restaurateur and dietitian ensures she creates tasty and nutritious meals that everyone can enjoy. This, coupled with her business expertise, allowed Food Health Wealth to thrive in a trillion dollar indsutry.
We have been working with Sam since 2015 helping her maintain her website, among other things. We look up to her as an expert in her own field, so we saw it fit to include her in this interview series. Read on below for the interview.
How did the Food Health Wealth website start?
I co-created the first incarnation of the website in 2002 with a coder I met through a friend. I had wanted to build a site since the 90s, but web design was so expensive then. For about $500 I was able to work with a great developer who coded the back end originally in Mambo freeware. It was rather clunky in hindsight, yet it got my business up and running in the new digital era.
What are some of the major challenges for Food Health Wealth?
Raising awareness so people understand the power of food as medicine and the benefits of cooking from scratch are some of the constant challenges. The solution is to create a multi-faceted platform of services and skill sets that can constantly evolve and change to suit market trends, dietary changes and constantly researching the science-based evidence as it comes to hand, so you are always the leader in the field and top of the game.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
Transitioning from a successful career as a hotelier and restaurateur to retraining as a clinical nutritionist in 1999 and trusting that the wellness industry would be the $4.2 trillion global Industry it is today. Being ahead of the trend has allowed me to develop the unique spa and wellness programs that service the niche in the global marketplace for a spa cuisine and wellness specialist in the booming arena of luxury lifestyle retreats, health spas and elegant beach resorts.
Benefits to industry include intensive one-on-one training in the healing cuisines, exclusive cooking demonstrations, conference presentations ready-to-go spa food menus, management systems and kitchen templates.
What are your tips on how to make a business start-up a successful one?
Ask yourself if you are meeting your clients’ needs before you meet your own needs? Do you consider what the client can afford to pay more than what you need to earn? Letting go of the hourly rate structure brings about an opportunity to focus on the project as a whole and not incremental parts, which in my experience leads to less productivity as a consultant as constant clock-watching and cramming tasks into set hours can result in taking more time to do the actual work. If you’ve ever been self-employed in the healing arts or other creative health pursuits then you’ll probably agree that one of the biggest hurdles is knowing not what to charge, but how – and when.
How has eCommerce changed over the past 10 years?
It’s never been easier to set up an online store as it is today. While eBay and PayPal have made online transactions secure in the last ten years, it was unchartered territory. Contact forms were the target of cyber pests and unsecured payment gateways were fraught with danger.
What do you think is the future of eCommerce?
With internet access 24/7, it is easy to shop online almost anywhere. Be mindful of this when developing products and services. Consider lightweight products for better shipping rates and understand what your market really wants when it comes to purchasing a product online. VDO platforms and seamless downloadable modular courses are the way to go if you’re a service only provider such as a wellness consultant. If you’re a chef and nutritionist like me, then think about developing a signature range to sell within your own country with the view of global export in the longer term. Ecommerce is a rapidly growing vehicle that is constantly changing and evolving so stay ahead of the game and as Apple Pay and afterpay platforms ensure your customers can shop 24/7 it is an exciting time for ecommerce and online stores. .
How did you get started with WooCommerce?
I was looking for an ecommerce platform that would seamlessly integrate with my site and be just complex enough to navigate when I wanted to make changes and add new products.
What advice can you offer for aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs?
1. Know how to network your market. Get yourself a mentor or a go-to
I cannot stress this enough. You must surround yourself with like-minded peers. The biggest challenge many start-ups face is gaining clarity over their product and their offer. You simply cannot be all things to all people, and you must create a niche that is an inch wide and a mile deep. See my mentoring page here.
2. Future hunt trends before they arrive
Adopt an entrepreneur’s mentality. For example, current research from Global Wellness Institute forecasts that workplace wellness approaches will change radically. Embrace trend forecasting websites and blogs to help you identify emerging trends before they become part of the culture and business potential.
3. Beware of imitations
The highest form of flattery they say, however it can be very costly and very painful. This is the problem with being a pioneer. Don’t let it get you down. Rise up and rule your roost.
4. Protect and defend your IP
Trademark what you can. Image and recipe ‘borrowing’ is rife and always has been. Always credit your source! In academia, you’d be booted out of an institute for not referencing diligently – and plagiarism. Always declare your influence. Start with something like, ‘the work of (fill in this gap) has always inspired me’.
In order to get traction, you need to become very good at selling yourself and your products with grace, peace and ease. If you truly believe in yourself, your product and your offer, then you should not have to think twice about it as it will help your community. Get your product in to as many hands as possible and ask friends to take a pic of them reading, eating or wearing it.