Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Barker, Founder and CEO of The Phoenix Project, located in Bay Area, CA, USA.

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

The Phoenix Project is an AI-powered platform revolutionizing women's mental health through psychedelic-assisted healing. Our customers are women survivors of trauma seeking innovative, accessible solutions to transform their mental health and thrive.

Tell us about yourself

As a survivor of complex trauma, I know firsthand the challenges of finding effective, compassionate mental health support. My own transformative experiences with psychedelic medicine inspired me to start The Phoenix Project to make these powerful healing modalities more accessible to women. Every day, I'm motivated by the resilience and wisdom of the survivors in our community and the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapy to help women alchemize their deepest wounds into their greatest strengths.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been building a cutting-edge, heart-centered platform that's at the forefront of the psychedelic renaissance and changing the conversation around trauma and women's mental health. Seeing the profound transformations and sense of empowerment within our community has been incredibly rewarding. We've created safe, inclusive spaces both online and in-person for women to access community support, expert guidance, and the latest science-backed modalities like AI-assisted integration. It's an honor to pioneer this work.

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

One of the hardest things is the weight of responsibility that comes with being trusted to support survivors in their most vulnerable healing journeys. Ensuring we have the right safeguards, ethical standards, and trauma-informed protocols in place is critical and something I take very seriously. Balancing the desire to help as many women as possible with the need to scale mindfully and protect the integrity of our work is an ongoing challenge, but one that pushes me to be a better leader every day.

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

  1. Ground your business in your deepest passion and purpose. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster, and staying connected to your "why" will give you the resilience to weather any storm.
  2. Prioritize building a strong team and network of mentors. Surround yourself with people who share your values, challenge you to grow, and bring diverse skills to the table.
  3. Embrace adaptability and continuous learning. The world is changing rapidly, and the most successful businesses are those that can innovate, pivot, and stay curious. Never be afraid to experiment, learn from failures, and evolve.

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