Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Meredith Moran, Owner of Front Line Wellness, located in St. Petersburg, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Front Line Wellness in my private mental health practice. I work with people who have experienced trauma, including first responders and military personnel. As a former police officer myself, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to help first responders.
I have common knowledge, understanding, and language to know what other responders are going through. I give my clients education about the way trauma, stress, and anxiety shape the brain for survival and how we can rewire that same brain to do things differently.
Tell us about yourself
When I was 15 years old, I thought I had it all figured out career-wise. I was going to work in local law enforcement, then move to Federal law enforcement, and once I retired with my Doctorate, I was going to teach at a University. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and went to work for my local police department. 6.5 years in, two things happened that changed the “life plan” trajectory.
I developed severe test anxiety and could not qualify on my firearm, which is a pretty important part of the job. During this time, a colleague of mine also died by suicide. I had to leave the police department because I couldn’t do an integral part of my job. I ended up working at the local police academy and completed my Doctorate in Counseling Psychology.
I knew that I wanted to help first responders like my friend deal with the trauma involved in the work they do, but I had no idea what the journey to becoming a therapist entailed. My trajectory shifted again when I lost my job at the academy. I was unemployed for 1.5 years, with a Doctorate wondering what to do with my life. I found a job working as a research assistant at Operations PAR. Twelve and a half years later, I was a licensed therapist, working with clients who had trauma and substance use and preparing to open my own private practice focused on first responders and trauma.
I am motivated every day by the staggering numbers of first responders and military personnel who leave their careers or, worse yet, die by suicide due to the stress and trauma they experience in those careers. I am equally motivated when I see healing in my clients and more so when they see that healing in themselves.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
For me, the biggest accomplishment is actually doing it. While I had a lot of help and mentoring along the way, the bottom line is that at the end of the day, it's my name on the door. This was never part of my original dream, but once I decided to do it, I didn't let anything stop me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest part is balancing the therapist with the CEO. I would much rather see clients and take educational classes or give educational presentations than pay bills, collect money, and figure out taxable deductions.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First of all, have a plan. It doesn't have to start as a grand written business proposal, but at least think about what you want and different ways to attain it.
Second, if you can "ease" into it, do it. I was able to continue working at Operation PAR for the first few years I was doing part-time private practice. It took a lot of stress off me because I was able to maintain a steady paycheck and insurance benefits.
Lastly, give yourself some grace, and don't get discouraged. It may take a long time to be able to hold your own, and that's ok. Find mentors that can help, and lean on people when you need to. I opened my practice part-time just before the pandemic hit, and there were many times I thought about giving up and just staying with wanted was easy. I kept pushing through and taking the help that was offered, and I eventually got there and hoped to keep growing.
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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