Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Megan Rafuse, co-founder and CEO of Shift Collab, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Shift Collab is one of Canada’s leading therapy practices, offering exceptional counselling and mental healthcare to Canadians from coast-to-coast. Our curated team of over 100 social workers and psychotherapists collaborates with you to navigate all of life’s challenges. Our therapists aren’t afraid to get real—in fact, it’s what sets us apart. We’re relatable like a friend but highly trained and with unmatched clinical oversight.

Our clients are driven professionals who are facing a situation where they feel stuck and are looking for solutions. At Shift Collab, we get it. Whether you’re navigating trauma, stressed out at work, or looking for a fresh perspective, we meet you where you're at, whenever you need.

Tell us about yourself

I co-founded Shift Collab as a way to increase the impact of highly driven and relatable therapists in the stale mental health space. The time was over when white men with clipboards dominated the industry, and the space was in desperate need of new voices, diversity, and easier access via technology to basic mental health care.

As a social worker, I saw the gaps in care and ambitious professionals, often with the same struggles as me, having a hard time finding a therapist who felt like a good fit. I sought to solve these issues with the creation of a community of excellent clinicians from a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds, aimed at ensuring every client feels supported by their therapist and every therapist feels supported in their work. With that, Shift Collab was born. I'm motivated to continue our mission of offering great therapy to incredible humans, thus helping them build the lives they want -one session at a time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is twofold. First, no entrepreneur is self-made. I wouldn't be in my role as CEO without the clinicians and clients who trusted me in creating a safe place for mental health care to thrive. I'm so proud of the diverse community of Shift therapists who care deeply about their clients' wellness, advocate within the wider social and healthcare system, and are committed to clinical and professional growth on a daily basis.

Secondly, I'm grateful for my mentors and teammates who first believed in my growth as a clinician as I also moved to CEO. It's rare for a leading mental health company to have a clinician as a CEO, and I know this is my superpower in driving the future of mental health care forward.

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

Most business owners are highly-driven and often view the business as a reflection of their own worth. It took me a while to learn that the ebbs and flows of business success does not define my ability to be a strong leader, be "good enough," or be worthy of standing with fellow CEOs.

As a woman (and clinician) in a leadership position, it's also been challenging to be recognized as being worthy of a platform, and I'm proud of the advocacy we've done at Shift to encourage others to invite diverse voices to important conversations. While being a business owner is challenging, it's also rewarding, and leaning into my own vulnerability has allowed me to build relationships of mutual support that ensure my own wellness in this journey.

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

Just do it! Honestly, there is a book that someone had recommended to me early on in my career as a clinician called "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways" by Susan Jeffries, and while I never actually finished the entire book, the title always stuck with me. Anything worth doing will feel difficult, hold some level of risk and feel scary. That's normal. You will be afraid, you won't know everything, and that's okay. Take the steps. You will learn as you go. Despite what anyone tells you- no one is self-made, and it will take a community to grow. You will build a community if you allow yourself to be open, share your journey and recognize that people want to help you.

Believe in yourself, you've got this. Oh, and it will be hard. There will be days when you question why you did this, days when you are scared to look at your bank account and relationships that don't turn out as you had hoped. To persevere in these moments will mean not only working hard and focusing on the one thing that you can do to keep moving forward, but it will also mean allowing space for you to slow down to speed up. A business isn't healthy if the leader isn't well- it's your job to take care of yourself first.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I like to think that, just like humans, business is constantly evolving. You are never defined by one thing. We all change and learn and grow, and you will too, and this wild business adventure will hopefully be as fun for you as it has been for me!

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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