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Lydia Irons

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Job title and company: Owner/operator and licensed massage therapist at The Flexible Farmer

Age: 26

Your duties: I am a sole proprietor so I do everything in my business from bookkeeping to laundry. But my main duties are to provide focused and in-depth massage and body care geared toward the needs of people with physically demanding jobs — folks like farmers, carpenters, landscapers and mechanics who work their bodies hard everyday. It is my chief duty to help these folks’ bodies work better and with less pain.

How did you land your job? I have always been a farmworker and I have also always been interested in anatomy. I have been searching my whole life for a way that I can follow both of my passions and be of service to my community. After experiencing the powerful effects massage has on the body, I knew I needed to get my license and open a practice.

What’s most challenging about your work? Getting people to understand that taking care of their bodies with massage is not a luxury. It is a necessity. If you want your car to last you for 250,000 miles, then you need to do preventive maintenance. The same is true for your body.

What do you like about your job? What I like the most is when my clients tell me that their bodies are improving, that they are pain-free, more flexible and happier. It is the best feeling in the world.

What is your key to success? Staying up on all the anatomy and sports medicine research and taking continuing education. This way, I never run out of information for my clients and ways that I can help specific problems.

How do you feel the Valley economy will fare this year? I think the Valley will do well. This place has a real pride in keeping it local and helping small business not only survive, but flourish.

Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? Because there is a culture of health and wellness here that supports things like massage. There is also a huge population of farmers and other tradespeople that can benefit from my work.

Who has helped mentor you professionally? My father, Henry Irons. He runs his own carpentry business and I learned lessons about hard work and customer service from him that I will never forget.

Name a few of your goals for the coming year: This year I am hoping to start a nonprofit that will provide tradespeople with free safety, wellness and injury-prevention trainings.

Tell us a little-known fact about you: I play the banjo. I’m not very good, but I love to play it.

What is your advice for others seeking business success? Be of service. Whether you are selling hats or fixing tractors, always remember that you are doing what you do to be of service to the people in your community.

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