- Shabnam and Shaghayegh Safazadeh are twin sisters who immigrated to the US from Iran when they were 5. They didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family and were working hard to become medical professionals.
- Healthcare students don’t have the clinical experience they need to get jobs and pass exams. Therefore, the Safazadeh sisters built Advanced eClinical Training to provide resources students like them desperately needed.
- Here’s how the sisters started their medical e-learning business with no external funding and turned it into a multi-million dollar company that helps healthcare students nationwide.
Twin sisters Shaghayegh and Shabnam Safarzadeh were born in Tehran, Iran, and immigrated to the United States when they were 5 years old. Their strong work ethic and desire to help others led them to pursuing careers in the medical field.
During the COVID outbreak, Shabnam was in a post-graduate Physical Assistant (PA) program and Shaghayegh was in nursing school. Once quarantine was mandated, both twins left school and returned home to their parents.
The twins began working on creating their business during these isolating circumstances because they knew others were finding it hard to continue working towards their dream careers in the medical field.
It Wasn’t About the Money
Shabnam and Shaghayegh had faced three years of setbacks when applying for jobs and medical schools because they didn’t have clinical training. They felt the pain of this problem and weren’t satisfied with the lack of solutions. To help other people continue working to become medical professionals, they began formulating a tangible solution to this problem.
Advanced eClinical Training (ACT) was launched in 2020 with one course. They started their business with only one training because they wanted to concentrate on course content, understanding competitors, and providing exam prep services. They knew the process would be difficult, but they were passionate and diligent in creating something of value. They nurtured this course and learned how to profit from it before adding more classes.
The Safazadeh’s brought in experienced industry leaders who helped them improve content. They continued studying how to get accreditations and state licensing since they wanted to meet regulations. They were slow to release more courses because they wanted to offer a more engaging experience – quality over quantity.
They experienced many problems in the beginning because competitors entered the space during COVID due to how lucrative the e-learning medical industry was. Shabnam and Shaghayegh were competing with other businesses that were supported by venture capital investors when they had nothing but their own cash to support them. Luckily, they noticed competitors were uneducated about connecting with their target audience.
Their Underdog Story
The sisters brought on qualified instructors to their team and listened to customer feedback on what mistakes they were making. They continued to analyze competitors and stay completely knowledgeable about what innovations they needed to provide.
The twins continued to refine their content: They never copied others and always focused on displaying their authentic understanding of students. From there, they automated processes and researched heavily on what topics they were adding so that they provided the best, most accurate information.
Despite not having outside funding, Shaghayegh and Shabnam started seeing the beauty in their bootstrapped business: They used a careful and serious process to develop further since their hard earned money was on the line. Every decision they made was thoroughly contemplated before being implemented.
Now both authors and entrepreneurs, Shabnam and Shaghayegh reflect on how they came to success when that was never really the plan:
“We started making money early on because our messaging was authentic and we were passionate about the medical field. We resonated with the demographic and knew firsthand how difficult and stressful working in the medical field can be. Thankfully we articulated our vision clearly and pursued it relentlessly. We knew building this business was a marathon: It requires dedication and the right pace. So, we worked slowly but efficiently to be experts and provide courses that we could honestly say were better than our competition.”
They’re Always Learning and Growing
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Safazadehs, they encountered many challenges business owners commonly do. They were uneducated about running a business and had to learn from their mistakes. They realized having a vision and ideas isn’t the only thing needed to succeed. They had to research how elements came together to bring their vision to life.
Their passion made them hungry, but they eventually learned how to achieve something sustainable. They realized stressors of their industry were also a part of that: Creating a completely virtual learning program made it extremely difficult to convince educational institutions and credentialing bodies to approve them. They were told countless times that it was impossible and unrealistic, but the twins fought to demonstrate how their methods could help students.
What Courses They Have
ACT currently offers six self-paced certification courses that are approved by the US Department of Education and created by advanced medical providers and educators:
Advanced eClinical Training has had over 4,000 students since 2021. Their students have the highest passing rate for medical exams in the US. ACT attributes this success to their reliable course content, but also the lifetime career services they provide.
ACT strives to help post-pandemic medical students successfully enter their preferred fields and feel prepared and eager to start working.
Where ACT Is Going
For the future, ACT aims to become the leading medical certification company in the US, but first they will be raising capital to enhance product development and introduce new niche upskill courses that can be used internationally. These courses will focus on various fields like sports and medicine, nutrition, and more.
In addition to this, Advanced eClinical Training will expand their talented staff and work on partnering with universities so that their courses will translate to college credit.