Bonnie Brown, founder of A Better Life, calls herself an accidental advocate.
"My journey began when I first started having medical challenges that eventually led to eight operations in 11 years," she said. "I asked myself if I planned carefully, prepared properly and whether it made a difference in my life?” At that point, my answers were all no. Fortunately, I'm blessed to have a brother who is a physician's assistant and a sister who is a medical lab technician. Together they taught me how to be my own best advocate and it changed the way I navigated through the healthcare system. I became a better patient and I then started helping friends and neighbors do the same thing. Before I knew it, the phone was ringing off the hook with referrals of all kinds of people needing help. I just couldn't stop it."
A Better Life teaches people how to advocate for themselves in health and long-term care through educational training and coaching programs. They also offer products, like “A Better Life Medical Organizer & Go Bag,” designed to help make every medical appointment easier.
"We also developed a framework we call the Eight Ways to Wellness," Brown explained. "We take people by the hand and lead them through the process step-by-step. We break down the complicated healthcare process into less complicated parts and pieces. We're the GPS of healthcare. We help give people a roadmap to healthcare navigation. The eight ways to wellness are physical, financial, organizational, environmental, legal, emotional, social and spiritual. I found out the hard way that it's not just about fixing your body. You have to focus on the bigger picture and see all the areas that will be affected when you have medical issues."
Brown's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to take advantage of all the help that exists in the community to help you launch and grow.
"Gather yourself the best resources around you that you can and use them to your greatest advantage," she said. "It's hard to be a solo entrepreneur and there are so many resources out there that can help you do it quicker, easier and cheaper. It's made all the difference in the world to me and I recommend it to others as well. The Caregiver Accelerator Program helped me launch my business, gave me incredible opportunities and created a community of like-minded businesses in the healthcare space who are help and support each other outside of learning environment. They’re wonderful."