We talked to Jessica Baker on how AddAlign turns your site into an advisor marketplace with built-in white-label teleconferencing and billing and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jessica Baker: If Covid-19 did not happen, my father would be alive today. We have all be challenged in different ways by the pandemic. Our passion is even more intense because of its impact, to make a positive difference so that these growth opportunities were not in vain.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded AddAlign?
Jessica Baker: I am a serial entrepreneur, Forbes writer, animal rescue non-profit founder, and mother of 2. I graduated from the University of Texas as a university scholar in four years with a B.S. in Biology and an MBA in Finance. I moved and worked in NYC for eight years in finance at a hedge fund and fund of funds. Then I transitioned to management consulting with clients like Thomson Reuters and the Federal Reserve. Entrepreneurship was enticing for me, so I started Aligned Signs, a self-awareness platform connecting individuals looking for meaningful relationships. When the pandemic hit, I was at a pivoting point and decided to repurpose the technology for a broader and more necessary application; that’s when AddAlign was born.
I saw that many millions of people need affordable and easy access to advisors, coaches, and experts for their health, emotional well-being, financial & legal matters, at-home skills, education, career, and business issues. Also, there are multitudes of others with marketable skill sets in these areas but need more straightforward and economic access to the growing gig economy.
This is what +Align offers, a robust platform for those who need help, and those who can provide it. I believe I can be an immensely profitable enterprise with high margins and substantial recurring and growing revenues with a broad spectrum of exit options.
+Align is a SaaS platform that instantly enables experts to register their profiles on any website and connect with users seeking advice. Users and experts use +Align teleconferencing tools to connect via video, phone call, or text, and the users pay the experts per minute or via subscription.
-Works on any device
-Users Browse Experts > Connect > Schedule >Billing >Video Conference!
How does AddAlign innovate?
Jessica Baker: We innovate by focusing on creative opportunities to solve real needs presented by clients. The most significant need is reducing entry barriers offering the product to any business regardless of size and growing with them. We are focusing on U.I. and UX experience for our upcoming version. This version will lower the cost of Integration and customization to $0, taking away any barrier to entry for a business of any size to implement. Customization will be done by the client to Whitelabel the experience to their client’s colors and branding. This way, any company, irrespective of size, industry, or location, can thrive with an additional means of a highly scalable revenue stream for themselves and experts visiting their websites or working in their firm.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jessica Baker: Ironically, our company +Align was born due to the shift Coronavirus created in our perception of what the world needs. We saw that a few core needs arise:
- A need to work regardless of location and distance
- A need to communicate in a streamlined way
- The ability to access advice and experts easily.
- To find new ways to work.
- Getting support for remote education, training, and care
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jessica Baker: We worked on another startup in the relationship space and had a difficult choice to make: Which opportunity would create the greatest good for the world? The temptations associated with the fallacy of the sum of sunk costs set in: Can we do both startups simultaneously and thus not have to abandon all the work we did on the first one?
Giving up our first startup baby opportunity to others was a tough choice, but we have no regrets about it. The startup graveyard is filled with companies run by people who thought they were Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. One mission at a time. That’s our mantra.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Jessica Baker: Our team is somewhat steeped and footed in our spiritual lives. Meditation, prayer, tai chi, and our family lives keep us steady. We also are quick to discuss any issues immediately rather than letting them fester. This helps us create a void of passive aggression or one that suffers from a lack of perspective.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jessica Baker: We currently have very few direct competitors. Telemedicine is relatively saturated, but the rest of the fields are wide open. Move fast. That’s the critical factor. We also have a trick or two up our sleeves, including a patent for some artificial intelligence modules that will change the way people get matched and communicate with each other. Innovation is vital as long as you innovate at the right time and with the flow of your users’ needs.
Your final thoughts?
Jessica Baker: The world we live in post-Covid-19 has offered us a perspective of how interdependent we are as a society. We don’t live in isolation. We affect each other daily and deeply. Try to focus on opportunities that can create lasting good and bind us to each other’s causes. Our focus at +Align is to create a win for three players: Experts who need work, people seeking advice, and businesses that facilitate such marketplaces while earning revenue from experience. The future of work is knowledge transfer that knows no geographical boundaries. That’s what we’re keen on offering to the world.
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