Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Meg Bouvier, Founder of Meg Bouvier Medical Writing, located in Amherst, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My company mentors researchers writing grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve their skills and their odds of funding. We help them by way of an online library of self-directed video courses, along with live trainings and cohort learning programs. We work with academic and non-profit institutions training groups of researchers on mechanisms from the mentored K series to the large-format center grants and cooperative agreements.
Tell us about yourself
After receiving my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, I became a bench scientist and staff writer at NIH, working primarily for the Human Genome Project. I had the honor of working for long-standing NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, who was then the HGP Director. Among other things, I contributed to Congressional budget hearings and Senate testimony, wrote press releases and policy articles, and helped Dr. Collins with lecture prep. After I left NIH, I realized that I could use my unique background to help my fellow scientists and researchers with the NIH grant application process, which can be daunting! In 2015, we launched our library of self-paced online courses, which has been a huge success. It's been an especially useful resource to a lot of organizations in the wake of the pandemic.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm incredibly proud of helping many researchers improve their grantsmanship over the years. We say it all the time: a good idea isn't enough. It takes more than great science to get NIH funding, and we help researchers master the writing and submission skills they need. There are more than 1,000 grantees currently enrolled in our virtual courses. We currently support two of the top-three ranked hospitals in the country, four of the top-six ranked cancer hospitals, and three of the top-six medical schools for research. I am proud to play a part in helping to ensure that great research is not held back by poor grantsmanship skills.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's so rewarding to be an entrepreneur, but there's no shortage of challenges. One of the hardest things is learning to share responsibilities. When you start small, you learn to do everything on your own. But in order to scale your business, you need a team to start taking on some of that work. It can be hard to learn to let things go, but it's so liberating when you do! I wouldn't have been able to grow my business without all of the fantastic people who have my back.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Set goals. Define what you want out of your business, and be as honest as possible with yourself. Everything you do - every customer you take on, every product or service you create, every team member you hire - should support those goals.
- Keep things in perspective. Some days, the responsibilities of a business owner can seem overwhelming. But often, the things that appear to be big problems turn out to be just little bumps in the road.
- Never stop learning. No matter what experiences you have or how good you get in your field, you can always do better. Seek out people with the skills you admire, and learn as much as you can from them.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.