Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. This makes it a huge part of our all health but unfortunately, it is not easy to get access to mental health professionals and the taboos related to seeking such help to discourage individuals from getting help. LSSYA, founded by 18-year-old Lidia Solomon, is an online platform that is put in place to make counseling available. Zare Journal Sat with Lidia for our Entrepreneur’s Today series.
ZJ: Tell us about yourself?
Lidia Solomon: I'm 18 years old and a first-year Computer Science student. I'm also the founder and CEO of LSSYA.
ZJ: Tell us more about LSSYA.
Lidia: LSSYA is an online counseling system that connects users with psychologists. We have been giving our services for free on telegram for about a year now to get people comfortable with the concept of online psychotherapy and currently we are getting ready to officially launch our website and business as well.
ZJ: How did you raise funding for the business?
Lidia: We haven't raised that much to be honest. All the money put into the business has been from our pockets.
While I try to set a budget being a student myself, my staff has been very lenient with helping as well. Everyone who works at LSSYA has dedicated their time and money for the sake of the goal which is to help people through our service.
We are currently thinking of making our service free for a specific amount of people for no more than two months since we are trying to do what we can to help during this pandemic. We are also trying to set up fundraising/donations to help us sustain ourselves.
ZJ: What was the most difficult challenge you encountered as a young entrepreneur? Is it perhaps building a business while still in High School?
Lidia: As is common for a lot of start-up businesses, the main obstacle we face is lack of finance. The absence of sufficient finance hinders us from reaching our full potential. Another thing is, of course, starting a business in high school is tough. Although I thought about LSSYA ever since I was in grade 9, I officially started working on making it a business last year in grade 12.
Starting a business in high school was tough as it is and with the national exams being just around the corner, it made it even more difficult. But it didn't matter; as much as I prioritize my education, I also wanted to work on LSSYA. All I had to do is arrange my time to fit both priorities. Sure, there were some inconveniences but it worked out in the end.
ZJ: How many hours a day do you work on Average on LSSYA?
Lidia: Generally, 8 hours a day which is mostly at night. But due to quarantine, I've got relatively more time to focus on my start-up.
ZJ: How has being a teen entrepreneur affected your life?
Lidia: It changed my life for the better. I love that I've been able to start young as it gives me a lot of time to grow and mature myself and my business. It is also a perk as it enables me to adopt current trends and sympathize with our target users.
ZJ: Do you believe there is some sort of formula that you can recommend to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Lidia: There is a recipe for being a successful entrepreneur: it's a mix of many different ingredients. The one ingredient that takes a large space in the pot, I think, is resilience. Also, someone once shared a quote with me, "Dream big, start small, scale fast”, which might apply to other entrepreneurs out there.
ZJ: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Lidia: Steve Jobs. While there are a lot of people who inspired me from here and beyond seas as well, Steve Jobs is my number one inspiration.
ZJ: What business-related books, movies, or documentaries do you recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Lidia: Silicon Valley series. That's what I've in mind. The series is beyond helpful to any entrepreneur. It is like a specific course one needs to take if they aspire to be a successful entrepreneur.
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