Andrea Agora - Mobility Massage London
Tell us about yourself
From a young age, I studied Music. I played the piano until about 14 years old and continued to study Music throughout high school. I’ve always loved Music which is one of my passions. For my post-secondary studies, however, I selected to study Business in preference to Music because I felt it was more practical. I also studied marketing at Fanshawe College and Business Management at Ryerson University. After my studies, I was selected to attend a paid Management Operations Training Program with Hudson’s Bay Company to become a Store Operations Manager.
After completing my programs, I worked in retail, sales, and operations management for about eight years. I’ve always loved to work. I learned a lot of skills that are helping me drive my Business these days. I have had a passion for proving my skills and a keen desire to do something different since I was young; this fact made me so vigilant about doing different kinds of jobs to attain skills at an early age. One of my favourite jobs was my newspaper routes. For some reason, I enjoyed waking up at 3 am and being the first to accomplish something. I am passionate about creating and developing my creatives into interesting tools. I left Retail Management as I felt it didn’t satisfy me. I have desired to help people feel better about themselves; hence I decided to study Massage to help lift the vibrations of others around me. I love to massage. It also gives me some excitement, that’s why I never get bored of it. I am a very spiritual person. I was raised Catholic but am not as religious as spiritual. I believe in energy, synchronicity, raising your vibrations, and the law of attraction. Moreover, I have a small family.
I am the youngest child in my family and have an older sister. I was born in London, Ontario, but my parents are first-generation migrants from Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Their transferred traits, such as being independent and learning skills, have made me stronger in life. I am a single mom of a beautiful and amazing 9-year-old daughter. That is my whole world as well.
Tell us about your business
Mobility Massage London is located at 509 Highbury Ave. N. (Between Florence & Brydges). It was open for business in January 2018, offering Relaxation Massage by Practitioners. The initial goal was to appeal to clients without Health Insurance benefits who wanted a professional Relaxation Massage in a business setting. We initially offered massage at a lower price point than Registered Massage Therapy. As our business grew, we added various massage modalities to our offering. We also expanded to add Registered Massage Therapy and Aesthetics services. We currently have over 800 loyal clients and continue to grow daily. Mobility Massage is a well-loved and trusted massage studio in the London Community. In 2021 we were awarded the Gold Winner in the Massage Category by Community Votes London. This year we won London’s 2021 Top Choice Massage Clinic and received the Platinum Winner in the 2021 London Community Votes Contest.
What services/programs have you utilized at the London Small Business Centre?
I have found the HST course and Business Planning Workshops at the small business center very helpful. There are so many courses available for entrepreneurs, and I recommend them, especially to entrepreneurs with no formal business training. I look forward to attending more! I have also attended some networking events and utilized the one-on-one coaching from the Business Advisors. These advisors understand small business owners’ issues and the challenges they face. It’s nice to be provided with the necessary guidance. They always seem to direct me in the right direction. I have also been presented with many grant funding opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to receive. The Small Business Center is an amazing asset to me and all entrepreneurs! Two thumbs up!! Thank you, Small Business Center!!
What led you to start this business?
That’s an interesting question. It’s laborious to clarify; however, even before I knew how to massage, I had a vision in my mind that I’d run a massage business. Our subconscious typically grasps what we would like before we do it. I spent a lot of time operating in Retail Management and running other people’s businesses, but I knew I wanted my own. I left Retail Management to attend Massage School in January 2011. I wish to use my knowledge and skills and offer my services to assist others. My goal is to elevate people’s spirits in hopes for them to feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally which will make a positive difference in their lives.
What were some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?
I decided to start this business at the worst point in my life. I had a lot of personal life and financial challenges. I had just gone through a separation from my husband. In 2017, we sold our house quickly without having the chance to find another; and we decided to part for a while. Only weeks after the separation, my ex-husband was hit by a school bus and disabled, leaving me full responsibility for my 5-year-old daughter. So, I renewed and started my business. I developed all the marketing materials I needed and designed the vision for my business. My educational background in marketing really helped me position my business. I posted an ad on Kijiji and opened the doors of Mobility Massage. And so, the business began, and it has grown one client at a time. Another challenge I had was regarding business operations. I had a lot to do in my personal life, and one of my challenges so far is not having enough time to do everything that needs to be done. The Things: Being a single parent with full parental and financial responsibility and being an entrepreneur is very difficult. Many personal sacrifices have been made, and I am lucky everything is going well. I believe that massage, especially in silence, is a form of meditation that helps organize your thoughts and emotions and increases your vibration. It's good for the client but also for the person doing it. Good things will come to you with high vibration and action towards your goals. Massage helps me clear my mind and exchange positive thoughts and energies with people. Even though I've had a lot of personal issues, I think doing so many massages helped me heal myself, get stronger, and move forward to build a successful business with amazing clients! I hope I have also made a positive impact on the lives of my clients.
Can you tell us about an entrepreneur you admire and why?
I admire the work of David Wu, and Al Quesnel, entrepreneurs and founders of the “Athletic Club” renamed Movati Athletic. I admire their work because they made everything from scratch. They had a vision in their head to build something high quality that would benefit people's health and improve their lives. The first location was opened in London and grew to multiple locations all over Ontario in a matter of years. To be able to watch something you create grow to that scale from an idea in your head; to bring your ideas out of your head and action them to become such a successful business employing many is very admirable. I hope to achieve that success one day - to see my vision for my business through every step of the way with unwavering determination. It’s like raising a child and watching them grow. You can’t make a case for that feeling. It takes a great deal of commitment, dedication, perseverance, loyalty, learning and passion as well to realize that sort of success.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur today?
To anyone thinking about entrepreneurship, these are the following pieces of advice I'd give them:
- Know what you're getting yourself into - I assume several entrepreneurs just like the plan of being a business owner; however, they may not perceive what it takes or if they have what it takes. Recognize what's expected of you to grow and operate a successful business; know what your capabilities are and wherever your weaknesses will be. Ensure you have the proper support, then build a decision. If you think you have what it takes to succeed, choose it! If you're unsure, don't do it.
- Love what you do! - You'll be committing plenty, if not all your time doing it, so you better love it! Growing a business is certainly not a 9-5 job. Be ready to invest unpaid hours, days, and months to grow and develop your business. It ought to be your passion, so you don't mind spending the time and energy it takes to make it happen without instant reward.
- Be prepared to make sacrifices - Because of the time required to make it as a new business, you will be sacrificing time from somewhere else to give to your business.
- Focus on where you are now - The only thing that matters is where your business is right now. Start where you are and continue one step at a time. Know that each step brings you closer to your short-term and long-term goals.
- Acquire as many related skills as you can - In school, pay attention, learn as much as possible, and produce high-quality work. When you work for someone else, treat their business like your own. These skills and qualities you develop will help you in your own business.
- Manage your time wisely - As a business owner, you will be busy, and you should be busy. If not with customers, you are then developing your business.
- Be a good problem solver - Many obstacles will appear for you, and you will have to face them. No one will hold your hand, so it's best to be self-taught and not be afraid to learn how to do something independently.
- Just Keep Going! Mistakes will happen- Learn from them and move forward. Don't quit. Just try your best to correct them and not repeat the same mistakes.
What’s in the future for your business?
The short-term business goal is to operate the studio's near-maximum capacity efficiently while maintaining high-quality service. I am looking to add other therapists and aesthetics professionals to our team who also provide a high-quality entrepreneurial spirit. Because it's a small business, everyone here must share the same core company values and wish to develop and advance their careers with Mobility Massage. Once you have perfected your model and have a high-quality team functioning at optimal levels together, it's easy to replicate the business model and open more.
The company's long-term goal is to open another larger site. I am available to work with investors and entrepreneurs with experience in the healthcare industry, in particular Massage Therapists and Aesthetics Professionals who wish to become business partners of the new location.
Learn more about Mobility Massage London.