Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amalia Cardozo, Founder of Serenity Counseling with Amalia, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I founded and own Serenity Counseling with Amalia. It's a telehealth counseling private practice that serves othered communities such as BIPOC, Ethically Non-Monogamous Folks, and LGBTQ+ community members. I practice using a combination of Feminist Relational Cultural Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
My main focus is to de-colonize the therapeutic experience, always take into consideration my client's intersecting identities, and build a foundation of trust and respect within the therapeutic relationship. Recently, I started authoring books for children to cope with different mental health challenges.
I've heard so often, "I wish someone would have taught me this sooner." The first book of the series is out, and it follows a young Latina girl as she learns coping skills for her anxiety through the Fairy of Serenity.
Tell us about yourself
I am a bisexual, cisgender, non-monogamous, bicultural, first-generation Venezuelan-American immigrant. I grew up in Portland, Oregon. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I finished my academic career at Chicago State University with my Master of Arts in Counseling.
My unique personal cultural perspective, coupled with living in vastly culturally different parts of the U.S., has raised my awareness of the need for true intersectionality. I opened Serenity Counseling with Amalia to honor folk's unique mental health experiences while questioning the White Supremacist's Patriarchy and Colonialist Legacies that pathologize the othered community's mental health.
I am motivated every day to help heal folks from internalized messages from oppressive systems that aggravate or cause their mental health challenges. I am motivated every day by the thought of helping at least one person in this world get through another day with more dignity and ease. I am motivated by social justice through equitable access to mental health.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is to be able to develop authentic relationships with the folks I serve, be a witness to the miracle of healing through therapy, and do it all without the oppressive agenda of Big Insurance stifling my creative process.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Having to adhere to the predatory capitalist society we live in and not be able to barter for services.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Only open a business you are truly passionate about.
- Outsource tasks you are not an expert in.
- Continue to invest in yourself through continuing education, growing your brand, and self-care.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am grateful for the privilege of having an education, having the right timing and opportunity to open my own business, and serving the communities that I do. Not everyone has access to the privileges that I have had access to, and I remind myself every day to be grateful to be living my dream and providing accessible services to communities that have supported me along the way.
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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