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Managing Stress During Chaos with Psychotherapist Angela Ficken

I started my career as a psychotherapist in private practice, but after hearing from prospective clients outside of the Boston area that they wanted to work with a psychotherapist like myself but didn’t live within a reasonable distance to my office, I put together a series of products that anyone can buy anywhere at any […]

I started my career as a psychotherapist in private practice, but after hearing from prospective clients outside of the Boston area that they wanted to work with a psychotherapist like myself but didn’t live within a reasonable distance to my office, I put together a series of products that anyone can buy anywhere at any time. My products are designed to be used together or individually. They include all of the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Thinking Your Way to Feeling Better ($19.99), a workbook designed to help eliminate intrusive or negative thinking. Anyone can use the skills in this workbook to help control those ruminative or negative thoughts.

The Stress-Buster’s Guide: How to enhance your mood and shift your mindset ($49.99), a complete bundle that contains 75 stress management skills, a mindfulness scavenger hunt, as well as a series of worksheets and calendars. This bundle is designed to help anyone at any age relieve stress and develop a positive mindset and attitude.

The Breaking Every Day into Slivers Not Chunks course ($299.00) is the ultimate resource for anyone who struggles with short or long-term stress and anxiety. Based on my one-to-one in-person sessions, I designed this seven-module course to focus on ALL aspects of life—whether stress interferes with someone’s sleep, affects their work life, or impacts their home life.

Aside from the products above, we will also be offering individual course modules available for purchase on the ProgressWellness.com shop in case someone just needs help with that one aspect of stress management.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Recently, I made the transition from just having a full-time private practice to becoming an entrepreneur after I kept hearing from clients that it took too many searches and many calls to find a therapist like me. Prospective clients could find any therapist, but not one who would teach them strategies to manage stress and anxiety. When these clients found me, they shared that they noticed great improvement and that they wish they had found me sooner!

That’s when I started thinking about ways in which I could reach more people who were having this challenge. I wanted to find a way to share my expertise and reach people who were having difficulty finding help and who might not be in Boston and able to come into my office. This was the first time I realized that my reach could be further than just in my office.

Despite all of the challenges and headaches, being a business owner was the best thing I could have done for my career. This allows me to be more creative, expand my reach and share my expertise with others, and more importantly, affords me flexibility so that I can spend time with my daughter and family. It’s truly been a wonderful journey and I am so excited to see what else unfolds in the near future.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

This is a great question, but I don’t know if I can just name one person. There are several female entrepreneurs in my life I admire and consider to be mentors and friends. We do very different things but watching how they’ve grown their businesses and navigated challenges has been very helpful in my own learning.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

I would have to say that my greatest accomplishment has been completing and launching the Breaking everyday into slivers not chunks: Practical skills to manage everyday stressors course.

Writing and creating the course was a huge undertaking for me because I had never done anything like that before. It took me almost six months and I finished it three days before my daughter was born, which was a challenge in itself!

This course contains everything I teach my individual clients in the first six weeks–from combating negative thoughts and self-doubt, managing social anxiety, work stress, to navigating personal relationships–this has been my greatest accomplishment so far! I am very proud to share it with the world.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

I have a few but my favorite is to radically accept you are going to fail and flub and embrace those as opportunities to learn and grow. Failing is part of the job description as an entrepreneur. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have failed.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Believe it or not, Pinterest has been by far the best marketing strategy we have used to promote the Progress Wellness brand. My marketing person creates infographics and pins linked to blog posts, and we are able to connect our community to the brand content.  

Working with a publicist has also helped build and solidify my credibility as I’ve been featured in Bustle.com, Buzzfeed.com, Oprah Magazine, MSN.com, and many other media outlets.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

I learned to say ‘yes’ to all opportunities even if they make me feel anxious or I doubt myself! Yes–even anxiety and stress experts have anxiety and stress!

I created my own mantra a few years ago and it has been incredibly helpful “If it makes me anxious, do it anyway.” When opportunities arise–radio, podcasts, writing–just do it. Even if I flub, these are all experiences and opportunities to continue to grow personally and professionally. Risks, leaps of faith, go for it!

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).

One of the best tools I have is my online calendar system from Jituzu.com. This tool provides everything I need to help my business run smoothly. I can schedule and keep track of my daily appointments; it sends out appointment text reminders to clients; and the service also allows to accept credit card payments from clients. It’s amazing. And the customer service is always on point.

Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.

I just finished working on a new online package called The Stress Busters Guide: How to enhance your mood and shift your mindset. I wanted to create something where people could have access to fun and helpful skills in the moment.

Like discussed above, this package includes 75 stress management skills, a calendar that is specifically designed to help you practice your stress management skills, and other tools that encourage self-care and mindfulness.  I am very excited about this package because it is compact, easy to use, and makes thinking about and using skills fun!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

My usual fun and relaxation skills have changed as I am sure it has with many of us due to Covid-19. Now, I take early morning long walks with my daughter on weekends (staying socially distant of course). I also started setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier creating some time to lounge in bed which I haven’t done since my daughter was born. That skill alone has been restorative. I am also cooking more–trying new recipes. This is also a new addition in my life. I normally don’t love to cook (I am a baker–anything sweet), but now I really like it.

What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

My 2020 goal is to work on expanding my online product line and continue to build the Progress Wellness community through my monthly newsletter and other writing projects.

What’s the best way for the readers to connect with you (feel free to include the links to your social networks and websites)

I would love to hear from your readers. They can contact me through my website progresswellness.com. I am also on Instagram @progresswellness and Facebook at Progress Wellness, LLC.

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