Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental health but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hillary Lin, Co-Founder and CEO of Curio, located in New York, NY, USA.

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

We are a psychedelics for healthcare company! We help people grow from challenging emotional times in their life, whether it be a divorce, long-standing anxiety, or terminal illness. We do this through a supportive, collaborative care model surrounding our Psychedelic-Assisted Coaching and Therapy (PACT) framework. Our members belong to our family and get both 1:1 and group support through a convenient, virtual platform.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a Stanford-trained physician and board-certified in Internal Medicine. I have a research background and expertise in neuroscience and oncology, plus additional training in ketamine-assisted therapy. I began my startup journey about a decade ago when I realized that working in a traditional clinical role would never transform our incredibly broken healthcare system. I am also driven both by my personal and professional experiences to help people live self-actualized and fulfilled lives - not so easy to do when entangled in the day-to-day admin storm of being a doctor. Fast forward to now - I am vitalized by the creativity and the constant challenges that the startup experience brings. I finally feel like what I do has a positive impact on a broader, longer-lasting scale while I can still touch patients' lives through our clinical work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Bringing wonderful people together. My team is close-knit despite only having gotten together a couple of years ago, and we're now building something wonderful together. Having the shared dream of improving lives through transformative work is both delightful and inspiring.

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

Dealing with people you don't like! Comes with every job, but once you're a business owner, you have a hundred direct stakeholders, and sometimes you need to interact with people you absolutely would prefer to avoid. This has been a learning experience - now I know how to manage many different personalities, as well as my own psychology as I deal with such people.

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

  1. Just get started. Your first idea or product will probably fail, but you'll use it to get to the next step and then the one after that. The only failure is never taking action.
  2. Work with people you like. Yes, you need to interface occasionally with all types of people, but make sure that the ones you need to talk to and work with daily are people you enjoy spending time with. Otherwise, your motivation will suffer.
  3. Treat your burnout. I've had to work on the front-line as a doctor for years and never felt the acute need to treat my burnout as much as I do as a founder. The reason is that your day-to-day as a founder requires a great deal more creative work (compared to sheer will and endurance, attributes necessary to survive healthcare work). Not to mention you are your company, at least in its early days. So take the time and energy to ensure that you are putting thoughtful, intentional energy into your work as a founder.

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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