This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews husband and wife team Chris and Tarryn Walker from Walker Family Chiropractic. Chris and Tarryn share a passion for chiropractic and lifelong learning – their goal is not only to give their patients pain relief, but also the tools to stay well.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Chris: I was born and raised in Armidale and went to school at Armidale City Public and then Armidale High. After finishing school, I spent a year in the US before settling into my chiropractic studies at the University of Canberra and then Macquarie University.
Tarryn: I grew up in Flesherton, Ontario, Canada. I completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario, and then came to Australia to study for a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science followed by a Master of Chiropractic at Macquarie University.
We met during our final year at Macquarie and started dating before we graduated. After completing our studies, we moved to Queensland and worked in practices on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane for a few years before making the decision to move to Armidale to open our own practice and raise our family.
What does Walker Family Chiropractic do?
Chris: We address neuro-musculoskeletal complaints – nerves, bones or muscles, or a combination of all of them. It’s about helping the brain and various parts of the body communicate and function more effectively. Amongst other things, we support people with back pain and sciatica, neck pain, headaches and sports injuries. We use spinal adjustments to improve overall wellbeing so that people can get the most from life.
When did you start your business?
Tarryn: We established the practice in August 2011, just before our daughter Zoey was born. Initially, Chris did most of the work to build the business while I cared for Zoey and worked a few shifts, and then I gradually increased my shifts and the business grew consistently. We moved from our original location in Marsh Street to the current (larger) premises in Butler Street about five years ago, which has had a positive effect on the practice.
What have been some of your challenges in starting a business?
Chris: Making sure that we have everything in place is hardest. There is a lot of paperwork to complete to ensure that the practice complies with all relevant rules and regulations – both as a business and as chiropractors. Getting to fit in the mandatory annual continuing professional education requirement was difficult when the kids were younger, but now we can follow our areas of interest and fit it around or with the rest of the family.
What do you like most about running your own business?
Tarryn: The best thing is being able to do things the way that suits us – we have the opportunity to live according to our own values, not have to follow someone else’s script. It’s also great to learn about our profession – you can always learn more and other chiropractors can often provide a different perspective. We love the flexibility that owning our own business gives us. To some extent, we get to schedule things to suit our lives.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
Chris: Love what you do but at the same time realise that it all doesn’t just fall into your lap. If you love what you do, you will be willing to put in the time to make it succeed.
Tarryn: Perseverance is important. For most people starting out in business, it doesn’t happen overnight. Have a good idea of what you want to achieve and make sure you get advice or look at how others have set up. Also, be willing to keep on learning – there’s always something new or a different viewpoint to consider. People who love what you do will find you.
What inspires you?
Tarryn: Most of all, we love our profession, so that inspires us.
Chris: The people we see are inspiring. We get some pretty sick people coming to us and we get to help them and see them improve. People overcome some tough stuff. That’s really inspiring.
What is your secret for success?
Chris: We don’t think there is a secret. It’s all about loving what you do and putting in the work to get what you want from the business. So, we enjoy building the business, and we persevere, even in the tougher times.
Tarryn: It’s also about lifelong learning, having integrity, and being honest.
What’s next for Walker Family Chiropractic?
Tarryn: We’ll still be doing everything we do now. We’re so lucky that we can do what we do and help people who are in pain. We have our dream jobs – Chiropractic is our passion.
Chris: We won’t be complicating things too much in the next 12 months, but we will continue to increase our knowledge in specialised areas that interest us.
Tarryn: I’m currently undertaking relevant chiropractic courses in pregnancy care.
Chris; I’m continuing to gain more knowledge about migraines and dizziness and how to treat those cases.
Tarryn and Chris agree, ‘We can’t complain – life is pretty sweet!’