I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Dr Helen Nightingale last Friday over lunch and we had a pretty interesting conversation over her plans to start up a new website focusing on delivering advice and self-help over issues relating to anxiety, trauma, insomnia and other mental issues. It was actually quite refreshing to come across a professional in a non-IT field with a firm grasp of the advantages and challenges of launching an online business.
Helen’s idea is simple but ingenious. Most people probably won’t bother going to a professional to talk about the simple problems that are making their life difficult. Worries and improper sleep patterns can significantly degrade someone’s life, yet there are many tools and mechanisms that could be implemented to help deal with these issues. She is currently working on preparing a series of audio clips with advice and guidance on how people can help themselves with these issues. They will be made available for a small fee and will also provide a basis on which further therapy can expand on. The savings to the end-user include the fact that they don’t have to spend hours (and lots of money) at a therapist and also all clips can be downloaded anonymously (and without having to wait on an NHS waiting list for months on end).
I was thinking about her business plan and it seems like a great way to scale your capabilities. Most entrepreneurial professionals will evolve from working for an organisation to working for themselves and will eventually face the challenge of figuring out the next step. Selling your skills is extremely rewarding, however you tend to be bound by the amount of hours you can bill. Your rate will increase over time, but the time boundary essentially defines a limit you cannot exceed.
Helen’s plan involves packaging the service the offers and making it available simultaneously to an international audience. Her work and the benefits it brings are no longer limited by her time and physical location. From a business perspective, she is scaling her capabilities and creating an organisation that can flow from her expertise.
Good luck Helen!