After 20 years of school counseling, Kristin Hiemstra was bursting with inspiration from the goals and dreams of her students. But she found herself heartbroken thinking about all the lost goals and jaded morale of the adults around her.
“So I’m like—there’s gotta be a way that we can teach people how to keep those dreams alive, to give them traction to do it, and also how to navigate the actual work world,” she said.
Hiemstra’s secret ingredient? Alignment.
“Throughout this process a person becomes aligned; their values become aligned, their dreams become aligned, their actions become aligned, their words become aligned, and their feelings become aligned.” she said.
The process Hiemstra is referring to is that of her Chapel Hill-based startup Alight Success, an online platform where clients can access remote wellness coaching. The website provides always-accessible videos in addition to connecting clients with a coach. Alight Success participated in the recently completed Fall 2022 cohort of the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator.
“The idea of the platform is that you can watch the videos of me coaching you anytime you want,” Hiemstra said. “But then you have a live component where a coach works with you to unpack all the information you’ve been given.”
The hybrid platform plans to reach international audiences, so that anyone around the world can access Alight Success’s content. Hiemstra said she also wants to go global because she believes that her startup will get even more traction overseas.
“Coaching internationally is always kind of seen as a gift or an investment,” Hiemstra said. The U.S. tends to view wellness coaching as a remedial activity, she said, pointing out the more harmonious work-life balance in many other countries compared to the U.S.
The website features a different unit each week where clients can learn to harness a variety of goal-achieving skills over the course of 10 weeks.
“There’s a lot of weekend coaching things out there, which are really good, but after a weekend, you don’t build any new habits,” Hiemstra said. “In 10 weeks you have time to build new habits—to get momentum going.”
Although Hiemstra’s platform tackles deep issues, it’s not the same as mental health counseling, she said. Hiemstra’s program is designed to prevent imbalance, she said, rather than solve already existing stressors for those with active mental health concerns.
“My assumption is you’re coming in with this desire to grow and expand,” Hiemstra said. “And you just need some tools.”
Alight Success offers both individual and corporate packages. Individuals are grouped with other clients from around the world in their live coaching sessions, while company members are grouped together within the corporate format.
As Hiemstra continues to develop the coaching platform, she said she’s looking for more funding to accelerate the process.
“Right now, I’m bootstrapping,” Hiemstra said. “But I would love to have an angel investor, or a few angel investors, because I could go much faster.”
With more funding, Hiemstra hopes to collaborate with a partner and focus on hiring a marketing employee this year to accompany her current team of 10 wellness coaches and an intern.
Hiemstra noted the most important detail about her startup she hopes people recognize is the potential they possess to achieve their dreams with her program.
“My program is really helping people figure out and unpack who they are,” she said, “so that they can figure out what it is they want.”