Rachel McCrickard is the Founder & CEO of Motivo, the largest platform for therapist telesupervision. As a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), Rachel experienced firsthand just how difficult it is for a pre-licensed therapist to find the right clinical supervisor and collect the hours needed for licensure—a requirement for practicing in any state in the U.S. That’s why she founded Motivo, the first HIPAA-compliant live video platform connecting pre-licensed mental health professionals to clinical supervisors. The company completed the Techstars Atlanta program, in partnership with Cox Enterprises, in 2018.
Founded in Chattanooga, Rachel launched Motivo in The Company Lab (CO.LAB) where she won CHA’s Startup of the Year. Rachel was then accepted into Techstars Atlanta’s 2018 cohort, so she and her husband, Warren, sold their home and relocated to Atlanta. In 2019, Rachel was named to Atlanta Inno’s 50 on Fire list, and Forbes 50 Women-Led Startups That Are Crushing Tech. Following Motivo’s graduation from Techstars, the company relocated to the Atlanta Tech Village where Rachel is currently raising Motivo’s seed round of funding, led by Cox Enterprises. Follow her on social media @RachMcCrickard @WeAreMotivo.
01. What’s one lesson you would share with your younger self?
In the past, I’ve often been consumed with the fear of failure. I wanted so much to succeed at everything I did, and I would shy away from opportunities that I thought might lead to failure.
Recently, I came across the saying, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” and it was transformative for me. I began to visualize myself succeeding at Motivo. Before any big pitch or important phone call, I play it out going really well in my mind first, and then I step onto the stage believing that I will be successful.
This change in mindset is so powerful. It’s a lesson that I would love to share with my younger self.
02. What exceptional person has made a difference in your life—and how?
Julia Pimsleur, author of Million Dollar Women, has been instrumental in my entrepreneurial journey. When I started my company, I lived in a small Southern city where local women entrepreneurs were hard to come by. Julia, a successful entrepreneur herself as the Founder/CEO of LittlePim, provided me with a wealth of wisdom and guidance through her book. She helped me establish a foundational understanding of fundraising, gave me a crash course in business basics, and provided insight on how to build a solid team. In 2018, I attended her two-day Million Dollar Women Summit in New York where I met several women who became mentors and investors in Motivo. Her book is a constant reminder to me that learning and knowledge are always within my reach, no matter where I live.
03. What advice would you give to other founders who share your situation or background?
What I’ve learned about entrepreneurship is that there are two different ways that people create tech startups. The founders either have a technical background and the expertise needed to build an app or they have domain expertise and see a solution to a problem, but lack the technical knowledge.
I was the second type. I didn’t have any technical experience, but I knew that I had a solution to a really important problem that a lot of people face. So, I tried to figure it out on my own by cobbling together an MVP (minimum viable product) for Motivo’s first platform using Shopify and Zoom. I just wanted to see if anyone would actually use it. We started to get our first customers this way, and it gave us the confidence to begin building something of our own.
My advice? There are a lot of things not in your control, but there are many more things that are in your power. Pull from the grit and determination inside of you to figure out the next step. Whether that be creating an MVP from scratch, devouring books/podcasts to learn, or applying for an accelerator—do everything you can to push yourself and your business to the next level.
04. What drives you?
This is such an important question. It was certainly a pivotal question when I decided to start my company, but it is perhaps even more important today as I’m faced with difficult decisions about how to grow and scale Motivo. I’ve found that this is the question that I come back to when I’m uncertain about my next step. What drives me is the conviction that Motivo can have a direct impact on the accessibility of mental health providers in rural areas. The problem we solve reduces the bottleneck therapists experience when entering the field. So many therapists obtain their degree but never finish the supervision hours needed for licensure. Solving this problem, by making supervision hours more accessible and affordable to all, is what I believe I was born to do. My “why” helps crystalize the answer when I’m faced with hard decisions.
05. What makes you YOU?
People often ask me if I miss being a full-time therapist, now that I’m an entrepreneur. The truth is, I don’t. The reason? I still get to utilize all of my therapy skills every day in my role as Motivo’s CEO. I often tell new therapists that they will likely never regret having obtained a masters degree in counseling, as the skills that every therapist learns stays with them no matter where their journey goes. During my training, I developed emotional intelligence, empathic listening skills, and unconditional positive regard for others, and these are the very qualities that help me build and lead my team today. My take away? No matter who you are or what your journey has been, you have an opportunity to funnel your life learnings into the fabric of your company.