To celebrate 19 years of Heritage Counseling and Consulting, we sat down with our founder and lead clinician, Brandi Sinclair, M.A.C.P., LPC-S, to ask her a few questions on how she got started and the unique challenges and best aspects of starting and running a successful private counseling practice. Brandi is a highly accomplished psychotherapist and widely sought-after individual and marriage counselor, coach, and consultant. She started Heritage Counseling and Consulting in 2004 and has since expanded the business to have over 20 employees across two locations, with plans to expand into its third location in Austin this Spring.
Q: Why did you start Heritage Counseling?
A: I had been an at-home mom raising my boys but after several years with them in school full time I decided to go back to school and finish my undergraduate degree. My original plan was to major in psychology but I took a slight detour and married my husband and we started our family. When I returned to school I picked back up from where I had left off and finished my undergraduate and my graduate degrees at SMU. I had always wanted to be in private practice so I opened Heritage in 2004. I practiced solo for 3 years but wanted to work with a team of people who could collaborate. It was definitely challenging changing roles from stay home mom to business owner but this was fulfilling a dream for me and it was very exciting.
Q: What have been the most challenging aspects of running your own business?
A: In the beginning, the most challenging part of my practice was getting clients. I set out to work with physicians, hoping to provide the needed counseling piece to a holistic approach to wellness for their patients. In 2004, counseling was still a new science and I found that I was well-received by the doctors. At that time, there were fewer therapists, and most were not marketing to doctors.
I moved my practice to its current location at Mockingbird and North Central Expressway in 2007, and I brought in a full-time support staff member (who just happened to be my mother) and 3 other therapists. Things were certainly moving along and the dream began to grow. In 2011 my son Chandler Sinclair, M.S, LPC, CEC, joined the practice as a therapist, and we expanded our services and developed great working relationships with many of the doctors in the Dallas area. Our reputation was growing and so was our practice, and once again we expanded our office and our service offerings to include different therapy modalities, psychiatry, TMS, and Neurofeedback. We also added a full team of administrative staff and a marketing team. In 2020, we opened our second office in Plano and our 3rd office in Austin will open this Spring. Although adding additional offices was not in my initial plans when you have an amazing team lots of things are possible!
I thoroughly enjoy most aspects of the business but counseling is still my favorite part of my job. There are many challenges in running a small business. Our greatest business challenge is finding and hiring excellent therapists and staff. We are very serious about bringing on only the best clinicians. So many of the day-to-day business aspects of our practice are handled primarily by the excellent support that we have acquired and for that I am grateful. The most difficult part of the job for me personally is allocating the right amount of time to the different roles I play as our business continues to grow.
Q: What are the best parts of running your own business?
A: The best part of owning and running a small business is that you get to make the rules and set the standards. One of the hallmarks of our business is people development. I get to bring on great people and be a part of their professional development and their career journey. It’s wonderful to be able to help our clients grow and help our staff grow too.
Additionally, I get to work with my family. Fortunately for us, we do it pretty well. In business, there are always challenges with different personalities and different perspectives but we work hard to overcome them with grace, and getting to come to work with them is very special for me.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with Heritage in the future?
A: We have a lot of goals and want to continue to expand our practice to other locations. We have a great business model and we are excited to take it to new places. Funding is always the most challenging part of growth so a timeline is still up in the air.
Q: Do you have any advice for other people wanting to start their own business?
A: My advice for people about starting a private practice is to find a group of people with different skills to join you. Running a business is difficult and I can’t imagine doing it alone. Start small and be discerning about how much you are willing to spend on real estate. Know that you will have to really work hard to get clients in the door. The support staff is expensive but totally worth the cost. Having someone help you manage the business piece of the practice, especially in dealing with your clients, is worth the expense. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!! Having other clinicians to share ideas with and debrief difficult cases is part of what keeps the therapist healthy!
Thank you to Brandi Sinclair for discussing Heritage Counseling and Consulting’s beginning and future plans with us! Heritage Counseling is growing both internally and with the services we offer, and we are very thankful for the support from friends, family, and clients. If you or anyone you know is looking for mental health services both traditional and alternative treatment options, please reach out to us at 214-363-2345 to get more information.