Meet Jacqualine, the small business owner of Karakia Health, a mental health support service that meets with clients face-to-face to support them to complete daily tasks.
Jacqualine has lived experience with mental health which has inspired her to start her own business to help people with mental health challenges in Perth WA. So far, the biggest challenge that she has faced is finding customers, however, her business coach Michael supports her to set new goals and timeframes to make sure she is on track to continue growing her business.
“Anything that I get stuck on, I contact my business coach Michael and he helps me out. For example, when tax time came, I didn’t know what to do so he helped me through that. He showed me how to do invoicing and track the money coming in and out of my business.”
Read her story.
The name of my business is Karakia Health. It is a mental health support service. I meet with clients face-to-face in their homes, and we decide what I will do with them while I am there. I help them with daily activities that they struggle with. This might be going with them to do their groceries because they have anxiety or going to doctor appointments. I have been doing this work for 20 years, but I have had my own business for one year.
I have been in Perth for 9 years. In New Zealand, I was a radio presenter and I got to meet lot of people such as politicians and psychologists. It was a great opportunity to ask them about their perspective on mental health and to learn more about the area.
I have lived experience of mental health, so I have a living and breathing passion for supporting people facing mental health challenges. Lived experience is something that you can’t get out of a textbook. That is why I have been in the field for 20 years; I want to pave the way for other people. I started in admin roles in the mental health sector and worked my way up. I have done a lot of advocacy work too.
Starting Karakia Health
I left my last job over a year ago and took a month or two to think about what I wanted to do. Then I found out about the NEIS course, and that is when I found out about Many Rivers. NEIS let us know about the different agencies out in the communities. Colin, a Perth based Many Rivers business coach came to present at NEIS and then he referred me to Michael, who is based in Geraldton WA, so we chat over the phone.
I am also doing a cleaning job, but my main focus is to build clientele in my business so I can work on my business full time. Mental health is my forte, and I am quite comfortable working in this area.
One client I supported faced big challenges when I met her, and we took baby steps together. She always had safety words if she was not comfortable. Now she can go to work, get out of the house, and live her life. She rang me about a month ago to tell me that she has a job, and she is doing great and taking on more shifts. She has such a great personality. Now she works in a shop she meets new people every day. This is something she could not have done when I started working with her.
Working With Many Rivers
Anything that I get stuck on, I contact Michael, and he helps me out. For example, when tax time came, I didn’t know what to do, so he helped me through that. He showed me how to do invoicing and track the money coming in and out of my business.
When I first met Michael, we had a get-to-know-you session which made me feel comfortable. Michael has a lot of experience in his previous roles, so he has the expertise to help me with my business on the spot.
He keeps on encouraging me, and he gives me timeframes and goals. For example, when I had just one client, he would chat to me about what we should aim for within the next two months and how to get there. He would hold me accountable and tell me that he’s going to call me to see how I am making progress on this goal.
We spoke about doing some marketing, and he helped me with my flyers. Then I would go and do some drop-offs and really narrow down my target audience. He encourages me to keep trying and to keep looking for more clients.
He keeps me focused and gives me a lot of challenges that at first were quite daunting, but in hindsight, it has turned out to be such a great thing for me and my business.
Growing my clientele has been my biggest challenge. At the moment, I only have three clients, but that is keeping me busy enough. However, soon I would like to have another three more clients. It has been so difficult to find them. If I grow this business, I can let go of my cleaning work. I really want to focus on my business.
Another challenge is the fact I have lived experience of mental health. I think that people don’t recognise people in the field who have lived experience as being leaders and having a lot to offer.
Success is when the people I am helping no longer need the type of support that I am offering. They can function and move on with their life.
Self-care has been a change that I have learned as a small business owner. I need to balance the admin work to keep my business running while also working with the clients. I need to make sure that I stay up to date and do it thoroughly. There needs to be the right balance of being out in the field working with people and coming home to do all the admin work. There is a lot of work that I do behind closed doors that even my clients don’t know about.
It would be a wonderful experience to be able to employ people. I would like to employ people who have lived experience of mental health challenges because I know the value they have to offer. I would like to give them a chance. However, a lot of people in that situation don’t have the qualification, so they don’t get work. I find that they are the ones that are the most passionate about making a difference in other people’s mental health. I would like to expand my business across WA and train passionate staff with lived experience so that they can go out and help the community.
Thank you Jacqualine
Thank you Jacqualine for sharing your Karakia Health business journey. We look forward to working with you as your business journey continues.
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