Meet Jessica from Hopscotch & Harmony


Jessica is the Director and Principal Psychologist of Hopscotch & Harmony, a psychology practice in Werribee. Hopscotch & Harmony has skilled clinicians that cater for a wide range of mental health care needs. Now that Hopscotch & Harmony is well-established and thriving, Jessica is able to focus on her passion which is to nurture the parent–child relationship.

Jessica works closely with parents who seek to understand their child and be calmer parents. She teaches respectful, developmentally appropriate ways to communicate with children that promotes cooperation and minimises defiance.

Tell us about your business

Hopscotch & Harmony is a child, teen and adult psychology practice that was established in 2013 in response to, and support of, the over-burdened public child mental health service in Melbourne’s west. Since then it has grown in leaps and bounds and now has a team of ten psychologists, a dietitian and three administrative team members.

We provide assessment and counselling to individuals in our Werribee, Williamstown, and (soon-to-be) Point Cook based practices, as well as in out-reach school services to improve social, emotional and behavioural functioning. Our dietitian also provides paediatric nutritional support.

Why did you start your own business?

As I developed professionally and personally over the years, my head filled with ideas and dreams of the work I could do and the difference I might be able to make. I knew that my aspiration to help as many people in the community as possible could only be realised by carving a path for myself that no one else could carve for me.

What does being a business owner mean to you?

It means being able to live my best life and serving the people that I know in my heart I can best serve.

What is one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Accepting that the ups and downs are normal. It won’t always be smooth sailing, and that’s OK because challenges and overcoming adversity is what helps us grow.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Curl up with a good book, listen to podcasts, swim, and play board games with my family

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful woman in business?

  1. Assertiveness – knowing how to keep strong boundaries and be assertive is a core skill. Often women put the needs of others before their own and this can result in stress and overwhelm if trying to accommodate the needs of everyone else.
  2. Mindset – believing that it’s OK to run a business that works for you. That it’s OK to charge what you are worth and to be in a position to provide well for your family.
  3. Financials – All business people need to have a good understanding of the numbers. Outsource this function to a bookkeeper and accountant but you need to be an active participant in financial discussions as you are the decision maker in your business.

What fears have you faced in business? Have you overcome it/them? How do you manage fear?

As my business started to develop I had to make some changes to my business model. This was very scary as I worried that the decisions I needed to make might not please some people. I had always been very accommodating and shifting away from this was tough. Sometimes it continues to be a challenge but I have found that much of my worry is generally unfounded. Accepting that it is impossible to make everyone happy has been an important mindset shift.

What makes you happy?

Spending time with my family.

Have you had to make any sacrifices whilst running your business? If so, what are they?

No, I don’t think I have made sacrifices. I love what I do and this work energises me. For sure I work extremely long hours at times (often when everyone else is sleeping) but having my own business is a choice and one I am grateful to have made. Spending this time on my work is satisfying and is an investment in the work I do today will pay off tomorrow.

Where do you see yourself and your business in 2-5 years?

I am launching a new, exciting venture very soon that will help me reach more mums and dads to help them parent from a calmer, more connected place. Supporting parents is the work that truly brings me joy.

What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favourite book?)

I love Brene Brown’s work in helping embrace our vulnerability and encouraging us to lean into discomfort. As a business owner, psychologist and parent, it’s liberating (albeit terrifying) to try to embrace this vulnerability and discomfort.

Brene Brown’s – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

How do you measure your success in business?

Am I feeling satisfied, joyful and energised? If so, then I am being successful in my business. Are the data and statistics telling me we are helping more individuals and that my team are happy? If so, then I am being successful in my business.

Where is your dream destination to go for a holiday and why?

Anywhere with warm weather, a gorgeous beach and someone else to cook.

What is your favourite inspirational quote you would like to share with other WBS members?

“Strive for progress, not perfection” This is something I regularly have to remind myself of so I don’t get stuck.

What are your top 5 business tips?

1. Learn from those who are a few years ahead in their business of where you want to be in yours. This may see you join a mastermind group or invest in a business coach.

2. Plan, plan, plan. Quarterly plans addressing the various aspects of your business keep you focused and help you get the important things done without unintentionally neglecting any area of your business.

3. Consult with your team and get their buy-in, but ultimately this is your business and you are the one who will be there for the long haul. Make decisions based on what you want.

4. Step outside your comfort zone. This is where the learning and growth happens. However, if you venture too far away from your comfort zone you will reach a place of panic and overwhelm – so take care and reflect often.

5. Dream big – you just never know what might happen.

Why did you become a WBS Member?

I love talking with women who are equally as passionate as I am about their businesses. It’s wonderful to connect with other women so we can support each other through challenges as well as celebrate triumphs together.

Connect with Jessica

Jessica Cleary

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