Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Julie Hartsock, Owner of A Better You Counseling & Wellness, located in Hanover, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner of A Better You Counseling & Wellness in Pennsylvania. We are a group practice that provides outpatient mental health counseling to teens, adults, and couples. We plan to expand also to provide wellness services such as Reiki, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, and more.
Tell us about yourself
I decided to start A Better You Counseling & Wellness after spending many years working in various settings in the mental health field and wanted to explore private practice. I started my business as a solo practice in June 2020, shortly into the COVID pandemic--sometimes I look back and wonder what the heck I was thinking about starting a business when the world was turned upside down?!? I never had any plans to grow from a solo practice to a group practice, but when the phone kept ringing, and the emails kept pouring in from people that needed help, I felt that the only way to be able to help more people was to expand.
What motivates me each day to do what I do--that's simple; I love holding a safe space for clients to share their deepest, darkest pain and walking alongside them as they work through their struggles and come out stronger on the other side.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is going from a solo practice into a rapidly-growing group practice. I underestimated how quickly we would grow, we've hit some minor bumps along the way, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I would say the #1 hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is taking the plunge to start your business. For me, the scary part was not my business itself because I knew there was an overwhelming need for more mental health services, but it was the actual business "stuff." The risks involved with renting an office, taking on steep monthly financial obligations, and hiring and being responsible for employees. I would say the #2 hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is trying to juggle "all of the things" and doing them all well. And when you reach a point when you realize that you can't do all of the things "well" (because you will), you need to delegate.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips that I would give anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today:
- Do your research and learn all that you possibly can! I went to grad school for counseling...not business. I have never taken a single accounting or business class of any kind, so while I was confident in my abilities as a therapist, I was absolutely clueless when it came to the business side of things. I dove headfirst into watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, and reading books on how other therapists started their private practices and then expanded into group practices. Even now that I am a few years into my business, I continue to learn, read, listen and expand my knowledge and skills.
- Get a mentor! I found a local state organization that provided free services and guidance for people starting a business. I will be forever grateful for the organization and my mentor because not only did I learn a great deal, but my mentor recommended many other local resources that I was completely unaware of, which was key in my business journey and success.
- As you grow, learn to be OK with letting go of (some) control of your business by building a great team. I'm sure all business owners would agree that your business is your "baby." No one is going to care about your business as much as you do. There comes a time when you have to relinquish some of the business stuff in order to focus on the aspects of your business that you absolutely love. While no one is going to do things exactly as you do, if you build a good team, things will run smoothly whether you have your hands dipped in each and every microscopic speck of your business or not.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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