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Erin Wiley’s Business Takes Root and Grows with Padgett

Erin Wiley was a professional musical theatre actress for years, but finally decided it was time to find a new role: as a counselor and business owner. “After I raised my kids, I was looking for a meaningful second career,” Erin says. “I always had an interest in psychology, so I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in counseling and open a private practice.”

When she first started her practice, known as The Willow Center, Erin was working alone in a 150 square foot office. “I had never had a solo business before, so I was really scared and didn’t know if I could make it work,” she says. But Erin knew the importance of playing to her strengths and asking for help, so she turned to Tom and Amy Friedel and Padgett Business Services of Toledo.

“I knew I needed to pay people to help me do the things I am not skilled at. I am a people person, not a paperwork or details or numbers person,” she says. “Working with Tom freed me up to never think about financials. I never have to worry about it. Tom makes sure that it all gets taken care of.”

With Padgett by her side, business began to take root. Within three months of starting her business, Erin had to hire more staff, and only three months after that, she and her team moved into a space ten times the size of her original office. Her team continued to grow rapidly, and only six months into her two-year lease, they had again outgrown the new space. “I felt like we were stuck and couldn’t grow,” Erin says.

After being advised by a colleague to move into a bigger space anyway, Erin decided to go out on a limb and take the jump. “I was terrified to pay two leases for 14 months, but it was a huge shift in my thinking,” she says. “Sometimes you make the short-term sacrifice to move forward. Tom was always so encouraging about my business growth. It was really encouraging to have him tell me how impressed he was with us and our numbers and our growth.”

That growth didn’t come without some cost—and some lessons learned. “Until March of 2020, I never took breaks, ever,” Erin says. “I worked nights and weekends all the time. That was the biggest lesson I learned from COVID, that slowing down will not ruin your business as long as you keep working. Having breaks helps set the pace for a balanced life, which makes you more peaceful, less reactive and happier, which makes you a better leader.”

Now, Erin puts that leadership into practice, with her team of 33 therapists between her two locations. She shares her knowledge through public speaking engagements and news interviews. She is also part of a mentoring group of 7-figure practice owners from across the U.S. “We meet to sharpen each other and help each other as we all pursue our common ultimate goal, which is to bring quality mental health services to as many people in our communities as possible,” Erin says. “I think having meaningful relationships is one of the most important things, and very few of us have the knowledge and skills to really make those happen.”

One relationship that’s meaningful to Erin is her partnership with Padgett. “I really appreciate the relationship I have with Tom, and my husband has with Tom, as he does our personal taxes as well,” she says. “He was the only person I went to. Tom is a significant member of our community, and I really wanted to support a local smaller business rather than going with some random person who wasn’t really in my town. I knew he was an entrepreneur, and it was significant to me that he had hands-on business experience.”

“One thing I really appreciate about Padgett is how my local office works as a team,” she adds. “There’s a different person for everything, and they’re always prompt and responsive. I trust them as a team. They’ve never failed me.”

Erin’s advice to other business owners? “You just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep making the next best decisions for your business, and that’ll add up,” she says. “I never—even though I wanted a large practice—I never envisioned saying ‘millions.’ That was a word that never crossed my mind, and here we are. I think the best investment is to put time (which is money) into good, like-minded people who will add to the growth and success of your business.”

If you need a like-minded partner to help you with your business’s finances, Padgett has a nationwide network of accountants and tax professionals. Padgett office owners have the same small business worries and experiences their clients do. You can find a business advisor who is also a business owner, so they understand you, your business, and your community. Find an office near you today!

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