In this episode Josh talks with Kate Gorman, creator of the Your therAPPist, a self directed therapy and meditation app.
Kate Gorman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and President of Brain hAPPy, a company providing innovative mental health/wellness solutions.
Her new app Your TherAPPist provides evidence-based tools such as mindfulness training, meditation and cognitive behavior therapy to reduce anxiety, stress and negative thinking patterns. The app includes over 200 brain reprogramming audio meditations that can be scheduled throughout the day. Mental health in the palm of your hand.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- What is the vision board in the feeling of scale?
- What’s the difference between a vision board and setting goals?
- Is it a mindset or actions that need to happen first?
- How to make your business become real?
- How to get support in start-up phases?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you’re at the Sustainable Business podcast. My guest today is Kate Gorman. Kate is a founder and CEO of a company called Brain hAPPy. Just from the sounds of that I kind of liked the name of that business. It’s a meditation therapy sort of app, I think. We’ll get it a little bit more. First, let’s bring Kate on the show and welcome her. AK, how are you today?
Kate: Good, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Josh: It’s my pleasure. Tell me, you seem to have some sort of a relationship with [inaudible 00:01:20], which I’m assuming is a reinsurer for life insurance, or is it just a reinsurer for insurance?
Kate: For life insurance.
Josh: Okay, so why would they want to be concerned with a company like yours?
Kate: So [inaudible 00:01:33] is doing a wonderful project where they have collected or chosen startups around the globe, before an incubator program. It’s called NASA reimagine incubator. Basically, their focus has lots to do with the invigoration of Hartford, Connecticut, and its process of bringing in innovation and lots of insurance carriers.
So the startups had a focus to bring innovation, digital innovation, and other ideas to the insurance industry. And so brain hAPPy as a therapy app can be a tool that can greatly reduce costs for insurance carriers, and can also bring improve care and wellness programs in the insurance industry.
Josh: How does your business do that?
Kate: We are in our beginning phases. The process of being with [inaudible 00:02:25] is helping us. A lot of this has to do with making connections. So in that process will be there are lots of events through Ensure Tech, which is another continuum connected to [inaudible 00:02:38]. That brings together insurance companies for different specific focus and so part of our process is to start going to events and being able to socialize and being able to start with the connections.
Josh: What specifically does your product do? With somebody who owns a business being interested in using it and if so, why? [inaudible 00:03:01] questions are linked together.
Kate: Our product is to resolve a problem which is that mental health is on the rise now. Some people don’t have time for therapy or talk therapy, one session a week is just not enough. Our app is a self directed program that really addresses talk therapy concepts and resolve them using evidence based therapies such as mindfulness training, meditation, and brain rewiring.
It also includes things like a feeling scale and vision board. So businesses may be interested in us either as an insurance company, we can add this product to improve our clients care or reduced costs, or it could be considered even as like an employee’s Benefits Program. Some small companies do not have the availability to provide the EAP system. This can be a way that they support their employees.
Josh: What is the vision board in the feeling of scale?
Kate: In the beginning part of the app, just as you would engage in some with a therapy, how are you feeling? That’s how the app begins and there are 40 feeling choices. So once a user chooses a feeling, I’m feeling sad today, there’s a feeling scale, and it asked the intensity of the users feeling. On a scale of one to 10, how intense is that feeling of sadness? The user can put it on an eight or nine out of seven, so they can measure their progress. After they’ve used our evidence based therapies, they can then see on the scale, where they’ve come, “Okay, now I’m down to a two. I am feeling better.”
A vision board is a life direction or focus. People use them to create an idea, what are my goals? If I keep looking at them, I keep positively directing toward them then I can achieve them. There’s a component of the app that has this.
Josh: Sounds a bit like goal setting.
Kate: Yeah, it is, it is a lot like goal setting.
Josh: What’s difference between a vision board and just sitting down and me setting some goals?
Kate: Well, vision board is usually visual. If somebody was doing it at home, they might get a big white poster board. They might put pictures up of the things that they hope to achieve. So if they want to get a new partner, they might put hearts and they might put a picture of a partnership. If they want to start hiking with a group of people, then they would cut out a picture of hiking was a group of people.
It’s more of a visual look. If you have it hanging up, you can be able to see my goal.
Josh: Here’s one of my questions. I always ask folks like you, because it always fits in with this, which is, is it mindset or actions that need to happen first? Because what you’re talking about, I would put into the world of mindset.
Kate: It is. I think action steps are very important. I often tell people in order to change your outer world. You need to change your inner world. So the mindset piece is important, but you can change your mind set. But if you don’t do anything differently to change your environment, then you may still be in the same place just slightly, feeling happier. The action steps are also important. Both of those things, changing how you think, and changing how you act actually physically rewires the brain. So if you’re physically rewiring your brain in positive directions, you are more likely to feel better.
Josh: In my experience, by the way, it depends where you are in life. For example, if you’re running a business, and I’m trying to get you to delegate, you first probably going to have to change your mind set about what it takes to become a successful delegator. But then you have to immediately start taking actions and making mistakes and learning from them. Because if you don’t take the two and you don’t combine the two, you never actually get a result.
Josh: What was that movie that everyone in the universe was watching a few years ago? The secret?
Kate: Okay, yeah.
Josh: My problem with the secret is, it’s all about mindset. They don’t ever mention actions in there once.
Kate: Yes, I agree with that, actually. I do think that there is and so in our component in the app addresses all of these things. It talks about deprogramming a negative thinking stream, reprogramming a positive one and the third step is an action step. It may be related to doing a problem to solution list or starting a yoga or Tai Chi Class or joining hiking. It gives suggestions to take action as it relates to the therapy problem that the user addresses.
Josh: So if the owner is a screamer, and there are lots of screamers in the world. Would your program do something about that?
Kate: Screamer? I’m not sure what you mean by that.
Josh: Somebody who screams at people all the time.
Kate: So you mean like a very angry person?
Josh: Well, not so much angry. It’s just a lot of business owners believe that the only way for them to get actions from your employees is to yell at them.
Josh: They used to be me when I was in my beginning stages of business and I had to have a lot of very unhappy experiences along the way to disabuse myself of that idea of being a good one. I eventually turned it around, but it sounds like your program might be able to speed that along a bit.
Kate: If someone is able to identify that there is a “screamer” or they there may be issues of wanting to control a situation that feels out of control. Then people tend to be anxious actually as a root of that so if they’re able to identify the fact that there might be anger and feeling anxious, because things are not going to get done, and how to then plan from a calm place. I think if the user was unable to identify that particular issue, then I believe that we could move that along to a different level.
Josh: Yeah or I’ll give you a more likely– which you’re more comfortable with. They’re talking about this a lot, which is the hardest skill for a business owner to learn is delegation.
Kate: Mm hmm.
Josh: Yeah. My belief is they don’t learn to delegate for bunch of reasons, but the two biggies are a lack of trust and others and a lack of tolerance and mistakes made by others. That’s something that literally, everybody who has to learn how to delegate will run into as a roadblock on the way to becoming a delegator. Most people who are trying to become delegators quit, because they hit one of those two roadblocks and say, “Oh, it didn’t work, I can’t do it.” Will a program like yours help with that?”
Kate: There would have to be two things so some aspects are environmental. If you have employees that do a fairly good job, and you don’t trust them, that’s an internal issue. If you have capable employees, and you want to work on the issue of trust of anxiety, I think that would be again, source from anxiety.
Maybe that would even be sourced from some familial or family issues, family imprints, not being able to trust others having to do it yourself. If the users able to identify those particular issues via the app and the app would say, “How are you feeling today?” And then the user would potentially say, “I’m feeling helpless” help is that word, helplessness. Then the app says, “Well, what is the source of your feeling? Is it from a current event? Is it from a thinking pattern? A negative thought?”
I don’t trust anybody. Nobody can do a good enough job or is it from like a memory or past events? So when the user goes through, they’re prompted to find out why do I feel this way? And so if they say choose a current event, maybe it’s a work issue. Is it a work confidence issue? Or confidence in other issues, so then they can be choosing and working through those pieces. But if the person is dealing with employees that are physically having a hard time following through, then that is more of an environmental issue.
Then the user might be working on attitudes of calm. How can I address this using problem to solution list to be able to help those employees to follow through with tasks? It could help with either feeling more calm, or as you said, if there is a underlying issues such as anxiety or trust, then that would be how it would be connected.
Josh: Cool. I’m going to switch gears on you once again.
Josh: Your brand new business, developing an app, which I think is pretty unique. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone actually trying to do what you’re doing. How do you make your business become real?
Kate: I think part of this process is we’re learning along the way and finding out what others have done before us, even though we aren’t different. There are others who have carved a way through meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace, and Talkspace–
Josh: There’s a gazillion about meditation apps, that’s for sure.
Kate: Yeah, right. And so some path has been carved for that as far as apps and using wellness. As far as even Talkspace is a live therapist, that someone can use weekly. There is some path carved and for us, we’re bringing in a combination, taking therapy concepts, and using the other evidence based therapies to combined to heal those therapy concepts.
Now we’re looking at creating a focus. We had to learn along the way. We’re doing some social media posting, and where do we want to create a focus. Right now, through the insurance industry, I believe we can carve the best path to reach as many people as possible because most people have insurance. It could be a client who is seeking outpatient therapy, or needs that type of therapy, but doesn’t have the time. Or it can be a wellness track, a wellness program, because all human beings, let’s face it are dealing with life and life challenges and thinking issues and feeling stress.
So the other aspects of the insurers can benefit from reducing stress in their clients, then that may in turn reduce physical health care costs. I think that we now have a direction of where we’re going to aim as far as reaching and connecting to a client base. Now we also have the support through [inaudible 00:13:10] to be able to make connections and to have a sort of parents helping to bring us links and ideas to make movement.
Josh: NASA re-introduce you to the life insurance carriers themselves.
Kate: At this point, we are relatively new, and working with them. We’re probably about a month and we are just beginning. They have worked very generously with us to create kind of a needs assessment, what does your company need. From there, they’re going to make the connections and one of the thoughts that they have is connect us to insurance brokers. From that needs assessment, they’re creating that list and will then introduce us to the brokers who may be able to bring us to the larger insurance carriers that exists in Hartford, Connecticut.
Josh: It seems to me that this product would be a better one for the health insurance business versus the life insurance business.
Kate: That is true. The dedication is not just to their company, but it is to the larger area of Hartford, where there’s many insurance companies, Aetna travelers, Cigna, and more United Health. The aspect would be to connect us to the health insurance carriers.
Josh: These companies, especially big insurance companies, are not known for trying products or activities that have not been well proven and well done. How do you go about getting somebody in one of these bigger companies actually pay attention to you and what you can bring to the party?
Kate: I think I should start screaming, maybe that will do it?
Josh: I don’t think that would actually do it. No, I don’t think [inaudible 00:14:46]
Kate: I wouldn’t do that.
Josh: I don’t recommend that.
Kate: It doesn’t work out well. I think that one of the things that when we have an opportunity through these connecting points is that, if one insurance client is seeking mental health, outpatient therapy, and they go for one year, it could cost $5,000 for the insurance carrier. Our brain hAPPy app, called “Your therapist” is $75 a year. There’s a significant cost reduction. I think that that would be a point of attraction, because even if this one client goes for half a year, and then use his brain hAPPy as a supplemental tool, post the talk therapy sessions, then they’re benefiting, they’re getting their mental health support, and the cost has been greatly reduced.
The other points that I made earlier was that even their clients that aren’t seeking mental health treatment, are stressed. If you’re a human being, you’re probably stressed, overwhelmed dealing with negative thoughts about finances, or your relationships or your body image. So if their clients are getting this support, they may be healthier overall. They may be taking healthier action steps. They may be less likely to be physically stressed, which has a loads of correlations to different physical elements.
Josh: My experience with these sorts of companies I first got into the advice business as an insurance agent, actually, is that these companies are incredibly risk adverse. They would prefer not to treat their patients versus getting sued, I think.
Josh: How do you get past that objection with them? Because I’m going to bet it’s a big one.
Kate: In the app itself, we were very careful about the choices that we made. There is a disclaimer in the beginning, which states that we’re not here to treat trauma or substance abuse issues or suicidal issues or psychosis. We give hotline numbers to address that. Then we have each user sign it or basically agree to the disclaimer before use. Then I was very careful in selecting the content to be non-triggering or non dealing with some of the trauma issues that could surface problems for the clients where they would need to go seek crisis care of things that that matter. I really looked at those pieces very carefully so that there would be little or no risk.
Josh: I get that, but how do you go about convincing a Cigna that, in fact, is what you’re doing?
Kate: That we’re addressing the wellness aspect,
Josh: And you’re not creating a potential lawsuit for them?
Kate: Yeah. I believe that the disclaimer in the beginning would cover that aspect, because the user before they use has to basically to agree to being able to use this and to seek help in another way. I mean, just the same as if someone goes to see a therapist. There are certain sorts of agreements that are made in that process that the insurer is paying for. There are aspects that there are risks if a therapist does not necessarily cover. We’ve looked at that in the app to make sure that those areas were covered.
Josh: Have any of these companies asked you about your insurance coverage? How much insurance you guys have for malpractice, or if something goes wrong?
Kate: Have not been asked that.
Josh: Interesting, I’m surprised that hasn’t come up because it seems like when I was just in the food service business, they used to ask for these [inaudible 00:18:15] policies, if we did a special event for one of these companies. They want to be protected. It would seem to me that they would do the same thing with you also.
Kate: Well, I think we’re at an early stage right now. We may cross that and have to take a closer look at that as we’re working on our business plan. Ee are taking a look at that piece and what we will need to make sure that we have coverage.
Josh: What is your biggest challenge that you’re facing in your business right now?
Kate: We are looking to work full time. My sister Cindy is actually a co-founder. I am the therapist essentially and the content writer. She has been the web design and UX manager. We are wanting to pull together time of course to be able to work on this, but we both are needing to work our other jobs and manage our other parts of our life.
We really are at this point looking to connect with a venture capitalist so that we can connect to financing plus, we need to do some things for the app to upgrade it somewhat to also integrate it with a website to hire our marketing team that we have waiting in the wings. We are ready to go. Our next step is to connect to the financing so that we can both be available to this full time and to launch the preparation that we have done at this point to get the app to the next level soon.
Josh: Are you looking for venture capital money? Is that where you’re at?
Josh: And how’s that going?
Kate: You got any?
Josh: Not today.
Kate: Okay, it’s actually going pretty well. We’re meeting and talking with some great possibilities and opportunities. We have people looking at our investor deck or pitch deck and looking at our business plan here in Connecticut. We’re just keeping the conversation alive with those that are trying to help us here, both at [inaudible 00:20:01], and other places like CTNext and Connecticut Innovations to keep alive the idea that we could make the connections to have that happen as soon as possible.
Josh: Cool. I wish you good luck with that.
Kate: Thank you.
Josh: It sounds like you are a very early stage business right now.
Josh: And that’s the toughest part, in my experience of doing a business at all is the first year or a year and a half while you’re paying for credit cards. Kate: Yeah.
Josh: Working second jobs [inaudible 00:20:31].
Josh: That’s where the challenge comes in and getting past that to where you have some sort of significant cash flow will be your number one challenge, as a start up. It basically all comes down to is what creates cash, what creates cash and what creates cash.
Josh: Oh, there you are.
Kate, we’re unfortunately out of time, and I’m going to bet people are going to want to find you. How would they go about doing so?
Kate: Our website is brain-happy.com and I could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh: Sounds great. I would recommend folks go take a look around the website. It’s a really good one. I spent a little bit time here today. I also have an offer for you. As we just mentioned, the biggest challenge for any business, not just startups, by the way, is creating excess cash for the business and for the business owner in their life. I put together this infographic which really shows the success path from having no cash to having excess cash in your business and your life. It’s really easy guys from our Cracking the Cash flow Code Program. It’s easy to get you just go to www.sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow. That’s www.sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow one word and the infographic will be on your way.
This is Josh Patrick, we’re with Kate Gorman. You’re at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.