Welcome to my blog
Welcome to my blog.
There, I said it. I guess that makes it official [insert nervous laughter here]. I have been talking about starting a blog since I started my business just over a year ago (more on that later). It is now time to stop talking and start acting. As I contemplated how the hell to start this thing, I started to get more and more topic ideas, but I kept coming back to the importance of having anyone who finds and follows this blog know a bit about my journey to this first post.
And so, here we are.
My name is Gina Carnegie. I am a counsellor/friend/wife/mother/sister/daughter/entrepreneur/badass/woman/Swiftie.
Wow, that’s a lot of labels. Let’s stick with this: I am me (baby, that’s the fun of me).
So now for the question burning in my mind: how did I get here? You can find all the boring educational background stuff on my website so let’s just say I finished my master’s degree in counselling in 2014 and spent the next 4.5 years using the skills I learned there. Then I made a tiny human. In Canada we are blessed with a lengthy maternity/parental leave, so I was able to stay home with our son for a year. As my husband and I moved through that year I found that was less and less interested in returning to my previous job, however, I was also not interested in staying home full time. After much thinking and doubting and crying and anxiety and flashes of brilliance we decided that I would start a private practice. Looking back, I kind of think it is one of the craziest, most recklessly wonderful things I have ever done.
Once that decision was made the rest was (not so) simple. I registered a business name and found an office space. Carnegie Counselling Services officially opened its doors on July 7, 2018. I had one contract which included 2 clients, things were rocking and rolling. Then I designed some business cards and started hitting the pavement to get my name out there. And here comes the first hiccup: I had to define WHAT I was doing so that I could market myself, but I had no idea what my areas of specialty were going to be. I mean obviously I knew the issues that I have worked with, but this felt bigger, scarier, and more final than simply stating what issues I have addressed with clients in the past. I ended up taking a quick online course with The Business of Helping which helped me clarify some of this and made me feel like I was actually using my time productively because let’s be real here, I didn’t actually see any clients until at least a month after I opened my doors.
So here I am, plugging away, slowly getting more contracts. I registered for a 4 month course through Therapy Online so that I could become certified in online therapy thinking that this is likely an area of my field that will rapidly expand in the coming years. Great, now it is September 2018 and I am earning a VERY small amount of money from my few clients and filling my time with professional development. Things are rough. I decided to apply for support and mentoring through Futurpreneur Canada which required me to really hunker down and make a solid, detailed business plan. THIS. WAS. SCARY. No seriously, digging that deep into my business and financial goals was so scary that the application took me about 3 months to complete even though it could have been done within 2 weeks. I did eventually get it done though and am so glad that I did. Going through all of that helped me gain confidence, set some realistic goals, and hold myself accountable. Plus, the program includes business mentor and mine has been a great fit for me.
While I was doing all the things I just mentioned, I was also teaching myself how to create a website. I am proud of what I came up with, but I spent waaaaaaayyy too much time doing this. I ended up hiring Jeff Masigan and his company Pixel Architect to help build and manage a new website, and help me with branding and marketing. During our initial meeting we were discussing the fact that my business name was a bit cumbersome and if we were going to focus on marketing and branding it might be more effective to simplify. At this point it is probably important to let you know that when I originally registered my business, I wanted to call it Hummingbird Counselling, but that name was already in use. I am very attached to hummingbirds as they have a lot of layered meanings to me, I even had a friend design a beautiful logo for me (see below). During our brainstorm session Jeff hops on the internet for a couple of minutes then tells me that a group of hummingbirds is called a charm. That was it, in that moment I knew that my business was destined to be Charm Counselling. Jeff immediately bought the domain and after some additional meetings and planning he and his team created a beautiful logo (see below) and the website you are currently on.
So now we are in September 2019 and I recently celebrated one year of business. Things are progressing and growing and I am so grateful to everyone in my personal and professional life who has helped me along the way. My goal with this blog is to help fight the stigma that is held around talking about our feelings and especially about seeking help.
Welcome to this crazy beautiful adventure!