Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in counselling but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ken Fierheller, Founder of One Life Counselling & Coaching LTD, located in Calgary, AB, CA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Happy to chat about what we do, One Life Counselling and Coaching LTD is a collective of psychologists, psychotherapists, and coaches who have a deep desire to empower, heal and guide our clients to get the most out of their lives.
We serve adults in Alberta seeking to improve their relationships, health, and overall mental well-being. We invite our clients to take on a growth mindset and to embrace fears, anxiety, and depression as signs that something needs to change. We teach all of our clients that their inner wisdom can be tapped into by learning to listen to themselves.
Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
One Life was created from the philosophy that we only have so much time to make an impact, to remedy the beliefs that hold us back, and to heal from our pasts. In a nutshell, I like to say we are in the business of transformation.
Tell us about yourself
I am a therapist, coach, father, and husband who loves to write and spend time in nature, and I am borderline obsessed with the world of therapy and coaching. I would say that I am a perpetual student of Life and this line of work allows me to grow as a practitioner and person constantly.
Motivation is something I am constantly talking about with my clients. I like to ask questions like, "How do you capture motivation for yourself"? Or "Where does motivation come for you"? I am quite fascinated by motivation because it is our life force and energy within that we are talking about, and it can be the difference between positive change and not changing at all. When I think about what motivates me and gives me the most Life, it is almost always about growing internally, facing my fears, and growing more in connection with others. As a therapist and coach, seeing people face their fears and inner resistance gets me excited because I know that when we move from feeling stuck to feeling in flow, amazing things happen.
I moved away from my solo practice two and a half years ago because I wanted to create a container where I could connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals in our field. One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with being a therapist was having an amazing cohort of fellow therapists that became lifelong friends.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There are so many answers to this question, but if I had to pick one, it's the team we have at One Life and how they show up for their clients. I once read Harvill Hendrix, a famous couples' therapist, say something along the lines of - for an integrated and seasoned therapist, there is no difference between how they show up in the living room and how they show up in the therapy room. I took that to mean that there was no persona, no helping clients from behind walls of just being an expert. Rather, they were themselves a version of an awakened and integrated human being. Someone who walks the path alongside their clients and not solely from a position of "I am the expert, I know best."
I aspire to be this integrated therapist and hire therapists who do as well. I have passed on hiring therapists specifically because they haven't put energy into their work and development. I want a team that can also draw on their own inner wisdom in helping people, as opposed to just being book smart. The ability to relate to, on some level, to a client's lived emotional experience is very important to me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Oh wow, there are many hard things that I could talk about here. Hmmm, I definitely self-identify as a people pleaser (in recovery for the most part), so that part of myself gets tested. Being a business owner, I learned very quickly that I cannot make everyone happy and that the best thing I can do is to be grounded in and able to articulate the value I can offer to those interested in being a part of One Life. That value-add of working with us is either something that works for people or doesn't. That doesn't mean I'm not flexible; it just means that in running a business, I cannot say yes to every request from the team. I want this to be a place people want to stay because they are happy to be here. But again, as a small business owner, there are limitations to what is possible.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
This is like having 3 wishes in the genie bottle, and you want to use your first wish for more wishes. If I had to choose just 3 tips, they would be the following:
- Develop a growth mindset that invites learning from hardships, failures, and roadblocks.
- Hire or develop a relationship with a mentor in the exact business you want to create.
- Write a business plan. If you struggle with the idea of putting your plan on paper, be creative with the process and make it unique to you. This was some of the best advice I was given, and I was ovand make the process I did not want to do a business plan at all. It was an invaluable exercise when I customized my plan to fit my unique goals. The best advice I heard about business plans was to make them something creative, and I did just that.
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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