Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stoni Johnston, Founder of Sulcata Psychiatry, located in Houston, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sulcata Psychiatry is a private practice mental health clinic providing diagnosis, medication management, academic & achievement testing, and psychotherapy services to individuals ages 3 and up in the greater Houston area.
Tell us about yourself
I have worked in every setting imaginable when it comes to mental health - community clinics, private practice, hospitals, nonprofits, and even prisons. One thing that I struggled with everywhere I went was the lack of personal connection providers had with their patients. Sometimes that was due to a lack of time to really get to know their patients because their schedules were packed full. Sometimes it was that providers were too burnt out to be able to connect on anything deeper than a surface level. My goal in starting Sulcata Psychiatry was to create a space where the patients were given large amounts of time and accessibility with their providers, which is not common in today's healthcare system. I love connecting with my patients on a deeper level, hearing about their families, and celebrating all their little successes with them.
Furthermore, I wanted Sulcata Psychiatry to be the type of employer that supports their staff and providers in creating those deeper relationships and preventing burnout. My staff knows they have my full support in extending visit times, taking lots of time off for themselves, and being in control of their schedule and how many patients they see in a day. When our providers our happy, our patients are happy. That environment is so rare in the overworked and disconnected healthcare system we have today. I'm fighting it every day with the environment I try to create at Sulcata Psychiatry.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest step for me was bringing on another provider. To have the growth and patient load to bring on another medical provider within one year from opening was a huge accomplishment. I am so excited to continue expanding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Time management is hard for me. As cliche as it is, there really isn't enough time in the day. I have gotten better at delegating and bringing on support staff while letting go of some control in order to take things off my plate. Some days I do a really good job of that, and some days I stay later than anyone else in the office doing "just one more thing."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be patient. Success doesn't happen overnight, and there are going to be weeks that feel very scary financially in the beginning. But stick in there and try to see the big picture past the initial start-up phase.
- Delegate! Hire out! Whatever you have to do to bring more time for yourself and your family, do it. Learn to pass off the things you hate or are not good with. You cannot emotionally or physically do it all and become an expert in all things business while running a business.
- Remember why you started. I have a little framed artwork that hangs next to my desk to remind me of this. It is easy to get lost in the KPIs, financial trends, or a to-do list that is a mile long. But sometimes, you need to take a breath and bring it back to your roots, find that passion for why you started your business, and just sit with it a bit. It makes doing all that other "stuff" worth 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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