Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carly Bassett, co-founder of Moonstone Counseling, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Moonstone Counseling is a psychotherapy group in Austin, Texas, with a mission to provide high-quality mental health services to the community, improve access to counseling, and expand clinical opportunities for therapists to enter the private practice market.
Moonstone serves people across the lifespan, from birth to old age and end-of-life. Based in Central Texas, Moonstone offers therapy to individuals, couples, and families. We have two office locations and also serve Texans across the state via teletherapy platforms. Our clinicians specialize in various areas, including grief & loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, aging, and relationship issues.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have worked in the non-profit sector for most of my career. I have a background in hospice care and working with older adults. My passion is connecting with people in a way that allows the relationship to become a vessel for healing. Coming from a non-profit agency setting, I understood how challenging it could be for clinicians to launch their own practices. There are many barriers that keep people working in those settings, which are typically high-burnout environments with lower wages.
My partner, Grace, and I were motivated to create a business that not only served the community but also helped wonderful clinicians leave agency jobs and transition their careers to private practice by reducing their risks and supporting them toward a better quality of life for themselves.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I see my "customers" as both the clients we serve and the clinicians that work in the practice. As a business owner, it is critically important that clients are pleased with their care and interaction with Moonstone from the moment they reach out for support through the end of their work with their therapist. It is also vital that the therapists feel supported and valued while also being able to make a good living for themselves.
We started Moonstone in 2020, just a week before the pandemic hit the US. Our biggest accomplishment has been being able to grow from a few part-time teletherapy clinicians to nearly 20 clinicians and providing over a thousand sessions per month. When I hear a clinician say that this is the best work experience they have ever had and the least stressful, my heart feels so full!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner at this particular time has been anticipating and responding to the changes in the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic changed the way we all live and work, and the mental health field has been no exception.
Moonstone is an insurance-based group, meaning we believe that creating access to therapy means being able to accept clients' insurance plans. Navigating the world of insurance during the pandemic has been a rollercoaster. We continue to learn and sometimes struggle daily. Many practices do not accept insurance because of the massive hassle and problems that arise. However, Moonstone believes that serving the community means making therapy affordable and accessible to working people.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
When I think about the key to success we have found in the last couple of years since starting a business in a pandemic, I credit it mostly to the fact that I have an amazing business partner. There is no way I would ever venture into starting a business as a sole owner. Having a partner with a complementary skillset has made the business run much smoother and has allowed us to thrive and grow while focusing on areas of the business based on our own strengths.
Another tip is to start by hiring people who know you and trust you. They will be the easiest recruits and then will become your greatest assets for recruiting others they know and trust as your business grows. This will almost ensure quality hires. Lastly, look for ways your business can serve the community in some way. It helps build a culture of goodwill and anchors your company in a way that clients will come to respect. Running a business is as much a part of developing relationships and services as it is of making profit.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Moonstone Counseling has grown from a teletherapy-only practice to a group with two physical locations and nearly 20 clinicians in two years during a pandemic. Mental health needs are high in almost every community, and the pandemic has made that demand increase ten-fold. Finding therapists is still a challenge, as many are over-booked and cannot meet the increased demands.
Moonstone Counseling continues to seek and hire clinicians to serve the community and fulfill our mission to serve clients. For anyone considering therapy for the first time, do not be discouraged if it takes some time to get in the door. Mental health is so important, and everyone deserves the support they seek. We are always working to help make referrals, even when it is outside of our practice.
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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