Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ryan Colby, Founder of Athlete Mental Health CO., located in Denver, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Athlete Mental Health Co is my counseling practice, which specializes in the mental and emotional health needs of athletes and performance-based populations. This includes individuals who participate in a range from youth sports to post-Olympic athletics, as well as musicians, ballet professionals, and those recovering from injury.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a former college athlete myself, but it was during high school that I started to realize the impact of my mental preparedness for games and competitions. From there, I started to think that if I could help athletes work on their brain health, then that would be something I wanted to pursue. Originally, I set out to work in the sport psychology field, but during my academic years, I started to realize the importance of the deeper seeded work prior to seeing true results at the mental performance level. That, paired with my own mental health journey, along with my own thoughtful disposition, led me to pursue licensure as a mental health counselor specializing in the mental/emotional health challenges specific to that athletes.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Athletes and those in performance settings are an under-addressed demographic within the mental health field. Making this service accessible to those in need is an achievement on its own, but I'm most proud to be working with those individuals as they move toward growth, change, and healing in their life. Feeling competent as a clinician feels like a big deal when working to help clients make sense of their inner world and take steps towards health as well.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Wearing all the different hats is one of the most challenging components of coordinating the elements of a successful business. I'm looking to expand my team in the near future, and I've outsourced some tasks to an accountant and a legal team, but otherwise, I'm the one who has to discern how everything functions day to day. It's been a priority to create simplified systems and keep solid work/life boundaries where I can as a result.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. It doesn't need to be perfect to launch. Adopt a growth mindset, and don't get caught up with everything needing to be perfect before starting. You'll chip away where you can.
  2. Focus on what you can control. Guaranteeing referrals is outside of my control, but focusing on what I can control and preparing to be a quality clinician sets my clients up for success and doing the work they need to get where they want to be. This moves retention rates up, makes scaling issues less formidable, and keeps you moving forward.
  3. Breathe. Learn to be thoughtful and still and to practice taking a step back. Your business reflects the level of health that you prioritize for yourself.

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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