Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in psychotherapy, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Flatla, Founder and Registered Psychotherapist of Red Oak Psychotherapy, LGBTTQ+ psychotherapy, in Ottawa, On. Canada.

Tell us all about your business...

Red Oak Psychotherapy was born from the desire to fill a significant services gap within the LGBTTQ+ community and, more specifically, the trans* and gender diverse community. We are proud to be a connected and committed group of therapists working with children, youth, and adults seeking to improve their mental well-being and gain a better understanding of themselves.

We approach therapy with the intention of building meaningful relationships with our clients and empowering them to navigate challenges through a lens of self-compassion. While we are privileged to work predominantly with questions and concerns related to sexual orientation and gender identity, we acknowledge that people are complex and therefore we must honour all elements of an individual's story. We have extensive knowledge and experience supporting clients navigating anxiety, depression, identity, interpersonal relationships, conflict, and grief.

What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?

My intention in building Red Oak Psychotherapy was to utilize my education and lived experiences in a way that would support marginalized communities and address a services gap. I am motivated by the inherent beauty of sitting with another human being as they share their story. I acknowledge my profound privilege in witnessing folks discover their true selves and practice authenticity.

As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?

This is a great question but difficult to answer. I find that I reflect on my business and success in terms of both the business side of things and the meaningful change I can attempt to bring to the community. The greatest accomplishment I can name in this moment is being able to work in this field and to have built this opportunity to serve the community long-term.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?

One of the greatest challenges in being a business owner is balancing life and work. I am incredibly driven and goal-oriented with a zest for new and creative ways of making change. I am grateful for the wonderful and supportive folks in my life who keep me grounded and focused on taking things one step at a time. I should probably practice what I preach but remaining present and focusing on the here and now is a lifelong practice!

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

This is definitely a tough question. I think the most important message I would want to share with someone looking to start, run, and grow a business would be to trust themselves and the process. One of the biggest barriers I faced was self-doubt and that dreaded imposter syndrome. When you trust in yourself and in the process, I think this really opens a lot of doors and allows you to face challenges with confidence. In addition, I think taking the time to do your research and talk to folks in your industry is incredibly valuable.

Where can people find you online?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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