By - Alina Fridman
Dr. Karla Aguilu is a clinical psychologist living and working in Florida. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she was a very anxious and shy child. She would not talk to many people and, although never diagnosed, believes she was probably suffering from Selective Mutism which is an anxiety-related disorder.
When Karla was 11 years old, her parents divorced, and her mother went back to work for the department of children and family in PR. Hearing her mother talk about her work and attending some activities for children in foster care inspired Karla to want to help others. She finished her BA in PR and decided to move to Fort Lauderdale to get her Masters and Doctorate Degrees. Due to Karla’s anxiety, her mother and sisters, whom she would heavily rely on for many things, were very concerned about Karla moving out on her own.
For Karla, moving out of state has been one of the biggest, but also most satisfying, experience she has ever had. She had to become fluent in English which meant getting out of her comfort zone and start talking to strangers in order to practice the language. Boy was that difficult! But she knew she had push herself and move past her comfort zone if she wanted to be successful. Karla found it hard to make friends because of her anxiety. She found that practicing what she would say to people, helped her. After graduating, Karla landed an internship in Los Angeles, CA. That meant having to leave her comfort zone again and the friends that she had worked hard to make to go and start all over again.
For many reasons through the years Karla has had to start over quite a few times. She tried to start a private practice three times before finally opening one seven years ago. Her life was on track. She had a successful practice and marriage until the marriage ended in divorce. She kept working and her practice going. And then COVID-19 hit. Karla has had to face another big challenge with the pandemic and now social distancing. Although she is not tech-savvy, she had to convert my practice into full Telehealth practice. During this time, she also had several internal office issues and has been dealing with insurance company challenges. Now, eight months in the pandemic, Karla has made it work. She is now running a successful Telehealth practice and is working towards keeping it that way.
Dr. Karla Aguilu currently provides psychotherapy services in English and Spanish to children, adolescents, adults, and families. She is caring and her priority is for patients to not feel alone.
We asked Dr. Karla Aguilu:
What do you do for encouragement or to stay motivated?
I talk to the people that love me, I journal, pray, and have my own therapist. Also try to work out frequently.
What is the most difficult thing about building a business from scratch?
Having your own business knowing that my entire financial well being depends only on me.
Who inspired you and why?
My mom is absolutely my biggest inspiration. She was a photographer when I was a kid, raising 2 girls 13 months apart, and running a mom-blog that turned into her current full time bread-winning business. She’s smart and determined, and always can figure out how to achieve anything she wants.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting their own business?
Go follow your dreams. Create a plan and find supportive people. Remember you WILL have challenges but you can overcome them.
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with your personal life?
I make sure I take vacations as well as take time to spend with family, my boyfriend, and friends. It has not been easy. I would say is a work in progress.
What impact do you want to have in the world or change you want to see or make happen?
I want to be able to help others feel at peace, mentally balanced/heathy, and empowered.
What habits do you practice that help make you successful?
Journaling, praying, monthly therapist appointments. Also going for walks and mindfulness.
What type of mindset do you have?
I can overcome obstacles. I need to know what I want and create a plan.
How did you distinguish yours: I am caring and positive. I have the attitude of ‘we can do this’.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You got this. Remember why you got into this. Trust but verify!
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