In today’s age of entrepreneurship, all you see on social media is the glorious ventures of being “booked and busy,” but is entrepreneurship all that it appears to be? Between the early mornings, late nights, and of course, not having a steady paycheck, being an entrepreneur is one of the riskiest decisions one could ever make in his or her career.
What about all the perks entrepreneurship has? Yes, you can set your own schedule, not report to anyone because you are the boss, and work from anywhere, but is it all worth the stress most entrepreneurs endure when they first launch their business? Launching a new business can trigger high levels of stress and anxiety in your life. Let’s think about this for a second, if you’re an entrepreneur who is constantly busy, deals with anxiety of not being financially stable, having to manage a team, and the many other risk factors that go into being an entrepreneur, it can eventually feel too much to manage on your own. Why should anyone have to undergo this journey alone?
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia created Therapy for Black Girls, an online space dedicated to encouraging Black women and girls to seek therapy and the importance of mental wellness. During her early stages of her career, Dr. Joy faced many challenges growing her business while being a mother.
Dr. Joy shared her entrepreneurial journey and how she practices maintaining a healthy mental state of mind.
Why did you feel there was a need to create Therapy for Black Girls?
I felt there was a lack of mental health resources that really centered Black women and some of the unique factors that impact our mental health. I wanted a space to create resources that felt relevant and accessible to Black women.
Your primary specialties include working with Black women, what made you choose to focus primarily on black women and girls?
I have spent the majority of my career in college counseling centers on predominantly white campuses and it always felt important to me to make sure I was reaching out to the Black women on campus. I wanted to make sure that they knew someone was there and paying attention to the needs they had and their well-being.
How does Therapy for Black Girls benefit the community?
I think it benefits the community by reducing the stigma related to seeking treatment for mental health concerns. It also provides education about the symptoms of mental illness and all the different reasons why someone might need to speak to a therapist. I also think that the therapist directory has allowed people to get connected to therapists across the country who are excited about working with Black women and girls.
As an entrepreneur, what has been the most difficult challenge you faced starting your business?
It has been most difficult for me to make sure I am setting priorities in my business. I have tons of ideas that I think are important but have really had to become intentional about which ideas to pursue first and which ideas will help to sustain and grow the business.
Entrepreneurship can become very stressful at times, what self-care practices would you recommend to entrepreneurs to relieve stress?
I think it’s important to make sure you have a support system of people who are not associated with your business, otherwise it can be tempting to talk shop anytime you’re together. I also think it’s important to engage in regular physical activity and to make sure you’re taking breaks from being in front of a screen.
Often, entrepreneurs struggle to balance work and life early on in their journey. How did you find balance between your personal and professional life?
Honestly, I think I’m still working on this. I try to get as much done during the day while my kids are at school and my husband is at work, so that once everyone’s home, it’s family time. I also typically have at least one day during the weekend where I’m not doing any work and Fridays are typically my days to relax.
What advice would you give to our community, who are wanting to pursue entrepreneurship full-time?
Talk to as many other entrepreneurs as you can to help put your plan in place. I think this helps to let you see that your business is achievable, but also can help you to think about things that you may not realize before taking the step.
What does “it takes a village,” mean to you and how has your village impacted you and the success of your business?
To me it means that the success of your business is a direct reflection of how much your community supports you. No one can have a successful business if there are no customers. My village has been a game changer for me. I am confident that Therapy for Black Girls would not be what it is today without the drive from other Black women therapists who have believed in and supported me and the Black women who listen to the podcast and tell everyone they know about the therapist directory. Black women supporting me has been the most effective marketing plan I could have asked for and it drives me to want to continue providing high quality content and resources for them.