Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental health but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Abby Chow, clinical director of Venturous Counselling and Wellness, located in Port Moody, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Venturous Counselling + Wellness is a purpose-led wellness group built on two fundamental pillars: multidisciplinary practice and justice-oriented action. We don't shy away from the context our clients exist in and believe that incorporating beyond-the-talk practices allows our clients to access their full capacity for growth and healing. We offer virtual counseling services all over BC and Walk & Talk, Nature & Animal-partnered counseling services in a private natural farm space in South Surrey.
Our clients are from all different walks of life, but in general, they work with us because our strategic vision directs resources back into the organizing efforts of marginalized and targeted populations. We're always looking for different ways to bring the community back into mental health. It's fundamental to our work, not an afterthought.
Tell us about yourself
I never really thought I'd be one to start a business! What motivated me to start my own company was witnessing the impact of unethical business practices on clients and staff. Even though nothing directly happened to me as an employee, I just couldn't be part of that anymore. As I started talking about the type of workplace and community I wanted to help create, I was joined by so many great practitioners who shared the same vision. At the end of the day, Venturous is a rage quit baby, and I'm motivated every day to make sure that's honored that Venturous is the space we all envision and need it to be. Making sure that everyone has what they need to do the transformative work they do and hearing back from our clients on their experiences is so fulfilling. Even though it was never part of the plan, it's absolutely where I need to be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I don't think I can take credit for this! The thing that comes to mind immediately is the team we have in our practice, bar none. We have some stellar people - they're not only phenomenal at what they do, but they're also genuinely great people who really care for the clients we're supporting. We have big plans and lofty goals we're putting into motion, and every day I'm grateful for how the team just works so well to make this all achievable.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Patience! We all have a lot of ideas, and we want to expand our impact. I always have to remind myself that in order for us to have a big impact, I have to be responsible for making sure we have a solid foundation, and solid foundations take time. Being the one making sure we stay afloat means I can't always throw sh*t at the wall and see what sticks. I need to be mindful and patient, so we can turn our big ideas into reality. I'm definitely a "Let's risk it, pick up the pace! Everything will be fine!" type of girl, so patience has been a huge learning curve for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build your business based on the values and vision you have for the world you want to create, nothing else. It makes the long hours feel like nothing, and everything is just so much more meaningful.
- Find the right people. As Mariame Kaba says, everything worthwhile is done in the community. It makes a HUGE difference who is on your team. You notice it immediately.
- Know yourself and your weaknesses. I don't think this gets mentioned enough. You grow so much as a person when you're running a business. Knowing your weaknesses and being vocal about them has so many benefits - one, you contribute to an environment of trust and safety that makes everything so much easier. Two, the people around you know when they need to step in to help you. The team is so great at thinking of everything my way-too-risk-taking brain doesn't think of. I'm always so beyond grateful for their input, and three, you stop yourself from putting your foot in your mouth and making the same costly mistakes over and over again!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We have a free mailing list that I'd love for you to join! Every month we send out the closest thing we can get to a therapist in an email - reflection prompts, food for thought, and resources that help ground you in your healing journey. Join the list here: www.venturouscounselling.com/getstarted
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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