Stories from other business owners like you, to share their inspirations, challenges and triumphs!
Meet Kim Sillis, owner of Equiphoria. I’m super pleased to share Kim’s story as she’s been a client of mine for some time now, and her growth and journey over these months is truly an inspiration. But, I can’t take all the credit- Kim is one of the hardest working, open minded and determined person I’ve even met. Here’s her story:
Where did the idea for your business come from, and when did it start being a business rather than a hobby for you?
I had a horse that I was cross country jumping when we had a crash. I injured myself but what I didn’t know then was he did too. I called many professionals who simply would not travel to my area to help him out. I was prepared to spend whatever I needed to have my ‘Busy Boy’ fixed
When no one would come to me I figured I would go off and do a little course and learn how to do it myself. With my personality I don’t do things in half measures so I found a course that eventually took me 3 years to complete, multiple trips away to Sydney and Brisbane and many hours of working on horses for no cost. Suffice to say that ‘Busy Boy’ got retired out to a lovely home in the meantime where he was pampered and able to be ridden by 2 young boys who adored him.
As part of my course I had to do a massage treatment a certain number of log book horses – the figure advised was 10 – I did 100 to give myself some feel. The business then evolved from this place starting more as a hobby (14 years of hobby) – as pre Anita and Get Up & Gallop I was not making money to really call it a business and a viable income. Many horse people I knew wanted my services and it finally became a real and viable business in 2015.
What was your biggest challenge while still in start up mode?
My biggest challenge was trying to work a job and look after my clients and their horses on a regular basis. Also, not knowing where to find my clients and what their real needs were to give them the help they needed most.
What is your biggest challenge right now, and heading into the future for your business?
I am really excited about the next big challenge for my business as I have found a way to really help people in the more remote areas in the form of one on one personalized training which really focuses on their specific disciplines and will enable those horse owner’s to gain optimal performance in their sport and essentially the competitive edge. The challenge in this is setting up an intensive website for these new clients, finding this specific group of clients and delivering the very best service for their needs that I possibly can.
What is the one thing that you wish you had done differently in the early stages of your business?
Found a mentor who understood my business and what I was out to achieve. I had invested thousands of dollars in my financial education but because I spend my time with horses and not property investments no one seemed to have the tools to help me do it better.
Where do you see your particular segment of the pet or equine industry heading in the future?
15 years ago equine massage was the exception to the rule. Everyday horse people did not understand the benefits of massage and horse chiropractic was only becoming accepted. Non horse people in particular would regularly laugh when you said you massaged horses.
Horse people and competitors now are starting to understand more that horses are athletes and should be treated as such. They regularly get chiropractic and massage treatments for their horses and appreciate the horse being happy and comfortable in their work and their performance and client’s using these services are getting better results with their horses in general. I also believe that we keep our horses in a much more intensive environments and train them for less time now. It is the way of the 24 hour fast paced lifestyle that we lead everyday.
Into the future: Massage will be a normal a treatment to give your horses and will be on the list of looking after their wellbeing in a more holistic and natural manner. It will become as standard as booking in your farrier. I want to be a leader in the industry and get the training to as many people as possible before riding becomes an altogether unaffordable sport and make sure everyone can have access to the very best for their horses.
What particular innovations or point of difference are you particularly proud of in what you do? How do they benefit your client?
I am very proud of the fact that I love treating horses from their perspective. What I mean by this is that I have gone and tried and tested many horse sports. I have ridden dressage, evented, showjumped, played polocrosse and endurance ridden as well as been involved in the racing industry – both gallops and harness. I have been around a set of barrels and done some sporting at small shows too. There are a few sports still to try out – so still a challenge – cutting, campdrafting, tent pegging and the likes! My preferred sport of choice is endurance and my plan for the future is to pursue this further.
Having tested out many sports I am able to help out my client’s more effectively as I know the pressures placed on this horses during these sports – not just a as a sideline spectator.
My other primary point of difference is that I want to share as much knowledge as possible with my clients and am particularly excited about the intensive program I am setting out on in 2016 to take intensive training to competition stables where they may not have ready available access to professionals who can help their horses when they potentially need it the most!
What does “Success” look like for you?
Success for me includes having a client base who genuinely care for the wellbeing of their horses. I love being a part of their successes and helping them to achieve their goals with their horses. It is a real highlight for me when they achieve.
Success includes having trained many people within their own stables to look after their own horses. I then want to duplicate by apprenticing others with a genuine love of horses and their welfare. To do this I plan within 5 years to set up an equine rehabilitation centre where some of the training can be done and then take them on the road as trainers.
What is your biggest tip for other small business owners in the first few years of their own businesses?
- Find a mentor who understands your business and can become an integral part of your team.
- Know that there is a lot of hard work.
- Learn to really love your clients and take a genuine interest in what drives them and what they want – when they achieve with your help, you achieve and without them you have no business. After all it is all about them and not you.
- Follow your heart.
Kim Sillis has been successfully massaging horses in all disciplines over the past 15 years with great success in NSW and Queensland. She began riding when she was 7 years of age and she has competed to varying levels in dressage, eventing, racing: gallops and harness, endurance and polocrosse so fully understands the pressures placed on the horse, particularly their muscles in different sports.
Kim knows that horses are athletes and not matter what discipline you have chosen for your horse, we, as horse owners want them to be able to perform at their peak, free from pain and injury. Regular massage assists in prevention of injuries like muscle stretch, strain, sprain and spasm and can assist with more rapid healing after injury has occurred. It is also effective in reducing toxin build up in the system through stimulation of lymphatic flow. Not to mention the other benefit of massage that it just simply feels good and releases general tension and pain in the muscles.
Kim is passionate about educating horse owners. Kim knows that as well as the standard owning a horse type stuff of shoeing, drenching, dentistry and good nutrition, that owners should also be using massage therapy and chiropractic services as part of their overall good maintenance of their horses.