Creators & Entrepreneurs
a closer look into creativity & business.
Perfectly Unbalanced: Therapeutic and community based program for adults.
Today I had the pleasure of taking a seat with Loren. I met Loren a few years back when we both were interning for Girls Incorporated and working with young girls on life, leadership, preventing adolescent pregnancy, and STEM careers. Over the years we stayed in touch through social media and have worked together on different things. I love to see people flourishing but y’all know I love my girl bosses. Let’s get into it.
Hey Loren! First and foremost thanks for having a virtual seat with me! Your organization Perfectly Unbalanced is all about providing information and resources for adults. This often includes discussions based on adulting, sexual health awareness, mental health awareness, self care, and so much more. You’re doing a great thing for the community. Myself and my readers love our girl and guy bosses who strive to make a change!
Me: Tell us a little about yourself and your inspiration behind all that you do. What made you start Perfectly Unbalanced?
Loren: Currently I am a graduate student at Temple University studying Counseling Psych so I can obtain my LPC license so that I can one day open up a private practice and expand ‘Perfectly Unbalanced’ as a private practice. My inspiration behind it was to create a small black owned business, a small start up of what I want to do long term, which is to be a Doctor of Sex, a Sexologist. I do plan to go back to get my PhD but as of right now I’m just focusing on getting my licensure as a LPC. Perfectly Unbalanced like I said is a start, a way to allow the community to understand what I want to do, what to expect, and I personally started it up for myself to learn how to network, to learn how to reach out to different entrepreneurs, different people in the social services and medical fields that I can learn from; also seeking mentors that can help me or give me knowledge that I’m not going to receive at Temple University such as owning a business or how to structure certain aspects of being a counselor and owning a business and how to reach different people, what’s the demographics that we need to target due to lack of education, etc..
So I started Perfectly Unbalanced as an awareness program, and it’s a therapeutic and community based program for adults and I’m focusing on adults because as adults we kind of forget that we also need outlets and seek therapeutic professionals or groups/activities like children do. For some reason we think as adults we’re supposed to have it all together and that’s completely not right. I was so for teaching children, I love children as well but we have so many programs that are targeted towards children and we have so many programs to uplift our children which is great but somehow when they turn into adults we kind of just drift away. We think that we’ve impacted their lives so well that they no longer need assistance and that’s a lie.
As adults we have children that look up to us so if we have adults that are not efficient or advanced in understanding their mental and physical health, etc. enough to be able to lead and teach the children then we’re actually failing our children.
We have to make sure that we build our children and once our children become adults that we continue to make sure that they are stable. That’s what Perfectly Unbalanced stands for, bringing that therapeutic and community based involvement together for adults to make sure that we continue to function and we have some form of insight.
Me: Educating people on mental health and providing the resources for people to learn and be involved in the conversations that take place is awesome. What are your plans with it and where can we find more information?
Loren: You guys can find more information on Perfectly Unbalanced page on Facebook and our Instagram page. We are creating a landing website right now due to the adult scholarship fund application being launched in the Spring, so once that scholarship application is created the website will be launched as well. We’re super excited about that and that should be done within the next 2 or 3 months.
Me: I’ve seen that Perfectly Unbalanced provides volunteer opportunities. Can you tell us some more about that and some examples of the volunteer work you guys have already done?
Loren: Yes, we do provide volunteer opportunities and right now we go to the Hub of Hope which is located in Center City, it’s an old subway stop. It’s run by Project Home, the chefs are Muslims who serve, they’re there Monday-Friday and they serve from 3pm-5pm. They look for volunteers every week, the link is in my bio on Instagram for Perfectly Unbalanced and my personal bio as well where you can sign up for the days that we (Perfectly Unbalanced) goes. I highly encourage that if you have a younger sibling or a child that is 10 years or older that you bring them with you, it’s a good experience for everyone. We set up meals, serve the community, and clean up afterwards. It gives you the opportunity to not only speak and learn from individuals who come from different backgrounds but you also get to build and it makes you humble. You’re not only serving the community but giving back as well, it gives you some form of comfort to know that you have the ability to not be a selfish person. We go to the Hub of Hope every 4th Saturday. The link is in my bio and the days for February are already posted. The more volunteers the better, and if you can’t volunteer on those days you’re welcome to volunteer on days that aren’t offered right now for Perfectly Unbalanced.
Me: Hopefully we can encourage the youth to get out there and start being more involved in the community. Diving some more into mental health, why is it important to spread mental health awareness and why did you choose to do so?
Loren: I believe it’s important because I feel like people fail to realize that everyone has mental health. If you don’t experience some kind of mental health situation then you’re not human. There are going to be times in life where you are depressed, you’re stressed, feeling anxiety, you may have mood swings. It’s mild to severe for all mental health diagnoses and you don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health illness/disorder to be considered to have mental health and I think that’s the stigma. People also believe that if you have a mental health illness that you are the word, and I don’t even like using it even though it’s been used for years especially when mental health was first kind of being introduced and studied, but a form of retardation. You know, people like to call people “re-re” or just say really rude and stereotypical things which then hinders people from seeking help or taking their medication, or to be true to themselves. Mental health awareness also allows us to understand why people act, think, and do the things that they do. It also gives us the opportunity to figure out ways to approach, communicate, and help people who may have a mental illness.
Me: There are definitely lots of stigma surrounding mental health, especially in minority communities. People are quick to label you ‘crazy’ or view you as an outcast when really there doesn’t have to be anything wrong to seek professional help, advice, or just to talk. I think everyone can benefit from therapy and counseling. You also talk about sexual issues and safety, is sexual health a problem in Philadelphia? What are some things we should know?
Loren: Absolutely. Right now Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the top two STD’s for our teenagers and young adults. Our black men in the LGBT community are being frequently diagnosed with HIV and that comes from many different factors, unprotected sex, drug use, etc. Sexual health is such a broad term, I can talk about it in so many different ways. People don’t like to get tested, I always tell people individually even if you are in a relationship or not, whether you’re sexually active or not, to get tested every 3 months. Once you get into the habit you establish a routine. Knowing what’s going on with your body is important before you go have sex with anyone, having that piece of paper says a lot. It says that you care about yourself, you have some form of self-love, and you’re not trying to put anyone else’s health in danger. I also see a lot of stigma around the condom usage, people don’t like to use condoms, “I’m allergic” or when they’re in the act of sex it’s not satisfying, a lot of unnecessary excuses for a lot of bad sexual habits. Condoms come in female or male style, they come in different materials as well besides latest like lamb skin for example. I’m such an advocate for comprehensive sexual education being taught in the high schools because right now Philadelphia county does not teach it due to religion, cultural views, and diversity of students. It may come off as trying to promote sex which I think is total bullshit. Most of the time young adults or children (18 and younger) are already experiencing some type of sexual activity and they know what sex is. So at that time teaching them about the pros and cons of the things they’re going to get into, telling them what a vagina looks like, what are lips called on a vagina, where do babies come from; we need to have those conversations and we need to have those conversations young because so many children are not just getting chlamydia or gonorrhea. There are small cases of 14 and 17 year olds getting HIV and also Herpes Simplex 2. It’s more than just talking about sex, it’s relationships, dating men that are not in your age group, the whole dynamic can go so many ways.
Me: Condom usage is a big one, we have so many people advocating for unprotected sex because it ‘feels better’. There are non-latex condoms and condoms that are made to resemble the feeling of skin-skin sexual contact. Valuing not only your health but others as well is a huge part of self love and care. How do you display self–love towards yourself? How would you encourage others?
Loren: I always say that self-love is learning how to put yourself first and being sure that you are okay with what’s going to go on next in your life. If you are spiritual or religious and you believe in a God, I always say that you put God first and you seek leadership through him, you ask your questions, you ask for forgiveness, insight, whatever the case may be. You talk it out with him, you pray, you put your best foot forward, and self love can also mean taking care of yourself. Putting yourself first through all situations rather you have kids, a husband, a wife, girlfriend, other family situations, make sure your mental capability and physical capability of carrying other weight is okay. You don’t ever want to put yourself in a situation where you’re fighting your own demons and you’re not going to be able to assist, help, or support another person.
You have to make sure that you are stable for what’s going to go on at work, or in your personal life. If you’re not complete and don’t know how to love yourself and you’re not understanding what’s going on within yourself you can’t love another person, you can’t help or lead them. Before you try to take on those helmets make sure that your helmet or your crown is fitted correctly and that you know when to step out and to step in. If you feel like you’re suffering or you’re not understanding what self love is, I would encourage you to sit down and write out what makes you happy and unhappy. The list of what makes you unhappy should not be longer than those that make you happy. If it is, that’s where you need to make adjustments. Also write down what you like to do and how often you’re doing those things because we all have hobbies and things that make us smile or happy that enlighten and makes us more satisfied with our life. If we’re not going to the movies, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or doing the things that relax or makes us happy, that’s a issue. I would suggest trying to make a schedule of how much self love and care activities that you can do in a week and monitor it and see if it effects the way that you feel,
Me: Self-love and care is really important to me, what we do for ourselves shows up in what we do for others and how we maneuver through life. I’m aware that it takes a lot of focus and discipline to build an organization, and you yourself are ultimately your brand and are apart of the work. The work you put out ultimately speaks for itself. What kind of self-care techniques do you use to refrain from becoming overwhelmed with juggling life, work, and creating new content, what do you do to relax and get your mental together? If you don’t have any what kind of self-care techniques would you like to incorporate?
Loren: Some self-care techniques that I use is that I leave work at work. I work a Full time job, I work 9-5 Monday-Friday. I’m learning to leave work at work, I’m learning to ask for help, I’m learning to communicate with my supervisor everyday. I’m learning that I’m not going to do more than what’s on my job application. With that being said, Monday through Friday 9-5 that’s it. Now with school, school is twice a week, it can range from Tuesday-Thursday, Monday and Wednesdays, however the schedule can be. I tend to do homework on the days that I have school. Although it sounds possible and doable, when you work a 9-5 then you have a 5:30 – 8:30 class then you try to do work, you’re already drained for the day. I try to do at least an hour or two of homework on the days that I do have class and if I do need to work on something that’s going to take longer then I’ll work on it throughout the week.
For example, if I have a 5 page paper, on Monday I’m doing the outline, Tuesday finding sources, Wednesday I’m going through those sources and finding more information. Thursday, I’m starting the paper. I’m learning not to stress over it, not to procrastinate, but taking it day by day. Realistically sometimes we do have to dedicate more time per day for school work or have an overload of work to do for school. You have to do things how your schedule permits but not in a way that make you anxious because you don’t know how to manage your time. I would recommend getting a planner and a journal that way when you have different events or activities mapped out you can see what you have open. Establishing a healthy work life is important. I have an assistant who helps make new content, I have a graphic designer that assists with making new content, new content sometimes is done a day before the week so I come with everything I want to post and all I have to do is copy and paste. It keeps the flow of my Instagram better. As far as my personal life I fit it in when I can. My social life isn’t impacted I’m very social at work and school. Going out for birthdays or happy hours is not really a priority right now. It’s not something that I try to squeeze into my planning but I do make sure I make time to enjoy myself when I can. As far as self-care techniques I incorporate sleep as much as possible. Understanding that sleep is definitely important and prioritizing what’s important.
Me: You currently have an adult scholarship fund to assist Philadelphia adults who are currently experiencing financial crisis. Can you tell us about that? Some of our readers may be able to benefit from this.
Loren: The adult scholarship is geared towards students who are 18 and older. It’s for adults who are either in graduate school or returning to school. Financial aid is not always the best nor are grants and scholarships guaranteed especially for graduate students, there’s not a lot of ‘free money’ out there. By me being a graduate student I know this for sure and sometimes it can be hard to get the small things that you need for class like the $250-500 fee you have to pay just to start graduate school or the money you need to buy books, a computer, etc. I wanted to do this to give information and assistance to those who need it. It’s to assist Philadelphia adults who are eager to get their degree, eager to continue their education, and have a goal that goes beyond graduation.
Me: Fill us in on any upcoming events Perfectly Unbalanced will be hosting or apart of.
Loren: Perfectly Unbalanced doesn’t have any prevalent events coming up right now but we will be hosting a happy hour in April to try to get the last bit of funds we need for the adult scholarship. All information will be posted soon on our Instagram.
Me: Do you self-reflect or keep a journal or do you spill your thoughts through other outlets? Mental health involves releasing stress and clearing your head space. How do you do this and how do you encourage others to do it?
Loren: I did keep a journey but I’m really lazy so I don’t journal as much as I probably should being a business owner. I do self-reflect everyday; I self-reflect in my prayer, I self-reflect with my friends, I self-reflect with my mother, I self-reflect within myself. I talk to myself a lot and I think what can I do better, how can I improve, what have I been doing great, what has been working, how can I advance myself, what do I need to slow down with, who do I need to reach out to, how can I do this, how can I boost the moral of my business, how can I grow, how can I extend. I think about those things almost everyday and I used to stress about it a lot when I first started but right now I’ve been through trials and tribulations and I take it for what it’s going to be. Starting a business is not easy, having support is not easy, getting the funds to support your business is not easy. Taking it day by day, knowing that this is just the beginning and it’s only about to be a year since I started. It’s many more years to come and it will continue to grow as my education grows. I try to understand and put that into my head. I keep in the back of my mind that hopefully I am impacting someone and so far it seems like I am so as long as I do have some form of leadership or have someone be able to confine within Perfectly Unbalanced I’m moving in the right direction.
Me: Self reflecting gives you major insight on not only yourself but the world around you. I encourage everyone to develop some form of reflecting whether it’s journaling, meditating, yoga, listening to music, relaxing in silence, or however you deem fit. Taking that time to tap into your inner being is so crucial and necessary. What are some of the goals you hope to achieve with Perfectly Unbalanced?
Loren: One of my goals is definitely obtain more volunteers for when we do events and when we go to The Hub of Hope. Those are my number two goals. I have other goals like traveling for networking events, traveling outside of Philadelphia for women conferences, business conferences, etc. I want to work with other businesses to work on merchandise packages so we can send them out to celebrities or corporate workers to try to get people to fund our businesses.
Me: Do you have a specific audience you gear your resources towards, or do you feel like everyone can take something away from the things you provide?
Loren: I feel like everyone can take away from the things I provide even though my target demographic is adults. I gear it towards adults because I’m an adult right now so whatever I’m going through or experiencing I can speak on versus what I can speak on for a child. The demographic I’m focusing on now will also help me for what I plan to do in the future.
Me: Is there anything that you wish more people knew about your organization or the issues you are trying to bring more awareness to?
Loren: Yes, I want people to understand that we’re trying to stress the importance of why therapeutic and community based programs are important in Philadelphia. There are not enough programs that are available for adults as there are for children. I also want people to understand that mental health activities can be very different. It doesn’t mean that you have to sit in a room and talk in a group, it doesn’t mean that you have to sit in a room and talk to a therapist for an hour. Mental health activities can be anything that changes your perspective on life, or changes your attitudes and emotions towards things. A mental health community event can be going to the movies, some type of dance class, art or music therapy, it can be an array of things and I want people to understand that the stereotype of mental health has to stop.
Loren: I reach out to many people as far as supporting goes such as events, they’re selling something, or maybe they need help with an event or ideas, etc. Right now I don’t have any collaborations in the works but there have been discussions but no official plan yet but I’m open to it.
Me: What have been some of your failures so far on this journey? What have been some of you successes?
Loren: Some of my successes have been my turn out for events and that people seem to understand what Perfectly Unbalanced is and seem to support. Sometimes I wish it was more but I’m learning to take it day by day and just understanding that it will grow and as long as I continue to feed the business it will grow so I’m not worried about that. Failures in my journey has been me trying to collaborate with other organizations and it completely fails. I’ve learned that just because you own a business doesn’t mean that you’re a business person or that you know how to communicate or plan and that has been the issue I’m running into with certain brands and businesses. Another failure has been I don’t know where to go for funding so I’m heavily working on that this year. I can’t keep taking from my 9-5 to fund the organization, for the first 2 years it’s fine but after that you need to establish funding from elsewhere to maintain your business.
Me: What kind of work, organizations, or brands are you most drawn to viewing yourself? Do you find yourself viewing work similar to your own, or completely different?
Loren: As of right now there are a few community based programs like Philadelphia Charity Group or Helping Hands, there are a few that are similar and even though we may be similar in regards to the work we do or impact, we are different. We work with different demographics, we offer different programs and services but our goal and missions are similar.
Me: How do you balance your organization and daily life?
Loren: Like I said before I have a planner, my life is basic, I go to work, I go to school. I do homework and play time is the last thing that I think about. In doing all of these things and working on my business I add in self-care time, I read a book, listen to music, I read poetry, I may go shopping for a few hours on a Saturday, I spend time with my dog Chestnut and he’s really a good self love and care companion.
Me: Do you have any advice on starting a non-profit business/organization?
Loren: I would say with any business, figure out what it is you want to do, figure out your passion, what you want your future to hold, what your mission is, what kind of work, services, and programs you want to provide. Write all of these things down, read it, become passionate about it, and it has to be something that’s not going to feel like work. Once you do that and you have an idea and game plan, you should be okay. That’s when you can take your foot and move it forward, take baby steps if you have to because sometimes you’re going to step forward and step back. It’s okay to take it slow. Write out your goals and possible pros and cons of running your business, what kind of failures you may run into, how you’re going to fund your business. Once you develop a strategy to your game plan then that’s when you can make the efforts you know, getting your fictitious name, your EIN number, business certificate, all of those great things that comes with starting a business. I would definitely network with other people who have the same interests, and build a support team. You may not want it to be too big or be your family or friends but if you know your family and friends are going to support you build that small support team. Also have a small fund set up for all your startup fees.
Me: How do you motivate yourself to keep going or does it just come naturally?
Loren: It comes naturally, I am a self motivator however there are days when I do want to give up because I feel like ticket sales are slow or there are miscommunications between other businesses trying to collaborate on events. I have to realize that my mission is greater than myself and the next person. It’s greater than worrying about ticket sales or whether somebody is going to work with me and be consistent. Understanding that everything I do for the community and learning from the community to help me grow into an LPC. That’s what keeps me going.
Me: How do you get people to interact with your organization? How do you gain your audience? Do you find social media beneficial for that?
Loren: Social media is definitely beneficial in trying to gain your audience. You can reach your family and friends, celebrities, politicians, you’re able to reach different people on different levels through social media. I do most of my interaction on Instagram however I do have a business phone number. I gain my audience by using hash tags and tagging people within my post and also by networking, exchanging pages, etc.
Me: Excluding yourself, are there any people in the world that you admire? Any people or brands that inspire or motivate you?
Loren: I want to say that there are people in the world that I admire but there is not just one person. I’m going to be honest, there’s not anybody that I really admire when it comes to business. Now are there brands or people who inspire or motivate me? Absolutely. There’s @tayshedope who is actually my business mentor and my personal mentor, she definitely is someone who I go to for business consulting and someone I can look up to when I need support for my business. I would definitely say @glamitoccasions has been supportive. I would say @chooseyoualways, @helping__handz, the list can go on and I know most of these people personally. They inspire and motivate me to continue to do what I’m doing and definitely look forward to continuing to support these brands as they continue to support me.
Me: I’m happy I was able to make the cut in inspiring. If you could change just one thing about our society through your organization, what would it be?
Loren: One thing that I would change about our society would be the bias and negativity, stereotypical and judgmental behavior and ideas towards culture and religion. Culture and religion sometimes separates us as humans and the views on each other alters who we talk to or hang out with. If society viewed people as people and let the person pick and choose their own values without society placing labels on them, you put the label on yourself. This is what you want to be, not what society wants you to be.
Me: What makes your organization unique?
Loren: I’m all about the community, everything that I do, I do through polls and surveys. A lot of the stuff that I do is just basically what the community wants to do, what the community wants to see, what’s going to help out the community. So I focus on that heavily, I do follow trends on what the community needs or is suffering from like the sexual health aspect I spoke on. I try to make events or find things to do based off the things or education that we need based off those topics.
Me: As an individual working in the field that you do, do you believe that you perceive the world differently from other people? What role do you think emotions play in your process of providing information and resources?
Loren: I do perceive the world a little bit differently than others. I’m not big on clout jumping, valuing celebrities or politicians, I’m a very religious and spiritual person so I put my faith and my time into God. I don’t put my faith and time into materialistic things or into other people. My role as far as emotions I’ve worked as an HIV/STD tester, I currently work as a service coordinator working with people who have physical disabilities. I take all emotion out and I don’t take anything personal only because it ties back into self-love. I can’t let someone else’s negativity or the things that are going on in their life effect me, I can’t pick that up and put it on my back. I leave them where they are and help them the best way that I can in my position. I can’t put them on my back and help them while I’m still trying to grow. So what I’m saying is, you can help, lead, and be there for people from a distance without getting too emotionally involved and keeping your emotions low.
Me: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Where do you see your organization?
Loren: I should be done graduate school, I should be wrapping up the hours I need to get my licensure and creating not only a non-profit but a private practice. I see my organization still running fully and having an office, I see my organization traveling a lot more.
Me: How can we donate, contribute, or invest in Perfectly Unbalanced?
Loren: You can donate by using our Paypal link, we only need $211! Donating consistently will help us bring awareness and contribute to the community. You can contribute by volunteering most importantly. You can invest financially and we can talk about that if you’re interested.
Me: Where did the name Perfectly Unbalanced come from?
Loren: One day I was just looking on Instagram at names like how do people find their business names and I literally was just like okay look at myself, I’m perfectly unbalanced. I’m perfectly unbalanced because no one is ever going to be 100% perfect and that’s okay. Perfectly Unbalanced basically means that you are understanding who you are. You know you may not be the best at certain things like cooking, expressing your emotions, communicating, being humble, lowering your pride, etc. but understanding that you are working on those things. As long as you live you’re always growing so you’re always going to be Perfectly Unbalanced.
Me: Fun fact about yourself?
Loren: I have no children, I’m 24 and I have a dog-son named Chestnut and I definitely love traveling.
Me: Anything else you’d like to share? Advice, tips, motivation, etc.
Loren: No one is 100% perfect and that’s okay, we are perfect in Gods eyes because we are made in his image. Sometimes we are going to fail in life, there’s nothing to learn from if you don’t fail. Sometimes you have to take baby steps, if you stay consistent and work hard those results will come in due time.
Me: Drop your socials so we can be sure to follow you!
Thanks for your time Loren!