Episode 214 - Nicole Clark: Social Work Entrepreneurship

Monday, April 24, 2017, 7:42:04 AM

Image of Nicole Clark, LMSW

In this episode, our guest Nicole Clark, LMSW, describes her journey from agency practitioner to self-employed, independent consultant. Ms. Clark discusses how she embraced the entrepreneurial spirit, moved forward, and eventually made a headlong leap into beginning her own business.

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Average Rating: 4.7 stars (3 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  social work entrepreneurship and innovation, Thursday, April 19, 2018

By Michael Palazza :

First, I would like to thank Nicole Clark for sharing her insights about the field in this podcast and sharing her knowledge and experience about Social Work. I felt a connection to this podcast because Nicole provided a voice for those who aspire to do more than just the traditional case worker role. She outlines her journey as an agency practitioner to an independent and self motivated consultant full of passion and creativity. I liked how Nicole stated you need to fid your value set and expand on that. Meaning, share your insights through blogs and social media, connect with mentors who share the same passions and ideals as yourself who will take you to the next level and always push yourself to achieve your goals.

It can be scary leaving a set routine and taking a leap of faith to pursue a new direction, but it comes down to a high risk and high reward philosophy. Social Work cannot be placed in a box and our reality is only as large as our dreams can take us. In addition, Nicole stated find a form of structure that works for you and utilize it to stay on track and build self discipline. That statement resonated with me as I have struggled throughout my lifetime to develop a daily routine or structure that keeps me on track and organized. Furthermore, Nicole Clark provides an inspiration to us all in recognizing that our dreams can become a reality, through hard work, motivation and the faith to step out and grow into the leaders we are meant to be.

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Average Rating: 5stars  social work entrepreneurship, Saturday, February 10, 2018

By UBMak :

As someone who has a long-term plan of establishing a mental health private practice, this podcast was of particular interest to me. The interview was insightful in learning that Ms. Clark’s entrepreneurship was not always a clear path. Instead, her business gradually evolved, as Ms. Clark continued to maintain her curiosity about areas of social work that she felt passionate about. These interests led to opportunities for Ms. Clark to develop workshops and participate in speaking engagements that focused on these varied topics. Within a few years, Ms. Clark would leave her conventional agency position to start her own consulting business.

An inspiring lesson to be learned from this episode is that with some creative thinking, curiosity, patience, and bravery, social work can provide a variety of ways to practice within the field. As a future social work practitioner, I don’t have to follow the same path as many others have. It is exciting to know that there are those who have done what Ms. Clark has achieved, which empowers me to forge my own path as well.

For many people, it is common knowledge that striking out on one’s own poses risks, especially when it comes to establishing an independent business. Ms. Clark mentioned that self-care was an important consideration when starting an independent private practice. However, I would be curious to hear more about Ms. Clark’s emotional journey during her business’ development. What was the emotional toll it took on her while spending after work hours nurturing her interests, expertise, and networks? Ms. Clark also mentioned that managing her day job while developing her new business became increasingly difficult. In what specific ways did this difficulty affect her day job performance? How did having to maintain a day job affect the quality of the work she was developing? I would certainly be very interested to hear more about these facets of her experience.

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Average Rating: 5stars  nicole clark: social work entrepreneurship, Sunday, February 04, 2018

By William Walsh :

This was an insightful and important discussion. While I'm optimistic about the prospect of working with an agency, the idea of working as an independent practitioner tends to excite me a bit more. To me, having such a wide range of choices about the kind of work I would like to do is one of the great strengths of the profession, and I don't take the possibility to reinvent myself professionally for granted. Looking forward, the only concern I have is that my lack of experience may be speaking optimism into my void of ignorance, but since there is no way to know exactly how I will respond to being in what I consider my ideal position, I can only depend upon the experiences of others for insight. For that reason, I think it's wonderful that workers in the field are willing to share their experiences with current students.

I found it interesting that Ms. Clark was able to synthesize her varied interests into the scope of one position. I also appreciated the emphasis Mr. Clark placed on the various methods of networking she uses in her work. It is perhaps not in line with the temperament of those in the field to indulge in self-promotion, but such activity becomes a necessary evil for anyone who wants their practice to survive.

Finally, I appreciate that Ms. Clark gives some sound warning about taking on projects that aren't sustainable financially. I was fortunate to have been offered a position for after I graduate that will afford the necessary supervision to attain my desired licensure. That prospect excites not only because I'll get to do the associated work, but also because I'll have a sort of buffer in the professional world before attempting to strike out on my own. Not that I doubt my ability, but I'm aware of the fact that I know quite little about the finer details entrepreneurship, and proper preparation will be necessary for success.

Overall, this was an excellent discussion for anyone considering entrepreneurship in social work.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.