Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kayla Wagner, CEO of As You Are, located in San Antonio, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As You Are is a virtual clinic focused on evaluating children for autism using telehealth appointments exclusively with physicians, thus breaking geographic barriers associated with accessing care. Families are waiting over a year for a diagnostic evaluation in many areas of the U.S., leading to delays in diagnosis. These delays cause long-term challenges. If a child's clinical diagnosis is delayed, the child cannot start receiving important intervention services that lead to improved functional outcomes. Using a completely virtual experience for children and families, we provide diagnostic services for children ages 16 months to 10 years when there is a question of autism right in the comfort of their own home. As You Are helps more children get the diagnosis needed to start their treatment journey early in life.
The patient experience with As You Are feels like an evaluation a family would receive in a doctor's office. The evaluation follows the standard of care practices and uses an evidence-based approach. The difference is that everything happens through video calls with a trained physician. Families can visit our website to learn more about our amazing team, which includes physicians and Care Sidekicks. Our Care Sidekicks help families with important next steps after a diagnosis to connect them with therapy options and other services for children with autism in their community.
As You Are is available to families in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, with plans to expand nationwide by the end of 2023. Our goal is to help as many families as possible, regardless of location or socioeconomic status.
Tell us about yourself
I started As You Are because I knew it was critical to reimage the autism diagnostic paradigm in order to provide access to high-quality care for every child in need in every corner of the U.S. An early diagnosis is key. Many families wait over a year or more for answers after first suspecting autism. Young children should not wait this long for any clinical diagnosis with clear and timely treatment options. During the pandemic, I knew we had to create a solution to this problem as wait times only got worse.
Without a diagnosis, children cannot access the services they need to thrive. That's why what we do at As You Are is so important. Besides providing evaluation and diagnosis, As You Are also works closely with families to ensure children have access to the right intervention. Helping these families get the answers and access to the care they need and knowing that this diagnosis is the start of a care journey that could change the trajectory of a child's life motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As You Are started as an idea in early 2022, and I am so proud to already be offering services to children across 9 states since August. Helping hundreds of families in multiple states in just a matter of months has been our greatest accomplishment yet. As You Are has been a glimmer of hope for many struggling families. For example, Jenna Edlred, a mother from Columbus, Ohio, was on a 2-year waitlist to have her son evaluated for autism. She was frustrated and in tears, unsure of how she could help her 6-year-old son, Isaiah. She found As You Are and received a virtual diagnostic evaluation within two weeks.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
"Putting the patient first" is a philosophy embedded in everything we do at As You Are. Because of this, I am constantly committed to scaling our efforts to reach every family in need of our care. Like any journey, there have been unexpected obstacles in which I am reminded to stop and think, even when altruism begs me to move forward and continue building. It is important to consider the long-term needs of the families we serve as the business and the autism diagnostic paradigm in the U.S. continue to evolve.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take risks.
Because I took a leap of faith in starting As You Are, children are getting access to high-quality care.
- Do something that serves others.
Caring deeply about your business makes measuring success much more rewarding, but "doing the right thing" makes all the hard work worth it.
- Hire the right people to join your team.
There are so many different aspects to ensuring a business is thriving. Hiring employees in all departments who care about the mission and work hard to ensure the best outcomes is important.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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