An osteopath and qualified yoga instructor, Ana Mackay is all about empowering women in their fertility, pregnancy and post-natal journey.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Ana Mackay, the founder of AMO Clinic, gets it done like a boss.
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
I come from a family of creatives; at 18, I studied design at Central Saint Martins in London, but my true love was always the science behind the human body. I smashed out a biology degree and was really eager to put my learning into practice. I had two choices: study medicine or become a researcher. As a social individual, I was keen on the idea of becoming a GP and getting to know my patients.
To cut a long story short, I submitted my application to Trinity College Dublin Graduate Medical School and waited. I never heard back. The admissions department said there was a mix-up with my international application and the best thing to do was to wait for next year’s cohort.
I was 21, lost and gutted. But my boyfriend came up with an idea: “Why don’t you study osteopathy – you’d be great at that!” Honestly, I didn’t know what an osteopath was. I enrolled to simply fill the time until I could reapply for medicine again. I didn’t expect that osteopathy would satiate my need to help people and constantly learn about scientific developments.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
I avoid numbers at all costs if possible. But I wanted to create my own clinic space because I felt the service (for specialist work with women and infants) was not yet available in Singapore. I decided to work for a smaller practice, where I could shadow and learn about the business aspect. It wasn’t as complex as I thought, so I made a simple list of how many patients I needed to treat per week to cover rent plus costs for my own space.
I met an inspirational doctor (@theeshoclinic) and asked how he knew he was ready to go from being an employee to a business owner. He advised, “Once you make 30% on top of the costs, for eight months straight, you’re ready to set up your own business.” I felt confident going out on my own a couple of years ago. And I still use his rule of “eight months of observation” before I branch out into my next venture.
How do you keep stress levels low?
A very wise Launchpad member taught me something that changed my perspective on planning. Instead of working on a daily to-do list (I still keep this for simple tasks), I now work on a monthly theme. That’s because once I get my head into one mode, I’m in that zone. Apparently, a woman’s energy waxes and wanes with the moon, so it makes sense to work in monthly chunks. After I implemented that, it took the edge off trying to rush things and explore new skills – such as social media planning – more in-depth. I stopped feeling like a headless chicken.
How do you deal with self-doubt or criticism?
I tell myself, “I’m certainly not the best in the world, but… I’m also not the worst!” As long as I can help one person a day and make a living doing something I love, it’s totally worth the embarrassing things I have to do as a business owner.
As a recovering perfectionist, I’ve decided to embrace things like social media. If you look at the world we live in, things change all the time. So if something I do is terrible or doesn’t work out, it’ll only be out there until the next piece of media or the next event. I grow when I make mistakes; reflection has shown me that.
Favourite place to work?
Home visits. I remember how lonely and isolated I felt and how anxiety-provoking it was to bring a newborn out, especially if they were crying everywhere. It’s great to support parents in their homes because we can work with toys and equipment they already have, and give real-time advice on habits and posture.
Favourite business tool?
Launchpad! It’s quadrupled the speed at which I grew my business due to the contacts and confidence I’ve built. I get a lot from the IRL events and talking to others in different fields.
One thing you can keep talking about for hours?
Fertility journeys and birth stories. Every person’s experience is unpredictable, unique, tear-jerking and heart-warming all at the same time. If you want someone to share yours with, I’m all ears!
Your go-to self-care activity?
Spicy margarita girls’ night. When work takes over my life, it helps to have a good laugh with my mates to melt away the pressure. Although it’s not so fun the next morning when you have a hangover and screaming toddlers to look after!
One piece of advice to your younger self?
The modern world is ever-evolving. You don’t need to commit to what you want to do for the rest of your life but be open to opportunities that arise. Be willing to let go of what you think you should do to please others.
Get in touch with Ana Mackay online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!