Know your direction but leave your destination open for where life takes you.
Dr. Orie Achonwa, Dr. Orie, is the founder of Nourish Modern Wellness, a leading holistic lifestyle brand that transforms the world’s most revered ingredients for health into everyday essentials for today’s lifestyles. She is also an esteemed professor, captivating speaker, author, host of Wellness After Dark Show, and a nationally recognized expert on health trends with appearances on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The Brian Tracy Show, among others.
Dr. Orie launched Nourish Modern Wellness in 2013 after a decade of creating award winning and industry recognized innovations for the clinical setting that have improved treatment and disease outcomes for many. Most notable being a health surveillance system that helps clinicians make timely care decisions for pediatric patients. Thrive Global named her one of 99 female founders to watch and she was awarded a health innovator award from North America’s largest managed health organization UnitedHealthcare.
Today she shifts her attention from disease management to health promotion with the belief that life should be more than sickness and a healthy mind and body gives us a lot more to live for. Nourish Modern Wellness is the embodiment of this belief and with the brand she focuses on spreading a philosophy about living in tune with our biology.
Where did the idea for Nourish Modern Wellness come from?
I started learning about natural health and holistic living about 15 years ago when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had to turn my lifestyle around to balance my hormones, shed weight, and manage a host of skin conditions. I knew that my symptoms were common to a multitude of conditions that other people suffer so I naturally became inspired to share my practices for better living with anyone else who wants to center their lifestyle around cultivating a clear mind, plant-based eating and beauty, and making a smaller footprint.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In the mornings I wake up, drink lemon water, and read the news or something from ScienceDaily while aromatherapy candles burn in the background. I do some yoga or meditation on my porch and tend to my garden. I may work on the next episode of Wellness After Dark Show or scribble ideas about the next addition to the Nourish Modern Wellness collection.
By mid-morning I am finishing marketing activities and adding random inspiring images and articles I found on the web in my Evernote. Early afternoon I’m lecturing and fully focused on my students. Lunch happens sometime between meetings and my commute during the midday. By late afternoon I’m checking emails to respond to customers, bloggers, and media while snacking on apples with sunflower seed butter or dried mulberries. I then start returning phone calls to answer questions about logistics and products or start making plans for upcoming speaking arrangements or workshops and presentations for Nourish Modern Wellness.
Early evening I’m chowing on dinner while I make orders for inventory and go over what’s happening in our lab/studio with my assistant. The first Thursday of every month I have a standing meeting over dinner with my production team. Around 8:30 or 9 PM I’m off to the lab to prep some of the products that my lab assistant will finish during the day. I’m usually heading back home are midnight or 1 AM.
What keeps me focused and productive is using my Nourish Journal as a place to organize my life, plan out my day, map out my projects, and brain dump random ideas so I can free my mind to focus on the day’s tasks. It’s a planner that I made for the brand that’s basically like a life coach in your back pocket. It’s helped me to feel calmer and in control even though I’m wearing more hats these days.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My life moves between the left-brain and right-brain world. The spark for inspiration is usually ignited for me in the left-brain part of my life. I then go to my creative space, a workshop full of art supplies and an eclectic mix of patterned fabrics, trinkets, and kitsch art, and start freestyle writing and doodling on a fresh page in my art pad. I may even use the stream of consciousness technique to transform what I’m thinking and feeling into physical form. When it’s all out I look over what’s on the paper before me and then leave it alone for another day. This small break gives my mind time to start formulating a plan.
The next time I return to the idea I start looking for patterns to give the idea purpose. This is when I start looking into industry trends or the consumer health market to understand where and how my idea fits in. I’ve been doing this for some time and luckily I’ve amassed a network of go to designers, producers, and wellness enthusiasts that I can call upon at this point to give me the feedback I need to give my idea a place in the world. After this point I make a three-phase project work flow that takes me from raw materials to actual product to market.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The green living movement. Years ago green was the exception now it is an expectation. It shows that people are demanding food, beauty, and an environment that better aligns with their biology.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I wake up an hour early every Monday morning to sit down with my planner and take stock of where my attention is going and how I’m spending my time in the week ahead. When I first started entrepreneurial ventures, it was taking me years to get one project out because I wasn’t being intentional about how I was spending my time and energy. Over the years, and through the guidance of my business coach, I’ve learned how to use a planner to manage these two very important assets and it’s made the difference in my productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to know your direction but leave your destination open for where life takes you. When I was younger I had a specific idea about what my career would look like so for years I resisted incorporating my creative side into my work because it didn’t fit into the picture of what I thought I should be doing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Superfoods and adaptogens in everything from soap to water is the future. These ingredients are readily available and just as easy to incorporate into products as the chemicals that are used in formulations today. It may take some chemistry to improve the shelf stability but it’s well worth it in a marketplace that is increasingly health conscious.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Connect with like-minded individuals. As an entrepreneur it’s easy to feel like you’re on an island by yourself. Your network will be your community, co-workers, and virtual office-mates.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Creating systems for everything from sourcing materials to marketing to delivering goods to customers. When you’re an entrepreneur you have a million jobs. You can easily work your rear off without making progress if you don’t organize your business with systems for getting things done.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve funded my business out of my own bank account so I’m always trying to stretch EVERY dollar by buying in bulk, bundling orders from suppliers to get free shipping, etc. I would learn something new about my business from either my customers or changes in the market and have to throw away hundreds of dollars worth of labels, containers, or raw materials because I didn’t need them anymore. This would happen about every 3 to 4 months in my first 3 years of business. I eventually learned to take a little loss on shipping, orders for raw materials, and other such expenses so I would stop tying up my money in inventory that’s not going anywhere.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ten years from now it will be commonplace for someone to meet with a health coach on a weekly or biweekly basis to review their food selection choices, stress levels, fitness, and health conditions. So, if you have a passion for helping people become a healthier, happier version of themselves you should start a health coaching business. You can specialize in a condition (e.g. helping a diabetic plan low-glycemic meals) or general health maintenance (e.g., helping a professional in a high stress career learn to decompress or develop habits for better sleep).
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A conference to continue my education about natural health and the gut microbiota. This event helped me understand the connection between digestive health, nutrition, and how our body functions. That’s why Nourish Modern Wellness formulations are centered around feeding the healthy bacteria in our bellies.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Evernote. I use it to put everything I need to review for a project in one place. At one point I lost control of my desktop. There were duplicate folders and documents that I needed but could not find. Evernote has helped me to stay organized and retrieve the information I need quickly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World“ by Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m a big fan of GaryVee for his style and what he has done in business over the past two decades. From the beginning he has always used himself as the differentiator of his business and that’s what he teaches you to do in Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. The book reinforces the need for human connection in a world that has disdain for the impersonal nature of corporations.
What is your favorite quote?
“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions” Will Smith.
- As an entrepreneur inspiration comes from anywhere at any time. To avoid getting distracted, keep a journal with you at all times so you can jot down your random ideas and get back to focusing on the day’s tasks.
- You have a finite amount of energy each day. Taking stock of where your attention is going and how you’re spending your time will help you maximize your productivity.
- Know your direction but leave your destination open for where life takes you.