We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawanda Williams-Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shawanda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?

Starting my own business came from necessity. My family experienced a pretty traumatic event and when looking for psychological resources in my community, I found there weren’t any. Secondary to the event, I needed the freedom to take time off from work, provide care for my children, and just to grieve and heal. So, when starting my psychological practice on the northwest side of Houston, I already knew there was a need, a niche, and that it would be beneficial to me and my family. My career goals at the time did not include independent practice or being a business owner. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but it made sense and was the cleared path at the time. Once I began the process, I recognized that it wasn’t as overwhelming as I’d thought and that I was actually good at it. I started off part-time, with a very slim budget and it grew rapidly.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

As a psychologist, I have never taken one single business course. So psychologists who practice independently really learn from each other, and being that we are in the helping profession, business is probably not our forte. But, and I know how to do research. So, my practice has been successful because I’ve learned from my mistakes and recognized the benefit of constructive criticism and learning from others. It in no way has been an easy course, and I have had to pivot and change business models at least three times in the last 13 years. But it’s always been about growth and learning to work smarter not harder. Some of the challenges have been, insurance reimbursement, learning to work within managed-care, juggling being an administrator and a clinician; as well as having a family. When the Affordable Healthcare Act initiated, it changed the game completely and was really one of my biggest challenges. Thus, I made the decision to change or modify payor sources and downsized the practice. It actually has been one of my best decisions to date. So now, I contract my work to 3rd party payouts as opposed to seeing individual patients for insurance reimbursement. I primarily provide neuropsychological services for forensic settings/reasons and work with attorneys, state agencies, disability services and independent medical evaluators. With this business model, I can focus more on practical, clinical work rather than administrative duties. This way, the patients and clients can get the most ethical and competent work without the distraction of any red tape.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I like to eat! So, the first stop on any given day would be The Breakfast Klub on Alabama. Good food, good atmosphere. I also think Houston has a lot to offer in terms of art and diversity, so a walking or bike tour of downtown Houston would showcase both those characteristics of the city. Miller Outdoor Theater is a must. My husband is a food truck owner (Coach’s Crawfish) and he knows many of the places for good eats. So I think a food truck tour including the Funnel Bar, Husky Sno, Twisted Grilled Chreese, and Freedman’s Farmers Market would be great. Lastly, taking in a professional sporting event like the Texans or the Rockets game would definitely be on the itinerary.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Without wavering, I would say that my husband, Traevis Anderson, was instrumental in helping me start the practice. He has always been supportive and eventhough we were both apprehensive about investing money and going from a full-time to part-time salary, he never said no and picked up the slack where needed. He also acted as maintenance, security, decorator, and moving guy with his truck every time he was needed.

One of my best friends from undergraduate days at Dillard University, Antonia West- Moore, MSW (Higher Grounds Counseling) was also very helpful in all the logistics of insurance billing, clearing houses, and the required documentation and paperwork for the start up. So shout out to her. My friend and sorority sister, Dr. Paula Moore-Wilson, was also there at every turn reassuring me and sending me referrals.

Website: www.neuropsych-associates.com

Instagram: neuropsych_assocs

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