We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicola Ducharme, ND and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicola, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always wanted to have my own business – the independence and flexibility appealed to me, and in my field of naturopathic medicine being an independent practitioner suited the profession too since at this time in our area, there are not a lot of hospital positions for naturopathic doctors. I have always loved to travel, and with my family living overseas, having the ability to carve out that time has always meant a lot to me. When I first went into practice, I did work for another small clinic for a couple of years, which I enjoyed. But hanging up my own shingle was always the goal.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am the owner and medical director of an integrative private practice called RestorMedicine, in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. I have been in that neighborhood since 2005, and have expanded to incorporate naturopathic medicine, nutrition, IV therapy, ozone therapy, craniosacral therapy, marriage and family therapy, and other modalities. I love our neighborhood and the practice I’ve been able to create. I am very proud of where I am today. I build my business gradually, little by little, growing organically over time. My first office was a 400 square foot space with 2 rooms – just a block away from where we are now. It was perfect for me at that time, I didn’t need anything more. One of my main philosophies of business ownership is to grow organically and not over-commit. I realize that some of us are more risk-averse than others, but it’s always worked well for me. I never took a business loan or maxed out my credit cards – I just kept things small until I could build my practice little-by-little. My second key philosophy is to specialize and serve and specific group of people. My work now is mostly with chronic Lyme disease, and being that specialized, but really focusing on that area and becoming known for it, has helped me to grow. When I first graduated as a naturopathic doctor, I didn’t know who I was trying to served and my offerings were too broad. My work with my first mentor helped me to focus on autism-spectrum disorders, which morphed over time into my work with Lyme disease patients. What sets me apart, in my opinion, is that we really pay attention to people, we listen to them. The world of Lyme disease is quite politicized, which sadly has led to many people not getting the right testing, diagnosis and care. Our medical system currently does not lend itself to spending time with the patient, of really being able to look at the whole person, and assess what is going on in their body. It’s trouble-shooting most of the time, which is fine, but my philosophy of medicine is to truly get to the underlying cause. The other thing that helps is that I care deeply about people. Every minute I’m with a patient I’m serving someone, helping someone – and while the days can be hard, and the work challenging, that’s what gets me going each day. It’s the heart of service that allows me to not get burned out.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have quite a few favorite spots in the city … if a friend were in town, we’d probably go from one favorite restaurant to the other! I love outdoor dining – C-level lounge is a favorite, and George’s at the Cove in La Jolla. We love our neighborhood in Mission Hills because we have several great restaurants we can walk to. One of my big passions is horses, so on many days my daughter and I can be found at the barn with our horse. A friend coming to town would no-doubt be dragged up there with us! Other favorites are Balboa Park, the ferry landing at Coronado, and walking along the Embarcadero downtown.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are always many people who make up another’s journey and their success, I could name numerous people who have influenced me and supported me. One in particular who very much contributed to my getting a great start is Kurt Woeller, D.O. I worked with Kurt when I was first in practice, and he provided such great guidance and mentorship. He was generous in sharing his knowledge and helped me to specialize in biomedical approaches to kids on the autism spectrum. At that time I needed to work as an employee of another practice as I was not a citizen then and couldn’t start my own business, but in looking back, the foundation that role provided was so formative that I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Photo credit: Rippee Photography