Veronica Smith Southerland Of FLO Hydration & Wellness: “Patience”
Patience. Success takes time. It’s true there are no overnight successes. The people who work with me in my Watch My FLO program now are not the same ones who started with me. We needed to let the right people move into the right spaces and that simply takes time. Whenever I push too hard, I do not get success. I get frustrated. Patience is key.
The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Veronica Southerland, FNP-BC.
A tenured healthcare entrepreneur, Veronica Smith Southerland, also known as Vee The NP, has dedicated her career to raising up the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs. It’s with the vision, she can serve both the healthcare provider and patient, and specifically creates space and opportunities for minorities in healthcare. Vee The NP opens minds to the seemingly impossible and teaches how to make the opportunity you want possible, profitable, and powerful.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?
Oh, goodness. How much time do you have? I grew up in the Eastern part of North Carolina watching my mom work hard to take care of our little family. She was a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) and then became a lab tech. She mostly did home health care. Like so many other nurses, nursing is in my blood.
I went to college and was actually pursuing degrees in social work and on a pre-med track. After I started taking courses for my medical degree, I realized this was not the path for me. So, while I was working as a social worker I also went to school to get my degree in nursing. I was also newly married. A lot was happening in my early adult years!
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?
I have spent my career in nursing and have seen the benefits that a wellness-focused life can reap for all of us. We give our lives to supporting the needs of our patients, our families, and our friends. We are innate caregivers. So, it’s so important to remind ourselves to take care of us too.
It’s the nurses who are my main focus. To date, I’ve taught more than 1,000 nurses in my Watch My FLO program. These nurses have gone on to open up wellness clinics of their own throughout the country.
Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?
I recently survived COVID and COVID-induced pneumonia so my activity is much more limited now. But, I can assure you, I appreciate every movement I get to make so much more.
I love walking and Pilates for my activities. I drink plenty of water as well as get IV Hydration drips. And my go to drink is a French 75.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
As I mentioned earlier, I had this deeper drive in me for something outside of what we in nursing call bedside nursing. I was seeing so many changes in the industry and additional opportunities to use my healthcare skills to help keep patients healthy. I started with IV Hydration therapy. I used grassroots marketing — I mean like lunch & learns and pop-ups and anything that got me face time with the public — and share the benefits of IV Hydration.
I started getting call after call for a concierge drip. Then, I started getting calls to teach other people how to give drips. My business mind knew one thing for sure- these nurses needed additional options to generate revenue and I was going to give them the best laid plan I could to help them reach success.
Watch My FLO classes were born out of this specific need.
That’s how most businesses really start… out of a need mixed with a know-how. I have both.
Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When I first started my first business — a home health care business, things were fine. I’d built up a lot of my career on relationships with doctors and social workers. They knew me. They respected me. Life was easy.
The harder lessons came into play around 2008 when healthcare started to change. By 2010, my booming home health care business that spanned two states was almost gone. I went from red bottoms and a 2 million dollars home to almost nothing.
I resolved this by going back to school to get an advanced degree. I retired my mom from the hospital and hired her to run my home health care business. I kept my head down, stayed in my lane, and found ways to build back my business.
The main lesson I learned was to have more than one stream of income. When we have everything tied up in one business, we can lose everything.
Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
Yes! I can share 1,000 because in September 2021 I will have taught 1,000 nurses how to start their own IV Hydration business. I’m not going to name specific names because I do not want to leave out anyone! Here are a few examples of what my students go on to do…
I have nurse entrepreneurs who teaches nursing students while also owning her Medspa where she focuses on IV Hydration and Medically Managed Weight Loss. They are also a leading community partner distributing COVID-19 vaccines to churches throughout her area in Fort Lauderdale.
I have nurse entrepreneurs who was able to leave her job at a COVID-19 testing location and work full-time at her beautiful IV Hydration location overlooking a gorgeous bay in Newport Beach. Thanks to their success, they get to add additional healthcare revenue services such as lab work and aesthetics to their business.
I have nurse entrepreneurs who have been featured on national news and reality TV shows as well as students who cater everyone from high-profile athletes to senior centers.
What I get to do is giving every person I teach the opportunity to create their own destiny. And I love it.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Every project on which I work leads to elevating the nursing industry and the entrepreneurs of our industry. I go around the country and teach nurses how to open their own businesses.
My publicist would say that what I do emboldens people to take that one extra step to walk into their destiny. Creating a business is hard. Creating a business in healthcare can feel dang near impossible if you don’t know all the rules and regulations around what we do. I pour out myself onto my students — the good and hard lessons — so they will see rewards.
And I say, I help people because at my core I’m a nurse. My job is to help people.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
My first is to listen. My social media feed may not reflect this but I’m an introvert. I like to be with my daughter at home and quiet. I don’t watch much TV. My experience with COVID has forced me to slow down even more. So, I get to listen to more.
My second is to know when to walk away. I’ve had some great ideas over the years, heck in the last 2 weeks, but they didn’t come to fruition like I thought they would so I walked away. No tears. No forcing. Simply knowing, my energy needs to be spent elsewhere.
My third is to honor the flow. When we walk in purpose we have to understand that not everything is going to be easy. I think people think that once they find their purpose then everything else just falls into place. Nope! But, we have to be attuned to flowing and pushing. When we flow, things can get in our way but they also move out of our way. When we push, we are exerting energy that will ultimately be wasted.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?
Wellness is being kind to yourself and providing your body with what it needs to be in harmony. When I started my newest, FLO Hydration & Wellness location, I wanted every person who walked through the doors to experience harmony. I actually took over a pain management clinic and let me tell you… The aesthetic was not pretty. Boring walls and basic chairs do not inspire our bodies to engage in feeling whole. So, I changed the look. It’s one of the prettiest spas I’ve ever seen. It triggers each person who walks in to stand straighter, which then inspires them to want to learn how to get healthy. Wellness isn’t one single act. It’s a kindness that leads to harmony.
As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?
As a nurse and as a business owner, I’ve seen and experienced all areas of health. To function well, we have to take care of ourselves. I do believe this Pandemic has taught us that nothing is promised. If your readers need it, I’d like to give them permission to take care of themselves.
During the times when I was focused on everyone else’s wellness and ignoring my own is when I serve the least. Talking a walk, getting an IV Hydration drip, treating yourself to a facial… all of these are important parts of being the best you for who you serve.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?
Step one is listening to your employees. As I said in an earlier question, I listen first. I spend time hearing what the people around me need before I start my improvement steps. Maybe I think having a happy hour each Friday is the best thing for my employees but in fact, if the happy hour starts at 5:15 p.m. and the workday ends at 5:30 p.m. I’m guilting my employees into staying at work an extra hour each week.
The next steps are taking what I hear and finding solutions that work. I know you have a lot of small businesses reading who are struggling to keep open doors so any kind of wellness program can feel like it’s going to be massively expensive; an expense they cannot afford. That isn’t true at all.
Listening is free. An encouraging word to your employees doesn’t cost you a thing. Improving your attitude actually gains you money because your energy sparks a change with all who are around you.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Courage. It takes courage to create a career in an industry that’s constantly evolving. I can tell you that I’ve looked into the eyes of many mentees and seen a lot of fear looking back at me. But they did not let that fear win. They had the courage to keep going until their wellness plan worked.
- Patience. Success takes time. It’s true there are no overnight successes. The people who work with me in my Watch My FLO program now are not the same ones who started with me. We needed to let the right people move into the right spaces and that simply takes time. Whenever I push too hard, I do not get success. I get frustrated. Patience is key.
- Reallocation of resources. Do you know how much consignment stores pay for designer shoes? Do you know the resale value barely covers rent? I do. Because when I lost 4 million dollars I tried to sell everything I owned to simply make ends meet. Now, I’d rather invest in land; not designers. Land is an investment in my future financial stability. Wearing designer labels is fun but it’s not what helps me reach success. I have seen more people invest in a high-end bag instead of investing in an attorney, accountant, or marketing. To truly experience wellness, you need to make sure your resources are working for you.
- Give back. I mentor a lot. To grow the wellness mission means I cannot do what I do alone. It’s physically impossible for me to provide IV Hydration to every single person who wants a drip from me. But, if I’m teaching people how to do what I do, and how to serve as I serve, then there is growth in wellness across the country and the world.
- Continuing education. We are always learning. And who’s in our circle equates to our movement. If the people around us are pushing us to level up then we’ll level up. If not, well… you’re moving down or staying stagnant. I want to learn from those who are doing it better than me. There’s always a next step. It’s critical — especially for the most successful of us — to find someone who can pull us up as much as we pull up the next person. As much as I give back I also need to get back from someone else.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d get more people owning and operating FLO Hydration & Wellness clinics. When someone walks into my clinic to receive help with pain management, what they get is an experience that says — there’s more to pain relieve than this prescription. You get to get better. We’re here to be part of that journey.
Our goal is to always help people think higher, think deeper. I’ve seen how mindset can heal. I want to show the roadmap to getting this change across our country.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
This is a great question and my answer is… anyone who wants to bring health into their community.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My websites: veethenp.com and flo-well.com.
Instagram: @veethenp and @flohydrationandwellness.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!