Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Patrick Dulin, founder of Here and Now Systems, LLC., located in Anchorage, AK, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We have created an empirically-supported, self-administered app called Step Away that help people change their drinking, either quit altogether or moderate it to a safer level. Our app has been shown in multiple clinical trials supported by NIH and VA to reduce drinking by around 60% on average, and our users stay with us, most users are still engaged at six months!

We have worked hard to create an app that has reflected users' feedback, and we are proud to say that it is succeeding in its mission. Our customers are individuals who download the app from the App Store or Google Play. We are also providing apps to community organizations focused on reducing addiction.

Tell us about yourself

I am a licensed psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. My main professional goal is to help bridge the gap between those who suffer from alcohol addiction and those that receive help. Right now, we only reach about 10% of people who need addiction help due to barriers like stigma and the expense of treatment. With Step Away, we are able to provide needed, empirically validated help to people in need who otherwise wouldn't receive any help at all.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have been successful in garnering non-dilutive funding to keep the product and the business moving forward through grants from the NIH and the VA. The company has no debt, which is something I take pride in.

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

I think that, like any startup owner, keeping the money flowing in and developing new revenue streams is always a challenge. There is a business term for health care companies that have had NIH funding but have yet to receive VC funding called the "valley of death" that can be a reality if you don't work hard and think creatively to move out of!

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

  1. Pay close attention to what your early adopters/focus group members/customers say about your product. It's easy to think you know what people will want to use, but the matter is that it's just your singular opinion. Get heaps of feedback and listen carefully to it!
  2. Hire a great team. It really is true that it's your team that leads to success.
  3. Be tenacious! A famous mountaineer, Walter Bonati, once wrote that the key to his success was to never, ever give up. I think this translates well to starting and growing a business.

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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