We had the good fortune of connecting with Frances J. Harvey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Frances J., can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Our business has kind of a “behind the scene” impact on communities, and eventually the world. Here’s why. We are an Online Business Management and Professional Business Coaching service that specializes in serving Mental Health Clinicians. You see, there are thousands of therapists around the world – and closer to home in the United States, that are in private practice or have a group practice and they need help on the outside of the therapy room running their business side. Before I started this business I ran a counseling center for 8 years. I KNOW what it takes to run the business to make it happen and be successful. Most clinicians went to grad school for their Masters in Psychology or Marriage and Family Counseling, however, they were never taught anything about running a business. So we come alongside them and help them with the daily business tasks that are critical for their success. I also work with them as their Business Coach to help with strategic planning, management, and growth. Every clinician has needs, but they all have DIFFERENT needs. They need someone to know the difference and not just offer a cookie-cutter solution. So I work with each one to customize the services to their practice and make sure that we provide the best quality support and service we can. So… with all that said, when we come in and lift the burdens of daily business tasks off of their plate, that frees them up to what they do best in the room…and that is to help people heal! When people heal, families heal, marriages heal, communities heal and the world will heal. <3
What should our readers know about your business?
As mentioned, My Solution Services, Inc. (MSS) is an Online Business Management service to Mental Health Clinicians across the nation. In addition, I am a Professional Certified Coach and a Certified Master Life Coach. MSS was born in April of 2014 out of the desire to help clinicians in a way that – to my knowledge – did not exist for the most part. After spending 8 years running a counseling center in Southern California, I realized that I just could no longer do things the corporate way or in a cookie-cutter style. Just as we all have our own DNA, so are the practices of each clinician. They deserved to have the help and service THEY need in a way that works for them. Most cannot hire someone full-time, and even if they did, they have to spend time training them, managing them, and paying way more than they can really afford. So I saw the need, and decided to start the business. I basically jumped in with both feet, my computer and my phone, my home office desk, and figured I would work out the rest along the way. And that is exactly what has happened. Today that need has grown and is great! So we have grown as well. Along the way, I needed help, so I started hiring subcontractors. By the end of 2015, I have 5 people working under me. In 2016 I started working with my business coach, and the growth just took off. By the Spring of 2016, I had 13 on my team. It has continued on that way ever since. Was it easy? Ummmm, that would be a big huge HELL NO! Would I do it again? Absolutely In 2017, MSS had tripled the revenue since starting. We continued to plan, strategize, and grow – whether we were ready or not…and grow we did. This was the year we became “Inc”. By the Spring of 2018, now only 4 yrs old, I was peddling so hard and so fast that I knew I had to get help or I wouldn’t last long. You see, I started the business when I was 55 yrs old. Most people are thinking of retirement at this point! Haha. So I hired my first actual w2 employee! OMG, how scary is that for a one-woman small business owner? Some of the challenges: The subcontracts for the most part were phone schedulers. They worked remotely from home, so I had people all over the United States on my team. That was tough to manage but it worked. I was still managing all of the business on my own and working 50-60 hrs a week. But the need was not going away and my heart wanted to (and still wants to) help as many clinicians as we can. But the more we grow, the more difficult it was to manage from all over the states. Many did not take it seriously, and I just wasn’t willing to compromise the quality and integrity of the services we provide. So SOMETHING had to change. By Sept of 2019, we moved into our first office space in order to accommodate the growth and make room for more. More clinicians to serve, more staff to hire, more people to get healed. Also, Jan of 2020 would be another hurdle to jump as it was now a Federal law that we had to move our entire team from a subcontract status to employees… Oh joy. A butt load of work and expenses in the form of employment taxes. We decided to change our model of how we did things. We decided to bring everyone ‘home’ and go local. So we started drawing plans for an in-house call center. Then COVID happened. What a ride huh? It did bring our plans to a screeching halt for about 9 months. We have had, and still have, our challenges with the effects of the Pandemic – with our clients, their clients, our staff, finances, and more… but the need was and is still there, so we kept moving forward. We marched forward and decided we could no longer put it off and started the build-out for the center. It was completed just recently on November 4th and we have 3 staff in so far. The goal is to continue to fill those chairs so we can continue to help more clinicians throughout the states. Overcoming the challenges has brought strength, more character, tears, laughter and joy. Is it worth it? More than words can express. What I have learned several things in these last 7 years… 1. You will NEVER have all your ducks in a row. Just move, Yes you can plan, but TAKE ACTION! John Doerr, author of Measure what matters, says: “Ideas are easy – Execution is Everything”! 2. If something was working, but no longer works STOP DOING IT. Find a new or better way. 3. Be flexible. Plans do not always go the way you want or think they should. But DONT LET THAT STOP YOU! 4. Headtrash is worthless, THROW IT IN THE TRASH 5. If you are the CEO you should always be working ON your business and not IN your business. Hire or outsource those things others can do – yes, EVEN WHEN you don’t think you can afford it. You can not – NOT afford it. 6. Hang out with those that have gone before you, made the mistakes, and then got it right! 7, Know what is going on in your business. Even if you aren’t the one doing the task it is YOUR business. 8. Before you can expect others to value you and your service, you MUST learn to value yourself 9. Value does NOT come from money. 10. STOP worrying about money. When you focus on serving your client, the money will come Finally, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!! You’re no good to your clients, your team, or your family if you don’t. I want the world to know that therapists work extremely hard. They truly have a heart to help everyone that is hurting. My Solution Services, Inc. exists to help them, to service them so they can continue the work they are called to do. This world needs good clinicians more than ever! MSS desires to continue to grow and help as many clinicians as possible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Haha… well at my age I’m not the party girl I used to be… However, the first place I would want to show them is the coast. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach, ocean, or anything to do with water landscape. Soooo, let’s rent an Air BnB on the water. We would have a suite that has a balcony that overlooks the ocean. There is a hot tub on the balcony (and of course outrageous privacy). There will be an unending supply of the best red wine around. We would start with a lovely in the room appetizer and a few glasses. I am partial to San Diego so we will have a reservation for dinner at Oceana Coastal Kitchen and order some killer Sushi. Dessert will be a surprise along with a new dessert cocktail named The MSS! HAHA. After dinner, a walk along the coast in the warm summer breeze, take pictures of the sunset all while listening to a live band playing jazz! And then back to the room and we jump in the hot tub with a bottle of dom Perignon – or two. – and laugh the night away. We love traveling and are fortunate enough to have connections. Our son and daughter in law live in Germany so we travel to Europe every few years. Just last year we went for 2 months for the holidays and for a special birthday trip – while there we flew to Split, Croatia for a week. Just Magical. We have traveled to Oahu, Kauai, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, and Croatia, and of course many places in the state. (This Pandemic is putting a big dent in those plans though). But the plan is to continue exploring as much as we can and when possible. P.S. We have the ability to work anywhere in the world with our laptops, wifi, and cappuccino!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Rollie Harvey, III. We have been married for almost 38 years. He is my best friend, my life partner, my mentor, my grounder, and my business partner. I could not have gotten this far without him. He retired a year early to join me full time in the business (has also been a ‘quiet’ partner), and wears several hats that help to make this business a success. My kids and granddaughter: Benjamin and Stefanie and their daughter Lilly Mae! And to Andrew my son. I am grateful for their love and support and encouragement. And yes, even some of the times they push me to achieve even more than I had planned. Finally. To my business coach and mentor, Jo Muirhead – jomuirhead.com. With her patience, skills, experience, and brilliance, she has been very key in the last 4 years in moving us to a place of growth and revenue I have only dreamed of. We still have much work to do, but the strategic work has been magic.