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Meisha Rice, founder, CEO of Whole Family Healing Group
SCORE Counsels Therapy Practice to New Heights

Whole Family Healing Group, LLC, Miesha Rice, MSW, LCSW-C, LCSW

Title / Role: Founder/CEO/Therapist
Location: Pikesville, Maryland
Formed in: 2018
My successes.

There have been numerous successes achieved with SCORE. We have increased our audience and awareness of the business and services. Website traffic and phone calls for appointments increased by 100%. In one month, our Google profile went from 486 to 1,300 views. Our client count increased by 35%, our no-show rate decreased and we have seen an increase in revenue. Instagram followers grew to more than 2000. We are sufficiently busy that we hired a virtual administrative assistant. We expanded our practice to the Dominican Republic as part of our DEI initiative and have been working to aid and address mental health challenges within the Spanish-speaking culture and communities. We are now selling t-shirts and masks from our web store to benefit children and families in need in the Dominican Republic.

What do you do?

We offer a safe space for families and individuals within the family system, to heal from the many different life stressors associated with mental illness through therapy. We are culturally competent and serve people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and the LGBTQ Community. We also serve the Spanish-speaking community, having just introduced translation services. We understand that healing is a process, and we will stick it out with our clients along their healing journeys, whether they regress, or succeed, we will provide a non-judgmental healing space to promote unity within families.

What inspired you to start your business?

I grew up in a family that was broken and dysfunctional through several generations. My grandfather witnessed the murder of a sibling and was himself a victim of incredible violence. He masked the pain with alcohol. My grandfather did not have anyone to help him process those traumatic events and the impact was felt by his wife (my grandmother), daughter (my mother), and granddaughter (me) in different ways, including depression. From this experience (and my mother’s experience in the hospital), I wanted to educate families about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and provide a safe space to get the help that my family needed back then. Most of all, I wanted to help erase the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues, especially in communities of color. The name of my practice Whole Family Healing Group reflects my mission.

I was born and raised in a single-parent home in West Baltimore City, not far from where the Freddie Gray riots took place. I studied Broadcast Journalism/TV/Film/Production In college and worked in that field and in the entertainment industry doing marketing for Universal Music and Video Distribution. I took time off from my career when my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. During an extended hospital stay, I witnessed the lack of warmth and compassion she experienced from social workers who were supposed to advocate for people like my mother who could not advocate for themselves. This introduced me to the field of social work and spurred my decision to become one.

What's special about your business?

Whole Family Healing Group is a Black woman-owned business. Our practice was built to accommodate whole family healing, as well as the healing of individuals within the family. We offer both virtual and in-person therapy and work hand-in-hand with medical doctors to address mental illness. We are also working to serve the Spanish-speaking community globally with translation services and have recently been licensed to offer the same therapeutic services in Florida and the Dominican Republic.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

I started my practice in 2018 and saw my first client in April 2019, then the pandemic hit, and everything changed overnight. I had to pivot my entire business from in-person to virtual, enhance my technology and infrastructure, and try to keep all patients engaged and supported while also keeping my own self/mental health together. I needed help to make these changes and reached out to SCORE. It was TRULY one of the absolute best decisions I have made business-wise to date.

How SCORE helped.

SCORE made a difference in my business. I was able to launch a new professional website with enhanced SEO. With Norm’s guidance, I found better buzz keywords so that people would find and notice my business when searching online. Norm supported me in choosing imagery and reviewing draft content for my website, reviewing draft content. He always provided excellent feedback. I also attended many SCORE webinars, but the one-page business plan workshop was my favorite. It made me feel more confident when writing a solid business plan that I can now take to any bank or investor when looking for business funding.

What's great about my mentor?

I can't say enough about how awesome working with Norm has been for almost 2 years now. The first time we spoke, he was so patient, took time to listen to my concerns, and wanted to know about me, my business, my goals, etc. He is so knowledgeable about business. He helped to bring my business up to best practice business standards. He literally took a fine-tooth comb to my business and website presence and the suggestions he made were spot on. He was not pushy; he gave me the time and space to be great in my own way. I always felt heard and never judged. When it was time for me to check in with Norm about my progress, he always responded; I felt that he truly cared. He has been my silent cheerleader, and I am so grateful. This experience has been PRICELESS!!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Starting a business gives you freedom. Think of a problem that needs to be solved, match that with your gifts and what you are passionate about, and go out there and do it. Life is so precious and unpredictable, we should all work to ensure that we are enjoying our life on a daily basis, doing what we can to help communities and give back to the most vulnerable populations. Also, get an excellent mentor and coach to help you through the process. Do your research, never give up, and remember that the only "bad idea" is the idea you never act on. Last, but not least, failure is a success. Fail forward always, learn the lessons, and forget the mistakes

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

DO IT! Don't overthink it, just complete the short application process and think positively. What I want people to know is that you are responsible for doing your own work. Do not expect your mentor to do your work or your thinking for you. They are there to offer guidance on how to enhance your overall business operations. While Norm was supportive in every way, I know that I would not have been as successful with my business at this point had I not taken notes at the meetings, created my own to-do list, and taken the initiative to check in with him. You must be committed to the process. It took time, and I still have many things to accomplish, but SCORE has given me the confidence to know I will succeed.

Additional media
Meisha Rice and staff of the Whole Family Healing Group
My mentors
Norman Bickman

I help SCORE clients with business planning and sales and marketing, with a particular focus in the...

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712 H St NE PMB 98848
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(800) 634-0245

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