Home Interviews Alyssa Mairanz of Empower Your Mind Therapy: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

Alyssa Mairanz of Empower Your Mind Therapy: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

by Maud DeVito
Alyssa Mairanz of Empower Your Mind Therapy: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur  we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyssa Mairanz.

Alyssa Mairanz is the Founder and Clinical Director of Empower Your Mind Therapy based in New York City. Alyssa saw a unique opportunity to create a group practice which focuses on providing a supportive and validating environment for clients. Utilizing the core principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy to improve mental health, Alyssa encourages clients to think differently, worry less, and feel better. Alyssa attended the Ferkauf School of Psychology Yeshiva University where she attained an MA in Mental Health Counseling and is certified in group psychotherapy, treating self-harm and suicide, and has advanced training in using DBT to treat personality disorders, trauma, and eating disorders. To learn more please visit www.eymtherapy.com.

 

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Alyssa Mairanz: I became a therapist because I find the human mind fascinating. Learning more about human nature and why we do what we do has always excited me. When I took my first psychology class in high school, it was like something ‘clicked’ for me and set me on this path. Learning how I can take this knowledge to help others improve their quality of life solidified my passion for helping others live their best life.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Alyssa Mairanz: After I received my Masters, I worked for a group practice in New York City. I loved what I was doing but wasn’t satisfied with where I was doing it. After working on my own for a few short years, I had a waitlist of clients and started to consider opening my own practice. I had my reservations about starting my own business, so I spent time trying to conceptualize the type of practice I would love to be a part of and the type of leader I wanted to be. It was really important to not only provide great services to clients but to have a practice where therapists enjoyed working and continued learning. Within the first two months, I employed two therapists simultaneously and learned quickly how this would shape my business model. If I have a talented, passionate team of therapists seeing clients, I can focus on the business to ensure that the services offered are exceptional and make it affordable on a sliding scale. I then received such positive feedback from my therapists, that I decided to continue expanding.

In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

Alyssa Mairanz: Not at all! I never thought my career path would lead me to open a private practice. It seemed daunting, that it would be too much work, and I didn’t believe I had the bandwidth for it. It certainly created a lot of anxiety to start my own business, but I really missed the community of therapists working together to help others. The rest just comes over time, you learn the skills of being an entrepreneur as you go and let your instinct for the business guide you.

Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?

Alyssa Mairanz: My parents have always been a strong support system and a great sounding board during my time of growth and transition to becoming an entrepreneur. I can sometimes be a dreamer, thinking about ideas and concepts from a big picture perspective, and as lawyers, they’ve helped me dissect my plans and convert them into a reality. I sometimes get excited and want to jump into a new project — which is the passion you need to be an entrepreneur — but having someone you trust to be there to provide a reality check now and again is very helpful.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Alyssa Mairanz: Empower Your Mind Therapy is unique because it’s a teaching practice providing Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) services in an outpatient setting. I am committed to nurturing the next generation of therapists, honing their skills specifically in comprehensive DBT, and helping patients with suicidal ideation and self-harm. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety, and suicide has skyrocketed in this country. This is a much-needed service that’s often very expensive and is typically hard to find intensively trained, quality therapists with this focus. Our team is deeply passionate about helping as many people as we can.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Alyssa Mairanz: 

Absolutely!

  • I would say being a daydreamer has been instrumental in my push to be successful in the long term. A little bit of impulsivity and excitement to dream big is a great motivator. When I hired my first employees, I was nervous because it was new, but I also felt excited about what I believe in. I took the leap and hired two people at once. They filled their schedules within two months, and I was already starting to interview again.
  • I had a strong belief in what my business would stand for. Mental health is so important, and I strongly believed in building a business that helped both therapists and clients grow.
  • Empathy has been key as my team expands. Caring deeply about what I am doing and who is working on my behalf allows my business to run smoothly.

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

Alyssa Mairanz: I learned more about what not to do from the actions of others. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs who care more about the bottom line than helping their clients, and I never wanted that to be my focus. I also believe in a strong work culture, which may not be typical in other group practices.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?

Alyssa Mairanz: I would share that it’s important to remember to be collaborative. I may be the boss, but I want us to work together. That’s why I’ve instituted weekly check-ins and team meetings with each therapist. We talk about their work, but I also rate their burnout level, confidence in servicing clients, how they are working on their own self-care and what support they need in maintaining it.

I’m also a big fan of full transparency. When I’m asking for something from my team, especially if it’s feedback to improve upon something, I make sure I explain why and exactly what I am asking of them.

What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?

Alyssa Mairanz: Focus on building relationships in a collaborative way outside of your team is important as well. Many therapists will ask for referrals, but I try to build relationships beyond that. Let’s have a conversation, learn more about each other and build a network and friendship to really help each other in more ways than one.

I also believe that in building the right team, you should ensure that every employee is aligned with your mission and can speak passionately about what you are trying to achieve together.

Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?

Alyssa Mairanz: There are many business owners who think about the bottom line and forget why they got into the business in the first place. We have a mental health crisis in this country. It’s crucial for therapists to work together and build networks in order to best serve their clients so they can get the right type of care from the right provider. If your client is seeking additional support on an issue you may not be an expert in, it’s important to seek out a partner who can provide the right help.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Alyssa Mairanz: I think a common mistake in starting a business is not delegating. When starting out alone, it’s easy to get trapped into doing everything by yourself. As your team grows, it’s important to not hold it all so close to your chest! Learn to let go a little bit and work on the parts of the business only you can do.

Remember to have a bit of a work/life balance. You need to take the time for self-care along the way or your work will suffer. To avoid this, give yourself boundaries on when you work when you are available to clients and employees, and when you focus on the administrative side.

Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?

Alyssa Mairanz: My business is my baby. I built it from the ground up and its success relies on me. When you’re working for someone else, there is a bit more of a safety net and less investment both financially and physically/mentally. As a business owner, you’re dealing with every aspect of having employees while trying to achieve your mission. The ability to financially support yourself and your employees are on you alone.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

Alyssa Mairanz: There was a point where I had a consistent demand of incoming client inquiries and seeing a robust desire for our services for the first time made me feel confident and stable in my success. I was constantly hiring more therapists and it made me feel excited about the growth of my practice and very proud of what I accomplished.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

Alyssa Mairanz: Even if it’s going well, there’s always a little voice in the back of your head preparing for when times might not be as successful, and work might be slow. For instance, every year around the holidays in December is typically a quieter time for therapy. This always sparks a little fear. Will this dip in clients last? Will I be able to recover?

Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?

Alyssa Mairanz: I took stock of my business on a practical level and reminded myself that I need to take a big picture look to devise a plan to move forward. I spent the time auditing my marketing plan and checking in on all facets of the business. Once I checked the facts and realized that our team didn’t have many client spaces to fill, I knew we were going to be okay.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Alyssa Mairanz: 
  1. You have to trust your gut and listen to what your inner voice is telling you. If you’re unsure about something, don’t rush into a decision. Although I was nervous about starting my business, I needed to trust my gut and start looking to expand. When I was first hiring, I was drawn to two candidates and thought they would be a great fit for the business — so I hired them both. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
  2. It’s important to delegate. There’s only so much you can do as one person. As much as I want to fill my schedule with clients and make the best practice for my therapists and do everything in between, you need to learn when to take a step back and focus on the big picture.
  3. Self-care is so important. Remember things take time to grow, and if you don’t give yourself the time and burn out, you won’t be able to give it you’re all.
  4. Take a step back and appreciate what you’ve built! Be proud of what you’ve accomplished thus far. This will only motivate you to continue moving forward.
  5. Have a strong support system. It’s important to have someone cheering you on every step of the way. There have been countless times when I needed to lean on my family and friends to talk through a problem, vent about the work, or just help me take a break and enjoy other parts of my life.

We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Alyssa Mairanz: Resiliency is being able to push through. People make the mistake of thinking it means getting through hardship by being positive, without stress, and being ‘okay’. That’s not reality! Resiliency is less about being ‘okay’ and more about being able to ride that wave and push through the other side even when you feel stressed and low. Knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and acknowledging your emotions will help push you through in a healthy way.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?

Alyssa Mairanz: There are always trials and tribulations to work through in life, especially in adolescence. Everyone experiences their transition into adulthood differently. Whether in your interpersonal relationships with friends and family or coming to terms with who you are becoming, it’s a lot to work through. Even at a young age, knowing that I can turn to someone for help and support has always helped guide me through a difficult time. It’s of the reasons I wanted to become a therapist to help support others.

In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?

Alyssa Mairanz: My first instinct in a difficult situation is to think of the worst-case scenario. I tend to focus on what’s not working and all the stressors surrounding the situation. In order to fix this, I take a moment for myself and look at the facts. Let’s highlight what is working and how to fill any gaps.

I also try to ask myself if this specific issue is truly impacting the bottom line like it feels it might. If I’m not getting referrals for a week, that won’t impact my business in the long run. I need to take stock of the bigger picture and not waste my energy on a small problem.

Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.

Alyssa Mairanz: Everyone has bad days and moments. Clients and teams can both feel this bad energy and feed off it. If I’m not being mindful enough to create a genuine positive attitude, then it can be difficult to maintain my business at an optimal level, help support my team in the ways they need, and work with my clients to the best of my ability.

Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?

Alyssa Mairanz: I’ve always been drawn to this quote from Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible.”

I remind myself of this quote often, as it relates to every aspect of my business. When I look at something I want or something that may not be working out the way I had imagined, I typically find myself right where I need to be in the end. You may have a big idea and grand plans to get there, but don’t fret if the plan doesn’t form exactly the way you originally thought. Nothing is impossible, you will get where you need to be.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Alyssa Mairanz: You can find us on Instagram (@eymtherapy) and Facebook at Empower Your Mind Therapy where we share mental health insights and tips daily.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!

 

Alyssa Mairanz: Thank you for having me!

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