We sat down with Tessa Martin, Owner and Registered Psychologist at Serenity Now Wellness Center in Calgary to learn more about her new location, how she juggles her business and raising a family, and her experience with the PeerSpark™ program.
Q: Tessa, tell us how you started Serenity Now Wellness Center
In school, I always knew I wanted to have my own private practice. It's a goal for many other Registered Psychologists. When I was finishing my residency, I decided to skip getting a job (since I was used to making no money!) and jump into my own practice as a solo practioner. This was in 2008 right before the downturn of the oil and gas industry. While many businesses were failing, I got busy- really fast! We are the opposite of most markets. When there's a downturn in the economy, there is an increase in the number of people seeking mental health services.
In 2010 I decided to expand to a new location and bring on other practioners into my business. I knew by expanding I would have more leverage and not have to solely rely on my own income as I continued to grow the business.
In April 2017, we opened our newest location that offers both mind and body wellness and I am very excited about it! We now currently have 14 contractors working for the company.
Q: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A: It is definitely managing and motivating people. This is a completely different skill set! I would have thought as a psychologist that this would have been a natural skill but it is very different doing it as a psychologist and doing it as an employer. I am constantly re-inventing the wheel and finding ways to motivate those within my company to work harder and more effectively.
Q: What's the best part of being an entrepreneur?
A: (laughs) Being an entrepreneur is crazy at times, but one of the best parts is not having a limited income. I feel like if I was in a job, I would feel stuck and not as free. With having my own business I can always take on more clients, innovate and find new streams of income to add to my business.
Q: How do you juggle being a Mom of young children and a business owner?
A: I am always mindful. I make sure that my kids aren't getting the short end of the stick. It's so important to be present as much as possible, however it doesn't always happen. I've been really good at setting clear boundaries for my work and my home life. I make sure that weekends don't include meetings or clients and that I am checking my phone minimally.
Q: How did you hear about AWE?
A: My Mom and Sister were building a business at the same time I was. They were looking for different resources to help them succeed and that's how I found out about AWE. In the beginning, I started out with $5,000 loan and since then have used every service possible.
Q: What have been some key takeaways from the PeerSpark™ program?
I joined the program in 2016. I've learned so much from it, but most of all it comes down to being really clear on the business side of things. This includes being more strategic in determining my growth plan. In my education, there wasn't a business component. I would read a book here, and take a webinar there to help learn as much as I could about running a business. PeerSpark™ brought the business knowledge together in a more coherent way.
Another amazing part about the program is the other women entrepreneurs. The ladies are my lifeline. When I was transitioning into the new space, I was feeling overwhelmed. I sent out an email to the group for words of encouragement and had an influx of emails back. Those positive words kept me going. It's nice to be surrounded by women that actually know what it's like. We are all working towards growing our businesses, not just stay complacent.
Interested in learning more about the PeerSpark™ program and how it can help your business? Get in touch with us today!