We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Tidwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In spring of 2020 I had my first child, and I left working as a counselor at a university to be a stay at home mom. In fall of 2021 I had my second child, and as time went on, my passion to return to work and help women and couples through counseling was calling my name! In spring of 2022 I starting thinking “why not” about the thought of starting my own business. I wanted to still be home as much as I could with my kids during their young years, and my husband and I wanted the freedom to travel and do things as a family, so I realized starting my own online/ virtual counseling private practice would give me the flexibility to do things and make decisions that were best for my family. I also spent many years working full-time and completing graduate school where I did things the way other people wanted or needed it to be done, and that is not a bad thing at all! I just realized I now had the opportunity to do something special and unique for myself. I wanted to make something of my own that I could take risks with, be proud of, and nurture and grow how I wanted. I am so grateful that I get to mold and shape my private practice in a way that allows me to use my passions and gifting to create something I love, and also helps people!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I provide online/ virtual professional counseling for adult women and couples navigating issues around anxiety and depression, career, grief, life transitions and adjustments, personal development and self-care, motherhood, relationships, and trauma.
What sets my private practice apart is that I offer secular, as well as Christian counseling. There are lot of people out there whose faith is very important to them, and the lens through which they view their struggles and hope for the future is through their beliefs and identity, which unique to their faith. But, I also support and counsel people who want general counseling without any spiritual emphasis. I understand that spiritual and religious trauma occurs, and I I would never push my beliefs on a client. I view each person, regardless of their beliefs, as valuable, and worthy of support and care that aligns with their wants and needs, and I do not discriminate based on religious beliefs or lack thereof.
What might also set me apart from others is that I am a Certified Trauma Professional. which means I have special training to help clients navigate through incredibly hard things such as the loss of a loved one, past sexual abuse, or childhood trauma. However, this is not the only work that I do, and I see client with varying concerns and goals.
Lastly, I think my own story sets me apart. I celebrated six years of sobriety this year! In my lifetime, I have navigated many of my own hardships to get to where I am today. For many years, I sought after extreme self-gratification, and coped with internal struggles in the only way I knew how at the time. I masked pain from my past by trying to ignore it with things like drugs and alcohol, or unhealthy relationships with people. I tried everything and nothing worked. And, then, I went on a spiritual journey and discovered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that saved and changed my life forever.
The thing I am most proud of and excited about when it comes to my business is my clients. Yes, cheesy answer, I know, but, it is true! My clients makes me so happy, and so proud every day. I think they teach me more than I teach them. They teach me the power of vulnerability, change, and togetherness. They inspire me every day, because in a world where people struggle with pride, vulnerability, and fear, they are fighting for healing and change, and they are conquering their obstacles to pursue the lives they want. They are so much stronger and resilient than they know, and I am honored that they let me be a part of their lives.
The most practical reason I got to where I am today is because I did a workshop by a colleague in my field named Blaine Hummel, and the workshop walked me through everything I needed to know to start my private practice. It was so helpful!
The start up process for my business was not easy. I faced a lot of fears, had to take risks when I didn’t feel like it, and my to-do list was so long it was overwhelming and stressful at times. The only way I overcame the challenges I faced, was to do just that, face them. I had to push through the fears I had, and “just do it,” as Nike would say. I had to force myself to determine fear was not going to keep me from accomplishing my dreams. The moment I began facing my fears, the less of a grasp they had on me.
In this process of starting my business I have also learned about the power of community, and togetherness. I could not have gotten to where I am with my business without the help, support, and encouragement of my family, fellow counselors, friends, and mentors. The work I have done to start my business, and the work I do as a counselor gives a whole new meaning to the value, importance, and power of relationships.
What I want the world to know about my story and my brand is that I recognize the counseling process takes vulnerability and trust, and clients will not have that right away, and that is okay, It can be scary to get to know a stranger, especially if trust have been broken with someone before. But, in the work I do, I cherish my clients and I empathize with the fact that trust and vulnerability takes time, and I go at their pace. I also believe it is never too late and clients are never too far gone to experience healing and change. They can do hard things. They can realize their gifts, strengths and purposes in this life, and lead more joyful, fulfilling, and confident lives. They can face their fears to chase after their dreams, and make a difference in their little corners of the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a best friend in town for the week we would start off with lunch at my favorite spot in Fort Worth called Local Food Kitchen. They have the best locally sourced and homemade meals and desserts you can find! Then, we would visit the Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth to enjoy some outdoor activity and beautiful gardens that are so large, you may not even be able to see it all in one trip! The next day we would visit the Trinity Park with my kids and probably race down a few slides ourselves. Then, we would go enjoy some of the best barbecue around at Dayne’s Craft Barbecue in Fort Worth, you won’t regret this one. On another day, we would get pampered with massages at Hand and Stone in North Fort Worth, and get our nails done at Bellagio Nails. We would go to Dallas for a day, and visit the John F. Kennedy and Perot Museums for some history and science, and intellectual stimulation. Then we would get decked out and go to Dallas Cowboys football game, in Arlington. Go Cowboys! We would go to Fort Worth and visit the Clear fork area to see a movie and eat, and then to Magnolia or Main street to Cherry Coffee or Crude Coffee for an after dinner latte for some caffeinated and deep conversation. Lots of coffee would be involved on this trip! If bull-riders were in town, we would go see them at the Stockyards; never thought I would say this, but Professional Bull Riding is actually very entertaining! Lastly, one of my favorite things to do is host people in our home with a good meal and some games. So, we would end the week, relaxing together in our pajamas, with no makeup and messy hair, reminiscing over memories together, laughing, and talking about life.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have a couple people that have had the most memorable impact on my role as a professional counselor and starting my business. My first shoutout would be to my husband, Mitch. He has encouraged and supported me every step of the way through starting my business. He has done so much behind the scenes work to help me build the foundation of my business, like creating my website for me. He has given me the courage to take risks and keep pressing on when things got hard, and he consistently listened to me as I talked about the highs and lows of the process. Thank you, babe, I love you! My second shoutout goes to women who invested in my life during my college years. She led my mission trip to Russia, she mentored me, she would call or text me to check on me in times when I was struggling. She made herself available, and she never judged me when I shared hard things I was going through. She was empathetic, compassionate, gracious, caring, encouraging, and present. She is also a professional counselor, and showed me what a counselor should be like. Shanda, thank you so much!
H&G Collective – Lenzi Holmes