Join Susan as she interviews Blake York, the founder of Equilyst – a state-of-the-art healthcare company that uses technology to treat the root cause of a dysfunction rather than just diagnose a disease.
Even though he started his business in 2020 during the pandemic, he has doubled this revenue this year over last year. Blake shares that historically companies can experience massive growth during difficult times by keeping their heads down and staying focused on their goals. He credits his success by not paying attention to unnecessary distractions and keeping his mindset positive. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.
Blake’s success is rooted in truly seeing a piece of himself in each and every patient and having a deep connection to the outcome they desire to achieve. He treats every patient like they are his only patient, which has helped his business grow by word of mouth.
Blake is a licensed Board-Certified Health Practitioner in the field of anti-aging, functional, and regenerative medicine. You can learn more about his company at equilystmed.com.
Topics covered in the interview
Blake’s recommended books
Importance of customer service
Blake York’s Bio
With a Masters Degree in Nursing and a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program, our Founder, Blake York, has been a leader in the innovation and transformation of modern health in America.
Although Blake grew up in a health and wellness-centered home, with parents who owned several fitness centers and a physical therapy practice, it was only after 11 years of his own progressive nursing career that Blake found his true passion and purpose in this industry when he began coaching and mentoring others in weight loss and fitness in 2011.
“I realized the joy and gratification I gained from helping others succeed in their own health journey and making changes in life before they had to.” – Blake York
Blake’s desire to help others become empowered in controlling their own health and wellness through diet, exercise, and supplementation is what ultimately led to his discovery of Functional and Integrative Medicine. Thus, Blake followed his passion and became a licensed Board Certified Health Practitioner in the field of anti-aging, functional, and regenerative medicine–and that’s when Equilyst was born.
Blake’s success is rooted in truly seeing a piece of himself in each and every patient and having a deep connection to each and every outcome they desire to achieve.
Welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring the no nonsense insight to those who have the courage to start, grow, and scale a business. Here's your host, entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author Susan Sly.
Susan Sly 00:17
Well, hey, what is up Raw and Real Entrepreneurs. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having an amazing day. I just, I was so excited, you know that this person who we're going to have in this episode is not just an amazing dad and entrepreneur, he's also a dear friend. And this episode, his first episode on the show, was one of the most listened to episodes we had. He talked about navigating being a single dad, going through a divorce, doing his master's degree while working full time as an RN and starting a business. And so many of you wrote in and talked about how inspirational he was. And so I thought, let's have him back and just check in and see what is going on. So my guest today is the one and only Blake York. He is certified in functional and regenerative medicine. He's, as I said, he's got his master's degree. He's an amazing father. And he started his own business called Equilyst. And he helps people feel well, look well. And this business is already doubled this year, what it's done last year, so it's on track to do over an increase of over 100% over last year, which is amazing. And so Blake, welcome back to the show. It's so good to see you.
Blake York 01:55
Well, it's great to see you, Susan, thank you for having me again.
Susan Sly 01:58
I just want to jump in, you start a business January 2020 right before COVID. And we're now dealing with looming recession, we're dealing with inflation, we're dealing with 20 million Americans who couldn't pay their electric bill in August, and yet your business is on fire. Why is that?
Blake York 02:23
I just haven't had time to pay much attention to those things. You know, it's kind of when you have your head down. Several books I've read just kind of feature that same thing. If you look, historically, during these times, there's always some companies that experience massive growth. And when those you know, when those founders are questioned, it's really like, Hey, what did you do? Nothing special, just keep your head down, you know, and stay focused and focusing on, you know, the goals. The goals stay the same. Sometimes your, you know, your methods change, you know, so, I think that's really it, I try to tune out a lot of the stuff out that's going on in the world, you know, you've taught me that. I've learned that from other mentors, I think just in business in general, keep your mindset positive. Because you know, where your focus goes, your energy flows, and that's just, that's just how it goes. So really just try to stay stay consistent with everything, and I credit, just, you know, word of mouth referrals, you know, and that's just through compounded growth, and really treating every patient, you know, like, they're your only patient, and then they start to send their mom, their dad, their spouse, their sister. And so that's just what's happened, like compounding ly over the last year. You know, and people really need more and more what we're providing, as well. And I think COVID shed a lot of light on that. And so that's been a positive thing for my industry, per se, is that people are more in tune with like, hey, what aspects of my health can I control and what things do I need to kind of take better, better care of so that I don't end up in a bad position that COVID revealed? Could possibly happen to a lot of us, you know, over the last couple years.
Susan Sly 04:10
I love that you said that. And you mentioned some books, right? And and you have mentors, you have, you're constantly beating yourself with, you know, some people would call it positivity. But I would say that fueling yourself with the fresh ideas and the right mindset. So what are some of the books that you've read that, you know, for someone listening, who's an entrepreneur, who says, Yeah, I want that, like Blake, I want to be doubling my business during these times.
Blake York 04:45
Yeah, there are some really great books. You know, obviously one of my favorite books is a, two of my favorite, you know, business, entrepreneur modeling you know, mentors are, and what Tony Hsieh, Rest in peace, Tony Hsieh, you know, and so you made a comment about him and just his book Delivering Happiness and, and customer service and, and just culture of business culture how powerful that is. I really love that book. Sad to hear that he perished like that. But his legacy still lives on over there at Zappos, and that place gets toured every day. I really am quite fond of Richard Branson's philosophies in business. You know, he's very personable, and he tries to create an experience for all of his customers and his employees. And, you know, he hires for talent, and personality, not necessarily skills. And so those were a couple that really, I think The Virgin Way was a great book, from Good to Great. I think that's Jim Collins. What Got You Here Won't Get You There. I've read so many different books on different things that have kind of paved the way for not only creating this, but continuing down that road. And I think finding somebody that you really identify with, you know, their principles and their philosophies that has been successful and just modeling those things has been really paramount for me. It's like, Hey, these are, this is a way to really quickly close the gap, which a lot of people don't, I don't think take advantage of. But it's all in the books if you want, you know, it's all there.
Susan Sly 06:33
I love that you mentioned Tony Hsieh. I was just meeting with our new head of operations, Sean, at Radius and I said, have you read Delivering Happiness? And he he hadn't yet. And in that book, you know, one of the things I was thinking about lately, Blake, is in AI, right, lots of people are confused about artificial intelligence. And so what if, at Radius we said, we're going to take Tony's principles, and that any of our customers and their employees could, we would have a essentially a hotline, and they could call and ask us questions about it. And so, you know, it's like, what would, what would that be like? And in the Zappos case, I could call and they'd help me order pizza even if I'm not ordering shoes, right? That example. So how are you bringing those principles into your business? I'm so curious about that.
Blake York 07:28
So well, I just, I just hired somebody. I think finally, after a couple of years, I've had a couple people come and then have moved. And so I kind of just pressed the brake on that. So finally just found the right fit. So training her, somebody that's really over and above, I think, is customer service. And I think that was Tony Hsieh's concept is like, Hey, we're not just trying to be like the best shoe delivery company, we'd want to be the best customer service company. And I think that's paradoxical to most people. They don't think about that as a primary selling point, it's more like, we have an item, and then we may offer good customer service. He's like, No, we're going to put that at the forefront of everything we do and that's going to separate us from everybody out there. And so, I developed this concept from a healthcare perspective to be really high tech, but also high touch, you know, so, even though we have all this technology, still trying to make it very personable, leaving myself to be very open, you know, I think I always have an open door policy, you know, with patients, and that's kind of been a positive thing, you know, for most people. And, and I sent you, you know, the article that I wrote is really just some of the negative things people have with a clinic experience or going to the physician, you know, it's like, they don't really, they just kind of feel like a number, they don't really feel like, you know, an individual. And so really trying to just make everybody feel warm, welcome, being prompt with, you know, returning emails, messages, you know, Portal patient, portal messaging, and it's making sure everybody feels, knows that they're loved and cared for and appreciated. And so we're continuing to add more of that now, with layering on, you know, the, the new hire and have a new platform that will allow us to support our patients through their journey that we're developing, just so they continue to get touched, and feel that we're there for them all the time. You know, so I think you can deliver happiness with whatever you're doing. But I think it surrounds like, the the emphasis on customer support, you know, it's like that whole skill. It's one skill to to get a client, there's another skill to keep a client, you know, and so, customer acquisition and customer retention are two different things. And I think really, the hard work comes after the initial sale, you know. It comes from cultivating that relationship, like, hey, you know, I'm here with you, you know, for as long as you'll have me, I don't, I didn't just want to be this one way just to get your sale or get your, you know, get your buy in, we want you to stick around and you know, we appreciate you.
Susan Sly 10:19
Blake, what I'm hearing is there's this intentionality of even as big as your business is getting now is to retain that, you know that, the carrying this, just who at the, as a man, the soul of who you are, because this is who you are, you're, you're integrious, you're empathetic. And to be able to say yes, as big as we grow, we're still to maintain that intimacy. So let me ask you this, what is your plan for scaling? Because I know you and I know you always have a plan.
Blake York 10:55
So we actually just launched Louisiana. So I went through the process of getting my licensing there, got a new medical director. So we're, we're advancing, so we're now open for business in Louisiana from a virtual perspective, because I really want to try to, I really wanted to pay back, you know, my community there. And it's, it's something that's desperately needed. And so after, you know, many people messaging me for years now, hey, can you treat me, Hey, can you help me, and giving out free advice, we decided to kind of move forward. So we actually did launch Louisiana, we're looking at launching Arizona, Florida, and a few other states, just spreading far and wide through virtual services. So with that, you know, I can still treat patients for hormone therapy, weight loss, peptide therapy, you know, vitamin injections, these things. I'm pulling together a team because I never meant for it to be me as the go to for everything. So I have some people on the line for that are really experts in nutrition, personal training, functional nutrition. I have some mindfulness coaches as well. And so I have, you know, been slowly collecting personal friends and acquaintances that I've built rapport with that I know treat their patients the same way that I do, to where we can have some affiliates that are going to add value to every patient experience. And like I said, we're developing a custom app through nudge coach, which is going to be a premade template form, where, you know, patients will opt in this program. And they will be able to, we'll be able to remind them, hey, have you done, have you done your meditation, have you, have you drank your water, like, it'll just continue to give them support, they can communicate with us directly through the app, as well. So it's another touch point. And I'm looking to hire a, you know, a nurse injector or an esthetician to kind of run the cosmetic aesthetic aspect of my practice here, because I've just gotten so busy in consultations. I spend most of my time just with patients. So you know, training my new employee here who's got a great experience, rounded experience in sales, marketing. She's great with customer service. She was in nursing school before she was actually became a VP for LA Fitness. So she's got a wide range of skills. And so just now starting to really try to assemble a team and looking to continue to add state licensing, so we can eventually offer the bulk of what we offer service wise, virtually, which I think really is kind of the way medicine is heading and was heading before COVID. And then it's kind of thrusted into warp speed. So thankfully, we're prepared for that. So that's it, you know, just really trying to make this type of health care accessible and affordable for patients and still on the forefront of educating patients on what this is, you know, why you need it. And with that comes educational insurance and you know, what that covers, what it doesn't cover, why you need preventive and promotive care. And so it really is still so exciting, because, you know, even though more and more people are learning about this industry and what we're doing, it's still a fresh space, you know, so it gives you an opportunity to really be the first time someone gets introduced to this, which is you know, holds a bit of weight, but I feel like I'm always up to that challenge to really introduce people to what this is and why, you know, functional medicine and preventative health care is the medicine of the future. So who knows? And then you know, once we get that done, I'm looking at, you know, potentially some additional, you know, brick and mortar locations, but I think if anything, if anything's last couple years have taught us anything is that you really don't need a lot of space, office space to operate. And so really just trying to leverage technology and expand, like I said, as far and wide as we can, with the bulkhead of the services that we offer. We added cryotherapy, whole body cryotherapy here this year. So that's actually picked up, it's been really great. So still adding to that recovery aspect of our care. So we're really just focusing on you know, wellness, recovery and aesthetics. So just trying to keep perfecting, getting, just trying to get better with all the little things that we do, you know, and affect as many lives as we can.
Susan Sly 15:41
Blake, I love that, and I think it's, and I want all the listeners to really hear this, like, you're looking at expanding your business using technology, which is lower cost, high tech, lower cost, and then the brick and mortar is on the horizon. And it's so smart, because you can capitalize that brick and mortar investment, which is more significant with what the online business generates. So at some point, do you think it will take on investors to scale or what is your plan there?
Blake York 16:14
Yes, I'm really right now trying to really perfect the business model. We're launching, rolling some memberships into there. So I originally started this to be a membership based program, which will be much more beneficial for both the patients and you know, just our business practice. Because not every patient's the same. Some patients need much more time in that restorative phase. And so they need closer follow up, they need monthly visits, they need some of these additional perks that we have for them. So we'll be trying to implement that before the end of the year. And I have several people that have come to me, older colleagues and people that I have helped get into this industry that are working elsewhere. And I plan to really kind of get this prepared to be a potential for a joint venture type opportunity for somebody like me, that's looking for a turnkey solution that has like minded that really could, you know, continue to expand our brand and really just reach more people. And so that's an opportunity, you know, or potentially, you know, as a franchise opportunity. So, that's kind of the big picture is, you know, how can we take what we've created, and help somebody else that's looking to get into this industry get started and have their own micro practice. And, and like I said, We just helped more people at that point. I'm not sure how many of these I can handle by myself, two, maybe three, but I don't, I don't know. But you know, like I said, I have had interest, you know, from numerous people that are interested in this industry that are looking to invest. It's just, you know, you want to make sure that you're, that what you have, when you sit down with somebody in that time is perfect and make sense for them. Because, you know, that's a serious stepping point, you know, is a serious step ahead. And there's a lot more other things that go along with that process, as you know. So the goal is to get this thing so refined and so duplicatable, and to where it, you know, it makes sense, you know, I think fee for service is not ever going to be something that is scalable on paper, so, you know, I've taken courses as far as membership based and, you know, some of these concierge places and stuff. And, you know, I think it's really beneficial. A lot of my patients or our private pay patients, you know, some of them are most patients nowadays are really what I call insured self pay patients, meaning they have insurance, they pay five, $600, $1000 a month for this premium, and then they have a deductible of 2500 to $5,000 a year, never really meeting that deductible. So if they really want to take care of yourself, it's coming out of their pocket, you know, and so it just makes sense to provide them with an opportunity to, hey, you know, invest $2,000 a year in your wellness prevention, you know, and then you don't have to go the doctor, you know, keep your insurance plan, but we're here, you know, to facilitate your health. And so a lot of my patients actually consider me to kind of like their primary care, because I'm the only person they see. And as long as they're well and there's no other issues, I don't have to refer them to anyone. I can handle most everything that they have, and that's fine. So you know, hopefully, by the end of next, but in the middle of next year, we'll have it pretty, pretty refined and we'll see how the new implementation of the membership plans go. And now we have the end internal, you know, sales and marketing team that can help facilitate a lot of the things that we're trying to do. I mean, this industry, we're producing new, new compound medications every month, I feel like that are so valuable to anything from sexual dysfunction to hair loss to, you know, gut issues, there's amazing new weight loss drugs out there. So just getting that stuff out in the market, of course, with that also comes another degree of education too, so. So it's a lot of fun, just having, thinking about the future and how we can expand the realm of functional- That's really my goal is like, how can we expand the realm of functional medicine? And that's, I don't mind, through mentoring, you know, through offering advice, anytime anybody approaches me that's looking to get into this, I am so ready to just pour into them and let them know everything I've learned, because whether they join me or not, it's just, I want this for everybody. And we need more, you know, professional practitioners in this field, because
Blake York 21:12
conventional medicine is failing people left and right, and it's just more and more apparent. So that's really my main goal is how can we really help other practitioners expand functional medicine, whether it's through a joint venture of my own practice, or helping them create their own, I really don't care. You know, I'm here to, I'm here for the cause, I think, mostly.
Susan Sly 21:38
Here for the cause. And Blake, I can keep going with you and there's so much to talk about, but I just, I want to commend you, like, in a few short years, you've gone from going through a really tough divorce. As I said, like, I remember when you weren't sleeping, so you're, you're going to school full time, you're working full time, you're taking care of your son, there were days you didn't sleep for like, three days, I remember. And now here you are, you're building such a successful business, your faith is always so strong. You're looking how you can serve more people. And you have the blinders on. And so, Blake, I love you like a brother, and I'm so proud of you. And thank you for being here.
Blake York 22:24
Thank you, Susan, I appreciate all that you said. And just for being, you know, there through me through the whole process and everything. You know, I said on that recent article, I totally mean that. And, you know, everybody around me knows that. So you're just huge light to a lot of people and we appreciate you taking time to do stuff like this in your not so free time. I don't know how you find the time to do everything you do. But again, it's, you're a huge, just beacon for what's possible. And, you know, that's, that's it. So I'll keep shooting, as long as you're shooting for the stars. So it's all good.
Susan Sly 23:01
It's a deal. Well, thank you again so much. And we'll put the link to Blake's article in the show notes. And with that everyone, this has been another episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. God bless. Go rock your day. And if you didn't hear Blake's first episode, we will put a link to that in the show notes also. And I will see you in the next episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.