Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lenny Gallo, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, based in Verona, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am an independent solo Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). I offer talk therapy to individuals.
Tell us about yourself
I have been practicing therapy for over 8 years and have had extensive training in the field of human behavior and development. I graduated with honors and obtained my MSW from Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service. I got my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in the States of New Jersey, New York, and Illinois. I also received my LCADC (Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor) from the State of New Jersey. I have been formally trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) from The Beck Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and have received my Diplomat Status from The Academy of Cognitive Therapy. In an attempt to bring a more mindful-based approach to therapy, I also received formal training in the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) under the guise of Russ Harris. I also received certification in Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions for Tics (CBIT).
I first decided to start my own business shortly before the pandemic. I was seeing people part-time, but when the birth of Telehealth took off, I found it to be the right time to go all in and go solo. I left my state job, took the scary plunge, and have never looked back. I love working with my patients. They are what motivate me each day to stay in this field.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Getting to work from home. Getting to design my own hours and more importantly, choosing the type of people I work with and which conditions I want to treat.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a solo practitioner is that everything is really on you. You become your own biller, receptionist, marketer, and so on. While I get to choose what days I want to work and how long I want to work, you don't always have other colleagues to lean on to help guide you on a regular basis. It is your job to seek out supervision and network with others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I would recommend that you spend a lot of time researching and planning before diving in. All of the time I spent researching up-front helped me go into my business full force.
I would also recommend setting up a budget. Knowing what my finances had to be at a minimum each month really helped me to visualize what it would take to make my business a reality.
Finally, just go for it. There will never be a right time to start your business. If you can't make it work with your business, you will always be able to find a job where someone is willing to abuse your skills as a worker. Give yourself a chance to try and succeed.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It's very important to have an outlet when you're in business for yourself. When I'm not counseling patients, I spend my time creating. I've been on stage in many productions. In my free time, I also love writing, plays specifically. Recently I have rekindled my first passion for painting and have been actively working toward showcasing new work.
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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