Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Francesca Reicherter, founder of Inspiring My Generation Corporation, located in Parkland, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Inspiring My Generation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention through mental health awareness, emotional support, and education. We accomplish this through 3 main initiatives.
• Normalize The Conversation Podcast. Inspiring My Generation advocates an innovative approach to raising awareness through creating a platform for open conversations. We focus on not only starting the conversation on mental health but also providing space and tools for supportive, validating conversations. We enlist mental health professionals, advocates, and individuals living with mental health conditions to join our Normalize The Conversation podcast series while simultaneously encouraging others to be an active part of the conversation. Since launching the series in 2020, We have hosted over 80 mental health conversations. New episodes premiere every Wednesday anywhere you get your podcast.
• Encouragement Card Program. At Inspiring My Generation, we firmly believe that emotional support is one of the most beneficial ways to prevent suicide. Our goal is to create a world where everybody feels seen, heard, loved, valid, worthy, and enough. Through our Encouragement Card Program, we enlist our community to provide emotional support to individuals hospitalized in psych wards as a sign of hope and love. Since launching this initiative in 2020, we have disbursed over 4,000 cards to individuals hospitalized in psych wards. Cards are donated every month among partnered facilities.
• Workbook Series. Education is key for prevention, which is why Inspiring My Generation is dedicated to providing resources that help you build the tools you need. “You Are Not Alone: The Workbook,” published in 2021, is a guide to help you build affirmations, self-love, ways to express your emotions, and coping skills. This workbook is recommended for ages 8+ and is targeted toward youth. “I AM,” published in 2022, is a guide to help you build confidence in who you are, separate who you are from how you are feeling, determine what type of support you are looking for, and find the words you need to advocate for your mental health. This workbook is recommended for ages 8+ and targeted for all ages.
Our customers are people who want to support mental health awareness and suicide prevention by normalizing the conversation and utilizing tools and resources to boost their mental health. Most customers are interested in building coping skills or learning how to advocate for their mental health.
Tell us about yourself
On January 20, 2019, I lost my Uncle Marc to suicide. Just 27 days before that, I had attempted suicide for the first time. Uncle Marc was the one who provided me with the love, support, and safety I needed at that time to continue on. He was also the first person to share a normal conversation on mental health with me. He told me about mental health conditions, therapy, medication, and even supplements that could help me feel better and move forward. After losing him by suicide, when I felt he had saved my life just 27 days earlier, my world fell apart.
Today, I am a three-time suicide attempt survivor. I was misdiagnosed and mistreated for depression, a mental health condition that was a symptom of what I live with. A psychiatrist in the psych ward where I was hospitalized following my last attempt had prescribed me an antidepressant, which sent me into a hypomanic episode. At the time, I did not know why that happened, what questions to ask, or what to do next. It took me over two years of Neurofeedback Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Psychiatrists before getting a proper diagnosis of Bipolar 2 Disorder and a prescription for the proper medication.
I felt angry for myself, but most importantly, on behalf of every individual who was misdiagnosed, mistreated, or gaslighted for their symptoms. Among the lack of awareness, the underfunded mental health facilities, the misdiagnoses, the stigma creating a world where millions are suffering in silence, and the high financial strain for quality treatment, I felt betrayed by the mental health community, medical community, and our society and I felt outraged for every single person whose life was lost to suicide.
Thus, I started Inspiring My Generation to transform the current system, which is working against those living with mental illness. The stigma and the financial barriers prevent too many people from receiving life-saving treatment. But furthermore, our priority needs to shift from sole awareness to prevention and early detection of mental health symptoms. Every day, I am motivated by the opportunity to develop and share the tools and resources I never had but always needed.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, my biggest accomplishment is the impact my work is having. My goal is for everyone who comes in contact with Inspiring My Generation's work to be immediately impacted and walk away with a newfound hope or resource. Every workbook sale, every piece of encouragement card feedback, and every podcast listen feel like a new accomplishment.
I was also listed as one of the Top 10 Powerful Women of 2021 on Yahoo Finance. Being listed next to other incredible businesswomen was an honor and a dream come true.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner has its ups and downs. Some days product is flying off the shelves, and other days the demand is zero. Not letting the bad days get to me has been very hard, but it has given me the opportunity to continue to change and grow how I market my product and work continuously.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your industry. What is missing? Where are their opportunities to differentiate from what's currently available?
- Continuously explore new opportunities to market your product or service without imitating the rest of the market. Again, think about what you can do to differentiate your brand. You don't want to be an option; you want to be the best option.
- Don't overdo it all at once. Take each product, service add-on, or initiative one step at a time. You do not need to start at your end goal. Instead, master each piece before taking the next step. To be the best option, you cannot allow quality to suffer from trying to keep up with competitors. Quality in your work is better than the quantity of the products, services, and initiatives you offer.
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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