I'm Clay and I'm a soloprenuer: My 19 year old company makes Speech Therapy software


Some of you already know me (MrAnalogy from the Business of Software board, which is now circling the drain) but I’ll introduce myself to the rest.

My wife made me do it.
My BS is in Electrical Engineering with a Telecom emphasis. I worked as a Telecom engineering consultant for my first few years out of school. Then went back to my first love, software development, for my next job working for a startup making Video Kiosks.

During all of that I was writing speech therapy software for my (now) wife to use with her patients. I just saw a need and needed a project to work on. Amazingly, we still sell the first program I ever wrote after college. It’s one of our worst sellers. But that’s a marketing problem :smile:

The software turned into a product which turned into many products which turned into a company. I didn’t have any grand plans for starting a company (didn’t have the confidence to think I could do that). One thing just lead to another and viola, we’ve been in business for about 19 years now.

Current Plans

We are about to launch a web app (mostly to address iPad and non-windows users, but also to provide a lower cost subscription pricing model).

My interests

  1. Growing and helping other people grow
  2. Marketing and sales. Right now I’m especially interested in Landing Page Optimization (or “Conversion Optimization”). Having lots of fun with Google Experiments right now.
  3. Finding and managing freelancers (wihich is related to #1)

-Clay Nichols
Speech & Language Software

1 Like

Very interesting; looking at your product line I see a lot of similarity to foreign language learning software. Have you looked into making a version of some of your products for that market? Do you sell localized versions of your therapy software in foreign markets?

It’s actually fairly different from language learning software. Reteaching someone to speak, read or write is very different. It’s also a niche so we can charge a bit more. If we went after a bigger market our costs wouldn’t change but we’d have to charge less to compete with very established folks like Rosetta Stone.

We are well established in a niche that takes years to get established in (Speech therapy) and have no marketing presence in a much broader market (language learning) that has heavy hitters with lots of marketing $$ (Rosetta Stone)

We’ve considered it and do distribute in the UK and Australia. It’s not very profitable b/c we don’t know enough about the local marketing and have to market through local distributors who take % cut. (If we hired someone they’d take a similar cut).
It’s really not worth the effort.

Also, that would require:

  1. marketing expertise in that language
  2. speech therapist (or someone with a lot of language skill) to translate all the content.
    You can’t just do a straight translation. You’d have to look at the
    goal of each exercise.
  3. A market of a single language (not dialects like Mexican and Spain spanish) where folks have enough income to afford it.


Hi Clay. Welcome to the forums.

Nice to see the old BoS forum’s people! Hello, MrAnalogy! I remember you! :slight_smile:

Not necessary foreign. My son at his grade 1 would have benefited from the vocabulary development applications. In some sense, it is a therapy, too. The speech therapist instead was dealing with printouts.

The argument about prices is valid though… people who need to recover are ready to pay for that recovery a premium.

Hi Clay! Wow it’s awesome to have someone who’s really been around the block and is looking to help others. What did you mean by 3 overlapping with 1?

Did you mean like hiring freelancers to build software and at the same time kind of mentoring them about entrepreneurship?

Sent from phone

Great to have you here Clay!!! It’s been a long time, I love it when BOS members come on board. Also, I suspect you’re the longest lived company on here so really looking forward to all you can contribute.

19 years is good going. I will have been in business for myself 10 years in a few days.

I primarily meant (1 related to 3) : #3 (finding/managing freelancers) is a skill that I have developed and one I’m happy to share my experience with. I’ve naturally got lots of experience in all areas, but the Freelancer stuff is fairly recent (last 3 years or so ) so it’s the most novel to me, so it was on my mind when I posted.).

But you raise a good point: Working as a freelancer with an existing established company that’s willing to not only pay you but give you some mentoring sounds like a good idea.

I have really enjoyed this wild ride (building a company and running it for 19 years) and I’m happy to share my knowledge.
Actually I’m working some a top secret project to share more of that knowledge. (That actually came up after I originally made my intro post). You can ping me for more info or wait for an official announcement in the near future.