Don’t be too hard on yourself while your business is growing. Be consistent and trust that you can do this!
Elizabeth Cush, LCPC is a therapist, business owner and blogger in Annapolis, MD where she hosts the Woman Worriers podcast. In her private practice, Progression Counseling, she helps women who feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out find more connection with themselves and others, allowing them to live their lives with more ease, intention, and purpose. Elizabeth was recently a featured guest on the Women In Depth podcast, The Practice Of Being Seen podcast and Selling The Couch podcast. She’s also an expert contributor for Good Therapy, a guest contributor to the Happily Imperfect Blog on Psych Central and has been quoted in articles for Teen Vogue, Tonic, Best Life, Bustle and Thriveworks. She’s worked in the mental health field for over 10 years and is a certified clinical trauma professional. Elizabeth incorporates mindfulness and meditation into her psychotherapy work.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
When I went back to school to get my masters degree in counseling psychology I knew that I wanted to open my own therapy practice. I didn’t want to work for someone else, get paid a third of what I’m worth and have someone else dictating who my clients would be. I also knew that my niche should be helping women better manage their anxiety and a private practice seemed the best way to move toward that goal.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Most days I start my workday at 7:30am. On a typical day is I see 4-6 clients for individual and group therapy and the rest of my time is spent on administrative stuff, writing blogs, recording and editing my podcast and doing social media marketing. To stay productive I try to use the “open” time on weekdays when I’m not seeing clients as time to devote to the business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Usually an idea will present itself to me organically; they spring from other things I’m already doing. For instance my podcast is about helping women better manage anxiety so I started a mindfulness group to help women in my community better manage their anxiety. I also consult with colleagues and I belong to multiple Facebook groups for therapists and/or podcasters where I can float ideas and get feedback.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Online or telementalhealth therapy is a trend that’s exciting to me. There are so many people in need of alternative ways of getting help. They might work long hours, or not have a therapist nearby and online therapy can fill that void. I hope to add that service to my business this Fall.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m an early riser so I’m up between 5:00 and 6:00am every workday. When I’m not in the office until 1:00pm I exercise and work at home on administrative and marketing tasks. I also prioritize my family and relationships because it’s good self-care and keeps me from getting burned-out.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that building a business takes time. Don’t be too hard on yourself while it’s growing. Be consistent and trust that you can do this!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing that’s true that most people wouldn’t agree with is that it’s best to approach your anxiety with care and compassion. When you’re worried about doing that “next thing” and the fear and anxiety show up it’s natural and it’s often a sign that you’re stepping into unfamiliar or new territory. Listening, tuning into and being curious about your anxiety can help you move beyond the fear and into a more creative space.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Instead of beating myself up when things get tough, or when they don’t go as planned I practice self-compassion. Yelling at myself for mistakes or problems only makes me feel worse. Instead I acknowledge the difficulty and offer to myself the same comfort I would to a good friend and I encourage my clients, friends and associates to do the same.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I trust that I know how to grow my business. There will be people who have offered me advice when around my business. Some advice is great, some not so great. I’ve learned to trust my gut. If I think a project (like my podcast) will help me reach a bigger audience then I go for it!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I try to think of failures as learning and growth opportunities. The one thing I wish I’d done right away is to get my own office space instead of sub-leasing from other therapists. When I took the plunge and got my own space my business grew much faster.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Start a podcast! If it’s appropriate for your business a podcast helps you reach a wider audience and it also helps to boost your SEO.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought myself an amber necklace. It’s hand crafted and unique and it reminds me of where I was when I bought it and that I can now afford to buy nice things for me when I want.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Auphonic for my podcast sound editing. It’s easy and makes the sound quality so much better than if I edited myself! Another site I use is Canva. It helps me create awesome memes and graphics for social media.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brené Brown. If you haven’t read anything by the author and researcher Brené Brown this is a great place to start. She shares that to live “wholeheartedly” requires us to recognize and own our imperfect selves.
What is your favorite quote?
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Brené Brown
• Prioritize self-care. You have to take care of yourself to sustain a thriving business.
• Trust yourself. It’s easy to get pulled in different directions or lose confidence when others tell you what they think you should do. Trust that if you’ve done your homework and you feel an idea is worth pursuing, do it!
• Lean in to your anxiety. It’s asking you to pay attention, listen and acknowledge your fears.
• Practice self-compassion. Beating yourself up for mistakes or stumbles in business only makes you feel worse. Allow that you’re human and imperfect just like the rest of us!
• Start a podcast! Podcasting widens your audience in ways you might never imagine.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.