Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Cortney Warren, Founder of Choose Honesty, LLC, located in Chicago, IL, USA.

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

I'm a Dr. Cortney Warren—a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist Researcher and Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I earned my bachelor's degree from Macalester College in 2000 and PhD in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University in 2006 after completing my clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Although I'm a licensed psychologist who provides psychotherapy to clients, I'm also a writer, speaker, educator, researcher, and media consultant. Much of my work appears in scientific journals—I have almost 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, 7 book chapters, and 75 professional presentations in some of the field's top journals, including the International Journal of Eating Disorders, Appetite, and Obesity. I've been fortunate to be recognized by the psychological community with some of the prestigious awards in my field, including the 2015 Early Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program, the 2011 Theodore H. Blau Early Career Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Clinical Psychology and the 2010 Samuel M. Turner Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Diversity in Clinical Psychology.

Tell us about yourself

As an expert in self-deception, eating pathology, addictions, and the practice of psychotherapy from a cross-cultural perspective, I see how hard life can be. Painful experiences in childhood. Dysfunctional relationship patterns. Unfair political and social realities. Financial uncertainties. Health problems. Mental health struggles. The list of challenging life circumstances we can find ourselves in is endless. The truth is that life will always present us with adversity—situations that are profoundly unfair, ethically problematic, and even traumatic. Every single one of us will have experiences that cause great pain, anguish, rage, fear, sadness, or anxiety. Many of these situations we can't directly control or stop. Given this reality, the deeper journey of personal development becomes less about the circumstances that caused our pain and more about making choices that help us transform through them.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In addition to working in academic circles, I'm passionate about bringing theoretically grounded, empirically supported psychological research to the public. Psychology is the study of human nature, so it's fundamentally the study of us! When applied to your life, understanding psychology can help you explore yourself more honestly. Evolve through conflict. Learn skills that help overcome heartache and psychological strife. In essence, psychology offers us all a framework to emerge from difficult life experiences with a deeper understanding of what we need to be fulfilled before our time on this planet ends and how to help ourselves do it. In this vein, I would say that bringing psychology to the public is one of my biggest accomplishments. Most academics write only for other MDs and PhDs but rarely reach the general public who would most benefit from our research. So, I do a lot of public speaking, research consulting, and media interaction aimed at providing psychological information to anyone who is interested in personal growth.

I believe that being honest with ourselves is critical to life fulfillment, so I gave a TEDx talk called Honest Liars and wrote a short book on the topic called Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception to illustrate how we all lie to ourselves, why we do it, and how to change. Lying to ourselves is also very influential in our romantic relationships. My latest work is a self-help book that teaches cognitive behavioral skills to anyone stuck in unhelpful symptoms of heartache after the end of a romantic relationship called, Letting Go of Your Ex: CBT Skills to Heal the Pain of a Breakup and Overcome Love Addiction (2023).

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

Staying self-motivated and disciplined is one of the hardest aspects of being self-employed. Each day you can find many reasons to avoid doing the things necessary for business success (especially those that you don't enjoy).

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

  1. Be honest with yourself about what it takes to run a successful business. Actively choose how much you're willing to work to make that happen.
  2. Have reasonable expectations. Be sure that you aren't over or under-estimating what it takes to achieve your goals.
  3. Take it one day at a time. Building a business requires that you take steps each day to get you closer to your goal. Sometimes the end result is daunting, so take on each task as it comes and keep going when it seems overwhelming!

Where can people find you and your business?


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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