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Steve Mills

Steve has turned his passion for physiotherapy into a thriving business

Published on: Wednesday 23rd August 2017

Steve Mills set up his own business after graduating from the University of Cumbria.

Steve formed PhysioPilates Carlisle in 2014 with wife Rachel, and now runs the largest physiotherapist-led Pilates studio in Cumbria as well as My Physio Pilates, an online streaming service.

Here, Steve shares his top tips for turning a passion into a profitable career.

Find your focus

“Find something you love and enjoy, and then follow it,” he said. “When I was younger, I didn’t really have a career objective. When I came across physiotherapy, something about it sparked my interest.

“I’m very interested in the science side and being able to help people, so it’s great to be able to put the two together.”

Work hard

“Be patient and work hard and it will pay off,” said Steve. “Be prepared to live and breathe your business for the first few years.

“Be open to learning as you’re developing a business as it’s a great process. You never stop learning, as there’s always more to learn.”

Study towards necessary qualifications

“I graduated with a 2:1 in Physiotherapy from the University of Cumbria in 2011, and it was incredible to get a degree,” said Steve. “I didn’t have any real GCSE or A-level qualifications after leaving school, so I did an Access course at Carlisle College before applying to the University.

“I’ve kept in touch with some of my tutors at the University and ran a workshop for students on setting up your own practice.

“I’ve been through the same route as they have, so it was great to share some advice on what it’s like to set up and run your own business.”

Gain relevant experience

“I worked for the NHS for a long time and learned so much,” said Steve. “I wouldn’t have thought of an idea for a business without NHS experience.

“Rachel and I were treating patients with back pain or neck pain and it was recommended that they carry on doing exercises after being discharged, but they had nowhere to go so we started our own studio.”

Find a location you love

“I moved up to Cumbria 16 years ago when I became a single parent so I could be closer to my parents,” said Steve, who’s from Milton Keynes. “I always thought I’d move back down south but I fell in love with the region and haven’t even thought about going back. I love Carlisle.

“The quality of life is excellent and I’ve taken up mountain biking, kayaking, hiking – lots of things you can’t do in Milton Keynes.

“Cumbria is a great place to live and work. It’s got everything.”

The University of Cumbria provides help and support to students who are considering setting up their own business. For further information, please contact or

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