Mommy entrepreneur Shashicka Tyre Hill has been through it all. As a young mom, she dared to do the unthinkable – she made strides to open up a healthcare business, after witnessing the decline of her grandmother Susie’s health. With limited resources and experience, Shashicka faced adversity by putting her faith in God. The wisdom bestowed upon her eventually led to a lucrative collective of Miracle Home Care businesses. Mommynoire caught up with Shashicka in their New York office to discuss the challenges she overcame to make business ownership her reality.
How old were you when you first started your home healthcare business?
I started Miracle Home Care at the age of 23 as a married mother of two. I earned my license when I was 21 years old after going back to school for 3 months prior to receive my GED.
With an ocean of career avenues, what sparked your interest in the medical field?
My grandmother Susie passed away from cancer in 2000. I had assisted my mom in caring for her. My heart wanted to see her comfortable in her last days. Afterwards I put an advertisement in the newspaper at the suggestion of my mother who convinced me to continue working as a home care assistant. I got a call the next day from a woman whose friend was a widow who also had cancer and would be needing 24-hour care once she left the hospital. Since I had my children I was unable to offer my assistance for the needed 24-hours. The client proposed that I find the people to fill the 24-hour around-the-clock care and she would pay enough to compensate me and the additional help. That was the beginning.
Tell our readers about the challenges of running your own business (with limited experience) at such an early age?
In my book I talk about the emotional turmoil I experienced applying for my license. I contacted the City of Brunswick where I lived to inquire about getting the license in home health care. I was directed that this process was done through the state of Georgia. For me at that young age, dealing with “the state” seemed overwhelming. I let fear get the best of me for a couple of weeks and then I got it together with the help of my mother’s encouragement. The office I needed to get to was only in Atlanta. Fear can have you defeated before you even get going.
With just a GED education I had to create my own policies on how I would run my business. It was difficult. After 2 failed attempts I finally passed my policies and procedures review and earned the license.
What pitfalls did you face, and how did you overcome them?
The first two years were rough. My first office was in an alley, across from a strip club, clearly not in the best part of town. It was the size of a bedroom. The office needed work—the paint on the walls was chipping and the floored were scuffed. I ignored that because I knew I could make anything beautiful.
When I officially opened I made phone calls every day, passed out flyers. I walked the streets talking to anybody about Miracle Home Care. Eventually I moved to a better location in Coral Park Drive. My mom believed that the location made it hard to get clients. Now we were on a main road. My initial $700 was dwindling down. After a year of being in the new location, I had only added one client. After two years I had two clients.
There were plenty of times when I had to stretch my faith. In 2009 I opened the third location in Jessup, GA. For 3 straight months there were no clients at all. By the 4th month, one of my employees had called to say she couldn’t stay on because business was so slow. An administrative assistant believed that it would turn around and we all prayed. The next week, a representative from Source, a government run program that supplies the clients and pays the rates contacted Miracle Home Care in Jessup. The state wanted to send clients to the agency. Guerilla marketing and The Source helped give the MHCA a really good year. The agency ended the year with 3 offices and more than $400,000 in sales.
What and who are your sources of inspiration?
My mother is a source of inspiration. When I doubted myself, she would be the one to encourage me. My daughter LaMiracle inspires me. She’s young, but she is faithful and has always believed in me. When times were tough it was my daughter who said pay the lights at the company and we can light candles at home. She was a child, but that inspired me toward great things.
Running a successful business demands a lot of time, how do you balance both family and your career?
There is so much going on with expanding into opening the adult day care facility and the book tour for my memoir. My mother has been traveling with me for my book signings. Recently I did a signing at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale and we turned it into a vacation. My daughter LaMiracle even brought us matching swimsuits. She knows how hard I work for her and her brother Xavier. It was just what we all needed. My daughter, husband and mother all work for the MHCA as well.
What advice do you have for young women who are on the pursuit of entrepreneurship?
Never give up. The earlier you begin your career the more time you can have to work out the kinks. In my case I started this process at 21. My goal is operate a billion dollar health care company in Miracle Home Care within the next 7 years.
You are now a first time author. Tell us about the process of writing your book and what does the book cover?
In my memoir, Blessings and Miracles I share with readers how being a young mother, matured me and gave me a drive to succeed. I talk about the ups and downs with my husband Tre, who I married very young. I share in detail the journey and steps I took to fulfill my purpose. I took $700 from my income tax and turned it into a $7 million home care business using a lot of faith and determination every step of the way. I worked with six-time African American Literary Award winner Victoria Christopher Murray who served as the writer. I shared my story with her and she captured my words perfectly. I hired book publicist and literary agent Dawn Michelle Hardy to publicize the release of my book.