Each week, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to Donna Christie, owner of SDC Wholelife, based near Alford.
How and why did you start in business?
Since leaving school in 1980 I’ve had a variety of roles within the oilfield service and hospitality sectors, where I’ve gained administrative and management skills, but I’ve always had a niggling gut feeling that I should do more, be more and help others succeed.
In September 2002 my husband, Steve, found a business opportunity that initially I could do part-time, and gave us an additional income, the ability to work from home, and, most importantly, to serve and help others be the best version of themselves.
‘I knew this was my path’
That company was Herbalife Nutrition. After attending training and leadership seminars learning about health, nutrition and personal development, I knew this was my path and reaffirmed my desire to support others to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
In addition to helping people understand what their body needs and finding solutions to their challenges – whether it is their daily diet, improving sports performance, or simply helping them to look and feel better – my ethos has always been 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, with a 100% attitude.
Over a short time, I realised I had built what started as a part-time income into more than I was making in my full-time job. So in March 2004 I handed in my notice and quit the oil industry.
How did you get to where you are today?
Having been an ex-pat child and wife, I have lived in many countries and been surrounded by many different cultures which showed me to have an open mind and respect others.
This, I believe has given me a passion, willingness to learn, can-do attitude, as well as making me teachable and, crucially, non-judgemental. At the same time, it’s reminded me to ask for help from positive like-minded others when in need of guidance.
Who helped you?
That’s easy to answer. Firstly, my own passion for learning and “what’s next, solution-focused attitude”. Secondly, having my own group of wellness coaches who believed in me more than I did myself.
Then there’s my incredibly supportive husband for always being there for me. I’ve also found the information and guidance the Federation of Small Businesses has on the membership page invaluable.
That and the online UK-wide networking has been especially useful during lockdown – I’ve made many business connections and friendships through these events.
What has been your biggest mistake?
Not being consistent and overthinking. Not planning and taking my eye off the big goal and dream.
What is your greatest achievement?
Three very different things spring to mind. Becoming a mother to my two amazing children, taking part in four triathlons and sharing my story in front of 18,000 people at a Herbalife Extravaganza event in Prague.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
I’d like to see more community recreation activities, along with free fruit and vegetables for all households. Coupled with that, I’d also like more of a focus on personal development and definitely more education on starting your own business.
What do you still hope to achieve?
To open a wellness centre, where like-minded, passionate coaches can come together to offer products and services to the community – a place where people, staff and businesses can come to learn and understand more about eating well, thinking well and being well.
What do you do to relax?
I meditate and listen to various coaches’ apps. I also love a soak in an Epsom salt and lavender bath, getting outside and walking, and having picnics around our beautiful Grampian/Cairngorms. In my opinion, these are the most beautiful places in the world.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?
Reading is not my biggest passion, but I love audios. You won’t be surprised that personal development, especially written by Jim Rohn and Wayne Dyer, feature a lot.
I’m a big Elvis fan, so any of his music does it for me, and I love love love the Vikings and Peaky Blinders TV series.
What do you waste your money on?
I wouldn’t say waste but I do spend money on eating amazing food. Eat on the Green, in Udny Green, is my favourite go-to restaurant, and I do love good champagne.
How would your friends describe you?
Fun, happy, positive and kind. Also a doer who loves her family unconditionally. I recently celebrated my 57th birthday and my best friend’s card said: “To my beautiful, inspirational best friend in the whole world.”
What would your enemies say about you?
I don’t really know, but maybe my enemies are just jealous of who and what I’ve achieved. Enough said.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
Currently, I drive a Fiat 500X and the dream car is an easy one – a black, top-of-the-range Porsche Cayenne, with a cream leather interior. It must also have front and rear parking sensors because bollards have a way of jumping out at me.