Skip to main content

Startup Day 232

I wrote an email to my mailing list today and talked about a shift in focus to reach parents directly on social media. Because my updates are kept short (3 updates, 3 asks), I didn't delve into the "why" behind the shift. We like to celebrate the resounding successes rather than dwell on things that didn't work so well. The point of this blog series, however, is to delve into what works and what doesn't. 

Asking school clinicians and therapists to share Empowered Together with their families didn't work in the sense that it didn't result in requests to join Empowered Together.* Maybe those channels can be effective down the line but I couldn't crack the code to it right now. Where I was seeing requests to join was from a few facebook posts I made. Now that has me exploring the channel of social media and it makes sense when I think back to early customer discovery conversations. When I asked parents where they went to find support and answer kid-related questions, facebook was most commonly cited. None of the parents actually like facebook; it's impersonal and attracts gripers and "performative parents" who like to see their advice in print. But all the same, there's more than a critical mass of folks ready to offer their opinions so it does serve a useful purpose for parents. My idea is to go to where the parents are already going, parents who are willing to engage online and conversant with technology platforms, and offer a solution that might better meet their needs. It's a tricky approach because I respect facebook groups' rules and won't post self-promotion where it's not allowed. But it does pose an interesting angle on going direct-to-consumer.

Maybe next time I send an update, I'll blog about the "why" and share that, too, in case folks are interested in the longer story.

*I add this note to dispel any myth regarding conflict of interest. As background, this post originally appeared on 2/15/22. Fast forward to 12/7/22 and I (Sarah Spear) was appointed to my local Board of Education in order to play an active civic role in childhood education, an area of personal passion. During the intervening 10 months, Empowered Together focused on establishing enterprise partnerships with large, private institutions serving individuals with disabilities. Neither Empowered Together nor I are seeking school-based partnerships. Hopefully this makes clear that I serve on the Board of Education as a citizen who cares about our local school district and without any professional interest. For the latest on Empowered Together's services and model, please visit the website. (2/2/23)


Popular posts from this blog

Rare Disease Day 2024

Today's Rare Disease Day. There's sometimes a particular weightiness to life with a rare disease. All the appointments, emergencies, traumas, doctors, therapists, medicines, opinions, schedules and upset schedules. My touchpoint is being mom to my precious girl with Wiedemann-Steiner Syndrome  (WSS). You'd have to spend a day or week shadowing me to know what it's really like. Doesn't that sound alienating? As though you couldn't possibly imagine if you're not living it? Well, maybe. But think about a time of immense grief you've lived through, or a time when your world seemed to be falling apart around you and it felt like everyone else was completely unaffected. I suppose it's a bit like that. You might have thought that those around you couldn't possibly know how that experience felt to you. A couple weeks ago, I started keeping a list of all the extraordinary things that happened in my life due to my daughter's rare disease. I learned a c

Startup Day 676: MVP coming soon

Hunkering down and revisiting user data consumed much of my last hundred-odd days, resulting in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Simply built using Softr and Airtable (with tons of gratitude for  INVANTI 's support), I'm testing the willingness of Disability Self-advocates and Caregivers to find and write reviews of providers they recommend. Of the 200+ pain points expressed by Empowered Together's community, 88% can be addressed by the online marketplace simulated in our MVP. Users get to recommend respite providers, social activities, and therapists they love. We're testing a shift from Word of Mouth recommendations to tech-enabled referrals and lead gen, leveraging the collective voice and purchasing power of the disability community. This progress energizes me as a founder. This could be the key to unlock support for families affected by disability. My narrative for a startup bootcamp's application summarizes it best: As Empowered Together’s founder, Sarah has a

Startup Day 703: MVP live...

It's official, you can visit  to see what we've been building! It's been a long journey to get here though this is really just the beginning. Yesterday, I reflected on why I'm doing this ( watch here ). I want to dive a bit deeper around the concept of creating the future I want to live in with my kids. I'm building a marketplace to connect families affected by disability with recommended businesses. I hypothesize that this will increase the rate of excellent customer experiences for People with Disabilities (PwD) -- 80% of their customer experiences are currently FAILURES! I also hypothesize that businesses will see the value in welcome PwD and society will slowly become more inclusive and accessible. Big dreams, I know, but that's the future I'm creating. On the personal side, creating that future would be meaningless to me if my kids and I didn't get to enjoy it together. That means it's equally important for me to engage