I’m Leena Saarela, an entrepreneur and founder of Urofysio that focuses on maternity and pelvic floor physiotherapy. I’m also a proud mother of four and a grandmom for 11 grandchildren.
The idea of becoming an entrepreneur first occurred to me when I was still a student in the 1990s. During my studies, I learnt more about pelvic floor physiotherapy which as a speciality was still unknown in Finland. The local gynecologist told me that there should definitely be someone in the private sector who would know more about pelvic floor wellbeing and that’s when I realised that this could be the perfect opportunity for me. I wanted to jump in to provide much needed services in a field that was lacking local expertise. I didn’t have any entrepreneurs in my close family so I had to start learning entrepreneurship from zero.
Since then, my work has been guided by a clear vision and desire to change the world of womanhood and break the culture of silence and shame. This desire is still strong, and right now, I’m creating a new service concept together with other experts in the field called Naisten Neuvomo. The service is based on the rehabilitation stories I have witnessed during the past decades and it helps women with all aspects of womanhood.
The hardest thing in my early path as an entrepreneur was to get credibility in the healthcare sector.
The hardest thing in my early path as an entrepreneur was to get credibility in the healthcare sector – especially as I was doing something that no one else had done before. It was hard to convince the doctors sending the clients to me to believe in my vision. People questioned my work for women’s wellbeing and said that it would be useless. Their argument was that it was just “exercising” and would not help. But with my Ostrobothnian guts I decided to convince my stakeholders that my work will change the lives of many women, and later also the lives of many men, children and families.
I have learned that you should definitely hold on to your vision and goals, even if you face resistance. Don’t give up when the first hardship comes your way. I found encouragement from the few colleagues that worked in the field at that time and made sure I educated myself continuously. The Finnish “sisu” has also pushed me forward.
Don’t give up when the first hardship comes your way.
Too many dreaming of entrepreneurship think that “I can’t do it”. I would like to encourage them – anyone can be an entrepreneur. However, you should study entrepreneurship and practicalities related to it before starting. Also, don’t try to save money in wrong places. You should outsource things that you don’t know well and buy them from professionals. A good accountant is a must!
The most rewarding thing in being an entrepreneur is seeing how people find help for their intimate problems and overcome the shame related to hiding those. It’s wonderful to see how we can together break the culture of shame and silence around these intimate topics.
Learn more about Urofysio and Leena’s work at urofysio.fi.