Erika Weber MS LAc is the owner of 16th St Acupuncture and Urban Tonics. During a ten year career on the Broadway stage, Erika learned about the benefits of acupuncture for her own injuries. She decided to study Chinese Medicine and opened her acupuncture practice in NYC in 2007.
In 2017, she started Urban Tonics, a lifestyle brand that includes video tutorials, a wellness blog, and health and beauty products. She has been touted a “serial entrepreneur” and owes her independent spirit and drive to her father, who always worked for himself.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Since I was very young I remember being very independent. My parents dressed me in a shirt that said “I’m The Boss” – I guess they knew.
I played games as a kid where I pretended I was running my own business. Growing up I worked for other people, but I knew the natural progression was to work for myself one day.
My father owned his own business and never worked for anyone – so I just thought that was the way it was supposed to be and everyone wanted to do that.
Tell us about your business.
16th Street Acupuncture is a dynamic practice offering a variety of services in both acupuncture, massage, and other holistic treatments. We view our practice as people’s Primary Care for Holistic Medicine.
We treat everything from pain related issues to fertility, insomnia, and migraines. The practice revolves around dancers, athletes, everyone and anyone who deals with the stress of daily life in an urban environment.
Urban Tonics is a unique lifestyle blog and health-related products that inspire and promote the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! I am hosting a retreat in Italy with 4 other women in October “The Five Steps to Your Essential Life Essence.” There is a discount for early sign-ups.
For more information go to www.lifeessencecouncil.com.
I was listed as one of the Top Holistic Wellness Professionals in Asia Spa Magazine in 2016.
We were listed in CBS Local news in the Top Ten Alternative Health Professionals in NYC and nationally accredited in the NCCAOM.
Where is your business based?
Union Square, Gramercy Park Area in New York City.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I was continuously thinking about how to get my name and business out there.
To start off, I joined a networking group called BNI which not only generated business but helped myself learn new business skills by being around other business owners. I am excited to educate people about my business and create a buzz around it.
I also worked with a business coach who helped structure my business and stay on track with weekly goals and tasks.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I use Yelp and Google to help market and drive traffic to my website and continuously blog which also helps to build my website readership.
I believe that focusing on and doing the daily work every single day and attentive customer service will get existing clients to refer their friends and family to you.
Every now and then I do an anonymous customer survey to check in with my clients to see what their positive and negative experiences have been, and what areas we can improve upon.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
First of all, I never look at life and business challenges in a wrong way. I look at them as a challenge or as something fun. I’m solution oriented – so I just see a situation that needs to be dealt with or fixed, and strategize on the best way to handle it.
One challenge has been remembering and honoring self-care. My whole self is aware of when it’s time to go back to basics and clean out some areas of my diet that haven’t been as clean, really getting my 8 hours of sleep, drinking enough water and meditating.
How did you overcome these challenges?
For self-care, I realize I need a break every 3 months. Whether it’s going upstate for a weekend in nature – or a week in Florida playing tennis every day. Something that gets me out of the routine, helps me to power down and recharge, and be open to more creative ideas.
Hiring help is always beneficial when I find things in my business are getting overwhelming. It’s good to recognize your weaknesses and know when you need help.
For me, I know I’m really good at some things and terrible at others. I recognize where I need help and I have learned how to ask for it. Also, I recently met a mentor that has been incredibly helpful to bounce ideas off and ground me.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I try to look at difficult times as a challenge which motivates me. I get down like everyone else but every day is an opportunity for something great to happen or for me to make happen. So I try to remember that.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Not only do I have a fantastic, useful tool with acupuncture, but I also pride myself in fantastic customer service and the care my business provides.
Could I improve?
Always, but I feel that people have to experience the utmost care when they come in. We believe educating our patients on the best possible treatment strategies is vital. We want people to feel that they have someone on their team to use as their holistic primary care.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Recently a mentor said, “There is nothing like you. There was nothing like you. And there shall be nothing like you,” which was a reminder that all of my positives and negatives make up all of my strengths.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Keep your head down and do the daily work. It’s about enjoying the journey, not the end result. Time management is crucial and allowing self-care time.
Know that you will definitely have sleepless nights during the first 5 years of your business, but don’t give up.
Keep striving – don’t get stale – infuse your business with life – treat it like a child that needs to be nurtured to grow.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I actually like to use Linked In. Since they have changed their platform, I find the business networking to be inspiring and relevant. I learn from what other business owners are doing and it’s a great network of professionals that I can peruse through if I’m in need of something for my business.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m learning how to expand and offer more. I’m also learning about new techniques to add to my existing repertoire of treatment options, including facial acupuncture treatments and cellulite reduction treatments.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I would like to start doing more TV appearances again to educate and promote acupuncture and my new beauty line Urban Tonics.
I’m also in the process of hiring more acupuncturists under 16th St Acupuncture.
To reach those goals, I’ve started attending weekly networking meetings to meet new people and build up my network.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/16thStreetAcupuncture, https://www.facebook.com/urbantonicsinc
Website www.16thstreetacupuncture.com, www.urbantonicsinc.com
Hashtags #16thstacupuncture #urbantonics #naturalmedicine