The business of lifestyle

One of the
growing sectors of small businesses is in personal services, where people use
their skills to advise, train or counsel others.

Personal
services can cover a diverse range of areas from financial advice, fitness
training to alternative therapies. In that regard, Shiloh Lifestyles is an
interesting small business started by former nurse Annice Sambulo.

The
aim of the business is to provide the tools to enable people to change their
lifestyles so that they are physically, emotionally and mentally healthier.
Sambulo does this through a combination of techniques, including counselling,
nutritional advice and immune-boosting therapy.

Sambulo’s
business has been a dream for some time now. She has struggled with her weight
all her life and wanted to help people who, like herself, have what she terms
food addiction. Her interest in immune system building came as a result of both
parents dying of cancer. It was her mother’s experience with cancer that
brought Sambulo into contact with alternatives to traditional Western medicine.

“My
mother was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago and refused
chemotherapy. My background in nursing wanted her to do chemotherapy, but I
honoured her wishes and travelled to lifestyle centres in the US, where they
treated cancer holistically even if you had gone through chemotherapy,” Sambulo
said. “They built healthy immune systems through a variety of lifestyle changes
and various other disease prevention techniques.”

Sambulo  received training in holistic therapies to be
able to administer them to her mother, who eventually died from  complications of pneumonia. Sambulo believes
her mother’s life was prolonged because of the therapies.

“Although
the tumour in her lung was discovered at a very advanced stage and was
inoperable, my mother had a good quality of life for two years. She suffered no
pain, and the tumour did not increase in size nor was there any sign of
metastasis at the time of her death.”

As
a result of her experiences, Sambulo began to look at health from a holistic
stance. “I decided to combine my Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with my
Master of Science degree in professional counselling, as well as my training in
holistic therapies, and started Shiloh Lifestyle Services in 2005.”

She
initially obtained a trade and business license in 2005 but needed more
funding. She got business advice from the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (now
the Department of Commerce and Investment Development). They drew up a business
plan and with that she obtained a small loan from the Credit Union to cover her
start-up costs.

Although
her trade and business license was granted, she didn’t really start working the
business until 2009 because of lack of financing. She eventually raised half
the money herself and half through a sponsor. She also delayed because she felt
that perhaps the time was not right for her type of business.

“It’s
taken a while for Cayman to understand and embrace the benefits of preventive
health,” she said, “plus the fact that the cost is not covered by health
insurance. Setting up a business such as this one was a great risk but I am
passionate about what I do, and that gives me the courage to press forward.”

Because
of her own lifelong battle with weight and the problem many others in Cayman
have with weight, she initiated a two-year obesity management programme. The
project started in February with six participants living in a house rented by
Sambola for six weeks. She says “the intention is to treat obesity that stems
from psychological involvement or food addictions, beginning with living in a
controlled residential setting for the first six weeks. Treatment revolves
around proper nutrition, moderate exercise, counselling, detoxification,
colonics, de-stressing, spirituality, sun therapy and in general, an approach
to good health by affecting mind, emotion, body and spirit.”

Now
that they are out of the house, the participants continue to meet three times a
week for consultations .

Sambola
continues to rent the house, and she envisages it as a retreat where people can
stay for shorter or longer periods. She hopes to further expand her business by
offering Healthy Staycations. These would incorporate a combination of
life-coaching talk therapy, nutritional advice, immune-system building through
different methods, massage and proper breathing techniques

For
those who are planning to start their own business she says, “My advice is to
pay close attention to those little dreams and ideas and nurture them. The
Department of Commerce and Investment offers free advice and coaching to shape
those dreams and ideas into reality, so take advantage of this invaluable
service.

“Also, join
the small business association so together we can be strong and help each
other.”

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