Business: Waygood Mobile Therapy
“At first, I was going by the name of Mobihealth,” explains Kati Waygood with a smile. “But we decided to personalize that because, well, my last name is ‘way-good.’ How often does that happen?”
Kati’s journey into entrepreneurship this summer is marked by many such happy coincidences.
“I was actually planning to move to Alberta as soon as I graduated, but when I heard about the [Foundry entrepreneurship] program, I couldn’t pass it up,” she recalls. “I already knew I wanted to be my own boss and pursue this vision for mobile health services, but I hadn’t figured out the nuts and bolts of starting a business.”
Kati was sitting in a fourth year kinesiology class when a representative from UNB’s Summer Institute, echoed by a supportive professor, urged the students to consider making their own job. She decided it was the right time and place to start on her journey to improve the landscape of preventative health care in Canada.
While in university, Kati studied case after case in which a chronic illness could have been prevented by exercise and good nutrition. A full 77% of adult New Brunswickers have one or more chronic conditions, which also represent the most significant draw on the health care system. Kati felt the frustration of this scenario personally:
“My grandmother has severe osteoporosis. She pulled a back muscle one day and could not move. She was completely helpless. That whole situation could have been prevented or at least managed had she the proper training,” laments Waygood. “And to top it off, we had a desperate time trying to convince a physiotherapist to treat her in her home.”
Kati sees a clear need for mobile health care and has found her calling in bringing preventative care and therapy home. In her mind, people generally understand the importance of exercise and nutrition and have good intentions as to their own self-care, but many have barriers to overcome.
“We come to you, which removes the barriers - cost, time, childcare, travel, disability, self-consciousness - of accessing a fitness facility or clinic,” she explains. “I can also prescribe gardening as easily as weight-lifting, for example, which offers clients a more personalized and sustainable approach to maintaining their health.”
Kati entered the Foundry program with a business ready to pull off the shelf. She could already treat clients and had more or less figured out the economics of putting her therapy service on wheels. For her, the challenge of the summer has been how to find and build a clientele.
Over the summer, Kati has refined her branding, built a website, designed campaigns, scrapped them, and tried again, all while working with existing clients. The qualities that make her a great therapist - calm, thoughtful, good listener - also demand a softer approach to outreach. Full of hidden talents and good advice, she believes her ticket might just be to open up more.
“I’m going to start blogging about the mobile health movement and inexpensive at-home ways to stay healthy since so many people are looking online for health advice already,” she told me, “but I also need to be present on the ground.”
In Fredericton, Waygood has found an eager on the ground clientele in the crossfit community.
“Often, people will tell me about their aches and pains and I’ll say, ‘I can probably help with that.’ Crossfit tends to result in a lot of aches and pains, so it’s a pretty natural fit,” said Kati after delivering her first group session.
She has a big vision to provide a full menu of at-home health services in cities across Canada. Kati sees Waygood Mobile Therapy one day comprised of a variety of professionals providing holistic health care to clients. For now, she is starting with what she can already do: massage therapy, exercise prescription, nutrition and general health counselling. To expand the services she can offer clients personally, she will be pursuing an osteopathy certification in the fall while running her business full-time.