Take risks and bet on yourself: Andrea Medaris from Dragonfly Psychological Services
Andrea Medaris, the owner of Dragonfly Psychological Services, is the first guest on this new small business interview series I will be posting on the blog. Andrea and I have recently worked together on her business branding as well as her personal brand and I wanted to invite her to share some of her insights on being a business owner, the struggles she had to overcome, switching to online work during the pandemic, and much more. I hope you like it!
Hi Andrea! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a clinical psychologist and relationship therapist. I grew up in Texas, then spent my 20s moving all over the world before I went back to school in my early 30s. I finished grad school and turned 40 two weeks later. I love to hike and read and watch TV shows about murder :)
What’s your business name? What products or services do you offer and how long have you been a business owner?
Dragonfly Psychological Services. We’re a therapy practice that offers services for individuals, couples, and groups. I started the business in 2019 as a solo practice, and recently expanded into a group.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I worked in clerical and administrative roles for the first several years of my career, before I went back to school to become a psychologist. At the time, I thought I was just marking time until I figured out what I wanted, and I was, but it’s amazing how helpful those skills have been in starting to run my business! I learned so many software packages and just general business practices that have made this whole process far less confusing and/or expensive than it might have been.
How has your business evolved since you started it until now?
I started in a one-room office, just doing therapy by myself. The COVID-19 pandemic started about 6 months later, so I had to rapidly adjust and move my practice online. I always planned to have a group somewhere down the line, but I thought it would be much later. Toward the end of 2020, I decided to go ahead and expand while I didn’t have to worry about the overhead of a new office, etc.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Moving online, for sure – it was learning a whole new way of doing therapy, with a population that was isolated and scared, while trying to figure out all the technological aspects, and doing all of this while dealing with my own personal fears and reactions to the pandemic.
How do you market your business? What strategies have you found to be more effective?
I mostly use therapist listing services like Psychology Today. That is where I get most of my referrals. As my business grows, there’s also some word of mouth that helps.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced during this time?
It’s funny, I answered the question about my biggest achievement by describing my biggest challenge, but I think that’s right, actually. I am proud of the way I adapted to the needs of my clients during the pandemic, even if I faltered at times. It seems impossible in retrospect, and yet here we are.
What do you love more about being a business owner?
I love that I can follow my inspiration whenever it strikes. If I have an idea, I can just try it, and if it doesn’t work, then I can abandon it and try something else. The freedom of that is really nice, and it makes me a lot more creative, I think.
Where do you see your business heading in the near future?
Hopefully back into a real-world office, at least part of the time. I think teletherapy will continue to be a big part of my practice as it has many benefits for clients, but there are some things I really miss having a physical space for.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
Get support! It is a lonely and confusing process if you’re on your own. Ask everyone for help and advice, pay for lawyers and accountants if you can. Join Facebook groups for business owners in your field. Whatever you can do to find sounding boards and advisors.
Who has inspired you the most during your journey as a business owner?
What advice would you give people who want to set up their own business?
Take risks and bet on yourself.
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