Madilynn A. Beck, MEd AMFT (she/her), is a powerhouse in the health and wellness industry.
As the founder and CEO of The Better Spot, Madilynn’s mission is to create an on-demand wellness marketplace where practitioners and patients alike can get and deliver the care they need on their terms.
And being the proud Black and queen woman founder, Madilynn is making the StartOut community all the more powerful.
Madilynn, what brought you to the world of wellness?
I became a therapist after having a series of recurring physical and emotional challenges where I felt like I was unraveling. Throughout my life, I’ve always been a huge supporter of advocating for mental health.
Originally I’m from southeast Los Angeles. I went to school in New York, came out, and discovered that the true meaning of radical wellness means just being OK with who you are.
While I was a therapist, I was also in therapy. This led me to an experience of sitting in both chairs and realizing that people don’t see therapists as humans – we’re seen as part of the system, and there’s dehumanization in the equity of wellness.
I began working on the in-person aspect of The Better Spot well before 2020, but when the pandemic happened, the bottom fell out. I was spiraling emotionally and deteriorating physically, but I had to pop on the camera for my clients and knew wholeheartedly that I was not the only wellness provider feeling this way. One new idea after another eventually led me to expand my vision of The Better Spot.
What is The Better Spot?
We’re a whole human approach to creating a culture of sustainable wellness. We have a secure online app focused on a safe virtual space for practitioners, a referral network promoting integrative care, and a physical space that acts as our marketplace for B2B practitioners and B2C clients. Instead of waiting months to book time with providers, we offer our clients immediacy, personalization, and diversity.
With our sights set on West Midtown Atlanta and the heart of Chicago, we’ve found communities that support Black excellence and know The Better Spot will thrive there.
What challenges have you encountered as a founder?
I’m a non-technical tech founder. I’m a creator and innovator, and it came naturally to me that I needed to pivot to entrepreneurship to make my vision a reality.
The Better Spot isolates the need for integrative care. When I worked for the Department of Mental Health in Los Angeles with kids aged 13 to 18, I realized they weren’t getting the integrative care they needed. These kids needed more than just a one-fits-all option. I had to do a lot of legwork for clients who couldn’t afford it and realized I’d need to leave for the public sector.
What you need doesn’t always stay the same. Most of us are ambiverts – both extroverts and introverts and companies in health and wellness have a responsibility to show up where people exist.
As a Black, queer, woman founder, what’s motivated you to grow in this space?
My motivation has come from listening to my ancestors, and I’ve learned from them that the key to long-term existence is through our community. As a Black and queer woman in entrepreneurship, I’ve gone through hurdles and code-switched when I knew I needed to present a front. The way I can turn it on or off and be the Southside Chicago girl or flex the degree if need be is an experience unique to folks like me.
The biggest challenge is the internal battle of wanting to present your authentic self in all situations. But I’ve learned that the need for space can often be solved by creating it yourself.
What advice would you give new founders wanting to begin their startup journey?
Two of the biggest things? Learn how to say no and learn it fast. Find your people – it always comes back to the people. You are the fastest person to discount yourself, so don’t get in your own way.