Hello! We are beginning a series called “Entrepreneur Spotlight” where we will be highlighting military spouses that have started their own businesses. I am so excited to introduce this series as I think there are so many military spouses out there that have thought about owning their own business. Over the next several months, I will be interviewing spouses who have taken that leap of faith and will be able to provide you with some insight into their businesses, how they got started, and what it takes to be both a military spouse and an entrepreneur.
It is my pleasure to introduce our first entrepreneur, Anna Burrill of “Anna Burrill, Your Health Coach.” Anna is an integrative nutrition health coach that helps families get on the right track for health and wellness. I met Anna several years ago when our husbands served on the same ship. She was an inspiration to me then, as a mother and military spouse, but my admiration extends even further as she has taken a passion of hers and turned it into a profitable business.
Here is the transcript from our interview:
Anna: I am 37 years old, still wondering how that happened. Scott, my Husband, also known as Lt. Burrill, USN, and I live in Chesapeake VA, just on the edge of the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River. We have 3 very tall, very brave children that reach from 10 to 14 years old, counting by 2’s. We live in a Big Green Ugly House that we love with blood sweat and tears, are entertained by our puppy Fisher, and are kept humble by our cat, Hobby. I, though very much a part of the family, have individual interests- interests about food, health, writing it down, showing up and trying to figure out what works while letting go of what doesn’t!
Kayla: Why did you start your business? Tell us how you came up with your idea.
Anna: About 4 years ago I started questioning the foods I was eating and the foods I was feeding my family. Fish sticks? Mac’n Cheese? Doritos? Capri Sun? I began to ask and learn what it was made of which led me to a very shocking education about all of the things we were ingesting. Artificial colors, flavors, chemicals and dyes. Additives, preservatives and food like, pasteurized products. The inquiry began an evolution in our home. Uncle Bens was out and Brown organic rice was in! Kraft dinner was out and the real deal took its place. Juice boxes were no more; water with berries or lemon suited the taste buds just fine. The process was gradual, for sure, and took some experimenting, but what we learned is that real food was/is so much more satiating and satisfying, not to mention delicious!
If we could do it, why can’t everyone else learn how to revolutionize his or her pantry as well? There was the start of my business. I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition out of NY and gained the credential “Integrative Nutrition Health Coach”. Today, I am practicing, helping others discover the foods and movements that best suit their needs, desires and goals. My mission is to help the world find its Nutritional Cadence one person at a time!
Kayla: How has military life impacted your business? Is it difficult to run with the constant moves?
Anna: Moving certainly doesn’t help when it comes to building a business, but because the community is so tightly knit and supportive, it doesn’t necessarily hurt. We are on our seventh set of orders in our 16 years so moving has become comfortable and anticipated; having a business poses a few time management challenges, but because I have learned to ‘Let it Go’ stress doesn’t blow it out of proportion.
Being part of the military, and being in the community for 16 years, has created a safety net where my business is concerned. I personalize my health coaching services to help other military spouses balance their life by balancing the sum of their parts. Diet, relationships, education, career, self-care, spirituality, creativity, and ideals are the pieces that make us up. Because I am a military spouse, I can relate to the financial, logistical, and emotional challenges other military spouses face.
Kayla: How do you get clients?
Anna: I gain most of my clients through word of mouth contacts. I am not a business minded person, so marketing myself and asking strangers to trust that I have all the answers is a bit uncomfortable for me. So, as I work with clients, their successes speak to the effectiveness of my program
Kayla: Did you need a lot of money to start your business?
Anna: I would say, no. I believe in what I am doing so as truly believe in the money spent as an investment. The process has been slow, but as a family we have carefully chosen where to invest in this business and where not to. Building a business takes more time than money, which is an important expense in and of itself.
Kayla: Do you use social media for marketing?
Anna: Yes. I am learning to utilize Facebook as a marketing tool but I am thrifty at heart. My goal is to remain authentic and grounded, so paying for promotions and boosting my ideas so that it reaches an unauthentic audience is not something I have participated in. I have a blog, In Five Paragraphs or Less, that I maintain as I am inspired; I have a FB page, /annaburrillyourhealthcoach, that I am learning to be consistent with; and I send newsletters with promotions, ideas, tips, recipes and support to a greater audience. Everyone is welcome! There are lots of freebies, tips and tricks to take away even if a Health Coach isn’t desired.
Kayla: How do you juggle being a military spouse, and/or mom and businessperson?
Anna: Everything has a time and a place. I do not have a brick and mortar store. I practice with most of my clients online or over the phone (long distance clients). I am honest and open about my own needs, about my client obligations and about my family responsibilities… and when something has to give, it gives. My children have always respected my time and I respect theirs by scheduling clients with consideration and intention. Don’t get me wrong, I have made mistakes and stepped on toes, but for the most part, the schedule is not a conflicting one.
Kayla: What has been your biggest challenge?
Anna: The greatest challenge I face is getting my message out to the world! Everywhere I look there are Mom’s struggling to put time and energy into their own dreams, desires, and health. And, because processed food is cheaper by the dozen and time is of the essence, single serving, packaged foods go into the lunch box for the kids. When energy is inadequately fueled and the body is inadequately fed, imbalance occurs. With a few, simple lifestyle changes, a healthy, balanced nutritional cadence can be maintained with much less effort. My greatest challenge – reintroducing the world to the basics of real food while asking the world to believe I am right.
Kayla: What has been your greatest reward?
Anna: Each and every one of my clients come to me with challenges they feel are too large to over come. Every time one of those false stop signs is by-passed with purpose and intention, my heart and soul is rewarded. When I was a smaller person I was told I had limits. As I have grown, I have learned that my limits are only set by my beliefs. When my clients begin to eliminate their boundaries and believe in their purpose… that is my greatest reward.
Kayla: If you could tell another military spouse one thing about starting their own business, what would it be?
Anna: Act now and be afraid later… once you have taken the leap, fear is quickly replaced with excitement, passion and purpose! If you feel you are meant to solve a problem, fill a gap or create and invent, that is exactly what you should be doing! When all else fails, eat real food, drink plenty of water, give your vitamins their vitamins, and, as always, remember to wash you hands!
Kayla: Thank you, Anna! You are truly an inspiration to others. I LOVE following you on social media and getting your emails. They are always jam packed with great information and easy ways to make our families healthier.
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to make healthier choices for your family but not sure how to do it on a military budget, you’ve got to talk to Anna! If you’re interested in checking out her services, here is her contact info below. She is currently running a special. If you sign up for her 6 month coaching program, you will receive a FREE FIT BIT. How cool is that?
Anna Burrill, Your Health Coach
If you know an amazing military spouse entrepreneur, please let me know! We would love to interview them. If you’re interested in hearing more about our entrepreneur spotlights, please sign up for our email here: