Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Johanna Louie, Co-Founder of Suicide Is Different, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

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

Suicide Is Different aims to strengthen connections to life for people struggling with suicide by caring for their caregivers. Informed by research and clinical experience, our model takes a holistic approach by offering both suicide first aid education and self-care strategies to help suicide caregivers address the unique challenges they face.

Tell us about yourself

My first experience helping a friend with suicidal thoughts happened in college. I was ill-equipped and felt hopeless. All I knew to do was refer them to therapy services. This inspired me to learn more about what I can do to help. I began to volunteer as a crisis line counselor, and it surprised me how anyone with the proper training could play such an integral role in preventing suicide. However, empowering suicide caregivers to play an active and sustained role in strengthening their loved one's connections to life remains overlooked as a strategy for suicide prevention. With more research and clinical experience under my belt, I co-created Suicide Is Different so we can equip more people with a proven framework to provide ongoing and sustainable support for their loved ones.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment has been launching our online modules to support suicide caregivers. This resource has now been used by over 18k people in 15+ countries and counting! It's most fulfilling when we hear from our users about how our resource has helped them and things we can continue to build to meet their needs.

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

As a business owner, I have found that it's so easy to get distracted by projects that don't fully align with our mission. Since we're still in the early stages of growing our company, I want to say yes to every request so I don't miss out on any opportunities. Learning how to evaluate and respectfully decline projects has been the hardest lesson.

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

  1. Take every opportunity to share about your journey. People can feel your passion and generally want to be involved if they're able to help. Some of our most successful opportunities have stemmed from unexpected conversations.
  2. It's natural, yet not the most helpful, to dwell on opportunities that fall through. I've learned that nothing is ever a waste of time. Every piece of material I've created that was rejected initially always ends up bringing value to another sale or launch. Be persistent, and you will find the customer who needs what you created.
  3. Starting a new business can be a lot on your shoulders. There's often an invisible pressure to be working 24/7. Take a step back and think about what you need to sustain yourself, your relationships, and what's important to you outside of work.

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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