Just Begin Magazine highlights the creative spaces of extraordinary women through inspirational stories. Each issue will inspire and motivate creativity.
First & Last Name
Tell us something interesting about yourself most people don’t know.
I am a really good baker! I had an obsession with making pavlovas for a while and even made one as a wedding cake!
How did the idea for your business come about?
My business was born out of my own personal experiences where I sought out tools and skills to help me manage stress and make healthy changes in my own life. In a previous corporate career, I dealt with an extremely high level of stress and a low amount of work-life balance. I found that self-care in the form of yoga, meditation, creativity, and later, personal therapy were elemental in my personal growth and well-being. I opened my business with the intention of helping others who felt trapped or stuck as well as helping people develop the tools to manage the difficulties that come with living. Ultimately my passion is helping people know themselves and help them create a life in which they can thrive, no matter what comes their way.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I am a really hardworking person, in my previous corporate career I worked really hard but the work was not fulfilling to me in a meaningful way. I put way too much blood, sweat, and tears into my work for it just to be a paycheck. As such, after I left that career I knew that if I was going to work that hard I wanted to do it on my own terms. That was, and remains, my driving force.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
The name, Benestar Wellness, is a play on bienestar, or "well being" in Spanish. Benestar is actually "well being" in Catalan. I picked the name as a nod to my Spanish heritage and I also liked how I could make the name play with the idea of "be a star" or "good star". Ultimately it is just a fun way to say "wellness wellness".
How did you raise funding for your venture?
I worked part-time doing administrative work for a few years but really it is all self-funded by hard work.
What makes your business unique?
My business takes a very holistic approach to well being with a heavy emphasis on mental wellness. I am shifting more of my work to the psychotherapy aspect of my business in which I integrate the yoga, mindfulness, creativity, or physical health components into my work with clients when appropriate. I have an extensive toolbox to pull from when working with my clients, as such I am able to tailor treatment and services to the client's specific needs. I also have extensive experience in working with a broad range of ages as well as people with a wide variety of needs. I have worked with children as young as 3 and adults as old as 98. Over the years I have also worked with a wide range of physical and mental abilities successfully - I can work with an anxious child and I can also work with a high-performing individual who is interested in cultivating personal growth and development. Ultimately, it is all about an authentic personal connection with people, you can't fake that.
What are the daily changes you face as a female entrepreneur?
Like many professional women, I think some of the challenges entail balancing personal and professional responsibilities. I also feel that women still can struggle to be taken seriously in the wider workforce, especially in wellness spaces. It can be viewed as a "hobby" profession sometimes.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
I market in a variety of ways - social media, networking, newsletters but I think the most successful is word of mouth. People who know me or have worked with me tend to be my best referral sources at the moment.
What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
Well, I am a solo entrepreneur. However, I believe in self-discipline, high EQ, and really aim to treat people kindly and with respect and dignity. I aim to engage with others, personally and professionally, in a way that is in alignment with my personal values and reflective of the person that I want to be in the world.
Can you describe/outline your typical day? (Routines, Rituals, that you live by)
Generally, I spend my mornings working on taking care of myself - exercise, meditation, maybe some administrative work. I focus on seeing clients in the afternoons and evenings. My work requires a great deal of emotional attention to others so I try to get downtime and quiet time when I can.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Well, since Covid I now work at home so it has been helpful in terms of managing my household, especially since my partner is also an entrepreneur but in the food & beverage industry.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
I think a fear of failure is an honest response and I manage that fear by acknowledging it, doing scary or difficult things anyway, and going to my own personal therapy.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love the flexibility I have. I am able to structure my schedule and life in a way that suits me best, I would be hard-pressed to give that up.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I think that things have happened the way they needed to for me to arrive at this point. I like being in this space, I continue to grow, learn, and feel that my work as a therapist is so much richer as a result of the path that I took to get me here.
How do you define success?
I define success as having a sense of meaning and purpose and living to that. It does not mean that life is always easy, but that sense of meaning makes the challenges surmountable. It is like having a guiding North Star or a secret superpower.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Self-discipline, tolerance for risk and uncertainty, and a desire to keep learning and growing.
What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
A timer and breaking tasks into chunks. I went back to school in my late 30s to become a therapist and I had to really focus on school, I was efficient and super effective when I just used a timer, set time for focused work, and broke tasks down. Like many people, I can get distracted by my phone. I set a timer for 45 minutes and work undistracted in that time. I will take a 15-minute break, check my phone, do something else, and then when the timer rings, I get back to focused work. I think breaks are really important for being able to work in a focused way.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Hands down I recommend investing in caring for your mental health. How you relate to yourself, the patterns of thinking, and ingrained behaviors all impact one's professional and personal lives. Learning how to care for your mental health, managing stress, and developing skills to tolerate uncertainty are vital for successful personal growth and effective leadership.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspirations come from a wide range of friends, family, and leaders. I am inspired by people who engage in life in a whole-hearted way, who are kind and thoughtful, and who seek to be a good human being in this world. People that think a bit out of the box also inspire me, I appreciate people who have a vision and challenge norms.
What business-related book has inspired you the most? (or, What is your favorite book?)
One of the best books I ever read is Sir Ken Robinson's book "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything". Dr. Robinson opened my mind to different types of intelligences, creative work, and divergent thinking. Unfortunately he passed away in 2020, his death is a huge loss to our world but we are fortunate to have his books and many of his talks online. I recommend his work to everyone.
What is the part of your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?
This is a difficult question, the experiences that were difficult or negative are part of the road that led me to where I am. Honestly, I can not think of much I would change, maybe being more patient or kinder with others in times of frustration.
If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?
The Little Engine That Could! I just keep going, slow and steady might be a mantra for me!
What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Relax! I love to spend time with my partner and family. Also I love cooking, reading, making art, and exploring places, I am usually always up for a little adventure.
What mantra do you live by?
I think something like keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life has it's ups and downs, the ups are not forever and neither are the downs. I try to live with purpose and that makes the rolling waves of life more fun to ride most of the time.
Do you have a mentor? Can you share the impact that person or people have had in your life?
I have a friend who has traveled a similar path as me professionally, she is a few years ahead of me in the journey but she has been hugely inspiring and supportive for me. She is someone who has had the capacity, courage, and determination to create life on her own terms and I really look to her as an incredible role model and mentor.
What are the best resources that have helped you along the way? (book, podcast, speaker, etc)
I am a big fan of the podcast OnBeing with Krista Tippett, she interviews such a wide variety of leaders in the worlds of religion/spirituality, science, leadership, and the arts. The conversations are profound and deeply personal, I am inspired by the conversations to work towards purpose and making a positive impact in the world, even if it feels like a drop in the bucket. It is a very inspiring and hopeful podcast that often tackles some difficult subjects.
What’s the most enjoyable or fulfilling part of what you do?
Creating a connecting with people - this is fundamental to healing. When I connect with a client, be they 5 years old or 65, I see them, I hear them, I am present with them in their experience. I am deeply grateful I can do this work - especially in a world where people are increasingly disconnected from each other.
What do you see as some of your biggest accomplishments?
Personally, I think the big shift of going from a corporate job that was burning me out to embarking on this journey in helping people in their personal growth and healing, is something I feel really proud of. It has been a long road and the journey is ongoing. That and finishing my undergraduate and master's degrees with a 4.0!
What would you tell someone who is interested in starting a business or pursuing a passion?
Do it, life is too short and too precious to waste. Get clear on your personal values, the deeper why of what you want to do and this will sustain you when things are really hard. Practice self-discipline and build good habits, these will also provide you with the physical and mental foundation to make your work or passion projects sustainable.
Where can people get connected with you? (social media handles, website, etc)
www.christinaalgeciras.com | @christinatherapy | @benestarwellness