Small Business WebsiteGowings Food Health Wealth

Providing culinary and marketing solutions to the global luxury spa and wellness market.

In 2002 Samantha Gowing built her website foodhealthweath.com and has since then become the go-to expert in Australia for all things in food, medicine and wellness.  She has recently relaunched her website with e-commerce capabilities and full Superfood TV channel.

This is what Samantha had to say about running her business.

Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer.

We’re a global wellness company based in Byron Bay. Our Organic Cooking School specializes in creating our signature Surf Spa Food for luxury health retreats worldwide. We also create dynamic, fun and interactive Corporate Chef experiences for Workplace Wellness and Executive Team Building incentives.

With our dynamic, transformational Wellness Business Mentoring programs, we help food and health professionals become successful business owners and entrepreneurs. We deliver compelling, entertaining food and wellness presentations and keynote address.

Q. How long have you been in business?

30 years in hospitality. My current business is Gowings Food Health Wealth (FHW) which was established in 2000.

Q. What made you decide to start this business? 

It was a natural progression being involved with my late father’s restaurants. At 24 years old I became the licensee of the multi-award winning Gowings Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood, Victoria. Throughout the 1990s we showcased innovative food and also some of Australia’s best acoustic performers and modern visual artists.

After 15 years in the Melbourne restaurant industry, I needed a new challenge but still wanted to be involved in food. I took a fork in the road, studied Nutritional Health science and fitness. In 2003 I was awarded the “Excellence in Clinical Practice” Graduation Prize from the Melbourne College of Natural Medicine on completion of a Diploma in Health Science – Nutrition.

In the mid 90s I realized that restaurateurs need to be more mindful of what they were dishing up. By the early 2000’s I merged my love of food with my new-found passion for health and fitness. I was also tuned into the knowledge that the wellness industry would soon become the next trillion-dollar industry. Boom!

Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?

A positive 40 – 50 hours per week.  More if travelling to consult onsite.

Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?

In the beginning of FHW I had very little cash flow and so it became essential that I learned how to code html and create online marketing campaigns.

Initially I hired a web developer who created the first website.  He taught me one of the most valuable lessons to this day and that was to not use my name/surname in the URL but to use keywords. That was in 2003. My first website was built in Mambo shareware and was pretty clunky with little call to action and no landing pages.

Over time it has organically evolved as much as I have as an entrepreneur and business mentor.

The development of a seasonal newsletter called Now & Zen was birthed around 2004. Originally as an attached PDF, I then learned how to generate a newsletter from the back end of the website and outsourced that for a while.

In 2009 I overhauled the website as I incorporated business coaching into my service menu and created www.foodhealthwealth.com of which the powerful to www.foodandhealth.com.au URL still diverts.

Now & Zen continued to be created at the backend of the Joomla site but I was never happy with the outcome so I carefully studied MailChimp (est. 2001) an email marketing service that I had been watching since around 2003. Now & Zen started to gain traction and is now in its 11th year.

From there I needed autoresponders as part of my clients attraction system.  A site visitor fills in details for my free Healing Foods DVD and then goes into a 6 week campaign of my Cooking School Secrets – it took me a while to configure the autoresponders.

Offline – I speak at my book launches; conferences; create cooking demonstrations and TV shows that help to boost my brand.

Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?

In the beginning I undercharged for my experiences and services.  I quickly learned that I had to work on my own self worth in order to raise my rates. This is what I now teach others to do as soon as they commence the mentoring program.  Having a bulletproof yet flexible business plan is essential and most importantly creating an exit strategy for your business as you grow it.

Q. How has your website helped you run your business? 

Since working in the wellness arena I have never had a shopfront so my website is absolutely crucial for consumers to find me. The website has always been larger than life as people often say they can’t believe that it’s just been me for most of the time. I often feel like the Wizard of Oz – a solo person behind that big curtain!

Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?

Immediately it is about attracting new clientele. I happily took a 3-month sabbatical at the end of last year to launch my self-published book The Healing Feeling – Recipes and remedies from Australia’s leading spa chef, which you can buy from my website at
http://www.foodhealthwealth.com/shop/

As a “soulpreneur” I find that Australia shuts down from the week before Christmas and only wakes up again mid February. This is very frustrating when dealing with the corporate sector decision makers. However in the past 18th months I have created a passive income stream on the website that makes money for me while I sleep so each day I wake up to sales.

Q. Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?

Create a website that really works with giveaways, client attraction systems and landing pages. Get to know what your statistics mean and figure out where traffic is coming from, then work out how to can lower the bounce rate.

Go to data seminars and conferences and keep learning about digital and social media trends. Stay in touch with your customers and listen to what they really want.

If you have products to sell then migrate across to a fully functional website and not just a blog. Build an e-commerce site so it inspires you to sell more and you become a trusted online retailer just because people like your style!

For more information, visit Samantha’s website Gowings Food Health Wealth.