Editor’s Note: Military Spouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a monthly Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of a military spouse entrepreneur.
In the past, we have highlighted Lindsey Germono of Germono Advertising Company, Amy Rowland of Play Across America, Jessica Bartram of Fayetteville Hypnosis, Patrice J. Carter of Breakpoint Coaching and Speaking, and Maggie Varona of ServingTalent. This month, NextGen MilSpouse features Dr. Jude Black of E-Therapy Cafe.
Military Branch Affiliation: Army
Years as a Military Spouse: Almost 25 – yikes!!
Business Name: E-Therapy Cafe: Expert Online Therapy For Today’s Busy World
Year Established: 2016
Tell us about your business: E-Therapy Café™ was founded by a military spouse with the military lifestyle in mind. The mission is to provide expert, online therapy professionally, conveniently, and affordably – anytime, anywhere.
The Boutique Team of Licensed Therapists and Certified Life Coaches are passionate change catalyst, focused on realistic goals in today’s fast-paced world. The headquarters is in Northern Virginia with a nationwide and global reach.
It all began over 20 years ago on a military base in North Carolina. I still remember how I felt the first time I used video to connect during a tough season in my life. I was a young military spouse and my husband was deployed overseas.
My husband and I were able to talk using Virtual Tele-Conference (AKA gigormous dinosaur of a big screen) in the midst of a very public military conference room. Amazingly, for a brief moment, it didn’t matter that I was in North Carolina or that he was in a foreign country, we were connected.
Years later I aligned with a military-focused online therapy platform called CopeToday. I provided real-time online video sessions, instant chats, and virtual journal exchanges with military members across the country and deployed around the world. After one virtual session, a soldier told me,
“Who needs an office? For the first time someone gets me. You totally get me.”
My clients reached goals, started living their lives again, and I knew that E-Therapy was successful. And that is how my virtual E-journey began.
After a series of disappointments in the field, I knew it was time to do what any good military spouse would do – do it myself. So, I set out to create a diversified team of licensed and certified professionals focused on breaking down barriers and providing support professionally, ethically, and affordably. Anywhere. Anytime. I also wanted a simple, HIPPA-Secured virtual platform, friendly to the military and other transient lifestyles but accessible to all people looking for support.
Well, I found it, I found them and they found me! Having bootstrapped the company from the ground up, I am blessed to have culminated a boutique team of experts who share my vision and are focused on growth. I am also crazy fortunate to have my “Right-Arm Gal” Amanda Rausch (who by the way is also a military spouse), as both an expert therapist and as our COO.
Our Boutique Team is dedicated to support, motivate and encourage people all over the world. We are passionate about “getting unstuck,” moving forward, building resilience, and learning to thrive.
We provide you with the convenience of calm, in the comfort of your space.
Our Team of life experts have a deep desire to matter. Therefore, we give back through the $1 for One Campaign. E-Therapy Café™ gives $1 from every session to our foundation for distribution to our charity affiliates.
What’s your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur so far?
Do not ever compromise your own values, know who you are, and run fearlessly after your passion.
Yes, I am my own boss now – but it wasn’t easy. I was like so many others challenged with finding the perfect career fit and balancing the military lifestyle. I recently fired my former boss which ended up being the best thing I have ever done! It was empowering knowing that I was no longer tolerating a culture that didn’t line up with my values, my beliefs, my passions, and vision of what a great company looks like.
I realized that I wasn’t no longer having fun and lost my joy. No one else is a better author of my life other than me.
Twenty years ago, I may have tolerated and stuck it out. Today, I know when to cut sling load and move forward.
I often tell my clients “Anytime that you try to control someone or they try to control you, it won’t end well. You need to just do you.”
So I did!!
I didn’t hesitate, leaned in and created what I wanted according to my passions. I am grateful to be the strong, resilient woman that I am today. MY 20-year-old self might still have been tolerating and not run fiercely into her dreams.
On managing work and life – is it all about blending or all about balancing? Why?
BOTH!! I’m not sure that blending or balancing are the right words, I think it’s more about showing up. Blending and making work fit into your life and balancing so that it doesn’t consume you. The key is knowing who you are and how you function in your world.
I try not to lose sight of the little things that are important to me like laughing with my boys and unplugging to give them my “eyes” (aka full attention) but also showing them that even though it’s tough, “your mom is a hero too!”
Tell us the one thing that makes your dual-working military family successful?
Communication. There is no question that a military spouse is committed –who else picks up their stuff at a moment’s notice and moves across the country to follow their spouse? It isn’t about loyalty. You won’t meet more loyal, dedicated people. But when you don’t take the time to hear and fully understand each other, then the cracks begin, the assumptions start, and things tend to spiral.
Taking the time to chat, understand, connect, and lean into each other are keys for successful dual-working military families.
Choose one: coffee, wine, water or soda?
Coffee in the a.m., red wine in the p.m.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without:
Yikes?! Just one?? My company is 100 percent virtual, so choosing one is quite stressful. My iPhone, it may take longer, but I could connect and accomplish what I need to.
Skype to stay connected and Breathe to create my inner calm in the chaos.
Must-have song on your productivity playlist:
This is my fight song!
Leave us with some wise words…
Don’t stop, do what scares you the most – first, say thank you, maintain your ethics, be open and willing to learn, adjust as necessary – everything changes daily, be honest, and never take advantage of anyone. Stay focused and trust in your vision.
There are always going to be people who create chaos and do not support you. Do not allow anyone’s reality to muddy what you know to be true.
Stay grounded, surround yourself with amazing people, and don’t compromise your values. Establish strong boundaries so that you know how far left and how far right you can go.
But never stop… small steps forward will lead to bigger steps. Let your passion be your driving force to create amazing opportunities and thrive.
Most importantly love. Fiercely, strongly, deeply, and without reservations. Make every moment matter.