Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cheri Augustine Flake, LCSW, Founder of The Stress Therapist, LLC., located in Decatur, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm The Stress Therapist. I teach people how to get better at stress and stay motivated while we work on healthy habits (like meditation!) and happy living. I have a private clinical psychotherapy practice, and I also conduct seminars and host retreats.
Tell us about yourself
I was diagnosed with an illness that was considered to be deadly but 100% attributable to stress, and I had to change and fast. I was reluctant. I was egotistical. I thought I knew so much. Thus, began a journey of silence, meditation, and un-learning so much so I could latch onto this real thing...the peace and calm that is inside of all of us; we just need to learn how to get quiet enough to hear it. In the silence are all the answers and, at the same time, nothing at all. And you don't even need to figure it out because just sitting in it turns out to be as good for you as water!
The benefits of meditation are astounding, and along with the hundreds of mental and physical health benefits that have been clinically proven to get better with regular practice, there is always the one benefit that is anyone's guess. The one that is specific to just you. For me, it was sunsets. I don't think I ever even saw one before I sat in meditation. I was too busy trying to get here in there and keep up and get done and be productive that I just never noticed one. You just don't know how meditation is going to serve you until you get in there and stop talking about it and finally spend some time just with yourself, making friends with yourself, and finding that peace...it's remarkable and amazing and boring and lovely and all the things. Now it's my mission to teach as many people how to meditate as I possibly can.
I see it as an ethical obligation as a therapist and social worker. It's free, it works, and it will change your life no matter what. You just have to do it. So most of my practice centers around not only teaching people how to meditate and all the different ways that they can meditate so they feel comfortable in the practice but making it habitual, so it's a part of their everyday living. So, you do it without stress, procrastination, or excuses. Because you can't get one benefit from meditation unless you're actually doing it. Also, I think a really important point to make is that you need it before you NEED it. My husband was able to navigate his cancer diagnosis and heal so much faster than anyone expected him to because of this practice. I really cannot say enough about it, and I see it as my life's mission to spread the word. My business, podcast, and psychotherapy practice are all devoted to this mission.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Finding the balance between doing exactly what I love in work and service to my community and my clients while providing them with skills that will benefit them for a lifetime, along with being a wife and a parent to my favorite people on this earth.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There is always something you could be doing. Get comfortable finding stopping places... you'll never be done! ;)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Hang out with people that are doing what you want to be doing even if you think you'll be in competition, and especially if you think you don't need to do this...you don't know it all, and there is enough business and abundance for everyone.
- Set hours and boundaries. You are not always open, even if your phone is ringing. Demanding clients are not ideal clients.
- Only hand out a card if someone asks for it or add someone to your mailer that signed up. Be more interested in learning about other people and their businesses. Ask questions and see how you can help someone else; it will come back to you, I promise.
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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