Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Wes Michael, President of Rare Patient Voice LLC., located in Towson, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Rare Patient Voice is a company that connects clients (market research firms, advertising agencies, pharmaceutical companies) with patients and family caregivers for participation in all types of research studies.
Tell us about yourself
Years ago, a client asked if the company I was working for at those days could recruit a big group of hemophilia patients and parents to be available to do surveys and interviews. We recruited them every year at a national conference. One year, another client was interested, and that gave me the idea to create a panel that could take advantage of a lot of different survey opportunities. Every day I hear from patients who thank us for the opportunity to share their voices and also get paid! How motivating is that?!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating a team that can run each aspect of the business with minimal interruption from me! We have a team that responds at lightning speed to proposal requests, another team that manages all the projects, and another that constantly reaches out to patients and groups and grows our panel. Someone else handles marketing, and another person handles invoicing. So everything is covered! And best of all, they all work together very well!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Early on, it was a combination of staying the course of the vision but also adjusting to what I learned in the marketplace. For example, early on, some people wanted us to recruit physicians in addition to patients, but our vision was patients, and we stayed focused on that. But we adjusted, for example, we learned that patients know other patients, so we put more resources toward finding and rewarding referral partners.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do your research (is there a demand?) but don't be intimidated by others in the field and paralyzed by lack of complete info. Get started!
- Devote time to both finding new business and delivering the business. If you focus too much on one and not the other, you'll have trouble!
- As you grow, the most important thing is to find good people to work for you. Treat them well and reward 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.
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