Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alli Clayton, Founder of Shine the Light Counseling, LLC., located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Shine the Light Counseling provides psychotherapy to adolescents and young adults in the Baltimore area. I specialize in treating trauma, depression, and anxiety using a holistic approach. Going beyond traditional talk therapy, I also use non traditional and evidence-based practices, such as mindfulness, brain-spotting, and parts work, to help people learn more about themselves and their capabilities in order to find peace. I also serve the Spanish-speaking population and can provide mental health evaluations for immigration cases.
Tell us about yourself
I believe in each person's capacity for goodness and healing, and I started Shine the Light Counseling in order to help my clients find the best versions of themselves. I particularly love working with teens and young adults as they grapple with understanding their identity and meaning, especially after surviving traumatic experiences.
My personal passion for this work stemmed from the death of my mother when I was 11 and all of the challenges that arose after that. I know how hard this time can be, and I also know the healing that is possible. My clients continue to amaze me, and work continues to energize me every time I see someone deepen their understanding of themselves with curiosity, compassion, and hope.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting and growing this business in a pandemic with two young children! I started Shine the Light Counseling when my youngest daughter was about five months old. I knew I needed a job that would allow me to spend time with my daughters and would allow me the flexibility to work from home during the height of Covid.
It was challenging at the beginning to market myself, make connections, and get my name out to the world so that people could find me. It took some time for the business to grow, but after enough perseverance, I was able to get my business to where I wanted it to be.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I have my masters in Social Work and have never taken a business class in my educational career! I did not know nor understand all of the ins and outs of business items such as bookkeeping, taxes, website development, and marketing.
Luckily, I had time and resources to learn and outsource when necessary, but it can still be hard to know when to do something myself or when it's best to get some help.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you are passionate about your business! Your passion will shine through to others and will carry you when things are tough.
- It's okay to let go a little bit and outsource when there's something you don't know how to do well or don't have time time to do.
- Connect with as many people as you can in your business world. They are not your competitors, but instead, sources of support (and even referrals!). There is enough work for everyone, so there is no need to be afraid of scar
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I believe in creating a safe space for all. I am passionate about helping trauma survivors find healing. All are welcome to my practice without fear of judgment or criticism. And I am a therapy nerd -- I'm happy to talk to anyone about the work that I do and why I love it!
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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