The social enterprise landscape might be less constrained by individuals who have ideas and want to launch their own businesses, and more by those who actually have the skills to run and scale these businesses. So developing these essential skills early on could be very valuable.
Psychreg’s managing director Dennis Relojo-Howell shares his journey.
Please tell us about yourself?
I’m the founder and managing director of Psychreg, a media company that focuses on psychology, mental health, and wellness. At Psychreg, we host international conferences and manage the academic journal Psychreg Journal of Psychology. We also have a thriving YouTube channel where we feature interesting people within the field of psychology and allied fields.
So how did Psychreg start?
The story of Psychreg is tied in with my experience as a blogger. I have been blogging for 15 years now; I started with a travel blog before I transitioned into a mental health blog, which is Psychreg. While I was studying psychology at university, the idea of launching a mental health platform came to me.
What makes Psychreg stand out?
The internet is awash with online publications, but what makes us unique is our approach. Aside from publishing layman-friendly articles, we aim to empower people by publishing mental health stories. We also offer useful resources, which include the Psychreg Index and the Gratis Index. And, more importantly, we’d like to be at the forefront of mental health initiatives such as the Psychreg Resilience Project (PReP).
What challenges did you find at the beginning of your journey and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest obstacles to launching a business is funding. It isn’t always easy to get the money you require, but there are numerous options. I found it particularly difficult to sustain Psychreg during the first three years, especially the events that I hosted. But through doing my due diligence and research, I discovered ways on how I could generate revenue with Psychreg. I also struggled (and still struggling) with finding the right people to be part of our team.
How do you collaborate with brands, and which kind of brands do you really like working with?
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn have been instrumental in connecting me with brands and personalities. Also, the people that engage in our Twitter and Facebook accounts allow me to connect with people I could potentially interview for my YouTube channel. And of course, attending events are also effective in fostering connections not just with brands but also with other entrepreneurs.
I like working with innovative brands that are looking for ways on how we can live more fulfilling lives.
What’s the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
In my case, I’d say time management. Psychreg is a start-up company, so even though I have a small team that I can rely on, I have to do many things on my own. In fact, I even designed Psychreg’s website myself. And aside from managing Psychreg, I’m also doing my PhD, so that also takes much of my time.
Tell us about your PhD project.
It’s going to take creative ideas, new strategies, and innovative solutions to confront the ongoing mental health crisis we face across the globe. That challenge formed the impetus of my research project, which examines the viability of a blog-based resilience intervention aimed at young people.
As the founder and managing director of Psychreg, my aim is to leverage digital spaces to promote positive mental health.
Why are you designing a blog-based resilience intervention?
I want to share a story of resilience and grit (not of pity and victimhood) – along with transforming a hobby into a business.
I spent my formative years in a slum in Manila, in the Philippines – there was no running water, no electricity, not even a toilet. I now run my own business; I turned my blog into a company and I’m now earning enough to live comfortably, simply from blogging.
I want to combine these two things – blogging and resilience – into a platform that could help empower young people.
What do you most enjoy about working for yourself?
Aside from the obvious: I have room for flexibility and my holiday is virtually unlimited. For instance, I just spent three weeks in the Philippines last month. Sure, I worked a little, but mostly I just relaxed and enjoyed myself. How many corporate jobs let you take three weeks or more off in a row?
Working for myself, allows me to measure my progress in terms that really matter, like audiences built, products created, and profits earned instead of vague ‘corporate world’ terms like being a ‘team player’.
When you’re having a difficult time, what helps you?
I’m an introvert; I’m drawn to solitary activities. One of my de-stressing outlets is gardening. I also like to do boot sales.
Social support is a crucial component of positive mental health. I’m blessed to have my husband and family; they’re my anchors.
What other mental health publications do you check out regularly?
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur?
To be successful, an entrepreneur must be resilient. Any attitude that runs along the lines of ‘that’s difficult’ or ‘that not possible’ should be reframed as a challenge to be proven wrong.
Entrepreneurs must then be prepared to persevere and execute with their original visions.