Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren O'Connor, President of Foundation 45, located in Dallas, TX, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

I am the President of Foundation 45- we are a local non-profit organization in Dallas, TX, that provides free mental health services to our creative community. Our goal is to provide quality care at a free cost to those in the community that does not have the funds or resources to get the help we need. Since 2017, it is estimated that we have helped over 3500 people with our mental health services. This organization was founded due to the loss of 2 local musicians who died from suicide within 77 days. Many suicides followed soon after, which is why this organization was created- to provide top-quality care to a community that did not have these resources. All of our donations directly fund our mental health services and allow us to expand our programming. Currently, we run group sessions 3x a week as well as have 4 focus groups - Remix Recovery, our Substance Abuse Group, Art Therapy, Women of Color, and LGBTQIA+ group.

Tell us about yourself

I lost one of my best friends at the age of 17 to suicide. I have lost many others throughout my adult life due to substance abuse, suicide, and other mental health conditions. When I joined Foundation 45, not only did it help bring closure to many that I have lost, but it also inspired and ignited a passion inside to help as many as I can. I know that we cannot save everyone, but the more our services help the community, the more people will know that they aren't alone.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is how many people we have helped since we formed in 2016. I have heard countless stories from attendees telling us how our counselors have impacted their lives or how our focus groups have provided them the resources and tools to live their best lives. This is powerful, especially losing so many that didn't have that opportunity to get the help they needed or to feel heard.

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

One of the hardest things is delegating tasks to your team. As a leader, it is so easy to fall into the hole of always having your hand in every task, but doing that too often can lead to burnout or even losing members of your team. It is so important to have people in their roles to not only help you but help the organization.

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

My three tips would be to create your dream team- find individuals that are just as passionate about your cause as you, be organized as there is a ton of paperwork and legality involvement and finally, connect with your community. There are so many people and different businesses and organizations willing to help - connect with them and tell your story about why you love what you do.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My goal is to grow Foundation 45 to be at a national level. There are so many people that have reached out stating how important F45 would be to their community. It is crucial organizations like us are available to put an end to needless deaths. We want to help as many people as we can.

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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