Lady Bosses I Love: Mariah Gallagher
Mariah and I were first introduced through a mutual friend at the beginning of the pandemic. Mariah was pregnant and making the move from NYC to Philly, which is something I also experienced. I've become something of a Welcome Wagon for NYC transplants over the years, and I was happy to help Mariah adjust to life in Philly as best as I could.
We were finally able to meet in person during the summer of 2021, and it was friend-love at first hang. We talked about how challenging it can be to move to a new city, be a new mom, and run your own business. Mariah runs her own therapy practice for patients in Pennsylvania and New York, which is a field that I have always been fascinated by. I always loved psychology classes when I was in school, and I try to implement a lot of what I know about human behavior into the marketing work that I do with clients. So when Mariah approached me about helping her rebrand her business, I instantly said yes.
Working with Mariah was an absolute dream, and I'm so proud the final product; as a love life therapist, Mariah works with both singles and couples on unlearning patterns of behavior that are holding them back in order to create healthier connections and relationships. Everyone should have a therapist like Mariah!
Mariah Gallagher: Love Life Therapist
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
Love Life Therapy - I help women (and some men) learn how to build a healthy self-concept, develop a deeper sense of self, and heal trauma in order to create and maintain the healthiest relationships they can - this includes romantic relationships, friendships, parenting relationships, etc.
How long have you been in business?
Since 2017, but fully virtual since 2020
How did you decide to launch your own business?
I sat on the idea for YEARS. I’ve been a therapist for a long time, longer than my business has existed. Fear and imposter syndrome - not about my clinical skills but about my business savvy - kept me from starting my own practice earlier. But I ended up taking a business course and then honestly I just made the first move! I rented an office for one day a week. It was affordable without any clients, and in a kismet kind of way I ended up booking two clients within the first month of renting my office.
What challenges did you face in the process of launching your business?
My own internal challenges were the biggest ones. And then there were some of the more administrative challenges - what’s my rate? How do I write really informative intake paperwork? How do I pay my taxes as a sole proprietor? So much learning, trial and error, and major mistakes went into this, and still occur.
Did you feel as though there were resources available to you, specifically as a woman business owner?
Not really. Especially as a woman, but even more especially as a social work trained therapist. Social workers and therapists are not taught how to be business women, how to set and keep boundaries, how to feel empowered around their worth, around money, etc. We often wear our hearts on our sleeves and as women in this field we have been conditioned as helpers but not as executives or CEOs. Those titles are given to men, and we’re not well informed that we can be both compassionate and caring healers while being a boss.
Do you have a mentor?
I have a clinical supervisor who mentors me, and I read a lot of books by female intellectuals in the healing space - Esther Perel, Brene Brown, Pia Melody, Bell Hooks.
Books you recommend?
My all time favorite book for trauma healing is “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk. Next up would be “All About Love” by Bell Hooks, and I just read “What Happened To You” by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey which I thought was excellent.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Not being told how to care for my clients. I really really care about them, and I hated being told what that needed to look like whenever I worked under other people. Now I spend a lot of my spare time in parallel healing pursuits with my clients - reading the same books, listening to the same podcasts, doing the same meditations. I am able to do this because I don’t have a ton of other administrative duties or mandates from someone or some oversight organization above me. It’s just me, doing what I think will most help the individuals I see.
What is your least favorite aspect of running your own business?
What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about launching a business?
This is going to be cliche advice, but don’t spend a ton of time thinking about the reasons not to, the reasons it will fail, the reasons you don’t have what it takes. And honestly take the first step and then see if you want to stop - create the website or make the Instagram account or write the blog post or reach out to the investor. You can reassess whether you take the next step, but don’t spend too much time looking at the entire hike, just take that initial step.