Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Birley, Founder of Serenity Counselling, located in Brantford, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Serenity Counselling is a private psychotherapy practice that provides mental health counselling by face-to-face or virtual appointments, depending on the client's location and needs. We see individuals, couples, and families of all ages dealing with a variety of mental health issues and concerns.

Serenity Counselling prides itself from the feedback of our clients that we provide a very comfortable, open, honest environment without judgment that helps them feel safe, heard, and supported. We want our clients to leave our sessions lighter and overall confident in their ability to manage life's challenges moving forward.

Tell us about yourself

I am a Registered Psychotherapist and a Certified Hypnotherapist. I am also in the process of getting certified in Perinatal Mental Health. I am a mom and becoming one completely transformed the focus of my practice to want to support other parents and families through that incredible and stressful journey.

Before becoming a wife, and a mom, my interest in this field and private practice were founded by a couple of key experiences in my life. I would say the first one would be the sudden loss of my dad and trying to manage my own grief and anxiety that came with that loss. This really opened my eyes to the struggles of mental health, and I just wanted to help others who had to experience anything like it. The second would be my previous job as a Behaviour Therapist in which I worked with children with Autism. Daily I would work with not only the kids but also the parents and family members, and quickly I understood the limited support that they had to manage everything that they were feeling and experiencing. As much as I loved working with the kids, I wanted to be able to do more to support every family member, which motivated me to take my first steps into the field of psychotherapy.

I decided to open my business because I wanted to provide mental health support without the limitations that I saw and experienced at different counselling centers. I wanted my clients to have a more personalized care plan that fit their individual needs, and I realized that I needed to start my own practice to make that happen.

My motivation every day is driven by my clients. It is incredible to see the transformations that clients can make just by having support and how that support can allow them to see their inner strengths and abilities to help them through any challenge. My clients are all unique, and it is a privilege that they instill their trust in me daily.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Honestly, just having my business is a huge accomplishment. However, I think my biggest accomplishment would be that I have acknowledged that I have a scope of focus, and I have managed to align myself with other therapists in my office who complement each other's styles and strategies. This has created an ideal wellness environment where clients can have a therapist who is best suited to help them achieve their goals.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The ups and downs. Going from having weeks with a full caseload of clients in which you don't have time to tend to the administrative parts of the business, or your own needs, to weeks where you have barely any clients. Sometimes these fluctuations can cause you to question yourself as a business owner and make you think you are doing something wrong. When you are aware that ups and downs come with owning your own business, then that acceptance of those changes can help you manage the stress when they happen.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Create a plan for yourself when you are getting started. It can look overwhelming, but just tackle one thing at a time.
  2. Growing your business takes time. Try not to get disheartened by the process.
  3. Ask questions. Find someone who can answer any questions you may have about starting a business. No question is a bad question. Ask what you need to feel confident moving forward.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

There will probably be a time in the process of starting, growing, or running your business when you have to take a risk or make a hard choice. Don't be afraid of a risk if you have generated a workable plan. Sometimes you have to take the leap even when it is scary, and sometimes that fear can guide your motivation to succeed.

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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