Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mary Kuepper, Owner of Matsu Mental Health, LLC., located in Wasilla, AK, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We own sister practices, Kenai Peninsula Mental Health and Mat-Su Mental Health. They're small group practices focused on offering exceptional care, start to finish. We serve individuals, couples, and families, addressing a wide range of challenges. For the most part, our clients are high functioning, motivated, and pretty dang great!

Tell us about yourself

I spent over a decade in the growing ground of community-based mental health systems, and though I was grateful for what I learned, I was over it. I was worn down by the inefficiency and red tape of those systems, and I got to a point where I realized I could do it better. Plain and simple.

I could take better care of clinicians, so they could take better care of clients. And so, with my jack of all trades wingman and husband by my side, we started KPMH. We take exceptional care of our clinicians, so they can take exceptional care of clients. It's a win/ win for everyone, and that's pretty cool.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The heart of these businesses is based on taking good care of people, and I firmly believe that that starts with our clinicians. I worked for a long time in systems that were content to work good providers to the bone. But how were those weary providers supposed to turn around, and in good faith, then teach their clients about self-care and boundaries? The irony was laughable.

Our clinicians work a three-day work with a premium reimbursement rate. We often say that their work days are long, but their work week is short, affording them ample time to rest, play and enjoy this beautiful state we live in. And then, when their work week rolls around, they show up ready to rock. And able to model for their clients what it looks like to care for one's self well.

Clients get motivated, refreshed, and engaged providers, which supports them in gaining traction and achieving their goals. Clinicians do well. Clients do well, and the business does well. Thus far, our model is sustainable, and everybody wins!

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

Our businesses have perpetually been in a state of growth, which requires a level of hustle. A growing waitlist means we have to hire a new clinician, which means we need to fill that clinician's caseload in a timely manner, fast, but not too fast, and around we go again.

It's easy to feel compelled to act and act fast. And though that's important, so is the rest of life that often gets back burned. Sorting out these boundaries and carving out blocks of time for both personal and professional life is a moving target, but an important one!

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

  1. Outsource. Yes, there's some inherent doing of all the things when you're first getting up and running, but as soon as you can start outsourcing things... phones, cleaning, billing, seeing clients, do it. If you're doing all the things, you haven't created a business. You've created yourself a job.
  2. Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. It is astounding how often people thank me for returning their call. It seems silly that this is even worth mentioning, but it's huge and goes a long way in terms of your reputation in the community as a provider that is dependable and professional.
  3. Boundaries. Modeling and maintaining healthy boundaries allows us to care well for ourselves, which in turn, allows us to care well for our clients. If we're running ourselves into the ground, that's seriously going to compromise our capacity to run and grow a thriving business.

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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