When Shandelynn Hillard was growing up, she wanted to be a teacher. Once she got to college, however, she found her true passion: psychology. Not long after she completed her education and became a licensed marriage and family therapist, she opened her own practice. Tea Time Therapy was a manifestation of Hillard’s desire to help others while being her own boss (despite admittedly not having much business know-how at the start). Four years later, the Texas entrepreneur has solidly learned the entrepreneurial ropes, and is assisting a roster of regular clients – with several ideas in the works for expanding her business.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
My business offers not only therapy sessions, but also accompanying products like my self discovery journal. I work collaboratively with my clients and really encourage them to do the work. I’m also hoping to add retreats to my offerings down the line.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
My biggest success thus far is encouraging myself to love myself enough to slow down and appreciate the present. I find that self-esteem and self-worth sometimes present as struggles due to imposter syndrome, which is one reason I created my 90 Day Self Discovery Journal. I recognized that in looking at my humility, there were others experiencing the same things. We are all in the process of becoming who we are meant to be.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Finding the right people to help brainstorm ideas. I have been able to address this problem by reaching out to my community and networking with people who have knowledge in areas where I might lack some. I network and create professional relationships with those that have acquired knowledge, skills, and a different perspective that they are willing to share and I am willing to learn from.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
98% of the funding for this business came from me. The financial strain of anything is bothersome. I attend conferences and wellness retreats that assist in my growth, as much as I can financially. I believe with continuous hard work and dedication, my desire to attend more events will happen.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Reach out to anyone that may have access to resources you don’t have.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I go out in nature. I love walking my dog and on my darkest days. I also run!
What is your go to song to get motivated on tough days?
“Self-Love” by Zen.
Who is your most important role model?
My biggest cheerleader, role model and best friend would hands down be my mother.
She’s an active listener when I simply need to vent about a bad day. She’s supportive, yet realistic. Above all she wants me to succeed. ◼