Linda Nelson | Naturopathic Doctor, Mother, Reflexologist, Master Aesthetician

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In August 1979, after more than three years of rapidly declining health, Linda Nelson was left nearly disabled by pain, fatigue, and depression.

Unable to find relief from traditional doctors, Nelson reluctantly went to see a naturopathic doctor. During the course of their discussion, her eyes were opened to processes that were taking place around and within her. After the meeting, Nelson focused all her energy on educating herself about how the body really works, how to avoid harmful toxins, and how to embrace a cleansing lifestyle that would allow the body to rejuvenate and get well. With that knowledge, Nelson founded M’Lis, a company that educates on nutrients and total lifestyle changes.

In 1964, I received a B.S. in business. I also received a Ph.D. in preventive health and became a licensed reflexologist in 1994. I became a Doctor of Naturopathy in 2001 and a master aesthetician in 2002. Constant schooling and surrounding myself with others who are focused on holistic wellness has led me from one point to the next throughout my training. I have been diligent in becoming aware of all studies, ingredients, business changes, and holistic trends in the health care of Americans, as well as internationally. I think the key to creating a business and making it successful is to never give up. I love the saying, "the harder I work, the luckier I get." I have diligently surrounded myself with those who are passionate about what we do. I love people and sincerely want to help them get to be the best they can be. At the same time, my biggest challenge has been to let go of every aspect of the business and empower others to take ownership of projects. Finding time to do everything you would like to do and still balancing your life and the lives of your associates is always a challenge. Therefore, the most important piece of advice I have for someone starting out in this industry is to find good role models and mentors in the field you want to pursue. Research all educational opportunities and look for an opportunity to intern with someone in your field whom you admire. The two situations where I find spa businesses get in trouble is to not budget and not know what they need to focus on to make their spa work. At many of the spas with which we work, they do not know how much it costs to run their spa each month. They say their own salary is if there is anything left at the end of the month. An accountant and a business plan is a must. I also always tell every client that they are responsible for their own health and wellness. The only person who can make a change for the better is you.

Can you share something that most people would not know about you? My greatest blessings are my six children, 23 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. They are my number one priority and motivate everything I do.

Here’s more of our chat with Linda:
1. DERMASCOPE: How long have you been in the aesthetics industry?
Linda: The parent company of M'Lis began educating and training in holistic products in 1980. This is our 35th year in business.

2. DERMASCOPE: What various roles and positions have you held within this industry?
Linda: Since 1980, I have been building a spa and medical product and program business both in the United States and internationally.

3. DERMASCOPE: Which of these roles taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how?
Linda: The parent company of M'Lis has taught me the most as it has been deeply involved with formulating, developing, and implementing both product programs and educational programs for licensed spas and clinics. I learned to take an idea and focus on how it will improve not only the client, but also business owners. Ideas can change lives and businesses.

5. DERMASCOPE: What characteristics or skills set you apart from your peers and enabled you to be so successful so quickly?
Linda: I think the key to creating a business and making it successful is to never give up. I love the saying, "the harder I work, the luckier I get." I have diligently surrounded myself with those who are passionate about what we do. I love people and sincerely want to help them get to be the best they can be. As I have gotten older, I have also surrounded myself and my business with young, savvy innovators who understand media and marketing and are also passionate about what we do.

6. DERMASCOPE: Do you have any regrets or is there any one thing you can point to and think, "I wish I would have done that differently." or "If only I had known then what I know now." that you can share with the readers? Please explain.
Linda: I have no regrets! I love what I do and the people with whom I work. I feel blessed to spend my life helping others to change theirs. Our company has had lean financial times from which we have learned. I think we have done almost every marketing idea imagined; some work fabulously and some cost us a lot of money; everything we have gone through in the last 35 years has been a stepping stone for what has become an amazing business.

7. DERMASCOPE: What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the industry?
Linda: New formulations and new programs have helped me to stay relevant in the industry. We rebrand our line every five years and upgrade all labeling and marketing materials. Our advertising has also changed dramatically with more and more sophisticated tools.

8. DERMASCOPE: What has surprised you most during your professional journey? Linda: I have been the most surprised in the last several years by how consumers’ attitude about natural products and programs has exploded.

9. DERMASCOPE: How and where do you find inspiration?
Linda: I am inspired every day by giving service to others and having that service make a change in their lives. It is the most fun thing I do. I also find inspiration from my associates and their dedication to what we are doing.

10. DERMASCOPE: What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?
Linda: I think that programs that change the client's lifestyle and health without age or gender boundaries is an upcoming trend in the industry. Other trends I foresee are education in lifestyle, exercise, stress, mentoring, trust in the spa environment and therapies, natural and organic products, and having all services, treatments, therapies and mentoring in one place.

11. DERMASCOPE: Why do you think people come to a particular spa?
Linda: People go to a particular spa because they gravitate toward where they feel comfortable and accepted. Having skin care professionals to whom clients have bonded makes a spa work.

12. DERMASCOPE: What do you believe separates the best establishments from the rest?
Linda: What separates the best establishments from the rest are spas that are serious about their goals to project their business as a complete wellness/spa retreat, where everyone is welcome and accepted where they are, but want help to change. The spa needs to be a retreat, clean, calm, and reflective of what they are teaching. This means no smoking onsite, no loud music, no Big Gulp containers or candy wrappers on the front desk. The environment needs to embrace health, wellness, and beauty.

13. DERMASCOPE: Is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a "super" ingredient? If so, why?
Linda: In our business, pure nutrient drinks that produce an almost immediate health improvement have been this year's biggest asset to the wellness part of our spas. These drinks are super ingredients.

14. DERMASCOPE: Do you have a signature treatment or technique that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?
Linda: Our signature treatment since 1980 has been our internal detoxification program and our body contour program. This program is a detoxification of the liquid waste system of the body. The client loses four to 14 inches getting healthier. Those programs are loved because they make a positive difference in someone's life.

15. DERMASCOPE: What tool(s) would your treatment room (or business) not be complete without and why?
Linda: The biggest tool in any spa business is to have retail products that supports the programs and treatments that you provide. I believe that 50 percent of a business should be in retail sales because that is where the profit comes. Retail sales are not bound by how many massages, facials, and pedicures are done daily.

16. DERMASCOPE: What advice do you have for someone planning to start a career in this field?
Linda: The most important piece of advice I have for someone starting out in this industry is to find good role models and mentors in the field you want to pursue. Research all educational opportunities and look for an opportunity to intern with someone in your field whom you admire.

17. DERMASCOPE: Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations? If so, who and why?
Linda: M’Lis support breast cancer research and Feed the Children.

18. DERMASCOPE: You wear so many hats in this industry. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?
Linda: Keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey is the hardest thing to do. I can only follow the advice of those who say, "Do what you love and love what you do!” If you love coming to work every day and feel fulfilled, the personal part of your life also works.

19. DERMASCOPE: What are your hobbies when not working?
Linda: When not working, I love to travel, particularly in countries that have health care systems totally different than America, such as African healers and shamans.

20. DERMASCOPE: Do you have a company or personal motto by which you live?
Linda: Our company motto is: We provide hope of a better future by advocating natural, whole-self wellness in a simple form. We are caring, professional, and place a premium on quality and world class customer service. We embody our vision by caring for our own personal health and maintaining a positive, prosperous outlook. We earn the trust of others with kindness and integrity.

21. DERMASCOPE: Other than your products, what are the greatest assets and strengths your company offers?
Linda: In addition to our products, M’Lis is totally focused on loving others well.

22. DERMASCOPE: What is the toughest decision you have had to make at your company?
Linda: The toughest decision I make at my company is letting an employee go who is not a good fit for either the employee or the company.

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