A startup called Shine is rolling out a new service offering on-demand life coaching via text messages as a paid tier to its free, daily texting service. While a number of today’s chatbots and SMS-based concierge services have been focused on helping people shop via text message, Shine to date has instead focused on helping you become a better person. Through automated texts, Shine delivers daily self-help, encouragement, and advice to its subscribers, via either SMS or Facebook Messenger.
With the debut of Shinevisor, it’s preparing to introduce a more personal touch: advice and guidance from real people, who are certified life, career, and school coaches.
Launched into beta roughly a year ago, Shine’s free service is largely targeted toward a millennial audience. Every day, it sends out an automated text that tackles life’s struggles. For example, recent texts I’ve received from Shine have delved into subjects like facing criticism, trying to let go of the need to exert control over everything, overcoming procrastination, practicing patience, learning self-compassion, and so on.
Many of the texts are particularly tuned into issues you would face at work, and in particular those that women deal with in their careers. As co-founder Naomi Hirabayashi explained at last year’s launch, half of women report having experiences with self-doubt about their performance and careers, compared with 31% of men. Shine wants to address that.
Each Shine text starts of with an introduction to the day’s subject, which you can respond to by texting back “M” (for more). Shine then sends additional insight, including the why’s and how’s of the issue and hand, as well as further reading via web links.
As of this summer, the service had sent out over 2.8 million messages to a user base that’s almost entirely (88%) under the age of 35.
Now, Shine is experimenting with the next phase of its business: personal, one-on-one coaching. Through Shinevisor, users are connected with a certified coach they can text any time.
According to messages recently sent out to early Shine users, a number of members have been asking for the ability to talk to a real person for advice on work, school and life.
The cost for this service is not cheap, however. Shinevisor is a fairly steep $15.99 per week (billed on a 12-week basis). That’s nearly as costly as the co-pay at a therapist (for those with health insurance), even though it isn’t anything like having an in-person session.
Instead, this real-world life coach will listen to your venting, your problems, and your life goals, via text, then write back with customized advice, feedback, and guidance. They’ll also send articles on the subject, so you can learn more about whatever it is you’re facing.
The difference between Shine’s service and real-world life coaching or therapy is that Shine’s advisors can be reached 24/7 – that is, there’s no need to schedule appointments, nor are there limits on time. You can text them as much as you want, Shine says.
It should be interesting to see if Shine is actually able to convert its young users to this level of paid, on-demand coaching. After all, there’s already so much free support available online – ranging from blogs and websites to email newsletters to private Facebook support groups and more. Shinevisor, meanwhile, falls somewhere in between those looking for free advice, and those who are committed to seriously tackling problems through therapy or real world mentorship.
The new service is currently being pitched by text to select Shine users, but is also available via the company website, where you can sign up for a free trial.