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Sorcha Mc Elchar of Sorchas Healthy Living

Image of Sorcha looking off camera, wearing black rimmed glasses and a grey and black marl roll neck jumper.

Combining her personal experience of health challenges with a degree in food science and nutrition, Sorcha Mc Elchar set up her own business to help others learn about nutrition and healthy living. Sorcha is passionate about educating people on good nutrition without restrictions

RARE entrepreneur series: meeting the beating hearts behind the RARE brands

Logo reads Sorchas Healthy Living in purple text, with smaller purple text underneath reading "A HEALTHY OUTSIDE STARTS FROM THE INSIDE".

Sorcha’s Healthy Living is a nutrition and wellness business that offers one-to-one nutrition consultations and group nutrition and fitness workshops. I also upload blogs with up-to-date scientifically sound nutrition and health advice that’s easy to read, and I have a YouTube channel as well as a Facebook and Instagram page.

My website has blogs, recipes, all my nutrition services and links to my latest videos.


What was the driving force in starting your own business in the rare disease space? Was there an unmet need you were responding to?

I’ve always had an interest in Nutrition and wellbeing.  Mainly because I’ve had to deal with so many different health issues myself.  I wanted to make it more accessible, which is why my business is mainly online. This is also good for me as I can’t drive, and it means I can get work done no matter where I am (even in hospital!).


How does your business benefit the rare disease community?

It benefits the rare disease community by showing people with chronic illnesses that they can still take some control of their health in a realistic way that doesn’t cause more stress. I know what it’s like to feel like no matter what you do you’ll never truly be ‘healthy’. I want to show people that healthy looks and feels different for everybody, and it’s all about doing your best.


What advice, if any, did you get when setting up your business? Has there been anyone in particular who has been pivotal in supporting your business?

I completed a free entrepreneur’s course with Inner City Enterprise (ICE) which really helped me learn what it means to be an entrepreneur. I also got lots of advice from my local enterprise office, and friends and family members who run their own businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, especially from people who have been through it all before!

One piece of advice I tried to put into action was not to follow a map of someone else’s business, make you own map.


How do you manage the demands of running a business with your own health needs, those of someone you care for, or those of your employees?

I tend to ‘batch’ a lot of my work, which means every so often when I’m feeling good, I’ll make lots of content and research blog ideas. I make sure to schedule days off where I can’t be booked by clients. I don’t take appointments after 6pm and I don’t work weekends. 

It’s important to have a good work/life balance. You’ll have to find one that works for you, and this might take a while, but once you do it’ll be great!


What advice do you have for someone starting their own business?

My advice would be to not expect instant success. Instant success can happen, but not often. It’s good to be optimistic, but most of the time it could be a year or more before you see profits.  That’s why it’s so important that you are starting your business because you love what you are doing.


What are the most rewarding aspects of establishing and running your own business?

Definitely the feeling I get when one of my clients, or someone who reads one of my blogs or watches one of my videos, tells me how much it helped them. 


What would you consider to be the greatest achievements of your business thus far?

I’ve done a lot that I’m proud of, so it’s difficult to decide, but I think it would have to be when I got my first client and they called me after two weeks to tell me that they were getting compliments from friends on how great they looked, and how they felt so much more confident in themselves. I couldn’t stop smiling! 

Another achievement is when I taught my first ‘confidence’ class at my old primary school. It was the first time I’d done this fitness class with a group of children and I was so nervous, but it was so much fun and they asked me back.


What advice would you give someone considering working in the rare disease space?

If it’s something you’re passionate about give it a go. You’ll never know if you don’t try. I would advise having a plan and doing research first. Also, don’t ever think your disease is something that should stop you. It might mean you have to do things differently and things might take longer, but if you keep reaching towards your goal you will eventually reach it and you’ll feel amazing.


What are your hopes for the future of your business?

I would like to take on more clients and hopefully do more workshops in schools. I have also started doing dance fitness workshops for kids and adults, so I’d like to grow that part of my business too. It would be nice to employ people too, so I could grow the business and help more people.


If you hadn’t founded Sorchas Healthy Living, what was Plan B?  What did your 10-year-old self want to be?

I wanted to be a dietitian and work in a hospital. I still want to be a dietitian, but realistically I try to stay out of hospitals…so working in one probably wouldn’t be very smart! That’s why I’ve decided to work more with the general public instead. I actually love working with the public because I feel like there is so much misinformation out there.

Logo reads Sorchas Healthy Living in purple text, with smaller purple text underneath reading "A HEALTHY OUTSIDE STARTS FROM THE INSIDE".

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