Entrepreneur: Shanna Israel
Business name: Vertical Wellness
Years in business: 1
Website address: http://verticalwellness.com
What do you do when you're faced with not one, but three life-threatening illnesses? Lifestyle expert Shanna Israel found herself in this situation when she was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in 2006, quickly followed by Graves' disease and Hashimoto's disease. The ailments threatened her job, relationships, social life and economic security, and it took a long period of frustrating, expensive and often dead-end research before she found the information she needed to get her health back on track.
Because of those personal experiences, Israel has spent the past five years dedicating her life to health care, working with industry names like Dr. Oz, and assisting with Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation. A year ago, she launched Vertical Wellness, a comprehensive website that provides quick access to trusted information and products to address health concerns, dietary needs and diseases. Here's how Israel used technology to create her holistic health guide and help others who are currently experiencing situations like hers.
Business News Daily: What problem were you hoping to solve when you started your business?
Shanna Israel: I was dealing with an illness and found myself having to do research while being ill. I couldn't find quick answers for health-related items such as gluten-free supplements, cosmetics, integrative practices or just understanding terms that doctors were telling me. I wanted to solve a time issue first by creating a platform that would have information that someone could break down quickly. I believe time and the right information will save one's life before money can. What takes someone years of searching, frustration and expenses could possibly be summed up in minutes. My goal was to create a one-stop-shop forum that provides trusted information and products that relate to the information. I created something I did not have. [5 Jobs for Health and Fitness Lovers]
BND: Which technologies have been the greatest help to your business?
S.I.: WordPress and Amazon have made it possible for me to create a business without tremendous overhead costs. I believe this to be true for many companies: The Internet and current technologies can make an idea a reality more quickly and for less money than in years past.
BND: What technology can't you live without?
S.I.: My smartphone! It's a blessing and curse.
BND: If you could hire one extra person right now, what would you have that employee do?
S.I.: I would like to clone myself, so I could do double the work at the same time. Since that's not a reality, I would like to hire a full-time CFO. New opportunities are constantly coming my way, and I would ask the CFO to research them and see if they were financially viable.
BND: What technology do you wish existed that doesn't?
S.I.: A "now" button for shopping would be nice, so if people wanted to purchase something they could have it delivered within five minutes. I think Amazon is trying this idea with drones —won't be five minutes, but will be closer!
BND: What app are you relying on most right now?
S.I.: Pandora. Music gets me through my day. It's the only thing that can keep my mind still.
BND: What technology do you think is most overrated?
S.I.: The smartphone. This is where I say it's a curse. I love my phone, and it helps me when I need it. However, we are losing the human experience due to these phones. People don't look up anymore. I cherish my relationships, personal and professional, and the phone, email or Skype cannot replace the human quality that's experienced with them in person.
BND: What are the most valuable non-tech skills an entrepreneur needs?
S.I.: I would say confidence and self-motivation are key. You are going to go through some very rocky times being an entrepreneur. There are great days mixed with upsetting days. You are the only one to keep the fight alive. I believe if you really want something in life, you will find a way to make it happen. Believe in yourself, find the time, make a smart plan, and fight for it.
Originally published on Business News Daily.