Natasha D. Oates is a 2x award-winning therapist, relationship expert, and entrepreneur. She understands the challenges that come with balancing many roles. She is the founder of The UP Company, a 5-star counseling company based in Charlotte, NC. Natasha has been featured by many national publications including Fox, Reader’s Digest, Best Life Magazine, Market Insider, and more. Natasha impacts organizations through conferences, retreats, and consulting services. Natasha has a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University and Gardner-Webb University. Her mission is to create legacies of strong families and generational wealth. She is the founder of The UP Company where she provides therapy for entrepreneurs empowering them to heal themselves, their families, and their communities.
What inspired the start of “The UP Company”?
I wanted to create a place that really cherishes Black women. Our strength and our struggles. A place where they not only could take off the fake smiles and be honest about their emotional pain and challenging relationships, but feel really seen and get the support and strategies to thrive. We provide therapy and relationship coaching geared toward professional Black women who are oftentimes exhausted from taking care of everyone else.
What has been the biggest challenge of running a brand like “The UP Company”?
My greatest challenge was overcoming certain myths like, Black people don’t get therapy. We realized that we faced overcoming real concerns about the weight of mental health diagnoses and care. Historically, African Americans have faced misdiagnosis and unfair treatment. We knew the importance of creating an environment where people felt seen, cared about, and confident in receiving the best support.
How does “The UP Company” impact the community?
Our aim is to help women who are most likely to be overlooked. This is why we help the person who is usually labeled as the glue for their family, usually successful professionally giving a lot of advice and financial support to their family and community. They are the ones who typically do not think about their own needs and feel guilty taking breaks or sharing their own pain. The work we do strengthens not only our clients but with burdens lightened allowing them to better strengthen their family and community. We’ve received National media features from publications such as Market Insider, Best Life Magazine, USA Today, etc. We’ve also received two awards for our work.
Between 2019-2021 we helped the community receive free counseling services through an internship program, influencing other counseling centers to do the same. We partner with The Black Mental Health Symposium to help equip mental health professionals with practices that promote healing in the Black community.
What has been your greatest lesson since launching your business?
Resilience is my greatest lesson. As a small business owner, when challenges come we cannot sit on our hands, we have to get support and take action. I remember early on it was tough. I had given myself one year to get enough clients before I’d have to close the practice. Getting support and having tenacity made all the difference. My faith really helped me overcome the fear I experienced during that time. Whether the challenge was figuring out how to get started or the pandemic, responding to fear with determination, seeking support, and taking action have been key. We are celebrating 5 years strong as an organization.
Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years?
In the next 3-5 years we see ourselves providing services to small businesses and corporations by providing leadership retreats and culturally sensitive counseling services.
What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Take the limits off of what you believe you are able to do. Know that being excellent at your craft is only the beginning, read the best marketing books, and join networks and conferences that give effective strategies for growing your business.
What does being “Pretty and Black Owned” mean to you?
When I think of “pretty and black-owned” I think of Not looking like what you’ve been through. When you see my success. Know that I had to overcome a lot of doubt and disappointments to get here.
Connect with Natasha online
Social Media: @NatashaDOates