Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Vendegna, Founder of Vendegna Counseling LLC., located in Fort Collins, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have my own private practice. I work with teens and adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, and other types of life stressors. I am licensed in Colorado, Wyoming, and Florida, so I am able to have further reach for those in need in other areas.
Tell us about yourself
The joke I like to tell my clients is I got tired of bosses telling me what to do, so I started my own private practice. However, my goal for going into mental health was never to have a private practice, just to help people. I learned over the years it's not that simple, and there are other factors I had to learn to deal with (useless meetings, politics within the workplace, toxic work environments, and management). After years of attempting to maneuver these factors, I was drained. All I wanted was to see my clients work on being a good counselors and have my life outside of work. That's when owning my own business became my primary focus. I'm three years in, and it's the best decision I've ever made. I get to talk to some of the most amazing people, see them work through life struggles, and help them figure out who they want to be and what they want in their own life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My volunteer work. I'm on the Board of Directors at a local non-profit, ChildSafe, where we provide therapeutic services to children who've experienced sexual abuse. I'm also part of the Northern Colorado Health Sector Partnership's Behavioral Health Committee, which allows me to have an impact on the workforce within mental health. Most recently, I've joined the Fort Collins Professional Women for Good with other women hoping to make a financial impact on other non-profits in our community.
Going into private practice means I can control my schedule and thus be able to put energy into my community. Giving back to my community is in my blood, and the work I do focuses specifically on helping those in need and also struggling with mental health.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a business owner in mental health, I am constantly balancing three things: My clients' needs.
- The business aspects no one prepared me for.
- Working on my own mental health and inner growth.
- Not only do I have to maintain my relationship with clients, but I also have to network and connect with other providers for consultation, continuing my education as a counselor, and learning about resources to pass on to clients.
On top of that, I'm also attending my own therapy, working through personal life struggles, and maintaining a healthy balance outside of work. All of these things are necessary to ensure my private practice continues until I retire, and that can sometimes be daunting to think about, but it's what keeps me going.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take an honest, hard look at yourself-Owning a business is not just about making profits. It's about how you will respond to both the good and bad that happen in the process. It's about being confident but also humble.
- Having a solid support network-I would not be where I am not without the support of those closest to me. I also have to thank those people and situations that, at times, felt like they broke me. Without these, I would not have learned what I've learned thus far as a human, therapist, and business owner.
- Be prepared for ups and downs-If you've never questioned yourself or your abilities, get ready! The health and well-being of your business are in your hands, and that can sometimes be terrifying. But sticking with it and learning as you go can be so beneficial.
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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