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Hidden Gems: Meet Omar and Anikka Stokes of A Clean Start

Today we’d like to introduce you to Omar and Anikka Stokes.

Hi Omar and Anikka, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
We are a husband and wife team, born and raised in Baltimore, that weren’t satisfied with the mental health treatment options available to our community. Already working in a helping field with loved ones dealing with mental illness and addiction, we intimately understood the importance access to services has on outcomes for patients, their families, and communities at large. Access introduces possibilities and often affects whether someone is able to achieve their wellness goals. So with our community’s healing in mind and a heart to serve, we prayed, pooled our resources, and opened the doors of A Clean Start. And what started with just therapy services has grown to include MVA approved safe and sober driver improvement training, a 5-week gratitude journal, COVID-19 testing, and Maryland Medical Cannabis Certifications. Honestly, I can’t say we always knew we’d end up here. We’re juggling the demands of kids and full-time jobs, like many of you, while breathing life into our new venture. But A Clean Start is our passion and this experience has enriched our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined. As we pour into our community, the community continues to pour back into us. We’re honored and humbled to be called to do this work and look forward to continuing to expand and evolve to meet the wellness and healing needs of those we serve. Hopefully, your readers will join our community and journey with us.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We’ve spent more time than we’d care to admit navigating the unsexy parts of entrepreneurship. As employees transitioning into employers, while our skills were transferable and we benefited from long-standing professional connections, we still had a steep learning curve. We paid for consultants who provided bad counsel. We hired the wrong fits into our practice and then hired the right fit but life happened and they left to grow their family. Investing money in marketing that didn’t get us noticed and investing time in social media which was brand spanking new to us. Then here come industry regulations which are constantly changing and we can’t forget about the pandemic which brought us to a standstill right after we’d finally started gaining our footing. It’s been anything but easy. However, we consider the pressure a privilege. We’ve learned invaluable lessons along the way, about ourselves as individuals and us as a couple. After all, managing a business while married to your business partner will test the very fabric of your marriage, your friendship, your foundation …and we’re blessed to say we’ve stood the test of time and are better for it.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about A Clean Start LLC?
A Clean Start is a safe haven in Pikesville, MD for you to come as you are to unpack your burdens and allow us to assist in your healing journey to restore relationships, hope, sobriety, self-love, health, and wellness in your life. As a company born from purpose and a passion to serve, we’re not big business and you’re not just a name in a spreadsheet or a revenue goal. We know first-hand what it’s like to heal from trauma, to love someone struggling to love themselves, to have to find yourself after failed relationships, disappointments, setbacks, and just plain ole’ poor choices. It’s hard work, messy work, frustrating work …but the work, works, and as a people, we’ve done more for less. Our lived experience is the reason we’re committed to helping you achieve your wellness goals, support your development of healthy habits, behaviors, and mindsets and help you navigate life’s ups and downs with our products and services. Which as we mentioned earlier include a 5-week gratitude journal titled Grateful-ish, on-site or Telehealth individual, couple’s and family therapy, MVA approved safe and sober driver improvement training, COVID-19 testing, and Maryland Medical Cannabis Certifications. We’re excited to add self-paced personal development and educational courses along with affirming gear to our offerings in the coming months as a way to continue meeting you, our community, where you’re at. Serving others is a privilege we don’t take lightly. If you or someone you know would like to explore our products and services, we’d love to serve you.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
“Once a task has just begun, never leave until it’s done. Be the labor, great or small, do it well or not at all.” This quote pretty much sums up our first piece of advice and it’s something we’ve built both our business and family on. If you’re going to spend time, which is precious and irreplaceable, on anything then give that anything your all. You owe it to yourself and your business to be all in. And since you’re not always gonna feel like it, you must develop the discipline to do it when you run out of motivation. And don’t let anyone convince you the small details don’t matter. They do. Always. Everything in your business or for your business matters. So take pride in all aspects of your business. For example, when we clean the toilets at our office, we do it with pride. We do it thoroughly. It can feel like a thankless task because no one notices when it’s done right …but when it’s done wrong, whew chile, they notice. So much of what you do for your business, in the beginning, will be like this. It may feel like grunt work. But it will help you learn every inch of your business and make you a great overseer as you scale your business and start to outsource. Because we’re gonna speak that into existence. And when that happens, people won’t be able to feed you lies about what it takes to run your business because you’ll have firsthand knowledge. This is what we call minding our business.

Next, I’d say pivot when necessary. We wrote a long, shall I say impressive, business plan which we scrapped almost immediately because the business model on paper simply didn’t work in real life. Will we get there eventually? Maybe. But we’ve pivoted several times already and each shift has been for our benefit. Being nimble and pivoting saved us time and money. Have a plan but know when to deviate.

Another tip. Be open to connecting with others, in and out of your industry. You may be like us and don’t know anyone doing exactly what you’re trying to do but the more we shared our goals and challenges with others, the more people were able to help us connect the dots.

Lastly, for my believers, pray. God has been our foundation. He was our first consultant. He is our not-so-secret third business partner. If you believe, then act like it and make sure to invoke your faith because this journey will surely test it.

Pricing:

  • Grateful-ish 5 Week Gratitude Journal – $19.99
  • Individual Therapy – $75 per session
  • Couple’s & Family Therapy – $100 per session
  • Medical Marijuana Cannabis Certifications – $125-$200
  • Maryland Driver Improvement Program Training – $70

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Elena Felton – Belle Imagery Portraits

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