Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Zachary Ratliff, Founder, and CEO of Proof in Recovery, INC., located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Proof in Recovery is developing a digital patient engagement and quality improvement platform to modernize use and eating disorder treatment. While the providers are technically our customers, the patients are our passion. We recognize that by having patients fall in love with the Proof in Recovery App (pira), we will be able to foster a strong attachment to the digital therapeutic process, ensuring we can be there to help them through the difficult times during treatment and celebrate the big wins while succeeding in recovery! And it's free to a patient for life. We hope, but don't require, that they continue to share their data with our clinical steering committee so that we can identify what's working for them on their treatment journey and that we can make the experience more efficacious for future patients. In addition to improving the quality of care, this improves the treatment experience for both patients and clinicians while reducing costs. We're literally creating the treatment experience our friends, family, and patients deserve!
Tell us about yourself
I lost my father to opioid addiction when I was 17 years old, so I was emotionally invested in the cause when I met my amazing cofounders. Coming from the insurance side of healthcare, I was surprised to see how little technological support we give to the patients that need it most. It doesn't make sense from a human standpoint because poor outcomes in this space are catastrophic. It also doesn't make sense from a business standpoint because patients with a substance use disorder are four times as expensive as those without that diagnosis. It just makes sense that we should be investing and working to improve this space, and it's the right thing to do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We actually won the first place award for a challenge hosted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (part of the NIH). They were looking for teams to map the patient journey and identify the challenges that patients and clinicians face during treatment and care transitions. Having our deep understanding of our customers validated in such a rigorous manner while literally advancing the research in the space makes me so proud of my team's hard work.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Taking the right small steps early. As a team with a lot of industry knowledge, we always want to start building the solution. It's really important to remember that your own experience may not be universal, and everyone should do a lot of primary research. Talk to the people that will be your customers, and make sure that you stay focused on what's going to bring them the most value the quickest.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Going from 0 to 1 takes a lot of work, and most people can't do it alone. Talk to your customers because they really do want you to succeed! Find mentors or advisors that have done this before because they make sure you keep looking at the details without losing the big picture. Think about your own mental health and become part of a community of entrepreneurs because they are going to be the only ones that truly understand what you're going through. At the end of the day, it takes a village, and you have to proactively find yours.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We're basically done with our pre-seed fundraising, but our friends and family crowd equity campaign is still technically on WeFunder until May 26th. Startup investing is, of course, a big risk, but our venture has literally been pushing the research into substance use disorder treatment forward!
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.
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