So, today is the last day of Endometriosis Awareness Month. And to celebrate, I wanted to feature some fellow endo warrior business owners.


Well, because running a business is hard enough without endometriosis. And with it? It’s exhausting.

There are so many challenges that come from running a business when you live with endometriosis.

You have to work around the pain, the flare ups, the brain fog, the exhaustion and the mental strain from living with such a horrific, painful condition—and knowing that there’s still no damn cure.

I don’t think there’s at all enough recognition on how much strength and fire it takes to keep following your dreams—even when you’re in pain.

It can feel pretty darn lonely, especially when others around you just don’t understand.

It’s time to recognise the awesomeness of business owners with endometriosis.

Because quite frankly: endometriosis sucks. And if I can support other business owners who experience the same pain I experience—and help others feel a little less alone—then I’m one happy little tofu.

So, without further ado . . .

Rachel Berwick

Endo warrior Rachel Berwick, owner of Caring with Kindness
Owner of Caring with Kindness

Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
My business is called Caring with Kindness, where I hand make unique bespoke healing jewellery, craft items and much more. I also run a free food charity, which has been helping vulnerable people in the community for over 3 years.

With my endometriosis, I had to give up my dream job as a children’s entertainer due to the physical side of things and not being able to commit to work like I used to be able to. This is where I decided to set up my business, working from home.

My Caring with Kindness business regularly donates to different charities as charity work is close to my heart. Making and creating helps to keep my mind busy, especially whilst dealing with endless amounts of endometriosis flare ups. With my own business, I am able to work around my struggles and often find myself lay in bed making jewellery items for customers, even while in pain. That’s the commitment I’ve got whilst also being an endo warrior.

Can you tell me a little about your experiences with endometriosis?
I was diagnosed 2 years ago by undergoing invasive excision surgery via a laparoscopy as well as a hysteroscopy that was performed by an endometriosis specialist. He is the only one who took my pain and suffering seriously and managed to remove the majority of endometriosis from the pouch of douglas.

He helped to give me some quality of life back, but 2 years on I am suffering again, as I know it’s inevitable that the endo continues to grow back. It has affected my bowels and bladder, so I am now under another specialist for that. I have faith that better days are ahead for us all.

What is your advice for fellow endo warriors out there?

Dear fellow endo warriors/sisters

Never ever give up! We know our own bodies the best, so please don’t let anyone dismiss your pain or suffering. Keep fighting for answers, even when you feel you have no fight left in you. The endo community is full of warriors: we are warriors!!!

I hear you, I see you, I believe you.

Phaedra Toms

Owner of After Ever After Shoes

Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
I design and create fairy-tale and comic book inspired shoes. Each pair is unique and hand-decorated by me in my tiny bedroom. They are perfect for weddings and events, or just to add some colour and help women feel confident in embracing their quirks.

I started about a year ago during in lockdown, but had been thinking about working for myself for much longer due to my endometriosis.

Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences with endometriosis?
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 endo when I was 18 after being misdiagnosed for about two years. When I was 22, I was told I also had adenomyosis.

I ended up having my first surgery at 19. Afterwards I was informed that if I were to have children, it would be extremely dangerous for my health and certainly for the baby. Now I’m 28, and I have had four surgeries to remove cysts, separate my bowl from my womb (the endo cells fused them together), separate my ovary from my womb, and to remove pockets of endometriosis cells that lived in the extensive scar tissue from all the surgeries.

This has affected my working and social life so much I have to be careful how much I stretch, walk or move, because it causes my pain to flare up. Before I worked for myself, I had to take a lot of time off because of the flare ups and surgeries, which led to me being made redundant. I also suffer from anxiety and severe depression as a result of my condition—because the pain is never really going away.

Now, I work for myself, and I can work around my good and bad days, my hospital appointments and my depressive episodes. It’s a lot of work running a business, but I am so free and happy to know I don’t need to fear my chronic pain so much.

What is your advice for other endo warriors out there?

Take everything one step at a time. You are so much stronger than you realise and we’re lucky enough to know that we can survive the darkest of times! Everyone else fears the worst but we know the worst and keep living.  We can kick ass and be independent, even with our conditions.

Jo Lincolne

Owner at Jo Lincolne Wellness

Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
I’m a certified holistic endometriosis wellness coach and educator. My background is high school and tertiary teaching and I was a wellness coach in a university for a number of years as well. As an endo gal myself, I saw such a need for support in the endo-sphere and wanted to make it my full-time gig. When I was diagnosed in my early 20s, there was really no community or support or information going around and I felt very lost and un-empowered with my own health. So I’m dedicated to make a change in this way.

Can you tell me a little about your experiences with endometriosis?
I was diagnosed after 9 years of experiencing excruciating pelvic pain at period time. They saw an endometrioma on my left ovary in the scan, went in, diagnosed me and removed part of my ovary at 26. All the surgeon said was that he was pleased with how the operation went, that he had taken part of my ovary, that I should try and fall pregnant (!) and that I would likely need another operation in a few years’ time.

As a rather healthy and fit young woman, I was left in shock. I had never heard of endometriosis before and I had never had any kind of surgical procedure before. I felt really powerless, and lacking control of my own health, especially as I was never told how I could help myself. So that set me on a journey to heal and manage my endometriosis from a holistic perspective.

You can read more of my story on my website.

What is your advice for other endo warriors out there?

  • Learn to utterly love your body. My body’s not working against me. My uterus doesn’t hate me. My body is working as hard as it can to support me and keep me well. Endo is the enemy—not my dear body
  • Holistic treatments have saved me. It requires finding the right ones for you and being really consistent over time, but I now live pain-free! I am so thankful to them and it’s an honour to work alongside my body, supporting it to fight and bring back health to my systems.
  • Share and get support (not just the ‘take this pill’ kind of support). We need to speak up, get educated and receive validation and care. Endo sufferers have endured ‘normalisation of pain’ and have been under a cloak of silence for too long. This is incredibly damaging for our mental health.

Gemma Johnson

Owner of Gem Black Web Design

Can you tell me little bit about your business?
At Gem Black Web Design, I offer all your digital needs in one place; web design, graphic design and social media. I have been running my business since 2018. I create new websites, or help with existing sites. I then manage offer ongoing site updates, or teach clients one-on-one to manage the website themselves.

Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences with endometriosis?
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2015, after being in pain for over 15 years. I had every test done under the sun, saw every type of specialist and no one ever suggested endometriosis. Then my GP said: “I think we should do one more test, see one more specialist”. I had a laparoscopy which resulted in a diagnosis, and treatment.

I had several lesions removed, one that was tiny but sitting in a position affecting the uterosacral ligament. This meant I was in chronic constant pain. The doctor said it would have felt like being in labour all the time. Since now having two kids, I can confidently say, yes that’s what it felt like.

A couple of operations later, my endometriosis is now under control with the implant of a Mirena. I no longer have a heat pack permanently attached to me.

I started my business after getting treatment. I found having my own business means I can work my own hours, from home, and if I’m feeling crappy, I can sit with a heat pack front and back while I work.

What advice would you give to other endo warriors out there?
When you need to rest, rest. Don’t feel bad about saying no. All those little scars you have can only make you stronger. It is an invisible disease, so talking about it is so important, so others don’t take 15 years to get a diagnosis!

Natalie Olson

Owner of Right Words Copywriting

Can you tell me a little about your endometriosis journey?
I’d heard about endo—definitely—but did I know anything about it? Nope.  It just meant painful periods, didn’t it?

It’s not until I was FINALLY diagnosed with Adenomyosis did I start to look into this condition. Firstly: what the hell was adeno?  My gynaecologist explained that in basic terms, it was a form of endo, but when the uterine lining grows up into the uterine muscle.

For me, it explained the monthly haemorrhaging, consistently low Iron counts that I could not rectify, and the anaemia that was affecting my life so horribly. Looking back on my life, I believe that I’ve been suffering symptoms of endo most of my life, and adeno, certainly for the past 20.

My gyno believes that I have it elsewhere in my abdomen, but to find out definitely, that means surgery, and for this poor needle-phobe, that’s a big fat NO. Well, not at the moment anyway.

Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
I’m a freelancing copywriter and content creator strategist.  That means I get to work from home now, which is ace.  On days when it’s been too much, I’ve had the luxury of working from bed, with pain meds and heat packs.  Early in January 2021, I had an ablation to help with the excessive bleeding.  It’s certainly helped with that, but I’ve heard stories from others that say it is not a long- term solution.  I guess I’ll just wait and see.

In my other jobs (corporate and government), it meant I just suffered silently.  Occasionally, I’d have a big bleed and have to go home, so I know the benefits of wearing black and being stocked up with necessities. I didn’t know what I had was any different from anyone else.  I just accepted it, got on the best I could and cursed ‘women’s problems’.  Now, I wish a doctor had connected the symptoms years ago and let me know that what I was feeling wasn’t normal, and that there was a name for what I have.

What is your advice for other endo warriors out there?
Honestly, I’m learning so much from you all. Since my diagnosis in late 2020 (yeah, what a year!), I’ve joined forums and FB groups and my heart breaks for you all.  Some of the stories are horrific.  I really appreciate all the women who are campaigning to bring endo into the mainstream spotlight—because knowledge is power.  Knowing that what you are suffering from isn’t ‘normal’ brings a sense of relief.

And that doesn’t mean that endo is a walk in the park.  For me, it meant that although it is a medical condition, having a name to put to it is empowering because it validates our experiences.  We aren’t soft, wimpy women who complain about our bodies—there is a medical diagnosis and treatment plans available for us.  We can take back our power, be proactive in tackling endo and adeno, and make people listen to us.

My advice is, keep pushing for answers.  Be open in discussing it with loved ones, friends, and if you need to, your employers.  Let them know that what we have is a valid medical condition that needs understanding and empathy, not eye rolls, sexist jokes and throw away comments.

Dee Harvey

Owner at Inspired Health by Dee

Can you tell me a little about your business?
I’m a naturopath and personal trainer who works with women with endometriosis. I help them with managing their pain, inflammation and hormones with nutrition, supplement and lifestyle changes. I know it is also hard for women with endometriosis to lose weight, so that is also a main focus of my programs and consultations.

Can you tell me a little about your experiences with endometriosis?
I went undiagnosed for over 10 years. I never had painful periods. All my pain was at other times: ovulation, pain during sex, migraines, bowel pain, IBS symptoms and unexplained pains that no doctor could figure out.

When my endometriosis was at its worse, it affected me physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially and socially. It was hard to work when I was in pain, had migraines and didn’t feel well a lot of the time. This had an impact on the running of my businesses and being able to show up for my clients.

Since my excision surgery for Stage 4 endometriosis 4.5 years ago, my pain has gone. I manage with a naturopathic approach (same as I prescribed to my clients) and I am now pain-free. Managing my endo is an ongoing plan. If I let my diet slide or I don’t look after myself, have too much stress, then my symptoms start to flare again. The management of my endometriosis is ongoing and will always be (until there is a cure).

What advice would you give to other endo warriors out there?
The best advice for managing endometriosis is to have endometriosis management plan and team in place. Ensure that you see an advanced trained laparoscopic excision specialist. Work on your gut health. Manage inflammation, hormones and stress with a naturopath. Address any underlying pelvic floor dysfunction (which can mimic endometriosis pain) and regularly see a chiropractor or massage therapist to look after the nervous system and inflammation.

And a little from me, Zoe

Image shows Zoe Simmons, a Melbourne copywriter, SEO opywriter, journalist, author and editor.

I’ve written pretty extensively about my struggles with chronic pain. I shout it from the rooftops wherever—and however—I can. This includes writing articles for news outlets like Kidspot and Body + Soul, as well as working with organisations like Endometriosis Australia.

For me, the pain of is constant.
It feels like I’m being stabbed and shot simultaneously in the abdomen, with white-hot shrapnel spreading throughout my body. It’s so exhausting and mentally draining too—because you’re constantly battling endo, the medical system, and society’s perception of this shitty disease.

Running my copywriting, editing and journalism business has been an absolute godsend.
It’s allowed me to manage my pain, and to allow myself to rest when it hurts too much—or when I’m just too tired from existing in pain. It’s also meant I have time to do projects like this one, to celebrate and promote other business owners with chronic pain.

My advice for other chronic pain warriors is to be gentle and kind to yourself.
It is NOT in your head. It is excruciating—and the fact that you’re even existing with the pain is a true testament to your absolute strength.

Rest when you need to. Make life as easy as possible, and ask for help when you need to. And don’t let the medical system belittle you: you know your body best, and you deserve to be helped. If your doctor won’t help, go to another.

Connecting with other chronic pain warriors has also been really great for me, particularly Endometriosis Support Australia on Facebook. It makes me not feel so alone; but it also makes me feel angry and sad that this impacts so many people, and still, we rarely hear about it.

Mostly, to endo warriors, I want to say: you are not alone. I see you. And you are one badass warrior.

Are you a business owner with endometriosis? Let me know in the comments, along with your best advice for other endo warriors!

EDIT: At the time of writing this piece, I was told I most likely had endometriosis. However, even after multiple surgeries, they still can’t find an answer to my pain. I contemplated deleting this post because I felt like an imposter, but even without a diagnosis, I still experience all the symptoms. And regardless, I think it’s important to support business owners with any kind of chronic pain condition: especially endometriosis.

Zoe Simmons is a journalist and copywriter with a passion for making a difference. You can find out more about me here, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn for more.

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