Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paula Prober, owner of Paula Prober, Counseling & Consulting, located in Eugene, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a counselor and consultant guiding and advising a particular population of adults, people who I describe as curious, creative, smart, and sensitive. I describe these folks as “rainforest-minded” because, like the rainforest, they are resourceful, resilient, prolific, intuitive, sensitive, multi-layered, and intense. Many were identified as gifted when they were children. It is assumed they are self-sufficient and confident because of their intelligence, but, in fact, they are often struggling with loneliness, perfectionism, decisions, pressure/expectations, sensitivities, relationships, and careers.
Tell us about yourself
My first career was in education, and I worked in schools teaching gifted children. After about a decade, I was ready for a change. I had been a client in therapy for a few years and loved it, so I decided to get a counseling degree and start a private practice. Then, I thought to combine my two careers and specialize in counseling this population of children and adults. This work is extremely satisfying and meaningful because my clients are so fascinating, and I find helping them to be so rewarding. I started blogging about this about eight years ago to reach an international audience and have published two books. I enjoy having a variety of activities within my business, so my work is never dull!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am proud of my financial success, having built this business on my own and created a steady and reliable following of clients and readers so I can depend on word of mouth for consistent referrals and for ongoing book sales. I began the business before the internet existed, so it was much harder in those days to be found. I took advantage of social media when it finally arrived to begin blogging, which then attracted the interest of a small press and my first book deal.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It was difficult, at first, trusting I could support myself in this new career and build a reputation and find enough opportunities to speak at conferences, teach classes, and write articles to create a client base. Back when I started, there was not as much interest or support for therapy as there is today. In those days, with no internet, it was much harder to be found by potential clients. I am an introvert, but I had to put myself out there to become known in my community and later in my field and around the world.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Discover what you love to do and use your ingenuity to craft it into a career that nourishes you and gives your life meaning and purpose.
- Use your creativity and humor to generate interest in your offerings. Trust yourself and your intuition.
- Get therapy if you are troubled by past experiences of trauma that are getting in the way of your self-confidence, self-acceptance, and ability to generate a successful business.
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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