Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shelly Qualtieri, Modern Mental Health Therapist of Shelly Qualtieri & Associates Counselling & Coaching, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

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

Shelly Qualtieri & Associates Counselling & Coaching is a team of passionate, dedicated, and excited Social Workers & Psychologists who are committed to supporting each and every client with kindness, compassion, understanding, and a focus on getting to the root of their problems in a timely manner. We support teens (13+), adults, and couples.

We are ready to support our clients by providing them with bite-sized strategies, to develop important coping mechanisms and understand their behaviours to guide them in their journey of increased optimism, empowerment, and growth.

To help each person we support - big or small- live their fiercely fabulous life!

Provide easy, bite-size, practical tools for clients to implement into their daily life. We set goals with every client and help move them along the counseling journey with a focus in place and outcomes in place. We strive for all clients to leave each session feeling a little lighter, more in control, empowered, and more understanding of their situation than when they walked in our door.

Tell us about yourself

Thirty years ago, when I began my career journey, there wasn't a name for mental health challenges. Many years after I graduated from high school, I found out that I had friends who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression l, and even a few who took their life by suicide. I always found people and their lives fascinating, from the way they interacted, the way they communicated, how they built their relationships along with how they dealt with their emotions, trauma and heard what they felt they were missing when they were receiving professional support, what they felt they really needed to grow and improve - I took this incredibly valuable information and have incorporated this into my Counselling business.

From there, I became interested in policing and even worked in a maximum-security prison for 7-years! I was fascinated with the dynamics of these inmates and how they dealt with their trauma. I also spend time working in the areas of Mental Health. Justice, Child and Family Services, Homelessness, Addictions, Domestic Violence, and teaching at the University level. Throughout my career, I have worked in Australia and Canada in these areas. Working in these fields with many vulnerable and complex individuals for many years was the beginning of my story of passion and purpose.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

4.5 years ago, when I began my solo-private practice, I dreamt of starting a group practice where we could support clients big and small - with a multidisciplinary approach. I am so proud to say we are accomplishing this! Our fabulous team is comprised of:

  • Social Workers
  • Psychologist (Sports Psychologist)
  • Leadership and Career Transition Coach
  • Nutritionists
  • Nurse

Because our mental health is directly linked to our physical health - if we can find these wonderful professionals under one roof, the counselling journey and path we are on can feel easier, and this is what we want for every person we support.

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

One of the toughest and hardest parts I have found with being a business owner is having to learn all of the parts. This has, at times, felt very overwhelming. When you first start, you do not have the money to hire a big and fancy team; at least, I didn't. I had to learn how to build my website, build an email list, post on social media, write blogs and content, and be the accountant in my business - all of the things I was not trained to do. Trying to be the one-stop shop to build my business in all the ways was hard! I am finally at a stage where I can hire a team and supports to help me with all the things I am not specialized in. What a great feeling and relief.

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

  1. Ask yourself if the business you want to start is your passion. Building a successful and thriving business is hard work and takes time. If you are not passionate about this being a huge part of your life, it may not be the best option.
  2. What are your skills? If you have skills in the area you want to build a business, this is much easier. You do not have to be an expert, but having knowledge and understanding of the industry you want to build within is a significant advantage.
  3. Ask questions - lots and lots of questions from others in your area. Find out their mistakes, tips, and suggestions.

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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