Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Lyneia Richardson, Owner of Melanated Women's Therapy, LLC., located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Melanated Women's Therapy was born out of my passion project, SelahMind.Body.Spirit (est. 2018) following the birth of my first child. They are both a culmination of years of schooling, continuing education, training, fear, anxiety, tears, doubt, curiosity, hope, trial and error, waiting, and more waiting, expectation, and finally, acceptance. My clients are mamas and/or other Black and brown women looking to feel heard and understood. Individuals who have felt disconnected from the person they were before kids, marriage, and taking on the world! Individuals who have felt like the burden bearers for everyone in their lives, carrying full cups with no way to empty them. My clients are those looking to feel reconnected to who they were (or want to be) and who want to flourish.
Tell us about yourself
While I had what some might call an "easy" pregnancy (excited to conceive, no morning sickness, "low weight gain," etc.), the birthing process was extremely difficult. I was in labor for two days and ended up with a fever. My plan to have a natural birth went out the window when the midwife informed me that the level of distress I was in was not normal, and I was given an epidural as they suspected I might need a cesarian, which turned out to be true. Due to the level of stress that my baby experienced in labor, she had her first bowel movement in the womb (meconium) and had to be in the NICU for the first day and a half of her life.
After my first birth experience, I had thoughts of other women (and girls) who did not have the support I had. We know that birth trauma and the way you bring your child into the world can impact your connection with them and your experience of motherhood/parenthood. My goal is to educate, encourage, support, and help other mamas and women find peace in their journey. The many women who came before me, who are in my life now, and my clients (and future to come) motivate me every day to continue doing what I do. Helping other people feel triumphant through the most difficult times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and helping them to navigate their journey of motherhood, that is my motivation.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being a business owner! The pandemic gave me a new type of freedom that I never knew could exist as a professional, working mom. I did not think that I would ever be able to open a private practice due to the costs and other liabilities that come with being a business owner. However, I was able to open a virtual space for clients to engage in therapy from the comfort of their own homes. It feels good knowing that clients feel safe enough to "invite me into" their homes and to share in such an intimate part of their lives.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is that everything falls on you—so to speak. It's easy to blame the "boss" when you are an employee. Being the owner means being responsible for every aspect of the business. I had this realization that I am the brand. I represent my business in everything that I do. I have to maintain this keen awareness that everything I say and do becomes a reflection of my brand and my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do it! If you have the vision, the urge, or even the thought inside of you — go for it! Write the vision and make it plain. Think about the end goal and work backward from there.
- Don't let fear/anxiety stop you. Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying. Reflect on past experiences of "doing it anyways" and hold onto that feeling. The feeling that comes when you've accomplished something you didn't know you could do.
- Use your resources! Whatever they are. Talk to those around you who are doing what you want to do. Google is free! Information is readily available online. The library is free. Once you open and you have some experience, you'll know what you don't know. That's when you can find a mentor or a professional business coach, but again, don't let that stop you from starting.
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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