Small Business

KNOTEWORTHY: Dr. Daryl Cioffi, Polaris Counseling & Consulting

Dr. Daryl Cioffi, LMHC, Ed.D is the innovative and modern-day wellness doyenne who is reshaping corporate and institutional visions of wellness. As co-founder of her private practice, Polaris Counseling & Consulting, Dr. Cioffi has harnessed the vision to empower individuals in becoming “well beings” into a practice and company that inspires purposeful changes in revolutionary ways. 

In her consulting work Dr. Cioffi specializes in challenging leaders, audiences, and organizations to redefine their values and views of success, wellness, and work-life balance. Her viewpoints and teachings on wellness have reshaped the way we think and practice well-being both in and out of work.

Dr. Cioffi has undoubtedly made her mark, appearing on national radio and print as an expert on wellness in the Huffington Post, Medical Daily and Social Work Today. Her first book "Be Freud" made the Amazon bestsellers list in 2016. A professor of neuropsychology and psychotherapy, Dr. Cioffi teaches and special lectures at many colleges in the New England area when she is not counseling and consulting across the country.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years and have found that while there are an abundance of resources available for individuals in crisis, the same often cannot be said for individuals who fall under the umbrella of something I call “well-ish”. The “well-ish” person is perceivably OK - that is, they don’t have any glaring issues, and they are able to function normally for all intents and purposes. But they aren’t fully satisfied; they possess a deep desire to better themselves and, in a sense, “elevate” their lives. Psychotherapy is often a wonderful option for these individuals, as it is a safe and supportive environment which lends itself to self-reflection, unexpected challenges and important insights. 

My business partner and I designed POLARIS ( as a boutique private practice with the vision of creating a haven for the “well-ish” to become whole. By seamlessly combining innovative clinical treatments with the ideals and values of holistic healthcare, we are proud to have cultivated an environment where unbridled wellness is becoming a reality in our client’s lives each and every day. 

As I grow and change, the work that I do is always evolving with me. As part of my doctoral thesis I conducted research on perceptions and practices of wellness among high-ranking executives. It immediately became clear to me that the relationship between wellness and success is a complex one, which is how I started my consulting firm ( It is my hope that by being a strong and steadfast advocate for integrating the concepts of wellness and success, leadership development as a whole will be redefined.

How do you define success? 

Success for me is so multifaceted. For one, it is rooted in wellbeing, in the sense that I would not consider myself successful if my mental, spiritual or physical health were in a state of neglect. It is also freedom - the freedom to create, and plan, and make something happen without restraints. Perhaps most importantly, it is happiness and fulfillment. The second anything starts to feel like work, I know I need to re-evaluate what I am doing because I am not necessarily successful anymore.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I’ve always thought work-life balance was a strange paradox, especially for women. We instinctively want to problem solve, nurture, and see something succeed, yet eventually we end up resent having to give up our personal time (or at time work) to do so. So I am not sure there IS such a thing as work-life balance, especially as a business owner. For me, the goal is trying to master a work-life “sway”. I know that there will be times when my business demands more of my energy and attention, and others when I need to take a step back and dedicate myself to other aspects of my life. When I have a lot on my plate at work, establishing a concrete plan allows me to visualize my workflow and keeps the tasks from getting out of hand. It also helps me organize my time, and allows me to clearly communicate expectations to my family and loved ones. When I do take a break from business mode, I need to trust that my employees and partner can handle things in my absence. To be honest, this was extremely difficult for me at first but over the years I’ve come to realize that it is something that is essential to my own wellness and sanity. Other times, I need to devote my efforts to myself and own personal development. In these times work, family, and even just “life” in general have no place. This time for me is sacred- it’s reading a book, traveling, reflecting quietly, working out (also known as shopping), or taking time out to “recharge” myself. If I can’t be good to myself I can be good to anyone else at my office or in my home.



Instagram: @drdarylcioffi


KNOTEWORTHY: Jan Taylor, Get Lively

Jan Taylor, owner of Get Lively: Mindful Health & Fitness Coaching, is a gal on a mission to help you feel your most “lively” through positive nutrition, movement, and mindset. 

 As a certified health coach, personal trainer, and Pilates instructor, Jan will work with you to uncover what works best for your unique body, mind, and life so that you can be consistent and joyful each day. 

Jan’s studio is located in Watertown, MA but can coaches virtually and can be anywhere online:  Also check out her podcast “Get Lively with Jan."

How do you define success?

 This is such a good question and one that shifted significantly for me after leaving my 12-year long career as a fundraiser to start my own health and fitness practice.  As an employee at a college, that I loved dearly, I measured my success by my title and salary; and I felt quite successful in these areas. And then I started my own business… I was initially so worried about the financial piece of it all but soon learned that I would be defining success in ways other than title and salary.  

One of the greatest surprises for me as an entrepreneur was the shift from measuring my success in a monetary way to seeing the look on a client’s face when they did something that they did not physically think they could do.  Or hearing the ease in their voice when they finally found a way to release the negative talk in their own head. This has become my currency; this has become my measure of success.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

 I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive family, husband, and friends.  I’ve been blessed with mentors who have believed in me and encouraged me to nurture my “lively” spirit and always to be myself.  And then there was also some divine intervention…

As I was considering leaving my fundraising career to open my own health & fitness practice, I was wrought with fears and concerns that I wouldn’t succeed, but something kept calling me to do it.  I truly feel that the Universe was guiding me to this place, and I’ve learned that when you resist the path that has been laid out for you, your life gets chaotic. My life had gotten chaotic. A career that I once loved, no longer brought me joy.  I knew it was time for a change, but I was terrified.

So I asked for guidance, and one morning while driving to my 6 am Pilates class, I heard my grandfather’s voice telling me, “Oh Jan, it’s going to be okay.”  I felt him smiling down at me, and that was the day that I decided that I would go for it. That was four and a half years ago… and I’ve never looked back.

What's your productivity secret?

 No secret weapon here as it all comes down to having a plan and being consistent.  One of the best things that I’ve done as an entrepreneur was to hire a business coach.  Even though I felt I didn’t have the funds, I did it anyway. She held me accountable and helped me to find consistency and rhythm to my business.

My productivity really shifted after I determined the “non-negotiables” that would be done every week.  For me that is recording my weekly podcast, sending a weekly eNews, creating weekly fitness plans for my clients and small groups, and blocking my schedule.

I do these four things every single Friday to set up the next week.  Having these items anchored in my schedule each week keeps me focused and from this foundation, I add the layers.  The client sessions, social media marketing, developing content and coaching for my monthly membership group, bookkeeping; whatever needs to happen that week.

It’s been a game changer for me and the stuff I once feared (how will I ever generate enough content to record a podcast and email every week???) has become just what I do. 


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KNOTEWORTHY: Meg Wheeler, One For Women

Meg Wheeler is the Co-Founder of One For Women, an online gift company that sources its products from women makers and gives back to non-profits that support women. She also teaches and mentors women looking to leave their 9-5 jobs and start their own businesses and runs her blog, the Leap of Faith Society. A realtor turned international tax accountant turned startup CEO. Meg is passionate about empowering women, a believer in constant reinvention and never takes herself too seriously.

We asked Meg to share her story regarding her journey to entrepreneurship, along with some questions regarding her business goals, and here's what she shared with us...

Can you tell me your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

One For Women empowers and connects women through easier and more intuitive gift giving and a focus on promoting women-owned companies to catalyze their growth. Our affordable, curated gift sets, designed for the “small” moments in life such as job promotions or breakups, feature products from women-owned companies and our website’s features such as group gift giving and advance scheduling options save the busy woman time. To further our mission of supporting and connecting women, a portion of our proceeds go back to women’s non-profit organizations. Our philosophy is simple: one small gesture can have one significant impact.  

How do you achieve work-life balance?

When I started One For Women I knew that I did not want to run my company the way most startups are – long hours, handcuffed to emails and burnt out employees. I was very intentional about setting boundaries so that the work would still get done, but I would be able to spend time with my family and be a healthy, happy founder. I prioritize two areas – first, I focus on my health. I schedule time every day to work out and take a short nap (crucial to stay productive!), and I create a meal plan every week to ensure I am eating good nutritional foods. It may sound odd to talk about personal health when talking about business, but I am more energetic and productive when I am my best self, and this is the key to big ideas and getting my work done quicker so that I can have that work-life balance.

The second area I prioritize is finding efficiencies in my business. I have set “work” times for myself based on when I know I’m most productive, and I schedule in family/personal time that is sacred. I also automate as much as I can, and for things I can’t (such as responding to emails), I set up systems – for example, only responding to emails at certain times – to ensure that I stay as productive as possible and can shut down during that crucial family time.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

It all started when a friend had a bad day, which turned into a bad week. I wanted to cheer her up, so I sent her flowers, which put a smile on her face but cost me a cool $80. I realized that I couldn’t sustain sending my friends these “small gestures” on my budget, and thought there had to be a better way. But I struggled to find one resource for small, affordable gifts and figured many other women, like myself, probably didn’t have the time to search for them either.

I almost stopped there. But I quickly realized that I had the opportunity, through the gift sets, to have a bigger impact. To be more than just a gift company. And that’s when the idea of one small gesture, one big impact, was born.

Each One For Women gift set doesn’t just surprise and delight its recipient; it supports women makers and non-profit organizations that help women. Through something as simple as a small gift, I am honored to build a community that supports and empowers women and women-owned businesses.


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KNOTEWORTHY: Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski, Feng Shui Services of New England

Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski, MS, RN, is the owner and principal consultant for Feng Shui Services of New England. She is a certified Feng Shui practitioner and has been consulting and educating about the need for a balanced home and work environment since 2010.  She earned Red Ribbon status through the International Feng Shui Guild and a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association. She teaches and writes on the benefits of Feng Shui throughout New England. 

We asked Julie to share her story regarding her journey to entrepreneurship, along with some questions regarding her business goals, and here's what she shared with us....

We'd love to learn more about your business mission and ultimate entrepreneurial goal?

The mission of Feng Shui Service of New England is to share the ancient Chinese practice of adjusting environments for balance and harmony. The goal is to share these Chinese secrets making them relevant for today. My desire is to educate those who want to create a living and working environment that is loved. My vision entails helping others to stay balanced and true to their wishes and desires. 

What inspired the launch of your business?

I have worked as a nurse in many challenging environments that have often been chaotic and stressful. I learned about the ancient art and science of Feng Shui by accident. Although there are no REAL accidents, in my opinion! 

The Feng Shui talk that replaced a professional workshop presenter was the beginning of a journey of learning, self-exploration, joy and fulfillment. The practice of Feng Shui has deepened my commitment to living a harmonious and balanced life that I enjoy sharing with others. 

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know? 

My business is working with energy or chi. I have found that I need to keep my own personal energy clear and balanced to be an effective consultant and educator. As a result, I have made my Feng Shui business only part of what I do. I work part-time as a nurse, keeping my schedule open for new Feng Shui opportunities. 

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

Networking was not easy for me. During networking events, I spent most of the time collecting business cards. I had hundreds, then thousands. I was overwhelmed. What to do with them?  I created a rule I follow strictly: Collect only a few business cards, and give only a few business cards. Also, I always ask permission before adding someone to my contact list; this keeps my email list scrubbed and pure.

How do you leverage your social media channels for growth? 

Understanding the impact of social media is important for every business owner today. I wanted to stay local. Face-to-face contact is important to me. Therefore, I limit my online presence. I have a Facebook page to keep in touch with clients and folks who are like-minded. I announce upcoming events, give Feng Shui tips and inspirational thoughts on that platform. 

I use email as my main source of communication with clients and potential clients. Because applying Feng Shui to a home is a very personal experience, my finest clients are folks I have met directly at various educational talks. Also, client referrals and recommendations have driven my business.  I consider all presentations, workshops, and classes as marketing for my business and services.

What is your definition of success as an entrepreneur?

The definition of success is different for each person/entrepreneur. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest, there is not enough room at the top. You may have to choose a different, shorter mountain to climb; this is your peak to conquer. Success for me is the comfort of base camp surrounded by the beautiful mountains. 


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