Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Catherine Jackson, Owner of Optimal Neuroholistic Services, located in Tinley Park, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Do you know how mental health and wellness is getting more and more attention? And how many more people are now recognizing the importance of mental health and well-being? So, Optimal Neuroholistic Services (ONS) was created as an affordable way for people to receive quality mental health, coaching, and wellness services. ONS focuses on integrative wellness and treats patients holistically through therapy, coaching, yoga, various types of meditations, and much more. We also offer consultation services to other companies and are able to serve your event needs as a workshop facilitator and/or as a keynote speaker.
Tell us about yourself
I'm Dr. Catherine Jackson (Dr. J), a licensed clinical psychologist, board certified in neuro, and a holistic wellness practitioner. As a sought-after international speaker and media expert who's been featured in Forbes, Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, on TV and many other media outlets, I share a wealth of information with others on topics related to mental wellness, the brain, and holistic health. I'm a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) expert and clinical supervisor who owns Optimal Neuroholistic Services (ONS), authored The Couch Experience: A Guide to Good Therapy, and created several Wellness Card Decks. I help people rewire their brains, mindset, and habits so they think, feel, and communicate at their best.
I started ONS to meet the needs of the community. I'd often get many calls, texts, and direct messages on social media asking me for a referral, how to find a therapist of color, and where to find affordable therapy. So, in 2019 I decided to create the answer. I began researching starting a mental health business and started research for my first book, which is all about how to find a therapist and engage in good therapy. It was not until the shutdown during the pandemic in 2020 that I was able to launch both the practice and write and publish the book. I call it God's timing because there were so many people of color looking for therapy with a therapist of color. I am honored I was able to help meet the needs as many therapists had long wait lists during the heart of the pandemic because the need became much greater at that time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Besides being featured in print and online publications, being featured on TV, and becoming a published author, I am not sure I have a " biggest" accomplishment. However, I have a collection of smaller wins that led to overall progress and growth. These include: every year, the business makes more revenue than it did the previous year, adds additional services or processes to streamline existing services, and creates and launches a new therapy or wellness product. The company also added the addition of a wonderful assistant to the team, and I personally undergo continuing education yearly to continue to offer the best to those I serve. I celebrate every accomplishment, big or small. However, If I have to pick just one thing I am most proud of, it is the increase in paid speaking engagements and landing keynote speaking gigs. This is because it allows me to share more about therapy and its benefits on a larger scale to assist in reducing the stigma around mental health while continuing to contribute to increasing the business' revenue.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Sometimes, being in business can be lonely. There may be long days and nights working on the business, and when something goes wrong, more than likely, you are the one who needs to figure it out and fix it. Owning and operating a business is a lot of work. This is definitely not for the faint at heart, as there will be good days and not-so-good days. However, it's rewarding; you can often make your own schedule and have more time for true work-life alignment and work-life balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Automate as much as you can and have good systems in place to help save you time and money.
- Start where you are with what you have and start low and slow, meaning start out offering a few things at first and take your time building and adding to the business. You don't need to have everything figured out to start your business, especially if you work to build things over time. This approach may help keep you from getting overwhelmed.
- As soon as you can, secure a good assist, and when you are ready add other key people to the team. This may help with burnout and may create more space for balance and self-care so you are not handling everything.
And an extra tip is to make sure you check in with yourself and how you are feeling often. When needed, take breaks, take vacations, be sure to engage in lots of self-care, and connect with others socially, including with other business owners. If needed, reach out to a professional, a therapist, or a coach for help.
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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