1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. I have a passion for helping people. I aim to bring awareness to each individual I work with; by holding a safe and nurturing space for self-exploration and acceptance. I have a practice based in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, offering services to children, adolescents, and adults. I am a counselor, life coach, and play practitioner. I also do tutoring, study skills, and general assessments. I incorporate animal-assisted therapy into therapeutic work with children, adolescents and adults, my therapy dog is called Rocky.
I currently supervise and lecture future educators at Varsity College, and also work as a locum Trauma Counsellor for ER24.
My experience has equipped me for working with children of different ages as well as adolescents and adults. In my practice, I create a space for my clients to feel heard. I believe that when we listen and provide the space to develop a voice and discover strengths, you are free to be the best version of themselves.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. Both of my parents have always been extremely driven, with both having their own businesses. Naturally, I always believed that I’d start my own business someday, so perhaps I was biased. I started my business in September 2018, so it has been a full year now. Initially, I just offered to tutor in a spare room in my house, so my costs were minimal. My business naturally took a different route and I made sure I grabbed opportunities that came my way. Everyone tells you that starting a business is hard work, they are right. It requires a lot of determination and learning, and it only pays off in the long term.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. I am the founder of Megan Baragwanath Therapy as well as a counselor, life coach and play practitioner and everything in between.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. I did my undergraduate degree in Education specializing in Human Movement Science, Sport Management and Mathematics at the University of Pretoria. I also have my honors in Education, specializing in Mathematics, from the University of Cape Town. I have a Diploma in Counselling, Diploma in Child Psychology, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Life Coaching. I have been trained by Dr. Rinda Blom in Advanced Sand Tray Therapy and Play Therapy. I have studied Play Therapy through the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy at Leeds Beckett University as well at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
5. How did you finance your business?
A. Partly cash that I had saved up and part of my previous job salary. Financially, I had no obligations like a mortgage or children, so it was relatively risk-free. I knew that if I failed that I could go work for a company again, and give another go at my own business later. The key is having the confidence to believe you deserve a chance and can make things happen, being ready to make the most of those opportunities and being willing to do the work it takes to do right by the people who offer you opportunities. I am not afraid to make mistakes and I always see them as an opportunity to learn.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
A. I don’t have an average workday. Every day is completely different. Between Monday to Saturday I work at schools, universities, do volunteer work with Rocky (my therapy dog), supervise students and work at my own private practice. I love planning and lists so I take great pleasure every time I tick off on my “To-Do-List”.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. I don’t believe in perfect balance. Starting and running businesses is hard work and some days I don’t sleep much. The more your business grows, the tougher the decisions and the more people depend on you. I believe you can only strive for harmony as defined by you at any given point in time. The key is to do what you love and only do it because you want to do it.
You always also have to remember that at the end of the day, the family, friends, and company you keep close are one of the most important things in the world. You can’t be great at everything, and you can’t be everywhere all the time. Choose, and live with your choices. Do what feeds your soul and do all you can to be the best version of yourself for you and those around you.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. I am very passionate about my work and I love what I do, I love working hard. It sounds so simple but can be so powerful for a person to be heard and feel valued. It is an honor to be invited into the heart of one who is hurting so deeply, it is a true blessing to know that you made a difference in his/her life.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. My best ideas come to me late at night when I should be sleeping. I have a list next to my bed that I am constantly adding to.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. I have spent a lot of time trying to market myself. I spend hours meeting with child psychiatrists, peadiatricians, schools and other specialists. I believe it is all about networking. I also have an Instagram and Facebook page where I write articles, parent information, motivation, and the latest research.
11. What is next for your business?
A. I am currently developing a programme for children who have siblings with special needs. My family and I grew up with a brother who had Tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic condition that causes benign tumours to grow in your brain, other vital organs, and skin. While there is no doubt that we love our sibling with special needs, the feelings that can arise during childhood are often complicated. Most parents try to meet the needs of all of their children, but it’s not uncommon for siblings to feel overlooked so this is where I would like to step in.
I also have a dream to have a multi-disciplinary team which consists of a speech therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, educational psychologist, and play therapist. This is slowly in the pipe-line, so watch this space!
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. Don’t think about yourself just as a woman- you are not just a woman, you are a start-up entrepreneur. That supersedes any other identity that you have. The minute you put another identity above that it becomes a limitation for yourself: limitation in your own mindset, and in your own perception of your abilities.
Get involved with other female entrepreneurs and organizations who can help to give you advise, feedback, collaboration, and inspiration. Find a mentor you can trust and feel comfortable with. You may need to really search and network to find a good match for you – do the legwork! It’s worth it. The advice, support, and sounding-board of an experienced mentor can make all the difference.
Be realistic and honest. Don’t give up. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t take no for an answer. Be brave. Go out there. Talk to people.
Social Media: Instagram: https://instagram.com/megan_baragwanath_therapy
- Megan Baragwanath
- 083 583 4036