Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Hayley Nelson, Founder of Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, located in Downingtown, PA, USA.

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

Do you ever feel like your clients can't get out of their own way? If you're an individual committed to fostering holistic wellness, promoting solution-focused approaches, and empowering your clients to reach their full potential, join the ranks of elite professionals with the one-of-a-kind continuing education curriculum in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience from The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Neuroscience feels intimidating, and perhaps you've always thought that you're not positioned to be an authority on the science behind what's happening in your client's brain. I founded the Academy of Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, and she designed this Certificate Program with one goal in mind: To make neuroscience approachable for professionals who want to distinguish themselves from others in their field with a unique and comprehensive understanding of the latest research and innovative techniques in neuroscience, and earn a highly respected certification in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience that sets them apart as a true expert in their field.

After completion of the certificate, students will uncover a newfound sense of confidence and neuroscience knowledge, will stand out in their industry by offering something unique to their clients, gain credibility, better serve their existing clients, and be positioned to take on more clients best suited for their programs.

Tell us about yourself

I am a neuroscientist, tenured psychology professor, international speaker, and founder of The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, where I am passionate about making neuroscience approachable. I earned my PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University and have over 20 years of teaching experience with students from diverse backgrounds. I also have several peer-reviewed research publications and previous research and faculty appointments with The National Institutes of Health, The Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Pennsylvania.

By creating Certification Programs with the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, I combined my knowledge of the human mind and brain health with my passion for education, teaching, and consulting to truly make neuroscience accessible and approachable. I love working with life coaches, wellness professionals, therapists, and counselors who are ready to stand apart and show up as true leaders in their field. By earning their certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, my students learn easy-to-swallow knowledge of how the brain works in real-life situations and are armed with an education in a subject they can use literally every single day. Not only that, they gain the power to serve their clients better and gain the confidence to speak with authority about HOW and WHY what they teach their clients actually works!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As a business owner, there is a constant need to adapt and evolve. The business landscape is ever-changing, and it's crucial to stay ahead of the curve. This requires a willingness to take risks, try new strategies, and pivot when necessary. I am so proud that I have accomplished this and continue to pivot as the instructor and founder of The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. One of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner is creating a platform that provides continuing education and professional development for mental health professionals and others committed to fostering holistic wellness. Our online courses provide evidence-based practices that improve patient outcomes and, ultimately, make a positive impact on the field of psychology as well as individual lives.

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

As a woman in a male-dominated STEM industry and a mother of two young boys, juggling their busy schedules with my academic career as a full-time tenured professor of Psychology has its challenges. However, I believe that being a mother has actually helped me become a better business owner. Motherhood requires a level of resilience, patience, and problem-solving skills that are invaluable in the world of entrepreneurship. Additionally, being a female leader in STEM has allowed me to bring a unique perspective to the table and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the industry.

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

For anyone looking to start, run, and grow a business today, my top three tips would be:

  1. Stay focused on your mission and values. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. Continually remind yourself of why you started the business in the first place and the impact you want to make.
  2. Build a strong team. Surround yourself with individuals who share your vision and complement your strengths. A supportive team can make all the difference in achieving success.
  3. Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with highs and lows. It's essential to approach challenges and setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement. Remember that failures are a natural part of the process and don't define your worth as a business owner.

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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