Bea Arthur started Pretty Padded Room — which offers women counseling sessions with an all women team of eight licensed therapists online — to make therapy more affordable and convenient. An introductory trial costs $20 and single sessions after that are $40 — via skype. Arthur also offers therapy through a secure online digital diary. Basically you rant about whatever you want and your therapist writes back to help you sort out the problem (this is the option I’m going for.) Arthur shared her start up experiences on our website.
Reason for starting: As a therapist, whenever I would mention my profession, people always seemed curious about it so I wanted to make therapy more available and affordable. By putting this service online, we make a potentially intimidating experience convenient and confidential.
Biggest success: We’ve been very lucky when it comes to press: Daily Candy, the New York Post, and soon, Entrepreneur Magazine. The nicest praise comes from our clients though. We’re able to get counseling for people who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
Biggest challenge: Marketing. We have to toe the line between our personality and our professionalism. So we can’t just run a Groupon special and cheapen our service. Getting out the right tone as credible yet personable has been tricky.
The one thing you would do differently: I would’ve stayed in Beta longer. There were so many unanticipated tech issues that required a lot of revisions and subsequent refunds, so we didn’t make the greatest impression on our first clients. We’re experts in the mind not in computer code! It would’ve definitely helped to test more.
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