One of the big headaches for health and wellness practitioners working alone is coping with time-consuming administrative tasks from managing bookings and accounts to keeping social media channels up to date. Having trained as a yoga teacher, Darryl Gibney was well aware of the juggling required to keep everything ticking over. In November last year she set up Wellclik. com, a combined bookings, business management, sales, marketing and content platform designed to reduce the administrative burden on self-employed wellness practitioners.
“I knew the challenges people faced trying to market their businesses, manage their sales pipeline and ultimately make it a full-time career rather than a hobby,” Gibney says. “My background is in media and advertising and I was using tools such as Salesforce, Kantar and Neilsen on a daily basis to grow sales. However, no equivalents existed for the wellness market even though it’s growing by 40 per cent per annum. This was the start of my idea and I started envisioning a situation where suitable tools could be automated for wellness practitioners and put on a simple-to-use platform.”
Wellclik automates routine tasks saving time and money and leaving people free to grow their businesses and do what they love doing – making people feel 'well' again
Gibney says her market research showed that practitioners were spending up to two hours a day on administrative tasks. “They were managing their Facebook ads, their Instagram posts, reaching out to existing clients with email newsletters while also trying to attract new customers. At the same time, they were trying to act all ‘Zen’ as this is ‘wellness’ after all,” she says. “Wellclik automates routine tasks saving time and money and leaving people free to grow their businesses and do what they love doing – making people feel ‘well’ again.”
Gibney's potential customers span the wellness spectrum from nutrition and massage to life coaching and counselling. The platform was launched in Ireland in March of this year and is being piloted with 60 therapists. Gibney expects the platform to be up and running in the UK by November with expansion to the US to follow. "My aim is to be the number one aggregator of wellness bookings by 2020," she says.
Gibney studied international development and communications at the University of Chester before embarking on what became a 13-year career in advertising with the Irish Daily Star and Associated Newspapers. To date she has spent about €30,000 "and a lot of blood, sweat and tears" developing Wellclik and she is a recent graduate of the New Frontiers programme run by the LINC (Learning and Innovation Centre) at Blanchardstown IT. The company employs three people and, having just secured investment from the NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) through its Launchpad programme, Gibney hopes to grow this to six people by the end of 2017.
The company will make its money by charging customers a monthly subscription fee with additional income coming from content provision. There are three levels of service starting from €45 a month. The premium service costs €150 monthly and includes the development of a personalised app and a website as well as access to a full suite of automated administration services.
“We are in a highly competitive landscape with lots of booking engines for health, beauty and so on, but their focus is primarily on the back end with no front-end portal. Where we differ is in offering a 360-degree service, covering off both aspects – so we can take care of bookings but also SEO and automated updates for Facebook for example.
“From our research, we know that 80 per cent of practitioners have no digital footprint and while the market is growing strongly, only 11 per cent of it is being targeted with management systems at this point in time. What we’re doing is not necessarily disruptive right now other than that it is unique in offering a 360-degree service. However, we have a vision for the future that is going to be highly disruptive.”