This is The Solopreneur Life’s “Featured Soloist,” the purpose of which is to give all of us a glimpse at how other solopreneurs operate their small businesses. Today we meet Avrum Nadigel. If you would like to be the “Featured Soloist,” please send me an e-mail, Larry@TheSolopreneurLife.com.
Name of solopreneur:
Type of business:
Family therapist (specializing in teens/families and young adults)
When did you officially go into business?
Why did you start your own business?
After years of working for various mental health agencies, I decided the security (income, clients) wasn’t worth the sacrifice to support policies and therapeutic modalities that conflicted with my values.
What was the best thing you did when you were starting up your business?
Before my contract ended, I pitched a podcast project to my employer which morphed into a consulting gig. It provided me with some income and contacts, providing a smoother a transition had I simply jumped ship into solopreneurship. Also, I read books, and took an online course, about opening a private practice.
What is a mistake that you made that you have learned from?
Letting anxiety/fear have the final veto in how I run my business. To combat this, I work with a business coach, my own therapy, and thankfully a very patient wife (who also happens to work in mental health — child/adolescent psychiatrist).
What is your biggest current challenge in the business and what are doing to try to solve it?
This may sound contradictory, but to find humour and not take too seriously, my fantastical thinking which can rapidly shift from worrying about losing my business and busking on the street, to pondering how I’ll handle the fame of being a world-renowned author. The reality of changing my toddler’s diapers seems to keep these polarities in check.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
To self-publish: The Best Time To Work On Your Marriage Is When You’re Single (early February 2013). To finish working on another book, co-authored with my wife, based on interviews with my late supervisor about how to do Multi-Generational Family Therapy. Finally, I hope to release an album of my music by Spring, 2013.
Where do you want to be with the business in five years?
I want to be less of a brick-and-mortar practice, and more of a content provider. To co-create (with other therapists, Web producers, etc.) content for singles and young couples, to help them better understand themselves, and what they can do to create loving relationships and families.
What are your main software programs?
I use Genogram-Maker (Mac), Evernote, Pages (Mac), Google Calendar, Ableton Live (to record music and podcasts), Mail (Mac), and Vector Design to create my daily planning pages (used in a journal designed by mArc). I’m ashamed to admit I own iPhone and Mac versions of Omnifocus, Things, Daylite and a few others. It took great expense, and a lot of fiddling, to realize that pen/paper satisfies (most) of my planning needs.
What lifestyle choices have you had to make to stay in business?
My wife and I both work. It’s a sacrifice (and choice), but a reality, for most urban families.
What are your strategies for staying competitive?
I target my services to a well-defined target market: adolescents/families and singles/young couples.
I’m a bit of a ham, and enjoy public speaking, etc. Whenever I need referrals, I throw together and promote a talk. The end result is often an increase in referrals.
If you could start your career all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have entered therapy in my early 20s and used the process to get clear on my interests, values, and principles. I’d use that information to direct my academic and professional activity and interests.
What’s your advice for aspiring solopreneurs?
• You need to get sick and tired of being sick and tired, of working for someone else. If channeled properly, that energy will sustain you during tough times.
• You need gumption to think you have a product or service that someone else thinks is worth purchasing.
• Do your marketing research! Can you do something quicker, more effective, or with more passion than someone else in your field?
• A supportive spouse — emotionally, and if you’re blessed, financially!