Women's Hormonal and Reproductive Health Services
Startup Costs: $100,000 +
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes
With fertility rates in a six-year decline worldwide, and given that one out of eight couples currently experiences fertility struggles, this field of services is at an all-time high in terms of demand. Set to grow at a 15.7% clip year over year until at least 2027, now is the time to tap into this industry’s $22 billion-and-growing market capitalization.
Ask the Experts: Elizabeth King, founder of Elizabeth King Coaching; Julie McClure, Founder and CEO of Hello.Me; and Dr. Sophia Ononye-Onyia, Founder and CEO of The Sophia Consulting Firm
What’s the first step to getting started in the women's hormonal health industry?
McClure: Research your local market to see if this service is needed or if it’s a crowded marketplace. If you are not a medical professional with experience in IV infusion therapy, you need to find yourself a partner who is and who can work with you to get the business off the ground. Additionally, you must do enough research to know how to operate a mobile medical business and be able to guide the professionals working for you.
King: To start, become certified by enrolling in a fertility coach certification course. This helps you to be as knowledgeable as possible and to have good systems in place.
Ononye-Onyia: Build relationships on LinkedIn with people willing to sponsor, advocate, mentor, coach and sponsor you.
Is the industry growing?
King: By leaps and bounds. Fertility rates are in a six-year decline worldwide, so fertility coaches are at an all-time high in terms of demand. If you are someone who is caring, organized and empathetic, and with an interest in women’s health, this is for you. It helps to have experience with your own fertility as well.
McClure: Yes, the industry is poised to grow at a rate of 15.7% year over year for the next five years, taking the sector from an estimated size of $22 billion to approximately $75 billion by 2027.
Ononye-Onyia: Yes. The life science and healthcare industry is a constantly growing industry. The rise in chronic diseases such as cancers and diabetes in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pervasive nature of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) has also increased the need for scientific communications and strategic marketing support for my growing small business.
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What are the current trends in women's hormonal health and what type of person is a great fit to try this?
Ononye-Onyia: COVID-19 has surged interest in vaccine development and infectious disease research. Chronic diseases such as cancers and diabetes are still on the rise prompting interest in traditional research and infusion of emerging technologies such as AI. The rise in patient-centered research, including decentralized/remote clinical trials has also honed the demand for digital health tools to support the data-enabled patient.
You need a tough skin to manage the innate skepticism of scientists, clinicians and other life science professionals. You also have to be very scrappy especially when you are a woman or minority particularly when it comes to fundraising or securing new business opportunities with emerging or established companies.
McClure: Market segments relating to PMS and menstruation are becoming slightly more saturated, while those relating to in-home testing devices and kits, products and services for peri/menopausal women (there are approximately one billion women who will be in this life stage in just two years, and who have strong purchasing power), sexual health products, educational platforms and devices, and focused AI-based knowledge platforms to empower women via education are still largely untapped. In addition, technological innovations to improve fertility outcomes, as well as new contraceptive solutions (including non-hormonal contraception for women), are gaining more traction.
Lastly, longevity as a subsector of Femtech is picking up steam, including products, technologies and services that help improve quality of life, along with lifespan. Investor interest is beginning to match the momentum of innovation in this subsector within Femtech (e.g., exosomes, new types of regenerative therapies and technologies and optimal aging clinics, such as the membership-based preventative health clinic Next-Health).
Individuals passionate about changing the landscape for women’s health and wellness are great candidates. It will help additionally if they are self-motivated, love to be a part of a team that’s charting new territory, are mission-driven and who thrive in an entrepreneurial and fast-paced environment that requires innovation, resilience and tenacity.
How much money can a person expect to make in the first year and in five years?
King: You can expect to make $50,000 to $100,000 in the early years. In five years, that could rise to six or seven figures.
Ononye-Onyia: It’s hard to say. Diverse-owned businesses, particularly for Black people and women, struggle—in fact 8 out of 10 Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months. As highlighted earlier, you’d need a strong, accessible network to survive as a business owner in this industry.
McClure: This largely depends on role and seniority, as well as if it’s a technical versus a non-technical role. A non-technical employee can expect annual cash compensation anywhere between $60,000 and $150,000, while technical roles are usually at least 25% higher, depending on experience and location (cities like Los Angeles and New York versus, say, Toronto). Most early-stage and high-growth companies in this sector also provide employees with the opportunity to earn equity options as part of their compensation after a certain period of employment and/or in certain recruited C-suite roles.
After five years… it’s largely dependent on the growth and funding of the company and the individual’s contributions and performance. The largest wins will be achieved through equity compensation in a company that has achieved significant scale and is on a path to either acquisition or a go-public transaction (which would typically be after year five).
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What kind of experience/training do you need to have?
McClure: This, again, depends on role and seniority. It’s advantageous to have hands-on experience at a hyper-growth startup that has a similar business model/and or target demographic. Depending on the role, the importance of having prior experience within women’s health varies (very important for product development, less so for a pure technology role). However, having experience working at other early-stage or high-growth companies provides confidence that the individual can meet the unique tempo and handle a less structured environment. Not everyone thrives in these companies; some are better suited for more structured roles within large corporations.
King: It helps to have experience with women's health and/or your own fertility journey. Doing a fertility coach certification program is also a big boost.
Ononye-Onyia: Scientists, physicians and other life science professionals tend to be highly educated with continuous opportunities for certifications, training and other education. It’s also nice to have at least a Bachelor of Science degree or other training that can help to decipher scientific jargon.
What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?
Ononye-Onyia: Most life science companies undervalue communications and tend to work with the same partner, often a large PR firm, for years. It’s hard to break in and hard to sustain so money cannot be the major driver. Instead, you have to be willing to make an impact and to do things that make you happy.
McClure: The level of education that’s required for customers in order for them to purchase new products. Through a lot of testing, we learned that customers require a significant amount of hand-holding regarding new products that address health issues, particularly when considering purchasing from a new and innovative company. Once you have their trust, they are very loyal and refer their friends, but it takes longer than you think to get the right messaging to consumers to drive high-growth conversion rates. If starting out again, I would have done more marketing and messaging tests during the early stages (pre-launch) while I was creating all of Hello.Me’s brand strategy.
King: I wish I’d known earlier just how much need there was and is for this kind of support.
Who are your customers?
King: In the U.S., one out of eight couples experience fertility struggles, and one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Customers can really be found anywhere, given these statistics. Most of the time, they are found in fertility clinics or groups that support pregnancy loss.
Ononye-Onyia: Big Pharma, biotech startups and healthcare advocacy organizations.
McClure: Our first product, Top Up Tonic, has a customer demographic that’s primarily women aged 20 to 35 years old. Our newest, ByeBye.Hotflashes, is for women in peri/menopause. So, the demographic is largely women aged 45 to 58 years old. In general, our customers are not new to supplements and natural therapies and are looking for non-prescription solutions that work and solve their hormonal pain points, such as bloating, fatigue, acne, PMS, hot flashes, etc., and are searching for solutions to help them take back control of their hormones so that they can get back to feeling and looking their best.
We find new customers through many channels and avenues, including our organic outreach, referrals from existing customers (given our now extensive reviews from the customer base), Facebook, Instagram and TikTok content, content collaborations with synergistic and female-founded brands, and through advertising.
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Are there any resources you recommend that were extremely valuable in getting your business off the ground?
King: I have a coaching program now that I wish I had access to when I was trying to get my business running.
McClure: I believe finding mentors and advisors who have built and scaled businesses in similar sectors is a critical thing when starting out. They provide great perspectives and help both smooth the learning curve and quicken the pace at which you can launch. They can also help avoid a tremendous amount of costly trial and error, which not only depletes startup funds but also consumes energy and time. Mentors and advisors also usually bring a network of tried-and-true product and marketing strategy professionals who can further help you get off the ground.
Get a diversity certification ASAP to get access to corporate members who are willing to support smaller businesses. Local SBA offices and websites also have a ton of information for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs.
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