Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sara Stanizai, Founder of Sara Roshana Stanizai, located in Long Beach, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a business coach and run a successful psychotherapy group. Most of my customers have been colleagues who run similar therapy practices and want support managing teams, understanding their budget, and how to create offers and services that excite them.
I tend to work with "the rest of us," meaning entrepreneurs who have been left out of mainstream narratives of business ownership. First-generation Americans, first-time business owners, and often those who did not have a role model in their personal life for this type of work.
Tell us about yourself
I have run my therapy practice since 2018 and have invested primarily in learning the business side. As I began supporting my peers and colleagues, the requests for a more formal service came about organically. People felt guilty "picking my brain," and to be honest, I was giving away a ton of resources—happily, but for free. I had to practice what I preach and create a structured way to provide support where both of us felt we were getting a lot of value.
Now I work with a limited number of clients on their businesses. I love it when people start to see that they have all the pieces. They need to be more strategic and accountable for how they put them together. When they win, I feel like I'm winning, which has been a beautiful layer in my personal development.
Many of us with immigrant backgrounds grow up with a sense of scarcity. Although I come from a collectivist culture, we're told that we have to compete. So, the liberation that comes with tangibly supporting my "competition" has helped me unlearn that concept. None of us have competition! I am proud to embody that every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I measure accomplishments and success in so many ways. I feel honored when my colleagues ask to be my clients. I feel honored when total strangers ask the same thing! When clients start seeing the tangible, financial benefits of running a smoother business with their values and ethics built into it. When clients begin embodying the kind of leader they want to be and need to realize they have it in them. It is an accomplishment when people feel excited about their business instead of burnt out.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Remembering that I need my support. I have a therapist and my coach. When things are going great, I think I can "take a break" from that support. And that's true! But I get more out of therapy and coaching when I don't need it because I'm free to dream bigger and dig deeper than when there are fires to put out.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I do this exercise where I ask people their "Why." Most people have a clear answer for that. I also ask them to come up with all the reasons "why not." Again, they usually have those at the ready too. But then I challenge them with ALL THE OTHER WAYS they can fulfill their "why."
That forces them to consider their alternatives—and sometimes, it teaches them that they don't want to start and run a business. They may be interested in mentoring, teaching, facilitating, consulting, or some other related field.
I do this because the trade-off for getting to do work you love has to create and operate a business. So if there is any other way you can meet that need, do that. Business ownership is hard work, and you need to know what you're signing up for.
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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