Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development & wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristen Hamilton, owner, and counsellor of The Wellness Collective, located in Surrey, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a collective of therapists that offer counselling to youth, adults, and families struggling with a variety of mental health concerns and relationship issues, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.
Tell us about yourself
I knew that I wanted to be a therapist from a young age when I found myself sitting on my own therapist's couch. Over time, she helped me address my own depression and decrease the impact my chronic illness had on my mental health. I graduated with my Masters's degree in Clinical Psychology in 2012. I started working in agency settings with youth in mental health crisis. In 2017, I started building my private practice while still working full-time. Within one year, I was able to go from full-time agency work to part-time and partnered with a like-minded therapist, who happens to be my best friend.
We created a counselling collective that focuses mainly on adults and youth trying to find their way in the world. In 2020, two months before the pandemic hit, I quit agency work and went to full-time private practice. At this time, we also took on our first practicum student, so we expanded our practice to also supporting new therapists through supervision and coaching. What motivates me each day? It is an honour and a privilege to be a part of my clients' journeys. Through processing and reflecting, I get to see clients grow in ways they didn't think possible. While some days are more challenging than others, I find my work to be deeply rewarding and could not imagine myself doing anything else. Starting a practicum placement program has also been a great experience and helps to bring some variety to my work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment to date came in 2020, when I was able to resign from my agency work and go completely on my own. Our collective continues to grow and bring new opportunities and partnerships, such as those with local non-profit organizations. As a therapist, I tended to think I was not so business-minded, and the growth we have seen over the past four years has proven otherwise. I am very proud of how The Wellness Collective has expanded.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing about being a business owner is the administrative side of things. I am very person-centred so being one-on-one with a client in the therapy room is my strength. The paperwork and accounting piece is secondary but necessary, and there was a steep learning curve at the beginning. Thankfully I have a few accountants in the family that have helped me with the financial pieces. :)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a vision and do your research - Podcasts, books, etc.
- Networking - Connect with other professionals with similar goals and businesses from who you can learn.
- Support System & Self-Care - It is not always going to be easy, so you need to take good care of yourself. Checking in with yourself regularly is crucial because your abilities and energy for various tasks will change over time. If you need to delegate or outsource in order to care for your own mental health, do so. We are not meant to live or work in isolation.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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