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Starting a Business That’s Personal: Because Business is Personal


If you have ever crossed paths with me, read any of my writing, followed me on any social media platform, or listened to any of my speeches, you are very much aware that I proudly speak about my mental illness and the subsequent journey that has come as a result. It has been one of the most liberating experiences to be in control of my narrative and own my story. 

However, starting Find Your/self Boxes has been a whole new challenge for me. Starting a business that is rooted in my personal story and health creates an extra layer of difficulty. As much as I believe my mental illness does not limit my ability will potential partners believe that too? Will my story resonate with others? Will I be accused of trying to capitalize on and monetize the mental health movement?

These questions haunt me as I get closer and closer to my launch. I spent some time sitting with these questions and fears. I thought back to the first time I publically shared my journey. I nervously let my mouse hover over the share button on Facebook before I tentatively shared my speech. I remember people asking me what the deciding factor was to put my life on blast like that. Without hesitation I said, “If this speech helps just one person speak out, get help, or find comfort, then it’s worth it.” 

That has been my mentality with every speaking gig, every blog post, and every social media share. Starting this business is no different. If my business doesn’t succeed, if people doubt my ability, or if people don’t vibe with/believe in my intention, I’ll rest easy knowing someone out there benefitted from the work I put into this. Life is much too short to stand for and passionately pursue something you don’t believe in. This time in quarantine has really reaffirmed that for me. I wholeheartedly believe in this mission and what I’m doing. They say business is personal and at this moment I couldn’t agree more. This business is my love letter to the mental health field and there is a lot left for me to write.

With the Heart of a Champion (Nelly), 

Mal

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