Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sarah Mullens of Health Hunter: Business Challenges & Successes

In this exclusive interview with Jesse Samberg, the host of the series, we sit down with Sarah Mullens, the Co-Founder of Health Hunter. Sarah shares insights into her business journey, the challenges she has successfully navigated, and the unforgettable impact Health Hunter has had on a customer’s life. She also discusses her future plans for the business and how she tackles hurdles in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends. Join us as we delve into the world of preventative health and digital marketing with Sarah Mullens.

Interviewee Name: Sarah Mullens

Company: Health Hunter

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Sarah Mullens : As the two female Co-Founders of Health Hunter, our start up journey began as a result of our previous healthcare work together – we have worked on many ventures from strategy and conception through to scaling up, and at one point we just said “why aren’t we doing this for our own venture?”. We both have a background in digital marketing, specialising in healthcare and soon realised our passion for preventative health, through our family experiences. Some of our family and friends have struggled with serious and chronic health conditions for years, and they have searched high and low for the right doctors to address their illness, to get to the ‘why is this occurring’ – through these experiences we recognised a gap in the market for a consumer-focused digital platform, to increase access to specialised health practitioners and education around this preventative and chronic condition area.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Sarah Mullens : Our greatest challenge so far was ensuring we understood our two-sided market of health practitioners (the supply) and consumers (the demand). We must continually cater to both the demand and supply side and ensure we get the balance correct, while at the same time not losing sight of our vision and mission as a business. Right from the beginning we made a conscious effort to reach out, interview stakeholders and involve the major lifestyle medicine associations. These relationships we have established have been invaluable and helped us to engage our supply side. Likewise we completed a very thorough UX process with qualitative interviews to understand our consumers’ needs. This background work was essential in creating a platform that would solve a problem for both parties successfully.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Sarah Mullens : We always step back and reflect that we still align with our objective to reduce the impact of chronic disease on the population by making preventative health care models more easily accessible. Likewise we know the challenges practitioners have in finding the right patient fit and keeping their patient books full. Nothing can deter or impact this vision and decisions must be assessed along the way to ensure this. As a start up in a fast paced environment, your focus can be pulled in a million directions. We are always also conscious of doing the best thing we could in terms of activities that will push our platform forward and get us to the next stage we need. Having a Co-Founder in this sense is amazing as we can sense check, come to solutions quickly and bounce ideas in an extremely productive way.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Sarah Mullens : One of our customers, Marie, had struggled with gut issues for over 8 years. In that time she had seen various health practitioners including regular GPs and gastroenterologists, undergone an extensive amount of testing, scans and still was no closer to resolving the health issues she was having. She found our site when investigating her symptoms further and booked in with a Lifestyle medicine GP with a special interest area in gut health. After so many years in pain and frustration, not to mention the thousands of dollars spent trying to help, she has finally discovered the root cause of her issues with one of our practitioners who focuses on the source of her gut problems with in depth diagnostic testing. Her entire quality of life has changed, she understands her condition further and feels so thankful to have found the practitioner through our site. To make this impact on someone’s life after their years of struggle is very rewarding.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Sarah Mullens : Retirement isn’t close on the horizon yet, ha! We have a real vision to create a bigger ecosystem for preventative health on our website, one that incorporates a health concierge function. This is just the first stage of our plan and we are so passionate about providing much needed access, education and empowerment for people to take their health into their own hands that our job is certainly not done. Really we are trying to create a whole paradigm shift from ad-hoc health care, to a proactive, personalised and digitised approach. This is really just the beginning.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Sarah Mullens : Having over 15 years experience in digital marketing specialising in healthcare has meant we are very well versed in this area, and we have a ready made team that have the specific skills we need. This has put us at a huge advantage compared to many other startups and small businesses that have to outsource their marketing efforts and may not understand exactly what they need to do to achieve their objectives in the best possible way, at the right time or for the right expenditure.

We are also experienced at partnerships which has helped our business significantly, as you leverage through those relationships instead of doing all the work at an individual level. In terms of changing consumer trends, this has been a huge opportunity for us and in fact one of the reasons we started our venture in the first place. Preventative health and areas such as lifestyle medicine, functional medicine and integrative approaches have been on the rise, driven in part by consumer demand for more personalised, thorough, holistic approaches to their health, rather than just treating the issue once it is acute and sometimes life threatening. In addition, the rise of health digitisation and need for online access, resources, telehealth and more has driven our purpose in a positive way.

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Sarah Mullens and “Health Hunter” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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