Name: Dr. Jude Black
Business: E-Therapy Cafe
Location: Bristow, Virginia, U.S.
Industry: Personal Services
Reason for starting? As a military spouse who has been married for almost 25 years, separated from my husband for duty-related service for over 66 months, relocated (aka moved) 17 times, raised three boys (all born in different states) and held 15 different jobs, I avidly subscribe to the quote, “The struggle is real.” Additionally, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor who has been challenged with finding a meaningful career that adjusts to my nomadic lifestyle.
E-Therapy Cafe was born both out of frustration and passion. After a series of disappointments in the field, I fired my boss and followed my dreams. My passion to be a change catalyst and a desire to matter manifested in bootstrapping the company and launching it within three weeks of inception.
We are founded on the simple philosophy that therapy should be portable, easily accessible, cost-effective, and grounded in ethics and expertise.
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How do you define success? Success is doing what you love, loving what you do, changing lives, making it matter, and turning a profit. It is crucial to surround yourself with wise minds who have the same passion. That makes success easy. My boutique team of experts are dedicated to supporting, motivating and encouraging people all over the world. We just fit.
We are 60 days post launch, generating profit, expanding our team and broadening our demographic reach to an international level. We have reached India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. We are also serving the needs of individuals in the U.S., Afghanistan, Iraq, South Africa, Germany, Italy and Spain.
We know that life is busy. Many people want a real alternative to the barriers and challenges of traditional therapy visits. Success is making that happen professionally, conveniently and affordably.
Biggest success: There are numerous successes so far. From the moment I decided to create E-Therapy Cafe to the launch date was three weeks. We turned a profit within the first 30 days and have no debt. That alone is pretty impressive. For me, success extends beyond finances. It’s the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. E-Therapy Cafe believes in giving back through our “Operation Give Back” Campaign. We donate a portion of every session to our charity partners. So, being able to write a check to Freedom Service Dogs of America at the end of the first month, that truly is success for me.
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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Marketing and branding is our biggest challenge. As a military spouse for close to 25 years, I have learned to leverage various marketing avenues to gain support for the troops. I remember only relying on in-person meetings and handwritten letters. Thankfully, technology makes marketing easier today, although I am an avid believer in the written word. I don’t hesitate to drop a handwritten note to businesses and companies to promote ETC.
Within the first 60 days, we were featured in several publications and media venues. We also partnered with Home Business Magazine to author monthly articles and write an advice column for their readers.
To further address the marketing challenges, we partnered with America’s Career Force (ACF) to hire a market strategist and are thrilled to have an executive-level military spouse join our team. We are proud of where we are and excited for where we are going. We are fearlessly chasing after a dream and enjoying making it happen.
The personal situations that have impacted my business decisions stem from working for a failing start-up. I had a lot of faith in the leadership and trusted that all people are good. I learned a hard lesson: If something seems off and you are not getting paid, be your own advocate. Make sure that there is clarity and understanding, and do not assume that all people will do the right thing.
Who is your most important role model? Wow. That’s a tough question. I don’t know that one single person is truly my “most important role model.” Rather, there are so many people nationwide and internationally who have impacted my life and made me who I am today.
The ones who stand out as role models for resiliency, tenacity and strength are the soldiers. There are two wounded warriors who have been an intricate part of my life for many years now. Their courage and refusal to quit has left a deep impression on my soul. I recall a conversation with one; he subscribed to the “Why not me” theory. That was a good lesson in shifting perspective and taking back control of life.
Edited by The Story Exchange