Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shirla de Magalhães, Owner of Sol Play Child Therapy Inc., located in La Mesa, CA, USA.

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

I provide an in-depth, holistic approach to therapy where we focus on the underlying issues instead of just treating the surface symptoms. This doesn't mean we stay stuck in the past, but we get to better understand what past events may have caused you early attachment injuries, and with increased awareness, we can heal and empower your inner child. Many of our adult negative behaviors and choices stem from unresolved and often unconscious childhood issues that, once brought to awareness, can facilitate positive changes in the present.

My practice integrates Jungian Psychology, Sandplay Therapy, Play Therapy, SoulCollage & Therapeutic Art to facilitate unconscious material to come to the surface for processing at a safe pace. All forms of Expressive Therapies are a complement to Talk Therapy and are suitable for all ages. I currently work predominately with adults and teens.

Tell us about yourself

Becoming a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist was a career change for me in my mid 30's. Prior to becoming a therapist, I used to work in hospitality and realized what I liked the most about my job was when people talked to me about their personal struggles. During the 2008 recession, I chose to go back to grad school and change careers. I specialized in Play Therapy and used to work only with children; however, as my career progressed, I transitioned to working predominantly with inner child work with adults and teens.

I feel that having a solid understanding of what affects children's healthy attachment has allowed me to connect deeper with the adult clients I now work with. I feel I grow and learn every day from my clients, and it's fulfilling to be alongside someone as they find their inner strength to change what's not working for them, to witness them better adapt to life's many ups and downs with more joy and flexibility.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Having my own business is my biggest accomplishment! When I left the corporate world to go back to school and change careers, I had to take a few steps backward, super pay cut, but I knew my end goal was to own my private practice, and I am proud I was able to make it happen! I enjoy being able to be my own boss and be in charge of my own schedule and clients.

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

The hardest thing is making sure your finances are in place, knowing when to be flexible, and being able to adapt when unexpected events happen (such as the Covid pandemic).

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

  1. Start a business you are truly, deeply passionate about - it doesn't matter that there are so many people doing what you do already, you are unique, and if you are passionate about it, you will stand out and be successful!
  2. Network with other people who already do what you do. Ask many questions, take them for coffee or lunch, or visit their place of work.
  3. Once you are established, mentor and inspire others, pay it forward!

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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