Mary MacKenzie – Mary Mackenzie Counselling

Ipswich Business Portraits

Mary is a wonderful counsellor for individuals and couples. She “has a warm and empathetic style. She uses client lead counselling techniques and will meet you where you are, and will help you to get to where you want to be.”

You can reach out to her from her website here:

Ipswich Business Portraits
Tell us a little about what you do for a living?

Individual and Relationship Counselling

Why did you start your business?

End 2019 when I finished my Bachelor of Counselling

What has been the biggest challenge or fear you have had to overcome in business and how did you manage it?

I came from a completely different industry so it was very daunting to start a business in an industry I had never worked in. I felt comfortable in my qualifications and how to be a counsellor, but I didn’t really feel like I knew how all the pieces of the industry all fit together, and who was who. I realise now that mental health care is so immense, and ever changing that no one is an expert on the whole industry, just their sections of it.  A great epiphany for me was when I realised that hardly anyone who is in private practice as a counsellor has the sales and business development background that I do. So in many ways I have an advantage because I am not afraid to put myself out there and promote my business. 

How do you achieve balance between relationships, work and personal needs (or kids, family and time out for yourself)?

It is hard. Because I work with a lot of professional couples, I work evenings and Sundays. So I have become very protective of the time that I do have at home. I am still learning not to commit to things on my days off.  I am very lucky in that my kids are older now and quite independent. Most nights I will get home to a cooked meal by either them or my partner Dave. It means that when I do cook now, I go to that bit of an extra effort because I only do it a couple of times a week. I also love watering and talking to my flowers in Spring. 

How did you prepare yourself to start your business?

After completing my degree, I started taking clients one day a week at City Cave Ipswich, and built from there. I worked two other part time jobs while I was building this up. I was finally able to take the leap and rely on my business for a full time income this year. I opened my practice in Graceville Jan 2021 and things just took off from there. It has been really rewarding to see that happen in a short space of time. 

How do you know when you are ready to do something?

I listen to my body and my gut. It tells me. It is when I feel myself being filled with energy at the thought of something, rather than feeling it being drained. 

What have you put in place as a reminder to nurture your soul?

It sounds cliché, but I discovered a yoga last year and it has allowed me to really connect with my body in a way I haven’t before. It has been really good for me.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

Many of the clients that I worked with during my Uni placement stayed with me even once they had to start paying. This was really good for my confidence. I also joined a local networking group ( BNI Accelerate) that promotes business referrals within the network. Friends would also refer people to me. I had one friend refer so many of her friends to me that I recently had to decline to go to her 50th.  I had counselled at least four of the guests that would be going. So to keep things comfortable for them I didn’t go to the party. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

Most days I get to have a slow start and come to my rooms at about 10 am. I will typically see about 5 or 6 clients in a day, but there are often gaps where I do notes and admin in between clients. So often don’t finish until 7pm, sometimes later. 

What do you love most about what you do?

I love seeing the energy that radiates from my clients when they recognise their personal growth. I also love seeing couples find new connections and intimacy, especially when they had thought they couldn’t get it back. 

Who are your biggest role models or influencers that have impacted your career?

Hmmm…. I haven’t really thought about that before. 

Ipswich Business Portraits

Tell us something you we may not know about you already?

I went to a tiny one teacher primary school in the country. By the time I was in grade 7 there was only 7 kids in the whole school. There were no other girls in my year. It taught me how to find connection with others, even  if it at first it seems there is nothing in common. 

Any words of wisdom to those thinking of taking the leap?

I used to be in awe of other people and their courage to start a business. But once I was trained, and I had a sense of direction, it just seem like the natural next step.

Once the passion is there the obstacles don’t seem so high. 

How has working with Amanda as your photographer contributed to your business?

I have never had professional photos done before. The prints that Amanda has done for me make me feel professional. I feel like I am ready to take my brand to the next level and that I can do it with confidence. I love how they are really recognisable as me. I have seen other head shots done, where the person looks like someone they are not. That defeats the purpose as far as I am concerned. 

Who are you listening to right now?

My clients. Lol. My job is literally to listen to people all day. So I am not really one to listen to podcasts. But I do go sleep with an audible book at night. It helps me switch off. 

Ipswich Business Portraits
What are your values?

To be genuine. Reliable. Open minded. Trustworthy.

What’s next for you and your business?

I’d love to take on the room next door to me in Graceville so that I can start doing groups and workshops. Watch this space in 2022!

Favourite movie?

I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. 

Hi there! I’m Amanda Waschevski

I AM A HEADSHOT AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN IPSWICH, QLD. I help people be themselves in front a camera.

Amanda Waschevski, Ipswich Portraitist