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Success Story: ASK Therapy for Moms, Virtual Therapy Business

21 years ago, Jennifer Summerfeldt had a dream to build a community that could serve as a safe space for mothers to receive therapy at the click of a button. As a therapist, she was inspired after the birth of her first son and her own experiences as a new mother.

Now, more than two decades later, Summerfeldt has finally achieved her dream, starting her company, ASK Therapy for Moms, during the height of the pandemic.

What motivated you to start your own virtual therapy business?

“I pivoted from business to private practice in October 2020 in response to the pandemic,” Summerfeldt says. The move made sense as deteriorating mental health skyrocketed through years of lockdowns, isolation, and rising COVID-19 cases. “I wanted to provide perinatal counselling across Canada. I wanted to serve more moms.” That’s exactly what’s she’s done with ASK.

Read more about business ideas for moms

What is ASK Therapy for Moms?

ASK Therapy for Moms connects mothers with virtual therapy to address questions and concerns that touch on body positivity, parenting, and the all-too-common feeling of being overworked as mothers, some of whom are juggling jobs while taking care of their kids in a pandemic. At ASK, Summerfeldt also provides a mentorship program for students to be able to provide care to those who need it.

“Therapy can change people’s lives,” she says. Summerfeldt recalls a mother who recently told her she would have never imagined how much she’s grown since she started therapy. 

“This mom went from severe trauma due to a high traumatic birth experience during the pandemic that resulted in her fearing for her life, to someone now thriving in her role as a new mom,” she recalls. “If I didn’t offer online therapy, I would never have had the chance to work with this mom because she lives in a different province. Nor would I have had the opportunity to supervise a student therapist, who lives in a different province.”

While there still may be a stigma around seeking help, she wanted to make ASK accessible as possible, and there’s no question that the demand is there with more clients signing up each day. It’s why ASK also recently expanded their virtual therapy offerings to help fathers, non-binary parents, and doulas.

How do you manage work-life balance while running a business?

As the founder of ASK, Summerfeldtt, like her clients, is also faced with finding balance between her business and home life. “I have taken on the role of the primary provider for the family and I am raising a teen daughter. So much of my schedule revolves around her schedule,” Summerfeldt says. 

To find work-life balance, she sees her clients three days a week, and spends the other three days working on her business and mentoring her staff and students. “I am an educator at heart,” she adds.

The biggest thing she realized over the course of her business journey is the importance of trusting others.

How important is your team and staff in operating a private practice?

“You need a team to lead well. You can’t do everything or be everything to everyone,” she says. “You need to invest in a team and invest in your staff. Leadership requires good delegation and vision. You need to be in it for the long haul and be willing to pivot. So, I decided to build a team and mentor a team of therapists in both trauma-informed care and childbirth.”

How did you register your virtual therapy company as a business in Canada?

With her team in place, Summerfeldt needed to incorporate her business, but initially felt afraid and nervous to do so as she thought it would be complicated. She reached out to Ownr, and quickly got her company off the ground and running. “Ownr made incorporating easy and straightforward, which not only saved me money but reduced stress. Ownr took that fear away with its step-by-step process. I felt handheld,” she says. “I trusted the process and felt like a grown-up after incorporating.”

Looking back at more than a year of success, Summerfeldt can’t help but be thankful for her success. “Pivoting my business and growing online has had a huge positive impact,” she says.

For others looking to turn their passions into a reality, she has some advice: “Have a clear vision. Hire help. Work with a business coach. Keep going when it gets hard. Learn how to lead. Lead from the heart. Dream big.” 

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