Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Iantaffi, Owner of Transforming Perspectives and Edges Wellness Center, located in Duluth, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I have two businesses: a group therapy practice, Edges Wellness Center LLC, and a speaking and consultancy business, Transforming Perspectives. I co-own Edges Wellness Center with my work partner Mark Reese. Our customers are people who have historically been marginalized and underserved with regard to their mental health needs. We offer therapy and accept most insurance plans in Minnesota, including Medical Assistance. We also center providers who have been underrepresented, especially in family therapy.

Transforming Perspectives is my other solo-owned business. My customers are corporations, non-profits, educational institutions, and any other companies that are interested in hiring someone to consult and/or speak on trauma, gender, sexuality, relationships, disability, and/or mental health. I am also an author with 5 books published and 3 more forthcoming and under contract, and I host a podcast called Gender Stories.

Tell us about yourself

What motivated me to start Edges Wellness Center was my own experience while receiving training and then gaining experience as a therapist as well as the community-based need for a specialist, affordable, and culturally attuned therapy for individuals, relational systems, and families who have not been well served in our field. What motivates me every day is both my clients and their healing and my providers and supervisees who have a space to practice that is in integrity with their values and respectful of their identities and experiences.

What got me to start Transforming Perspectives was the requests for training and speaking, which kept on coming. There is obviously a need for nuanced, in-depth education on the topics I focus on, and what motivates me every day to do what I do is the affirming feedback I receive from past customers. I also love receiving messages from people who have read my books or listened to a talk or a podcast episode and who vulnerably share how this has impacted them. When I am preparing a training, a talk, write, or record an episode, I think of all these people out there who have taken the time to let me know what my work means to them in their everyday life. It is humbling because the work is so much larger than I could ever imagine, and it also keeps me going when I feel tired or down.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This is a tough question! For Edges Wellness Center, I feel my biggest accomplishment is having co-created a community of mostly trans, queer, disabled, BIPOC providers who are passionate about serving our communities and a space for them to practice in.

For Transforming Perspectives, I feel my biggest accomplishment for my ego was being accepted by a large speaking agency as a speaker they wanted to represent. My other accomplishment that I am really proud of is the hearts and minds changed through training and speaking.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things for me is needing to be always on. There is always something to do, someone who needs something from me, and a full email inbox! As a parent and a disabled person, it can feel relentless to be a business owner, but I do my best to protect my weekends, take European amounts of time off, and remember that I am my own boss. If I am overwhelmed or too busy, I am the one responsible, and I need to figure out a better solution, re-prioritize, or change my schedule!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Practice self-compassion. You will make mistakes along the way, and that's ok. Being kind to ourselves is vital if we are to serve others through our business with passion and compassion.
  2. Be honest with yourself about your motivations. Are you trying to make more money? Have more time off? Create something that is needed? Don't be afraid to own your why and let it guide you.
  3. Know when it's time to walk away or change. It is ok to end business relationships if they are not working and you have tried your best to make them work. It is ok to prioritize your well-being and family, even when it means saying no to opportunities sometimes. It is ok for things you have created to change and move in unexpected directions.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website (Transforming Perspectives):
Website (Edge Wellness):

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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