[quote style=”boxed”]Don’t let the “failures” effect you too much. Of course they are hard to take initially but learn from them, take what works and leave the negativity behind![/quote]
Merrett Sheridan, Happiness Consultant grew up in San Jose CA and has gone through multiple careers finally deciding to create her own. She has been a massage therapist, a bookkeeper and a marriage and family therapist. It was in the latter capacity that she realized there needed to be an option for people who aren’t looking for long-term intensive psycho-therapy to address day to day problems. They can however benefit from convenient, affordable feedback from a qualified mental health professional on an “as needed” basis. It is with this in mind that she has created a new, easy and convenient way for people to approach and resolve day-to-day problems. Think of the kinds of issues that you might easily vent with a hairdresser or good friend; wouldn’t it be nice to have a licensed therapist available in a safe, convenient way? Her business, Share It With Merrett – Professional Advice on the Go, addresses this need.
What are you working on right now?
I launched my business in Feb. of this year and I’m currently working on a campaign called Free Advice Fridays and other creative ways to market the business.
Where did the idea for Share It With Merrett come from?
It actually arose from my personal life where I would be at dinner parties or the like and when I would tell people that I was a therapist they would often share a problem they were dealing with. I would then offer a solution or two and they would comment how helpful it was to run it by me. I realized I could help many people this way and start a business based on this alternative to therapy.
How do you make money?
I offer phone and skype appointments in 20-minute increments and charge per minute. It’s easy to schedule on my website scheduler. In the future, I will also have ebooks and videos for purchase.
What does your typical day look like?
Right now I am still building the business so doing mostly marketing, networking and of course taking appointments.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Hard work and getting my face out there! A lot of networking but admittedly this has been the biggest challenge for me. Although this is technically a web-based business, because it is a revolutionary NEW idea I very much have to practice old-school sales and marketing by going out and meeting people face-to-face to effectively get the word out.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m finding that the issues I see the most deal with mid-life transitions and I love to help people navigate their way through making informed, wise decisions for their 2nd half of life.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Waitressing. I learned that I should never do it again and to tip VERY well!!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Mostly I would adjust my expectations. I feel I am on the right track with building the business but I imagined launching my website on Monday and having a full schedule of clients on Tuesday! Probably a good thing I was so optimistic but a dose of reality is good for keeping things in perspective.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t let the “failures” effect you too much. Of course they are hard to take initially but learn from them, take what works and leave the negativity behind!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Trying to do everything on my own and hiring contractors to do my marketing was overall a failure. I did get some value from my investment but no return on it so I decided to take on a business partner who specializes in my weak areas (internet marketing) and who truly understands my vision and is willing to share in the failures and successes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In the future I’d like to take my business idea to the streets and have mobile problem solving available to people on the go!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
My business is about changing the world! That’s why I know it will be a success. Imagine the benefits to communities that have easy, convenient problem-solving available from qualified mental health professionals? You can consult with most professionals, so why not emotional gurus?
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m an armchair comedienne. I spend a fair amount of time alone and I remember deciding years ago that I should enjoy my own company so my days are more fun and it worked. I laugh a lot and enjoy my own wit and positive outlook and as a result discovered just how funny I am. The people who know me well would agree I’m sure. I also think this is key to my own happiness, if you don’t see the comedy in life you remain in the tragedy of it.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I love Facebook. I’m not techy at all and it’s the one social media outlet I have found that is easy to use and addresses my marketing needs. I love that you can place ads within your budget. I also love online banking, as a business owner it’s key to be able to access your financial information easily and have up to day numbers. LinkedIn is also very good for staying up to date on professional information and I love that it allows for discussions by professionals in my field.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Happiness Project because I am all about increasing people’s happiness.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Busted! I linked my Twitter to post my FB stuff and I never actually go on it….. Deciding how much time to spend on social media is an important question to ask yourself when running a business.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This morning, and me just entertaining myself.
Who is your hero?
James Bugental. Author of the Search for Authenticity. It is my bible and my passion in life to stay focused on my own authenticity and help others do the same.
The first step in increasing ones happiness is to identify what makes you happy, what if someone doesn’t even know?
I chose this questions because it comes up all the time. The first thing to know is that it is a process of RE-discovery what makes you happy because at some point in your life you did know, and you were probably about 5 years old! Even if you weren’t consciously aware of what made you happy, gave you purpose or what your inherent skills and talents were this is where to start. Go back to your earliest memories of being really happy engaging in an activity, this will help guide you in the right direction. You can also ask your parents or others who may have spent time with you in your early years. The secret is that those things that make you happy are different for everyone but they are there from day one before the responsibilities of life started to creep in an rob you of joy.
I often get asked how I can be a marriage and family therapist (MFT) if I have never been married and have no children, which is an excellent question.
The problem as I see it is that the name of the license is not a clear reflection of the scope of work included in the practice of marriage and family therapy. I would much prefer to be called a counselor or psychologist but those are different licenses with different scopes of practices. In truth, MFT’s are relationship guru’s with the relationship with self being the hub of the wheel. While MFT’s can work with individuals, couples and families, I personally prefer to work with individuals and this is likely due to my being single with no children. I am much more comfortable with my expertise as a helper for those wanting to improve their relationship with themselves and I believe once this is improving, external relationships will follow suit.
Merrett Sheridan on Skype: Merrett.Sheridan
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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.