Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental health care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alishia Ebel, Founder & Owner of Plymouth Mental Health, located in Plymouth, MI, USA.

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

I am the founder and owner of Plymouth Mental Health. We are a group practice that provides therapy services to children, teens, adults, and families in Plymouth and Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as the surrounding communities. We specialize in treating various mental health issues and focus on providing person-centered care. We value the importance of a therapeutic relationship built on mutual trust, respect, and care while providing a supportive environment to facilitate positive changes in our clients' lives.

Tell us about yourself

Like many mental health professionals, I went to school to help people. Growing up, I was drawn to helping my friends and enjoyed being their support and person to lean on. For me, making a choice to go into the mental health field was an easy one. Fresh out of college and very green, I went into the workforce, ready to "save the world." As you can imagine, as you read that statement, I was very disappointed in the reality of the mental health system. As I powered through my career, I worked in quite a few settings and roles but never really felt like I found my niche. I was burned out and exhausted!

On a whim, I applied for a therapist position at a group practice that I stumbled across while trying to find something new. My colleagues described being in private practice as "The Holy Grail" of career opportunities. It was where almost every therapist wanted to end up. I didn't have much hope when going into the interview, but to my surprise, I got the job! This was the beginning of finding my niche and my passion. After getting my feet wet for a few years at the group practice, I decided to go off on my own and start my own private practice. Being my own boss allowed me a lot of freedom when it came to my clients. I could finally focus on providing the best care for them without the limitations set by management or being bogged down with unnecessary paperwork. This is exactly what I needed!

As my practice grew, I found myself having to turn clients away or add them to my waitlist because I was full. Great problem to have, but I saw a need and wanted someone who could help with some of the overflows, so I hired my first contractor. The rest is history, so to speak. Because of the demand and valued importance of mental health, we have continued to grow to help provide services to those in need. Being able to provide quality person-centered therapy in our community is what continues to drive me to continue the work I am doing.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

By far, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been finding the greatest team of mental health clinicians that I could have asked for. It was important for me to find therapists that had similar values as me and really understood the importance of person-centered care. A client is not just a number or part of some productivity quota like some larger agencies focus on. They are a real person who is in need of help and support, and they deserve to be treated as such.

Because of our great team and the quality of services that they have provided, we have gained a great reputation in the community. This has allowed us the opportunity to expand to add another office location in Ann Arbor, MI, along with our original location in Plymouth, MI. It has been a great joy to be able to expand our reach and be able to help another community in the area.

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

It's all you. Sure, it's great to be your own "boss," as I mentioned before, but it is also very hard at times. There is nobody to run to for help or someone else to pass the buck to. You are THE person, and that was an adjustment for me at first. It is definitely a 24/7 responsibility.

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

  1. Have a plan. Know what your goal is and map out how to realistically get there. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but great financial planning and realistic expectations are a must.
  2. Believe in yourself. If you are thinking about starting a business, you already have an entrepreneurial mindset. Believe that you have the skill and drive to make your dream work and take a calculated risk.
  3. Be selective about who you choose for your team if you have one. Think of the image that you want for your business and make sure that person will represent the business well. Word of mouth can be negative too. Having someone on your team that isn't a great fit can be detrimental to your growth.

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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