Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ben Munoz, Founder of Ben’s Friends Patient Communities, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

Ben's Friends is a family of free, online support communities for those affected by rare or chronic diseases. Each disease we cover has its own dedicated community. Our members are one of the 300 million people around the world living with a rare disease, plus their loved ones.

Tell us about yourself

It started with me, a stroke patient, and In 2006, I suffered a rare form of stroke called arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Unable to find the support I was looking for on the internet during my lengthy recovery, I created a patient community in late 2007 to find others like me.

When I started to connect with other AVM survivors, it became apparent that "community is the best medicine." My good friend Scott Orn (and later Eric D. Kroll, Haley Gallant, John Stamler, and hundreds of volunteer moderators) joined me in founding, with the sole focus of creating and operating safe, compassionate communities for people who need them (including patients and their families & friends).

Since those early days, my friends and I have started dozens of communities through Ben's Friends, helping hundreds of thousands around the world. We now have over 40 communities providing support for patients and caregivers dealing with conditions from Atrial Septal Defect to Von Willebrand's Disease. We have approximately 70,000 members around the world, and over 200,000 people visit our sites each month.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think the longevity we've achieved (15 years and counting) demonstrates the level of trust that the global rare disease communities have in Ben's Friends.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As a small nonprofit offering free support to the world, the hardest part is funding the mission.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start with solving someone's real problem, perhaps your own.
  2. Don't believe that you need lots of money to start. It's better to learn resourcefulness.
  3. Ask friends and your network for help. It's nearly impossible to succeed alone.

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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