Carly Buxton has had as many careers as cats have lives. She’s been a product manager, user researcher, doula, lactation consultant and even a flight attendant.
But it was becoming a mother that led to her latest role as founder of startup, Nessle, an online platform connecting parents with birth workers, parenting coaches and consultants.
From her PhD in history to founding Nessle, Buxton says the throughline of her career has been synthesizing research. After the birth of her first child, she tried to power through new motherhood struggles by doing just that. Instead what she experienced was total overwhelm.
The internet and books are full of contradicting information, unsolicited advice and too much noise. There is no indication of what’s a reliable source and no nuance on how to apply advice to any particular situation. “The burden is on the parent to try to take an online source and mold it to their own family,” says Buxton.
Buxton imagined a better way, where parents can get one-to-one customized advice from an expert. Her software company matches experts with parents who need them. She also became a certified doula and lactation consultant to help parents while fully understanding the needs of experts growing a parenting business.
“It all started with my terrible postpartum period, a. And now I run a software company, which is still hard to wrap my mind around,” says Buxton.
A new parent coaching business model right when needed most
The pandemic accelerated Nessle, making even the most reticent experts learn to work with clients fully online or in a hybrid model. At the time, Buxton had just given birth to her second daughter in early April 2020. Instead of taking a much-needed maternity leave, she got to work supporting experts with just the tools necessary to take their businesses online.
For the first time, independent contractors accustomed to serving families in- person were learning to provide virtual care. Nessle was there to offer a HIPAA-compliant video platform, client communication tools and an easy way to accept online payments. “We eliminated so many technological challenges for individual practitioners who had run so much of their businesses in person for their entire careers,” says Buxton.
Today, Nessle serves hundreds of new parents and experts who support them from prenatal to early childhood. “We built software that makes it easy for parenting experts to run their business, grow and connect with their clients in a HIPAA-compliant way,” says Buxton.
Following are some of the many types of parenting business owners Nessle helps:
Nessle’s HIPAA-compliant platform includes a video tool, notes storage, a payment portal and more.
Today when it’s harder than ever to build an audience on social media and rank on Google, Nessle’s marketing tools make the platform a key way to reach a potential audience and find new clients. Providers listed on the platform can make referrals to one another and can use the easy-to-build website feature. “Google is set up for ‘near me’ rankings, which doesn’t make sense for those who can work with parents anywhere,” says Buxton.
Building community among parent coaching businesses
Building community has proved to be an important component of Nessle. The providers typically work in private practices, which can be isolating. Getting to know other providers during Nessle’s virtual “tea times” gives users access to mentorship, referrals and support. “People are hungry for meeting other experts and seeing what they need to succeed,” says Buxton.
With Nessle, Buxton is building what she wished she had as a new parent. “Our hope is that Nessle will make it easy to connect one expert with one person. There are a lot of approaches to parenting, and many of them are right, but information synthesis online makes it challenging to find what’s right for you.
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