Meet Esme Soan – business founder, women’s physiotherapist, and Verve member

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I started my business – Pear Exercise Physiology – in 2014 to help provide specialist health services to women. Throughout my career as an accredited exercise physiotherapist, I realised there was a real gap in the research and application of these sorts of health services for women.

My little business operates in Brisbane and I now manage a team of 13. When scaling the company, I quickly learnt how important it was to surround myself with like-minded, passionate women. Every day is different but equally busy – whether I’m driving to appointments, leading hydrotherapy sessions, doing business admin, or lecturing at the Australian Catholic University. It’s exciting and I enjoy the challenge. 

Taking the leap in business

I faced a number of challenges throughout my business journey. First was being brave enough to take the initial leap. Then finding the right people to help me grow the business. There’s been a lot of financial stuff that I’ve had to learn about and trust myself to manage. The time I’ve invested in finding those people and building a great team has been well worthwhile. Many of those team members have stayed and grown with me and the business.

When I started the company, I was renting floor space from a local gym and building my client list from there. When the time came to leap into my own commercial premises, it was nerve-wracking. I relied on a combination of just believing in myself and ‘giving it a go’.

My financial mindset

I’m mindful of money when it comes to my business. Looking back, I’ve gained a much better understanding of the complexities that come with managing the financial side of things. Not to mention greater respect for other small businesses owners! It’s a juggle and it can certainly be testing, but I’m more mindful now. 

Running a business also forced me to reflect on how I’d been operating as a self-employed person. When I took on my first employee and started to set up their super payments, I realised I wasn’t paying myself super in the same way. 

I’ve always been sure to do the right thing by my team, but I realised that I wasn’t doing it by myself. I needed to plan longer term for my own finances. 

One money lesson I’d share with other women

I’d say to get the right advice from an accountant. Finding a good accountant who understands my business and industry has been vital for me. There are intricacies to working in the health sector, so I benefit from having an accountant who can advise on industry-specific things. They’re also able to translate things that may otherwise seem confusing.

What a wealthy life looks like to me

Being a health professional means I think about my future health in terms of a wealthy future. It’s important to me that I can be in a financial position to afford a healthy work-life balance. One that allows me to do all the physical activities and exercises of my work, as well as the physical activities I enjoy doing for myself. 

I work with some patients who haven’t been able to look after their personal health in that way. But now they’ve been forced to spend more time on themselves due to illness or an injury related to their condition. 

Some tips for burnout

It can be so hard for many of my clients who are juggling being new mums and looking after themselves. I always say that any movement is powerful. It doesn’t have to be a structured 30-minute gym session. It might be making time for 10 minutes of stretching each day. You have to be able to fill your own cup before you can fill others. Prioritising your own health is also a way of modelling healthy behaviours. If you have kids, maybe you can take them to the gym or on a walk with you.

What I’ve learned about super

My next goal is to buy my own house – though that process has been slowed a bit due to COVID-19. Still, I’ve learned so much about how to take ownership of my business, especially as it became more profitable. 

After joining Verve, I consolidated my super because I accrued different super funds during years of working in hospitality. I found Verve’s member portal helpful to learn more and used that knowledge to make self-employed contributions. 

Are you a Verve Super member? We’d love to hear your story. Send us an email and let’s chat: hello@vervesuper.com.au.

A friendly reminder that all the financial information contained in this blog is general and doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation, or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific advice tailored to your unique situation. When considering if Verve Super is appropriate for you, please read the PDS available on our website.

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