Dr Karen Phillip from Virtual Hypnotherapy is a Counselling Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist who also has a childcare centre.
So, Karen, tell us about your business…
I am a Counselling Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist who also has a childcare centre.
I commenced working as a Psychotherapist some 15 years ago and built up my private practice to become one of the business therapist in the country. My work has taken me into writing books, for magazines, journalists, speaking regularly on radio with in Australia and USA and regular work on television.
My work as a Clinical Hypnotherapist has now proceeded to developing a web site called Virtual Hypnotherapy as many clients were travelling for hours do do my sessions or me doing them over Skype. Once I began acquiring overseas clients, many from the USA, I decided to start Virtual Hypnotherapy to enable people from around the world to access my sessions.
I have been an early childhood teacher for years, as my husband also is, and we decided to open a childcare centre. We purchased a failing centre 7 years ago that was going into liquidation. Within one year the centre went form financial losses of $60,000 per year to profit of over $200,000 per year. We ensured staff were high quality and considered as a family.
Did you always dream of opening your own business or was there something else you wanted to be ‘when you grew up’?
I have had my own business for over 30 years while also working for corporations. My father had his own transport business which lead me to believe and understand anyone can run their own business. This is something I always gravitated towards. In the early days I made many errors before education and experience allowed me to develop the skills to run a profitable business.
One of the first major jobs I had was in my 30’s when I became Aquatic manager for 3 major Aquatic centres in Sydney Australia. The pools were running at a loss of almost half a million per year and within 3 years they turned a profit, something unheard of in Aquatic centres. This then prompted me to open and run my own swim school which operated very successfully for 8 years before selling at a 100% profit.
What inspired you to finally open your business?
The desire to run a functionally successful business without the frustration of working for those who didn’t seem to care about the business they worked for. I wanted to have the control and challenge.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? What obstacles have you overcome?
Balancing family and work was always a challenge. I believe I managed this well by having businesses the children could become involved in as they grew older.
The other challenge was developing self-belief in your abilities. I discovered this did occur from time to time. I found education in all areas of self-development and business skills were invaluable and enabled me to develop the self-belief needed for success.
"Love what you do and become as good as you can possibly be."
And what has been your greatest business achievement?
I have run a swim school where all my children became swim teachers and worked to acquire money. I also ran a successful sport vacation care business for 20 years where each of the children worked during school and University holidays, then the childcare centre where some of them also worked casually for additional money.
Taking a number of businesses from loss to profit was always an achievement.
Commencing Virtual Hypnotherapy to enable people from around the world to access my therapy sessions has been one of my most satisfying achievements.
Do you have any celebrity followers (fans of your business)? If so, who are they and what product/service do they love?
I have a number of celebrity clients, unable to name, who come to me for a variety of fears, trauma and relationship recovery. With my work it is strictly confidential so regrettably unable to name any.
Who is/was your business inspiration?
My parents who successfully ran their own small transport business. I saw the effort, the management, the ups and downs and always felt they were the parents who had control over their financial future. Other parents and friends complained about the work they hated, the boss they despised and the job they did.
Were you among the first in your family and friendship group to run your own business? If so, were you supported or discouraged?
My family were hesitant initially when I started a business in my mid 20’s. My parents believed it was easier and safer to work for someone. Once I started to acquire the education and experience and showed capability to run a business they became very supportive and proud of my efforts.
Do you have a mentor? (Or did you have a mentor during your business-building phase?) If so, how important was this relationship to your success?
My mother. While not qualified, she was the go to person for many in the neighbourhood. She would assist and support them through any issue or trauma. She also started the Alanon group locally, in Fiji and other Pacific Islands. She was a magical woman who cared and helped others.
My mother also gave me a book by Norman Vincent Peal when I was a young woman called ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. This made enormous changes to the way I perceived things and enabled me to develop considerable self-belief by using the power of the mind. This is also what prompted me into Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy knowing the power of our subconscious.
Are you a mentor? If so, who do you mentor? Why do you mentor?
Yes, I currently mentor and supervise a number of therapists. I run a free group bi-monthly where they attend my office discuss their work, their life and challenges.
Do you have a favourite piece that you have designed? Please tell us about it.
Virtual Hypnotherapy website is my proudest achievement (other than my children). The fact my sessions can be accessed worldwide to assist and support so many people to change and improve their lives allows me to feel my position in this world has been realised.
Do you have an exit strategy? Do you think you could ever sell the company and move on to something else?
Luckily my Virtual Hypnotherapy business has been designed to operate forever, without me being present. My Counselling business will operate with me and I plan to continue to much older age. I so enjoy aiding people to find their solutions quickly and empower them to move forward with the skills and confidence they develop.
Are you involved in philanthropy? If so, what causes are close to your heart?
I donate to a number of children in third world countries via both World Vision and private support.
I run a free support mentor group for therapists.
I undertake probing work for veterans struggling from trauma.
I am an Ambassador for World Kindness Australia.
I arrange for yearly homeless collection packs to distribute to homeless.
And, if involved, why do you think it’s important for women business owners to be philanthropic?
We all need to give back. If we are fortunate enough to have the skills we need to share these with those less fortunate.
Women by nature are carers and nurturers, this is our design and we enjoy and throve by giving, supporting and aiding others.
What’s the best business advice you’ve been given? And by who?
“Love what you do and become as good as you can possibly be" – my mother
What’s the most humorous piece of business advice you’ve been given? And by who?
Many years ago when I started out my female accountant told me… ‘Stats are against you so ignore these and start your own stats’.
What’s the best business tip you can offer our readers?
Many of us have a desire and dream. Research, educate yourself and work hard to achieve the outcome you dream of. Consider advice when given.
What’s next for your business?
To continue to develop Virtual Hypnotherapy into a worldwide sensation available for all to improve their life.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Women have expectations from everyone. To care for their children, their partner, their home, friends and family. — Women are incredibly capable human beings, I believe more than our male counterpart as women are more adaptable, capable and dedicated, they nurture, care and continue until things are done. — If women ran every country I believe there would be peace, harmony and more happiness.
At A Glance
Business name: Virtual Hypnotherapy
Business Structure: Aiding people to achieve their goals, recover from trauma and develop happy relationships and families
Year business established: 2004
Your Position: Owner/Creator
Number of employees: 3
Industry: Health and Wellbeing
Name: Dr Karen Phillip
Age: Mid 50s
Marital Status: Happily married
Children: 3 children & 3 step children – 26-32 years
Do you work from home, the office or a combination of both? Both
Typical work week: 30 hours
Typical work schedule (Mon-Fri etc): 7 days or as clients need me
Memberships, Associations: Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation, Australian Hypnotherapy Association || Counselling Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist; PhD of Philosophy in Sociology; Masters in International Family Studies; Grad. Dip. Counselling, Major in Family Therapies & Children; Diploma of Professional Counselling; Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy