Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Octavia Landrum, Founder of Solution Focused Psychological Services, PLLC, located in Dallas, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Solution Focused Psychological Services, PLLC is a mental health firm that caters to specialty populations, providing evaluation services that will improve the communities it supports. Our customers are public safety officers (i.e., police, firefighters, and constables), correctional facilities (county, state, or federal), attorneys, and schools.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Texas native, born in a small town near Hawkins, Texas, and raised in Dallas, TX. I was raised primarily off the back of a single mother who modeled a strong work ethic, self-discipline, and high ambitions. My desire to start a company in 2019 was highly driven by one thing--accountability. In 2019, as our country was at the peak of battles around gun violence, police brutality, a BlackLivesMatter movement, a global pandemic, and a plummeting economy, there was an overwhelming feeling to "do something" paired with a nonrealistic experience of disempowerment. It was in that space that I decided though I may not be able to tackle these battles on a global scale, I could be accountable for a small part of those issues in the community I represent. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. I could be a part of the proactive plan long-term. So I started a company that would cater to these populations by:
- Offering pre-employment evaluations for public safety officials to ensure that we identify suitable individuals to protect our communities and decrease unemployment.
- Offering fitness for duty evaluations to examine and reduce the prevalence of unsuitable individuals already in positions of power and validate those that rightfully hold positions of power to renew trust from our communities.
- Offering mentally-disordered offender evaluations in correctional settings to identify individuals likely to re-offend if released into our communities without the proper clinical interventions.
- Offering my services to attorneys to develop treatment plans that advocate for treatment over mass incarceration.
- Offering evaluations to schools to promote mental wellness in our children so that the next generation is strong enough to finish the battles their predecessors have started.
Accountability for my part in this battle, to my community and my immediate family, is what motivates me daily.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner thus far is to have survived a pandemic with minimal aid and be prosperous. Looking back on the timing of when things initiated, it was a difficult time for established businesses to manage, given public health restrictions, the financial strain the economy experienced, and the technological advances that made in-person encounters obsolete. It was an even greater challenge to establish a new business, with minimal eligibility for the aid available to businesses then.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is that there is no such thing as "business hours" or a clear "position description" of your job. For the employees, you are hired into a role with a specific tour of duty aligned closely with specific tasks. As the owner, though I am a Psychologist, I have been the janitor, the secretary, the bookkeeper, the carpenter, and the interior decorator (amongst many other jobs). My work hours also include nights and weekends, as concerns of the company are my responsibility at any point. It is a position that is the epitome of the phrase "heavy is the head that wears the crown."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Starting a business is not an accomplishment that any business owner does ALL on their own. It takes LOTS of resources (i.e., family support, peer support, finances, knowledge, and opportunity). So embark on this mission knowing that while it is TOTALLY possible to accomplish, it is not a single-handed mission.
- Make sure that you are insightful on what drives your passion so that you can keep the sacrifices in perspective. Being a business owner will be one of the harder positions you have ever assumed, but insight around your passion will help you get through the trenches.
- Have fun and take care of yourself. Work to live but don't live to work. Being a business owner is supposed to be about having control over your own advances, fortune, and way of retirement. So make sure that you find time to have fun.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I would like to give a special thanks to my support circle. A huge thanks to my husband, Antonio D. Landrum Sr., for supporting, sacrificing, and allowing me to sacrifice my personal resources for the betterment of my business. Thank you to my kids, DJ (6), Jordyn (2), and Kameron (1), for loving me even in my absence and sharing "Mommy Time" with my ambitions. Thank you to my mother, Vivian Collins, for your unwavering support and unconditional love my whole life in anything that I wanted to do. Thank you to my very best friend, Tiffany, for your many roles in my personal and business endeavors going back to 9 years of age. I am grateful for your concerns about the air I breathe. Love you all infinitely.
Where can people find you and your business?