Melissa J. McLean, MA, LPC, ACS is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Professional Coach who received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2002 and subsequently received her Master’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Counseling in 2005. She is the owner of Morning Joy Counseling, LLC, a multi-clinician group practice with its main location in Turnersville, New Jersey. In addition to managing Morning Joy Counseling, LLC, Melissa also helps other professionals move beyond the gap between visualizing their dreams and their reality of having a successful and fulfilling business!
Additionally, Melissa provides workshops for groups and organizations in the areas of mental health and personal and professional growth. Passionate about helping others reach their goals, Melissa opened Morning Joy Counseling, LLC in 2012 out of the desire to help people recognize that there is a new opportunity to heal and experience joy again, each and every day. Though she began as a solo practitioner, Melissa noticed an increased amount of people seeking counseling. This need in the community helped drive her decision to expand the practice by bringing on additional clinicians who share her passion for walking alongside others on their journey.
Prior to starting Morning Joy Counseling, LLC, Melissa worked as a therapist and director and has helped children, adolescents, and adults via individual, couples, and family therapy. She has worked in a variety of settings including group and foster home programs, a psychiatric hospital, and outpatient settings; these experiences have allowed her to learn, grow, and become a bigger asset to people in need. Melissa has also worked with the CARES Institute at Rowan University for several years where she provided Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) to children and families, as well as trained and provided consultation to other therapists throughout the state of New Jersey in TF-CBT.
Moving forward, Melissa will continue to help others lead a successful well-balanced life through oversight of her group practice, providing workshops to the community and organizations, and empowering other business professionals. This will continue to occur within the immediate community and beyond.
Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?
You are welcome and thank you for having me. My name is Melissa Joy McLean and I am a proud mama of two young children who, for sure, keep me on my toes and contribute to me striving to be a better person daily. In addition to being a mom, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Professional Coach that owns and runs a multi-clinician private practice as well as a coaching business.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I would dare say that my journey began from when I was in grade school. Oftentimes, I encourage people to reflect on what brought them joy in their younger years, or what they tended to gravitate towards. For me, it was always about helping others either as a mediator with my friends or giving an ear. Later it turned into volunteering for support hotlines and finding joy in helping others.
In college, I wanted to help people through medicine but quickly recognized that I was more passionate about helping people address issues related to their mental health. That’s when I made the decision to continue down a path that would lead me to attain my Master’s Degree, then my license to practice independently. I worked in many different settings with multiple populations after that, which contributed to my experience in the field.
An entrepreneur and creative at heart, as a young adult, I was simultaneously involved in the world of acting. I, however, reached a point in life where I decided to utilize my degree to satisfy my desire to help others, exercise my entrepreneurial muscles, and interject creativity. That was the point when I opened Morning Joy Counseling in the summer of 2012 as a solo practitioner with the desire to help others live out a successful, well-balanced life.
I enjoyed helping others on their journey and came to a point where there were more people reaching out than I could individually work with. Because of that, along with a life transition, early in 2018, I took a leap of faith and made the decision to expand and add other like-minded professionals to assist with my mission of helping others. I was a newly single mother of two kiddos under three embarking on a professional journey that would not only be life-changing for myself, but for all those who would be connected.
Since the expansion, I opened a second location to help expand accessibility for additional areas. Once the pandemic hit in the Spring of 2020, I shifted the practice to 100% telehealth. At this time, we offer a hybrid of in-office and telehealth sessions and continue to walk alongside people in need.
During my journey, I became a certified professional coach early in my career and have honed into helping other business owners. I especially find joy in helping solo practice owners looking to grow a group practice because it gives me the ability to pour my knowledge and experience of growing a group practice into others.
Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?
I have not made significant changes to my core business model but have made adjustments along the way as needed. I think that it’s important to regularly take a step back and evaluate what is and is not working in order to make the appropriate adjustments to keep moving forward in growing a successful business.
Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?
Throughout my life, I have had both personal and professional mentors that have helped me experience growth. I have benefited from both because I believe that having mentors, who I trust, has helped hold the vision for me at times when it may have become cloudy for me, as well as being a source of accountability for me to make things happen.
What outlets do use for marketing?
The current outlets that I use for marketing include platforms specific to mental health along with social media our website, networking, and event participation.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I’m glad that this question is asked because I think that having a support network as a business owner is so important. I have an excellent personal support network. I also seek out groups that support business owners and am currently a part of a small group that meets on a regular basis.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
I will say that the best piece of advice that I received was from my business coach who told me to essentially not be afraid to outsource because I cannot do it all and expect to grow. When I started to listen to that advice and outsource more, I have been able to focus on higher-level tasks and continue to grow in various areas of my life.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
This is something that I had to work on over time. I admit that, for so long, I have been that person who was married to their work. Growing up, messages of working hard was instilled within me, along with wanting a sense of independence.
There came a point, especially after having children, where I recognized that I, not only wanted but needed to have a healthier work/life balance. I use my planner/master schedule to not only plan work items, but to also plan items for my personal life, including self-care! I tell people often that it’s okay to schedule time for ourselves. This is helpful for me because I run off of my schedule and I can take one glance to see if it’s becoming out of balance!
I additionally had started setting more boundaries around when I work. Being your own boss absolutely has its perks, but one of the downsides for me was falling into the trap of working around the clock. I had to also undergo a mindset shift and realize that things would not fall apart if I stopped working. I wonder how many other entrepreneurs have fallen into that same trap?
Name a seminal point in your career so far?
I alluded to it previously, but I would say that the seminal point in my career as it relates to my practice was when I decided to take a leap of faith and add my first clinician in 2018, then take another leap of faith and expand to a second office location in 2019. I did all of that while going through a major life transition personally, but with support was able to walk in what I was purposed to do. That decision brought me from being the owner of solo private practice to the owner of a now 17-clinician group practice.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Ultimate career satisfaction is feeling that I am living in my purpose and seeing how my obedience to that call is having a positive impact on others around me. Another large sense of satisfaction comes from having a team of like-minded colleagues who embrace my vision of walking alongside others and helping them live out well-balanced, successful lives! It’s the thought that many more people are able to be touched beyond myself.
Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?
I admire the work of Brene Brown because she is such an inspiration and is not afraid to focus on the internal qualities it takes to become a great leader. Something that sticks out for me is when she says, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” There have been so many times as an entrepreneur where I had to be vulnerable and trust the process which, in turn, has helped me to grow as a person.
How do you define your own success?
Aside from business growth, I primarily define my own success by the positive feedback that I have received from others, whether it be clients I work with, colleagues, etc. Oftentimes when the feedback aligns with the goals I’m trying to accomplish, it lets me know that I am on the right path and continuing to live what has been purposed for my life.
Finally, what can we expect from you this year?
I am a firm believer in holistic wellness in mind body and spirit. Because of this, I tend to attach myself to providing different avenues to touch people. This year, you can expect more offerings from Morning Joy Counseling by way of events and workshops. Business owners can also expect to see more offerings on how to grow a group practice. In order to stay up-to-date with all that will be happening, my social media pages will be the place to be.