“Know what you know, what you don’t know, and who knows what you don’t.”

That was one of 10 tips that Entrepreneur gave to first-time business owners. It was also a lesson that Clinical Psychologist Steven Nakisher learned after creating his second and most successful business, the Center for Personal Development.

(Photo Courtesy of Steven Nakisher)

(Photo Courtesy of Steven Nakisher)

“Right after graduate school I decided I was going to go into practice for myself. I hung out my shingle, and I was going to start my own practice. After six months of an absolute complete failure, I [used my] training in psychology [to confirm that] people don’t do great things alone. I opened the Center for Personal Development. The idea was to [find] a group of talented psychologists with their own expertise, and create a center that helps people get the best assessment and treatment as possible.”

CPD was founded in 1998, and in a year and a half, over 25 psychologists came aboard. Although he’s still a licensed clinical psychologist, he didn’t stop there. He also partnered with his husband to create a gourmet tea company Talbott Teas, which was later sold to Jamba Juice. He’s now a strategic partner in the tech organization Bellwether Creation Company.

“I came from a family of entrepreneurs, and my father is an entrepreneur,” said Nakisher. “I got a kitchen table M.B.A.. I learned business at dinner while talking to my father about his business.”

His actual degrees include a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and a Psy.D., from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

“Psychology is useful in any field. Creating businesses is a hobby for me.”

He summarizes his role as helping to “grow the people side” of what specialists do to make a successful business. No matter the degree field, he has advice for students and graduates on finding a job.

“The first thing I recommend is networking and getting a mentor. We can’t do great things alone. We do great things together. The second thing is not to be afraid to take risks. I’ve talked to so many people who took a safe job and, unfortunately, some of my peers are still in those jobs and they’re not happy. I know it’s cliche to say it, but when you focus on what you love and become an expert, that’s where I think success happens.”

Shamontiel L. Vaughn is a professional journalist who has work featured in AXS, Yahoo!, Chicago Defender and Chicago Tribune. She’s been an Examiner since 2009 and currently writes about 10 categories on Examiner.com. c