Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dustin Shryock, co-founder of BLS Remote, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
BLS Remote™ allows you to practice EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) mental health therapy anywhere in the world in the palm of your hands. Clients benefit from being in the safety of their home, as do therapists. No commuting, no lost travel time, and clients like it because they can stay grounded in their safe space and be ready to do the work of reprocessing. In short, we produce devices for EMDR-trained clinicians to use with their clients over existing video platforms using our private interface. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
Tell us about yourself
This could be a long story but let's keep it simple. My name is Dustin, and I Co-founded BLS Remote with the intention of extending life-saving EMDR technology to those that otherwise would be unable to access best-in-class mental health clinician's offices for any given reason, such as a pandemic. I spent many years in the U.S. Army, three years in Baghdad, Iraq, and returned home not quite the same person. I was lucky enough to find EMDR therapy. It truly saved my life and so many others around the world that have experienced the trauma of any varying degrees. While doing EMDR (in an office - how very 'pre-pandemic' of me), I realized this technology needed to be democratized. So, BLS Remote was born of the idea that effective EMDR should be available to anyone, anywhere, around the globe. That is what motivates me every day. We are going to put our products in the hands of those that otherwise would not have been able to access the therapy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment as business owners has been the simple act of launching the business during a time when global commerce seemed to come to a halt overnight. We have been through supply chain issues, product acquisition issues, time delays, manufacturing issues, testing issues, marketing, people, etc. Launching this company and still being afloat and thriving has been a huge win for us and especially for our customers.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that have come with co-founding and launching a company has been money. Money! I know, right. This will be hyper-specific to BLS Remote, but we have chosen to continue to bootstrap the company versus taking on debt or slashing away (too early) at equity. I know, also, by not taking on debt/equity partners, we are (potentially) not growing as fast. Like I said, hyper-focused on my company, we think our own money and effort (for now) are more valuable than external pressure. I would love to hear feedback from the community on this topic.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have intentionality behind what you do. This doesn't need to be altruistic. Are you money-driven? Good. Are you solving a problem for a business? Good. You are going to keep yourself and your team sane if you can show up each day and know the purpose of being there. I am sure you have read/heard this, but according to a popular legend, during a tour of NASA headquarters in 1961, John F. Kennedy encountered a janitor mopping the floors. "Why are you working so late?" Kennedy asked. "Mr. President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."
- Talk to everyone you know about your company or product. Everyone. Talk to your mentors. Don't have mentors? See number 3 below... talk to your niece, talk to your professors, your parents, neighbors, fellow late-night bar/pub patrons, etc. Common sense appears as you verbalize/externalize your internal dialogue. You remove the slack from the business rope. You tighten your pitch at all levels of your business/product's possible audience comprehension. However, don't take my word for it. Go and try it out.
- Go find mentors. This is so incredibly difficult and time-consuming so start now! I have consulted mentors that have nothing to do with my company other than I have established relationships with the mentor based on trust and candor. I ask them for advice. It is that simple sometimes. Before I quit a full-time role to start my own company, I consulted many people (even people on my former company's board!). Mentors are all over. At least for me, I have found approaching a person and asking, "can you be my mentor?" is often awkward and doesn't seem to materialize (again, for me). Alternatively, don't ask for mentors; create them. Write down the names of people you would call in a pinch, or call for advice, or call to share good/bad news with. Those are your mentors.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
BLS Remote™ emerged from the desire to innovate upon existing EMDR capabilities. The founders - having medical training, clinical experience, and client use - brought the idea to engineering teams to develop an effective remote EMDR technology for clinical use.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.