AgeWell Solutions Founder Dr. Kim Crawford Shares Her Success And Experience With Online Business

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    Do you have an interesting story to tell related to your small business? Have some advice for other entrepreneurs to help them avoid some of the pitfalls of small business ownership?  We invite you to share your story with the Small Business Community.   Please note that your story will be reviewed by our moderators before it is posted on the community, so please don't provide an advertisement for your business.  Just answer some of the questions below, in your own words (you don't have to answer them all). We look forward to reading your story!


    Question:
    What is the name of your business?
    Your Answer: 

    AgeWell Solutions, LLC


    Question: Where is your business located (city & state)?  Who are the customers you serve?  What products or services does you company provide?

    Your Answer:

    The business is web-based so it serves everyone in the United States. The physical location is Melbourne, Florida.


    Services:

    Modular anti-aging and wellness "pods" during which a "member" does the following to learn how to get and stay as healthy as possible:

    Step 1: Self assessment questionnaire

    Step 2: Watch a professionally done webinar (15 minutes) presented by me

    Step 3: Read the "solutions'" handouts which re-cap the webinar and give extra information

    Step 4: Schedule conference call with me with questions and/or email me questions. This part is done anonymously via conference call lines,use of first  names only and double-blind email interface to comply with HIPPA laws and phone calls are conference calls, to comply with telemedicine regulations in all states. Unlimited for Executive members ($325/yr)

    Step 5: Visit our store to obtain products they need (1/2 of the solutions are non revenue based,1/2 are revenue based)

     

    Modular topics include:


    • The basics of staying healthy -Fixing oxidative stress, inflammation and glycation. This includes a copy of the anti-aging anti-inflammatory diet and solutions for solving these problems
    • How to regain energy as we age
    • How to get a great night's sleep as we age-a big problem for most
    • How to lose weight and keep it off
    • How to treat mood issues naturally
    • How to have a perfectly functioning GI tract
    • How to get going on an easy an efficient exercise program
    • How to strengthen your immune system as you age
    • How to maintain your overall brain health as you age
    • All the tricks and secrets to looking young as you age
    • Why/how to detox from everything we're exposed to
    • All about hormones

     

    Other services for those who do not wish to be members:


    5 free ebooks (also available to members)

    Free  weekly update on popular products

    Free blog 3-4x/weekly

    Free scientific monthly newsletter

    A lot of website information via "expertise articles"

    Free module 1

    Trial of most modules module for $1

    Free Q/A if in store with questions about what to purchase.

    Free articles in store (also available to members) covering 30 topics from arthritis to allergies to blood pressure,cellulite,cholesterol,cancer prevention and tons more with suggestions for remedies they can do at home and/or purchase in the store.

    Free Youtube videos (also available to members)

    Access to all self-analysis questionnaires for all modules

    One time (by law can occur only once annually) FREE one on one phone consultation with me-also available to members.

     

    Products summary:


    All natural,cruelty free skin care products:anti-aging,hypo-allergenic and effective

    Natural vitamins and supplements which are used in place of pharmaceuticals to address specific issues via epigenics rather than a traditional pharmaceutical approach such as I used as an Internist. I am now a board certified Anti-aging M.D. and since all drugs are altered chemical versions of natural products (so they could be patented), Anti-aging doctors prefer to use precursors to drugs as there are no side effects. However my opinion does not constitute medical advice or cures and does not replace someone's real life doctor.

    Hormones therapy is not permitted legally, unfortunately....however I can make a huge difference in someone's life and health even without hormones.


    Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?

    Your Answer:

    I have always had 'my own business' starting at the age of 26 when I opened my Internal Medicine practice. I have owned and operated fitness center-not chains-my own "brand", and in fact created the "medically based fitness center model," I have co-owned a spa products company and more. However I never did an internet based business and that is where I can give some great advice.


    The reason I did this business was because I am a well known and highly sought after 4 board certified Physician. I am well known in the field of Anti-aging Medicine and have a lucrative private practice. Due to the fact that I am a concierge Physician and in my practice, as a hormone specialist, I have patients on (expensive) hormones, I am aware that only a small percentage of the population can afford to see an Anti-aging Specialist to keep them "young and healthy." In addition I am "full", meaning I have a waiting list of people who wish to see me personally.


    I have always been "into" disease prevention,and in fact became a Fellow of the American Board of Preventive medicine a long time ago. It troubles me greatly that there is "no money" given to prevention-it all goes to "the cure." So I wanted to bring disease prevention, natural remedies and longevity to the masses. As you saw from above, someone can have full access to me to help them for a mere $325/year.

     

    Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business?  How did you initially fund your business?

    Your Answer:

    No,I am still working with my patients and would certainly not quit practicing medicine. I have funded this business which is now nearing the 300K mark with my own money.


    Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
    Your Answer:

    The biggest challenge is the only "real" challenge. It astounds me that people make up Linked In profiles, have websites touting their fake successes with fake testemonials and even have "fake references" that you can call! So called website designers say they can do "coding" and/or developing, and show you beautiful examples of "their work." SEO is an area of huge scamming, and "business advisors" are anything but. Because I have always interviewed and hired people for years and years I assumed I could trust a resume,trust references, and trust SEO "screenshots" of whopping (phony) successes.


    I started this business in July of 2014. I cannot tell you how much money I absolutely wasted until I read books on SEO, read books on web development and ditched all of the "business advisors" who did nothing but give bad advice and did damage to the website. (Example of damage=when my current COMPETANT SEO advisor "took the reins" there were 10K "bad" backlinks!) The site was almost banned by google due to this. All sorts of things like this occurred. And I went to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, undergraduate with a very strong marketing background so I'm not some "clueless doctor" trying to do a business here. At one time I had over 500 employees!


    Advice for those venturing into the Internet business world:

    1. Learn the basics of SEO

    2. Learn the basics of web design and web development

    3. Be ready to write write write write or just forget it....seriously.

    4. Start with a good SEO person- if you don't start with good urls for pages you are behind the 8-ball. If you have to CHANGE keywords multiple times  as I did you are WAY behind the 8-ball. Find this person through alumni associations, friends, trusted sources and do NOT trust anyone's Linked in Profile,what they email you for snapshots from accounts they did because any SEO person can analyze any site and give you ANY snapshot!!! While you are at it,did you realize that WHAT you name your business will be your home page url so you really should use a good SEO expert with "marketing chops" to help you NAME your business correctly. I would suggest that you do NOT register your LLC (you can do this yourself online you know) OR start buying domains until you have "this person" in place.

    5. Start with a good web designer/developer and have THAT person demonstrate their work via trusted sources. For your website-use Wordpress and just trust me on this. You will need to use the "blog" function and dashboard and it's super easy. It's also something that good web developers who are up to date use almost exclusively. 

    6. Make sure these two most important people for your business COMMUNICATE with you. An email  that is a brief question that goes unanswered for 3 days is not acceptable. Set the rules.

    7. Make sure these two communicate with each other.

    8. If you have the money, get a GREAT administrative assistant. This was my only "good move" from the get go. She has an M.B.A. and contributes creatively and is a huge help in my practice and in this business. It helps if you don't have to leave your day job and have a trusted employee who can work both jobs. There are women at home with kids that want to work part time from home so think about this too.

    9. Once you find these good people, no matter how smart you are or how business savvy you THINK you are, you are not experienced in an internet business which is vastly vastly different than a brick and mortar business.  Listen to what your competant people tell you. If your SEO expert shares the weekly "stats" with you and tells you what to "link to" or use when you write, LISTEN!!!

     

    Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
    Your Answer:

    Learning all that I have learned which is actually fun other than having to "work too much"! Also working with the professionals I now work with is a true pleasure.


    Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
    Your Answer:

    I started my very first business at age 8. I lived up north and started shovelling sidewalks. I noticed that "other kids" were shy about asking people if they wanted their driveways and sidewalks shovelled. So I did a little contract with a % of the money taken from the kids I hired. I had about 20 working for me. I would get the accounts,collect the money and compile the satisfaction surveys from customers to make sure I didn't have any "slackers." I would give the "kids" their tips if tips were given to me. (Always treat employees really well!)


    I won the "who sold the most Girl Scout cookies" award every year I was a girl scout. I carefully kept track of who bought what and why. I tracked national cookie sales to see what were the best sellers. This gave me a good background in sales. However no matter how good you are, if you are counting on a WEBSITE to sell,there is no "you factor" and never forget that. Bummer,right?


    BOTTOM LINE: I have always been my own boss. No surprises, I know what's involved. My parents taught me business basics at age 5.

    I am fairly sure I outlined it quite well in the question above. The #1 most important thing to do is to make sure you are dealing with competant professionals to do what you need them to do. You cannot do it all. Even when having to write a lot, use a copyrighter if you can afford it.  Actually let me add one other thing. If you see that your original concept of your business is not going to sustain the business financially, get creative. You don't have to let it go but you might need to either alter it or add to it.

     

    Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?

    Your Answer:

    I am fairly sure I outlined it quite well in the question above. The #1 most important thing to do is to make sure you are dealing with competant professionals to do what you need them to do. You cannot do it all. Even when having to write a lot, use a copyrighter if you can afford it.  Actually let me add one other thing. If you see that your original concept of your business is not going to sustain the business financially, get creative. You don't have to let it go but you might need to either alter it or add to it.


    My business is a perfect example. I used to do TV as the NBC medical reporter and figured I would cash in on that broadcaster skillset. I did 12 professionally shot webinars along with probably 5000 pages of handouts, questionnaires and everything needed for the "modular" program. I spent a fortune on this, obviously and thought WHO WOULDN"T LOVE THIS? When I ran demographics on everyone who took vitamins, was on a diet , couldn't sleep, complained of a lack of energy I really thought I would be deluged with members. I learned that most people are lazy and most people don't take care of their health or even pay attention until they have a tragic illness. This is evidenced by the # of Americans who are overwieght or obese,do not exercise regularly and who eat fast food and bacon pizza!  So-I had to pivot!


    While I DO have extremely happy members, they are certainly not enough to sustain this business financially or to come close to reaching my financial goals. That is why I expanded my e-commerce store from 50 to 200+ products and went back to (groan!) writing-creating "Condition articles" for those with a certain specific need who just plain don't want to bother reading, watching or even talking to me.


    Whereas my original concept was to "make everyone healthy" I now understand that yes indeed, I generate more revenue with anti-aging skin care products than with memberships. You really need to know your audience and target them. You might think you know them but you need to pay close attention to what you think and what the numbers are showing you. I was pretty darned close to predicting the audience....however not the audience's BEHAVIOR-two distinctly different things. I cannot say this enough but in any business you cannot take your eye off the ball for a day. Not a day.

     

    Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?

    Your Answer:

    1. Hire well and cautiously

    2. Be patient-all business take time to have "traction" so expect to work very very hard for a good 2 years before you can relax a bit. You will never work as hard but you will never have the opportunity to makes as much money, do good things for people if you are following your passion, or create something that is yours. You also can't ever be fired!

    3. Just as you need to be patient in terms of time-it always takes 2x a long as you might have predicted.....you will need a LOT more money than predicted. Things will just "come up" which you didn't anticipate and if you don't have the finances make sure you have a great credit score so you can get a small business loan. Better yet-a line of credit.

    4. Don't be afraid to alter your 'original concept'. Just because YOU love it,doesn't mean it will sell as you originally conceived your business or your idea. Too many people hang on for dear life to their "baby." Your business is not a baby, it's a business-treat it as such. Lose your ego-you did this to make money, right?  

    5. Don't be cocky. Pay attention at all times to your business. 95% of new businesses fail within the first year and up to 99% fail within the first 5 years. Why? People have no clue how hard they need to work, or that  they are the "last to be fed." This takes getting used to if you have been getting a paycheck from someone else. They give up because they run out of money or get scared at the amount of money they are spending or are unwilling to change strategies or just plain can't work or think they can't work the long long hours required. Hang in there, listen to your experts and be willing to be flexible. Having a line of credit open sure is a good idea for the vast majority of people too!

     

     

     

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