Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellbeing, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kimberly Cato, CEO, and founder of True Roots Counselling Services, from Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
True Roots Counselling Services provides support to people who have experienced a life-altering circumstance. Such as a job loss, death in the family, break up, medical diagnosis, change in the profession with increased stress, increased expectations at home, work, or life in general, or a shift in mood that can not be identified or altered. These are some of the people who find their way to True Roots Counselling Services.
Tell us about yourself
True Roots Counselling Services began in the early '90s when people in my church started coming to me with their problems and asking me for direction. After helping a few people find resolution and peace, they told two friends, and those friends told two friends, and soon, I was flooded with clients. It took me a few years before I called it something and registered my business. Once completed, I happily assisted people while working for various Mental Health and Social Services Organizations full-time.
I noticed that these funded organizations had a lot of services, programs, and supports over the years. They are not meeting the needs of the Black, Indigenous, and Racialized communities, and, as a Black woman myself, I felt that this was a vital resource that I needed to provide for my community. In 2015, I focused on providing culturally specific, trauma-informed support to the Black, Indigenous, and Racialized community, Full-Time and worked part-time for other organizations. Providing a safe place for BIPoC people to come and address the issues that burden their hearts has been the absolute delight of my practice.
Hearing repeatedly from clients their sigh of relief and words of gratitude for being able to see themselves in the face of the person across the desk from them has been the genuine reward and gift of this work for me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In addition to assisting people in transforming their trauma into triumph and watching them flourish in ways they never thought possible when we first started working together, I, too, have watched myself transform. My transformation enabled me to shatter the self-limiting beliefs that did not dare to dream big or strive for me. As I care for my clients excel and push them towards their personal best, I do the same for myself. We are growing together, and this is indeed making my business flourish in ways I did not imagine when it first began.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Isolation is a real challenge, mainly when you are a person who thrives when part of a team. Everything relies on me, which can be heavy sometimes, especially when dealing with people's trauma. My gifts and strengths are assisting people, not managing a business, which has been my greatest challenge over the years. I still have much to learn in this area, but I am SO much better at managing my stress load and my business than I used to be.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you are doing something you love and would enjoy spending your energy on.
- Make sure you know your strengths and have access to supports and resources to address the areas in which you are weak (there is no shame in asking/paying for help).
- Have a self-care practice embedded in your calendar to manage your stress load. Every business works best if you do not burn out!!!
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I schedule self-care daily. There are blocks of time every day just for me to rest, close my eyes, relax, turn off everything, and nap or be still. This is permanently in my calendar to make sure I take care of myself and manage my stress load. I also make sure to sleep, hydrate, and eat properly every day. These may sound basic, but they are the very first things that went out of my life when I was so focused on taking care of everyone else's needs. When I finally became militant about my needs first, my business began to flourish. Self-Care is a mandatory element of my business for both my clients and myself.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs, and why?
There are many people within my sphere of influence that I admire and greatly respect as transformational entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to name them. In regards to resources, mine are all therapy-related. Resmaa Menakem's My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, Dr. Joy Degruy's Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Internal Family Systems Therapy: Second Edition Richard C. Schwartz, Martha Sweezy, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala are my current books.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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