As we continue our celebration of local women in business, today we are turning to those caring, busy women who work in the healthcare professions. COVID continues to be a challenge for these women in businesses like physiotherapy, therapeutic massage, beauty, and many others. We found out about what it is like to be in a caring profession during these testing times. Here’s more from Annelies Wymer, Action Physio and Caz Gulliver from Massage in Mind.
Physios Taking Action
COVID was certainly a challenge for local physiotherapy business Action Physio. Owner Annelies Wymer had to completely shut her business for 3 months and some patients inevitably suffered. During the lockdown, she also had to think of new innovative ways to keep in touch and keep her patients pain-free. She learned to develop her Zoom skills and how to give good advice in other ways too.
As lock-down began to ease, her next challenge was to provide safe procedures while still trying to pay the bills. This story is so familiar to many people in these caring professions. Incredibly, the caring professions have rarely passed on the costs to their clients. Action Physio certainly hasn’t.
Keeping Costs Down
The costs impacted in many ways and continue to do so. She and the team had to reduce patients numbers to allow for cleaning in and social distancing restrictions. In addition, she had to invest in high spec PPE and review their cleaning products and procedures. Although already cleaning to a higher than expected level, Annelies chose not to take any risks. Her patients can be vulnerable and many of her staff had family members to consider.
At the same time, she recognised that increasing her costs would have yet another massive impact on her patients. Annelies knew clients needed treatments. She also knew that many NHS physios were working on COVID patients and treatments were limited. If she put up prices there was a risk that patients would not seek treatment. Incredibly, Annelies opted not to increase her prices. The success of this business that it continues is a credit to the skills of Annelies. However, she is quick to point out that her clinical and reception teams are fundamental in their continued growth. We think it is great to see the way they continue to support people within our community.
They’re Proud and They Care
It’s clear that she loves the clinic’s caring ethos and that they can help so many people every day. She is equally proud of the wonderful team of experienced and extremely well qualified physiotherapists. Along with Massage in Mind massage therapist Caroline Gulliver, she feels they all go the extra mile for their patients. This is reflected with ongoing improvements in their symptoms and condition. If this doesn’t happen, the whole team is committed to referring that patient to the right person/ specialist.
When Determination Wins Through
The determination to make all this happen so effectively is not really surprising. Annelies started her business in 2006 and that year was slightly busier than it would normally be for most people starting a business. Yes, Annelies began her business while pregnant with her first child! It seems being one of those caring, busy women is a feature of Annelies’s life! Along with running the business, seeing her patients, and teaching Pilates, she is also a mum to almost teenage children. If that is not enough, when not working or being mum, she loves to be in the fresh air! There are endless walks with their gorgeous Labrador, Molly, as well as running around the area and slightly crazy bike rides up Bow Brickhill. If you’ve not tried it, I can confirm it is more than tough! At the end of all that, she also ensures her children have home-cooked meals every night.
If you wonder why she puts herself through this – it’s because she loves being a physiotherapist and mum. She also loves helping people, and even with its challenges she loves running her clinic in partnership with her physio husband. Her vision is almost there, the Stony Stratford clinic opened in 2014 and her next goal is even more exciting. Ultimately, she would love to own her own premises. As she points out the only minor problem is finding the right place, in the right location, and at the right price! That is no mean feat in current circumstances!
And She Thinks She is Lucky
Annelies feels she is the lucky one, meeting interesting people every week, whereas we think we are lucking having her here. This dedicated woman in business offers high standards of physio and Pilates services even in the most difficult of times.
Life can be hard for women in business and possibly we could all do with the level of determination that Annelies shows. As an outsider looking in, we see a female physiotherapist who loves life and takes action because she can! Annelies keep on living life to the full!
We Should All Have a Massage In Mind
Our next amazing woman in a caring profession is Caroline Gulliver or Caz to her friends. Although she is in charge of her own separate business, Caz has based her services at Action Physio, in Stony.
Making Decisions and Doing it!
Massage in Mind came to fruition about seven years ago. Caroline, who prior to children, had worked as a teacher, decided to finally make some life changes. After the birth of her second child, she took the plunge and handed in her notice to the school she was working at. This was a massive decision after 11 years in the profession. It wasn’t that she hadn’t fallen out of love with it. She was held in high esteem at school, it was simply that she wanted a new challenge.
Caroline had always been interested in how massage can be of benefit to people. This led her to decide that the time was right to apply for a course to learn more. With young children still around, she opted for a part-time training course.
Learning About Business
It was not long after receiving her qualification, that she was working on her next challenge. The challenge involved putting her new skills into practice and setting up in business – an all-encompassing adventure. Learning business skills includes considering finance systems, choosing an accountant you can trust, deciding how to market, how to set up a website, and social media. And, if I.T. isn’t your thing, particularly when you work alone as Caroline does, then the pulling those suddenly grey hairs out can set in! In the early days, Caroline found that without colleagues to bounce ideas off, working alone can be a lonely experience. She did not allow this to prevent her from achieving her goal.
Her experiences have taught her so much. If there is one thing she would recommend to other women setting out in business is that they should try to understand the importance of branding. Branding is more than your logo – it is everything about your business and the people involved with it. Happily, Caroline feels that most people can see the success she has made of her business. In part, it could be to do with physical strength she needs to be good at her massage. No arguing with this strong woman!
Ooh Those Massages
Ooh and those massages! Reports from our local spies say they are something else! Once massaged by Caz there is no going anywhere else! Her regular patients are all the proof you need for her level of skill. And she loves her patients as much as they love her. She believes that developing a relationship with them helps with the treatment. Sometimes that help is as much mental as physical. Her greatest reward is when her patients tell her how great they feel.
Where Do They Get the Time?
Like Annelies, I am not quite sure where she finds her time – other than she is yet another of those impressive caring, busy women we are begining to know! Caz is not only a business owner and mother she is also an incredible volunteer. School governor, past chair of PTA for a local infant school and social secretary for the cricket club. Along with that, she is also a volunteer driver for a charity that drives people to medical appointments.
Yet again, Caroline Gulliver from Massage In Mind is evidence of how strong local women really are. She truly is an inspiration to show you that you can do things, you just have to yes and give it a go. Not enough time – well here we have someone who is busy but still fits it all in! So now if you are a local woman, or from further afield, grab those opportunities and getting doing!
Here’s to our caring, busy women, you really are an inspiration to us all.