“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.
“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