Peter Mullen is a Hamilton-based Naturopath and one of the top Naturopaths in Australia, with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He has turned his love of helping people into a successful business, treating thousands of clients along the way.
Peter built his business, Mullen Natural Health Centre, on the principles of honesty, integrity, and respect, and believes he owes much of his success to upholding these principles. As well as leading the practice, Peter is also a sought-after speaker on issues of natural health, and delivers talks to audiences across the country.
- Tell us a little bit about your career path?
I grew up in a family where health was a priority and a frequent topic of conversation. So, it was kind of natural that when I finished high school, I’d go on to do something in health. At the time, for some reason, it popped into my head to go and study naturopathy or natural medicine. I went straight from high school to the New South Wales College of Natural Therapies in Sydney. At the time, it was one of only few colleges you could go to and actually study naturopathy in Australia. Unfortunately it was all privately funded. Very fortunately my parents were happy enough to pay for my tuition, so I was very lucky to be able to actually go. When I finished studying in Sydney for four years, I moved back to my hometown of Newcastle and I was lucky enough to get a job working in an established natural medicine practice, McKay BioChemist.
The amazing thing was, and this is probably a bit quirky about Newcastle, the fellow that started the practice, Clarion McKay, established the practice in 1958. Natural medicine in Newcastle in 1958 would have been totally out of the box for the majority of people, but he developed a really successful practice and successful following. I started with him in 1989, and then two years after being in his practice, my girlfriend at the time who later became my wife, Dayna, talked me into approaching them about buying the business. So we took out a huge loan that we thought would stop us from ever being able to have kids or doing anything just so we could pay it back. 27 years on, we’ve never looked back. I wouldn’t say it’s been a rollercoaster; it’s just been a journey all around.
- What motivates and drives you?
What motivates and drives me the most is my love of actually helping people. I think that’s why I’ve gotten into the field that I have. Helping people recover their health or to become well after years of being unwell, often after years of going to a lot of other places and not being able to get help, is probably one of the most gratifying things. If I’m having a bit of a stressful day or a busy day, what really motivates me is that I get to see up to four generations of the same family come into the practice, and I’m only 38 – just kidding. To see four generations of the same family that have trust and faith in what we do and be able to help those four generations to live a healthy and long life, that’s what I’ve liked about it the most.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
My personality, I think. My wife and I have very different leadership styles. We obviously both work in the business. Dayna is the ideas person, and I’m the workhorse. I’m the doer, she’s the planner. I think of my leadership style as being very democratic and I think of myself as relationship-based. I like to develop strong relationships with the other Naturopaths in the practice, and I think that’s what’s helped me to be a good practitioner over the years as well. I couldn’t be successful doing what I do if I didn’t have the structure and the consistency and the rules and the stable structure provided by my wife with her leadership style. I think balancing our skills together is what has helped us to become successful.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
I set aside time every week to call on my new clients that I’ve seen for that week as a way of just checking what they thought of the consultation and if they have any questions. I check if anything had come up for them since I spoke to them during their consult, but also to reassure them that we’re here for them, that we care, and that we’re interested in their wellbeing. We’ve had that as a bit of a theme run through our whole practice. That’s a powerful thing, I think, that we do every week.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
We love supporting other local businesses. Probably one business that’s been a standout for us over the years has been Growthwise. They’re an accounting firm in Newcastle. Steph Hines and Andrew Hines have really taken the time to get to know us and get to know our business. They’ve really been great in helping us to grow the business. They’re innovative, new and young. I’d say they’re definitely a standout for us in the people we deal with.