Young Guns: How entrepreneur Olli Dickson stays hands-on through 16-hour shifts

A day in the life of Langley-based Epoch Integrated Health's founder

While racking up points and penalty minutes on the junior hockey circuit in his hometown of Penticton, Ollivor (Olli) Dickson had dreams of playing in the NHL one day. But that didn’t work out, and neither did his attempts at going into policing, psychology or sales.

“I woke up one day and I said, What can I do that is fulfilling, that every day I come home, I know that I’ve given it my all and I know people are satisfied?” he recalls. Turns out that it was literally staring him in the face at the dinner table: Dickson’s father was a massage therapist, and one night in 2018, Dickson said, “Dad, tell me about your career.”

The next day, Dickson applied for massage therapy school. Six weeks later, he flew in from Penticton for an interview at New Westminster’s West Coast College of Massage Therapy. Within three weeks, he was enrolled in school to become a registered massage therapist.

It was difficult, according to Dickson, and not just because it’s a three-year program condensed into 20 months. Dickson moved four times while finishing his degree and worked the entire time: “My mom managed a winery in Penticton, so every Friday after school I would drive back to the Interior to work Saturdays and Sundays for her and then drive back Sunday night.”

Dickson graduated in 2019 with $93,000 of student debt. But he never let go of that work ethic: in 2022, he launched a multidisciplinary clinic called Epoch Integrated Health in Langley and now works nearly 16-hour shifts as a young entrepreneur.

“I thought Langley was very underserviced from a multidisciplinary aspect…I wanted to create an opportunity for people to have a place to get the service and treatment that they need.”

Epoch’s alternative and preventive care includes massage therapy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, counseling, naturopathy, acupuncture and more. Dickson is constantly adding to his team of 33 to offer more services. “We’re looking at integrating a nurse to start doing Botox,” he says.

Dickson also likes to involve his business in the community—Epoch was the platinum sponsor for the Langley Chamber of Commerce’s annual golf tournament in June 2023, and it also partnered with Surrey-based Clearway Construction to treat staff looking for occupational therapy.

He now lives in White Rock with his wife, Paulina Radke. We caught up with Dickson in July to get a glimpse of a day in his life before the couple’s August wedding. As it is for many entrepreneurs, time remains a vital resource for Dickson. “I find that a lot of clinic owners open a clinic and disappear. For myself, I’m there seven days a week,” he says.

5:30 a.m.

Dickson arrives at the clinic by 5:30 a.m. so that he can clean the entire 2,000 sq. ft. place himself. “I’m a big believer of ‘if you want something done right, you do it yourself,’” he maintains.

Mornings are usually quiet and full of administrative tasks (paperwork, phone calls and meetings), but eventually Dickson begins treating clients hands-on, with coffee as his only fuel. “I do a lot of intermittent fasting,” he says. “I just get too groggy when I eat.”

3 p.m.

Since no two days are the same, Dickson follows a low-carb, high-protein diet (usually salads) to stay energized well into the evening. The busy schedule seems to be working as Epoch’s monthly gross sales have climbed to $850,000, with a projection of $1.6 million for the year. “Everything is a learning curve,” he says. “I’d never built a clinic before, I’d never started a corporation before, I’d never gone through permitting processes. The more I absorb, the better off it is.”

10 p.m.

Just after coming home, Dickson (who is Slovak) sits down for a dinner that Radke (who is Polish) prepares for them—schnitzel, borscht, pierogies and the like.

“The clinic has only been open for eight months and we’re also in the middle of planning our wedding. I try to allocate the end of my day for spending time with my fiancée [right now it’s walks and rom-coms], and then every couple of months, getting together with my friends…it’s just a little extra on the plate right now…I’m sure if you ask me in two years, it’ll be a lot different.”