Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cheryl Perry, Owner of Perry Wellness Counseling, PLLC., located in Charlotte, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Perry Wellness Counseling is a private mental health practice in North Carolina. We work online with adult clients via teletherapy, where we provide a brave space to reclaim your life. Our clients are adult individuals and LGBTQ+ individuals looking for counseling to help with challenges such as excessive unhealthy stress and anxiety, an inability to work through life transitions or changes, depression, and more.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Cheryl D. Perry, MA LCMHCA NCC, and I am the Owner/Clinician at Perry Wellness Counseling. I was a non-traditional (older) student at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and graduated with my Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. After graduation, I became certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) with The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
Individual counseling I received during a tough life transition opened my eyes to the importance of mental health and the process of mental health counseling to achieve a deep understanding of self. I also feel my previous life experiences in healthcare (medical, mental health, and physician) paved the way to a better understanding of how mental health is discussed among medical professionals. I also learned firsthand the stigma that surrounds the choice to engage in therapy and how to have open discussions about suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, etc.
I am motivated each day by the passion I have for the mental health of my fellow human being. I educate those around me about the importance of working with a professional counselor for mental health and working with a physician regarding their physical health. Being human can be a complex and beautiful experience. An individual does not have to have a major crisis in their life to engage in counseling.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is using my knowledge to help other counselors in private practice. I've done medical billing before, I've worked in banking, and I have experience credentialing with insurance companies. I'm not the type of business owner to see every other counselor as a competition, so I gladly pass along my knowledge and education to others to help them succeed. I've been contacted for consulting on more than one occasion, and I've thoroughly enjoyed helping others follow their dreams.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is learning to balance the professional and personal sides of life. I could literally read and research for hours on end and lose track of time. I have learned that I do my best work when I block off periods of time to take care of my business and clients and take time to engage in self-care. I have learned to differentiate between being a business owner, a licensed counselor, and Cheryl.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips I would give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today would be as follows:
- Do your research to make sure you understand the criteria to legally start a business in your area. As a licensed counselor, I had to start with my counseling board and then move forward to interacting with the NC Secretary of State. Don't take any shortcuts. Make sure you are abiding by any bylaws or ethics to create a business you can be proud of.
- Surround yourself with fellow colleagues who are at the same timeframe in their journey to becoming business owners and those with years of experience behind them. Create a community of supportive individuals or groups who are open and honest about what to expect and how to handle scenarios seen in your area of expertise.
- Growth can take time, and that's okay. And growth can look similar and different from others, and that's okay too. There is no need to feel you have to pursue the same path as other business owners in your niche. As a counselor, I've seen success happen in the way others have structured their practice across different practice models (private pay, pay what you can, insurance only). Interview other successful business owners and use the knowledge obtained to create a plan that works for the way you want to help others in your community.
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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