Zoey Greco was wrapping up her studies towards a Bachelor’s degree in sunny, Southern California back in 2012 when she began to feel a bit lost about how she was going to move forward in her life. “I knew I wanted to be a healer, yet I had NO idea how to enter into such a metaphysical field. I pondered how could I tell my family who had poured thousands of dollars into my education that I wanted to be an intuitive channel and energy healer?” All of her friends were applying and receiving acceptance letters to graduate programs or Fulbright scholarships and Zoey was wondering how she could possibly make her dreams a reality. Other careers have more clear paths to success—formal internships, graduate programs, the rat race. Zoey knew that those paths were not for her.
As Zoey tells the story, “I confided these concerns to a like-minded friend who told me that she had received a unique reading that brought her clarity while working on a herb farm in Central America. She had received a TOE READING (…can you see where this is going?). Confused, I asked her how one learns such a modality. She told me that the practitioner-friend she had worked with studied at a school in Arizona called SWIHA. I checked out the website and, for the first time, felt that there was some sort of roadmap to my destination.”
Zoey was so excited about all of the programs that the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) had to offer. She dabbled and participated in almost every incredible program at SWIHA. Ultimately, she completed certifications in Aromatherapy, Reiki, and Life Coaching. She also recently completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and is continuing on to complete the 600-hour Advanced Yoga program. Zoey also gained a great deal of knowledge from the Spiritual Studies classes that she chose to take in addition to all of the other certificates she complete.
When asked about the most valuable thing she learned at SWIHA, Zoey answered, “That it is a positive thing to interject spirituality and sensitivity into what you do. The world as it is at the moment discourages us from embracing our spiritual gifts and connection to oneness. Rather, society promotes a suffocating sort of way of moving through the world—keeping your head down, your heart hidden, and your third eye tightly shut. SWIHA offers you ways to live and work, while embracing ALL that you are. It teaches us that we are all ‘Lightworkers’ and that it is imperative that we shine our light so that others may see their way and know their own light and divinity.”
This new perspective of Zoey’s actually circles back to her childhood when, as a small child, between the ages of 2 and 5, she recalls often describing heaven, choosing her parents, her many “imaginary” friends, and even telling stories of lives lived by others in great detail. However, being raised in a skeptical world, Zoey grew distant from the magical parts of herself. She does remember that periodically she was exposed to mystical women at certain events or festivals and that “highly spiritual being” would always approach her and tell her that she had “the gift” and that it must be shared with the world. At the time, Zoey wasn’t so sure about that. She chose to stay connected to the spiritual community as a patron and observer, passively, without attachment to an outcome.
Things started to slowly shift as Zoey grew older. Candidly and cautiously Zoey shares, “After I was given my first oracle card deck by my mother, I began doing regular readings for myself—more so the way that a child plays with an Ouija board—fascinated by the secret messages being revealed to me by things I couldn’t see. In my late high school and college years, peers began to ask for readings. One day, my friends witnessed me unwittingly channel the deceased grandfather of a girl I barely knew during a session. While I don’t perform medium work like that now, it was then that I really connected to my gifts and choose to heal, love, serve, and observe the deserving and divine souls of others!”
Zoey admits that while she knew deep down the type of work she wanted to do there was still some fear and the Universe had to step in to help move things along. “I, as most SWIHA students would identify, am someone who does not easily or willingly conform to societal norms. I struggle to embrace the idea of life within a cubicle or even an office where I am not touching the hearts of those around me.
It is just not an option. And the Universe knew that. So much so, that I manifested the loss of my stable office job and I was lovingly shoved in the direction of entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency. I had wanted to quit my job for some time, however fear held me back. When I finally lost everything I thought was important—status, money, significance in a community—I was delivered into true purpose, power, and peace!”
Now Zoey has a thriving business in the heart of Tempe, Arizona and worldwide! She has an office space on Broadway and Rural, just a few blocks from SWIHA! Due to the nature her work, about half of her clients find her via social media and book remote sessions through various technology platforms. She firmly believes that having a physical space in which to see clients is extremely important and legitimizing in her industry. Although it is more expensive than working from home, she cannot recommend it highly enough as it offers a level of professionalism that will end up paying for itself.
She offers services as an intuitive channel and energy healer. “In my Intuitive Readings, through a heightened sense of intuition and the use of oracle and angel cards, specific messages are delivered from the Universe to help individuals in all aspects of their lives. These readings provide clarity and guidance on the minutia of day-to-day life, as well as discovering one’s passion and divine life purpose. Through these readings, in conjunction with spiritual coaching, individuals are able to internalize these messages, and discern important and appropriate action steps toward living a more fulfilling life.” She prefers to describe her work as spiritual coaching or intuitive channeling rather than psychic readings. For her, it's not about magically predicting how much money a client will make or when they will meet their next lover. “It's about THEM, THEIR journey, and THEIR soul finding and following its purpose and passion.”
Zoey also offers Reiki and crystal healings, mostly in combination. She describes Reiki as “a simple, natural, and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery. Additionally, I create personalized ceremonies for clients seeking to amplify experiences or transitions in their lives.”
Zoey’s business is Merhipsy Healing. “My business has a unique name, because it is a word I made up! Merhipsy Healing is named after a part of my own soul that I identify as ‘The Merhipsy’. Although within my brand I am ‘The’ Merhipsy, anyone can step into the identity of a Merhipsy! A Merhipsy is a combination of a mermaid, a hippie, and a gypsy. She howls at the Moon and sings to the Earth. Her weakness is romance and her religion is love. She is a being that lives inside us all. She is the wildness of the divine feminine in the hearts and souls of all life.”
Zoey’s client base is generally, however not exclusively, comprised of women from ages 20-60 seeking clarity, guidance, and validation in their life choices and purpose. She also has a substantial number of male clients seeking similar results. Both populations are drawn to the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of the healing work she performs as well. She feels very fortunate to be able to do exactly what SWIHA aspires to help their graduates to do -- to take her gifts out into the world in a loving and profitable way.
“SWIHA offered me the invaluable skills and knowledge that I needed to support my work as an intuitive and make myself more marketable to others who may not be as familiar or open to the idea of intuitive readings, however are open to reiki, yoga, and gemstone therapy. When I saw all of that come together and began holding powerful and transformative sessions, I knew I had gained what I hoped to in my time at SWIHA.”
Zoey understands the importance of marketing her business and has become quite savvy on how to get her business in front of her ideal clients. She says that she spends no more than $30, if that, per month on marketing. She focused on building her client base through consistent blogging, guest blogging with links to her media pages, sharing her writing and work on her active Instagram accounts, and by creating a Yelp! page. She even offered incentives to existing clients for honest reviews (meaning they gained the same benefits for leaving a one-star review as they would for a five-star review), which in turn brought her repeat business. “My clients were so pleased with their services after one or two visits that they referred loved ones to me. Fairly quickly, by word-of-mouth, Merhipsy Healing grew! I work hard to create a safe space where my clients feel cared for and at ease, and that truly markets itself!”
When asked about the most and least challenging aspects of starting her business, Zoey was quick to respond. “This answer is undoubtedly different for every business owner. For me, the most challenging part of launching my business was breaking through the fear! Fear of inadequacy, failure, of the uncertainty and unknown of what is ahead. That can eat you up….if you let it! It’s important to reclaim your personal power and remember that YOU are in charge of your feelings and you don’t have to let fear dictate your actions or paralyze you into immobility and inaction. The easiest part was my brand, actually. I am SO connected to the look, feel, and aesthetic of my brand. It is something that I wanted to translate into more than just my services, also a lifestyle and an identity. I worked with a professional illustrator, Sienne Josselin, to create my logo and she really made capturing the brand so simple! Like I said, that is not going to be true for everyone, and someone may have 100% opposite answers as I do. That’s the beauty! We each have different fears and strengths and can learn from one another and help each other grow!”
Zoey credits her education at SWIHA for her quick business growth. “For me, my education was extremely legitimizing. I’m very aware that with what I do especially within this industry, there is a lot of skepticism. Having certifications has offered me so much support in promoting myself in the marketplace and confidently putting myself forward as a professional who others can rely on to offer them the best service and care.
I’m proud of what I do and get so much support and encouragement from the SWIHA community. It was really a place where I learned that what I had dreamed of was really achievable."
Zoey’s message to SWIHA students and graduates is this:
“No task is too big. No dream is too lofty. The important component to successfully achieving your goals is to balance courage and pragmatism—risk-taking and plan-making—and to always walk bravely into your purpose with full faith that you can and will change lives. There is a need for courage in all things in building a business, both big and small. Don’t tell yourself ‘tomorrow.’ Tell yourself ‘today.’ Make investments in yourself and your business and watch them multiply ten-fold as you root into the soil of faith and blossom upward into your full potential!”