Amelia Pantalos wears many hats. It wasn’t until I sat down with her this week that I truly realized the depth of her character, education, and knowledge. Although we discussed the many roles she fills, her influence ripples well beyond our local community. Her words of wisdom are poignant, refreshing, and worthy of consideration.
I chose Amelia as one of my featured entrepreneurs because she symbolizes that which I most admire about small business owners – elegance and grace amidst the chaos of the unknown. Any small business owner will tell you that the only constant with being self-employed is “inconsistency”. You can employ every proven marketable technique and pull out every social media trick in the bag and still end up falling short of your quota of sales.
So why do we all flock to join this rat race? Amelia gives us her take on this puzzling, yet enticing question.
If you are considering turning your passion into a business, listen up! Amelia is a perfect example of how to follow your passion to make your dreams come true. Is it easy? No way! Is owning your own business for everyone? Absolutely not.
Amelia traveled a bit of a winding road to get where she is today. The narrative in her family is to pursue higher education. That being said, she is quite frank about whether someone has to have a college degree to own their own business. “I do not think that everyone needs to have a college degree. I think that’s such trash,” she says. She goes on to say that she has 2 cousins that chose to go to mechanics school in lieu of a formal degree.
“Who cares?” she says with such passion. “I have a college degree but I don’t know crap about cars (laughing). I think that there is a romanticism about higher education. Instead, go learn about what you want to do in whatever way is going to make sense to you – with the caveat of whatever way you need to be able to do it. Practice it fully and legally.”
Treasure the Journey
In this interview with Amelia, I kept coming back to one thought. All of life’s detours, closed doors, and winding roads (to our ultimate destination) is a “seasoning of the spirit and strengthening of the soul.”
Sometimes a closed door or detour is not so much a “no” as it is “not for you right now or not for you at all.” And that’s okay. Our society today is so narrowly focused on instant success and instant gratification that we often miss the lessons of the journey.
Directing Your Destiny
Amelia has what I like to call “a stirring of the spirit.” She feels a calling and follows it without question. This is why I initially asked to interview her, but she has so many more layers and depth (and seasoned experience) that even I was unaware.
Pantalos attended the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS), loved acting, and really found a passion for directing. (Hint: most entrepreneurs love directing the course of their lives). No surprise that she went on to do just that with her professional career.
In regards to her personal health, however, western medicine left her with more questions than answers. So she picked up her life in Louisville to move to Austin, Texas to attend a 3 ½ year (year round) clinical master’s program at Aoma Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. And if this isn’t enough credentials, Pantalos is also a certified infant massage instructor, a DONA-trained birth doula attending births since 2011, and a part of the Louisville Doula Project.
When I stated that most entrepreneurs are “seasoned” (aka having the experience and education to back up their credentials), I would say Amelia is “red pepper hot!”
If you are reading this blog hoping for a bit of inspiration to venture out on your own, I hope you get a fire in your heart and under your feet. Get moving! Emulate her passion, drive, and endless desire to learn your area of expertise – no matter what that is! There is no ceiling to your success unless you believe it to be so.
Do you feel there is something holding you back from achieving your dream of starting your own business? I welcome your comments and feedback below. Lets build a support system for all those struggling to feel support in our community.
Ingredients for Success
Pantalos was already comfortable with the business end of things from running her massage practice. She knew what forms to file and how to make things legal. She now had to integrate her business sense with her industry experience and education.
Amelia’s services include herbs, acupuncture, cupping, Gua sha, Estim (electoracupuncture), moxibustion, massage therapy, and doula services. As she explains her extensive list of services, she beams with so much pride, it’s hard not to instantly connect with her enthusiasm and spirit.
“Herbal medicine is part of our treatment plan. Some folks come in for an herbal consult, and they don’t want to do acupuncture or any of the other services. Others come in for acupuncture, and herbs may be an important part of the treatment plan.”
For doula services, she says her package consists of 2 pre-natal appointments. Usually those conversations are each about an hour long. The first appointment addresses the medical side of things – like if you are having your baby at a birth center, a hospital, or in your own home. I type up a care plan that they can share with their care provider.” The second session is all about comfort. She inquires if they want to use aromatherapy and how they like to be touched. The goal is for the first 2 sessions to be complete prior to 37 weeks.
“I am there as a support system, and I don’t do any kind of medical decision making,” Pantalos explains. “Usually people hire me because they want to hire ‘me’. I always work with a back-up in case I have an emergency and can’t be there or I am sick.”
“Sometimes I’ll have folks who are wanting to help their breech baby get turned over, or trying to encourage labor, then they might come in for acupuncture or moxibustion. Otherwise, I went to training about doing acupuncture during birth, and even in that training we ended up doing more acupressure and massage.”
Networking in the Community
Louisville Meridian has been in business for the past 7 years, and Amelia has had her office there for the past two. She says for the most part, their networking and referrals are by “word of mouth”.
“I was very lucky to come into this business when they were already well established with a good reputation. I know from time to time we’ve done spots on the news like WDRB Keith Kaiser. And we do have somewhat of a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.”
What Does Success Look Like to You?
“This is actually something that I had a conversation with my dad and my aunt over vacation, and something that is really important to me when I decided to go to acupuncture school. I asked myself what I wanted to do to be happy.”
Pantalos even did research on what makes people happy. “People say money can’t buy happiness, but to a certain extent that’s a lie. Like if you have financial stability, then that absolutely impacts your overall well-being. But once you’re really past that, it really doesn’t matter if you’re driving a Honda or a Mercedes.” To Amelia, the rest of it is community. With a look of total satisfaction and sheer happiness, she says, “I am very wealthy if you look at my community. I am very wealthy.”
Biggest Blessing of Being Self-Employed
Without hesitation, Pantalos says “Freedom to be able to practice the way that I want.” Because both travel and education are very important to her, “there are definitely times that I wish I could take off a chunk of time to go do a specific education-related thing.” Most recently, she vacationed in Italy for 2 weeks with her family. “That’s a ridiculous amount of time to be away if your self-employed. If I had a salaried job, I may have to work for years to get that much paid vacation, or that just might never be an option”. She notes that as her clientele has grown, she’s recognizing the rhythm of the year for busy and lean times and schedules time off accordingly.
Biggest Stress of Being Self-Employed
I always say, “I will never have a day of paid vacation in my life, but I can go on vacation whenever I want”. She says there is a freedom with a risk but always has the faith that the money will come in. “I am fortunate that I already have a lot of connections in town because I have my hands in lots of pots. Plus, I do good work, and then I get referrals.”
Top Attributes of a Small Business Owner
Amelia says “patience” is at the top of her list. She goes on to say, “Being willing to talk to people and engage with them. Coming up with a way that you can communicate what is important to you in a way that is accessible to people that don’t speak your language.”
I can offer a personal testimony to Amelia’s work. I have seen her for knee, shoulder, and neck pain. Amelia takes special interest in reproductive and perinatal health, mental health, pain management, and recovery support after injury or surgery.
Her office is located at Meridian Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine at 311 Wallace Avenue, Louisville, KY 40207. Website information at Louisville Meridian. You can reach her by calling (502) 290- 8788.