For three years, Bonnie Healey worked as a solopreneur in her therapy practice, Hope and Meaning Counseling. Then came COVID and the demand for mental health services nationwide intensified.
“Part of it was pandemic-related and just coping with adjustments,” Healey said of the increase in mental health services. “People had time to do therapy. When they were stuck at home there was no escaping some of these problems anymore.”
By 2021, Healey, a therapist of 13 years, hired her first employee. Her counseling business has since grown to include 10 other therapists and three administrative staff.
In the process of expanding her employee base, Healey also sought to enlarge her space, which, at the outset, consisted of a 400-square-foot office.
Unsure of how to obtain funding to purchase a larger office, Healey began mentoring with Steve Wolfson of SCORE Bucks County. Together, they created a business plan and worked through the steps required to secure a Small Business Administration loan.
“I had no idea how to actually present my business,” Healey said. “He gave me some good critiques and helped me revise the business plan.”
The SBA accepted Healey’s plan and provided the funding. In February Hope and Meaning Counseling relocated to a 1,300-square-foot space featuring three private offices, a waiting room, two open work areas for administrative staff and a playground outside.
Situated on 3.5 acres in Pipersville, the new location also has plenty of space to allow for walk and talk therapy, which is popular among youth and others who prefer to do therapy outside.
In addition to in-person mental health services, Hope and Meaning Counseling offers telehealth counseling. Therapists are licensed to serve clients in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, as well as Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, and Oklahoma.
When Healey worked on her own, she estimates that she saw between 40 and 50 clients regularly. Currently, she and her team are serving 179 active clients. Since May 2021, 147 clients concluded therapy.
“I can’t believe how things have grown,” she said. “I have to start hiring again. The demand hasn’t really let up that much.”
Wolfson, whose business expertise includes starting 13 warehouse locations in the construction industry and growing operations to $50 million in five years, said he’s glad that the “calculated risk” of scaling up her business is paying off.
“She is proactive with a sharp keen business mind that helped her offer get accepted against other bidders,” Wolfson said of Healey’s real estate venture.
Healey intends to continue boosting her business knowledge through SCORE webinars and mentoring with Wolfson.
“I never thought I would own a group practice and I never thought I would buy commercial real estate,” she said. “I can’t predict that I’m not going to have a second location one day.”
Eventually, Healey said she hopes to come “full circle” by becoming a SCORE mentor.
“We all need help,” she said. “It’s something I really hope I can help people do in the future.”