Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hope Reneau, CEO of The Middle Path, Inc., located in Knoxville, TN, USA.

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

The Middle Path is an intensive outpatient program that offers holistic treatments and Dialectical Behavior Therapy for people who are struggling with moderate to severe mental health issues. Our program teaches how to regulate your emotions. We teach mindfulness as a way of experiencing life differently. Many people will focus on the past and ruminate over things they wish were different, things they should have done differently. Our logo is “ stop should-ing yourself.”

Tell us about yourself

I was working in a hospital setting teaching dialectical behavior therapy to our patients. I consistently experienced high levels of anxiety coming from the patients returning back to a hospital environment. I knew there had to be a more effective way to provide treatment than in an institutional setting. The Middle Path is located in comfortable, homelike settings. We are able to provide additional treatments such as yoga, meditation, art, music, and equine therapy to our clients that hospital programs were unable to provide. We feel these holistic techniques encourage our clients to find new ways to connect with body, mind, and spirit. I am motivated each day as a social worker to save lives, and I see the progress our clients make in just 6 1/2 weeks of treatment. Providing the best service to our clients when they are in a low. Their lives inspire me daily.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We have been able to expand The Middle Path into communities that only had institutional settings. These communities did not have another option. My biggest accomplishment is being able to offer our services in four different communities in East Tennessee. I am always searching for other groups of people whose lives would benefit from dialectical behavior therapy. We have been able to partner with a Gastroenterologist for Children and Ketamine Clinics to provide our treatment modality in unique settings.

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

Being a business owner could easily be a 24-hour job in my head. I used dialectical behavior therapy skills to quiet my mind, focus on the present and not ruminate over mistakes I have made. This takes a lot of practice, and I want to role model for clients and staff that life is easier with DBT.

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

I would recommend that you start off a business with an effective bookkeeper, computer system, and CPA. Entrepreneurs often have great ideas and may struggle in these areas. I spent extensive time and money by not being prepared in these areas in the first year of business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When I started The Middle Path, it was just me, a part-time assistant, and an intern. I never thought of my work as a business. I wanted to save lives and share DBT in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville welcomed our treatment, and the program quickly grew in the first two years. I am grateful for all that have been involved with The Middle Path, including Dave, my husband, who is currently the CFO. We have amazing employees that believe in our mission and are dedicated to serving our clients. I am forever grateful for those that have supported our mission to save lives with DBT.

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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