Julie Handelman is the co-founder of Los Angeles Sleep. They have been in business for 8 years, and have 2 locations.
Where did your dream get started? Where did it come from?
Nurit (co-founder) and I had another business in medical equipment prior to staring Los Angeles Sleep, we have 8 kids between the two of us (Julie has 5 and Nurit has 3). We would hang out together, and during one of those hang-outs we started discussing sleep. Sleep is a big issue. People often just get prescribed pills without analyzing the root problem. We wanted to make a difference and help people understand the issue, and what the best treatment was for them, so we decided to open up a 3 bed clinic to do studies. We worked around the clock and meanwhile had our children to take care of, plus we were still running the medical equipment business. We had started a new adventure, our effort and hard work paid off when we got our first patient within 3 months.
What was it like to begin following that dream?
It was insane at the beginning with a 3 bed lab; we started feeling like we were playing catch-up because we were growing faster than expected. We now have 2 locations. What made it easier; we were so in-tune with each other and we were always on the same page.
What’s been most rewarding after choosing to follow this dream?
It’s been rewarding to provide jobs for others, to see how interested people are in trying to understand sleep issues. It’s been rewarding to be able to mentor people that we are showing the low & mid class that they can follow whiter dreams. We are changing peoples’ lives.
What’s been the most challenging?
Playing catch up with the ever changing market, the insurance companies are brutal, we hold up paying the bill for as long as we can. Wanting our employees to be successful, but accepting we can only lead them so much and at some point they need to take responsibility.
What are some high points and low points of the journey?
High: Fast growth. We grew to be 12 bed labs and 2 locations within 15 months. (We decided to slow down and not keep expanding because we didn’t want to drive ourselves crazy). We are very proud of the fact that we were able to offer benefits to our staff before taking a salary.
Low: Health care reform is going to force us to make cutbacks because of all the changes that it’s bringing.
What’s one thing you’ve learned that all small business owners seem to relate to?
There’s always change. There is no golden key. We all have it hard. Everyone has challenges, there is no free lunch. You just have to face the challenges.
There is no golden key.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have a dream go for it, you have to make sacrifices; you will have to work really hard if you want it. But you can have both your family and a successful business; you just have to work twice as hard. You will have to work like crazy.
You CAN have both your family and a successful business
What would you like to say to other small business owners during Small Business Week?
Don’t take challenges personal or too seriously. Laugh about it, joke about it. Find great partners to go into business with. Have trust in each other, count yourself lucky, and don’t let egos get in the way. Care about your employees. You have to be people first then business owners.
Small Business Spotlight Series #SBW2014
This Small Business Spotlight is part of a series of interviews performed by Employers Resource in order to honor small business owners and the hard work they’ve invested in pursuing their dreams of owning a business. They represent the #DreamItBuildIt elite. Cheers to your passion, your values, and your hard work. [button url=”//employersresource.com/small-business-week-2014-business-spotlights/” style=”flat” background=”#8e0606″ color=”#ffffff” center=”yes” radius=”5″ icon=”icon: home” text_shadow=”px px 0px #7c7171″]See All #SBW2014 Spotlights [/button]