Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Pam Shaffer, Founder of Best Self Psych, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My main business currently is Best Self Psych, which is a group of ENM, kink, and LGBTQ+ affirmative licensed and associate therapists in Los Angeles. We help people who are experiencing difficulty in their relationships and professional lives through online counseling and coaching. When I'm not working with clients or supervising my associates, I make music as Nyxe and host a podcast called Why Not Both about how our multiple passions in life shape our identity.
Tell us about yourself
My practice started as a solo venture, but I quickly learned that there were not as many neurodivergent therapists specializing in ethical non-monogamy as I had previously thought (how woefully naive we are in our little bubbles). As my client list grew, I realized how much I wanted to be able to expand past my own personal capacity. I hired Savannah Fine, my first associate, in February of 2020, and I feel like things have taken off in the most surreal way since then. As an artist, I had not intended to be running a group therapy business, but sometimes you find yourself being called into action even before you know what you're doing in the ring. Seeing the cataclysmic changes in our society over the past few years keeps me motivated to help as many people as possible and train others to do so as well while creating media of all forms that fosters the same sense of growth, curiosity, and empathy. I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing the work I am doing in the spheres I am in and grateful for the support that my community gives me in so many ways.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I paid my team more in 2022 than I made personally in any year prior in my life, provided services for more than 200 clients, interviewed over 130 people for the podcast, and collaborated on music with people that I love dearly for projects that ended up in museums. Overall, I feel that my biggest accomplishment is that I thrive off of learning new ways to do things and collaborate with others, so my business never gets boring and benefits as many people as possible.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Juggling all the logistics and details is my biggest challenge. I love being technically able to do everything but, conversely, have a hard time delegating tasks so that I can dedicate more energy to the higher-order parts of running a business and creating new avenues and ideas. I often find I put too much pressure on myself to do everything all at once.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
To start a business, follow something that you are passionate about that sparks the interest of people around you too. I often want to jump into everything headfirst but have learned that it's important to take the temperature of people around me to see if the business idea is good for right now or maybe to put a pin in it to save for later. As for running a business, I highly recommend making some sort of schedule for yourself; otherwise, you are forever working. I hate routines and regiments, yet I am comforted by my version of a schedule as it gives me some scaffolding to hang my ideas. For instance, Tuesday and Wednesday are always clinical days for me, so I know on those days, I am focused on clients, supervision, and communications. Thursday is a podcast day, so I am either recording, editing, researching, or making assets. Being your own boss means setting up boundaries that work well for you. When it comes to growth, bring in team members that complement your strengths so you can free up bandwidth for what you are truly good at to push your endeavors forward.
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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