Alternative CV
Alternative CV
Nov 25, 2020
ACV38: Starting A Pilates Studio Business Straight Out Of Medical School (Dr Deborah Wong, Owner of Breathe Pilates, Part 1)
Play • 45 min

Dr Deborah Wong is a mother, general practitioner, entrepreneur and fitness guru. Shortly after graduating from medical school, she took over a pilates studio (Breathe Pilates), turned it around and expanded it into a successful and highly profitable chain with 4 locations across Singapore. Breathe Pilates is unique in offering training programmes for pilates instructors in addition to standard pilates classes. Deborah maintains a professional interest in lifestyle medicine, and she has personally experimented with multiple training programmes, diets and supplements.


  1. Raising capital: If you intend to venture into business, you need money. Many people have business ideas in their heads, and the only thing that hinders them is capital. Don’t be afraid to ask your family to chip in if they are capable of stepping in.  You don’t lose anything by trying.

  2. In entrepreneurship, you need to keep evolving and be innovative to remain in business, especially during pandemics. COVID has taught us things can change in a fortnight, and if you want your business to survive, you need to be strategic.

  3. When building your business, it is essential to ensure that you have structures and processes that don’t need you always to be there to make it successful. Build a business that can run without requiring your presence all the time.


  • How Deborah acquired the business and turned it around
  • Deborah’s transition from doctor to entrepreneur
  • How Deborah learned what she needed to know about running the business
  • How Deborah runs the pilates studio in terms of prioritising and making decisions
  • Strategies that Deborah and her partner adopted to deal with the challenges that came with Covid 
  • Why Deborah has hired a data scientist
  • The importance of having the right location in business
  • Why Deborah decided to start training pilates instructors
  • Getting back into medicine after taking a break for a year
  • How Deborah ended up practising medicine in Shanghai
  • Balancing full-time employment and running a business at the same time
  • The benefits of autonomy and flexibility that being a business owner brings
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