Becoming a business owner with the mindset of a therapist has been quite an adventure. I left community mental health to execute my big idea to change the world. Aim high, right?
Well, my big idea to change the world helped me to hit the ground running. Off to a great start, I kept on running. If you are visualizing a fit athlete taking long, graceful strides—try changing that image to that of a whirling dervish. Less like a disciplined athlete and more like the Tasmanian devil. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of this adventure, though there comes a time to recognize when your big idea sprouts a blooper reel so that you can forget the mistakes, remember the lessons, and rethink your execution.
“Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”- Biggie Smalls
I love helping people. If I can help foster change and aha moments in the lives of others, I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. I never wanted money to be the thing that motivated me to work harder and I never wanted my clients to think that money was the only reason I stuck around, so I placed it at the bottom of the totem pole of importance. Everyone I was working with that was loyal enough to come with me got a discount. I wanted people to stay and my fear of failing, coupled with this irrational fear of becoming the next Scrooge led to my first business blooper- a full practice with a waiting list and no way to offer financial assistance to those who really needed it. Whoops!
Lesson learned: I can be a counselor when I am in session and be an entrepreneur outside of sessions. In order to change the world, or at least create change within my niche, I needed to have the courage to request that individuals coming to seek help pay my full rate. Asking clients to pay for services rendered is not emotional and does not mean that I dislike them, am mean or greedy, or only want to see them because they are paying me. It means that I value myself and my time and that I believe in my skill set and, in my ability to provide expert care. It also means that I can provide financial assistance to those who want and need support, though who truly cannot afford out-of-pocket care.
“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott
I never fully grasped the struggles of Dunder Mifflin’s most loved boss until I became one myself. Sure, the above quote (especially in context) is hilarious. Is there anyone else out there who found themselves [secretly] wanting the same? When I hired my first independent contractors, I wanted everything and nothing all at the same time. I was compassionate, kind, and laidback. Sure, everyone signed a contract and we followed all of the onboarding steps laid out by experts before us, though when it came time to execute their training, things fell apart. Deadlines meant nothing, communication was scarce, and I eventually became frustrated. I focused too much on their happiness and comfort and not enough on my own leadership abilities and on the mission of our brand. Who doesn’t want their employees or independent contractors to love them…? Whoops!
Lesson learned: Great leadership requires integrity, honesty, loyalty, courage, compassion, perseverance, and a clear vision of the mission. Great leaders communicate efficiently, are willing to make difficult decisions, and are open-minded enough to receive and implement information that would benefit the team. They are inspiring, creative, and innovative.
It takes both practice and mentorship to become a great leader. There is no way I can wake up and become great unless I am willing to put in the work that it takes to make greatness happen. I also found that having a mentor to emulate is key. A mentor that has the experience you lack can guide you on your path to becoming a great leader. This has given me a new perspective and the ability to continue to hone in on these important leadership skills. Remember: We get good at what we practice, and every great leader has a mentor.
“What are we going to do? Change the world! Good luck, Congressman. Many have tried, many have failed.” – taken from Evan Almighty
If you listen to Joe’s podcast, you know that your success is closely linked to your ability to find your niche. This means that having a lofty and broad goal of changing the world can actually derail private practice success. In wanting to change the world, I was unable to develop a clear mission for my business and to stay the course.
Lesson learned: I may not be able to change the whole world, though I can certainly continue to aim high. My passion is in helping people with early caregiver trauma heal and break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. I work with individuals with narcissism and those in recovery from narcissistic abuse. I believe that it is possible to grow, change, and go on to live a life of empathy and connection. My passion for this population fuels my work. This passion does not go unnoticed. My mission can’t be to change the world, but it can be to enact change in the individuals with whom I work.
Taking risks and making mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur. If your once big idea has a bunch of bloopers, remember that you are the vision behind your practice. Embrace your business bloopers as growing pains. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn a lesson and to level up. Everything in life will have peaks and valleys. If we only see the valleys, our growth will stall in the face of fear. Enjoy the adventure of owning a business and remember your choices.
Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2, NCC
Rose Skeeters is the creator of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative online counseling & coaching group practice aimed at providing accessible, affordable, specialized and convenient services to anyone, anywhere. Skeeters also provides consulting and clinical supervision to like-minded and driven clinicians. Are you interested in learning more tips to grow your online practice or to level up? Contact her today at firstname.lastname@example.org.