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- Carson Derrow
Sales Forecasting – Sunny with a Chance of Profit!
Sales Forecasting

The future can be unpredictable. As the last two years have shown, the world can suddenly face unprecedented global events that are completely unexpected. However, in the world of business, there are things you can do to have a better understanding of the future of your company. You can even implement a sales forecasting tool to help you make predictions and thereby make plans for action. In this article, we’ll delve further into the topic of sales forecasts and why they are so essential to a successful business. With the right information, you can equip a business to weather any storms it may face profitably.

The Purpose of Sales Forecasts

Sales forecasts are primarily based on predictions of the quantity of a product that a business estimates they’re likely to sell. From that prediction, they can:

Work out the forecast of likely profit or loss. Profit is obviously the main goal for most businesses, and this is a vital forecast to be able to make.Construct cash flow forecasts. This is a critical part of business planning. By looking at sales forecasts in terms of the income, that’s going to be the biggest cash inflow for any business. This knowledge is going to help them to go on to construct all the rest of their cash flow forecast.Organise staffing and create human resource plans. The more sales businesses are expecting to make, the more staff that are going to be needed to produce that level of output.Plan the required level of production. There is no benefit in having demand for a product if that can’t be met with supply. Therefore, by making forecasts for how much they are likely to be able to sell, a business can then work back and plan the required level of production to meet that demand. Factors That Affect Sales Forecasts

There are a huge range of factors that affect the sales forecast of any business. These factors change how accurate the forecast is likely to be. Therefore, a successful business will need to be flexible and adaptable, to be able to adapt to the varying factors. Some of these factors include:

Consumer trends. This broad term covers a wide range of different aspects, such as demographics, buying habits and changing trends and tastes. Demographic changes will result in changes to consumers demands, as will smaller things like tastes and fashions. For example, a change in diet trends has led to a boom in plant-based food sales. In 2021, vegan food sales shot up 2.5 times faster than in the previous three years. The plant-based market is expected to grow by 18.9% by the year. This trend would mean a boost in sales for vegan product suppliers, but a decline in sales for meat product vendors.Economic variables. For example, a sudden spike inflation can lead to a big rise in uncertainty which would in turn lower consumer spending as buyers are not confident about what’s happening in the future. Alternatively, if interest rates were to fall, that would reduce the amount that some consumers are going to have to pay on their mortgages. That might encourage them to spend a more on other items and cause sales to be higher than forecast.Actions of competitors. If a competitor suddenly launches a huge promotional campaign or sponsors a very publicised event, this will raise their profile significantly. In this case you’re going to find that some consumers that you would have expected to buy from you are going to move across to competitors. Similarly, if your competitors cut their prices and start offering better deals, then you’re going to lose out on consumers and your sales are going to be lower than what you might have forecast originally. Problems with Sales Forecasting

Some issues with sales forecasting arise from the way that data is collected. Extrapolation is the process of using past trends and data to predict what is going to happen in the future. This process is used as the foundation for most sales forecasts however, just because something happened before doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen again or continue to happen in the future. While extrapolation is a simple method of forecasting that requires a minimal amount of data it can prove to be unreliable due to fluctuations in historical data. Although often being a quick and cheap option for sales forecasting, it works on the assumption that past trends will continue. As previously discussed, this is highly unlikely in many competitive business environments. This method also disregards qualitative factors such as changes in tastes and fashion which, as mentioned, is an element that cannot be accurately factored into sales forecasting.

Software to Save the Day

Sales forecasting software does the hard work for you. By evaluating historical business data, the software can produce a comprehensive report of expected sales based on historic trends. The forecast analysis therefore shows sales targets against achieved sales while also highlighting potential sales. Templates are often included in sales forecasting software these templates run analysis under the available data and used these statistics to produce sales forecast reports. In most cases, users can program the templates to include assumptions which will simulate sales behaviour and market conditions so that you can include these as part of your forecasts.

In essence, forecasting is a process of evaluation. It includes self-assessment, market assessment, and self-reflection. If you want to attain an accurate forecast, you will need to include both detailed finance and business information, as well as external market conditions.

While the results of sales forecasting may not be completely without scrutiny, it can take some of the guess work out of making business decisions. Knowledge is power, and knowledge of the future enables you to make powerful decisions. With all the information provided in a sales forecast report, you will able to forge the way forward for your business so that you can achieve success.

The post Sales Forecasting – Sunny with a Chance of Profit! appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
How to Write Legal Brief
Legal Brief

It is essential knowledge for students majoring in law and other closely related subjects to be familiar with the process of writing a legal brief. This writing style is an essential component of the educational process and the overall learning experience. Therefore, law students must have an understanding of this subject. In many legal education programs, the focus is on developing students’ ability to present a legal brief effectively.

The capacity of students to articulate their views understandably, provide convincing arguments supported by evidence, and keep the structure of information layout intact is highly appreciated not only in the academic sphere but also in the student’s future job path. Therefore, it is required to pay attention to the fundamentals of legal brief writing. Compared to the other sorts of writing done in the legal field, these papers are more logical, concise, and short.

When it comes to writing legal briefs for professional reasons rather than academic ones, this process may become hard, particularly for a rookie legal essay writer. This is the case since professional objectives are different from academic purposes.

Therefore, individuals need to practice a significant amount while simultaneously attending an educational organization.

One of the most obvious difficulties that attorneys have while drafting legal briefs is that they tend to use strict terms and lengthy statements that are difficult to understand. These structures provide a barrier that prevents writing in accordance with the requirements or what is anticipated. For attorneys to be successful in the production of appellate briefs, they need to adhere to the standards of the “3 C’s,” which are clarity, conciseness, and crispness of tone. In light of this, it would be sufficient to use simpler English while being clear and consistent.

Get familiar with your legal issues.

It is time to arrange and structure the problems at hand appropriately after you have selected the case that you are excited to reflect on and gathered enough information and proof. Therefore, if you do not have any writing prompts, you might generate a list of questions that you would want to answer and use it as your writing prompt. Maintaining your concentration will be easier, and you will have more time for research if you have a strategy or blueprint to follow.

Suppose you are working on a subject or area of the law that is somewhat unfamiliar to you. In that case, one important thing to keep in mind is that you should make an effort to obtain enough background material to get comfortable with the subject.

Adjust your strategy pertaining to the kind of writing required of you.

When it comes to legal briefs, they most often take one of two forms: trial briefs or appellate briefs. The former is often necessary either before or while the trial is in court. It is either written in favor of the matter being brought up in court or in opposition to the topic. The latter is submitted to the court of appeals to either support or oppose the argument that the judgment made by the lower court should be reversed.

Convince the audience but don’t get into an argument.

The judges or the legal clerks should question themselves about the parties’ motivations for fighting over a particular issue while reading your brief. Therefore, the overarching objective you have set for yourself is to provide compelling evidence in favor of the client’s position and elicit empathy for your arguments.

The organization of the argument

Before working on a draft of the legal case brief, an attorney should first make sure that the legal issues brought up in the problem are specified clearly and concisely. As a result, it is vital to start by studying all of the papers related to the case, researching the legal laws and principles, and coming up with compelling arguments supported by sufficient proof. After that, an attorney should construct the case so that the judge can follow clear and logical stages to reach their conclusion. Utilizing this strategy makes it easier to go from one stage to the next and ultimately arrive at the desired result.

Ensure that there is a logical connection between all of the ideas.

Remember what you’re talking about, and don’t stray too far from the main topic. A brief should have an organized and straightforward format to prevent the reader from being perplexed by any ideas presented. Therefore, you need to keep the natural flow of your writing and link concepts in a manner that is both clear and logical. 

As you develop the topic, you add concepts that refer to the ideas that came before them to maintain this connectedness between the ideas.

The post How to Write Legal Brief appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Guide On Writing Essays For College Students
Writing Essays

Writing college essays can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to write about yourself, but you need to stand out from the crowd of other applicants who are going to be doing the same thing to get accepted into their school of choice. With custom essay writing services on the rise, many students don’t know how to start or finish writing their essays and end up getting rejected from the school they’ve always dreamed of attending. Follow this guide on writing essays for college students to make sure that doesn’t happen to you!

Introduction

Everybody finds writing essays hard. It is an art that requires plenty of experience and skill to write amazing content. But, with time and practice, you will eventually get better at it. You must not be worried if you’re not a great writer. As long as you practice regularly, your writing will surely improve over time. In any case, students looking forward to preparing for college should read on and find some useful tips that could help them improve their writing skills in no time at all! Follow these easy tips now and ace your essay without much effort: Start by reading over your topic carefully before beginning to write down each point to avoid missing out on something vital or irrelevant.

Beginnings

You can take many different writing approaches, but one of my favorites is to start with a thesis sentence. What’s a thesis sentence? It’s an opening sentence that (hopefully) sums up your entire essay and lends itself to the future argument. Think of it as your paper’s main idea. Here’s an example: The proliferation of computers in our society has made it easier for people to communicate and share information. Not too bad! Many students begin their essays with a boring; I think that… or some version thereof. These lead-ins will immediately make you sound unfocused, unsure, and most likely unconfident about what you’re about to say.

Middles

A good paragraph often has a topic sentence in essays followed by a few supporting sentences. The point of each paragraph is to take your reader through an idea and expand on it. If you notice that you’re always starting with something like First, Next, or Then, you might want to check how many paragraphs are in your essay. Having only three or four is ideal. While some professors will tell you to start with I statements and support them with detailed examples, if they aren’t grammatically correct—that’s considered lazy writing! This means using things like myself, himself, etc.—your essays should sound smart! Good sentences not only have punctuation; they have formed.

Endings

How to End an Essay. Regarding essay writing, how you end your piece is just as important as how you begin it. A strong ending leaves a lasting impression on your reader and ties all your points together in a neat little package. Keep these tips in mind when you’re writing your essay’s conclusion. A well-written essay should be like a pyramid: broad at its base, with lots of supporting details at its middle, and narrow at its tip (with only one main point). Your conclusion should reflect that structure. Start by restating your thesis statement (in different words) or giving a quick summary of what you’ve discussed. Then tie up any loose ends by discussing whatever topics or ideas didn’t get covered earlier in your paper.

Finally, leave readers with something memorable—an interesting quote or statistic, for example—that will make them think about your topic differently than before they read your paper.

If you find it hard to write your essay after going through this guide, then you need to contact one of the best custom writing service.

The post Guide On Writing Essays For College Students appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Does Building a House Cause Divorce? Effects On Marriage
couple arguing

During family life, a lot of things may cause you to stress out and get angry with your partner. Some of them are so unimportant that you won’t even remember arguing about them after a few hours; others can lead to a break-up or even divorce. What about building a house together? Will it make you stronger or destroy your marriage? In this post, you can find the answer to these questions, as well as tips on how to prevent getting a bigger house from ruining your relationships. 

Building a house causes divorce: real reasons behind your break-up

Getting a new house or renovating the old one is a quite positive event itself. Just imagine: you’re about to create a new place of living for your family where you can enjoy your evenings after work, meet with your friends for a barbecue in your backyard, etc. But why does it cause so much hustle in couples? 

Most of the time, the conflicts during building a house are connected to different reasons. They range from inner to objective ones: 

the fear of failing to realize your housing dreams. Many couples have unrealistic design wishes or the ones they can’t afford. As a result, when their imagination doesn’t fit the reality, they feel frustrated;anxiety and stress due to an unusual project that you decided to get done. Building or even buying a house isn’t likely to be your daily routine unless you are a realtor or construction worker. Since this project is new to you, you have to find out a lot of things before you start realizing it;different views on how things should look. The majority of people who start building a house together can’t find a common language on how their new living space should function and look. This is one of the most popular problems of couples;financial issues. The limited budget often doesn’t let people realize everything they want. Cases, when people have much less money than they thought on building a house, aren’t rare; lack of understanding of legal rules that accompany building or buying real estate. The registration or changing the plan of your house costs money. If people leave that out of their attention, they may end up postponing the moment of moving in due to the need to settle all the legal issues; health issues. Lack of sleep, a shifted schedule due to numerous meetings with designers, technical workers, etc. can decrease your well-being, so conflicts caused by tiredness may arise.  How to deal with renovation and save your relationship?

Before you start filing for online divorce Kentucky because of an altercation regarding your new house, we suggest checking a few tips on how to reconcile with your husband or wife: 

Communicate ethically. 

First of all, don’t rush to blame your partner for anything. If you don’t like the tone of your potential furniture or the balcony design, express it without mentioning your spouse. Don’t say: “Why would you pick such a dull color for those chairs?”. Instead, say something like: “I don’t like the way it looks, let’s pick something lighter/darker”. Talking about your feelings and impressions without putting the responsibility for them on the other person is how adults communicate. 

Agree on what you want before getting further. 

Express all your wishes and dreams to your wife or husband and agree on something you both will like before you book an appointment with your building company agent. It will help you save time for that meeting, make it productive, and create an image of serious customers who know what they want. 

Don’t worry about your disagreements.

Although you’re a family, you cannot agree with your partner on everything. Having alternative views and different visions is okay if you are ready to discuss, cooperate, and find a compromise. 

Discuss your house when you’re in the mood for it. 

If you’re married for a long time, you probably know that talking about important things when either you or your partner is ill, hungry, or stressed out isn’t productive. Therefore, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your spouse first, and only then proceed to talk about building your house. Your well-being is more important than making a rushed decision that is likely to be wrong. 

Take breaks together. 

Remember to live your life between choosing the design for your house and meeting with your architect. Go to the gym with your partner, eat out at night, hang out with your friends, and don’t make your life all about building your new house. You have other things to do, so don’t leave them aside. 

Be thankful. 

Before you put up another fight with your partner regarding the color of curtains in your future bedroom, thank them for the enormous effort they put into creating your new home. Being grateful opens new opportunities and contributes to the improvement of relationships in couples, so don’t overlook it. 

Remember that being happy is more important than being right. 

After all, why would you confront your partner about issues that are meaningless in the long run? You and your partner are together, not against each other in your desire to build or renew your house. Therefore, it’s in your power to concede on something to please your spouse and see them happy, especially when the matter of your discussion isn’t crucial to you. 

Now you know how to deal with building a house and staying in a good relationship with your partner, so what are you waiting for? Choose the design and location, and start the great building soon!

The post Does Building a House Cause Divorce? Effects On Marriage appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Is Cutting the Cord Really Worth It?
Cutting the Cord

In 2022, we will have to make a lot of decisions. We must decide whether to start doing business or keep doing the 9-5 job. Likewise, we must choose sides in the escalating conflict between cable companies and streaming services. Cable TV costs are rising, while power cuts are becoming more common. However, the value of all those local and basic channels on cable TV cannot be overstated.

In the midst of all of this upheaval, deciding whether or not to cut the cord becomes increasingly difficult, especially as streaming services have expanded.

We created a detailed guide to assist you to make a decision to rescue yourself from this pain.

Is cord-cutting appropriate for you?

We recognize that each household has unique needs which makes cord-cutting a highly subjective issue. The following are some questions you should ask yourself:

How much does cable cost you?

Because each home has its own tastes, cable television costs vary. Some individuals like a combination of local and national networks, as well as a few sports channels. Others choose high-end bundles that include over 140 normal channels as well as several premium channels. There is no reason to disconnect if you are pleased with what you have for less than $60. If you are paying more than that and seeking a less expensive option, go for it.

It’s true that there are many channels that you get only with cable TV services and sometimes it’s worth paying extra few bucks. For instance, Spanish users prefer to get cable TV services because they get Spanish content at very economic rates. Companies like Cox offer both Spanish and English channels to their customers. If you want the Cox channel lineup guide in Spanish, you can reach out to Cox Atencion al Cliente.

Are you willing to forego all of cable TV’s excitable programming?

Cord-cutting isn’t a panacea for lowering your monthly cable cost. You will have to forego the majority of the cable programming. Even with streaming devices, you can only receive about 40-50 channels. You should consider whether you are ready to completely cut your cable.

Have you reached the end of your tolerance with cable services?

We have no control over frequent power interruptions, price increases, equipment costs, taxes, regional fees, or contracts. Any normal individual would lose their cool. Furthermore, the prime-time competition and obnoxious commercials make you reconsider your tastes. If you have had enough of this oppression and have lost patience, you must cut the cord immediately.

What are some of the advantages of cutting the cord? Cut your cable bills in half

We pay more than $80 a month on average for cable programming. Every year, the prices are set to rise, and you will soon be spending close to $150 a month. That is excessive. Subscribing to all of the top streaming services, on the other hand, will cost you less than $50 per month and will save you a lot of money.

The monthly bill differs from one person to the next. You must either select one or a few services that are most appropriate for you. Many individuals, for example, are happy with Netflix content, which means that they will only have to pay the monthly charge for Netflix.

Some folks, on the other hand, prefer to subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for roughly $30 each month. This is still preferable to cable, as most basic cable packages begin at $60 per month.

Accessibility

The streaming services are quite simple to use. You don’t have to go through hundreds of channels to find your favorite. Furthermore, with streaming services, you receive exactly what you desire. You can take them wherever you choose without having to worry about installation. If you have the streaming service subscription and you have the application installed on your cell phone, you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows, wherever and whenever you want.

Reliability

Streaming services are more trustworthy. You will not experience any power outages. There are no hidden taxes or levies on the monthly invoices since they are clear. You will only be paying the service charge.

Cord-cutting potential downsides High-speed internet is required. Period.

Your Roku or Amazon Prime will be useless without high-speed internet. If you live in a geographically distant place with restricted internet connectivity, this might be an issue. Things will operate nicely in regions where high-speed internet is available. However, they would be inaccessible in geographically isolated regions.

Imagining a world without Sports Channels

Although basic sports networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports are available, streaming providers limit your access to them. If you are a sports freak who cannot miss a live sports event, then you must consider avoiding cord-cutting because you won’t be able to enjoy all the live sports games.

Cricket, tennis, golf, volleyball, and football all have separate channels on cable. Hulu, on the other hand, has all of the basic sports networks. With cable services, you will be getting all your favorite sports channels.

One service can be insufficient

Every day, new services are introduced to the market, and every platform is releasing amazing content, which you do not want to miss if you like watching movies and TV series. Things become much more confusing when there are so many alternatives in the market. Furthermore, these streaming services will compete for all of your favorite TV series. As a result, you’ll need to subscribe to each service separately for each program. This defeats the point of these streaming services, as convenience and price were the driving motivations in our decision to purchase them in the first place.

Moreover, if you sign up for many services at once, you’ll be looking at a monthly bill of around $50, with the cost of internet potentially reaching $120. This would be out of reach for many individuals. They would miss out on their favorite TV series from other providers if they stick with the basic streaming options.

Summing it up

The decision differs from one individual to the next. If you are tired of rising cable rates and power interruptions, consider switching to one of these streaming services. However, you may have to make some concessions on the cable’s sports and news programming. Streaming providers like Hulu provide some sports material, YouTube Live TV is the greatest option if you don’t want to miss any of the action. Finally, these services require high-speed internet. To watch anything in high-definition, you’ll need a download connection of at least 25 Mbps, but the faster the better.

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- Carson Derrow

E-commerce business owners can attest to the fact that a great marketing strategy is very effective in yielding profit. Keeping up with the times and being abreast of new developments helps to keep e-commerce businesses afloat. Today, technologies like Whisbi can help businesses to surpass their internet revenue potential through online sales conversations powered by video.

In this article, all you need to know about the rapidly growing e-commerce tool that is live video shopping is discussed. But first, what exactly is video shopping?

Live video shopping is an e-commerce technique that presents products to customers through live streaming. With this, customers can buy the products that are being showcased live. Unlike shopping TV and other marketing techniques, this is more engaging and yields faster sales.

Live video shopping is called many other names including live stream shopping, live e-commerce, and live selling. Over the years live-stream shopping has been described many times as the future of retail. This is so because of the many perks this method provides e-commerce businesses, such as highly reduced costs for customers among others.

How it works

Live selling events are usually hosted by someone. Many times, businesses tend to use social media influencers to attract more customers to tune in and patronize them. Sometimes, someone working with the business may also anchor the streaming event. It all depends on the store and what their goals are. The bottom line is that whoever is hosting should be well equipped to sell the product, as well as answer any questions asked live by the audience.

Live video shopping can be done using two major structures:

One to one: Here, a representative interacts and sells directly to one customer. This is usually reserved for exclusive customers. One to many: Here, the anchor interacts with many customers at once, answering their questions and showcasing the product live. The role of social media in live video shopping

It is safe to say that social media has enhanced the way we do many things, and business practices are not left out in this. For example, many businesses today start and run their entire business operations via Instagram. Live video shopping has also been heavily influenced by social media. Livestream shopping using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are very effective in driving sales with really high returns on ad spending. Although social media is a great platform to use for video shopping, it is also possible to set this up on your company’s mobile app or by creating a subdomain.

Why businesses should tap into live video shopping

Adding to some of the perks already mentioned, this technology allows your customers to have a one-of-a-kind engaging experience with what you are selling. A business that taps into this properly can gain a wider customer reach as well as showcase its products in an up-close and interactive fashion.

In conclusion, e-commerce stores need to not waste too much time contemplating embracing the Livestream shopping trend. Its numerous advantages, ranging from increased exposure to increased revenue, are sure to propel your business to the next level.

The post Ecommerce Marketing Strategy: Live video Shopping appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
What sort of Things might Investors consider to be strong Policies under Environmental, Social and Governance?

Investing has always been something people have liked to do and a viable way to build extra wealth. In the modern age, the digital transformation that investing has experienced has made this easier than ever. Any private individual or confident entrepreneur can now start investing from anywhere with just an internet connection, a computer and some starting capital. 

Despite this level of change in the investment world, stocks are still one of the favored assets for many. Easy to understand and with the potential for decent returns, they remain enduringly popular. One type of investing which is increasingly popular now is ESG investing. But what is it and what policies should you look for in an ESG business?

What is ESG in business? 

Any investor will always be keeping tabs on trends in their sector or hot topics which cut across multiple industries. ESG is one that falls in the latter category and something which we have heard a lot about lately. In short, it stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and focuses on companies behaving in an environmentally friendly way, along with being ethically run and engaging with local communities.

Founder of Previte Olive Oil, Jeffrey Previte is a firm believer in ESG principles in business. This has led him to not only build them into his current business but also set up previous ESG initiatives – such as the EBICare program when he was co-CEO at EBI Consulting. This is a great example of the caliber of entrepreneurs who are backing ESG in business and shows why it is worth learning about for investors. 

But what sort of policies might businesses have that fall under ESG? 

Environmental – what policies might be placed under ESG? 

When it comes to the Environmental part of ESG, investors should be looking at what plans companies have in place to reduce their impact on the planet. Any documented plans they do have for this is something you could class as being strong ones for ESG investing. 

But what might some real-world examples of this look like? Climate change policies are a good starting point, and most investors would see this kind of document as a strong sign any business is doing its bit to protect the planet. You may also look to see if a business you plan to invest in has a policy around increasing renewable energy usage, encouraging staff to use green modes of transport, how effective they are at recycling waste and if they have a policy around using greener tech in their operations. 

Social – what plans might investors see as strong ESG ones? 

Social is all about how companies treat their staff, how they engage with the local community, how they interact with stakeholders and if companies fight for social justice or charitable issues. This is now a key concern for many investors who want to put their money into ethical businesses. 

But what kind of policies would fall under this part of ESG usually? Documents around safeguarding employees mental/physical health are worth mentioning, as are policies around employee development and equal pay. Many companies will also document plans for ethical supply chain sourcing, charitable donations and support for the local community. These kinds of things are all strong principles under ESG guidance. 

Governance policies for ESG 

While many look for lucrative online businesses to put money into, others will be focused firmly on those with sound ESG plans. Governance is related to the corporate leadership any business you might invest in has. It looks at how well-run the company is, how diverse the board is and how ethically things are done. 

Common policies to look for here include ones which define and enforce ethical business practices. Many businesses now will also set out documents which confirm how board votes are decided, how shareholders will be communicated with, the history of any shareholder lawsuits and how executive bonuses are calculated. If you can find a company which has clearly defined plans on paper for excellent corporate governance, then it could be one worth investing in. 

Common ESG policies for investors to consider 

If you are looking to invest some money into stocks, where you put it is key. While you might have only focused on a business which performs well financially in the past, times have now changed. It is just as key to look for organizations which focus on ESG in their operations also. 

A good way of doing this is by looking out for those businesses which have policies such as those mentioned above. This can really pay off in the long-term because businesses with ESG policies like these tend to be better run and have more chance of bringing the return you target. 

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- Carson Derrow
Timesheet with GPS: How Your Business Can Benefit From It?
Timesheet with GPS: How Your Business Can Benefit From It?

There are numerous techniques you can use to boost the overall productivity of your employees but also to make their work easier at the same time. This needs to be your primary goal regardless of the industry you are in since it is the best way to grow your company and generate revenue. GPS time tracking technology can be of great help, and here are some of its benefits.

Know the employees’ whereabouts

If you are a business in which your employees don’t forget solely from the office but also have to complete tasks in the field, it is vital to know where they are at any moment. Timesheet with GSP software enables you to do precisely this. We are not only talking that you need to check when people clocked in and if they are productive, but you also need to have insight into their schedules. You may receive a new job order at the last minute, or an emergency may arise. Whatever the case may be, you will be able to see everyone’s location in real-time and dispatch them to the job site. This will not only ensure top productivity, but also help you keep your customers satisfied with your services. 

Simple payroll processing

At the end of each month, your accountant has to go over the number of hours each employee put in during the previous weeks to calculate the salary. As you can assume, this is a very tedious task, but it is the one that has to be done. The person would have to go through each report and do the calculations manually in the past. Obviously, this wasn’t only time-consuming, but the person in charge could also easily make a mistake without noticing it. Well, now that you can implement time clock and payroll software, this task is simplified. Some of its main benefits are that it makes the accountant’s job easier and ensures their calculations are always correct. 

It reduces paperwork

As already mentioned, payroll processing can be a mundane task, but the thing is that it can be automated. Once you implement this software, everything will be much easier, and the employees won’t have to go over a ton of paperwork. Instead, the app will track the time, automatically generate timesheets, and, best of all, do all calculations. All people have to do is use the app when starting and finishing their workday, and that’s it.

It saves you money

The last thing you want is to waste your company’s funds, and sometimes you can do it without realizing it. For example, you may overpay your employees if they try to round up the number of works they clocked in or if the person in charge miscalculates their salaries, as mentioned above. However, you also need to keep track of fuel consumption, especially if you have a large fleet. Do your workers use the vehicles outside work? Some might. Well, you cannot know this for sure unless you can track their movements, which is where this technology comes in handy.

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- Carson Derrow
4 Skills You Need for Playing Slots
slot

Throughout your life, due to any number of experiences or factors, you’ll find that you end up with a set of skills. Some of these will be transferable and useful in professional situations, but others might be more specific, and perhaps relied upon during niche recreational activities. However, learning that some of the skills you already possess are handy for getting into something new might open your mind about trying that out for yourself.

Slot games might well be one of these, and it could be that you’ve had an interest in trying this out in the past but wondered if it was the right activity for you and your unique skillset.

Patience

When it comes to gambling, nobody should expect great things to happen immediately. This mentality will quickly lead you to disappointment, and it might mean that you begin to expect a winning result when no such thing is guaranteed. The joy of the game should be its own reward and appreciating this to its fullest might require a high degree of patience. Some people are naturally more patient than others, but if you find that you could improve in this regard – fear not, there are several ways that you can sharpen this aspect of yourself. 

Adaptability

The joy of a good game is being able to put you in a position that fully immerses you in that moment. For slots, this occurs while the slots themselves are spinning, and you have to make decisions on the fly as to what you’re aiming for (free spins or otherwise), and you have no idea what outcome will be revealed to you in the coming seconds. This constant lack of certainty is exciting and makes you want to keep playing, but it also requires you to be ready to adapt to your situation. Change is often uncomfortable, so this can be a difficult skill to learn, but learning how to confront it healthily can serve you well. 

Restraint

As mentioned, the hook of the slot machine can really draw you in, and the excitement can make you want to keep playing, so it’s important that you learn when to take a break, and when you can allow yourself to carry on. Taking a break will help to enhance the experience and let you value the time you’re playing more. To make the most of your time, search for online casino slots real money, shave away the downtime between play sessions, and jump right in to keep your allotted gameplay time. 

Reflexes

Of all the skills mentioned, you might find that your reflexes are the most difficult to hone due to the physiological factors. However, there are ways to improve them, and you might often see people mentioning that getting into video games is a good way to do so, meaning you might have an adjacent hobby to explore if you feel that you’re interested. 

The importance of reflexes in slots might seem obvious but having fast reaction times can mean that you don’t get as frustrated at yourself for missing the ideal timings, and instead spend more time enjoying the game

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- Carson Derrow
3 Ways to Increase Productivity for Remote Workers

On the plus side, there are generally going to be quite a few things that you can do to help improve productivity among employees who are working from home – here are just a few examples that we think you will want to take into consideration if you haven’t already: 

Outline expectations with your remote employees

One essential factor in helping your employees to be as productive as possible is to make sure that they know what to focus on. After all, if they know what you need from them, they have a much better chance of putting their mind to the task at hand and getting it done.

For remote workers, letting them know which items on the to-do list are a priority can generally help to ensure that the most important work is taken care of first and overall reduce unnecessary confusion. Typically speaking, the less clutter there is and the more your employees know, the more productive they’ll be.

Remember that communication is key, in the office and out

Regardless of whether you’re talking to people in the workplace physically or remotely, you need to make sure that you’re getting the message across – the only difference is that this can sometimes be harder to do when your employees aren’t there with you in-person.

Successful business people in the break time

Whatever the situation, remember to be clear and concise. If an employee doesn’t have all the information they need, there’s a chance that they’ll come to the wrong conclusion. Because of this, in practically any situation over-communication will be preferable, so don’t hold back. It may take a little more time and effort, but it will often make a huge difference when working with your remote employees.

As a manager, being involved in projects is important, so make sure communication with your workers isn’t just clear, but also consistent and frequent.

Consider the benefits of time management for remote workers

From improving work-life balance, to increasing focus and productivity; there are many reasons why so many enterprises choose to incorporate time management into their routines. Ideal for the workplace, remote employees, and even personal endeavors, there are quite a few reasons why it’s generally going to be beneficial to your company. Some of the most notable advantages include:

Many individuals will find that it can reduce stressIt will often lead to increased productivityTime management can help to reduce distractions and procrastinationIt can help employees to reach deadlines on time

If all of this sounds good to you, it could be well worth paying a visit to https://tracktime24.com/. With several tools on offer and the many advantages that can come with proper time management, there’s no doubt that this site is worth a visit. Be sure to take a look at the work time tracker if this is something that you think your business could benefit from.

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- What I Found
Monish Sabnani | Courant

MONISH SABNANI

Co-Founder of Courant, a company that creates beautiful tech accessories that seamlessly integrate into your home and surrounding life.

What Is Courant? Tell Us All About Your Brand, Mission, And Product Selection.

Courant is a design-forward electronics brand with a focus on wireless charging. We create beautiful phone charging accessories that seamlessly integrate into your home and surrounding life. Each product form is designed to be effortless in use and aesthetically pleasing.

We launched in 2018 and have 3 core product forms: CATCH:1, a single-device charger; CATCH:2, a multi-device charger; and CATCH:3, a valet tray charger. We’ve also created two unique collections of materials: our “Classics” collection which features Italian leather and high-grade aluminum, and our “Essentials” collection, which comes with Belgian linen and soft-touch plastic.

Our goal is to power your life and the devices you use most.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Evan (Co-founder) & I met back in 2017 at a consumer goods platform & incubator called “Very Great”. This was an interesting time because the 2 founders of Very Great were looking to expand their portfolio of brands. Together we all got excited about the electronics category, and in particular the trend of wireless phone charging which was starting to emerge across Apple and Samsung products. At the time the technology was incredibly exciting, but there were no brands or really any products that spoke to today’s modern, digitally savvy consumer. The existing marketplace of products were made of plastic, didn’t have a color story, and really no brand appeal whatsoever. At the end of 2017, we began researching opportunities and discovered a wide-open landscape in the wireless charging category to launch Courant into.

We launched Courant’s first two products (CATCH:1 and CATCH:3) in August 2018 at the NY Now tradeshow and have since grown into an eight-figure business. A few weeks after the launch we were prominently featured in Oprah’s “Favorite Things” and Gwenyth Paltrow’s “Goop” holiday gift guides, which really gave us an opportunity to shine on a national level. From there we started building the business, brick by brick. Today, Courant’s products are widely distributed online and in-store at retailers such as West Elm, CB2, Design Within Reach, Best Buy, Bed Bath Beyond, Container Store and more. It’s been an exciting journey!

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

I was raised in Hong Kong with a background in Chinese manufacturing, which my family has been involved in for over thirty years. Evan’s expertise is largely in brand operations for consumer product companies. He calls me the left brain and him the right brain. I mainly oversee our e-comm, marketing & brand, product development and finance. He focuses mostly on sales, international operations, warehousing and legal. By having diversified backgrounds and skill sets we’re able to balance each other out and supplement each other in a way that makes our business stronger. 

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The name Courant comes from ‘Au Courant’, a French saying that means “in the know” or “up to speed on current trends”—or literally ‘current’—which is both a reference to an object being relevant to the times as well as an electrical current. We wanted something literal, but not clunky or ‘techy’.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The last few years have truly been so interesting from a macro perspective. COVID in particular was something that we could have never prepared for, especially this early in our career. It came with a multitude of challenges: supply chain disruptions, chip shortages, freight price volatility, labor shortages in the US, and the list goes on…It was (and still is) a steep learning curve on both a professional and personal level. It’s funny, we started off with a mission to create a unique electronics brand, and today we are crisis-level experts on supply chain. I’ve learned all kinds of things that I never expected to. That really is the beauty of the experience. On the flip side, the challenges are taking in all this new information and dealing with it in-real time, at a high-stakes level.

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Design And Manufacturing Process? What Makes Courant Unique Amongst The Competing Wireless Charging Products On The Market?

We design all of our products in-house, drawing inspiration from interior design concepts and materials used for home accessories like side tables, couches and lamps. We look at everything we do, whether it’s product design, web design, and photo/video styling as an opportunity to stand outside of the traditional ‘consumer electronics’ industry aesthetic. Courant’s design DNA, at its core, is the intersection of technology, interior-design, fashion and “culture”, which we define as modern trends and social movements.

Principal to our product design and development is material selection. We’ve created a layered supply-chain that involves producing materials from both Italy and Belgium, which then get shipped and assembled in China. Our linen supplier is 100% carbon neutral and uses solar power as the primary driver to their facility. Our leather supplier is “Gold-rated”, which is a standard tracking energy and water consumption, as well as worker safety. It’s all very modern and adds extra layers of complexity (and cost), but it is key to what we’re doing. Most tech companies at our scale build products with cheap components, leaving consumers with products that quickly become physically and aesthetically obsolete. We have honed in on aspects such as design, but combine them with modern manufacturing to create products that we ourselves are comfortable with and want to use.

Any New And Exciting Products Launching Soon?

We’re launching our first few magnetic chargers later this summer. The magnetic chargers are very exciting for us as it’s our first foray into a new user experience to pair with Apple’s MagSafe phones (iPhone 12 onwards). We believe this will be the new charging standard for several years and have spent almost 2 years developing our magnetic collection. 

How Has COVID-19 And Recent Supply Chain Issues Impacted Your Business And Operation Over The Last Couple Of Years?

COVID-19 brought on widespread supply chain lock downs and disruption, which meant that we needed to be as flexible and agile as possible in order to survive. The chip shortage of 2020-21 in particular was a big issue for us. We were presented the situation back in March of 2021, which was that our core chip component lead time was going from 1 month to 6 months. We moved quickly to purchase a year's worth of chips upfront and hold stock. As I reflect on that time, we were fortunate to have the advantage of being a small team, which allowed us to make decisions quickly, rather than having to deal with the time-consuming process of a larger corporate hierarchy structure. We also had the financial support of the wider Very Great platform which enabled us to make swift and bold business moves, which might have been too risky otherwise. It’s moments like that which allowed us to sustain and grow our business despite the challenges that COVID-19 threw our way.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

We’re both fully remote, which is something we’ve both come to love over time. The mornings and afternoons are typically pretty heavy on calls, i.e. touchbases with the team, working sessions, talking to different vendors and partners. It’s usually in the evening when we both get some down time to work in silence and put our heads down to focus on bigger picture planning. I love the night session - it really is the most productive time for me.

Tips? Honestly, something we’ve come to lean into is that the standard “9-6” work life at a desk is completely over. Everyone has a unique life filled with different responsibilities and priorities. We empower each other and our team to integrate work and life so that they can thrive off of flexibility, not restriction. If you have to make an appointment at 2pm on Monday, please do. We’re both integrating our life and work into one lifestyle, 7 days a week. There is no pressure to be “online” all day. This is a huge unlock and allows us to work on our personal life as much as our professional life.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Perseverance - the road ahead is tough and not for the faint hearted. The #1 thing I’ve learned is to put your head down and push through. The hard work that most people avoid is often the beauty of the job.

Equanimity - Don’t get too high during the highs, and don’t get too low during the lows. Find a cool, calm middle ground and operate in that bubble.

Read, a lot - to quote Charlie Munger: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads--and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out.” There is no better way to absorb information than reading.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Getting direct personal feedback on my communication skills both professionally and personally has really helped me grow. Sometimes we don’t want to hear our truth because it is uncomfortable and hurtful. But when you can actively take feedback and grow from your peers I think that is a huge advantage. There is so much to learn about communication skills. I also try to give feedback to the people I care about.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tim Cook - 1) because Apple is my favorite company of all time and has been since I was a teenager, and 2) because I’d love to personally introduce him to what we’re doing over at Courant.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I would have to share two: Barack Obama, for his grace, and Kobe Bryant, for his work ethic. Both are (were) also incredible parents to their kids, which I have the utmost respect for when you have had the careers that they did.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I love to go for long walks with a podcast in-ear, play basketball, surf in the summers and read as much as possible. What I read: autobiographies (if you have a cool story I want to know about it), and a lot of newsletters, blogs and Twitter threads. I also have a particular interest in web3/blockchain and find everything being built in that space incredibly fascinating. One of my best friends is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz and I’m constantly bugging him with questions. 

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“The journey is the reward” - Steve Jobs

We often work so hard towards an end goal and wind up missing everything in between. I really believe that life is not about the big moments, but all the little, unforgettable moments. If you can celebrate the small wins and appreciate the most mundane of tasks I think you’ll find the ultimate happiness. 

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

There’s obviously a lot going on right now between inflation, US & China relations, and the crisis in Ukraine. Fundamentally we are the type of people to play the long game. While it’s easy to get frantic over the day-to-day news cycle, we’re very bullish on the future of everything. If that core belief ever changed I would radically change what I was doing on a daily basis. I probably would not be in business. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success = flexibility. All too often we want to do things but are restricted. I’ll know I’m successful when I have the ultimate decision making ability to do most things (within reason), whether that be personally or professionally.

 Monish Sabnani’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. No Rules Rules- Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix) on how to build an innovative, disruptive corporate culture

2. Dreams From My Father - Barack Obama’s origin story, written pre politics

3. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike- Phil Knight’s founding story of Nike. A must read for all entrepreneurs

Health & Fitness:

1. Steps, every day. I aim for 8-10K

2. Strength training - I try to get 2 full body workouts in a week

3. Basketball - Pickup in Brooklyn, as much as I can

Brands:

1. Lululemon pants have totally replaced jeans in my life. I wear them everyday

2. Stance long compression stocks 

3. Hoodies, all the time

Products:

1. AirPods Pro

2. Lululemon Black Pants

3. Trader Joes Milk Chocolate Pretzels (!)

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Leanluxe & 2PM (Ecomm newsletters)

2. All-In Podcast (General macro news & investing)

3. How I Built This (Founder-driven, entrepreneurial storytelling podcast)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Hawaii suf trip

2. Tel Aviv

3. Buenos Aires

4. Cape Town

- What I Found
Casey Klugman | Les Monts

CASEY KLUGMAN

Founder of Les Monts, a new luxury handcrafted sunglasses company.

What Is Les Monts? Tell Us All About Your Brand, Mission, And Product Selection.

I’ve always had an affinity for handmade goods. To me, there’s warmth that emanates from handmade goods. They have subtle imperfections which make them unique – something you don’t necessarily get from mass-produced products. In light of this affinity, I wanted Les Monts to be a handmade, limited-edition collection. Utilizing an array of handpicked, highly considered materials, Les Monts frames are brought to life by the hands of experienced Italian craftsmen who take great pride in their work.

Les Monts is geared towards creative individuals – specifically those who push the creative boundaries in their respective fields. However, the brand recognizes any individual in pursuit of a lofty personal goal. In French, Les Monts means “the mountains”. As the brand’s namesake, mountains serve as a reminder that good things, like a journey towards a personal goal or the production of our handmade goods themselves, take time to develop. And, while the journey to reach that goal may prove fickle, there is often great value to be found at the finish line. Each of our limited-edition spectacles is a testament to those who have been fearless in their personal endeavors; and, to those who are at the beginning of their journey, a pair can ignite the courage to take that next step.

I think today more than ever, it’s important for a brand to have genuine purpose and good intentions. Throughout my life, there have been a number of important people who have at some point, in some capacity, struggled with their mental health. There are times when I haven’t been in the best headspace, too. So, my decision to partner with Mental Health America was one which came quite naturally. I wanted to honor anybody who has ever been affected by a mental health condition – directly or indirectly. This partnership is important to the brand as anything else. My hope is that Les Monts can transcend traditional brand ideologies, and become a beacon of optimism that inspires.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I was born in New Jersey in the early 90s. My late grandfather, who was a dentist and an amateur artist himself, got me involved in art at a very young age. From elementary school through high school, art was the one subject I really excelled in. At some point in junior high school, I developed an interest in fashion. It started with sneakers - I was collecting “Nike Dunks” at the time. Like eyewear, footwear can tell a story about the person wearing it - I still love that about footwear. As my affinity for sneaker culture grew, I began illustrating sneaker designs and concepts of my own. I had sketchbooks full of illustrations. But, before I left to study Art & Design at the University of Michigan, my father – who I am very close with – gifted me a pair of his vintage sunglasses. For me it was the ultimate heirloom. I cherished these sunglasses – I admired everything about them. From that day forward, I was no longer illustrating sneakers, I was illustrating eyewear. I graduated from University of Michigan – School of Art & Design in the spring of 2014. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a job to design eyewear for Ted Baker. It was an amazing opportunity, and the job I held for five years. But, in the back of my head, I knew my ultimate goal was to one day have my own collection. In October of 2020, I decided the time was “now” and resigned from my day-job. Since then, I’ve been working on bringing my own brand to market, and that vision recently became reality. My brand, Les Monts, went live on April 20th of this year.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

One of the coolest parts about starting your own brand is you get to decide what story you want to tell through your products. If there’s a group of people you want to empower, or a cause you’d like to raise awareness for, all of those choices are yours. My late grandmother was born and raised in rural France. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was about 13 years old – long before she and I had the chance to connect on an adult level. There’s a lot happening in my life right now. I’ve just started a business, my girlfriend and I recently moved in together; there are so many conversations I wish I could have with her today. So, I decided to give my brand a French name, to pay homage to my late grandmother. As I mentioned earlier the mountains serve as a reminder that good things, like a journey towards a personal goal or the production of our wearables themselves, take time to develop. And, while the journey to reach that goal may prove fickle, there is often great value to be found at the finish line.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I think what I’ve enjoyed most about this journey is the creative freedom it’s afforded me. I was designing for another brand for 5 years. During that time, I didn’t have full creative freedom. I had to adhere to the vision of another brand. Having the creative freedom to execute my own design vision, and tell a story through my brand has been completely invigorating.

The most challenging part of the journey, and the component I struggled with most, occurred during the first few months on my own. At my former employer, I rarely had downtime in the office. There were many days I’d go into work, put my head down, and not lift it until 6:30pm. I kind of liked that - it always made the day go faster, plus I’d feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. My first few months of self-employment proved to be a major adjustment period. I had to accept to the fact that things were going to move a lot slower – at least initially. Naturally, a project like this takes time to develop. So, going from a very fast-paced environment, to the slow-burning, very early stages of a start-up, was a challenge for me.

The most exciting part of my work has always been receiving samples or the final product. I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for excellent craftsmanship. The craftsmen I work with in Italy are extraordinarily talented. Their handcrafted products are beautifully made. When I receive their products for the first time, there’s a moment of admiration – almost like seeing a piece of art. It’s a moment that never gets old.

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Design And/or Manufacturing Process? What Makes Les Monts Frames Stand Out Above The Rest?

I think there are two philosophies when it comes to designing and manufacturing. The first is probably the most common – especially in the realm of corporate fashion. This process consists of designing a product, and then modifying it to meet, or increase margin. The other philosophy is the approach I’ve taken with Les Monts. When I started out, I had a vision for what I wanted to produce. Based on my previous work experience, I knew the product I wanted to create would be expensive and require a great deal of expertise to produce. Rather than water down my vision, I said to the factory, “This is the product I want to make. These are the details; these are the materials I want to use. Please let me know how much it will cost to produce a pair, and I’ll figure out what I need to sell it for.” I think if you believe in your product, this is the approach that makes sense. At the end of the day, you want to bring your idea to life. You don’t want to bring 50% of an idea to life. Les Monts spectacles incorporate over 200 steps, and can take nearly a half year to produce. We only produce 100 pieces or less of a given style – which is an extremely limited amount. Many factories will not agree to produce quantities that small. Once a style is sold out, it is no longer produced. We place a very heavy emphasis on the handcrafted nature of our frames; it’s what makes our glasses a cut above the rest. However, the true beauty of a Les Monts frame comes from the fact that it is an imperfect object. When you produce things by hand, there are inherent differences from piece to piece. These differences or imperfections are virtually undetectable to the naked eye, but it’s part of what makes a Les Monts frame an object to be desired. Our frames are not mass-produced objects, cold off of an assembly line. They have a warmth and a story to tell.

Tell Us About Your Go-to Market Strategy. Do You See Les Monts Being Exclusively Sold Online, Or Also Launching Retail Stores Similar To Warby Parker?

For the moment, I am direct to consumer through www.lesmonts.com. However, I will be working hard on getting Les Monts into select stores in the coming months. I’ve designed for other brands in the past. In my honest opinion, Les Monts eyewear looks and feels distinctly different from other eyewear. Because of this, it’s very important that customers have the ability to pick up my products and experience them in person. There’s so much value in that experience. All of our frames are produced in very small quantities, so our eyewear will likely be placed in boutiques and maybe one select retailer. Stay tuned!

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

During the week I go to sleep late - around 12:30-1:00am. Because of that, I typically wake-up around 8:20am. I love sleeping in, but that’s about as late as I can sleep during the week. Because I’m communicating with my partners in Italy on a daily basis, and there’s a +6 hour time difference, I can’t afford to sleep past 8:30am. Once, I wake up – it’s an immediate cup of coffee. I then sit at my desk and take care of all urgent emails – prioritizing the emails that are affected by a time difference. Once urgencies are out of the way, I’ll make the bed, shower, and listen to sports talk radio, namely, The Dan Patrick Show. Then it’s back to work until around 12:45, at which point I take my dog for a walk. Then it’s back to work for the rest of the day. I like to get a Peloton session in at the end of the day to clear my head, though admittedly, I’ve been bad about it lately. I do find that it clears my head, even if I get on the bike for 15-20 minutes at the end of the day. For me, the best way I know to stay productive is by setting goals. I like to set goals by the day, week, and month. By constantly setting goals, and hopefully meeting those goals, I feel accomplished and hungry when I wake up each day.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Flexibility - Flexibility is key. Today, the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. As an entrepreneur, it’s never been more important to stay flexible and adaptive. For creative endeavors, the importance of flexibility cannot be underestimated. Rigidity can quickly kill a brand and a product. So, listen to feedback and don’t be afraid to pivot. Let your concepts evolve!

Decisiveness - More is lost by indecision than the wrong decision. When you’re starting out, you’re probably going to make the wrong decision more than once. That’s ok – especially if you’re able to learn from your mistakes. In my experience, indecision always has a more negative impact than a wrong decision. You can take time to make a big decision, but be mindful of how much time you have and then make your decision – don’t prolong it.

Patience - Good things take time to come to fruition. That’s a big part of the branding behind Les Monts. Building a business requires persistence, endurance and patience. It takes a lot of time and effort. So, it’s natural to want results right away – but that’s rarely the case. While you want to remain on top of things, being is key to keeping you emotionally grounded in your project.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

There’s an important lesson I’ve learned, actually from loved ones who have passed away. The lesson teaches us that our time here is limited, so we need to spend it doing what we love. I’ll use my late grandmother for example, who, by the way, is part of the inspiration for the name Les Monts. My grandmother, Jo, absolutely adored her grandchildren. Nothing brought her more joy than spending time with us. Sadly, my grandmother fell ill, and passed away before she was able to see her grandchildren reach adulthood. Impermanence is a reminder our time is limited, and we never know when “our time” is going to come. When faced with one of life’s many difficult decisions, I like to think of Jo telling me to go for it. In my experience, knowing that my time is limited sometimes makes those difficult decisions a lot easier.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

My top choice would have to be Sir Paul McCartney. I’ve always been inspired by his colorful personality and creative energy. Amazingly, I think Paul still fits the profile of my customer. He’s highly creative and he’s produced music capable of moving emotion. Great music is so powerful. Great music can inspire change, motivate you to start your own business, it can move you to tears and then build you back up. For as long as I can remember, the Beatles’ music has done for me. That’s what I want Les Monts to do for my customer. If my products become a wearable symbol of creativity, or if my brand makes people more comfortable discussing mental health conditions, it will mean that Les Monts has impacted people in an emotional context. That’s my ultimate goal. Since his music has positively and emotionally affected so many people for such an extended period of time, there’s nobody I’d rather meet with than Sir Paul.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I take a lot of inspiration from Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the original World Trade towers. He was so focused on his craft and passionate about the process just as much about the outcome. He woke up everyday and ‘got on his wire’, whether it was 2 feet off the ground, or 2,000 feet off the ground. His attention to detail allowed him to perform an act for which the consequence of a single mistake was death. We very rarely engage in activities when a single mistake is certain death. If Philippe has made a misstep above the World Trade Towers, there’s no surviving that fall. While I don’t want to be punished with death for each mistake I make doing the thing I love, I find the clarity to be beautiful in my own relationship to my craft. I highly recommend Man on Wire, watched through the lens of a metaphor and as performance art. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I’m an artist by trade, so in my free time I love to paint. Painting is a process that has always been extremely cathartic for me. There’s nothing better than putting on music and getting lost in my work for hours. Left to my own devices, I think I would paint straight through the night. For me, it’s the type of hobby I can’t put down after I start. My painting style is very graphic and rather unconventional. If you’re familiar with Banksy, that’s kind of what my paintings look like – though they’re hand-painted rather than spray painted.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

The late Steve Jobs made an outstanding commencement speech at the University of Stanford in 2005. In his address to the graduating class, Jobs says:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path — and that will make all the difference”.

There is so much power in this quote, because it’s delivered by Jobs shortly after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Conscious of his mortality, Jobs’ words are a uniquely intimate retrospective. His quote suggests that it’s impossible to know whether a decision we make today will yield the results we want tomorrow. Therefore, the best way to persist in the face of doubt is by putting your trust in whatever you personally believe in. Doing so will give you confidence to follow your heart in difficult decisions, even when doubt or uncertainty are pulling you in the opposite direction.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Since starting this project, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between success and happiness. Though, the relationship I see is probably different from what most people would expect. There’s the obvious “Success = Financial Prosperity = Happiness”. I cannot confirm if that’s true. But, I have discovered a different dynamic between success and happiness, which is true for me. At this point in my life, I’m happier with my work than I’ve ever been before. I love what I’m doing – it brings me great joy. I’ve realized that in order for me to continue doing what I love, my business needs to be successful. While the meaning of success can change over time, right now, success to me means an opportunity to continue doing what I love.

 Casey Klugman’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. Emotionally Durable Design, by Jonathan Chapman

2. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

3. Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi

Health & Fitness:

1. Peloton

2. Pick-up football with friends

3. Pick-up basketball with friends

Brands:

1. Reiss

2. Theory

3. Nike

Products:

1. Nespresso

2. iMac

3. Dyson Air Purifier

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. How I Built This with Guy Raz

2. The Herd with Colin Cowherd

3. The Dan Patrick Show

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Southern Italy

2. Paris

3. Japan

- What I Found
Brandon Schulz | Violet
Violet-commerce-api-brandon-schulz

Brandon Schulz

Founder of Violet, a Commerce API Platform enabling any app to integrate universal checkout in weeks instead of years.

What Is Violet? Tell Us All About Your Platform, How It Works, And The Types Of Companies That Use Your Services.

Violet is a unified API that allows any online channel (be it an app, a website, a game, or live stream) to connect to a brand or retailer's ecommerce backend without the need for expensive and complex integrations. We call it a “unified API” because our mission is to provide integration with any e-commerce platform through a single, unified API. So whether you’re an online influencer looking to get more purchases directly through your platform, or you’re a brand who wants to sell through more channels, all you’ll need is this API. It’s great for shoppers too because they can purchase from anywhere on the internet, with no clickout. 

Right now we’ve built integrations into leading e-commerce platforms, and are working with a wide range of customers who are creating new and exciting online experiences: influencer platforms, publishers, online shopping marketplaces. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

While Rhen and I started Violet in 2017, I’ve more or less been trying to solve the same problem for over a decade. The question driving my career has always been the same: how can we create a more open, distributed, and collaborative version of e-commerce? Specifically, what would it take for shoppers to be able to buy products directly inside social, livestream, SMS, voice, AR, VR, or any other experience developers and app companies decide to build? I happen to think the answer is Violet, but it took a while to get there.

In 2012, I co-founded a company that was basically a Hootsuite but for e-commerce products. I learned a lot on the job through that project, about how to fundraise, build a good team, talk to investors. That’s also where I first met Rhen Zabel, our Co-Founder and CTO, and Tyler Middleton, our Head of Growth. But e-commerce wasn’t mature enough for something like Violet to work.

After that, I worked for a few other larger companies in retail, and really grew as a manager and a leader. But I never stopped thinking about how to solve the problem of distributed e-commerce. Rhen was in a similar position, tackling related issues for larger companies. At each step of the way, we realized no one was solving the infrastructure layer. Eventually we just realized we had to build it ourselves once and for all and offer it as a platform.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The concept is a little science-y, but it’s based on the color spectrum: violet is the last visible color of light that we can see with the human eye. There are a bunch of different kinds of light waves beyond that, some of which we can see under an ultraviolet light, but violet is the last color you see and touch before you reach a realm of rather magical and unbelievable possibilities.

That’s exactly how our product works: we’re the last interface or infrastructure you see when conducting e-commerce at the edge: and what you see is very simple, elegant and intuitive. But what’s behind that, the backend and coordination and artistry that’s making this very simple, intuitive purchase experience possible remains invisible. You can feel it’s impact in how your purchase experience (or merchant or channel experience) improves, but what you see and interact with is Violet.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

My Co-Founder is Rhen Zabel, an amazing engineer and innovator who I’ve known for over a decade now. Rhen and I actually share a birthday down to the year (same exact xx/xx/xxxx), which from the beginning felt like a very auspicious sign for how well we’d work together. I love working with Rhen for so many reasons: he’s a brilliant problem solver, and has been coding since he was 12 or 13. So it’s like getting a 20-year engineer still early in his career. He’s also just a very thoughtful person, very passionate about the environment, obsessed with sci-fi. So working with him on one level is easy just because I like him so much as a person.As a colleague, he brings a lot to the table that compliments what I can do: our product already skews technical, but Rhen is the engineering genius behind our product. He’s incredibly discerning with his words, and has predilections to a certain type of intelligence and long-term focus that are really rare. He keeps me grounded, and is the one ensuring that we’re actually building the product I’m imagining. I often like to say that I’m driving the train, but Rhen’s the one laying the track.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

Favorites:

Working with Rhen Zabel: Rhen and I have known each other for over ten years now. It’s so gratifying to build something you believe in with someone who is equally passionate and exceedingly skilled. 

Acquiring new skills at a 10x pace: You can’t not learn rapidly when you’re building your own company. It’s been 4+ years of this and it’s been really fun and invaluable in my own development. I also think that kind of learning is helping our team stay engaged.

Building teams: There’s nothing more exciting than finding people who share in your vision but bring something new to the table. It’s been the best part of the new year by far. 

Making it real: Seeing an idea that I wrote on a whiteboard in middle of 2017 finally come to fruition 4 years later…it’s my ultimate definition of success.

Seeing customers use the API and grow their businesses on it: We’ve had so many meetings with customers where they say something to the effect of “This is the exact solution I’ve been looking for. This can’t be real…” Which is exactly what we love to hear! That’s incredibly affirming and motivating as we keep having more of those conversations, and ultimately seeing our customers succeed. 

The amazing people that I’ve gotten to meet along the way: Fellow founders, investors, new teammates.

The boost from fantastic VCs: Feels so great to meet people who believe in you who are willing to invest in your idea, your dream.

Least-Liked

Being at the mercy of timing: Building something very close to my dream product 4 years ahead of time meant a long wait and long slog to build with Rhen. 

Doubt: The years of people not believing in us, resulting in self-doubt and lonely nights.

The drag from bad VCs: Being misunderstood or underestimated for what we were capable of as a team and a product.

Uphill climb: Our product comes out of a really deep understanding and love for the behind the scenes of e-commerce. We had to lay the groundwork over and over again to explain our product, as the market and understanding of the landscape took years to catch up to where we already were.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Funding was really terrible, until it wasn’t. We really wanted to raise from a VC firm in Seattle, where we’re from. But we didn’t take into account geographical priors and general market structure in Seattle when we set out to do that. So we got no’s from nearly every VC in Seattle. But that work just meeting with everyone eventually paid off, and once we started meeting with the right people it turned around very quickly. After we met the team at RSV (Red Sea Ventures) we then got introduced to Brian Sugar, who introduced us to Lachy Groom. And it just snowballed really beautifully from there to where we had about 45 VCs all showing a high amount of interest, to the point where our seed round was oversubscribed by about $2M. We narrowed it down to the right team, and just 90 days later Klarna made a big strategic investment to speed our growth and lead our Series A.

Since then, we’ve been focused on updating and accelerating our growth strategy quite a bit. Most of our investment now has gone towards automating processes to save time, and building a world class team. Of course there are still features and improvements we’re making to our product all the time, but right now it’s about how we can scale the excellent API we’ve worked hard to build, and reaching all the communities of potential customers we know are out there.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Launching Soon?

Despite the learning curve with hiring, the growth has been phenomenal. It’s been such an exciting year for us. What’s really fun for us is every launch of our product is really someone else’s launch: we get to watch all kinds of online channels and experiences kick off something new in their business. We have one client in particular in stealth right now that we’ve just loved getting to work with. If you come back to us in Q2 we can share some more info there.

But really we’re seeing the reality we envisioned come to life, which is new ways for people to purchase at the edge, with more and more startups expanding into live and curated shopping in lots of new and interesting ways.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Violet?

Many people will tell you that recruiting is the hardest thing you’ll do when you’re starting out. And it’s even harder than they say it is.

I think for some new companies recruiting is hard because of sourcing and closing. We’re fortunate not to have that problem: we find people easily and once they’re in the funnel they’re usually excited to join.

BUT, recruiting does put a huge crunch on our bandwidth. In many ways it’s much harder to go from four to 40 people than it is to go from 40 to 400. I’d tell anyone just starting out that the moment you need to hire more than 15 people, hire a recruiter. I wish someone had said that to me, it would’ve saved a lot of headaches.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both In Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? Has The Pandemic Fueled Demand For Violet As More And More Merchants Lean On E-Commerce As Their Main Sales Channel?

COVID has had a huge impact on our business. As most people know just from surviving lockdowns, e-commerce was an industry that did very well in the pandemic. It definitively proved its utility, convenience, and potential. Every company and merchant was forced to prioritize e-commerce, basically compressing what might have been a decade of changes to infrastructure and business models in just 12 months. So what we have now is really the landscape Violet was made to serve, where you have old systems, new systems, incumbents, start-ups all trying to figure out how to sell products in this new marketing landscape. In a marketplace of millions of vendors, how do you get traction? Targeted, direct-to-consumer advertising can only get you so far, especially as regulations are changing to protect privacy. So that’s where our tool becomes vital circuitry in the new distributed model of e-commerce. As we’ve hit our stride with funding, finding customers, and growing our team, it’s proving to be a really exciting moment to be in e-commerce.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

E-commerce has changed significantly during and post-COVID, if we can say that at this point. While we stayed at home, everyone hopped on their computer and bought everything online. We felt this in the out-of-stock notices on websites. We felt this in the three months I waited to get the couch that I purchased. We felt this in the dramatic increase in prices corporations were able to leverage due to the product shortage.

Before the pandemic, e-commerce was still only about 15% of all retail purchases globally. That number increased dramatically, resulting in an acceleration of e-commerce penetration by anywhere from six to ten years. This means that reliance on e-commerce has increased more rapidly than anyone had expected. As a result, the pressure on the underlying infrastructure of e-commerce has increased, revealing the gaps in the ecosystem broadly, as well as in the individual platforms themselves.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I’m a big believer that we are the things we do repetitively, and don’t really buy into “tricks” for productivity. Instead, I just keep my life very goal-focused, almost treating my own output like I would a product with OKRs: What do I want to accomplish? By when? How can I measure success, and how can I fit those measurements and goals to reasonable time horizons? That may feel a bit on the nose, but it’s how I stay on task.

If I were to recommend a productivity hack, I think it’d be self-compassion. We think of high performers as being hard on themselves, but usually the very best athletes and musicians hold themselves to high standards by default, and the hard work is in understanding how to be kind to themselves and others.

All that said, in addition to work every day I make sure to focus on my mornings:

Wake before 6am

Peloton for 30 min

Stretch for 30 min

Meditate for 20 Min

Journal for 20 Min

These daily routines keep me grounded, energized, and focused on what really matters. 

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

I don’t think it’s as much about what qualities you have as it is about how you approach being an entrepreneur. So many entrepreneurs today just want to immediately go out there and start a company for the sake of starting a company. I don’t recommend this. Instead, I recommend new entrepreneurs go work somewhere else first, and find the problem they’re most passionate about at that company. Too many people just start things without first understanding their space inside and out. But if you start with the problem you really care about, and learn as much as you can about that problem, you’ll know the biggest pain points for your potential customers and build by far the most compelling companies. This only happens when you’re solving real, concrete problems for people and businesses.

Today, I think the business ventures that will be the most successful will either be very niche, or combinatorial. What I mean by that is, if you look at a company like Figma, they’re solving a very specific problem, and they do it incredibly well. They’re a niche product but with wide adoption in that niche because they really understand their customer. At Violet, we’re kind of the opposite: we’re a combination of e-commerce, plus headless, plus product distribution. We’re this amalgam of other product types that have been around before, but never in this combination. In fact it was the combining of these different features that was such a technical challenge and what makes us so valuable to our customers.

We’re past the days of someone simply standing up a website and making money. The barrier to value is much higher now, and that’s where I’ve seen the best founders today accelerate past others, because they know a particular use case so well, or are able to combine things in a novel way to generate new value.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

At the age of 16 I broke my leg twice in two years, and spent three months in a wheelchair. While there were a lot of learning experiences from that, I distinctly remember one incident where I was waiting to use the restroom. The two normal stalls were empty, but the person had chosen the wheelchair accessible stall. I had to wait until they were finished. At first I was furious, and then realized that I had done this very same thing without thinking about it prior to my injury. I was frustrated after three months in a wheelchair for how that experience was overlooked by others: it was eye-opening to think about what it must be like to live a lifetime in different and sometimes more challenging circumstances.

While some things can’t be fully understood until you experience them, one can’t experience everything, and this gap is something I now think about often: How can I constantly strive to empathize with the experiences and challenges of other people, even when I can’t directly experience it myself? One of our core values at Violet is empathy, because we ultimately work better together and build better companies by being able to consider other peoples’ viewpoints. Sure, we can’t always completely understand the experiences of those around us–but that’s precisely why we always try.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Without hesitation, Barack Obama. Regardless of your politics, I feel it’s like living during the time of Abraham Lincoln and not wanting to at least sit down with them. The version of the world Barack Obama stepped into, the problems he’s faced as an individual and a leader, are in combination unprecedented. And so there are just insights, experiences, and wisdom from that that I couldn’t get from anyone else. I’d need at least an hour to talk to him about his career and life’s work.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I take a lot of inspiration from Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the original World Trade towers. He was so focused on his craft and passionate about the process just as much about the outcome. He woke up everyday and ‘got on his wire’, whether it was 2 feet off the ground, or 2,000 feet off the ground. His attention to detail allowed him to perform an act for which the consequence of a single mistake was death. We very rarely engage in activities when a single mistake is certain death. If Philippe has made a misstep above the World Trade Towers, there’s no surviving that fall. While I don’t want to be punished with death for each mistake I make doing the thing I love, I find the clarity to be beautiful in my own relationship to my craft. I highly recommend Man on Wire, watched through the lens of a metaphor and as performance art. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I really like cycling, I read a lot of nonfiction, and I try to make a point of keeping up with all the Oscar-nominated films on an annual basis. But honestly, I love to learn new things and more often than not I’m applying that energy to my work. It doesn’t feel like work for me though. For me, it’s fun to spend a few hours on a weekend getting really proficient at a new tool that could help our company, because a) I’m learning something new and b) I’m working towards something I’m endlessly passionate about. I’ve often thought it’s strange that we don’t make the same kinds of boundaries for hyper focused, dedicated artists and high performers like we do for other vocations. Like, no one would ever criticize John Mayer or Prince for playing guitar too much in their off hours, or Sue Bird for practicing on her evenings or weekends. For me, this is my craft, this is my sport. I’ve pursued other passions like music but now this is my focus, it’s what I love to do. While, I like to read and get outside like many people, I spend a great deal of my time just trying to get better at the thing I love. 

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

I stand with Ukraine.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Doing what you set out to do.

 Brandon Schulz’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt . This book changed my mind about whether people can change their minds. We are less rational than we think we are. And this book presents the foundation for this based on Moral Psychology. At the root of moral psychology is the way by which any one of us decides to do or not do something regardless of explicit rules. I found this book to be enlightening in understanding my own brain, as well as the way others come to make decisions and behave in our ever increasingly complex world.

2. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I love this book. It is a gorgeous metaphor of the magic that happens when a team locks in. It’s about a rowing crew from the University of Washington (roughly 30 min from where I live). There’s a concept in rowing called ‘swing’ that almost feels like flying over the water. It happens when everyone is pulling in the same direction, completely in sync, as a result of a kind of unification that arises out of the body of a hull with 8 individual humans catapulting forward. I want to feel this in the teams I build. The book talks through the ups and downs of the coach, the individuals, the team, and how we bring all of who we are into our boats every day. 

3. Self-Compassion by Krista Neff. Self-Compassion is about what you might expect, compassion towards oneself. It’s not a soft or wishy washy book, but one that challenges the kinds of toxic cultures we’ve inherited that we likely don’t even know are running through our brains. A lot of this book was about slowing down some of the connections my brain was making that I wasn’t even aware of. Our synapses fire so fast, and the grooves are so strong, that we rarely have the language and practices to stare at them, and evaluate whether the appropriate level of intelligence and wisdom has been integrated into the way we perceived something, how we talk to ourselves, or whether our assumptions about a situation or our performance are accurate or fair at all. 

Health & Fitness:

1. Peloton. Love my Peloton, as I love cycling. My standard approach is to use ‘Just Ride’ and listen to a podcast or book while riding to a particular cadence or output I’m wanting to work on over a period of time.

2. 12 min body weight circuit heavy on strict pull ups (Cross Fit-inspired, WOD style). I try to focus on pull ups as the core exercise involving a lot of different muscles at once, with other movements wrapped in. With our bodies, we have to use it or lose it!

3. Mud WTR. Healthy mushrooms and a bit of caffeine have been more sustainable for me.

Brands:

1. Apple: Of course.

2. Rapha: I have more Rapha gear than any one human being should own.

3. NIKE: Pretty much everything else.

Products:

1. Airpods Max

2. Smart Sweets

3. Ollipop

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Ezra Klein Show. Especially love Ezra’s deep dives into productivity, attention, and parenting. 

2. Hidden Brain. Fascinated by behavioral economics.

3. Masters of Scale. Yep.

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. London (my favorite city)

2. Montana (for some summer fly fishing with my partner’s family)

3. Krabi, Thailand (favorite beach)

- What I Found
Elliot Cao | Hast
elliot-cao-hast-cooking-knives

ELLIOT CAO

Founder of Hast, a company that designs tools to help make cooking easier, more predictable, and more fun.

What Is Hast? Tell Us About Your Brand And Mission.

Hast is created to bring high-performance, design centric kitchen tools that energize and excites cooking. With forward-looking, functional, and intuitive design, Hast reduces the weight and seriousness of high-performance knives so that you can focus on the creative part of cooking.

We believe cooking is crucial to society, cultural and sustainability. There is an artist in everyone, and cooking is the artistry everyone can pursue and start whenever.

Our mission is to get more people to cook, cook more and have more fun cooking.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Before starting Hast, I have been creating brands, mostly for large corporations. I have been working in marketing and branding consultancy in firms and brands such as Weber Shandwick, Future Brand and Nivea.

My interest in material science led me to work with a startup pioneering in innovative alloy in cutlery which then got me into the world of knives and knife production. After seeing some many knives (designs), I still couldn’t find a knife I am proud to own, a knife of uncompromising performance, and good design with meaningful & essential details, and does not cost a fortune. Knives in the market are either traditional and serious, or aggressive in design (look) but not comfortable to use, or those flashy colorful cheap knives sets.

Like many makers and entrepreneurs, I was ignorant and brave enough to give the design a try which then led to the journey of exploring and testing dozens of steels, production and performance tests, and launching a crowdfunding campaign.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We want a registrable brand name that can reflect our design principle (simple, universal, timeless). The name Hast is from Swedish, meaning speedy/fast. It also means “have” in Old English. The name reflects our function-focused, minimalist design approach, and the chef’s mindset: focused, creative, and present.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I like make things that make positive impact, and I am quite proud that Hast knives have become the go-to knife of many home chefs who purchased many brands. Customer feedbacks like this get me excited:

“As a professional chef of 40yrs I can say last year I purchased 3 new chef knives. Misen, Hast and another high end I cannot remember. Point? I reach for Hast every time . It's lighter than the rest and now I'm noticing it stays the sharpest. I give it a surprising A+”-Jack Petronella

The least-liked part is that you have to deal with all the setbacks, challenges and stay positive. 

The most challenging moment is pushing for high-quality production when everything was delayed in 2020. We are few months behind our planed delivery schedule, and we couldn’t give accurate estimation of delivery. 

The most exciting moment is when we shipped the orders to our ealy backers. I am very grateful for the Kickstarter community for their support and trust, and I am very happy we can deliver knives they like. 

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Manufacturing Process? What Makes Hast Knives Unique In Terms Of Design And Technology?

Making great knives are just like cooking great steak. Prime meat is essential, but just part of the success. The performance of kitchen knives is limited by the steel, the harder the steel, the sharper the knife can be, but at the same time, more difficult to produce. And the knife can be difficult and specific too, especially with ultra-hard high-carbon steels. The production process also affects the knives performance largely. The steel will determine the geometry limits of the knife, hence cutting performance, as well as the production process. The harder the steel is, the slower the process. Heat and cold treatment, and heat produced during the manufacturing process will also change the hardness and strength of the steel, and performance of the knife.

Our differentiation of design came from our function/experience-first design principle. We want to design a good knife, then an impressive design. Every detail of Hast knives is kept because it serves a better function or user interaction. It weights light your hand and feels light to your eyes and mind. It’s an easy and effortless tool.

It’s subtle but different with details you appreciate more after using it for a while. The design removes the feeling of a tool, let you feel just you cook and create.

Hast Edition series knives have achieved the highest sharpness and edge-retention (durability) standard, 116% above the highest industry standard (Catra Excellent standard)

Hast Edition series knives are made of patented Matrix powder steel, a steel with great balance of hardness, yield strength and corrosion resistance. (Typically for knives, harder steel means sharp but fragile and easy-rust knives.) The achieve optimal performance from the steel, we need to test optimize the production process. We did multiple test-production test even before we ran our Kickstarter campaign.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Launching Soon?

We are going to launch a new knife line featuring the same minimalistic design with premium Japanese high-carbon stainless steel from leading cutlery steel manufacturer JFE.

It will be the MacBook Air to our current Edition Powder steel line. We are currently testing the steel and adjusting the production processes for the best possible performance. We will also run lab test and kitchen-using test with chefs before we finalize the production standard.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both in Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? How About Recent Supply Chain Issues- Has This Impacted Hast At All?

It has dramatically affected our business, especially the manufacturing. We have to closely monitor and work with our manufacturing partner. The pandemic made it almost impossible at the beginning. It also makes it very difficult to have off-line meetings with clients, partners, and customers.

The supply chain issue made shipping more expensive, and unpredictable. One of our shippings had to wait in a port for more than a month before loading.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

I think people are exposed more to cooking and their kitchen. When you get into cooking more, you will realize that good knives and other cooking tools are very important to cooking, just like instruments to artists.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I typically get up 8:30 and get to the office around 9am. I will have my first cup of coffee around 10. I have a light lunch (chocolate, nuts, or some simple protein).

I finish around 7pm and have a full meal for dinner. I will make some calls and working on emails after my dinner break.

I go to gym around 4 times a week. 2 days in the week and 2 in the weekend.

Gym/training is a great routine for me to keep my energy level and stay focus. It offers incremental progress that you are in total control. The sense of progress is critical to keep a positive mindset when work is challenging and unpredictable.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

In-depth understanding of the product.

Engineering and design mindset.

Good communicator of product and vision of the company.

My advice is that you should only invest in ventures that you have a passion for.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I once treated myself from an allergy induced blackout on a train without medicine, by applying basic physics and biology. I used cold water (to drink and rinse) to cool my body and reduce my body’s allergic reaction.

I think the lesson is that you need stay calm to come up with the better solution possible and there always solutions to make the reality better.

Any Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

I believe we are in an era of major transitioning: transitioning to sustainable energy, energy independence and abundance; Transitioning to Autonomous technology with AI, Robotics; transitioning to better living with genome sequencing & therapeutics. These transitioning will change human race fundamentally in the form of economy, politics, and culture.

In any form of transitioning, there will be mistakes, chaos, pain, and suffering, especially for those who are in disadvantage. I think self-care is utterly important. Cooking can play a much important role in self-care and taking care of those we love. Cooking will be a bigger part of our living and culture in the technology advanced, abundant era when everyone is an artist.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I think I’d like to hang out with Elon Musk. He is a true entrepreneur & engineer, a cool, kind and host person and he has been creating fundamental positive changes to humanity. And I am also a techno fan.

Who Is Your Role Model?

Elon Musk and Steve Jobs

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I cook quite often. I try to cook recipes from different cultures. I experiment and try to understand the fundamentals of different cuisine. I bring my own interpretation to recipes and sometimes it works great.

I am into art, design, movie, and music. I watch movies of different language and cultures to have sense of perspective of living beyond my experiences.

I train regularly. I am also a certified Les Mills RPM (cycling) instructor.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Physics is the law, everything else is a recommendation.”

It’s quite true. It helps to separate opinions from facts, and we should always question opinions.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Making the best of you and making positive impact to your family, community and wherever you can reach.

 Elliot Cao’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. The Outlier

2. The Crowd

3. Steve Jobs

Health & Fitness:

1. Cross-training-weight & cardio

2. RPM (stationary cycling)

3. Pilates

Brands:

1. Uniqlo

2. Prada

3. Adidas

Products:

1. Hast Knives, I drink a glass of water with fine-sliced lemon and Himalaya salt every morning.

2. iPhone 13 Pro and MacBook Pro

3. Freitag backpack

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. HubermanLab podcast (health, nutrition, longevity, science)

2. Breaking Points

3. Dave Lee Investing (good take on Tesla and other Tech companies)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Texas

2. Italy

3. Portugal

- What I Found
Peter Marler | Robin Golf

PETER MARLER

Co-Founder & CEO of Robin Golf, a company that makes buying premium golf clubs easier and more approachable so that more people can start swinging.

What Is Robin Golf? Tell Us About Your Brand, Your Mission, And What Makes Your Products Unique.

We're a family business (female & LGBT founded) that's passionate about bringing accessibility and diversity to golf.  We make the highest quality sets of clubs on the market for new and casual players  - women, men, and juniors.  Very simple purchase process, no jargon, no confusion. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Most people assume that since I started a golf company that I’m an avid or highly skilled golfer, Neither is true and that’s a big part of the reason Robin was started.  

I co-founded the company with my brother Andrew (a former D1 collegiate player), and my sister-in-law Ali (a new/casual player).  They joined me in Los Angeles in 2017 and in short order  Andrew invited us to play golf with him at his new golf club.   At the time I was using a garage sale set and Ali was using an entry level discount set, neither of which felt appropriate for our debut at the club.  

Ali and I went to a major golf retailer in LA to buy new sets and both had terrible experiences for different reasons.  For me, I was overwhelmed by choice, price, and jargon.  The pro was asking me things like “what loft do you want in your driver” and “what flex to you prefer in the shaft,” which I didn’t know the answers to.  In the end, the set he put together for me came to about $3,500. He then brings Ali into the back of the store and shows her one set of pink clubs and one set of purple clubs.  We both left the store frustrated - me feeling taken advantage of and Ali feeling patronized.  

We asked Andrew what the Warby Parker equivalent of golf was and he told us it didn’t exist.  In confirming this, we found that the major golf brands cater predominantly to avid, skill biased golfers, who overwhelmingly tend to be affluent, white, men.  Meanwhile, the fastest growing groups in the sport were ones that were typically left out of the narrative - women, people of color, juniors, and millennials/gen z.  

That’s when the idea for Robin Golf came about.  Robin was started with the goal of creating accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in golf.  We launched by releasing a line of golf sets, but we see that mission applying to many different categories in golf and beyond.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We had originally named the company Marler Golf, but since our mission was to democratize golf it felt a bit pretentious to name it after ourselves.  Also we had several foreign friends tell us that our last name is difficult to understand/pronounce if English is your second language.  

So we renamed the company Robin which signifies a few things.   First, the bird symbolizes the coming of spring and a sign of good things to come.  Second, Robin fits in nicely with the bird vernacular of golf (e.g. birdie, eagle, albatross, condor).  

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I’ve had many favorite parts of the journey, but I’ve enjoyed ideating and creating Robin’s culture the most.  It’s been fun and rewarding to think about commonly held practices in American work culture and asking “is there a good reason to keep doing it this way?”  For example, we implemented a 4-day work week after being inspired by the Icelandic study on its benefits.  I get really energized when I get to think about how we can use Robin as a tool to create positive experiences for our employees, customers, and community.  

My least favorite part is the admin work that comes along with having a small team.  Things like accounting, expenses, taxes, and other paperwork.  Hopefully I won’t have to spend so much time doing those things in the not so distant future.  

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

I co-founded the company with my brother and my sister-in-law.  Thankfully we’re really close and we all have complementary skills so it’s worked out nicely.  That being said, we have invested in an executive coach so that we can more effectively navigate our work lives and personal lives intertwining.  There have been times where work disputes spill over into our personal lives and it’s never fun when that happens.  

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Fundraising has been a trip. Surprisingly, it was way easier for us to raise money when we were just a pitch deck and an idea than it has been after launching and finding success in our first 18 months. I think when you’re pre-launch investors get excited about the possibility of what you will build, whereas after launch the focus is on KPI’s which vary greatly by investor. We’ve raised money from angels and family offices thus far, but we’re in the process of raising our seed round which looks like it may contain our first institutional check.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Or Categories Launching Soon?

We got somewhat lucky in that golf exploded during the pandemic. When golf courses opened up around May 2020 our products just started flying off the shelves, which continued through 2021. We 5x’d our top line 20-21 and expect to do the same in 2022 (assuming no more significant supply chain disruptions).

We’re launching several new products this year including a 13-club set, balls, and accessories. Our goal is still to keep our product selection highly curated and simple to understand.

Ultimately our goal is to bring accessibility and inclusivity to a sport that has historically lacked those values. We have a larger vision with regard to that mission that could extend beyond golf in the future.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both in Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? How About Recent Supply Chain Issues- Has This Impacted Your Ability To Keep Up With Demand On The Manufacturing Or Shipping Side Of Things?

We launched the week of the shut down and thought we were completely screwed. Thankfully golf was one of the only things that you could do while safely socially distanced so the sport exploded in 2020-2021.

Similar to many ecommerce companies though we were affected by the supply chain issues. Lead times have ballooned and it’s always frustrating to see our container ships idling at the port of LA for weeks at a time. I’d like to think that the situation is improving but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet unfortunately.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I hate working out in the morning so the only thing I do other than shower and brush my teeth is stretch. Apparently I’m at that age where my lower back hurts all the time and I never was very good about stretching until it became absolutely necessary.

As for staying productive through the day I’m a big fan of taking many small breaks. I’ll usually take a walk, read a few pages of my book, listen to a podcast segment, or get sucked into Tik Tok (I’m desperately trying to reduce my Tik Tok time in 2022).

I try to workout in the evening, but I’ve definitely become less regimented about it during the pandemic. I love cooking so I’ll typically try to cook for myself and my husband rather than ordering from Postmates.

I almost always end the day with a dry martini.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Tenacity - I was listening to the How I Built This interview with Brian Armstrong from Coinbase and he said that someone once told him that entrepreneurship is moving from one setback to another with enthusiasm.  That made me laugh and really resonated with my journey so far.  

The ability to zoom out - sometimes I get so wrapped up in the challenges I’m facing at work that I forget to take a step back and remember that they’re rarely as catastrophic as I’m making them.  In those moments I remind myself that I have my health, wonderful family and friends, food, and shelter, so it’s not going to kill me if someone doesn’t get their golf clubs on time.  That practice is harder than it sounds, but I do my best. 

Self-kindness - I think starting a company humbles you really quickly because it shows you just how little you actually know.  Many people ask if going to business school was a prerequisite to starting a company and I think it helps about 5%, but really the crux of building a business seems to be having strong convictions about the problem you’re solving followed by a ton of trial and error.  I tend to be very self-critical, but I’m learning to cut myself some slack and practice more self-kindness.  I’ve embraced the famous Thomas Edison quote - “I have not failed. I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work.”

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

In a job I had prior to starting Robin, for the first year I was convinced that I was going to get fired. Not for any specific reason, I just felt very underqualified for the role and my imposter syndrome was severe. I spent the better part of that year complaining to my dad about how I just knew I was going to let go. He was such a good sport about it - he spent about 11 months saying all the right things to make me feel better.

One day after work I called him with this same sob story and I think he had had enough of my whining. Instead of replying with the usual “I’m sure that’s not true etc.” he just says “Oh for f’s sake Peter, SO WHAT?” The reply caught me off guard at first, but then he continued: “So what if you get fired? You’re a highly educated white male with no kids. You might have to update your resume and find a new job. And if we assume the absolute worst case scenario: you lose your job, can’t get a new one, your husband leaves you, and you get thrown out of your house, you can always come back home and annoy us in person until you figure your life out. This is not a real problem, so STOP complaining about it.”

He was absolutely right of course. It was the best reality check I’d ever gotten and I think about him saying that every time I encounter a problem that I think is insurmountable.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m going to cheat and say two - Julie Andrews and John Cleese.  They’re iconic and their movies and TV shows have brought me so much joy throughout my life.  

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Play tennis, pickleball (which I’ve recently become obsessed with), and golf (badly). 

I love to cook and make cocktails so I try to do those as frequently as possible. 

I’m a big movie guy so I watch as many as I can in my spare time (especially horror movies) 

Reading and board games. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately, because to me entrepreneurship feels like a series of failures punctuated by brief moments of feeling like you may have done something right.  

To me success is effortlessly acknowledging and feeling joy each day.  I think the things that we think will bring us joy are often misleading, or at least that was my takeaway from the movie Blank Check.

The times in my life where I’ve felt the most joy are ones in which I felt confident in my life’s purpose and supported and loved by those around me.   

Alternatively, I once heard Tom Ford say that success is being able to take a nap after breakfast, so maybe I just shoot for that.  

 Peter Marler’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh

2. Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

3. Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer

Health & Fitness:

1. Shred App

2. Peloton (I don’t cycle, but I like their fitness classes)

3. Kos Vegan Protein

Brands:

1. Allbirds

2. Buck Mason 

3. Eberjey (just got their PJ’s for Christmas and I never want to take them off)

Products:

1. Hendrick’s Gin

2. Cardon SPF face moisturizer

3. Noise cancelling Airpods

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Lean Luxe newsletter

2. How I built This podcast

3. Unexplainable podcast

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Patagonia

2. Portugal

3. Turkey

- What I Found
Michael Kopko | Pearl Health

MICHAEL KOPKO

Co-Founder & CEO of Pearl Health, a company enabling primary care practices to thrive by compensating providers for improving their patients’ health.

What Is Pearl Health? Tell Us About Your Company, How It Works, And What You Do Differently.

Pearl Health is fixing healthcare by enabling primary care doctors to transform their work with value-based care, starting with Medicare’s Direct Contracting program. To do this, we’re building the most trusted platform for enabling primary care providers to bear and capture value from risk while delivering life-improving care to their patients. As a technology-first company, we offer a physician enablement platform, alongside our risk marketplace, that will help physicians manage patients’ total cost of care. 

We’re excited to release the first iteration of the Pearl Platform in the first quarter of 2022, aimed at enabling physicians to decide how to deliver better patient care at a lower cost — while capturing more value for themselves. This includes: 

Easy-to-understand financial reporting and payments management

Strategic visibility into patient panel health

Dedicated expert support to ensure success 

In contrast to the flurry of acquisitions of physician practices by health systems, PE groups, and other self-purported physician enablement companies, at Pearl Health, we aren’t seeking to have greater control over practices. We offer a clear alternative to those providers who wish to remain independent, instead giving them greater access to economics that are more in line with the value that they generate for the healthcare industry. We believe that primary care providers can best serve their patients when they’re allowed to remain independent. At Pearl Health, we aim to enable and empower them to take that opportunity — and to take a bet on themselves. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I grew up in central Connecticut, and I was raised in an extremely entrepreneurial and hard-working family. I caught the entrepreneurial bug early, starting my first business in 3rd grade: selling magazines. It was fun to help my classmates — a fun-loving and rapidly expanding salesforce — generate more than their lunch money. This was a great experience that taught me how aligned incentives and teamwork are the lifeblood for a rapidly growing business. I worked hard with my Mom on weekends, spending hours building pricing catalogs and tools to help our salesforce grow. It’s probably fair to say that my Mom was my first co-founder.

As I got older, I was lucky to be the first member of my family to earn a spot in an Ivy League university, Harvard — a point of pride for my family. After Harvard, my luck continued, and I went straight to Columbia Business School after receiving the Feldberg Fellowship.

After business school, I had the opportunity to work at Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, where I led a team of 60 hedge fund researchers and reported to Ray Dalio, its founder and co-Chief Investment Officer, and Greg Jensen, its CEO and co-CIO. My time at Bridgewater taught me how to tackle big problems with smart, committed people.

From Bridgewater, I joined Oscar Health with several other Bridgewater alums and Josh Kushner, a serial entrepreneur and now world-class investor whom I met at Harvard. When we first met, funnily enough, Josh offered to invest in a startup that I founded in college. This time around, we were intent on making the collaboration happen, and I’m grateful that we did.

Helping build Oscar from a team of 20 people to a publicly-traded company gave me the opportunity to have some of the coolest and most educational experiences of my career. It also gave me incredible insight into our healthcare system. My fantastic team and I were responsible for distributing Oscar’s health plans across the country, then building complete networks to serve them. After that, I managed the Oscar’s largest P&L — greater than $2.5bn — to help make Oscar more sustainable.

My time at Oscar reaffirmed the critical lesson that incentives matter — and, more specifically, that we had devalued our primary care layer in healthcare across the country. It was sad to see, but it hinted at a huge opportunity.

When I learned of Direct Contracting, a new and innovative model out of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and I met with the team at AlleyCorp — including Kevin Ryan, Jeff De Flavio, and Ankit Patel — I felt that we were on the precipice of a huge idea that was going to make a national impact. Pearl was born shortly thereafter.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Pearl Health is a reference to the notion of “clinical pearls”, which are small bits of free-standing, clinically relevant information based on experience or observation. They’re part of the vast domain of experience-based medicine, and can be helpful in dealing with clinical problems for which controlled data do not exist.

We’re helping doctors focus on this irreplaceable impact that only they can provide, and we’re striving to free them from the burdens that currently overrun their lives.

I also love the idea of how a pearl forms in nature — the beautiful result of irritants around it. It’s a great metaphor for the contribution we’re trying to make in healthcare.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I deeply enjoy bringing people together to solve hard problems that make the world a better place.

At Pearl, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re building a team of world-class talent, and we’re laser-focused on making healthcare more sustainable. Every member of the team shares a deep-seated passion for making an impact and building something great. I personally never feel like I’m working when building Pearl with our team. Instead it feels like we’re assembling a big orchestra that will produce beautiful, incredible things for the people around us. It’s been magical to watch it unfold.

Our best moments have been meeting with physician practices across the country and introducing them to the power of Pearl and the future of a value-oriented healthcare system. I love meeting our clients and building relationships with new ones. I think the best clients challenge us to improve and get better, which helps create a virtuous cycle. Needless to say, primary care doctors are remarkable people. They genuinely care about their patients, and they’re working hard to find new sources of value for their patients, their staff, and themselves.

I don’t have a least favorite part in entrepreneurship. I genuinely love solving problems at scale — and with the right team and resources. Being an entrepreneur somewhat guarantees that you won’t have all those preconditions, so it forces you to be creative and inventive with less. I think that push can generate creativity and innovation, which I love.

If anything, I empathize a lot with the obstacles that our clients face. So much about our current system gets in the way of what they want to be doing most: caring for their patients. The flipside of that is the incredible opportunity that we have to help doctors — real-life unsung heroes – deliver better healthcare at a lower cost, making both them and their patients happier and better off.

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Jeff De Flavio brings a ton of clinical experience, having launched other companies in the healthcare space focused on making peoples’ lives better. He’s founder of Groups: Recover Together, the national leader in value-based care for treatment of opiate addiction. Jeff earned his MD from Dartmouth College of Medicine, along with his MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Most importantly, Jeff is a relentless optimist, and sees every stumble in the road as an opportunity for a new path.

Ankit Patel brings lots of healthcare policy experience, previously as a Senior Advisor at CMS Innovation Center, where he worked on different value-based payment models, including the Pioneer ACO program and Maryland All-Payer Waiver. Most recently, Ankit led Provider Alignment at Clover Health, building programs and software to engage providers to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs. He started his career as a healthcare attorney for an academic medical center, after earning his BA in International Studies at University of South Carolina - Columbia and his JD from UNC at Chapel Hill. Ankit is a hustler at heart, who tries to see opportunity in challenge and won’t be fooled by healthcare nonsense. He also likes to give hot takes, which the team finds refreshing and engaging.

Kevin Ryan is one of the great entrepreneurs of our time, having built game-changing businesses across a breathtaking variety of industries. At Pearl, we feel lucky to find ourselves alongside the likes of MongoDB, Gilt Group, Zola, Nomad Health — all of which benefited from Kevin’s energy and intensity, which I absolutely love. I deeply value that Kevin has been both an operator and an executive, and I admire his incredible focus, drive, and desire to live life to the fullest. I enjoy spending time with Kevin, and always find myself incredibly impressed by his vision.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process for Pearl was extremely exciting and stimulating. It came with highs and lows, but ultimately resulted in a wonderful set of partners to join us on our journey — and enabled our team with the resources to accelerate and propel our vision and the future of value-based care forward.

We started by doing pitches to prospective investors. We were also having our first team retreat at this point, so the whole company had the chance to listen to the pitch, which seemed like a special experience to share with our early crew. I had been at Oscar for a very long time, but I had never had the chance to see a fundraising pitch. Sharing that with our first ten team members seemed like a fun, remarkable start in our commitment to transparency and inclusion.

We ultimately decided to move forward with Andreessen Horowitz and Vineeta Agarwala, MD. That process was incredibly special, as we had many great firms who wanted to support us. After meeting with Vineeta, her team, and Marc Andreessen — and, really, the entire a16z healthcare team and many of their partners — we were convinced that we had a very special community and platform to build Pearl within. The a16z team have been exceptional partners, every step of the way.

We were also extremely fortunate to have Kevin Ryan and AlleyCorp participate in our Series A fundraise. The AlleyCorp team is incredibly supportive and dedicated to the future of healthcare, and has expanded our thinking at every interaction.

We will be using our funds to accelerate product development, continue to build out our team of world-class talent, accelerate growth and expansion, and help facilitate and support our physicians to succeed in value-based care models as they make this shift.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Anything Exciting Launching Soon?

We’re loving it and have exceeded our own expectations. At the start of 2022, nearly 10,000 lives will be managed by more than 100 doctors through our physician enablement platform across 51 ZIP codes in 13 states.

For 2023, we will expand significantly, focusing first on increasing density in existing markets to help us provide even more resources to our PCP partners to help them deliver better care at a lower cost.

Looking forward, we’re building a marketplace that connects providers and payors in risk-based arrangements, where providers can increasingly bear and capture value from risk and transform their practices to value-based care. We’re actively building partnerships to realize this vision.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business And Operation? Have There Been Any Significant Changes Over The Last Few Months As Things Have Gotten Better Overall?

COVID-19 was horrible for our country in so many ways. Our team rallied to find the silver lining during those difficult times, and we invented new ways to find and hire great people — you can work with us anywhere! COVID-19 also served as a forcing function for solving important physician problems, like the challenge of decreased in-office visits on primary care practice’s finances, while also not losing the humanity and personality that’s required to build a human-first healthcare business.

We’re excited to have incredible talent across the country — and the world(!) — join us on our mission. A remote-first culture has enabled us to have a broader set of perspectives at the table than a geographically-focused organization, which I see as a competitive advantage.

As COVID-related conditions have improved, we’ve seen a growing desire for our team and our clients to come together, and we’re developing systems and strategies to enable that collaboration and togetherness safely.

How Do You Think Your Industry Or The World In General Will Change Post-COVID?

COVID-19 demonstrated the fragility of our healthcare system and the ways in which we take for granted the providers that make it run. We need to empower and support them more effectively going forward, and part of that is helping them realize a greater portion of the value that they bring to the healthcare system. For too long, individual primary care providers have been kept at a distance from bearing risk and capturing downstream value that they create for our healthcare system. Instead, rewards from shared savings line the pockets of insurance companies, health systems, groups, or whoever else disintermediates doctors from risk. Or, perversely, fee-for-service incentives have been aimed at rewarding volumes of activities, instead of outcomes, disincentivizing doctors from making meaningful connections that don't neatly fit into maniacally managed schedules. This has to change, and it starts with changing the way we recognize the value that individual doctors create. The first step is giving them back their autonomy and time, and that starts with fixing their incentives.

COVID-19 also underscored the challenges of running critical healthcare systems without integrated data infrastructure or, even worse, with paper-and-pen processes. It’s been hard to effectively operate in any industry, and it was especially true in healthcare. When it comes to helping to keep their patients healthy, one of the biggest obstacles that providers face — especially primary care physicians and their staff — is their lack of visibility into patients' health care journeys. Data exist but are scattered across constellations of different systems in different formats, making it next to impossible for doctors and staff to know how their patient is doing when she goes through the system, from whom and where she's receiving care, and whether ongoing care is aligned with the patient's best interests. That's why we're building a platform that aggregates and visualizes data to enable primary care physicians with strategic visibility into patient panel health, alongside easy-to-understand financial reporting to help them allocate and manage resources.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Pearl Health?

People make choices because of people, at least in the early innings of your venture. You are the brand, and you are the reason people say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I’m currently working long days. Emails typically start around 7:30am, and I typically sign off just before midnight. I only do it because I enjoy it and it’s all building toward something, so I don’t feel like I’m working the same way it might feel for others. If I didn’t feel that way, my “schedule” would be impossible. In general, we try hard to take weekends off as a team. I believe in the restorative process of some time away and time spent with family and friends. Even though we work hard, it’s important that people “relax hard” too.

In the morning I usually work out. For me, exercise is critical and highly related to my mood throughout the day. I’ll have a coffee in the morning and spend some time with my 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte. She’s my greatest gift in the world.

I make an effort to take a few 5-10 minutes breaks throughout the day to move around, see Charlotte when she’s back from school, and clear my mind.

Every day I also try to write three appreciations, something I’m thankful for. This simple technique, which I’ve been doing for many years, helps me start my day with thanks and optimism, instead of agitation or disappointment.

I’m probably doing too many meetings right now, but I’m committed to being available and up-to-speed with what’s going on across Pearl and beyond. That said, this is something I’m thinking more about — and how to balance it with the increasing demands on my time.

I’m increasingly using a paper journal to write down insights and important things, so I can reflect a little more. I’m also trying to reboot my daily meditations, which I’ve been doing for the better part of eight years now.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Relentless determination. Tenacity and conviction, coupled with an openness to seeing reality, enables one to identify and realize what is possible. 

Continuous optimism. There’ll always be obstacles, and you have to have an optimistic mindset to endure the hamster wheel of problems and not get discouraged. Most obstacles are tests to help you and your team grow and establish who is meant to be on the other side versus who simply wishes to be on the other side. 

Be trustworthy and know your business. Work hard to do what you say and say what you do. First impressions and your areas of focus define you. 

For entrepreneurs just starting, I encourage you to enjoy the experience and be ready to put in the hard work. Entrepreneurship can be found in many places, so don’t create a false idol of what successful entrepreneurship looks like. It’s rarely what you read in the news, and it’s never the same thing twice.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

The birth of my daughter was the most significant moment in my life.

It taught me to enjoy the moment more and appreciate my time with the people I care about. I am so lucky to have Charlotte — not only because she is awesome, but also because she’s so loved, brings happiness to everyone around her, and will always be my wife’s and my baby.

Her constant joy and excitement has helped me re-experience the world around me.

Becoming a father to a baby girl was such a special and transformative experience. It rewards me each day. I’m excited to get out of bed in the morning to see her, and I love the adventures that we get to go on together.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m lucky to have one of them as my mentor of nearly 20 years: George David, the Chairman of Raytheon. I love my time with George, because it gives me the opportunity to ask questions that I struggle with but are hard to share with others. He also has a genuine care and concern for my development and growth, and he sees a big enough world that he knows how to separate what’s important from distractions. I have other heroes too.

More generally, I encourage people to reach out to those who they think are great. You might get lucky and have one of them in your life.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“We will either find a way or make one,” said by Hannibal of Carthage upon his famous excursion through the Alps. I think it captures the grit, ingenuity, and confidence that is required for the entrepreneurial journey.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

I love the real-life parable of the Stockdale Paradox, which I first came across in Jim Collins’ Good to Great

Admiral James Stockdale, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and former prisoner-of-war, said of his multi-year stay in a POW camp: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” 

It’s a poignant lesson for all people, not just entrepreneurs, about the paradoxical need for both relentless optimism and intellectually honest pragmatism. Both are required to endure the ups and downs of entrepreneurship — and to build a path to the other side of what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. 

Who Is Your Role Model?

My father has been a great role model in my life. He was able to build and create a lot having come from humble beginnings and invested in his children, his colleagues, and his friends. He’s an optimist and an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve enjoyed learning from him and spending time with him from being a little boy to an adult. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Working out

Time with my wife, daughter, and rest of my family

Seeing friends and doing outdoor activities with them

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. I think that, while anybody can achieve success, it takes a willingness and a discipline to drive toward it every day. For my part, I’ve enjoyed specific missions that I think are important for the world. In this chapter of my life, it’s helping Pearl’s vision manifest into reality and enabling the United States to get much more out of our healthcare system at a lower cost and with greater satisfaction. For my family, colleagues, and friends, it’s helping them achieve their ambitions and dreams, however best I can, so they live a life of abundance and adventure without regret.

 Michael Kopko’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. How the Economic Machine Works, by Ray Dalio (technically a video)

2. The Firm, by Josh Grisham

3. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Health & Fitness:

1. Run on the streets

2. Citibike over the Brooklyn Bridge and all around Manhattan and Brooklyn

3. Walking around with my daughter Charlotte

Brands:

1. My Pearl hoodie

2. Nike t-shirts

3. Nice pair of dress shoes

Products:

1. Airpods & iPhone

2. American Express

3. Robinhood & Audible

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The New Yorker

2. The Strangest Secret (YouTube)

3. NY Times & WSJ & StrictlyVC

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. My wife Marcela’s family loves seeing their granddaughter, and we love seeing them. 

2. Clinton, Connecticut. It’s the beach town where I spent my summers as a kid growing up.

3. United Kingdom, Scotland

4. Ireland

5. Marcela and I still want to make it to the Maldives.

- What I Found
Joe Parenteau | Fable

JOE PARENTEAU

Co-Founder & CEO of Fable, a lifestyle brand designing and delivering products that transform how you eat at home—starting with better tableware.

What Is Fable? Tell Us About Your Products, Mission, And How Fable Differentiates Itself From The Other Brands In The Same Category.

At Fable, we create timeless everyday pieces that inspire and elevate the experience of dining at home. Motivated by a common vision to create products that are as enjoyable as they are ethical, we started with ceramics that are sustainably crafted in Portugal, and have since expanded to flatware, glassware, textiles, and more. Starting with tableware, our mission is to bring ethical, sustainable home decor into every area of the home.

Through transparent pricing and conscious sourcing, we produce accessibly priced tableware without compromising on quality or ethical craftsmanship. We also recognize that a meal is not a given right; in our pursuit of balancing profit and purpose, we donate a meal for every Dinnerware Set sold through our partnership with Mealshare. We plan to continue to grow Fable into a lifestyle brand and trusted source for all things home decor.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I’m a technology leader, and an operations expert. After working in the traditional accounting space, I began my pursuit in technology at Bench Accounting, where I helped build teams and scale the operations from 400 to 4000 clients. Previously, I built and led an 80 person operations team at AvenueHQ, a real estate marketing company.

Together with Max Tims and Tina Luu, I founded Fable as a solution to a personal problem. When wanting to upgrade to more premium home decor and tableware, I wasn’t able to find anything out there that was ethically and sustainably produced and accessibly priced that also offered a simplified shopping experience. We saw an opportunity, and set out to fill the gap.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

A favorite for me has been working with such a great team—it’s so inspiring to collaborate with such an incredible group of people. As for the least-liked, I’d say the challenges we’ve faced in recent months due to global shipping delays. Most of our products are produced in places like Portugal and Japan, so naturally, we’ve been pretty heavily impacted by delays. Not being able to replenish our inventory levels at the expected rate, and feeling like we’re letting our customers and community down as a result, hasn’t been easy.

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Fable was co-founded together with Max Tims, our Head of Operations, and Tina Luu, our Head of Technology. While our primary roles are quite different, we work very closely to lead Fable under one of our core philosophies: sharing all that we can. All three of us come from a background in tech, and each bring a unique yet complementary skillset to the table. 

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Our name is a reference to Aesop’s Fables. More specifically, we were drawn to the fable called The Dove and the Ant, which is what inspired the turtle dove in our logo. Its moral, the importance of showing kindness to others in order to see it in return, was something we felt aligned with both as individuals and as a brand.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process has been great so far—our investors have been so helpful and supportive of our business. Whenever we’ve experienced any challenges, it’s been great having them to turn to as extra team members with loads of valuable experience.

Are There Plans To Launch New Products Or Categories In The Near Future?

Yes, absolutely. At Fable, we see a lot of opportunity beyond the dining table, and we plan to continue on our mission to bring elevated home decor into every area of the home. This year, we launched premium Japanese glassware and Belgian linen to complement our sustainably crafted ceramics and flatware, and we’re launching a handful of exciting new products this year and next that we can’t wait to share with you. Keep an eye out!

This Past Year Has Brought So Many Challenges To Companies Of All Sizes, Especially Those That Lean On Supply Chains. How Have COVID-19 And Recent Supply Chain Constraints Impacted Your Operation And Business Over The Last Few Months And Year?

COVID-19 and recent supply chain constraints have impacted our business in a few different ways. More than anything, they’ve put strains on freight forwarding, which has largely impacted our logistical ability to move our products from Portugal or Japan to our warehouse in Burnaby, BC. In turn, this has caused challenges with getting our products to our customers and community. We’ve chosen to be transparent with our community in clearly communicating the issues we’re facing, and we’ve been fortunate to see an overwhelmingly positive response so far. The understanding, patience, and continued support has been really great to see.

How Do You Think Your Industry Or The World In General Will Change Post-COVID?

I think one of the biggest shifts we’ll see, and are already seeing, is with how people work. I believe that remote work is here to stay, and will continue to evolve to become a more global practice.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I spend most of my days working remotely from Europe, which puts me in a different time zone than most of my team members. I structure my workday to better align with theirs by starting later in the day, which means free mornings and late nights.

I typically start my day by taking Nash, our 2-year-old Golden Retriever, for a walk to grab a specialty coffee before I head off to train or play a match of tennis. Around noon, I either find a patio to sit on or head home for lunch. After that, I take a nap for 30 minutes to an hour before starting the workday around 2:00-3:00pm. Working remotely gives me the freedom to make dinner, take Nash for a night walk, and have a few calls with team members in the evenings. I usually have three to five Nespressos to keep me awake until the workday is done, around midnight or 1:00am local time.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

The ability to execute and think strategically. I think most people either fall into the category of having big build ideas but not knowing how to get them off the ground, or the opposite—being able to do the work, but not having the vision to execute the bigger picture.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

When I was very young, around 10 years old, I loved playing with Lego. I had a subscription to Lego Club Magazine, and became so passionate about being featured in it that I submitted multiple times. Finally, after submitting photos of a Lego submarine I made from scratch, I was featured in the magazine. To me, the takeaway was that if you really want to make something happen, it’s possible. I still live by that to this day.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Rafa Nadal, the Spanish professional tennis player. I’d love to play a game of tennis with him, and to have the opportunity to really seek to understand his ability to lift an entire community. He’s a big inspiration.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

The Dove and The Ant. As mentioned in an earlier answer, it’s one of Aesop’s fables (which technically makes it a fable, not a parable, but close enough) that inspired our name. It teaches the importance of the ability to always show kindness, which is at the root of everything we do at Fable. Showing kindness to the earth via sustainably crafted products and eco-friendly packaging, and showing kindness to each other as a team and our community as a whole.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I really look up to Maj Masad, the Co-Founder of Mejuri. He’s someone that I’ve been fortunate enough to both work with and learn from as we build Fable.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

In my free time, I like to play tennis, spend time with my girlfriend Denise and our Golden Retriever, Nash, and travel. Since relocating to Europe last year, I’ve been able to make the most of days off and weekends by jetting off (or driving) to different European cities and countries to sightsee and explore, and it’s been amazing.

What Does Success Mean To You?

To me, success is all about fulfillment—getting to live a life of fulfilling days where you really feel like you’ve been able to create and build something that brings joy to other people, and improves their lives in some way.

 Joe Parenteu’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck

2. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

3. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by James C. Collins

Health & Fitness:

1. Tennis

2. Beach volleyball

3. Gym / weightlifting

Brands:

1. Lululemon

2. Kit & Ace

3. Nike

Products:

1. Nespresso

2. Red wine

3. Japanese chef’s knife

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Nik Sharma

2. Bad Blood (currently)

3. Crime Junkie

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Georgia

2. Morocco

3. Norway

- What I Found
Braeden McCarthy | Soone

BRAEDEN MCCARTHY

Co-Founder of Soone, a connection app focused on getting people out from behind their phones and interacting in real life.

What Is Soone? Tell Us About The App And How It Works.

Soone is the first connection app that is heavily focused on getting people out from behind their phones and interacting in real life right away. We connect people in close proximity who are ready to meet when they log onto the app. When you send someone a connection request, users have 30 minutes to accept it, and a temporary chat window pops up to set a location to meet, meaning you can go from being on your phone to meeting with someone in under an hour. We also help by suggesting nearby meet up locations such as bars, nightclubs and cafés – great public places to meet up so you can have an in-person interaction and feel safe.

Women feel more comfortable with our additional security measures in place such as a requirement that the first photo you take for your profile be taken live to prevent catfishing and misleading pictures that other apps struggle with. We also have a proprietary heat map that shows where clusters of users are (though never identifying anyone’s exact location). College students, young professionals and people new to Austin have particularly embraced the philosophy behind Soone.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Before Soone, I was just a typical college student. My friend Austin and I were both 19 and realized that we saw our friends constantly swiping and hitting “like” on other apps, but when we asked our friends how many people they ended up meeting in real life, they said not many. There were lots of endless chats but it seemed my generation was more content to hide behind their phones than actually meet new people, even if they were out at a bar or restaurant. Austin and I realized that there has to be a better way and that’s how Soone was born.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of the entrepreneurial journey has definitely been learning. I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys school and learning. There’s been a lot of learning that has occurred throughout this process for me. I surrounded myself with a lot of really smart people, and so that's been really enjoyable to learn from them.

The least favorite part of the journey has been trying to overcome the language barrier between layman's terms and coding terms when working with our development team. I have learned a lot from them, and I continue to get better at it every week.

 The most challenging piece has definitely been keeping up the discipline to sacrifice. I sacrifice social events and different things that my peers are doing because I have commitments for Soone, so I just don't have time to engage in many social activities. I will say it is very enjoyable work so that does make it a little bit easier to sacrifice that time, plus I'm really passionate about helping people meet in person. That passion and the enjoyment that I find in my work makes it easier.  

The most exciting moment has been seeing people relate to the experiences that I have had and that my Co-Founder Austin has had which is the reason why we came up with the concept and the need for the app in the marketplace. 

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Scott has helped navigate the world of entrepreneurship. Austin is a real self-starter, determined to accomplish his goals, along with being very creative and aesthetically gifted at knowing how to create things that look really professional and clean.

Have You Raised Funding Thus Far? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Scott Dill is a serial entrepreneur, and he's really helped Austin and me to navigate this world of entrepreneurship. So far we've used funds to hire a development team to code the app, we've hired a marketing firm to help us share the app with the people in Austin. There are also legal fees and other fees that come with starting your own company.

How Has Soone Acquired Users In The Austin Area? What Other Cities Do You Plan On Expanding Into In The Near Future?

We have a great marketing team who has helped us do a lot of fun events in Austin and engage in a lot of great marketing opportunities. We did an event at the UT Marketplace. We've got billboards up in Austin. We’ve got Spotify ads and radio ads. We have hosted events at local venues where we were able to introduce the app to a lot of people.

I found the best way to acquire users has been just telling people about it face to face because you can address their concerns and questions. Once they understand it, people really tend to engage.

In terms of other cities, our main focus right now is just making sure the users in Austin have a really great experience with the app. Beyond that, we're thinking about launching in our hometown of Charlotte. It’s similar to Austin as it has a really young, lively demographic and a lot of great places to meet up.

How Has COVID Impacted Your Operations And Growth Over The Last Year?

COVID caused us to pause operations for a few months before we finished the app and launched it because we wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be a health risk in launching an app in which the main purpose is to get people to meet in person. That being said, with the lack of in person interactions over the past year and a half, this app is more relevant now than it was pre-COVID.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Soone?

If you want to get something done, just start it. You don’t always have to know what you are doing but if you want to get something done, you have to start somewhere. Once you start, you can figure it out as you go.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

It depends on the day for me because I am a full-time college student. I have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 until 3:45. Those days I usually wake around 5 in the morning. I do some work for Soone, and then I “pre-read” for my classes, in which I read over some of the materials that I'll cover in my classes so that I can engage better with that material. During my hour and 20 minute lunch break, I usually grab lunch and find a quiet space to eat and catch up on emails. Then I go home and do some homework or work.

I'm also a member of the varsity lacrosse team at Franklin & Marshall College, and I practice from 7 to 9 pm. Then I go home and make some dinner, before usually going to bed around 11.

Other days, I usually get up around 6. On those days I don't have specific

commitments outside of practice and lifting so I usually try to time block my day to set aside time for different tasks. For instance, I may spend 2 hours working on revising and reviewing some of the marketing techniques that we have in place, followed by 2 hours reviewing some of the development and coding that's going on. Then I typically spend 3 hours on homework.

One trick that I use to stay productive is to always start your day with something productive because it sets the tone and the pace for the rest of your day.

Other things I like to do are read and make my bed. I usually try not to start my day by scrolling through Instagram or watching TikTok. I usually try to start it by reading either the news, or an article that's relevant to Soone.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

One, you have to be self-motivated because there's really nobody checking in on you or watching over your shoulder to make sure you're getting your work done. At the end of the day, it's up to you.

Two, you have to be determined. When there's a task at hand, a lot of times it can seem like a mountain to climb because you don't have experience with completing that task. There's no one to really help guide you along in how to complete it so you really have to be determined to just get it done.

Third, you have to be resilient. Nothing great happens overnight. So when things don't go well, you have to be resilient and able to adapt to the feedback that you're given.

In terms of advice for entrepreneurs, I have two pieces of advice. One is don't be afraid to be wrong. Just make sure that when you do get something wrong, you're open to correcting it, which is something that I definitely had to learn to do. And the second thing comes from a book that Scott O'Neal wrote called Be Where Your Feet Are. It's called API. People typically have positive intent and are not trying to take you down; they're trying to help you. So always assume positive intent when you're working with others.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I missed my first semester of college, and then got sent home early during the second semester due to COVID, so I spent most of my college experience online. But one thing I've learned from that is God has a plan and that when one door closes, another opens. This really gave me an opportunity to work on the app and get done what I needed to get it to the position that it is in today.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tom Brady. He has managed to perform at such a high level for such a long period of time, but he also keeps a great work/life balance and has a really strong family life. I would talk to him about how he maintains such high motivation after reaching that mountain top and how he continues to perform at a higher and higher level every year.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” - Timothy McCarthy (my grandfather)

“People spend a lot of time worrying about making the right decision; instead worry about making the decision right.” - Timothy McCarthy

Who Is Your Role Model?

My grandfather. Without a college education to start his career, he worked his way up from office boy to CEO of CE Minerals, traveling all around the world and receiving his MBA from MIT without an undergrad degree.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I am a full-time college student majoring in Business, Organizations, and Society and minoring in Applied Mathematics at Franklin & Marshall College. I am also a member of the lacrosse team at Franklin & Marshall College so I spend time practicing, lifting, and training. Outside of those two pieces of my life, I enjoy spending time with friends, exercising, and doing yoga.

What Does Success Mean To You?

I view success in a few different lenses. Success for the app means helping people get out from behind their phones and interact in person, the way we did before social media and cell phones really dominated our society. Success for me personally means people regarding me as kind and hardworking. Success in life means having a positive impact on society whether in a big way or just impacting one or two people every single day.

 Braeden McCarthy’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins

2. Be Where Your Feet Are, by Scott O’Neil

3. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

Health & Fitness:

1. Lifting

2. Fight Camp

3. Going for a 2-3 Mile Run

Brands:

1. Brooks Brothers

2. Lululemon

3. Nike

- What I Found
Nate Checketts | Rhone

NATE CHECKETTS

Founder & CEO of Rhone, a premium apparel brand for men.

What Is Rhone? Tell Us About Your Brand And What Makes Your Clothing Unique.

Rhone is premium men’s apparel made for where you sweat, live, and work. Rhone delivers best-in-class products, engineered with performance technologies and premium fabrics designed to fill the void in the men’s premium activewear market.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

As I was graduating from BYU, I launched my first venture backed startup which was a mobile software company. That was my first experience working with investors, building out a leadership team and trying to grow a company. We eventually sold that business to the 49ers and I then worked for and consulted with many companies: Cisco, FanVision, Sport Radar and The National Football League, to name a few. But, my passion always lied with creating, building, and being challenged. I ended up launching four different companies before the age of 30 and Rhone was the last one.

If you told me fifteen years ago that I would have started a men’s apparel company, I would have never believed it because fashion and apparel wasn’t something I had any background in or something I paid attention to. Rhone was built because we saw a gap in the men’s activewear market and we felt there was a big opportunity in the space.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Our name was inspired by the Rhone river in Europe as it was not only aesthetically beautiful but was also once a valued trade route. That’s exactly how we approach our products. We start with the world’s finest fabrics, pair them with cutting edge textile technology, and finish with an unmatched fit and style to create clothing that satisfies both form and function.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to innovate, to evolve, and to always look for ways to improve. To me, that constant need to reinvest yourself is invigorating and exciting. I also really enjoy building a team and working to be a better leader that they can rely on and put trust in. And of course I really have grown to love creating tangible product vs working in software. It is such a great experience to hand someone a product you have dreamed about and created and see that product positively impact their day / life.

I think the biggest challenge for me personally is I have high expectations and it is easy when you crest one milestone to constantly be thinking about the next one vs reflecting on what you have accomplished thus far. I’m wired a bit to always be looking forward (hence our tagline) but there is real value in looking back and reflecting. One of the quotes I need to remind myself often is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There will always be someone doing better than you and most people only experience joy and sorry in relativity--meaning they are only happy relative to those they know or are aware of vs happy in the absolute. I have learned that taking stock of what I have, have been given and been blessed with and focusing on that daily gratitude helps center me and ground me in the highs and lows of building a company. There are days I feel like we are unstoppable and days where I don’t know how we will get through an obstacle but gratitude always brings me back to how fortunate I am to even have the ability to do what I do.

Most exciting Rhone moment? I think telling my mom we were opening a store on 5th Ave is one of the most exciting Rhone moments for me. It just felt like such a milestone to be across from Nike, New Balance and other giants of industry and exciting to be on an iconic New York street.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process has always been a bit of a roller coaster. Unlike many of the companies in our space we have never used a banker. It has always been driven by people who are passionate and excited about the brand and product. We have some incredible investors on our cap table including a few former NFL players like Justin Tuck and Troy Aikman (one Giant and one Cowboy). We also have great personalities and investors including David Stern who invested before he passed, Steve Bornstein and others we are not allowed to share publicly. Lastly we have been backed by the largest Global consumer PE firm L Catterton.

With So Many DTC Apparel Brands Out There In The Same Space, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You Use To Build Brand Awareness And Acquire Customers? Also, Do You See Rhone Launching Products Into New Categories Or Product Lines In The Near Future?

It starts with our core of who we are, what we stand for and being really clear about that across all of our channels and platforms.

We lean heavily into earned media, leveraging third party endorsements from media and influencers trying the product. We also do paid media on Instagram and other platforms, as well as partner with like minded fitness and health brands.

There are always opportunities to expand into new categories and product lines. While growth is always a goal, we want to achieve it in a way that makes sense for the brand and for the customer. Our product and creative teams are extremely innovative; we love to test out different products and ideas, but overall, we value the customers’ feedback and requests and work from there.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

As has been said by others, COVID didn’t necessarily change our industry but it accelerated changes that were already happening. The biggest functional change has been shifting distribution models and a push towards direct channels like ecomm and owned retail vs wholesale. The biggest overarching changes are a continued push towards brands with purpose and a focus on making responsible decisions for our climate. All of these were already core focuses for us and we have been fortunate to be well positioned moving forward.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

Morning: My mornings tend to start early. I wake up and move to my home gym and generally do a 30-40 min focused fitness session that has varied through the years. The key for me is moving and getting my body ready for the day. I then take my oldest to school who starts about an hour earlier than his peers. He’s a great kid and I really value my time with him during our drive. I then come back and focus on my day plan, clearing any emails. Next I will go meet my next 2 boys who are starting to stir and over the last 5 months we will do some soccer training together. 10-15 mins each. Then we grab breakfast together and they hop on the bus. After that I shower, get dressed and get ready for work. I try to keep my morning relatively clear for execution and limited meetings.

Afternoon: My afternoons are heavily focused on meetings. I like to go into my meetings prepared and thus really use the morning to get ready for that part of the day. They are often back to back with little break in between but it helps keep things moving and I’d rather protect consistent blocks of time in the morning vs spreading meetings out.

Evening: Evenings are heavily dependent on the day of the week. I try and keep 1 day a week for NYC days where I will often meet someone for a dinner or a later meeting, 1 night for a date night for my wife, 1 night where my wife is generally out and it’s me and the boys, 1 night for some volunteer work at my local church congregation where I get to do great activities with 14-15 year olds in a faith based environment and lastly 1 family night where we will often watch a movie or play a game together.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Top three qualities entrepreneurs should have are: patience, adaptability, and leadership.

Advice for entrepreneurs starting out:

Hire the best people possible. It’s cliché advice but it’s given for a reason — your team is the most important decision you make. From top to bottom, surround yourself with people that are motivated, intelligent, and versatile.

Define your brand’s voice and be consistent in every execution with it. This ties in with having an authentic brand, and it can be incredibly beneficial to have consistent and authentic messaging that people can relate to.

Customers crave authenticity. To every extent possible, it’s incredibly important to live your brand and to make it authentic and relatable. When you radiate authenticity, others pick up on that and will naturally gravitate towards your brand.

Don’t be afraid to go slow in the short-term so you can go fast in the long-term. Too often upstart brands come out hot without laying a solid foundation for what’s to come. It’s important to build a solid core before really looking to take off in new areas.

Get to know your customers. Spend some time with them in a physical environment and ask questions. Community feedback and relationships can be vital for an upstart brand looking to gain traction. Even with the utility and reach of online communication, there’s still no substitute for face-to-face interaction with your customers.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel and one question that was asked was, “If you could go back to your eighteen-year-old self and give one piece of advice, what would you say?” Someone on the panel shared his response and it’s something that really stuck with me. He said, “I would tell myself that there are weeds in your life and there are flowers in your life. Don’t spend your time watering the weeds. What we give life to, what we give water to, what we give air to, what we give focus to, is what grows.” So over the last few months I have reminded myself every time something hard happens that I need to focus on watering the flowers.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Honestly and not meaning to cop out here, I generally have not enjoyed conversations with famous people nearly as much as people I admire who are successful without a lot of the attention. I am drawn to great thinkers and builders. Right now, one CEO I admire is RJ Scaringe who founded Rivian and has built it into an incredible brand and company with meaning.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

One of my favorite quotes is the Rhone mantra of “Forever Forward.” We all make mistakes, take steps backward or get lost at various times in our life. And that is okay. It happens. But, if we just keep on focusing on moving forward and making progress in whatever we are pursuing, that gives life great meaning. Life isn’t like a road where you can be stationary--I’ve found it’s much more like an escalator and you are either moving forward or backward. It starts with focus and intention then a lot of work and self reflection. 

Who Is Your Role Model?

My parents are my role models. My mother is an incredibly giving human and she has always taught me how to be a more patient, caring being. My father was very successful in the workplace but was always a father first. He has never been afraid to show his emotions or lead by quiet example. I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful and inspirational parents that I admire and still learn from today.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

When I have free time, I generally love to spend it on activities with my kids. Recently we have really gotten into wakesurfing at a local lake. It’s become my favorite activity, getting in that water just refreshes me and it’s low impact but a lot of fun. It’s been great seeing my kids pick up a new skill that they can excel at.  

What Does Success Mean To You?

My parents often quoted the phrase “no success can compensate for failure in the home.” So as a husband and father of 3 that has to be the first priority for me. Raising my boys and helping them become the best they can is what will mean success for me. In addition to striving to be the best parent and spouse I can be-- I try to be all in on what I have committed to in my life. I love our team at Rhone and am committed to building a brand they are proud to work at and that our investors believe is a financial success. I am fortunate to serve as the Chairman of an incredible non profit called Beyond Type 1 which helps people globally who live with Diabetes --now both Type 1 and Type 2. And I am deeply committed to my faith and serving in my local congregation.

My hobbies tend to be focused on investing in and advising other consumer startups--that is really where I derive a lot of energy and excitement. With all of these commitments I admittedly don’t really relax well--I’ve never been someone who can sit on a beach or play several rounds of golf without getting anxious about productivity. I don’t necessarily wear that as a badge of honor--it’s just the way I’m wired. But for me, success means living a very full life, prioritizing my faith and family and positively impacting others lives through the building of great companies and brands.

 Nate Checketts’ Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, by Stephen Covey

2. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

3. Effortless, by Greg Mckeown

Health & Fitness:

1. Clean Simple Eats for Nutrition (the best clean protein powders and supplements in the market and incredible macro based recipes)

2. Oura Ring

3. Peloton Tread

4. Ladder Training

Brands:

1. I honestly wear 90% Rhone --we believe we can handle about 90% of a modern guys closet today.

2. For formal my go to is The Knot Standard

3. For footwear I wear Taft or Wolf & Shepherd for formal and York Athletics or Adidas for active

Products:

1. Clean Simple Eats Products

2. AirPods

3. Traeger Grill

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Daily by The NY Times

2. Against The Odds

3. Business Wars

4. What’s Essential by Greg Mckeown

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Charleston, South Carolina

2. Iceland

- What I Found
Munjal Shah | Health IQ

MUNJAL SHAH

Co-Founder & CEO of Health IQ, an insurance company that rewards health-conscious seniors with discounts and savings.

What Is Health IQ? Tell Us About What You Are Building And What Your Mission Is.

Health IQ is an insurance company for health-conscious seniors. We give special discounts in insurance for having taken care of their health. Our mission is to celebrate the people who have taken responsibility for their health with discounts and encourage them to continue to do so and, hopefully, inspire others to take care of their health as well.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Living in Silicon Valley in the '80s, it was in the water, so to speak.  I always knew I wanted to build companies growing up. I'm a serial entrepreneur and Health IQ is my third company.  It came out of a personal health crisis where after I sold my last company, I ended up with chest pains the very next day and wound up in the ER. After changing my own personal health and losing 40 pounds, I decided that what I really wanted to do was help the world get a little healthier and start a company to do so.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Health is a bit like playing cards. It's the cards you're dealt with but it's also how you play the cards. I think that’s the inspiration behind the company and we really wanted to separate the two.

You can't control the first, but you can control the second. At Health IQ when we built all these insurance products, we didn't want to build products that judge you on the part you can't control. We wanted to build products that gave you a discount on the part you can control. That in essence is Health IQ. That’s why the name is what it is. That's why it's not health.com or healthcare.com, but Health IQ because we're trying to emphasize the part that you can take control of, which is your own personal health knowledge.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

Some of the early days of starting a company are just magical; the parts where ideas are being born, pulling together the first few people, etc. are just magical experiences in the sense that you really feel like something is happening out of nothing. It is just a really special time in creating a company.

I think that as you scale a company – Health IQ is now approaching 900 people – there's a lot of not-so-fun stuff related to compliance, rules, and regulations that you have to follow and do well but, they’re aspects of running a company that certainly take up time without necessarily feeling like the reason you started the company in the first place.

As far as exciting moments, the day we launched our first product was really exciting. The day we sold our first policy was really exciting. The day we got to our first million dollars in sales was really exciting. All these firsts - the first time we opened our second office in San Diego. The first time we were a company that was in more than one location; when we opened a third and a fourth but that first office In Mountain View was really special. Our first company holiday party where I got to meet everybody and their spouses. I think some of the special firsts are times that you always remember.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Because I was a serial entrepreneur, the fundraising process was different. I had already sold a company and so it wasn't that hard to get funding. I was able to go to those who made money before to invest again so it was a different process than my first time when I raised money for my very first company where it was much more difficult. The second time and the third time, it got progressively easier and easier.

We used the money to build the product, write the software, launch new insurance products, build out the really big data that we needed to be able to price health conscious people. Then we also invested in both marketing and sales, because you need people to sell the product.

We brought in a very great group of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Folks like Andreesen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Foundation Capital and Ribbit Capital, and even added some folks that came with an insurance background like Acquiline Capital based in New York. The investors have not only provided us with capital, but really a lot of company building experience and company building resources that have helped us over the years.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Anything Exciting Launching Soon?

The company has grown dramatically over the last year from 200 to 900 people and, in turn, we have people in 39 states across the country. This has enabled us to go fully remote and take care of our employees.

In addition, we've gone from one product - life insurance to three products: life insurance, auto insurance and health insurance.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business And Operation? Have There Been Any Significant Changes Over The Last Few Months As Things Have Gotten Better Overall?

Two big changes with COVID. One, it really accelerated the business. We were 200 employees at the beginning of COVID and we’re around 900 employees today.

COVID helped everybody to realize that having the right insurance - health insurance and life insurance - is really important. It took a little extra push from the pandemic, I think, to remind everybody, and our sales have shown that response.

The second part was that I shifted our whole company to remote, and then hired 700 people so, in a way, we are now not only a remote company, we're remote first. Those 700 people we hired are in 39 states and couldn't bring everyone back into the offices if we wanted to. We would have to open probably 60-plus offices just to get an office within 30 miles of each person. It's worked well. Our employees are happier because they can work out in the mornings or they can work out at the end of the day because they're not driving in traffic. It’s not only something that's made the business better, it’s something that's made the life of our employees less stressful by not having to commute. So, we've decided to stay remote first.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I am a creature of habit. I'm a big believer that one of the keys to being healthy is to sleep enough. There's so much machismo around “oh, I got 3 hours of sleep, I must be a better entrepreneur than the one who got 5 hours sleep.” That's just absolutely not true.

The beauty of working from home is that I can literally get up at 7:30, get ready, showered, have eaten breakfast, and be at my desk by 8:00am. I'm in meetings every single minute of the day, pretty much from 8:00 until 5:00pm or so. Then I rush out the door and go on a bike ride. It's my main form of exercise and I love it. I do it probably about 4 weekdays out of the 5 as I usually have some special function on Fridays. It’s about 5:15pm when I am out the door and I’ll bike until about 7:00pm racing to get home before sunset to eat dinner with the kids from 7:00 to 8:00pm. Then I'm back on my laptop working until 10:00 or 11:00 at night and usually in bed by 11:00 or midnight to do it all again at 7:30am the next day. I will usually work 4+ hours over the weekend.

Another tip - I use my calendar for everything In terms of just staying productive, including my cycling time. It’s all just a little harder when you're on Zoom from 8:00 to 5:00pm nearly every single minute of the day.

It is a little challenging, especially in the afternoons. You feel like, oh, my gosh, I wanna take a nap or something. I have found that just moving around a little bit, like taking a Zoom in the backyard on the patio. Just the fresh air and the change of scenery helps quite a bit. If it's just a one on one phone call with somebody you already know, go for a walk while you're on the call around the neighborhood.

So there's things like that that I use, just to keep the blood pumping and the energy going. Doing those things really do help, although there are no perfect solutions to Zoom fatigue.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

You must be determined - that's a very important characteristic.

I was recently on the board of a company - I had been on that board for 10 years. I helped the CEO start the company and brainstormed the idea 10 years ago. I actually worked for this man and he taught me a lot so when he started his third company and he asked me to help, I was happy to do so. The first idea didn’t quite work and he found a second idea. Then for a number of years, there were various complications where it came to a halt and he had to reinvent the idea again. He just sold the company for a good exit for himself and his co-founders and his investors, but it took 10 years. It took him twisting and fine tuning the company numerous little times, and two major times.

The other quality you must have is to be multidimensional. You can't be a “one-trick pony”. You have to be well rounded and know a little bit about everything to be a great entrepreneur; a little bit about marketing, a little bit about sales, a little about engineering. If you don't, you can't successfully hire somebody and be able to tell if they're good at that function. You have to be a bit of a renaissance person in the sense that you don't have to be an expert at any one of these things, but you do have to be well rounded in many of them.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

When somebody insists that they are something, and they say it three times to me. For example, someone saying “Munjal, I just want you to know I'm a straight shooter.” and say it again, “Munjal, you know, I'm a straight shooter,” and they say it a third time, I'm like, hmm, the only thing I know for sure is that you're not a straight shooter, but you're trying to convince me. In fact, you're really trying to convince yourself. I listen a lot to what I call the insistence rule. When someone insists on something over and over again, it is a sign that it probably isn’t true.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Any of the world’s great comedians. I find that there are so many things better said with a little comedy. I once spent a summer at Second City in Chicago learning improv. Let’s just say the teacher told me not to quit my day job, but I loved it nonetheless. It made me a better leader, communicator, and maybe even person. Seeing the lighter side of life is a gift not only for yourself but one you can bestow on a team with a simple comment at a stressful time. Comedians have a kind of genius that so many of us would benefit from.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

I love this quote from Winston Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

This quote resonates with me because there's always another chapter. When you think you're done, it turns out you are just at the precipice of something new. I think that there’s so many paths in life. One door opens, one door closes, and another door opens that you thought was gone. When I sold my company to Google, I thought I had reached this kind of financial milestone and end goal that every entrepreneur strives for. But it was not the end at all and another door opened. As I always say, I didn't find my mission, my mission found me.

Who is Your Role Model?

Honestly, I really love what Elon Musk does; the grandeur of his ideas. All these guys are like I'm gonna spend my life building this thing. And he's like, “I'm gonna save mankind from its own environmental disaster, two different ways.” He’s creating a Plan B and getting us out of dodge if we have to get out of dodge and go to Mars.

I really admire Elon, but not for the obvious stuff, it's because he is tackling big problems and isn’t just building some silly, little app or “thing”. He's tackling the problems of climate change with electric cars and the problems of if we don't solve climate change, how we're going to want to survive as a civilization - and we may need to go to another planet to do that. These are worthwhile ambitious grand visions that honestly, most entrepreneurs are too scared to have a vision that big.

Unfortunately, the lean startup model encourages the opposite of those big visions. They're, like, well, if you can't build X with 200K to get some traction, you're not worth your salt as an entrepreneur. And it's, like, well, okay, I'm pretty sure you can't get a car out with 200K or can't build a rocket with 200K. You need a lot of capital to launch companies like that; to even undertake such opportunities and so I think that's what makes him tick and very unique.

What Does Success Mean To You?

What we really want at Health IQ is to make an impact on the world. That's why I'm doing this. For me, making more money is not the answer. What will make Health IQ a success is actually improving lives and making people healthier.

 Munjal Shah’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. Eating on the Wild Side

2. Open by Andre Agassi

3. The Emperor of All Maladies

Health & Fitness:

1. Zwift - an indoor cycling training app

2. Tonal - weight lifting machine with electro-magnets

3. The Garmin Radar

Brands:

1. Assos - cycling

2. Rapha - cycling

3. Skins - compression workout clothes

- What I Found
Matt Mullenax | Huron
Matt Headshot.jpg

MATT MULLENAX

Founder & CEO of Huron, a modern-day skin care brand for men.

What Is Huron? Tell Us About Your Brand And What Makes Your Products Unique.

Huron is a men’s care brand whose mission is to help guys help themselves. We’ve created the intersection of premium products and a relatable vibe. All of our competitors from a product and formulation perspective charge anywhere between 3-10x our price points. Our goal is to pass as much value -- cost savings, education, etc -- to our end customer as possible.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space. huron-home-body.jpg

My career has been in the consumer/retail space. I started my career in investment banking covering retail and consumer brands. From banking, I left to join Bonobos in the company’s infancy (6 employees), which was one of the earliest DTC brands (although ‘DTC’ did not yet exist). After Bonobos, I spent time on the investing side at a consumer PE firm.

In my investing role, we looked at so many brands targeting the female consumer and disrupting the category. Amazing product/packaging, compelling founder stories and brilliant management teams. But in my late-20s, I was still going to CVS/Walgreens and buying the exact same products that I had been using for 15-20 years. There was a massive disconnect.

Aside from the professional interest, I was also a kid that grew up with bad skin. I tried everything. I threw the kitchen sink at my skin issues. From wandering the aisles of grocery stores to sitting in sterile dermatologist offices, nothing seemed to work. I finally splurged and purchased a ‘premium’ face wash and for whatever reason, the product resonated with my skin. But I didn’t know anyone who’d a) pay that price point consistently; or b) want to go through that discovery process. So, we set out to build a brand that offers a similar level of product quality and efficacy using the world’s best ingredients, but at a much more approachable price point.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Huron was the street that I lived on in Chicago when my skin issues were at their worst. I wake up every morning with an intimate understanding of the consumer that we’re fighting for. Because I was that guy 10 years ago.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

We operate as a small team of 4. So, there are a number of administrative tasks that we tackle on a weekly/monthly basis that aren’t the most intellectually stimulating. For me, that’s accounting-related tasks, taxes, etc.

Diving into consumer insights has been one of my favorite aspects. Understanding what makes our existing (and potential) customers tick, what problems they’re solving, and what they’re looking for in a personal care brand are data points that we’re maniacal in collecting. So digging into the data to understand how we can position and differentiate ourselves in the category is one of my favorite parts of the journey thus far.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We’ve been fortunate to raise capital from ‘operational-angels’ and funds who have operational experience. We wanted an investor base that consists of ex-operators who have navigated the DTC and consumer landscape, who can help us think through strategic initiatives but also more tactical exercises (hiring, retail, marketing, etc.).

huron-about-02_2048x2048.jpg With So Many DTC Brands Out There In The Same Space, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You Use To Build Brand Awareness And Acquire Customers? Also, Do You See Huron Launching Products In Other Categories In The Near Future?

We think holistically about our base and where they would (and would not) like to see us. We’re constantly testing new platforms and acquisition channels.

In regards to product pipeline, we will continue to launch products that we know our customers want. This intel comes from anecdotal data points (surveys) but also an intuitive conviction around certain products. Our aim is to help our consumer across the bathroom, so a number of products and product categories are in-play for us.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

Consumers are much more comfortable (and now attune to) ordering products online. E-commerce will continue to grow and scale as a % of industry-wide sales. However, Amazon has conditioned -- for better or for worse -- consumers to expect 2-day shipping. So fast turnarounds, reliable supply chains, and strong fulfillment partnerships will only grow in importance moving forward.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I’m very much a morning person. My alarm is set for 4:30am every weekday, but I’m usually up beforehand. I’ll eat a small snack, have a bit of coffee and do some work for 30-45 min before either running or going to the gym. My wife and I make breakfast together every morning around 7:45am and then we start our respective days.

We’ve been WFH since March of 2020, but have started going back a few days per week to a WeWork. Typically I’ll work until 7pm or so, break for dinner with my wife, and then address some email afterwards.

After, we’ll watch whatever show we’re into and try to be in bed before 11pm or so.

I’m a data nerd, clearly, so I leverage my Whoop to lean on sleep stats.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out? huron_pdp_jumbo-shampoo_2.jpg

Constant optimist. Believe in the mission. Set the tone for your team that you’re building something special. Something that is going to work. As a founder/co-founder, the team is looking to you for that confidence and conviction.

Adhere to the golden ratio. I once heard a business leader refer to the ‘golden ratio’ - the fact that we all have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. Internalize the perspectives and voice of your team. What’s working? What’s causing friction and frustrations? Give your team an opportunity to voice how they’re feeling and what challenges they’re facing.

Know your limitations. We’re all guilty of trying to do everything. But it’s impossible. Even at an early-stage, you must figure out how and when to delegate. What are your strong suits that you can lean on? What are areas that are not strengths and would be too costly and/or timely to develop (e.g. Facebook media buying experience, supply chain management, etc.). Execute on the former and delegate the latter.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I have a professional mentor who was a high-ranking senior officer in the Navy SEALs. When asked why are the SEALs so successful in their operations, he simply said ‘we don’t pick a fair fight.’

Extrapolated to the startup realm, it’s important to understand where your advantages are and how to leverage them at scale. Is it an organic marketing channel? Is it an important supplier relationship? Is it a retail partnership? Understanding your points of differentiation is imperative to separating from your competition.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Elon Musk. He’s ‘bet the house’ on his own ventures multiple times. It would be fun to learn about how to channel this ‘irrational optimism’ and building at rapid scale.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

This is my favorite time of the year. I’m a huge college football fan. Being from Ohio, Ohio State is my team. My Saturdays revolve around when they play. It’s a nice 3 hour mental break.

My wife and I have also been running together. We’re running the New York City marathon in a few weeks, so it’s been fun to train together and embrace a new challenge.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Building a brand that is customer-first and executes on our vision to be a helpful hand to our consumers.

 Matt Mullenax’s Favorites Stack:

61wC4Zrvi9S.jpg

Books:

1. The Power of Habit

2. Shoe Dog

3. Billion Dollar Loser

Health & Fitness:

1. CrossFit (I go to CrossFit Union Square in NYC)

2. Running

3. Garmin / Whoop

Brands:

1. Nike

2. TenThousand / Wolaco

3. Hoka One

Products:

1. Wandering Bear Cold Brew and Jot

2. Ascent Protein (Chocolate PB)

3. LMNT (hydration) 

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. 2pm

2. Morning Brew

3. All-In Podcast

- What I Found
Marc Friedman | Cadalys
cadalys.png

MARC FRIEDMAN

Founder & CEO of Cadalys, a company that works with the newest leading-edge Salesforce® technology to deliver superior solutions to its customers and clients.

What Is Cadalys? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

Cadalys builds world-class enterprise business applications that extend the capabilities of Salesforce. The analogy in the personal computing world would be making the best apps for iPhones and Androids. We work closely with the Salesforce product teams and their customers to understand strategic opportunities to expand Salesforce’s capabilities and then build those solutions. We jointly go to market with Salesforce to deliver best-of-breed mission-critical solutions for our customers.

CareIQ is our suite for the healthcare industry. We provide best-of-breed workflows that use world-class evidence-based guidelines to achieve superior experiences and outcomes for payers, providers, patients and the pharmaceutical industry. We automate previously manual processes, which means these superior outcomes happen faster and more efficiently than otherwise possible. The CareIQ suite focuses on Utilization Management, Care Management, Triage, Pop Health, Social Determinants of Health and Member/Patient Engagement.

EngageIQ is a unified platform that enables our customers to engage more effectively and profitably with their employees, customers and partners. The Cadalys Service Management™ solution provides best-of-breed ITIL processes for ITSM and enterprise service management. Cadalys Concierge™ is a next-generation help center for self-service, ticketing and knowledge management. All Aboard™ provides best practices for onboarding, reboarding, transferring and offboarding. Collectively these three solutions provide a superior experience for employees, customers and partners. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I have a dual MBA in business and IT, which is a perfect foundation for this line of work. I was working at Salesforce and liaising with partners. I quickly found that I didn’t think any of the partners at the time were as good as I expected them to be. I formed Cadalys to raise the bar for what it means to be a partner with Salesforce. Today we work with a carefully curated set of Salesforce partners who have consistently demonstrated the same commitment to excellence in all they do.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name? Cadalys-Circle-edits.png

It came from a Greek word that can be translated as “enabling performance that would otherwise not be possible.” This is the way we think about our software and our customers. Our customers are achieving things with their employees, their customers and their partners that they simply would not be able to without our software. It’s a powerful and tremendously satisfying way of thinking about the work we do every day.

For example, we just won the 2021 Salesforce ISV Partner Innovation Award for Healthcare & Life Sciences, beating out hundreds of other solutions. Salesforce and IDC team to award these to Salesforce partners for outstanding innovation of transformative solutions that deliver customer success. We won because our CareIQ suite provides the innovation and transformation that enables our customers to perform at a level that is only possible with our software.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite is far and away the team that we have assembled here at Cadalys. When we win a new strategic client after beating out larger companies that have been around longer, when I see the ideas for our applications that our team has conceived and put into action, and when I receive unsolicited emails from customers telling me how much the team has transformed their business—those are always my favorite.

As for my least-liked part of the entrepreneurial journey, early on, someone whose entrepreneurial journey I respect a great deal told me, “Even when you hate it, you love it.” I definitely agree with that sentiment. If I had to pick one thing, it would be the lack of work-life balance that is typical with entrepreneurs. I don’t think it would ever be possible for me to have an empty To-Do list because there is always something more I can do for Cadalys to help move the ball forward. That’s both the pro and the con of being passionate about a company that is rapidly growing. I hear people say, “Nobody looks back on their life and wishes they would have worked more.” Well, plenty of people do look back on their life wishing they would have played a hand, or thrown their hat in the ring, or taken that one chance to build something and make a difference. So, having taken this journey, I fortunately won’t find myself looking back on my life having not taken the entrepreneurial journey and wondering what might have happened if I had.

The most challenging and exciting moments for Cadalys have been when we win a new customer by beating out competitors that are larger, more established and that have more resources than us. It’s proof of our superior team and products and is a fantastic validation of the work we are doing.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We have been patient and focused on securing strategic investors as opposed to just funding sources. Additionally, we present a realistic data-based forecast that resonates with investors.

Our investors have been fantastic all around. They took the time to understand our business, our unfair advantages and the unique position that we are in. Our lead investor is on the Forbes Midas List and is exploring a joint venture with us in addition to their investment—it’s a huge validation for us. We’ve used the funds for two primary purposes. The first is to expand our sales team to keep up with demand. We get a lot of inbound deal flow, and this has enabled us to take full advantage. The second primary use of our funds has been R&D. We have a lot of powerful features and value drivers in our roadmap, and the expanded team is enabling us to bring these to life faster. This is helping us exploit our unfair advantages and rapidly capture market share.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

I remember someone once saying, “A players hire B players, and B players hire C players,” and was immediately struck by how that is a sure way to sink a business. I’ve made sure to hire leadership who is better at their jobs than I am, and this has been one of the biggest drivers behind the speed of our growth.

cadalys team.JPG

Our CFO is a former serial CEO with four successful exits under their belt as CEO. They bring a logical, factual, pragmatic, and data-based objectivity to our C-suite. There are a lot of mistakes that we didn’t make because of the experience brought from four successful scale-to-exits and because the data-based objectivity prevents us from making decisions based solely on passion and optimism.

Our CRO, in addition to their prior experience as a CRO, is a former CEO and former COO. Most recently, they were leveraging this rich experience providing guidance and strategic planning to startups and growth-stage companies on how to scale fast to a successful exit. They’d been looking for an opportunity to throw their hat back into the ring at a company with phenomenal potential, and we are honored to have been chosen over the many other alternatives. What they bring to the C-suite is an uncanny ability to think in detail several steps ahead, a methodical approach to revenue generation and an infectious drive for success and constant improvement that has permeated the corporate culture.

Our CTO is the most intelligent sponge I have ever met. You can point them at anything, and they will grok it before you can Google “grok.” Importantly, this applies equally to both business and technology. This dual aptitude enables the ability to truly understand the business challenges our software is solving and how to envision world-class solutions that are both an innovative business solution and a scalable technical solution. It creates a vastly superior result. Our CTO is a visionary but also a healthy skeptic, and this complements the optimism and passion by helping the C-suite look at all possibilities. You can’t plan for the worst-case scenario if you can’t think of the worst-case scenario, and this healthy skepticism helps us make superior strategic decisions and superior software.

Anything Exciting Launching At Cadalys In The Near Future?

Yes. Stay tuned.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Cadalys?

It has really struck me how important it is to have a variety of different personalities and ways of thinking as opposed to a company full of clones. The latter is easier—it’s easy to work with people who all think just like you. However, different personalities = different ways of thinking and different viewpoints = more ways of approaching a challenge or a strategy = more opportunities for success. It can sometimes be more challenging to work with people who don’t always think like you and therefore challenge you, and the benefits in the form of additional viewpoints and approaches are totally worth it. No one person ever has all the answers and having varied personalities and varied ways of thinking create a synergy that would never be possible with a room full of clones.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year- Especially On The Healthcare Side Of Things? Were There Any Major Adjustments Or Pivots You Had To Make Due To The Pandemic? cadalys care iq.JPG

Our CareIQ suite and EngageIQ suite enable our customers to perform more effectively in a COVID-19 world. Our team was already mostly remote—working in cloud computing means we can hire the best people wherever they may be and not need to consider their proximity to a physical office. Internally and operationally, the only material change we made in response to COVID-19 was that we had a hold on travel until the vaccines were available.

We updated the marketing and positioning for both suites to help customers understand the many ways in which our solutions help companies in all stages of a pandemic. COVID-19 has put an additional strain on healthcare companies, and we help them operate more efficiently. EngageIQ helps companies more effectively manage a remote workforce and the additional IT assets required to support them, provide faster access to better information which is important across the entire enterprise, and “reboard” employees, customers and partners with new policies and procedures related to COVID responses.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

Our enterprise application suites focus on two areas, and as a result, we have insight into both. In both cases, the change is definitive and already underway, and adaptation will be critical for the survival of businesses.

Specifically, the healthcare industry will need to operate more efficiently. For Payers, this means getting approvals/denials correct the first time, rapidly assessing Appeals and Grievances and responding accurately, and using technology to enable Population Health and Social Determinants of Health in ways that improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. For Providers, this means using evidence-based guidelines to automate approvals, to reduce readmissions, to more accurately triage patients and to similarly achieve better outcomes. For Pharma, this means bringing new medicines to life faster and at a lower cost. And all of these are true whether you’re talking about something related to COVID or something else. Payers, Providers and Pharma are going to have these efficiency pressures across the board due to the impact that COVID will have on their business.

Across industries, the post-COVID theme can be summed up as “faster access to better information.” There are many facets of this, and I’ll give a few as examples. First is one directly related to COVID, which is quickly educating and informing employees, customers and partners about policies and procedures that may impact them. Perhaps it’s onboarding a global employee base with a new set of in-office work guidelines. Perhaps it’s ensuring customers and partners understand what is expected of them in response to a new CDC or WHO bulletin. Health and safety will remain at the forefront of people’s minds more so than ever.

With the permanent increase in people working remotely, companies have additional IT infrastructure, hardware and software that needs to be carefully monitored and managed. Failure to do so will mean increased costs from unplanned downtime, from excess software and hardware inventory and from excessive support costs.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I wake up between 6:30 and 7 am and play with my toddler daughter until 8 am. I have just started to successfully resist the entrepreneur’s urge to wake up and immediately respond to emails first thing because doing so trains your brain to be reactive rather than proactive. I’ll of course make an exception if I know I’m going to be needed for something strategic.

At 8 am, my daughter and I wake up my wife, and the three of us will play together for a bit. I then head down to my home office and respond to urgent emails. The specific morning and afternoon tasks may vary but usually involve preparing for and running our weekly internal All-Hands company call, having a weekly 1:1 with a direct report, joining strategy discussions with partners, or applying my focus to whatever Cadalys needs at the time.

I take an hour’s break mid-day to spend time with the family. I block off times in my calendar specifically to check and respond to email rather than leaving my Inbox open where every new email popping in could be a potential distraction. I will also block off time in my calendar to work on specific strategic initiatives so that I can work uninterrupted during that time.

I’ll usually take another family break around 6 pm or 7 pm, then wrap up work until around 10 pm when I give my daughter her “dream feed,” and then I go to bed.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out? unsplash-image-mcSDtbWXUZU.jpg

Top three qualities:

Data-Driven: It’s natural for humans to be passionate about their work, and even more so with entrepreneurs. This passion can have a disproportionate influence on one’s “gut feel,” and I’ve seen many entrepreneurs fail because their gut was sending them in the wrong direction. It’s important to incorporate cold hard facts into decision-making. We’ve thankfully made some changes in direction along the way based on data-driven analyses, even though it seemed counterintuitive at the time.

Excellence in Delivery: If you treat every meeting, every presentation, every customer interaction and every new feature in your product like it’s critical to the success of your company, the excellence that you deliver will open more doors than you can imagine. The vast majority of Cadalys’ success has been a result of being in the metaphorical right place at the right time. I say “metaphorical” because, like my dad (a successful entrepreneur himself) often says, “You make your own luck.” Meaning, if you continue to produce amazing results, then you’ll mysteriously find yourself in the right place at the right time much more often. When Cadalys was formed, it wasn’t to build best-of-breed Health and Life Sciences solutions, and it wasn’t to build best-of-breed engagement solutions. We arrived at those, however, because we had a long track record of professionalism, exceptional quality of work and a passion for the success of our customers. As a result of that reputation, we were approached by partners and visionaries who helped us shape the ideas for our suites of solutions. We have built our business around ideas, open doors, opportunities and alliances that we would never have encountered by doing work that was only “good.”

Being a Human Weeble: There will be failures. You will make mistakes. You will feel like your career and your company are doomed. You will have other setbacks that you can’t even imagine right now. Weebles always get back up no matter how many times they get knocked down, and that is a trait that you will need to be a successful entrepreneur.

Advice for those just starting out: Entrepreneurs must also be optimists. Optimism is a great thing, and it also naturally makes people overestimate things. For example, optimists are more likely to be late because they believe they can get ready to leave the house faster or that they can do work faster or that traffic won’t be as bad, etc. Optimism tends to make entrepreneurs who are just starting out think their cash will last longer than it will, that they will land more customers faster than they will, that unplanned expenses will be smaller than they will, etc. When you are just starting out and doing your initial financial planning, force yourself to consider a worst-case scenario and factor that into your planning. Optimism is a trait with many benefits that will help you make amazing things happen, and it also can lead to dangerous overestimating.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

A good friend of mine used to work at a travel agency. One morning she got a frantic call from an irate customer screaming about how the taxi wasn’t there yet to take them to the airport, and they were going to be late for their flight. My friend was understandably confused about why this customer was calling the travel agency about this and was trying to politely help the customer. The customer screamed, “I GOT THE ITINERARY FROM YOU, AND IT SAYS THE TAXI IS INCLUDED.” My friend thought for a moment and asked, “Do you mean where it says ‘taxes included’?” Long pause...customer hangs up.

The important lesson is that something might not be your fault but might still be your problem. In no way was this the travel agency’s fault, but I guarantee that irate customer immediately swore they would never use that agency again.

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Let’s say someone is trying to use a real-time traffic app on their iPhone or Android, but they forgot they turned off the GPS feature on their phone. The traffic app won’t work. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with the traffic app, but it might look that way to the customer. It's not the traffic app’s fault that the customer forgot they turned off the GPS, but when that person concludes that the traffic app is unreliable and doesn’t work, it is the traffic app’s problem. We’ve infused this lesson into Cadalys in many ways. For example, the latest release of our software makes 160 different checks for things a system administrator might have done wrong that would affect our software. Again, not our fault if the administrator makes a mistake outside of our software, but it is our problem if that mistake makes them think our software isn’t working properly. If the software detects one of the 160 mistakes, it informs the system administrator and shows them how to correct it. This new feature of our software not only reduces tickets logged with our Customer Support Center, but it also helps improve the perception of our software. Once the system administrator realizes something was, in fact, their fault, then it is no longer our problem—it doesn’t inadvertently reflect negatively on our software.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Nobel Prize for Chemistry winners Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. I think a discussion with them about their development of the CRISPR genome editing method, the many implications for better crops and the fight against disease, as well as the many ethical facets, would be a fascinating and enlightening hour.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

It’s a quote by Walter Scott: “One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.” It resonates with me for reasons I mentioned earlier about looking back on your life and feeling like you really lived it. In the current season of my life, that means rapidly growing Cadalys by providing game-changing software and enabling our customers to achieve things they could otherwise never achieve.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

A young boy, who had recently lost his left arm in a car accident, decided to study Judo. After months and months of studying, his instructor was still teaching him the same one move. The boy asked his instructor, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” The instructor replied, “This is the only move you need to know.”

After several more months, the instructor took the boy to compete in his first tournament. The boy surprised himself by easily winning the first two matches. The third match was a more difficult opponent. The opponent charged, but the boy used his one move and beat the opponent. This brought the boy to the finals.

The opponent at the final match was bigger, stronger and more experienced. It seemed certain that the boy was outmatched. However, as the match started, the boy used his one move and won the match and the tournament!

On the way home, the boy asked his instructor how he could have won the tournament with only one move when he was competing against opponents who were bigger, stronger and more experienced. The instructor replied, “You won for two reasons. First, you have been working on mastering one of the most difficult moves in Judo. Second, the only known defense against that move is for the opponent to grab the practitioner’s left arm.”

The parable teaches that what some people might label a weakness might not be a weakness at all but a strength. At Cadalys, when we are up against competitors, we know how they are going to position themselves. We know what they are going to tout as their strengths, and we have a good idea of the ways in which they are going to paint us as having weaknesses. Then, thinking about the specific customer and their business needs, we decide how to use the competitors’ strengths against them as weaknesses and how we are going to position our (mis)perceived weaknesses as strengths.

Who Is Your Role Model?

My dad. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he has an uncanny ability to distill a situation into its core components and then communicate to people on their level and in their view of the world. This gives him a next-level ability to break through obstacles and get people on board with an idea. I bounce a lot of things off of him.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Spend time with my family. I don’t have a lot of free time given the speed of our growth and all it entails, and I try to spend as much time with my family as possible.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Every time I get an email from a customer thanking us for helping them transform their business, that is when I have a tremendous feeling of success. Same when an employee describes how they’ve never before had the opportunity to work with such a driven and passionate team—that is another time when I have a tremendous feeling of success.

 Marc Friedman’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss

2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

3. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day, by Andy Puddicombe

Health & Fitness:

1. TKO urethane hex dumbbells

2. POM

3. Headspace

Products:

1. DoorDash

2. Salesforce

3. what3words

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Pocket

2. The Economist

3. Ars Technica

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Australia/New Zealand

2. Thailand

3. The North Pole

- What I Found
Will Young | Sana
young-will CEO of Sana benefits

WILL YOUNG

CEO & Co-Founder of Sana, a full-stack health insurance solution for small businesses.

What Is Sana? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

Sana is a full-stack health insurance solution for small businesses. Sana customers save an average of 20% on healthcare costs while offering their employees rich benefits and access to premium virtual-first care options. There’s a lot under the hood we do to make it work, but it starts with an obsession with patients getting great care at low cost, and it turns out there are a lot of ways to make our health system work better.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, and I looked up to them. I loved the idea of creating something new that could benefit society and building a company that people loved to work at. My Co-Founder Nathan Hackley and I came up with the idea for Sana while we were at Justworks, the payroll and benefits company we were at previously. We saw how broken and expensive health insurance was for businesses. It felt like a big opportunity. 

Neither Nathan nor I come from healthcare backgrounds. Across my career, I’ve worked in Hollywood, in big tech, and in startups. Nathan is a software engineer and designer. Being new to the industry was actually a big advantage for us. When a system is as broken as US healthcare, it can be really helpful to start with a blank slate and work on solutions from first principles. That’s how we started Sana and continue to think about problem-solving today.

sana benefits will young ceo.jpg What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The best part of starting a business is the people—getting to work with a small group of talented, mission-driven people to build something new. I’m so proud of the team we have, and I enjoy working with them immensely. It’s energizing. The flipside of that is that at times we’ve hired people who aren’t a fit, and we’ve had to let them go. Managing the cases that don’t work out is the worst part of being an entrepreneur. We invest a lot in our interviewing process to mitigate that risk.

It was so challenging to get our first customer. I understood why prospects were reluctant to try Sana: Who wants to be the guinea pig for a new health insurance product? It took us a year and a half of grinding and selling before we got someone to say yes. We only had so much cash in the bank, and every month the funds depleted a little more. I had so much anxiety about it. If we didn’t land a customer, the business could have died before it even had a chance. That was the hardest phase for Sana. Landing that first customer was the most exciting moment because it marked our transition into having actual operations and things started to snowball from there.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Fundraising was very hard at the beginning. We raised angel capital fairly quickly, but institutions balked initially. We have a complicated product that spans insurance, healthcare and small business sales and most VCs were overwhelmed with the complexity of it. Nearly everyone we talked with said we were “too early” for them—even some pre-seed firms, which is hilarious. I quickly learned that “too early” was code for “I’m never going to invest.” After kissing a lot of frogs, we got lucky and found a strategic partner from the world of insurance who understood our vision (Greenlight Re) and then found a couple of VCs who didn’t mind taking bets on complicated models (Gigafund and Trust Ventures). They gave us the capital we needed to prove out the business.

Now, fundraising is easier. We have fast growth and happy customers, and it’s more about optimizing for partners and terms instead of an existential concern like it was in the early days. 

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

Nathan Hackley is my Co-Founder. He is excellent at many things that I am not—engineering, design, product management. More generally, he has a rare ability to understand what customers need and translate that into a technical system that delivers the solution. I am much stronger at the business stuff - finance, partnerships, growth, etc. Our skills are different, but we are very aligned on how we want to build Sana. We see eye to eye on mission and values. I trust his judgment implicitly. We both enjoy being non-conformist, which makes working together fun and probably makes us better founders. We were really lucky to join forces at the inception of Sana. We built a lot of great foundational stuff very quickly with just the two of us because we had a very clear understanding of where we were going, divided work into our separate lanes and just sprinted in parallel. 

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year?

Sana operates health plans for our customers, so COVID was top of mind for us more than typical firms. Our member advocates and website are the front doors to care for many of our members, so we tried to help people in need as much as possible. We promoted telemedicine when people were scared to do in-person visits, promoted vaccine availability where possible and made free mental health visits available to members as the pandemic dragged on. 

Inside of Sana, we have always been a remote-first company. In that way, switching to “work from home” wasn’t much of a challenge. In fact, Nathan and I feel like many of our views on distributed work have been validated as companies test it out and find it can be really great for a lot of people.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

The silver lining of COVID is that it has laid bare so many issues with our healthcare delivery system and has prompted healthy responses from regulators. Coming out of COVID, I hope we see more sustained adoption of telemedicine, a relaxation of licensing restrictions for practicing medicine cross-borders, more regulations to promote hospital price transparency, and increased support for marginalized groups that are typically underinsured. 

startup sana benefits interview.JPG How Does Sana Stand Out From The Other Modernized Insurance Companies Out There? What Would You Say Is Your Core Competency?

Our core competency is a cultural one. We actually care about your experience with healthcare, and we are trying to make it cheaper and better. The incumbent carriers really don’t care about that stuff. They are too stuck in their ways, and their incentives are perverse in a myriad of ways.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule.

I have a year-old daughter who is my alarm clock at 6:30 in the morning. I get to start every day playing with a little baby in pajamas, which I love, even though I am not a morning person. After that, I get ready for work and try to keep the first hour or two of my workday free to think and prioritize. I have a note-taking app, and I keep a daily journal where I lay out my priorities and log what I’m thinking about and whether I’m doing a good job of taking care of myself mentally and physically. That way, I start each day intentionally. The rest of my day is mostly meetings and replying to emails, sadly. It’s not very glamorous. Part of me misses the early days at Sana of focused, quiet work, where I was helping to build the products directly. My job now is mostly coordination between internal stakeholders and talking with investors or strategic partners, so meetings are the name of the game. I don’t work too late most days, maybe to 5 or 6. After work, I try to make time to work out, but I could be better about that. Most nights, I’m good at unplugging for a quiet dinner with my wife and daughter before doing our baby’s bedtime routine. 

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

You really only need one: extreme drive. If you have that, you can figure everything else out. Being a great entrepreneur isn’t rocket science. It is, however, extremely hard. Firing people is hard. Hearing “no” a thousand times from investors and customers is hard. Losing early customers is hard. Entrepreneurship is “Eating glass while staring into the abyss,” as Elon Musk says. You need to have something abnormal under the hood pushing you to persevere. 

My advice for early entrepreneurs, if you’re serious, is to start. Now. Quit your job. Pitch the idea to investors. Start hearing “no.” Stop making excuses. You’ll likely fail, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone, but the only way to know for sure whether it’s for you is to try it.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

In the early days of Sana, I pitched our business idea to a number of “important” people in the industry. In one week, I pitched the CEO of a prominent insurance carrier, and later I pitched the president of an industry association we were joining. Both of those people told me Sana was a terrible idea and I shouldn’t pursue it. I felt so deflated after each call. These were people who had worked in the industry for decades and knew the business inside and out. It was hard for me as a small beans startup founder with no customers to get a meeting with them. I finally got the call set, gave them my best pitch, and they were so dismissive of all these innovative approaches I thought would work. Those conversations shook me and had me revisit all of my assumptions for the business to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time and our angel investors’ money. Ultimately I disagreed with their assessments and continued to pursue the idea.

It’s pretty clear to me now that those guys were full of it. Dead wrong. Didn’t know what they were talking about.

I take a few lessons away from those calls:

First, is that you need to build conviction in your idea from first principles, not from what conventional wisdom says. Trust your own perspective and logic.

Second, is that people who have been in an industry for decades are going to be resistant to change, even if that change makes sense. So don’t sweat it if they don’t see the world as you do.

Third, is that if your business makes sense, but industry veterans think it’s a bad idea, that’s actually something that should make you really excited.

Being contrarian and right is the only way to really outperform as an entrepreneur, and important people telling you your baby is ugly is a symptom of being onto something exciting.

sana benefits plans insurance.JPG If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m really interested in biotech and the science behind increasing healthspan. I think the next several decades will bring some really exciting changes to our ability to program our bodies and conquer diseases. We already are seeing that in a small way with the mRNA COVID vaccines that were synthesized days after sequencing the virus’ genome. So I might meet with a scientist like Jennifer Doudna or Shinya Yamanaka, though I’d probably make a fool of myself because I’m such a novice in that domain. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Mostly I hang out with my wife and daughter. I used to read a lot and road bike, but being a Dad really sucks up a lot of free time. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

My favorite business school professor was a guy named Clay Christensen, who sadly passed away last year. He’s famous for coining the term “disruptive innovation,” and his books and class were hugely influential on how I approach company-building. In addition to his books on business, he wrote a book called “How Will You Measure Your Life” that contemplates what it means to live a meaningful life. My main takeaway from it is that success in life is ultimately about how well you cultivate relationships. When I’m at the end of my life, I hope the people around me feel like I’ve made their lives better. To accomplish that, I prioritize spending meaningful, focused time with my family above everything else. With Sana, I care about creating a work environment that people find empowering and inspiring. Ultimately I hope we build a business that makes the world a better place.

 Will Young’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. The Innovators Dilemma (business)

2. Foundation Trilogy (Sci-Fi)

3. The Three Body Problem (More Sci-Fi. I like Sci-Fi, obviously)

Health & Fitness:

1. Garage gym. Lifting heavy weights is the best.

2. Zero - intermittent fasting app

3. Peloton (basic, I know)

Brands:

1. Chubbies (proud Sana customer!)

2. State Bags backpack for work stuff. It’s awesome.

Products:

1. Standing desk from Uplift

2. Cold brew coffee every morning

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

Bali. My wife and I were supposed to go for our honeymoon in 2020 but had to cancel. Someday we will actually do it.

- What I Found
Libie Motchan & Daniel Nelson | Fulton
FultonFounders.jpg

LIBIE MOTCHAN & DANIEL NELSON

Co-Founders of Fulton, a startup that offers sustainable footwear insoles with customized arch support and superior comfort.

What Is Fulton? Tell Us About Your Product and Brand.

Fulton is the modern brand of arch support. Fulton produces comfortable, sustainable, and supportive insoles. We know that full body alignment starts with your feet, and hope to educate consumers about the benefits of supportive footwear on long-term wellness. We also aim to modernize and disrupt a stigmatized category and make orthopedic insoles desirable. Finally, given that the footwear industry contributes to 1.4% of global carbon emissions, we are excited to be using sustainable materials for our entire product.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company And How Did You End Up In This Space?

Libie: I have known that I was interested in starting a business since receiving my first allowance. I was a thoughtful hustler; curious to understand the needs of others and find ways to meet them. I thought about different ways to create value. I opened up lemonade stands in the summers, and hosted bake sales after school; eventually, I started a business on eBay when I was in sixth grade. I enjoyed working for myself and the creativity involved in building a business. Furthermore, as the child of immigrant parents, who were both business owners, I never felt tied down to traditional career paths. My mother opened and operated a gallery in Soho and my father ran a graphic design shop. They served as my inspiration and role models, and encouraged me to question the status quo. I also witnessed the ups and downs of owning a business: while my family experienced several years of financial hardship, I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. As I started my career I knew I wanted to start something that would make an impact, but also allow me to utilize my creativity, curiosity, and grit.

Daniel: I have always been fascinated by technology as a means to solve real-world problems. I started my first business when I was in college, helping connect bodegas to their local residents and facilitating convenience item delivery in 15 minutes or less. The product worked well, but this was 2015, and the market for rapid online delivery wasn’t where it is in 2021. Then, I moved into digital consulting, where I helped large multinationals across a variety of industries build technology that was able to deliver value to millions of consumers. I had to quickly learn about commercial banking, insurance, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and more for each project, and figure out how to approach each unique problem. I then went to business school, hoping to find another venture that I’d be able to launch, having experienced both starting my own company and operating at global firms. When I met Libie, we discussed our shared experiences with body pain as a result of unsupportive footwear - immediately, I realized that this industry was ripe for disruption, and that building a better product, brand, and vehicle to educate consumers provided a whitespace that other companies had overlooked.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We chose the name Fulton because it alludes to a street in the heart of New York City. We wanted to build a modern brand of insoles that was relatable to modern consumers, who walk on city streets and need insoles to improve their everyday wellness, as opposed to other brands that target medical use cases or niche demographics.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company? _W__7830_EDIT.jpg

Libie: I never could have predicted how rewarding launching my own venture would be in so many different capacities. First, I am solving a problem that I personally experienced and that resulted in physical pain throughout my body. I have the opportunity to educate consumers, and help them prevent pain in the future, and knowing I am doing that feels really good. Nothing feels better than customers reaching out and sharing how Fulton has healed their chronic back pain, or helped their Plantar Fasciitis; but the best is when the feedback comes from people who have never worn insoles before, because that means that we have effectively educated a customer about the importance of supportive footwear. In addition to helping customers, I feel very rewarded knowing that I have built something new. I don’t have a background in orthotics or podiatry, so I had to learn so much about materials, biomechanics, anatomy, etc., in order to create our first product. It feels so incredible to know that I created something new; a physical product that is different from anything else out there. It required extensive hard work, testing, research, and iteration, but the final product is something I am so proud of.

Entrepreneurship sometimes feels incredibly uncertain. I am the type of person who prefers a clear plan: but with a startup, there is only so much you can predict. Furthermore, since so much of the industry and category is new to me, there are often many more questions than answers. I’ve learned to lean into the uncertainty, by understanding the gaps in my knowledge and prioritizing getting answers. Another challenge of entrepreneurship is balancing life and work. Fulton has become so central to my identity and my life that it is hard to turn it off, and I often don’t want to. I find myself working at all hours. The transition to working on Fulton full time has been challenging as well, and I am still in the process of creating more structure in my work life.

Daniel: My favorite part of the journey has been the fact that I get to consistently keep learning new things: no two days have ever been the same. We incubated a seedling of an idea into a physical product: finding a manufacturer, understanding the technical specifications, selecting materials, and running a pilot. We developed a brand: a name, logo, look and feel, and website. We stood up an international supply chain and launched our company during a global pandemic. The variety of the work that I have been able to do across the lifecycle of building our brand has been beyond rewarding - this has continued to be more interesting as we enter into the post-launch scaling phase of the company.

My least favorite part has certainly been importing our products from abroad. Our manufacturer has been a fantastic partner, but we have experienced extremely high shipping rates, delays, and miscommunications with nearly every shipping team we have partnered with. I’ve had too many late nights and early mornings with customer service trying to understand why our packages were being held up in customs or why they ended up in the Philippines instead of Philadelphia (true story). It’s definitely been a whirlwind, but we paid our dues and now know how it all works!

Tell Us About How Each Of Your Skill Sets Supplements That Of Your Co-Founder.

Daniel has a strong strategy, technology, and operations background, while Libie has a strong marketing and research background. Naturally, those two pair very well for building a digitally-enabled brand. We both have a unique blend of academic, startup, and corporate experience that have given us a holistic understanding of exploring unique problems and scaling solutions.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Thus far, we’ve raised a small amount from family and friends to help get the brand off the ground. Since our launch, we’ve been blown away by the feedback from customers and are currently speaking with investors to prepare for a seed round. We plan to invest the funding towards growing the company and building out the organization. We’ve been testing several different channels and are excited to continue building them out.

_W__7140_EDIT.jpg As A DTC Company, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You’ve Implemented That Have Been Most Effective So Far?

We recently launched out of home advertising around NYC; this included wheat posting at construction sites, spray painting sidewalks, and hanging pull-tab fliers around downtown Manhattan. It got a lot of buzz - we were intentionally thinking about meeting people in places where they are walking - so the streets of NYC were a natural place to go!

Do You See Fulton Expanding Into Other Product Categories Relating To Either Footwear Or Wellness In General? Anything In The Works That Will Be Launching Soon?

We’re currently hyper focused on getting our Fulton Insoles into people’s shoes across the country, but we are definitely looking at expanding into product categories. There are many opportunities to create insoles for various types of shoes and use cases, so we are working with our customers to understand their most urgent needs and build out our product roadmap.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth and Operation Over The Last Year?

COVID-19 made standing up a global supply chain incredibly difficult - we were only able to visit our manufacturer once (pre-pandemic) and had to prototype together from overseas for months. Additionally, shipping lead times have been long and prices have been high. Despite the operational challenges, we’ve seen some shifts in favor of our business: people are wearing more comfortable shoes, caring more about wellness and sustainability, purchasing products online, etc. It’s been a very unique time to launch a business, and we look forward to rebuilding as the world emerges from the pandemic.

What Does Your Typical Day Look Like? ATLAS_8396_EDIT.jpg

Libie: I love to start most mornings with either a run or a Pilates class. I’m fortunate to live close to the running path by the Hudson river on the West Side Highway in NYC which I’ve been taking advantage of. I usually take some calls and meetings from home, and then head out to a WeWork for the rest of the day. We’ve been switching locations everyday, so we get to mix it up with new spaces and faces. In the evenings I love cooking meals at home, or in the summer going for picnics or walks - I haven’t been living in NYC for the last two years and I love taking advantage of the nice summer evenings. I often end my evenings with some work, I find myself very creative at the late hours!

Daniel: I generally start my morning by talking with our manufacturer - they’re based in Europe, so are already well into their workday by the time I wake up. I tend to jump into a quick workout, shower, and have tea (no more coffee!) to ramp up my energy and prepare for the day. Then, I take some meetings from home and head out to the WeWork for in person meetings and strategy sessions. Every day is different, but we usually stay at the office until dinnertime. I try to take a walk for 30-60 minutes every day and either listen to a podcast or audiobook as well. I’ve always prioritized taking a nice walk to maintain mental and physical wellness - wearing a nice pair of comfortable, supportive insoles always helps. Then, I head back home and relax a bit before knocking out around midnight and doing it all again!

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Libie:  Gritty, open-minded, and humble. I would advise entrepreneurs to be incredibly open minded, and ask a lot of questions. It’s important to get a broad set of opinions and perspectives bt take everything with a grain of salt because there is truly no “right” way to be an entrepreneur. I also think its important to be open to wearing many hats, and willing to take on any task, no matter how big or small.

Daniel: 

Being a systems thinker- like to deconstruct complex systems and understand how things work, what incentives drive what outcomes in any given industry. You need to become the expert, so if you don’t have a true understanding of the space you are going into, you’ll need to learn how to become the smartest person about it in any given room.

Building out a vision- for me, it’s the best way to understand what you are truly solving for. Rather than just a cool idea that solves a problem, a vision allows you to build a company that will be able to self-sustain and continuously innovate. There are many great ideas, but great companies come from philosophies that are guided by a better vision of how things should work.

Ability to go from 0 to 100 on an idea- as an entrepreneur, you really need to be passionate. It’s going to take some time to truly see the rewards, and you will need to be 100% invested from start to finish. It took us nearly two years to get from idea to launch, and you’ll need to be as passionate on day 720 as you were on Day 1.

_W__7739_EDIT.jpg Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Daniel: Libie and I were in a business school class and we pitched our idea for Fulton. The professor, in a bit of disbelief that young people actually wanted to wear insoles, asked the students in the room to raise their hands if they currently wore some type of orthotic. To everyone’s surprise, about 75% of the room’s hands went up. It was incredibly validating to us as entrepreneurs, learning that this seemingly rare behavior is actually quite prevalent, and taught us to continue trusting our gut and our research despite what others may think along the way.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be And Why?

Daniel: Roger Federer. I’ve been a huge tennis fan for as long as I can remember, and have always admired his ability to demonstrate true dominance, class, and leadership throughout his career. I’ve always been inspired by his work ethic off the court and his incredibly calm, effortless style of play on the court, and aspire to emulate him as I think about building out my own career and personal life.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Libie: Success means finding and pursuing a career that is fulfilling. For me, that requires work that involves creativity and challenge. I need to be solving problems that force me to think differently and creatively. I’ve always been excited about a career in entrepreneurship because it allows me to do both of these things.

Daniel: To me, success means getting to control your own life. Although I love intellectually stimulating work, I didn’t love the reasons i was pursuing them in the past: “for a client” or “for a manager.” I wanted to find my own problems and solve them, which is why entrepreneurship became so appealing to me. Granted, there’s so much on a given day that is beyond the scope of my control. However, understanding the larger vision I am building towards and getting to create my own day-to-day life in light of that has been incredibly enriching. Success means allowing me to keep controlling where I invest my time and energy, a luxury that I now hope to maintain for the rest of my career. 

 Libie Motchan’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. Shoe Dog

2. The Count of Monte Cristo

Health & Fitness:

1. Body By Bridget - founded by a Wharton alumni- best workout on the internet!

Brands:

1. Girlfriend Collective

2. Youthforia

Products:

1. Trader Joe’s everything

2. Material Kitchen Cookware - their products are so thoughtfully designed, and make it so I can avoid clutter in my small NYC kitchen

3. Headspace

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Nik Sharma’s weekly newsletter

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Italy!

2. Japan

- What I Found
Genevieve Ryan Bellaire | Realworld
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GENEVIEVE RYAN BELLAIRE

CEO & Founder of Realworld, a platform, marketplace, and community to navigate adulthood and important life moments.

What Is Realworld? Tell Us About What You Do, Who Your Target Audience Is, And What Your Mission Is.

Realworld is a first-of-its-kind platform simplifying adulthood for the next generation. Our education-first mobile application and website offer expertly-sourced, personalized, step-by-step guidance, teaching Gen-Z how to make informed decisions when it comes to their finances, health, and work life. Our signature “playbooks” cover big life moments (moving, starting a new job), and everyday events (budgeting, credit cards, going to the dentist), in an easy to follow, achievement-oriented way.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I’m a lawyer by background and started my career in the financial services industry. After I graduated from college, I went directly to graduate school, which meant that I entered the ‘real world’ later than most of my peers. It wasn’t until I started working full-time that I realized that despite being blessed with amazing educational opportunities, I was actually underprepared for many decisions around my finances, health care, taxes, and living situation that I faced after graduation. I began talking about the problem with colleagues, friends, and family and learned that I wasn’t alone in experiencing the pain points of ‘adulting.’ 

I got obsessed with this problem space and realized there wasn’t a company focused on helping onboard young adults into life in the “real world” so I conducted extensive customer discovery by talking to over 1000 people (recent graduates, parents, college administrators, employers, and more) to confirm my hypothesis. The pattern was clear: everyone I spoke to was just muddling through these different life decisions and could benefit from a platform that helped them navigate day-to-day adulting decisions and big life moments. I decided to launch Realworld as the solution. Even today, we’re constantly hearing “I wish I had this when I was younger” which demonstrates the reality that even people a few years into the workforce could use this type of solution!

Realworld Graphic.png What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of this journey is definitely the impact - seeing young people take action on what they learn on the Realworld platform motivates me and our team to keep building and improving our product. Whether a member did something simple like remember to pay a bill on time, or something huge like sign up for an IRA - taking action (and understanding why they’re doing it) is a HUGE win. 

One of the newer challenges has been hiring - it’s a hyper competitive talent market right now as so many people reevaluate what work looks like post-pandemic, and finding the right people for each role has been a time consuming process. That being said, building an amazing team has been one of the most exciting parts of this journey and critical to our success as a company. Each new hire brings fresh energy and enthusiasm for the problem we’re solving and brings a fresh expertise to the table to solve it and propel the company forward to the next milestone. 

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We closed our seed round of $3.4M in March! The process was modified due to the pandemic (lots of meetings on Zoom) but we were fortunate to end up working with investors who have followed our journey since the earliest days and understand how big our vision is. VC funding has helped us accelerate the speed at which we can build and improve our product, hire a world-class team, and establish Realworld as the leading company in the adulting space. We’ve tripled our team in the last few months and we’re still hiring -- if you’re a stellar Head of Growth Marketing or a Fullstack Engineer who wants to make an impact at a seed-stage, mission-driven startup, reach out to team@realworld.co! More on our investors here:

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

Our earliest hires were our Head of Brand, Gillian Katz and our Head of Product, Rebecca Abramson. While my role demands big picture, visionary thinking, Rebecca is able to provide a tactical, structured plan of execution. Gillian is responsible for speaking to the emotional side of the user experience, making sure our platform is fun, visually delightful, and resonates with our member. I think big, Rebecca thinks tactically, and Gillian thinks creatively - without each in harmony, Realworld would not be nearly as impactful as it is today. 

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year?

COVID-19 presented challenges for every company. We launched our new web app in April 2020, and while launch did not look like we had initially planned, our resources were actually more critical than ever, as the Classes of 2020 and 2021 learned to navigate the evolving workplace ecosystem. We created an entirely new vertical of content around unemployment, furlough, and the impacts of COVID on student loans, leasing, and more. 

960x0.jpg Can You Tell Us About Some Of Your Numbers? How Has Growth Been Over The Past Couple Of Years?

Before this Spring, Realworld worked directly with universities and colleges to provide resources to their seniors and recent graduates. Throughout the last year, especially due to the impacts on this population during COVID, we decided to pivot to offer our platform for free to anyone regardless of their affiliation with a partner school. Not only did this model make more sense for the release of our mobile application and our community’s growth, but it was completely in-line with our mission to provide equitable access to resources to anyone navigating adulting. 

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The company was founded with the name Realworld Playbook - it tells you exactly what we are, a playbook for life in the real world. When we focused our attention on creating a consumer-driven experience, we shortened the name to Realworld. The platform covers everything you need to know about life in the ‘real world’ from personal finances, to taxes, to health insurance, to employer paperwork, etc. Our goal is to become the “real world” company. 

Tell Us About Your Daily Routine.

I wake up around 6am and exercise, then take the subway down to our office in SoHo. I am a big “breakfast person”, so I pick up something on the way in (I'm loyal to the local deli). 

That’s about where the routine stops, as every day is truly different and I never know what to expect. From working on product direction, to checking in on growth, to connecting with investors, new talent, and others in our network - every day brings a new challenge and a new exciting opportunity for Realworld. 

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

I’ve learned that the most important traits to have when starting a business can be summed up in the “3 Rs” - Resilient, Resourceful, and Relentless. You have to be able to bounce back from (constant) adversity, operate with little resources across time, talent, and treasure, and to persevere through the many challenges that starting a company brings. Hearing ‘No’ is par for the course when it comes to entrepreneurship - so facing that head-on with a scrappy, flexible, and optimistic mindset is a huge part of striving for success. Just keep going. 

As far as advice, I’d tell new entrepreneurs to build a network of other founders, funders, operators, and advocates who they can turn to for advice at every turn. There’s no way to know what to do at every stage of a company’s lifecycle, so it’s key to have a personal board of people who have been there before and who have either been successful at it or who have made mistakes they can protect you from making in your own business. 

good.png If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Lin-Manuel Miranda - he’s so creative and has defined a new genre. As someone working to build a category-creating company, it would be inspiring to hear about how he’s created new spaces for innovation and what process he uses to think outside of the box. As an American History buff, I’d also love to talk to him about Alexander Hamilton! 

What Does Success Mean To You?

To me, success is three-fold: 1. Building a company that has a meaningful impact on the next generation, 2. Building a company that people want to work at, and 3. Creating quality jobs for people. 

When building a mission-driven company it always comes back to impact - having an impact on our users and their experience is what drives me and my team, and that’s ultimately how we measure the success of Realworld.

 Genevieve Ryan Bellaire’s Favorites Stack:

Books:

1. No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings

2. Get Together by Bailey Richardson

3. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Health & Fitness:

1. Daily Harvest

2. Equinox

3. Alo Yoga

Brands:

1. Outdoor Voices

2. Glossier

3. Thousand Fell

Products:

1. Remarkable Tablet

2. AirPods

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. StrictlyVC Newsletter

2. How I Built This with Guy Raz

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Morocco

2. South Africa

3. Chile

- What I Found
Richard Shirtcliffe | Noho
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RICHARD SHIRTCLIFFE

Co-CEO of Noho, a modern, direct-to-customer furniture company.

What Is Noho? Tell Us About Your Brand, Mission, And What Makes Your Products Unique.

Born in Aotearoa New Zealand, noho sprang from 20 years of groundbreaking performance furniture design, so in its simplest terms noho is a modern, direct-to-customer furniture company. But we do think very differently, about furniture, about design, and about the role of a company in improving the planet. We think furniture should look and feel good while doing good for our planet, so we've set out to help people 'sit healthier', by creating Life Enriching Furniture™: beautiful, versatile, and built to last a lifetime. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I’ve had a wonderfully varied career, traversing roles, categories, sectors, and countries! But the broad connecting fibre has been that I love to build powerful stories, turn them into growth businesses and export them around the world. Noho is just the latest, but it is special because it’s the first in what I hope will be a series of businesses devoted to tackling waste plastic by disrupting highly polluting sectors.

Noho itself was born out of two epiphanies. The first was a design insight. Namely, after decades pioneering performance ergonomic seating for the office, our designers at Formway spotted the need to bake dynamic ergonomic comfort into beautiful residential furniture. Essentially we’re all born to move, but typical home furniture is static and doesn’t permit us to. The designers saw the opportunity to remedy that. 

The second was my experience of surfing with my wife and small children in Bali and witnessing the unchecked sea plastic. The opportunity that presented was to bring together these origin moments into a brand that creates ‘life enriching furniture’ designed to enrich homes, bodies and planet. The first of those products is the revolutionary noho move chair.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

Starting businesses isn’t for the faint of heart! If you fear uncertainty and ambiguity, then don’t do it!! Whilst I’m human in feeling stress and pressure, almost constantly, I do tend to keep sharp focus on the mantra ‘what if it goes right?’. All too often we focus on the downside and not the potential. Starting a company, with immensely talented people, that’s designed from the ground up to leave a positive imprint on people & planet, certainly helps keep the energy up! But launching it just as the world collapses into a global pandemic isn’t something I’d willingly do again….! But we’ve come through 2020 intact and we’re now flying, which is gratifying.

I guess that I’m a bit of a sucker for all of this, because later this year I’m launching another ocean plastic fighting business : WILDClean!

move - upholstery.jpg Tell Us About The Early Days At Noho. How Did You Go From Concept To Launch? Did You Bootstrap Or Fundraise?

Noho is all funded off balance sheet by our parent company, Formway. So whilst we’ve had resources, we’ve also had to be extremely lean. Anyone who’s started a company with lean resources will relate to the reality of being ‘always on’, of covering multiple roles, and having to learn new disciplines at lightning speed. But lean also means innovative - great ideas typically develop where resources are scarce, not abundant. Just ask Lord Earnest Rutherford, the first person to split an atom (beating out the wildly better funded teams at MIT and Oxford).

The driving design insight that led to us creating noho, was the development of what became the noho move chair. That product took 4 years and thousands of hours of prototyping to complete. Wrapping the brand and business around that concept was a relatively swift 18 months!

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

It’s really been a team effort, in which I’ve played only one small part. The award winning designers at Formway - Kent Parker and Paul Wilkinson - made this all possible through world changing design. The directors of Formway made it possible by backing the creation of noho; Richard Cutfield (Formway director) championed the opportunity; and the noho team of Richard C, Dan Gentry, Jennifer Pfeifer and Sarah Shirtcliffe have birthed the business through sheer grit and determination!

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year? Did You See More Or Less Demand? Any Issues With Manufacturing, Shipping, Or Logistics?

It’s been brutal. Our launch was timed for April 2020, so all launch activity, media, and most of the digital marketing was cancelled in the face of COVID. But we had some things flow our way too. The urgent demand for ergonomic chairs for WFH spurred demand for noho move chair and helped spread the word, while New Zealand (where we manufacture the chairs) knocked out COVID in 6 weeks so manufacturing and freight weren’t seriously impacted. It’s fair to say that 2021 is presenting all new supply chain issues driven by excess demand…

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

The furniture industry is exceptionally wasteful and polluting, as a rule. My hope is that the global shock caused by COVID may cause customers to demand better of all companies. But speaking frankly my hopes of that aren’t high! Meanwhile I think COVID will directly affect the preparedness of Gen Z and millennials to rent rather than purchase furniture, to reduce consumption and their commitments to material assets.

NOHO_day_1_hero_kitchen_2026.jpg Can You Tell Us About Some Of Your Numbers? How Has Growth Been Over The Past Couple Of Years? What Do You Anticipate Will Growth Will Be Like This Next Year?

We don’t disclose our numbers, sorry. However I can tell you that 2021 is proving a signal year! Sales have grown about 50% month-on-month since Feb, and we anticipate that continuing through this year so long as we can stay in stock!

Anything Exciting That Will Be Launching Soon?

Yes - we’re launching some accessories soon, and a new platform product later in the year.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We’re from Aotearoa (New Zealand). The indigenous language is Te Reo Maori, in which ‘noho’ means ‘to sit, to stay, to dwell, to live’, which encapsulates what we’re about in such a perfect way. We’re passionate about taking the best of New Zealand design to the world and doing so on a foundation of Maori values.

Richard_Shirtcliffe_Chayce_Lanphear.jpg Tell Us About Your Daily Routine.

5.30 alarm (uurghhh). 6am gym (uurghhh).

7am cup of tea #1. 7.05 cup of tea #2.

7.15 wake the kids and accede to their dizzying array of breakfast requests and gobble some myself.

7.45 help my wife make the kids’ lunches. 8.00 emails (uurrggh).

8.30am massive pot of coffee and first round of zoomageddon (team call).

9.00/9.15 zoom 2 (agency call).

10-12 varies by day, but always involves a small percentage of admin, a bigger percentage of tactical work (usually marketing related), and a disturbingly small percentage of strategic work.

12pm- mountain bike ride, or occasionally a surf.

1/1.30 lunch. 2-5 team zooms and more project work.

5-8 family time: kids after school activities/sports, dinner, bedtime routine and books.

8.30 clearing email backlog (usually just hitting delete…). 9pm decompress time.

10pm wake up on the couch and crawl to bed.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Resilient. Empathic. Excellent communicators. (oh, also curious. And lucky…)

My advice would be to ignore 99% of the advice you didn’t request, listen to all the advice you did request. Then do it anyway. Also, if you’re young enough to not have financial dependents or debt then embrace risk, because the downside isn’t huge and you’ll learn plenty.

Tell Us About Something That Makes You Laugh.

I get all of my philosophies (in life and business) from comedians. Notably Billy Connolly and Jerry Seinfeld. So the list of things that make me laugh is too long to note here!

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Excellent question and tough to answer. Greta Thunberg would be right up there. She’s unceasingly focused, and has demonstrated the extraordinarily positive impact just one person can have on the world.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I’m largely an active relaxer, as is my wife. So we tend to take any small opportunity - between kid commitments - to mountain bike or kite surf. I love reading books but I’m hopeless at making time to get through the ever increasing pile.

Wool Topper range.jpg What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

Dalai Lama: ‘If you think that you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito’.

I think it’s self explanatory!!

Who is Your Role Model?

My Dad. Renowned geo-physicist and phenomenal dad. Also my mum: a true female pioneer as the first producer, director and presenter on television in New Zealand (obliterating a glass ceiling of the time) and devoted mum.   

And, if pushed, Leonardo DaVinci - how did that dude do so much in one lifetime???!

Any Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events?

As a New Zealander my thoughts regarding the socio political climate in the US possibly aren’t especially valuable! But living in the US through COVID and Trumpageddon I did form the view that the US is facing some extremely tough times, and the need to resolve internal issues that have been left unresolved for generations, along with urgent modern challenges like plastic waste and climate change. The country is a beacon of possibility for many around the world and I truly hope that it can chart a path away from broken partisanship and entrenched positions. It will be to the betterment of both the US and the world. The inverse also applies.

What Does Success Mean To You?

More time in shorts. With my family.

 Richard Shirtcliffe’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. Good to Great. Oldie but still the seminal growth business tome

2. Any book by Martin Cruz Smith or Keri Hulme (especially The Bone People)

3. Growing Great Boys (and Growing Great Girls).

Health & Fitness:

1. Mountain Biking

2. Surfing

3. F45

Fashion:

1. Outerknown

2. Deus ex Machina

3. iLabb

Products:

1. Coffee Supreme

2. Coffee Supreme

3. Coffee Supreme

4. Double Vision Brewing chillax (or 4 noses ‘bout damn time, if you’re in the US)!

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Seth Godin

2. Tim Ferriss

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Hatepe, Lake Taupo (New Zealand) - my ‘turangawaewae’ or place where I feel most connected - to relax

2. Treble Cone, Wanaka, New Zealand (to ski!)

- What I Found
Alexander Bennouna | DecideAndAct
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ALEXANDER BENNOUNA

Co-Founder & CEO of DecideAndAct, a Swiss watch brand based on a new responsible business model that combines sustainability and a donation system to support NGOs.

What Is DecideAndAct? Tell Us About Your Product, Brand, And Overall Mission Of Sustainability.

DecideAndAct is a responsible Swiss watch that champions peace, diversity and ecology. We implement sustainable craftsmanship from sourcing to operations that prioritizes the regeneration of the ecosystem and its biodiversity. From the design to the engineering, sourcing to the manufacturing, each pivotal step has been designed to operate within ecological boundaries. Our model goes beyond making an eco-friendly watch, though. It’s about inspiring people to be the change they want to see. Our plan is to launch a collection in partnership with artists to display socially engaged designs on our watches and to support our NGO partners by donating a minimum of 10% of our revenue. We are already opening the important conversation with our first Ambassador Of Change collection available exclusively on Kickstarter. Backing us on Kickstarter will help us achieve our plan to become actors of change, together with you.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I worked 25 years in the Swiss watch industry -- long enough to realize that if a watch should tell something about you, it should be what you really care about. Our motto is “be the change you want to see”! I truly believe that business should support people and not the other way around. Therefore, we imagined a brand that enables everyone to show what they stand for. The vast majority is concerned about ecology, diversity and peace, even if they are not vocal about it. DecideAndAct turns their intention into action by leveraging their purchase and their fashion statement in favor of causes that are important for our future. We even plan to co-design special editions to draw attention to urgent situations where our pledge can scale up to 30% of the watch price in correlation with the number of conversions reached.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The favorite part by far is recognizing in the eyes and faces of people who believe in d&a’s value proposition to a point where no further explanation is needed. This “bang on” moment. The most challenging is dealing with professionals that look into the past rather than the future and with whom the conversation is condemned to stagnate.

DandA 3Ambassadors_front-blackback.jpg What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Money You’ve Raised.

We established the company in January 2020 and had to face the turmoil of the financial markets in spring 2020. But we managed to overcome and keep things on track thanks to the trust of a key strategic partner. This allowed us to fulfill the ecosystem of our sustainable value chain, the design, the different prototyping phases needed, the set up of our website with all the related content and to start production. At the end of the day, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger! 2020 helped us to strengthen our business model and make it immune.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

Martin does the boring part -- finance, admin and legal, while I take care of the fun part -- product, distribution and marketing. Jokes aside, we complement each other very well thanks to our differences in background, culture and age. The truth often lies at the cross section of our perspectives.

Do You See DecideAndAct Focusing Solely On E-Commerce, Or Is The Goal To Bring Your Products To Retail Stores As A Sales Channel As Well?

We are talking about a new and disruptive value proposition. Therefore, mastering the user experience and getting the right message across to our audience is critical. This is the reason why we shall first operate via our own website. But we plan to go multi-channel at some stage with distribution partners who adhere and support our approach.

Can You Tell Us About Some Of Your Marketing Strategies? What Channels Have Proven To Be Most Effective In Your Launch So Far?

Our marketing strategy is articulated around our values of peace, diversity, and ecology. We make sure that our product and our channels tell the important stories of this world. We also share our values with our partners: designers, suppliers, photography, video artists and have a code of conduct in place that helps us guarantee transparency, fair trade and sustainability.

Do You See The Company Expanding Into Other Product Lines Or Categories As Well?

Certainly, we plan to expand our product portfolio, but we cannot disclose plans at this stage.

d&a-3.jpg What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The motto of d&a is “be the change you want to see”. For that, we invite people to decide and act. Decide to move away from an undesired situation and act towards a desirable one. It is clear to us that our watches alone will not bring the change, but together with our partners, we want them to be on the side of the solution by inspiring and supporting positive changes towards peace, diversity and ecology.

Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Planning Or Operation?

Yes it significantly delayed our retro-planning and made things more challenging. But at the same time, it helped us to strengthen our business model and make it immune.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

The watch industry was already undergoing structural changes before COVID-19. The reason is an over-dependence on emerging markets. Their fluctuation and COVID-19 have served as accelerators of this process, driven by a re-alignment with market dynamics.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events?

Each crisis brings new opportunities, but the most valuable ones are those that bring lasting and sustainable solutions.

DandA_logo_fielwork_vecto_couleurs_noir.png Tell Us About Your Daily Routine.

Our team and partners are dispatched in different locations between Switzerland, UK, Ireland and USA. Therefore, my early morning routine starts with a first look on the agenda, followed by a second one on the issues raised by the team members and a third one on the priority tasks lined up for the day. However, I am afraid that the rest of the day doesn’t come any close to what one may qualify as a routine.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

The course of action I try to follow is based on a few principles, and I let the reader appreciate them if that qualifies as advice for entrepreneurs. First, respect others in all circumstances and truly listen to what they have to say. Second, understand rather than judge -- judging is super easy, understanding takes more brain effort. Last but not least, stick to your fundamental values and do not hesitate to stand up for them if necessary.

Tell Us About Something That Inspired You.

My most inspiring lesson came from my parents. They taught me the exceptional power of human dignity as they, despite the difficulties they faced, never surrendered, never behaved as victims and always pursued this little light of hope that hides behind adversity.

d&a-2.png If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Amanda Gorman, because she is young, intelligent and masters the power of words! She represents the generation that will make our world change for the better.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Everything that keeps my senses awake: moments with people that I love, in nature or with a book.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

Be the change you want to see! Because the decision is ours and the power to make it happen depends on us.

Who is Your Role Model?

Malala Yousafzai, challenging ignorance and terror is the most noble action I ever came across.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Having plenty to share with friends and beloved ones: moments, love, happiness, fun, etc.

 Alexander Bennouna’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Harari

2. Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela

3. Cellule 10, by Ahmed Marzouki

Health & Fitness:

1. Fresh fruit

2. Water

3. Sun

Fashion:

1. A d&a watch

2. Any business or casual wear that fits my d&a watch

3. Sailing gear

Products:

1. Music

2. Coffee

3. News

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Economist

2. BBC

3. Le Monde

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

Any place where the moon shine reflects on the water

- What I Found
Mark Wheeler | DeepMap
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MARK WHEELER

Co-Founder & CTO of DeepMap, a company that is accelerating safe autonomy by providing the world's best autonomous mapping and localization solutions.

What Is DeepMap? Tell Us About What You Do And What Your Mission Is.

James Wu and I founded DeepMap in 2016. We both had extensive backgrounds in mapping from Google, Apple, and other leading companies. We built DeepMap because we realized there will be a revolution in mapping technology and a tremendous gap in the market for maps to support the looming autonomous vehicle industry. In the past, maps were made for human drivers and navigators. In the self-driving era, machines require a different type of map and a different type of service model. This is a huge challenge for the autonomous vehicle industry. We are focused on solving it. Self-driving cars using our service will know precisely where they are on the road, what’s coming around the corner, when and where they are allowed to make turns, and how conditions might have changed since the last time they drove this stretch of road — and all with extreme efficiency and low cost.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I grew up in Waveland, Mississippi. My dad was an aerospace engineer who also had an interest in entrepreneurship, and he taught me a lot. He was involved in NASA’s Apollo Program and had set a high bar in terms of what he achieved in his career. I got interested in computers pretty much when personal computing first began; I was lucky in terms of my age and the timing of when that happened, I caught onto that when it was really beginning.

I did my undergraduate degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, which was a wonderful experience. During my junior year I attended Cambridge University in England, which was amazing. At Cambridge, we were encouraged to explore a lot of areas, and I started learning about artificial intelligence and computer vision.

I continued that path of study at Tulane, and ended up going to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for graduate school in their computer vision group, which is pretty much the top place in the world for that. I studied with some of the real pioneers in computer vision. We had an amazing lab. The Carnegie Mellon group that I was part of at the time was about 80 people, bigger than most grad schools. We had our hands on technology way before anyone else, learning how to build and use sensors. We had an autonomous vehicle in our lab that was one of the first of its kind. I rode in it going 75 mph with no one driving, back in 1991. Carnegie Mellon’s approach was very hands-on and practical, very forward-looking and far-looking, so it was a great experience.

After graduating, I wasn’t super interested in pure research. I like working on bleeding-edge things that solved real problems. I started out in Cupertino, California at Apple, working on a technology called QuickTime VR. And that was another bleeding-edge technology that was maybe ten years ahead of its time. Most people now know Street View and Google Maps, but the QuickTime VR group invented all of that. Until the technology showed up in Google Maps, it wasn’t widely used.

I was at Apple when Steve Jobs took over, which was an exciting, crazy time. A little while after that, I got an odd request to come see something in Orinda, next to Berkeley; a guy I hadn’t heard of had founded a startup, Cyra Technologies, that was doing something fairly crazy, and he contacted me out of the blue. I ended up going to work for them and staying for ten years. And that is where we created the first high-precision LiDAR so we could digitize practically anything. Leica Geosystems (a Swiss company) bought us a few years later.

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And working at that company was a very cutting-edge, great experience. But after ten years, I got recruited to Google, and worked on Google Maps. I had met my DeepMap Co-Founder, James Wu, while at Leica - I had tried to hire him, and then he eventually went to Google and we both ended up on the Maps team. James became a tech lead for a part of a large project I was leading at the time.

At Google, I learned everything there is about mapping, I was involved in all kinds of aspects of it, including large-scale cloud computing. After almost ten years of that, James showed up to have lunch with me one day. He told me about this idea for a mapping engine for autonomous vehicles. I thought it was a great idea. He asked me to quit Google and do it with him, and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We both quit shortly after and started DeepMap.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite aspect of entrepreneurship is all the milestones and successes that we’ve had over the years. When you’re creating something from scratch, especially like what we’re working on now which is very challenging, it’s rewarding to see what you can accomplish.

Another thing I didn’t expect as much but was surprised by - I worked with some really great people at Google. Some of them joined us here at DeepMap. But I didn’t fully realize just how talented, productive and creative these people were until they were here at our startup. Because in a startup, there is much more opportunity to show what you can do. And in some ways, you’re very constrained at the bigger companies. It was surprising not that they’re great, but that they’re five times better than what I thought.

There’s a cultural shift in going from a large incumbent to a smaller startup. At a big company, you might have to convince 100 people to go forward with something. At a small startup, you can set the direction and move quickly.

The biggest challenges of entrepreneurship, for me, are the business challenges. In some cases, we’re working with companies that are bureaucratic and conservative; to say they move slowly is being diplomatic.

Sometimes there is a lot of churn and turnover within these companies; you might build up a great relationship with someone at a company and be almost ready to sign a deal, then that person emails you and says they moved to a different company. This has happened a lot. It might be more common in the autonomous vehicle industry, with companies poaching people left and right, but it makes it hard to create that continuity over time. Having said that, our customers are great to work with and bring a lot of complementary experience to the table. Automotive product development is very complex. Our customers are the technology leaders and early adopters and we learn a lot by partnering with them.

Also, no matter how good your idea is, it can be hard to convince other people of the idea’s value and that you can deliver on it. So it’s this constant process of having these conversations where you might talk to 100 people and maybe five of them will be ready to go forward. There are lots of efforts there, and on some level it can feel tedious because it feels at times that you’re having the same conversations over and over.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Money You’ve Raised. deepmap auto car startup.png

It’s challenging. Even once you raise the money, now you have to deliver. You owe the investors something, you have to operate under certain constraints. The bright side is: you get to keep building and growing and trying to achieve the mission. The investors tend to be experienced in various aspects of the business and help us a lot with navigating through building a business since they have typically successfully done that sometimes several times in their careers. There might be some differences of opinion, it’s that constant back-and-forth. We have been super fortunate to work with a great team of investors and technical advisors, who have collaborated with us from the beginning.

I went to Carnegie Mellon, and there are so many innovative people there, but there’s not an entrepreneurial culture there - not to say that there’s no entrepreneurism, but it’s night and day between the Bay Area and Pittsburgh, and really most other places, even a city like Boston with lots of great universities. There’s a different mentality in the Bay Area, and you don’t know it until you’re in it. I realized it when I was in my first startup. Having all the investors and startup veterans here is a big deal.

My first attempt at entrepreneurship kind of fell flat, and it soured me a little bit. In grad school, I created what I believed to be the first fantasy sports site. I tried to get funding for it, and talked to some people in Pittsburgh who didn’t see any value in what I was building.

In our current space, autonomous vehicles (AVs), this industry has a lot of attention on it, and investors are looking for opportunities. VCs are eager to put money into this space - it’s a greenfield space with a lot of innovation happening quickly.

My goals are practical - to get things out into the world that work. Often there are constraints on how that can be achieved, especially at different timeframes. We have very strong people on the business and sales side. I’ve always tried to be very sensitive to who the ultimate customers are and what they need - something I see as critical for being a successful entrepreneur.

Tell Us About Some Of The Obstacles You Face In Your Industry On A Regular Basis (Can Be Regulatory Or Operational). How Do You Think These Might Change Over The Next 5-10 Years?

There are technological obstacles in terms of getting the technology into large-scale availability. Things have to be improved on the sensor side and the compute side. And then there’s the question of how to get the technology working to the necessary safety level. 

There are lots of challenges specific to autonomous vehicles. The good news is: DeepMap’s products are able to support different autonomous vehicle applications. In the near term, a lot of companies are starting to focus on not only fully-autonomous vehicles, but Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is also known as “Level 2.”

Looking ahead to the next 5-10 years: once the business is established and starting to roll out, the economic benefits will push the rollout and it will grow quite quickly. For example, if you look at the robo-taxi space, or trucking space, or delivery space, there are lots of different players who are starting to put more and more vehicles into operation in the next few years. And in the Level 2 ADAS space, every car company is working on this; they will roll out new capabilities in 2022, 2023, 2024 - these capabilities are just going to grow. Eventually it will get to nearly Level 4 autonomy, and the adoption will grow along with the convenience and added safety. 

A fully autonomous car will not just suddenly be available overnight - the autonomy capabilities will grow gradually. But for robo-taxis for certain confined areas, and trucks for certain routes, the technology is ready. 

Anything Exciting That Will Be Launching Soon at DeepMap? deepmap advantage startup car.JPG

We’re launching a product called DeepMap RoadMemory, which is an open mapping service that greatly accelerates automakers’ ability to deploy digital maps at scale leveraging their own production fleets. It automatically builds maps using “crowdsourced” perception data from everyday production cars on the road. This helps combine the vast scale, low latency, and low unit economics of a crowdsourced approach to data collection with DeepMap’s gold standard mapping technology. DeepMap RoadMemory also enables localization, as well as change detection and map update at scale.

It’s a product designed to build a level of high-definition (HD) map out of consumer vehicles that are equipped with cameras. What makes this so exciting is that it’s adding another solution to our bag of solutions for AV that addresses some issues in the near-term as far as map coverage and map freshness. Our vision is that when RoadMemory is combined with our High-Definition Reference (HDR) product, it will provide a future-proof solution for maps for AVs. As maps grow in coverage and quality, the companies relying on our map will be able to grow their capabilities alongside that.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

As for COVID’s effects upon the transportation industry, it depends on whether COVID dies out. If COVID doesn’t fully go away, people might continue to be reluctant to use mass transit. If post-COVID doesn’t happen, that will be a big change; if the disease continues being prevalent, that would be the worst case.

But if we can get past the pandemic and get into some kind of post-COVID “New Normal”, I think this autonomous vehicle industry will mostly get back to normal. Lots of companies in this space I think will try to get back to working in offices. I don’t think it’s going to be a massive change for our specific industry.

Run Us Through A Typical Day In The Life.

I’ve been working from home during the pandemic, but I don’t think WFH will last forever. At DeepMap, we’ll be working from the office as soon as the local public health authorities allow it.

I don’t wake up super early, I’m not a 4 a.m. person. I generally am up by 7 a.m. or so, then start my day by going through communications, checking the bug reports, design documents, technical discussions on slack, etc.

I don’t drink coffee, I only drink water. I was told “never touch caffeine again” by a doctor during my first startup, which was harsh! But I was drinking too much caffeine in those earlier years... and it wasn’t a good idea.

Generally when we are in the office, I am one of the first people into the office in the morning. And those first couple of hours was when I got the most work done. As soon as everyone else rolls in, especially when you’re leading large teams, you get no time to think. You’re constantly barraged by requests.

I’ve always prioritized everybody else above my time. I’d rather see the people on my team get what they need from me and keep moving than worry about interrupting me. It was similar at Google. I would try to provide as quick of a turnaround on things as possible, regardless of what’s going on.

I’ve never been big on blocking out chunks of time and I’m not particularly regimented or methodical about how I structure my day. If something is supercritical and I need six hours to do it, I will block that out. I’m in communication with lots of people throughout the day and I can context-switch fairly rapidly. In general, I have a lot of balls in the air but I’ve gotten used to managing that.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

I think entrepreneurs need three qualities to be successful:

1. Ability to get things done. If you’re not good at getting things done you should probably stay out of entrepreneurship!

2. You have to be very resourceful and determined. Lots of people will tell you “No thank you,” or “That’s a stupid idea” or “Get a real job!”

3. You have to be able to convince people to follow you. Joining a startup is not a laughing matter. If you want to be successful, you have to convince people who are generally already successful to give up their current gig and come do the thing that you’re working on. Then you have to convince people to fund you. Funding and following, it’s a similar concept.

When it comes to advice, this is what I would give: join a startup first before you start your own. Try to learn from what you see going well there and not going well there. See what’s really involved in running a startup. Work at a couple other companies too. Make sure everyone loves to work with you. That matters, because if people don’t love to work with you, they’re not going to leave their nice-paying job to come work with you at a startup.

It’s all about relationships. Sometimes people can follow each other from one opportunity to the next. If you don’t have a good network of people who would love to work with you, you’re going to have a tough time. Investors can help attract talent to your startup, but it doesn’t work as well if you have to rely on investors to recruit talent. If you’re going to choose between a person you haven’t worked with before and someone you have, there’s a risk with someone you haven’t worked with.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson. deepmap ai startup autonomous driving.jpg

I saw a news story recently from Oakland, California - a man was arrested for riding in the back seat of his “autonomous” Tesla car. This is a real challenge for the AV space - the technology has got to be finetuned for safety, and companies like Tesla need to keep communicating to customers and the public about what is the right way to use this technology.

This is an example of where the marketing side of the technology can sometimes confuse the public. Tesla’s been using the phrase “Full Self-Driving” for something that is actually, at the moment, a “driver assistance” feature.

This is an example of where the concept being pushed in the public conversation about autonomous vehicles is actually not helping the industry as a whole. It has the potential to hurt the industry, hurt public perception, put pressure on regulators to make things more restrictive, and hold some things back from being developed more quickly.

I am happy to see organizations like PAVE, which is a coalition of industry, nonprofits, and academics. Their goal is to open up a public conversation about AVs). They try to raise public awareness of what is on the roads today and what is possible for the future.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I would really love to meet Tony Baxter, who was one of the most influential “Imagineers” for Disney. He created a lot of the most famous attractions at Disney parks, and I’ve been interested in Imagineering for a long time. Imagineering has a lot to do with combining technology and design and artistry, storytelling, all of these things that are very interesting to me. If I could’ve been an Imagineer, that would’ve been pretty cool.

If I could meet Tony, it would be fun to talk about challenges they had and solutions they developed. I’ve met a few Imagineers in the past. From talking to a few of the old-timers, I learned how they invented so much out of nothing. Everyone in software talks about agile processes as the new way of doing software, but then if you talk to the original Imagineers, they were doing back in the 1950s. So much of what we’re doing today as engineers was not “new” to them. I met one of the Imagineers, Bob Gurr, who designed most of the ride vehicles for Disney, and invited him to give a talk at Google. It was quite popular and super interesting.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Do or do not, there is no try.” - Yoda

I like this attitude and I try to use it in my everyday work. I’m not a fanatic, but I like Star Wars. One of my former co-workers went to work for Industrial Light & Magic and got to be an extra Jedi in one of the movies, and I’ve always felt a connection to those movies.

“It’s like deja vu all over again.” - Yogi Berra

I like the Yogi Berra quote because it’s true. So many of these problems we deal with in work, really are fundamentally the same. There are not a lot of “new” problems. The Imagineering guys dealt with a lot of the same problems back in the 1950s. Sometimes, my team comes across problems that we were working on in grad school in the early 90s.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success to me means getting things out in the world that do something useful. That was one of the reasons why I left research out of grad school. I was more interested in getting things created for use in the real world, not academia.

I was always interested in technology, and in grad school I was exposed to a lot. It was all very cool, but sometimes I felt there was a disconnect as far as how the technology was getting out into the real world. Carnegie Mellon is one of the best at connecting technology to the real world, especially in the robotics and computer science department, which is one of the best at working on real world problems. But I wanted to get even closer to real world problem-solving.

 Mark Wheeler’s Favorites Stack:

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Books:

1. Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon - written in 1930, this is a book of science fiction about humanity’s history, from dawn of man til the lights go out on them, spanning billions of years. But the author predicted a lot of future trends and conflicts; this book predicted World War II and anticipated so many of the technologies that we have today. It’s a crazy book! It really was fun to read.

2. Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon - written in 1937, this is another one that is just so crazy in terms of scope, it’s about all intelligent life in the universe and it’s way out there.

3. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby - I’m an Arsenal (a London soccer team) fan, so that book was right up my alley. It’s a memoir of Nick Hornby’s life as a lifelong soccer fan in North London, all the memories and moments of watching games and the effects on his life along the way from following the team. I was in England back in 1987-1988, it was a really interesting time in England as far as things going on with soccer fan violence, and the book also discusses that issue.

Health & Fitness:

1. I play soccer, which is good for fitness (except I get injured a lot). A few years ago I got headed in the head and shattered my face. That was not good. I kick around with my twin 16 year old sons as often as we can...they’re much better than me.

2. I saw that Tom Brady is selling some new exercise routine; I figure if he’s still dominating at his age, it’s worth trying.

3. I have a drum kit connected to the Rock Band video game, so I can rock out to various songs. That’s a good outlet and good exercise. I’m not very good but it’s fun.

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. I use Feedly. It’s a news aggregator that is kind of a new version of Google Reader, and it does a very good job of presenting different articles from newspapers and bloggers that you care to follow. It makes it easy to go through hundreds of articles per day and find the things that are most interesting and relevant. I do that, and in the AV space I keep track of pretty much every article. I really follow the AV industry news closely.

2. I’m not a big podcast listener. I’d rather see the transcript and blaze through it. I don’t always process information as well in an audio format. I will check out a podcast if the guest is particularly relevant to the AV industry.

3. As far as industry-specific thought leaders that I pay attention to...Brad Templeton is an industry thought leader, He has a deep view of what’s going on in the AV industry and is good at assessing and articulating the issues. Ed Niedermeyer of PAVE is another one. He is the author of “Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors,” which is a great book.

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Somewhere in Scandinavia, maybe Norway. It’s unclear as to how soon Europe might reopen to tourists.

2. This summer, we might do Maui. It’s a little closer to home, it’s easier, we can stay in the U.S.

3. Tokyo is one of our favorite vacations, and Paris is high on our list.

- What I Found
Christopher Lotz | Goodcover
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CHRISTOPHER LOTZ

Co-Founder & CEO of Goodcover, a company building a refreshingly fair approach to Home, Condo and Renters Insurance where coverage is clear and certain.

What Is Goodcover? Tell Us About What You Do And What Your Mission Is.

Goodcover is an insurance provider that operates as a cooperative. Our mission is to build a community of members enjoying financial peace of mind at half the cost of legacy providers. What differentiates Goodcover from others is that after collecting premiums and paying claims, at the end of the year, leftover money is returned to the membership via a dividend. This model aligns our incentives with members so we’re never betting against them. 

We’re live in California with our first product, renters insurance, and expanding across the nation this year.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

There's a joke in the industry that nobody chooses to go into insurance; insurance chooses you. And it’s kind of true - it's not really a much-loved industry. No little kid dreams of going into insurance. My father worked in the space so I knew about the business, so it wasn't totally foreign to me.

When I got out of college we entered the financial crisis. I got connected with AIG around my knowledge of boats, and they took me on to teach me the insurance part. They would send me abroad to go work in a foreign country - which is what I wanted after college. I learned a lot, and from the inside, you begin to understand how insurance underpins the entire economy. The point of insurance is to pick people off their feet. That’s very valuable and I really liked that. Of course, you then find that everyone universally hates which means it needs some serious work, so I stuck with it.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

There’s the insurance part and there’s also the start-up life part.

On the insurance part, I learned early on about how important and how valuable it is, but also how broken it is. So it’s been enjoyable to see it work and help people get back up on their feet with our product. But it’s also been hard - one of the least enjoyable parts is dealing with the enormous amount of headwind in this industry to change anything. It’s hard, but it’s getting done.

One the entrepreneurial journey itself, I loved doing Y-Combinator, which was super fun and helpful.

There is a mood meter chart on the whiteboard in our office from before we launched, tracking how we were feeling about all the partnerships and regulation milestones we had to overcome. It would go up and then crater because we would be having a setback, and then it would finally go up and up and up to what we called the party line where we got the deal done. We haven’t erased it, it’s still on that whiteboard. So the least and most favorite parts of the journey are literally on that chart.

And of course COVID-19 pandemic was a lowlight, navigating a young company during this time brought new challenges we didn’t foresee -- including staying focused with our children at home (my co-founder and I each have 3 kids under 5 years old). Succeeding from that and feeling that we launched the product and had done it well, and people were using it and it was helping people and we were doing it the right way. That was probably the biggest highlight - even if it was going from zero to one.

And now as we build and grow, there are lots of challenges and fun parts along the way. You hear this a lot from entrepreneurs - they look back on their early days with nostalgia.

Goodcover-pattern.phrase.png What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And What You Use The Money You’ve Raised For.

We launched in February of 2020, we started growing really fast like we were hoping - through COVID times, so we’re chugging away. We got to the point where we realized we had solved or answered most of the questions we had set out to answer with the launch - will people use this, will they buy it, can we sell it successfully, can we service it successfully - can we get all these things working and does it work for their investment. We thought very much yes.

There were a lot of people to talk to. We did YC, we did a seed round. Warm intros to about 40-60 people on our list of who we were looking to raise from to close our Series A. We ended up selecting Goodwater which is a consumer-focused fund was a great fit for us because at the end of the day we’re a consumer business.

We did a lot of looking at fintech and insurtech VC’s but ultimately, we are a business that has a relationship with our members, a consumer business. They really understood our business and we understood the value they bring and that clicked really well. That happened in October 2020 and since then we have used that money primarily to hire more engineers, expand our marketing budget, but the biggest thing is for scale - we’re going to go from one state (California) to 50% of the population over the next 12 months or so. It’s to take what we’ve already done and bring it to a wider population.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The inspiration behind the company name - funny story, we had a different company name when we entered YC and we couldn't get the URL. We spent forever talking about this because we wanted something that gives a collaborative, cooperative feel without sounding like we’re a dairy co-op and confusing people. We couldn’t get the URL because it was taken and then we were like “now what.” Dan began perusing the Internet and found Goodcover and was able to get it for a screaming deal - and it was an amazing URL.

I learned a lot from that - first thing, get the dot com. Very important. Sometimes you can over-optimize that stuff and the name kind of finds you. And Goodcover perfectly describes what we do.

Goodcover-founders_chris_dan_headshot.jpg Tell Us About Your Co-Founder. How Do His Skills Supplement Yours?

My Co-Founder is Dan Di Spaltro - he’s behind the technology we build. I have given him an associate’s degree in insurance as he likes to say. I don’t think I’ve learned as much about technology as he has about insurance but oh well. But we complement each other perfectly in that regard. If this is the insurtech business, I am the insur, and he is the tech. It helps that we like each other, too. We respect each other’s spheres and collaborate in that regard.

Over The Last Few Years, Numerous Insurtech Startups Have Popped Up Aiming To Capture A Share Of The Market And Modernize The Experience. How Does Goodcover Differentiate Itself In The Marketplace?

I think the core difference between us and every other insurtech is that we operate as a cooperative. Fundamentally, we change the incentive at the core of the business from we make money betting against our members, to we make money serving our members. Since we don’t take a profit off of the claims portion of your dollar, we do a flat fee and then return a dividend back to our membership. It changes our relationship with them in a very positive way.

This flows onto all different parts of the business. Ultimately what we’re building is a membership organization and in that regard, it’s about service, it’s about taking care of people. We’re one of the only insurtech I think that still has an easily accessible phone number you can call if you have problems.

Nearly 90% of our members are not switching, they are coming from no insurance at all, so this is new to them and we make people feel comfortable doing that. We are their first relationship. We are less expensive than the legacy market, we offer better coverage, we offer a digital experience - all of those things are table stakes in the insurtech game. What differentiates us from the others is our relationship with our membership.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

Our industry is going through two huge secular shifts. The first is that younger people are growing up and gaining assets - they are getting married, having kids, all these life stages. Many of these life stages have been delayed. 1) because of the financial crisis and 2) because of COVID-19. These continuous crises have put my generation and the generations around me on the back foot, in that regard. I strongly believe that’s not because we want it, but because it happened that way - and we are working our hardest to get back on our feet. When that happens you will see the buyer in the market for insurance - who needs to be served, what needs to be protected, who is at risk and post-COVID that will only accelerate. Older people will be downsizing and younger people will be upsizing as the economy shifts. There will become a tipping point at which the agency distributed model of insurance that dominates today will decline and will collide with the increase in the number of people coming into market that will not want to use that model. And that will be a real challenge for the industry. Helping those people - that’s the reason we’re doing this.

Run Us Through A Typical Day In The Life.

At 5 am I get woken up by my 10-month old. I either put her pacifier back in or try to bring her to mommy for nursing depending how strict we are being with sleep training that day. I try to go back to sleep for a little while. By 6:00 or 6:30 I get woken up by 3 yr old and 4 yr old, jumping on our bed usually or making a racket in another part of the house and wondering what it is. There’s the whole rush process of getting everyone ready for preschool and I’m usually in my seat by 8:00 or 8:30 am depending on how house exit goes. I then try to reserve my mornings as much as possible for what people call Maker Time. We’re still a small company. I’m still the head insurance person so that means spreadsheets, etc. In the afternoon I tend to take meetings with the team, I meet with outside investors and all the various forward-facing, public-facing company stuff. It works because of internal math time at the house or because it’s 4:30 and I have to go pick up the kids from preschool. Then, we have family time, dinner time, the kids are typically in bed between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. Usually a couple of days a week I’ll continue to work afterward, but I also try to have time for me and my wife and everything else that happens in your life. 

What Are The Top Three Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out? Goodcover-product-priceshow-small.gif

Have a strong conviction about what you want to do. Know what the dream is. Know where you are going. My co-founder and I talk about this a lot. There is Mission Level, Strategy Level and a Tactics Level. Mission Level should never really change - it might, due to life, but in general, it should not. Then at the Strategy Level things often change as you develop. Don’t get wedded to Tactics - just do the right thing for the situation that works in your strategy.

Do what you say you are going to do - that’s a quick way to go from zero to hero in a lot of people’s view.

Willingness to be wrong - you will be wrong a lot. The sooner you realize that, you will learn a lot in the meantime.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Thinking about this question - it’s hard to pin down really one “go to” story that has taught me something especially meaningful. Instead, I can think of a million stories (most of them very boring and none of them funny) that all have the same lesson: you know that pain you get when you realize you missed a deadline, or should call that person, or want to follow up but are embarrassed to? Trust yourself to listen to that feeling - it’s telling you something is wrong here and you can do something about it. If you’re ever wondering what the “right” answer is and more data won’t tell you… that little pain probably will.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Oprah. I don’t know whether I would learn something about business from her success, about the world outside my privileged experience from her story, or about myself from the questions she’d ask, but I’d learn something important. The way I envision it, it wouldn’t be the kind of meeting you take notes from. Rather, it’d be one of those where years and years later you suddenly realize it was the catalyst for the better you that’s doing whatever it is you are doing now.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

The Golden Rule - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

What Does Success Mean To You?

You could easily be trite on this subject, but to me success is very much about doing what you set out to do and feel good about it. For me, that’s to build Goodcover into a leading provider of personal insurance for the next generation in a fair, efficient, and helpful way. To be what insurance should be. If we can do that and build the company into that sort of powerhouse, then we’ve been successful.

There are other parts of life, too - like being successful with your kids is making sure they are happy and learn things and healthy and they feel loved. I have just succeeded with Goodcover and not the kids, then I have failed. It’s the same with my wife and family and friends. It’s an important balance.

For Goodcover, it’s a simple process: we know what we need to be, we know where we need to go, it’s pretty measurable, and we’re on the way. Sometimes people measure success by outcomes and outcomes are important but there is a process to get to the outcomes. You have to stick to the process, adapt the process, measure the process. Jon McNeill formerly of Tesla said you wanna make the year, you gotta make the month. You want to make the month, you have to make the week. If you want to make the week, you have to make the day.

Taking that down and taking it one day at a time is the hard part, and that is when you know you are on the pathway.

 Christopher Lotz’s Favorites Stack:

7142WsNQPVL.jpg

Books:

1. Getting Things Done - David Allen

2. Disciplined Entrepreneurship - Bill Aulet

3. The Great CEO Within - Matt Mochary, Alex MacCaw, Misha Talavera 

Health & Fitness:

1. Cardiocast - audio training for rowing and running

2. Overfit - a YC personal training start-up

3. Meditation - I use Headspace

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Coverager - insurtech newsletter

2. Scott Galloway’s blog

3. Ray Dalio’s economics newsletter

- What I Found
Matt Likens | GT Medical
MattLikens Headshot.jpg

MATT LIKENS

President & CEO of GT Medical, a company that has developed a unique therapeutic approach to the treatment of brain tumors.

What Is GT Medical? Tell Us About What You Do And What Your Mission Is.

GT Medical Technologies, Inc. is a start-up medical device company. GT stands for GammaTiles®. GammaTiles are radiation implants that are deployed during the last five minutes of brain tumor resection surgery to eliminate remaining tumor/cancer cells. Even the most skilled neurosurgeons are not able to remove every last brain tumor cell. The standard of care for operable brain tumors for the last 15 years is for the neurosurgeon to perform a “maximal safe” resection or removal of the tumor, without damaging remaining healthy brain tissue. Typically, patients will require a day or two of recovery in hospital before going home. Three to four weeks later, after surgical wound healing, patients undergo up to six weeks of daily external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in an attempt to eliminate residual tumor cells. Unfortunately, the 3-4 week waiting period allows residual cells to replicate, increasing the challenge for effective EBRT treatments. Also, patients must rely upon friends or family members to transport them to a hospital or radiation clinic, they typically suffer significant hair loss, and it is exhausting. In addition, these vulnerable patients have up to 30 exposures to healthcare institutions during the age of Covid. On top of all this, 50-90% of patients suffer a tumor recurrence within 12 months.

GammaTile Therapy is delivered to the operating room by radiation oncology and neurosurgeons simply tile the cavity created by tumor removal. These procedures take less than 5 minutes, and the radiation goes to work immediately, before cancer cells have a chance to replicate. Radiation seeds are embedded in a collagen tile carrier which is resorbed into adjacent tissue over time, with no need for removal. Because of our Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT), we are able to safely generate 2.5 times the energy within this cavity than can be achieved by EBRT and it has proven to be highly lethal to residual tumor cells.

GT has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for recurrent intracranial neoplasms (brain tumors) as well as for newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors. All tumor types are on label including glioblastomas (GBMs), metastases (tumors that have migrated to the brain from other parts of the anatomy), and meningiomas. Truly impressive clinical data has been generated which led to FDA clearances/approvals.

Our PURPOSE as a company is simply to: “Improve the Lives of Patients with Brain Tumors”. It is very meaningful to each team member and we are excited about the prospect of providing patients with operable brain tumors a superior option for their follow-up radiation therapy.

After 14 months of Limited Market Release beginning in January 2019 during which we refined clinical training programs, confirmed handling and implantation processes, improved packaging and logistics, and adjusted pricing, we began Full Market Release in March 2020, unfortunately coinciding with the global pandemic. Despite significant challenges relating to hospital access, there are currently 36 hospitals across the country that have adopted GT, with many more in the pipeline.

What Is Your Background? Tell Us A Little Bit About Your Journey To Becoming CEO, And How You Ended Up In This Space.

This is my third start-up company experience and the second time being a CEO. Prior to start-ups, I spent three years with Johnson & Johnson Corporation and had a 23-year career at Baxter International, including roles as President Renal Dialysis in the US, and President of Baxter Biotech North America. In 2001 I left Baxter for a well-funded start-up in South Florida as an executive VP of operations. In July 2006 I was named President/CEO and second employee of Ulthera, Inc., a medical device company, based in Mesa, AZ. We grew to 230 employees and about $100M in revenue over the course of the next 8 years, filed to go public but were eventually acquired by a German pharmaceutical company. After a two-year retention agreement ended, I retired for 15 months before meeting the five founders of GT Medical in mid-2017. I was very impressed with each founder as well as with the potential of GammaTile Therapy to truly help patients with operable brain tumors. Having spent a career in life sciences/medical devices, I can recognize superior clinical data when I see it. GT was and is an opportunity to leverage a career of experiences toward the worthy cause of helping patients with operable brain tumors.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey?

My favorite part of entrepreneurship is the challenge of building something where nothing existed previously. Assembling a talented group of individuals and forging an effective team-based-upon company Purpose, commonly-held Operating Principles, and effective communication has been extremely gratifying. It is amazing what a team can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.

Fundraising is not fun! The entrepreneur is pitching to potential investors whose job it is to find anything and everything that might go wrong with your business model. However, it is fun to prove the naysayers wrong and produce a healthy return for those bold enough to invest.  

What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company? GTMedTech Logo Color.png

It is always challenging as a brand-new company to establish a novel, unknown therapy in a marketplace that is extremely conservative by nature. In the beginning, no one has heard of the company nor the brand. So, just getting an audience with key decision-makers is a challenge. Typically, companies can overcome this challenge by having a large presence at industry trade shows where our founding physicians can interact with prospective users. During COVID, all industry trade shows became virtual, which made things even more difficult. Another challenge is based upon the fact that all our impressive clinical data that is used to support adoption of GammaTile Therapy was generated at just one hospital. And finally, our therapy has yet to become a “standard” of care for patients with brain tumors. Many clinicians follow a “standard” because that is viewed as the least-risk approach for treating patients. Newer technologies are initially viewed as riskier because of their relative paucity of data. 

Exciting moments in our corporate journey include two FDA approvals/clearances, three successful rounds of financing, first patient treatment in late- January 2019, and now with almost 40 adopting hospitals and hundreds of patients successfully treated thus far. 

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And What You Use The Money You’ve Raised For.

Upon incorporating GT Medical in October 2017, we immediately raised a $3.0M Seed round of financing. The round was led by MedTech Venture Partners out of Mission Bay/San Francisco, a newly-established fund focused on promising early-stage medical device companies. Arizona Technology Investors (ATI) is a Phoenix-based angel funding group that also contributed significantly to the Seed round. After gaining our initial FDA clearance in mid-2018, we raised a $10M Series A round that closed in January 2019, also led by MTVP and ATI, with BlueStone Ventures from Tucson also coming into the round. And finally, after our second FDA clearance in January 2020 and early commercial results, we were able to raise a $16M Series B that closed in November 2020. MVM Partners out of Boston led that round and were joined by the three groups previously mentioned. 

Our investors are absolutely superb! They are a group of really smart, experienced contributors who each bring more to GT Medical than just money. Their enthusiastic support of our technology and team is empowering, making us a better company.

We are carefully allocating funding to achieve the company’s key objectives around commercialization of GammaTile Therapy, investing in a host of clinical studies to further validate safety and effectiveness of our technology, continually improving manufacturing efficiencies, and exploring additional applications of this technology.

GammaTile Lifted from Tray.jpg Can You Tell Us About Some Of Your Numbers? How Has Growth Been Over The Past Couple Of Years? What Do You Anticipate Growth To Be Like Over The Next Two Years?

Previously I described our Limited Market Release period for GammaTile Therapy from January 2019 to March 2020. During that time, we had 10 hospitals adopt GammaTile and generated $1.3M in revenue while at the same time refining our training and in-servicing, honing our marketing messages, improving our packaging, and streamlining logistics. Obviously, hospital access was a huge challenge during 2020, but we were able to grow revenue to $4.4M. We plan to double revenue in 2021 and are running ahead of plan thus far with a goal of doubling again in 2022.

Tell Us About The Co-Founders And People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

The founders are five brain tumor specialists who are committed to improving clinical outcomes for patients with operable brain tumors. One of the founders, Dr. David Brachman, is now our Chief Technology Officer and a board member. He was previously Director of Radiation Oncology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix for 15 years, is one of the smartest people I have worked with and brings humility to work each day. Every other member of the Senior Leadership Team is an absolute expert in their area of focus, whether it be operations, clinical development, corporate development, sales, marketing, R&D, or customer service. I am pretty good at hiring excellent people and creating an environment in which they can do their best work.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

I believe that “virtual” and/or “remote” practices will continue to be utilized to a much greater degree than any of us thought was possible pre-pandemic. Am wondering about the health of commercial real estate in the future as fewer individuals inhabit offices. 

GammaTile 3 Surfaces.jpg What Does Your Typical Day Look Like?

I rise between 5-5:30 each morning and at least four days a week start with exercise. There are 3-4 Orange Theory workout classes each week as well as Saturday morning tennis. Regular morning exercise gives me more energy and focus all day long. Meetings either in person or on Zoom calls begin between 8-9am each day and last until 5-6pm. Travel to meet suppliers or to work with the field team or attend industry conferences will soon be occupying roughly every other week. When traveling I connect with my wife at home at least once each day. When at home, Nancy and I have dinner together, review our respective days, and also try to connect with our grown children several times per week. We retire fairly early and try to always have a book to read, ideally on a subject unrelated to work.

What Are The Top Three Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

If I had to limit this list to three qualities or skills, they would be 1) Competitive Drive, 2) Perseverance, and 3) Humility.

The trajectory of any start-up company is determined more by the individuals who occupy “the bus” than any other factor. So, make sure when you are hiring the team, take as much time as necessary to hire the right people. A phrase that one often hears is to hire slowly and fire quickly, and I believe there is wisdom in that phrase. If one has made the wrong hiring decision it is usually apparent right away. Since team chemistry is so important, correcting a hiring mistake quickly is recommended for the sake of the company and the individual.

I believe that each member of a start-up should own a piece of the company through the granting of stock options. This makes everyone an owner of the company, allowing management to appeal to that pride of ownership. In essence, each person is not only working for the company, he or she is working for themselves, as well. Every dollar spent on behalf of the enterprise should be done in light of creating the most value for the company. Stock options are also an effective employee retention tool since they vest over a number of years.

Company leadership ideally creates a culture in which every employee is valued. Their opinions are listened to and every person cares only about making decisions that are best for the business, independent of whose idea it was.

And finally, do your best to establish the “WHY” for the company at the earliest point possible. A powerful corporate purpose goes a long way toward attracting and retaining top talent.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

My wife and I have two children. Our oldest is a son who was just married on May 1st of this year and our youngest is a daughter who was married five years ago and now has a two-year-old daughter, our first grandchild. Several months ago, our daughter and granddaughter traveled to Arizona to spend the weekend with us. One morning my wife and daughter left the house to exercise, leaving me with our granddaughter, and wouldn’t you know it, not ten minutes after they left, she needed her diaper changed. By my calculation, it had been a little over thirty years since I had changed a diaper. No problem! I found it was a little like riding a bike, once you have mastered it, the skill returns very quickly. Everything went smoothly!

The lesson I learned or was able to relearn is to not take oneself too seriously. My granddaughter could not care less that I am the CEO of a promising start-up company with a game-changing technology and an outstanding team. She just needed to have her diaper changed and fortunately, I was able to meet the challenge. This is the type of experience that allows one to maintain perspective.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

This is a difficult question since I am at the point in life when many of the people I have admired over the years have ultimately proven to be unworthy of my admiration. Warren Buffett is a fascinating person who has had a long track record of success but has somehow managed to live a “normal” lifestyle. He still resides in a middle-class neighborhood in Omaha, NE, gets lunch at McDonald’s every day, and has remained mentally astute into his late-80s. An hour with Warren would be a real treat.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I do not have one particular role model but have tried to learn “best practices” from a host of people over the years. 

unsplash-image-uffQnKuJ-hc.jpg What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

My wife and I enjoy domestic and international travel. We have relocated ten times in almost 41 years of marriage. The good news is we have friends in a variety of places and love visiting them or hosting them in Arizona. We are thankful to have a very close family and try to get together as often as possible to maintain those close ties. Staying physically active is a high priority along with regular church attendance and keeping up with current events.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“It is amazing how much a team can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.” - Harry S. Truman

I like this because it reflects the power of a selfless approach to solving issues and building businesses for the greater good.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

I just finished reading the Biography of Benjamin Franklin written by Walter Isaacson. The book covers in great detail the Continental Congress held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, as representatives from each of the 13 colonies/states came together to decide how the country was going to be governed in the future. The United States Constitution resulted from this three-month process despite the dramatic differences of opinion present as the congress began. Benjamin Franklin was in his early 80s at the time and was by far the “elder statesman” of the event. He was the most famous American in the world because of his many inventions, his decision to live in both England and France for significant parts of his life, and his excellent communication skills. He was able to find middle ground on a host of topics where conflicts existed in order to balance interests and create the constitution. Here we are over 300 years later still operating our democracy based upon that same constitution. 

Our inability as a country today to have elected representatives who will compromise to reach agreement on what is truly best for the country continues to be troubling. It seems like “my way or the highway” is the prevailing attitude in Washington DC, along with the inability to understand alternative points of view. I pray that we can overcome this conflict and search for answers that bring us to acceptable middle ground.

What Does Success Mean To You?

My definition of success is simply to achieve one’s potential. We are all blessed with varying degrees of potential. I truly admire those who through hard work, consistency, and perseverance, achieve the greatest potential from what they were given.

 Matt Likens’ Favorites Stack:

A1yfTyslOOL.jpg

Books:

1. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

2. Biography of Benjamin Franklin, by Walter Isaacson

3. Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

Health & Fitness:

1. Orange Theory Fitness workouts

2. Wilson tennis rackets

Brands:

1. Brooks athletic shoes

2. Under Armour workout clothes

3. Nordstrom Smart Care dress shirts

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Wall Street Journal

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Greece

2. Machu Picchu

3. Ohio

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Alibaba-Backed ZTO Says Covid Disrupted China Express Deliveries In April; 1st Qtr Profit Rose
Covid prevention "will become part of a daily norm"
- John Navin, Contributor
These 4 Energy Stocks Just Keep Hitting New Highs
While the formerly hot components of NASDAQ-100 and the formerly hot major cryptocurrency continue to trend downward, one big stock sector can’t stop going up in price.
- John Kang, Forbes Staff
Meet The Fintech Founders And Startup Investors On The 2022 30 Under 30 Asia List
From facilitating cross-border payments to investing in tech startups, this year's 30 Under 30 Asia listees in Finance and Venture Capital category are making their mark.
- John Kang, Forbes Staff
The 30 Under 30 Asia 2022 Entrepreneurs Transforming The Booming Logistics Industry
This year's Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia honorees in the Industry, Manufacturing & Energy category are using technology to improve various industries, including the logistics and supply chain sector.
- Bob Haber, Contributor
The Great Gold/Bitcoin Debate – Act Three
The process we have developed for Bitcoin stands on three legs – Market share, correlation statistics, and fundamental models. We view all three in aggregate and so should you as we wait to see when Bitcoin matures (or doesn't).
- Roomy Khan, Contributor
Innovative Crypto Stablecoins- Still At Infancy And Experiencing Growing Pains
Recent monetary policy tightening have triggered steep declines in many financial markets, including crypto assets which have lost almost $1 trillion in market capitalization in just one week.
- Simon Moore, Senior Contributor
Fed Sees Asset Prices As Elevated, Expects To Raise Rates Further
Minutes from the Fed's May meeting highlights real concerns on inflation, including the risk inflation could rise further.
- Sergei Klebnikov, Forbes Staff
Retail Stocks Rebound But ‘Feast-Or-Famine Environment’ May Persist Amid Shift In Consumer Spending, Experts Warn
Retailers have seen a big selloff in recent weeks as several major companies reported that profits took a hit from inflationary pressures.
- Amber Gray-Fenner, Contributor
IRS Updates “Where’s My Refund” Tool
The IRS announced today that it has provided a much requested update to their “Where’s My Refund?”
- Sergei Klebnikov, Forbes Staff
Stocks Rally After Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Will Continue To Raise Rates Aggressively
The Fed signaled that it would be prepared to be even more aggressive about hiking rates.
- Adam S. Minsky, Senior Contributor
Biden’s New Student Loan Forgiveness Changes May Wind Up Costing Some Borrowers
The Biden administration is in the process of implementing significant new federal student loan forgiveness initiatives. But depending on the specific program and the exact timing of that loan forgiveness, some borrowers may wind up getting hit with a surprise penalty: extra taxes.
- Dividend Channel, Contributor
Daily Dividend Report: Campbell Soup, Band Of Montreal, Royal Gold, Merck, Digital Realty
- Nina Bambysheva, Forbes Staff
JPMorgan Says Bitcoin Is Undervalued By 28%, Says Cryptocurrencies Are Now A ‘Preferred Alternative Asset’
Despite the crypto slump, banking giant JPMorgan says bitcoin is massively undervalued.
- Q.ai - Powering a Personal Wealth Movement, Contributor
How Recessions Impact Investors
Despite the hype, stock market declines make poor indicators of potential recessions.
- Brendan Ahern, Senior Contributor
Hong Kong Cheers NetEase & Kuaishou Results
Asian equities were largely higher as China outperformed while Japan, India, and Indonesia were off slightly.
- Matthew Erskine, Contributor
Estate Planning During A Bear Market
In April of 2022, the stock market officially entered Bear Market territory, but this is an opportunity to leverage the down market into some long-term estate planning.
- Trefis Team, Contributor
After Dismal Performance Last Month, L’Oreal Stock Looks Set To Rebound
L’Oreal stock (OTCMKTS: LRLCY) is down 14% in the past month (21 trading days), underperforming the S&P 500 which was down 8.5%.
- Hank Tucker, Forbes Staff
Chicago RIA Cresset To Form $27 Billion Multi-Family Office By Merging With Minnesota’s Meristem Family Wealth
The deal will give Cresset ownership of Meristem’s South Dakota trust subsidiary to help its wealthy clientele protect their assets.
- Amanda Muskego
How to Create a More Inclusive Workplace

The way you choose to communicate with your customer base is just one half of the coin. The tone that you set with your team behind the scenes is just as important to your success. Not only will an inclusive workplace create an environment where your employees feel comfortable and welcome, but research shows that organizations who make it a priority are more innovative and successful than their counterparts.

Having a diverse workforce includes hiring individuals with different backgrounds, ethnicities, neurodiversity, disabilities, and gender identities, creating a rich pool of life experiences to draw on. To be inclusive, there needs to be an emphasis on truly understanding the diversity of your employees and intentionally constructing a space where they feel like they belong and can thrive.

Recognize your bias

The first step towards creating a business that it equitable for every staff member is to take the time to educate yourself about your own biases. Even those of us with the best of intentions can be disregarding the needs of others due to a lack of awareness. Admitting what your blind spots are and identifying places where you need to do more learning is the first step to being someone your staff can count on.   

Create a safe space for employees

To create a truly inclusive space, team members should feel comfortable being vulnerable about their needs or pointing out places where there can be improvements. Frequently communicate and model the idea that everyone’s opinion is valued, and make sure there are a variety of avenues for individuals to express themselves and be heard, whether in a group setting, one-on-one, or anonymously.

Commit to constant learning

Being committed to inclusivity is not a one-and-done approach. Like other aspects of your business, it should continuously evolve and change as you learn more. No one is going to be able to get everything right all the time but developing a culture that is focused on growing together will move your team in the right direction. Consider how to have ongoing conversations with your staff and customers about your goals and look for opportunities to attend workshops or lectures that will further your knowledge on the topic.

Set goals and measure progress

At the end of the day, it can do more harm than good to say you’re going to work on inclusivity and then drop the ball when it comes to making real change. That’s why it’s key to set clear goals about what inclusivity is going to look like in your business and how you’re going to measure success. Be open to getting feedback from your employees on what is working well and what still needs improvement.

As you start to consider the many elements of an inclusive workspace and what is most important to your team, here are a few topics to keep in mind:

·         What language do you use in team meetings, on social media, on signage, and informally with your staff and customers? Think about the ways that your language may unintentionally be excluding or offending different groups of people. 

·         What holidays does your business observe and compensate staff for? Talk to your team members about what holidays they celebrate that may be different from you and consider what your vacation pay practices are.

·         What resources are available to your staff to support their individual needs? Who can they turn to if they aren’t getting the support they need? It’s hard to know all the barriers people face from first glance. Instead, have easily accessible information and resources that cover a range of needs and add to the list as necessary.

Though it may seem overwhelming at first, having an inclusive workplace will ultimately benefit everyone involved. When a team feels connected and appreciated, that transfers into a healthier space for them and better service for your customers.

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- Amanda Muskego
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs to receive $3 million in funding to provide more access to capital for women business owners

Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurs has received $3 million in grant funding through the Women’s Economic Recovery - Capital Growth Initiative. The Capital Growth Initiative is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, and an additional loan fund is now available to support women entrepreneurs who need easier access to capital. This investment will support more women who want to expand or start a business, helping diversify Alberta’s economy and creating new job opportunities throughout the province.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and Community Futures Network of Alberta will administer the loans from the Women’s Economic Recovery - Capital Growth Initiative.  Under the initiative, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs will provide capital to women in Edmonton, Calgary, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park, while Community Futures will provide capital to rural communities in Alberta. Under the initiative, up to $75,000 will be made available in repayable loans.

“Research proves that women entrepreneurs drive more than economic growth when their enterprises are successful – they change communities. Women were also disproportionately economically impacted by the pandemic. Access to capital for business investment for women entrepreneurs is essential to rebuilding Alberta's economy.”  - Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

“Alberta’s economy has momentum and we want to keep it going. By ensuring that women entrepreneurs in our province have more access to capital to help grow their business, we are building for the future. This is an important opportunity to create more jobs and a stronger business environment.” - Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

Left to right: Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Phyllis Maki, Executive Director at Community Futures Network of Alberta, Marcela Mandeville, CEO at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Whitney Issik, Associate Minister of Status of Women, Anna Liska, Owner at Always Occasions, Jewel Buksa, Board Chair at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

About Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women entrepreneurs through access to capital and connections, and support with building business capacity.

About Community Futures Network

Community Futures Network of Alberta has a rural focus and has helped rural Albertans launch, grow and scale their businesses. With 27 regional offices located throughout Alberta, Community Futures has significant reach into every corner of the province, including with First Nations, Métis Settlements, and Indigenous communities.

For more information:

Catherine Larose,

Marketing Lead, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

587 635 4278 ext.4278

catherine.larose@awebusiness.com

- Amanda Muskego
6 Elements to Building an Effective Communication Strategy During a Crisis

As a business owner many people will look to you as a leader during difficult situations. Customers and staff alike will look for direction on how your business is going to operate going forward and how they will fit into that picture. There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a communication strategy that will help keep the conversations going in the right direction.

When communicating with customers:

Create Trust

During a crisis it’s important more than ever to be a reliable space for your customers. Once your business has decided on a strategy, make sure that your messaging is consistent. All communication channels and staff members should be saying the same thing. Defer to trusted, credible sources of information and let your customers know how those sources influence your decision-making.

Be Timely

The elements of your business could change rapidly as a crisis evolves, so it’s critical that there is a plan in place to update customers in a timely manner. Changes to business hours, products, and delivery can have an impact on when and how customers interact with you, and these factors should be updated through the appropriate channels as soon as they’re known while still acknowledging that information may change over time.

Build Community

In times of uncertainty the relationship that you have built with your customers can be a source of comfort for both you and them. As much as possible try to focus on messages of solidarity and forward-thinking to create resilience in your partnership. Invite your customers to think about what their future experiences with your business will feel like and how it can benefit them in times of hardship.

In addition to any online communication channels, it’s important to consider what practical, physical signage you may need to incorporate. Provincial and federal health websites provide free posters that can be downloaded and placed around your business. Some useful signs include:

·         PPE reminders (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.)

·         Physical distancing

·         Business hours or an open sign (especially important in cases where the public may not expect you to be open or when hours are changing rapidly)

When communicating with staff members:

Be Transparent

There will inevitably be a few unknowns as you move through a crisis. Don’t be afraid to let your staff know what is uncertain or still being decided on. When decisions are being made, make a point of explaining why and what the implications will be for everyone involved.

Have Empathy

Good leaders should recognize that disasters are, of course, periods of stress and anxiety, and that will be no different for your staff members. It’s important to express understanding and gratitude as individuals continue to work through these periods of hardship. Emphasize what steps you are taking to prioritize and protect your team as their leader.

Allow for Autonomy

Where possible, make sure that communication with your employees is an open dialogue and they have opportunities to be heard and involved. Give them specific tasks to do and then show confidence in their abilities to carry out those tasks. Allowing them to make their own choices within a set of guidelines will help them feel like they have control while contributing to a greater purpose.  

Choosing the right communication style and medium is not always the easiest process, especially during times of stress, but when done right, it can build an even better connection amongst your team and customer base.

If you keep these 6 elements in mind while building your communications strategy, you will surely be able to effectively navigate through any difficult situation and keep the conversations going in the right direction.

- Amanda Muskego
Nasim Morawej shares her experience as a member of the AWE Board of Directors
Nasim Morawej, wearing red shirt and smiling with arms crossed

Nasim Morawej

Nasim Morawej first heard about Alberta Women Entrepreneurs after starting her engineering firm, Sentient Tools, in 2017. When positions opened up on the Board of Directors at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs shortly after, she decided it would be a good opportunity. That choice allowed her to navigate entrepreneurship while helping shape the future of it for women in Alberta.

Nasim’s curiosity and vision have made her an invaluable leader in creating a lasting impact on the community, and she emphasized how symbiotic the position has been for her. AWE encourages board members to participate in the various programs and seminars offered, and over her tenure, Nasim has taken the time to attend many of them, something she says has helped her develop a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial space, and kept her inspired.

“It's a great opportunity because not only are you contributing and giving back to your community and you are also learning a lot. I have never seen any other board that is this organized and cares about the education of the board members this much.”

One of the most fulfilling aspects for Nasim has been the level of support she feels from the other board members. “That will be the most difficult part of stepping away from this, not to be a part of the group anymore,” she says. “It's been very difficult starting a new business and going through the pandemic. So it's been very inspiring to see all others who are very successful, talented people. The days when I just don't know if I can do this anymore, I pick up the phone and talk to other board members.”

After three years on the board contributing to both the recruitment and ownership linkage committees, Nasim is moving on to focus on a second business and her family. However, the relationships she’s created with AWE and her colleagues is something she plans to continue long into the future.

- Amanda Muskego
Understanding the Difference Between Financial Advice & Financial Support

Many entrepreneurs do not strike out on their own already having strong business acumen. Most are driven by passion and a desire to provide for their communities which can make financial management, a crucial part of being a business owner, a big challenge. When looking for help, how do you know when you need financial advice versus financial support?

It is likely that every entrepreneur will need both financial advice and financial support at some point in their journey.

Financial support is centered around obtaining the funds needed to start and operate a business. It can include loans, grants, and subsidies to help cover everyday costs.

It may be necessary to access financial support at various stages in your business such as covering start-up costs when launching your business, getting help when revenues aren’t enough to pay your expenses, or even getting help when one-time expenses unexpectedly come up, or in a crisis situation like the COVID pandemic. A business can also look at receiving financial support in order to expand its operations and reach new markets.

On the other hand, financial advice is focused on leveraging the resources you already have to your advantage and helping you decide when it is time to access financial support.

Financial advisors can offer support in a myriad of ways, including determining the best way to allocate capital, insight on risk management, and how to find opportunities. They may include research and case studies to help answer questions you have about moving your business forward in the best possible way.

Women entrepreneurs can experience unconscious bias when it comes to accessing capital which can result in being treated differently than their male counterparts.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs recognizes this and offers both financial advice and financial support to women entrepreneurs to help start, grow and sustain their businesses. We provide loans of up to $150,000 to cover expenses including operating capital, equipment purchases, and advertising. If a loan doesn’t seem like the right fit for a business owner at that time, there are resources available to help find grants and other funding opportunities that may be a better fit.  

We also offer free one-on-one advising sessions for entrepreneurs needing advice, whether that’s to discuss the next steps for their business or access other resources. Advising can be done through the phone or online which allows women from both rural and urban areas to access this service.

Dealing with your business’ finances doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Take advantage of the resources available and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’s beneficial to society as a whole that you and your business succeed and thrive.

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- Courtney Bettin
AWE supports women business owners through uncertain times
3 business women giving each other a high five

The COVID pandemic has reshaped nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. For business owners, the stress of a new normal has been compounded. The more intimate setting of a small business means that the impacts of hardship are apparent and often more personal.

“The pandemic has impacted small business tremendously,” says Jenifer Horvath, a Business Advisor with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE). “The changes in shopping habits and the shift to online means that a lot of small businesses had to pivot really quickly. And that’s household income for these businesses. In many cases, they may not have been able to feed their families because they didn't have the income they needed.”

Throughout the pandemic the federal government offered CEBA, the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provided loans for small businesses across the country. However, many entrepreneurs were not able to take advantage of it because they utilized contractors, something that was not covered by CEBA.

Luckily, AWE was given the opportunity by PrairiesCan to provide relief funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. This fund gave entrepreneurs greater flexibility in how the money can be used. As a result, the entrepreneurs were able to use the funds in a way that best suited their needs.

“There was also a chance to use the money for technology improvements,” says Amber Hall, a Financing Specialist with AWE. “We saw a lot of entrepreneurs of course taking advantage of that and some pivoting their business model to really get in there and try and still make sales.”

“I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, it's not just ‘if you build it, they will come’ anymore,” she says. “It's build it, work on it, and build it some more.”

In addition to monetary supports, AWE has been hard at work to create a network of support where entrepreneurs across the province can feel heard. They’ve connected  like-minded individuals who had a shared understanding of the challenges that entrepreneurs had faced over the past two years. These connections have been invaluable in maintaining resilience within the small business community.

“A lot of our demographic is women,” says Horvath. “They shoulder additional stresses in the majority of situations. When their kids were home from school, they were responsible for overseeing that while trying to run their businesses and dealing with the normal stress of the pandemic.”

Webinars have been a great way for entrepreneurs to access timely information and be able to ask questions in a group setting. AWE has offered topics such as government supports, upcoming regulations, and how to transition to a digital format.

For those who need a bit more personalized support, all of AWE’s advisors can be booked online for a free half-hour Zoom call or phone call where they give tailored advice and share any helpful resources. This allows women from both rural and urban settings to get the assistance they need as they continue to move their businesses forward. 

“I hope women entrepreneurs see AWE as a safe place to share what's going on, to feel heard, and to be given some resources and ideas to help them move forward,” says Horvath.

If you have further questions about AWE and any of its services, feel free to email info@awebusiness.com or check out their website at www.awebusiness.com.

- Courtney Bettin

Over the past 22 months Alberta Women Entrepreneurs has been hard at work facilitating the creation of an impact paper that will revolutionize the way that women entrepreneurs are supported in Alberta.

 Using a collective impact model, 68 organizations from across six regional areas of the province – Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, St. Paul, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge – have come together to address some of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs. This new strategic approach will create a more sustainable path forward to overcome these barriers. 

 “We want to foster inclusiveness and diversity for all women from all regions and all types of businesses,” says Bev Latter, program specialist with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs.

 After facilitating over 27 listening sessions with the partners, a steering committee helped create a strategic framework that identifies five core barriers to entrepreneurial success.  Each areas was guided by team leads, and these will drive the short-and long-term goals moving forward. They include:

 1.     Purposeful Connections led by Jennifer Pragnell, Scotiabank, Joanne Comessotti, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Anita Kemp, Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

2.     Gender-Based Bias Training led by Kari Morton, Business Link; Kathryn Hotte, Prospect Now

3.     Collective Return on Investment led by Heather Braid, MacEwan University, Keltie Gower, Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN)

4.     Utilization of Technology led by Bev Latter, AWE, and supported by Lan Tan, TEC Edmonton

5.     Financial Knowledge Empowerment led by Marie-Laure Polydore, Futurepreneur; Abdoulaye Barry, Action for Healthy Communities

 By bringing together entrepreneurial organizations who have similar objectives and moving from a fragmented approach to a collaborative approach where each region and group is represented, women entrepreneurs can have a space where they are supported to start, grow, and sustain their business no matter where they are in the province.

 And this is beneficial for more than just the entrepreneurs. Latter says that “from day one there was a significant response from partners to see this work move forward”.

 “The collaboration is really all about being mutually beneficial, but the relationship also involves this trust and commitment and then shared responsibility,” says Latter.

 Led by AWE, Alberta is the first province in Canada to launch a cohesive approach that will focus each organization’s unique skills and resources towards a common vision. The hope is that this work can serve as a roadmap of best practices for other communities and provinces who are looking to see greater impact through a more collaborative approach. Creating a shared vision and building commitment across the province and country about what supporting women entrepreneurs can look like, encourages better societal discussions and real action towards removing barriers.

 “We really need to do a lot more work in creating awareness and understanding support for women as a collective consciousness within our country,” says Latter. “We see the financial contributions that could be enabled by simply increasing the percentage of women who are growing their businesses. If we're going to be a globally competitive country, we need to support more women.”

 The AWE Strengthening Partnerships “Leveraging Economic Opportunities for Women in Alberta” Impact Paper was presented on February 1, 2022, with specific calls to action that will support the recommendations within the framework. But even though the paper has been two years in the making, it’s just the start of this provincewide partnership.

 “A dramatic and durable impact is only possible when you're in partnership working together,” says Latter. “That's what we've been hearing.” 

SP Impact Paper (full)
- AWE Marketing
The Journey to Digital Transformation, with Kathryn Joel
Kathryn Joel, Get Cooking

Kathryn Joel, Get Cooking

Kathryn Joel has been running her business, Get Cooking, for the past 10 years, but like so many other businesses, when COVID hit she had to consider how to move to an online format. Since her website was designed with an in-person event model in mind, there were a lot of hurdles for her small team to figure out.  

“We found that we were doing so much manually because of our switch to virtual,” says Joel. “It was a lot of man hours, a lot of work, and not great for our customer experience.”

After reading about the Bold Leadership program through the AWE newsletter, Joel decided to take advantage of the push towards online and signed up for the eight-week course. The Bold Leadership program aims to help entrepreneurs find ways to strategically rethink their businesses through a digital lens. This will look different for every business and can cover anything from new software implementation to automation to digital marketing.

“In the beginning I thought I was just looking for a CRM (customer relationship management software). Then as I kind of went through the course, I realized there was so much more that I could do that would help my business,” says Joel.

What Joel originally thought would be simple website remodification turned into a completely new site with the ability for customer accounts. Now, providing Zoom links, recipes, and after-class recordings is all done automatically, saving her and her team over 10 hours per week while streamlining the customer experience.

However, for Joel the biggest takeaway from the program has been the continued access to a team of advisors.

“The coaching has been huge,” says Joel. “I always say to people that I started a business doing something I'm good at and that I love, but I had no previous business skills per say. I think that's probably the case with a lot of entrepreneurs. So to have had people to lean on as I pivoted and made some big decisions about my business was huge.”

That sense of community is what Bold Leadership program lead Lindsay Vanstone says makes this program unique and a good fit for any kind of business. No matter whether a business is product based or service based, big or small, every entrepreneur will find tools that are helpful.

“People will come in with different levels of digital knowledge in their business, and we meet them where they're at,” says Vanstone. “We help reduce that feeling of being overwhelmed, reduce that feeling of being isolated. They're able to connect with other entrepreneurs in this cohort program, and they can talk about their issues and ideas together.”

Going forward, Joel still plans to develop a CRM to further improve the experience her clients experience online as well as implement better digital tools for her staff’s payroll and timekeeping. Eventually, she would also like to consider moving to a subscription model, something she has been discussing with her coach.

“I have in my mind all the time all of the things that I learned, the different processes that I can digitize and automate to free up my time more,” says Joel.

“I would recommend any small-business owner do this no matter how small or big their goals are in terms of digitizing. I think it will help open your eyes to the possibilities. Even if you're just sitting, participating, and listening, being exposed to ideas like that and options for your business is huge.”

- Catherine Larose
Creating Engaging Digital Content

When it comes to improving your business’s online presence, creating engaging digital content is a requirement for growth hacking and overall long-term success! The creation of online content opens the door for a broader reach to new and upcoming potential clients and audiences all while increasing your brand awareness with warmer leads. But, with all of the platforms, programs and online elements, which ones are worth spending your valuable and limited time on? Which will have the best return on that investment? Take a look at the most essential digital content outlets that the most successful businesses implement to guide you in choosing where you should invest your own time and money and start building your online presence!

Social Media Digital Content

Through the various social media platforms available, businesses have the exciting opportunity to share content and connect directly with targeted audiences that are interested in specific products or services with little financial investment. Before you can begin to create digital content for your social media pages, you need to first ensure you are on the correct platforms. And you don’t need to be on them all! A thorough look at your audience demographics, wants and needs, and online goals will help you identify which platforms are best to be present on.

But what types of digital content should you be sharing on your pages? A good rule to follow is that your content should be 80% engaging and organic content, and 20% sales-focused content. Not sure what types of things to share?

Consider posting:

●       Memes (tips, testimonials, business campaigns, etc.)

●       Relevant industry news

●       Product/service or company updates

●       Contests or giveaways

●       Blogs (yours and others)

●       Customer posts/images

●       Behind the scenes

●       Meet the team

●       Polls or questionnaires

Another way to further your online presence is by doing paid advertisements on social media. Almost all social media platforms offer advertising opportunities where you can create a sales image, select your audience demographics, and pay to appear on sidebars or platform feeds. Make sure to do a thorough analysis of your industry and competitors before investing too much here.

Blogging Digital Content

As identified on DemandMetric, “On average, companies with blogs produce +67% leads per month.” Something as simple as writing a blog once or twice a month (or more!) will drastically increase your likelihood of being found online. Want better blog success? The best blogs use search engine optimization (SEO) through the use of keywords and organic content that allows your business to be found by more users via Google searches. Improve the likelihood of your blogs being found by selecting a blog title that features trending keywords related to your industry. Is your title good enough? Use the Sharethrough or CoSchedule headline analyzer tools to assess your title!

Not sure what to write about? Remember, you are the expert on your business and industry! Create a list of popular questions your customer service team receives (or see what people are searching for on Answer The Public) and turn those topics into blogs.

Website Freebie – Lead Generation Digital Content

In order to advance your business’s lead generation and build a list of warm leads to grow with, offer something of value to your website visitors by providing them with a freebie! A freebie is a form of digital content created by you that provides an opportunity to collect emails from potential customers. The Freebie needs to be more than they would expect for free and may even be something you could charge for - it needs to be worth an email as currency and that price is high! Some freebie examples include:

●       E-book

●       Designed PDF (buying guide, information booklet, etc.)

●       Trial period of product

●       Educational webinar

●       Online course

The emails you collect from this freebie through a CRM plugin or contact form on your site will then be used to connect with those leads later on in your marketing funnels and content (ex. email drip campaign, newsletters, social media content, etc.).

 

Newsletter Digital Content

Once you have collected emails from your audiences, sending out a newsletter is a great way to stay in touch and at the top of your audience’s mind as you nurture them through a longer sales cycle. A newsletter offers a simple way to update your subscribers on what is happening in your business and remind them about your products/services. It is recommended that you send out a newsletter one or two times a month to keep them in the loop without feeling spammed.

 Your newsletters can include anything you want that is relevant to your business. Share testimonials, updates about business policies or services/products, promotions or sales, recent blogs, industry news, and other information that they should know about!

Invest in these essential digital content outlets and increase your ROI, boost your brand awareness, and expand your reach!

Want to dig deeper and learn more about effective content marketing? Join our free webinar “Content Marketing 101” on December 6. In this interactive workshop, explore how to blend strategy and storytelling to create content that helps drive revenue.

Register for Content Marketing 101

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- INFO
Celebrating Women's Entrepreneurship Day 2021

Today is a day of celebration, pride, gratitude, and optimism; today is International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!

As an organization, our goal is to achieve parity for women entrepreneurs in Alberta and beyond. For more than twenty-five years, we have connected women with access to capital, training and workshops, business advising, and mentorship opportunities—supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of women in our communities.

Supporting women owned businesses is more than just a catch phrase. A 10% increase in women owned SMEs could have a $198 billion impact on annual Canadian GDP.[1] And globally, advancing women’s equality and opportunity could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025.[2] 

There is no doubt that our communities and economies are stronger when women are full participants in entrepreneurship. But why do organizations like AWE care so deeply about this cause?

Job Creation

Research shows that there is great diversity in the aspirations of women entrepreneurs, with an increasing number interested in pursuing high growth ventures. As opportunities for entrepreneurship increase, even more women-owned businesses will shift from start up phases, to growth or scaling phases. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s 2020/21 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, 30.2% of women entrepreneurs surveyed planned to hire six or more employees in the next five years, a number that has increased since 2019. [3]

Accomplishing Economic & Social Objectives

It is believed that businesses led by women blend both economic and social objectives, meaning that women entrepreneurs, while striving for strong financial performance, make Alberta (and beyond) a better place. [4] In fact, one motivator for pursuing entrepreneurship that is frequently reported by women entrepreneurs is the opportunity to do meaningful work.

Diversity in Leadership Styles

Increasing gender diversity in entrepreneurship provides the opportunity to activate a much wider range of leadership styles to propel their businesses toward success. A study from KPMG outlines the importance of situational leadership, or the ability to adjust one’s leadership style with fluidity depending on the circumstances, that is frequently demonstrated by women in leadership positions.[5] To go even further, a critical driver of business success is employing diversity of thought in order to solve complex problems.

Access to Financial Freedom

Entrepreneurship provides a pathway to generate income that differs from traditional work environments. More specifically, many women are motivated to pursue entrepreneurship as it enables increased flexibility that is more conducive to needs like work-family balance, or the ability to work from home. For those unable to participate in traditional workplaces due to personal constraints, entrepreneurship can be an avenue for many to achieve financial independence through means that are more accessible to them.

Products & Services that Fill Key Marketplace Gaps

30% of women entrepreneurs in Alberta report innovation in a product/service or market.[6] Innovation, radical or modest, is a central facet of successful entrepreneurship. With gender diversity comes a variety of perspectives and the ability to see and solve problems that may have been previously overlooked.

See It, Be It

Representation is paramount for the advancement of women entrepreneurship. As more women build successful businesses, they pave the way for future entrepreneurs to recognize the vast realm of possibilities that exist while breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship. The more we lift each other up, the clearer it becomes that these achievements are attainable for all. Look no further than to the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) See it. Be it. Database, featuring profiles of successful women entrepreneurs across Canada, for proof that “women need to see successful women entrepreneurs so they can dare become one.”

Gender Equality in Work = Gender Equality in Society

As stated in the McKinsey & Company report, The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Canada, “the former is not possible without the latter.” Encouraging more women to be entrepreneurs is one of many initiatives that can make Canada a global leader in gender equality. Namely, increasing “the ability of women to be equal players in labour markets—to find employment, be compensated fairly for it, gain the skills and opportunity to perform higher productivity jobs, and share work outside the market economy equitably.”

The above reasoning is only the tip of the iceberg. The benefits of achieving parity for women entrepreneurs are endless. This International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, let us celebrate how far we have come, dream boldly of where we may go, and act fiercely in our resolutions to advance women entrepreneurship here and now. #choosewomen

- INFO
Client Feature: Adetoun Aiyeleye

Recently, AWE sat down with Adetoun (Abby) Aiyeleye, a longtime innovator, entrepreneur and Co-founder of Clavis Studio, an online design platform that simplifies the home design experience for professionals and design enthusiasts using immersive 3D technology. Through their interactive, immersive experience, the company is expanding market access for small businesses and creating opportunities for people who want simple, integrated and highly-effective tools to get their work done.

While Clavis Studio was founded quite recently, Abby’s entrepreneurial spirit was sparked much earlier in time.

“My introduction to entrepreneurship started 18 years ago on eBay. I was in University and I figured out that re-selling popular items was actually quite lucrative. 

From then on, I narrowed my focus on niche markets and one of them was an online lingerie store for well-endowed women, who would ordinarily struggle to find their sizes in the stores. With Clavis Studio, my co-founder and I got very interested in exploring and changing the design narrative based on shared experiences, and the rest is history!”

While Clavis serves as a medium through which designers can turn their concepts into reality, the same is true for Abby who gets to live out her creative vision and passion for interior decorating through the development of a cutting edge technological solution.

But, she also attributes her success to the presence of those consistently championing her and her business.

 “I have a great support system including my family, friends and mentors. My friends are always putting word out and referring people to Clavis and I approach my mentors for different types of support; Sandra Woitas always makes warm introductions, Ralph Young provides industry support, Victor Tanti has a wealth of knowledge and domain expertise to share and Ashif Mawji helps with strategic thinking and planning.”

In fact, one word in particular comes to mind when reflecting on her community. She describes “Wahkohtowin. It's a Cree word which denotes the interconnected nature of relationships, communities and natural systems. It resonates with me because I love to meet and connect people based on common interests, and I believe there's strength in interconnectedness.”

It’s also through community that Abby connected with AWE. First, through a referral from Business Link years ago. And more recently, she was reconnected again in 2021 when Allie Knull of ResumeFree mentioned AWE at an Accelerator event she attended. “Clavis Studio has raised seed financing from AWE,” she explains, “which is key to us achieving more market traction and expanded market access.”

In a few weeks, Clavis Studio will open up their platform to other professionals and aspiring designers to create their own beautiful spaces and collaborate with their clients all through a web app. “This will create a huge job impact and is quite timely as we all focus on economic recovery from the pandemic,” Abby adds.

When asked, “Who inspires you?” Abby replied,

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She inspires me because there is a conviction, drive and purpose to everything she does that I find very admirable.”

We would add that the same can be said about Abby. With her conviction, hunger for innovation and dedication to doing what she loves with fun and flair, she is an inspiration to women entrepreneurs everywhere.

- Fatima Mohamed
Why You Need Social Media For Your Business

Social media is critical for businesses in 2021 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, if you’re not a fan of social media in your personal life this can be a challenge. We get it! Social media is not without its criticism, unnecessary comparisons and misinformation are just some of the reasons why some people might not engage with it.

From a business perspective, however, social media is filled with opportunity. Unlike any other marketing approach, social platforms can allow ideal customers from all over the world to find your business instantly. In this way, you can connect with others that believe in your vision and can help you succeed. Even more so, social media allows you to directly communicate with your customers, whether it be for promotional purposes or operational.

Without a doubt, you can leverage social media for your business to improve brand awareness, build community, communicate with your customers, and stand out from your competition.

Brand Awareness

Social media platforms are the perfect place for your business to develop brand awareness. From showcasing eye-catching brand materials on your profiles, to telling your brand story to capture the hearts and minds of your consumers, social media allows you to stay top-of-mind so that when it comes to making a purchase decision, your business is front and centre.

Through sophisticated algorithms, social media applications are excellent at recommending profiles to the right audience, thus increasing the visibility of your business to those most likely to resonate with, and be interested in, your offering.

In particular, Taboola identifies four key advantages of brand awareness you can gain through social media:

Increase market share and sales

Scale in new places

Improve brand perception

Acquire audience data

Community Building

Ideally, your customers are not only one piece in a transactional puzzle. The goal is to foster relationships with reciprocal value. The more value that you can provide to them through interesting, exciting, or informative content, the more you will be rewarded with trust, loyalty, engagement, and affinity towards your brand and the products you offer.

This concept comes from what is known as inbound marketing, in which your business can use tools to attract, engage, and delight your customers to lead to conversion and retention, and eventually, the growth of your business.

The purpose of social media marketing is not to gain followers to speak at, it is to build a community that you can engage with, a practice that is much more sustainable and will result in a much higher ROI in the long run.

Think about the brands that you love—what do they have in common? We can guarantee that it’s because they’ve invested in an engaged community, and social media is an excellent way to do just that.

Check out this website for tips to build a social media community.

Communication

Don’t you wish there was a way to reach your customers directly, in a place you know they’d always be, where you could speak directly to them? Social media is exactly that!

Through social media channels, you can speak directly to your customers, to communicate product launches, promotions, your company values, and important information like location and hours of operation.

Not only so—social media communication is a two-way street! Social media presents an excellent opportunity to excel at customer service interactions: you can answer questions, respond to feedback, and generally build goodwill through positive, personalized interactions with your customers.

Competition

Finally, social media profiles are an opportunity to stand out. Similar to a physical storefront, social media profiles present your business to the public, urging customers to choose your business over its competitors. On social media, you can highlight what sets your business apart, including differentiating factors, stellar branding, customer reviews, and more.

And, if you’re still not convinced, social media may be necessary simply for your business to remain competitive, given its ubiquity in marketing strategies everywhere.

Strategy is Key

While social media is incredibly important, there are some stipulations that you’ll want to keep in mind if you wish to succeed. 

First, you want to ensure that you are on the right platforms, not every platform. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, the list goes on, consider your target market and which social media applications they congregate on, in addition to the nature of each platform and where your content will best fit.

Second, quality is important. Aim for consistent, high quality content that aligns with your brand and represents it well. Quantity is irrelevant if your posts are substandard or lack intention.

Lastly, follow the 80/20 Rule. If you want your audience to engage with your content and share it with others such that your profiles can grow, 80% of your content must be interesting, informative, exciting, humorous, entertaining or simply offer something valuable to your audience. The remaining 20% can be promotional or sales-oriented, but once you start to exceed that, you’ll likely see performance drop.

With a dedicated social media strategy, you can stick to best practices like the above, with measurable results to achieve business goals. It might not be easy at first, but we can guarantee that it’s worth it.

- Fatima Mohamed
Bold Leadership Feature: Kathy Leskow

Kathy Leskow is the founder and CEO of Sherwood Park’s Confetti Sweets. The business began as a home operation, with Kathy baking cookies for local farmers’ markets out of her kitchen. As demand grew, so did her business—Confetti Sweets now has a storefront and distributes their products in grocery stores across Alberta.

The confectionary industry might not be one that immediately comes to mind when thinking about digital transformation. Certainly areas like telecommunications, finance, or advertising are leaders in the digital sphere, but digital transformation is for everyone—particularly businesses who wish to thrive for years to come as innovative technology becomes more and more ubiquitous.

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What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation involves the integration of digital technologies into all areas of a business, which ultimately allows both your operations, and the ways you deliver value to your customers, to evolve. But, digital transformation also goes far beyond implementation alone. With new technology comes significant change, and such change must be managed strategically through a strong, agile organizational culture.

This is true regardless of industry, but how a business might adapt to the cutting edge is far from cookie-cutter.

“I am always looking to streamline our processes. For example, I love equipment that can take over repetitive tasks such as scooping cookie dough, dispensing cupcake batter, etc.  I believe it makes our bakery more efficient and the end product more uniform.  I also love any software that will automate tasks, such as scheduling.  Unfortunately my staff often disagree with me on this, and they resist technology. When I found the [Bold Leadership], I was immediately drawn to the subject matter, and I was eager to learn about new ways we could use technology in our business.”

Digital transformation requires leadership. Only by defining your mission and vision as a company can you begin to translate that vision into a digital strategy. Diving deeper, the question moves from “What is digital transformation?” to “What does digital transformation mean for me and my business?”

”I quickly learnt that I did not exactly know what digital transformation actually was.  I also learnt that digitizing processes is not always better, and you need to be thoughtful about what you are wanting to achieve. It taught me how to measure success, and I can now go back to my employees with proof that it does (or doesn't - I hate being wrong!) improve our processes.”

Kathy alludes to two key tactics to keep in mind when leading digital change. 

Be ready to support your organization. As Lori Schmidt, AWE Bold Leadership Program Advisor describes, “Culture change is something that cannot be forced; it requires the support of every member of the organization.” Supporting your team throughout adjustments to their workflows is paramount. From listening to hear about the benefits and challenges of new processes, to making space for the fear and emotion that change can bring about, knowing that your team is all in this together can make a world of a difference.

Help your team see and buy into the unifying purpose of your organization. “Help your people be prepared - with a new mindset, new skills and motivation around a renewed purpose,” Lori states. Attitude is everything, and by building a mindset of enthusiasm in response to change into your corporate culture, you can work to prevent resistance in the future.

Lastly, a key component of a digital strategy, or any strategy for that matter, is setting specific, achievable goals so that you can measure your success. 

“A big part of the course was also setting strategic objectives and KPIs.  The course gave me focus and has pushed me to achieve specific goals. I highly recommend the course to anyone that wants to move their business forward.”

Achieve Bold Goals with Bold Leadership! Curious about how you can lead digital transformation in your business? Learn more about the Bold Leadership program today!

- Fatima Mohamed
2021 AWE Awards Recipients Announced
AWE Awards Recipients an Unstoppable Force in AB Business

EDMONTON, AB – Four Alberta women were recognized for their unstoppable contributions to the Alberta business community in a special online ceremony at last night’s AWE  Awards.

“These exceptional, diverse, resilient women are not only changing the face of Alberta business; they are changing our entire economy,” says Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “From providing jobs to building community, these women have made unbelievable contributions to our province.”

The awards, made possible by presenting sponsor ATB, recognize the efforts of women entrepreneurs in four categories.

FBCjN3WVcAMtHhS.jpg The 2021 AWE Award RecipientsEmerging Entrepreneur Award

Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success.

       Nicole Janssen, AltaML

Nicole Janssen co-founded AltaML with Cory Janssen in 2018 after they both recognized the global opportunity for AI and the wealth of local talent in Alberta. In just three years, they have expanded to three cities and have grown their team to over 125 individuals. More than just wanting to create a company to help other businesses with their AI and machine learning needs, Nicole wanted to create a purpose-driven business that focuses on creating a sustainable and more inclusive economy, which is why ensuring women are represented in tech is at the cornerstone of what AtlaML does.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Award

Awarded to a leading Indigenous woman entrepreneur with a strong business concept and demonstrates plans for future growth and commitment to the community.

       Bobbie Racette, Virtual Gurus Inc.

Realizing the freelance world often meant no job security and low pay, Bobbie knew the only way to fix it was to build something herself. With that, she launched Virtual Gurus. Her goal then and now is to provide work for marginalized communities. With more than 30 full-time employees (and growing) and over 350 contractors who work across Canada, Bobbie has ensured diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the business. Of those 350 contractors, 95% identify as female, 65% as part of the BIPOC community, and 45% as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. What makes Virtual Gurus stand out is that they not only provide work to the underrepresented they also train them through the Virtual Gurus Academy, and they provide their contractors with one of the best online VA communities.

Upsurge Entrepreneur Award

Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a solid foundation for her business and is now experiencing rapid growth.

       Chloe Dusser, Wee Wild Ones

In 2013 Dusser noticed there was an increasing need for nature immersion in little kids, with her dream to bring children closer to nature Wee Wild Ones was born. Striving to develop future critical thinkers, problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow, Wee Wild Ones has grown to two locations with more planned offering a balance of explorations in both indoor and outdoor environments. More than just supporting the children in her care, Chloe is committed to changing the childcare industry in Calgary. She is an advocate for reforming the low standards of childcare and ensuring the industry becomes more environmentally sustainable.  

Celebration of Achievement Award

Awarded to an exceptional female entrepreneur who has achieved recognizable success and acts as a role model for women in business. This visionary woman is an inspirational leader who has built an entrepreneurial venture in Alberta that has made a significant impact on the economy and the community. 

       Jennifer Carlson, Baby Gourmet

Uninspired by the lack of options in the baby food aisle, Baby Gourmet’s journey started when its founders realized they could do better in 2005. Just over 15 years later, the company has grown to Canada’s leading, mission-driven organic meal and snack brand for babies and toddlers. From humble beginnings at the Calgary Farmers Market, the company was sold earlier this year to the Hero Group, an international food company focused on branded nutritional food products.

“Supporting business owners is at the core of what ATB does,” says Nikki Briggs, Head of Women in Business, ATB Financial. “Congratulations to all the recipients for all they do to improve life in Alberta.”

Since 2012, the annual AWE Awards have recognized more than 800 women entrepreneurs in Alberta. This year’s winners join a prestigious list of Alberta entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities and around the world.

Along with the awards, AWE has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through coaching, mentorship, leadership development, business advising, access to capital, and access to networks over the last 25 years.

To learn more about the awards, the recipients and watch the awards ceremony, visit: https://www.awebusiness.com/awards.

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For More Information:

Catherine Larose

Marketing Lead, AWE

catherine.larose@awebusiness.com

587 635 4278

- Fatima Mohamed
You’ve Received Your Business Loan, Now What? 

Getting the news that you’ve qualified for a loan to start or grow your business is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Knowing where to start and what to do with it can feel overwhelming; however, the process should be given careful consideration. Here’s what we recommend doing either before you receive the loan or as soon as you do:Have a clear understanding of the terms of your loanStep 1 is making sure that you clearly understand what the terms of your loan are, and what your repayment plan is. These are important because some loans can only be used for certain things and not others, plus it’s essential to follow the terms of your loan.

For example, AWE Loans can be used for market-ready start-ups, business expansion projects, and business purchases. Loans can be used for a variety of expenses, including:

Leasehold improvements

Equipment purchases

Operating capital

Advertising and marketing costs

Purchase of inventory

Loans cannot be used for:

Owner’s salary

Re-financing existing debt

Franchise fees

Speculative ventures (e.g. Purchase of land for resale)

Intangible goodwill (i.e. business name or reputation)

Research and development

Purchase of stocks, shares, or other non-productive investment

Review your repayment plan and make a budget

The next thing you should do when you receive your business loan is to sit down and make a budget based on your repayment plan. All loans come with repayment plans, which should have been discussed with you when applying for the loan and going through the application process. Now that you have the money, you should sit down and make a budget based on what you plan on spending and the terms of your repayment plan. 

Prioritize what you got the loan for

Refer back to your strategic/marketing plan - what was your plan for this money? It’s important to stay the course as much as possible and utilize this loan money for its intended purposes. We know that things can come up along the way and plans can change, but the more you’re able to follow that initial strategic plan you created and spend your loan money on those things, the easier it will be to stay on track with repaying the loan. Holding yourself accountable can be difficult. If you don’t have a business partner to hold you accountable, consider speaking with a mentor, confidant or one of AWE’s Business Advisors

Once you are familiar with your terms and repayment plan, have a budget mapped out and know where you’re going to be prioritizing spending the loan money, you can start spending it! This can feel daunting at first, but with a well laid-out plan and lots of thought having gone into this whole process, you shouldn’t worry about taking this next exciting step to grow your business.

For more information on AWE’s Loan programs, click here.

- Fatima Mohamed
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Announces 2021 AWE Awards Finalists

AWE Awards Finalists Bettering Alberta Daily

EDMONTON, AB – A group of nine Alberta women entrepreneurs proved themselves unstoppable in a year of challenges growing their businesses and bettering their communities and were named this year’s AWE Awards finalists.

“These finalists represent incredible possibility, remarkable innovation, and undeniable talent,”  says Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “They are moving their businesses and our province forward.”

The awards, presented by ATB, recognize the efforts of women entrepreneurs in four categories. This year’s finalists include:

Emerging Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success.

Nicole Janssen, AltaML

Andrea Reindl, Legacy Creative Inc.

Jody Carrington, Dr. Jody Carrington Consulting Inc.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to a leading Indigenous woman entrepreneur who has a strong business concept and demonstrates plans for future growth and commitment to the community.

Bobbie Racette, Virtual Gurus Inc.

Carrie Armstrong, Mother Earth Essentials

Annie Korver, Rise Consulting Ltd.

Upsurge Award – Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a solid foundation for her business and is now experiencing rapid growth.

Chloe Dusser, Wee Wild Ones

Stacy Nehring, UTV Canada Inc.

Kristi Hines,  Hines Health Services Inc.

The final category, the Celebration of Achievement Award, was presented to Jennifer Carlson of Baby Gourmet. The AWE Celebration of Achievement award pays tribute to an exceptional woman entrepreneur who has built a business in Alberta with a significant impact on the economy and the community. Jennifer and the award recipients in each category above will be recognized at the virtual annual awards celebration on October 5th.

“ATB Financial is delighted to partner with AWE to celebrate Alberta women entrepreneurs and their success,” says Nikki Briggs, Head of Women in Business, ATB Financial. “Congratulations to all the finalists.”

Since 2012, the annual AWE Awards have recognized more than 800 women entrepreneurs in Alberta. Previous award winners include such notable Alberta entrepreneurs as Karina Birch of Rocky Mountain Soap Co., Karen Ryan and Lara Murphy of Ryan Murphy Construction, and Angela Santiago of The Little Potato Company.

Along with the awards, AWE has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through coaching, mentorship, leadership development, business advising, access to capital, and access to networks over the last 25 years.

To learn more about the awards, visit: https://www.awebusiness.com/awards. To get your free ticket to the Awards Celebration, visit our Eventbrite.

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For More Information:

Julie Gathercole Communications Lead, AWE

403-968-6424

- Fatima Mohamed
Contract Opportunity: Part-time Facilitator/Business Advisor

Are you interested in joining a dynamic team passionate about growing and supporting Indigenous, women owned businesses in the Northwest Territories?  Are you energetic with an entrepreneurial spirit?

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General, Calgary and The Northwest Territories Chamber Commerce is searching for an Indigenous woman to fulfill a contract position as facilitator/business advisor for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurship program. This role will support program participants through discussion sessions and advising support over an 8-week period.

Apply by October 11!

Learn more
- Fatima Mohamed
Client Feature: Elaine Broe 

AWE had the opportunity to catch up with Elaine Broe, an inspiring woman entrepreneur whose expertise has taken her to incredible heights. Over the years, she’s cultivated an extensive consulting practice, eventually culminating into a creative solution-oriented business called The Leadership Collaboratory. The primary focus of her business is to partner with organizations and individuals to develop purposeful, transformative leadership that can evolve with our ever-changing world. 

Elaine Broe Leadership & Learning Experiences has been around for eight years, and in that time the company has taken on a diverse list of projects and opportunities. “In one week, I might be coaching leaders, then I’m working with an in-company client to develop a tailored learning experience for their people. Some of my clients describe me as a triple threat. I'm a facilitator, an executive coach, and an experience designer.” Elaine appreciates the variety she gets through her role. 

While some people have always dreamt of becoming entrepreneurs, that wasn’t the case for Elaine. She didn’t originally start her business to be her own boss, but because she wanted to focus on doing the work that she loved, and in her own terms. After working in the leadership development and adult learning space for over 20 years, it got to a point where the work she was doing as an employee was missing what she loved.  

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The usual thoughts of “what if I fail?” did cross Elaine’s mind, but she instead chose to focus on the possibility of her endeavor into entrepreneurship being a success. “It's funny, as entrepreneurs we have the innate ability to constantly imagine the worst-case scenario. When we go out on our own, we think, what if we fail? As we consider our options a rare few of us think; what happens if I'm extraordinarily successful? How will I manage that? How will I juggle all these clients? We don't consider it. Choosing to be an entrepreneur can be a really fascinating leap and I'm glad I took it.” 

In the beginning of COVID-19 here in Alberta, Elaine’s business came to a screeching halt for three months. Many entrepreneurs were forced to hit the ground running to implement the changes needed to respond to the pandemic, which involved a lot of agility and making very difficult decisions. Elaine recognized that for her it was important to take this time to recover from the pace that she’s been operating at. “The pandemic brought a bizarre relief. When you think about it, requiring a pandemic to give yourself a break—and I know that I'm not the only one —is mildly terrifying when you think of how we approach work in North America.” 

A small part of the reason why Elaine decided to take a break during the earlier months of the pandemic was that there wasn't any funding available for her type of business. For Elaine, that support didn't surface until August, through Alberta Women Entrepreneurs’ Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. “The loans helped me set up the technology that I needed, and to invest in new platforms and create online programming that I was proud of. The pandemic helped me reinvent my business and myself.” When Elaine received her funding, she quickly realized that she needed a mindset shift to make the most out of this opportunity to scale and evolve her business. 

“With the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs team, they had my back right from the start. The first six months of the pandemic were really challenging. After our initial interaction, I knew that this wasn't just a transaction, it was about the relationship. In a pandemic, any entrepreneur can learn from this organization. It’s about relationships. AWE set the stage for our partnership in how quickly they replied to my questions and their patience as I learned how to provide the reports and back-up that was needed. “ 

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The past year has taught us many lessons, many of which we hope to apply as we are in the road to recovery. What stood out the most for Elaine is the care and nurturing that is required of a leader to be able to care and nurture for their people and for their business. “Honestly, I do not have a “ramp up” mentality right now. I am so fortunate that it's been a very busy year and I don't want to end up in the same spot that I did on March 13, 2020. I'm getting selective about my work over the next six months.” Elaine highlights the importance of learning from the pandemic and trying to avoid slipping back to pre-pandemic habits. “One of the lessons I keep having to relearn over and over, is that prioritizing yourself is prioritizing your business.” 

Elaine has some profound advice for entrepreneurs as we continue to navigate the new normal. “Continue to be in the dance. This last year and a half, for many of us, the playlist was not something we wanted to listen to. We didn’t know the dance steps. We wanted the party to end. We were not having fun. I love the metaphor of a dance, thinking of this as being in flow, rather than a push and a pull. That dance of trust with ourselves, with the systems at play, changing policies and rules; the dance with our clients as they figure out what they need; and the dance with our businesses and our teams where we hopefully create space to evolve, without needing a pandemic as the catalyst.” 

- Fatima Mohamed
2021 AWE Awards Nominee Spotlight: August 24, 2021

AWE Awards Nominees are unstoppable! Here is a snapshot of some of the exciting things that have been happening with various women entrepreneurs nominated for the 2021 AWE Awards, curated by Taproot Publishing.

Mentions

Alethea Austin of Achieve Wellness Spa spoke to CBC about her struggle to recruit staff in Wood Buffalo.

Nicole Janssen of AltaML joined The Ai Edge to talk about Alberta as a hub for artificial intelligence.

London Drugs highlighted Baby Gourmet in a post on greener choices for baby products.

Dr. Jody Carrington spoke to Global News about managing back-to-school anxiety.

Ellie Bianca is a finalist for small business of the year at the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council Business Achievement Awards, which will be presented on Oct. 5. Evelyne Nyairo was also quoted in Afros in tha City after receiving the Cassels Black-Owned Small Business Grant.

Innovate Energy cited a recent report from Highwood Emissions Management in a post on certifying responsibly produced natural gas.

We Leave Today mentioned toiletries from Mother Earth Essentials as one of the perks of staying at the Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos.

The Triple Treat Tonic from PUUR Ingrid, produced by QNaturals, was honoured by the 2021 Clean Beauty Awards, a worldwide competition recognizing the best performing products made without harmful chemicals.

Authority Magazine spoke to Afton Brazzoni of Scribe National about what you need to succeed as a female founder.

Orpetron Web Design Awards saluted Tiller Digital as its site of the day for Aug. 13.

True Angle Medical has been named a finalist in the Venture competition at Falling Walls 2021 in Berlin from Nov. 7 to 9.

Tycoon Events won for best virtual marketing event at the Canadian Event Awards and for best industry innovation at the ESPRIT Awards.

Laura Gustafson of ulivit spoke to the Edmonton Journal about the company's new Plant Protein 2.0 product.

Bobbie Racette of Virtual Gurus joined Judy Fairburn of The51 and Jeanette Sutherland of Calgary Economic Development to talk about pivoting skills for sustainable futures on the Employment and Social Development Canada podcast.

Events

Aug. 23 to Sept. 3: Transitioning to Wellness & Resilience, a course from ReTrain Canada

Aug. 26: Starting Your Own Podcast for Business from AWE

Aug. 27: TalkMaze Summer Speech and Debate Tournament for students in Grade 9 and under

Aug. 30 to Sept. 2: FLIK Resume and Cover Letter Toolkit sessions

Aug. 31: Sales Strategies to Maximize Your Industrial Tradeshow Investment with KO Advantage Group

Sept. 8: Black Women, Are you Ready for Entrepreneurship?, a BCW in Action event in collaboration with AWE

Sept. 9: Pay-per-Click Advertising & Conversion Tracking for Business from AWE

Sept. 17: How To Create A Brand For The Digital Era from AWE

Sept. 22: Global Energy Show Awards, where AltaML is up for the Collaborative Trendsetter Award

Posts and publications

ABC Bees shared tips on preparing hives for fall.

Learn more about Achieve Wellness Spa's expansion to Signal Hill in Calgary in this sponsored post on Curiocity.

Clavis Studio offered advice on how to style throw pillows.

Discover Coding hailed the third phase of the CanCode Program to help students and teachers gain digital skills.

Dr. Jody Carrington modelled some of her favourite outfits, many of them from local boutiques.

Jade Fulton of High Voltage Leadership passed along some insights on leading through rough times.

Julie Shipley-Strickland Wealth & Risk Management shared some lessons learned from investing.

Hear Danielle Klooster of On Point with Danielle and Ranchelle Van Bryce talk about imposter syndrome on Sharp Women: The Podcast.

Proactive Seniors suggested some activities for people with dementia and their caregivers.

Tiller Digital put together a list of 10 business books to read in 2021.

Kelli-Rae Tamaki of TMH Business Coaching shared thoughts on what you need to be a great role model.

The Travel Chicks podcast took a look at tourism in Wood Buffalo.

Tycoon Events recounted the origin of its name.

Virtual Gurus suggested three ways to help in-office and remote team members work together.

Vytality at Home blogged about Zoom fatigue and seniors.

Help wanted

AdaptAbilities is hiring a community specialist in Stony Plain and an in-home support worker in Edmonton.

AltaML is hiring an executive business partner — energy and resources in Edmonton and a sales enablement specialist in Toronto.

The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition is hiring an anatomy and physiology instructor in Edmonton.

Elder Move is hiring a downsizing and packing specialist in Edmonton.

Highwood Emissions Management is hiring for three roles: emissions manager, emissions engineer/technologist, and administrator.

Virtual Gurus is hiring for three roles: vice president of sales, sales manager, and client success manager.

For a complete list of the 2021 AWE Awards Nominees, click here.

- Fatima Mohamed
Bold Leadership Feature: Vered Levant

Vered Levant owns a human resources company called VimyHR. Her company helps businesses that need support with human resources, but not a full-time HR employee. With her team of consultants, she offers a variety of services from recruitment to succession planning. The solutions that VimyHR offers are customized depending on what the organization is like and what services they need.  

Vered’s been working in human resources for about 15 years. After studying economics in school, she was hired as a Labour Market Information Manager for a not-for-profit organization. In her role, she learned about the challenges that small businesses were facing. After about two years, she changed roles to a position with the Government of Saskatchewan; this was her first human resources position. “I was asked to move into the HR department as they were blending the two areas. I had no HR exposure whatsoever, but they trained me and told me I was a natural.” 

She later on moved to Calgary and began working in a corporate environment. When there was a downturn in the economy in 2016, she wasn’t happy in her role anymore. “I didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel doing layoffs. I hadn't been exposed to that side of HR before. So, I needed a break. I was pretty burnt out.” 

After pausing her career, she started getting phone calls from old colleagues and small business owners for HR support and guidance. “About six months later, I thought, ‘wait a minute, there's something here. There's something that I can create to support small businesses that don't need full-time HR help but need some expertise to know how to pay people, how to recruit, how to manage difficult situations and coach their employees.’ Then VimyHR was born.” 

““I have never loved what I do more than I do today.”” — Vered Levant Headshot.jpeg

Vered discovered AWE’s Bold Leadership Program on social media. “After I got accepted into the program, I was really excited just to learn more and have more support. It can be very lonely being an entrepreneur.” In the program, Vered could connect with like-minded female entrepreneurs. She knew she was wearing too many hats in her organization and needed to take the advice she was giving her clients about streamlining their business.  

The program’s coaches have helped Vered automate her processes so she can spend more time serving her clients and reducing non-billable hours. The coaches have also given Vered line of sight to what’s in the pipeline of her business, and where her consultants are spending their time. “We've surpassed our targets already for new client relationships in the first quarter. I need to get my back office cleaned up to be able to manage that capacity.” 

When the pandemic hit, interest in Vered’s company climbed. People started to see human resources in a new light. It also led her company to need to digitally transform faster than she had anticipated. Vered is implementing Monday.com, one of the tools she learned through the program, to assist her organization in streamlining activities and staying organized.  

With the help of a Bold Leadership Expert Advisor, Vered is currently in the initial stages of offering HR-related courses. “We're finding that we’re getting a lot of requests for interviewing support, the do's and don'ts of screening, reference checks, all those pieces. So, we’re going to put them into courses and work on that over the next several months.”  

Vered’s favourite aspect of the Bold Leadership program: 

“I loved hearing the stories of other organizations and how they're leveraging these tools and their success stories. The speakers that were brought in were really fascinating and inspiring. For them to share their digital transformation journey, how much it's helped their business and their vulnerability around that, that it's not going to be perfect. It's continually a journey and you're going to make mistakes and it's okay. I think that was the big thing for me. It was such a fear to go in the wrong direction, and now I'm realizing I know that I can do this.” 

— 

Vered completed the Bold Leadership Program with AWE. The program is designed to support women entrepreneurs who are creating new strategies and implementing technology and processes that will improve their business performance. Applications are now open for Bold Leadership, learn more and apply today. Deadline to apply is August 15! 

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What to Look For When Getting Womens Leather Motorcycle Jackets.

When you are looking to buy a womens leather motorcycle jacket, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. You want to find a jacket that is going to be comfortable and safe to wear while riding your motorcycle. You also want to find one that fits your style and personality. You may be tempted to just go out and buy the cheapest jacket you can find, but this is not always the best idea. Sometimes it’s worth spending a little more money to get a high-quality jacket that will last for years. In this blog post, we will discuss what to look for when choosing a women’s leather motorcycle jacket. We will also compare the benefits of buying a cheap jacket versus an expensive one.

About Leather Motorcycle Jackets

The history of moto jackets is just as sassy as the jackets themselves. You don’t need to be a member of a gang to appreciate the rebel spirit of the 1930s mobster jacket. The moto jacket, which encompasses everything from rebelliousness to longevity, is almost immune to obsolescence.

The Irving Scott model was first worn in 1928 and features large lapels, an asymmetric front zipper, and double breasts. The typical trademark is a reference to a more outrageous feel that was created. The lavish aerodynamic form and style are a perfect example of a polished modern appearance that will not become tiresome for many years to come.

The motorcycle jacket is available in a range of colors, exceeding the basic black in options such as brown, navy, red, blue, tan, and gray. Leather has a mythical quality about it. It’s a perfect way to make any outfit seem luxurious and effortless. Leather has the power to adapt to our materialistic customs.

What to look for In a Jacket

When you are looking for a womens leather motorcycle jacket, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. We have compiled this data so you get the perfect jacket when you go out to get one.

Comfortable and safe

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The first thing you need to consider is comfort. You want to find a jacket that is going to be comfortable and safe to wear while riding your motorcycle. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable while riding or have a jacket that does not offer the protection you need in case of an accident.

You need to look for a jacket that is made of high-quality leather. The better the quality of the leather, the more comfortable and safe the jacket will be. You also want to make sure that the jacket is well-constructed and has all the necessary safety features.

Consider the Weather

Another thing to consider is the climate you will be riding in. If you live in a cold climate, you will want to find a jacket that is insulated and has a lining. If you live in a warmer climate, you will want to find a jacket that is made of lighter-weight leather and has vents to help keep you cool.

Settle on a Style

With so many styles and designs in motorcycle jackets, it’s important to find one that fits your style and personality. Do you want a classic leather jacket or something with more of a modern look? Do you want a jacket with lots of zippers and pockets or something simpler?

Think about the kind of motorcycle you ride and the image you want to project when you are riding. If you are a Harley rider, you might want a more traditional leather jacket. If you ride a sportbike, you might want something with a more modern look. Also, you can find plain and printed leather jackets. There are several options to select from, so do it slowly and deliberately.

Size Matters

You also want to make sure the jacket fits well. A good rule of thumb is to buy a jacket that is one size larger than your normal clothing size so you can layer underneath it. You don’t want the jacket to be too tight because it will be uncomfortable and won’t offer the protection you need in case of an accident.

Cheap Vs. Expensive Jacket: Which One is better?

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Now that you know what to look for in a womens leather motorcycle jacket, you need to decide if you want a cheap or expensive jacket. There are pros and cons to both options.

A cheap jacket might be made of lower-quality materials and might not offer the same level of protection as an expensive jacket. However, a cheap jacket is often more comfortable and easier to break into than an expensive jacket.

An expensive jacket is usually made of higher-quality materials and offers better protection in case of an accident. However, an expensive jacket can often be less comfortable and harder to break into than a cheap jacket.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. Ultimately, the best decision is the one that fits your budget and needs.

Conclusion

Once you have considered all of these factors, you should have no problem finding the perfect leather motorcycle jacket for you. Just remember to take your time and choose wisely so you can enjoy many years of comfortable and safe riding.

We hope this guide has helped you in your search for the perfect womens leather motorcycle jacket. Remember to keep all of these factors in mind when shopping so you can find the best jacket for you.

- Camille
Snake ring meaning, popularity and our recommended pieces

The snake has been used frequently in jewelry since ancient times. Snake jewelry, especially snake rings, is elegant and mysterious and has always been a beloved jewelry element.

Snake ring meaning

what does a snake ring symbolize? The snake has been frequently used in jewelry since ancient times. Today the snake ring symbolizes growth and reborn after a difficult situation.

In ancient times, snake jewelry signified the owner’s desire for eternal youth and mortality, just as the snake, which continuously undergoes painful shedding but manages to survive and live a new life.

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Taylor Swift’s snake rings in her merch store, priced at $60. It was covered with diamonds, shining and wild.

History of snake jewelry

Between the 1820s and the 1950s, European culture was greatly influenced by Eastern culture. Indian culture, in particular, had significant influence in the jewelry industry.

The snake plays an important role in the Indian culture. It primarily represents rebirth, death and mortality, due to its casting of its skin and being symbolically “reborn”.

Over a large part of India there are carved representations of cobras or nagas or stones as substitutes. To these human food and flowers are offered and lights are burned before the shrines.

Artisans then put the shape of a snake with its mouth biting its tail into jewelry, symbolizing infinity.

In ancient Egypt, the snake represented wisdom and kingship. A lot of Pharaohs’ crowns were adorned with a cobra, with its head up in a ready to attack position. On Pharaohs’ scepters, we can always see a coiled snake.

The snake symbolizes the wisdom of Solomon, and the cobra was the protector of the ancient Egyptian monarchs. It is the emblem of supreme power.

Our recommended snake rings (price from low to high)

Snake ring meaning, popualrity and our recommended pieces Rosery Poetry silver snake ring $29.9, SHOP NOW.

This adjustable snake ring is made of 925 sterling silver, platinum or gold plated based on the metal color you choose.

It looks like a snake wrapped around your finger, and the green eyes made of cubic zirconia (they are not painted!) make it even more mysterious.

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Rosery Poetry black snake ring $29.9, SHOP NOW.

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Kendra Scott Snake Ring in Vintage Gold $58, SHOP NOW.

This snake ring is inspired by Victorian jewelry, it brings heritage detail to modern sculptural metal.

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Satya Jewelry Gold Snake Ring $69, SHOP NOW.

Wrap your finger in one of nature’s most elegant creatures. This adjustable snake ring is made of 18K gold plated brass and spinel stones. Featuring black eyes, the ring has just the right amount of sparkle.

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Pandora Snake Ring Triple Band Pavé £90, SHOP NOW.

This three-band ring is hand-finished in sterling silver and includes clear cubic zirconia. Get set to sparkle with this detailed piece.

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MISSOMA Harris Reed Coiled Serpent Ring $136, SHOP NOW.

This intricate serpent ring wraps around the finger. Wear or with other statement rings for a more opulent look.

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Gucci Garden engraved sterling silver snake ring $290, SHOP NOW.

Crafted from 925 sterling silver with an aged finish, this snake ring features engravings recreating the reptile’s scales.

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MISSOMA Harris Reed Diamond Snake Ring $2519, SHOP NOW.

This opulent serpent ring is inspired by symbols of the old world. It is handcrafted with 14ct recycled fine solid gold to help us reduce environmental impacts; the scale detailing is embellished with white diamond pavé and inset black diamonds.

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- Jisub

Have you wondered what your birth date meant? What about the numbers in your phone number or address? Numerology is an ancient practice that involves the study of the significance of numbers. It can also tell you a lot about personality traits and your life path.

The numerology of the number 4, for example, is believed to be associated with powerful qualities. For starters, life path number 4 represents stability and strength. It is said to help bring order to chaos and provide a sense of certainty and comfort in uncertain times. Additionally, the number 4 is symbolic of productivity and perseverance. It urges you to keep pushing through even when feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

There’s no denying that master numbers assigned to each person have some truly fascinating properties and hidden meanings. Keep reading to learn about numerology and its importance to your life.

How Numerology Works

Numerology is a remarkably complex subject involving many different factors and calculations. At its core, numerology is based on the belief that different numbers have their intrinsic own meaning and power. It’s also used to predict future events or understand one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s how numerology works:

The first step in numerology is calculating your numerological number. This is done by reducing the sum of all the digits in your full date of birth to a master number. Next, you determine which numerological numbers correspond to both your full name and any other names you use regularly. These are often referred to as your nicknames or aliases. Finally, you fuse these lucky numbers together, aligning them with the numerological meanings assigned to each number. 

The numerological interpretation of a number is based on its place in our numerological chart. This chart is constructed by assigning each digit of an individual’s date of birth a numerological value between master numbers one and nine. These nine digits are then arranged into three different cycles. And each cycle represents different aspects of the individual’s life. Also, it contains key numbers that reveal infos about one’s personality and character.

Some people believe that numerology can offer insight into a wide range of different topics. Others claim that numerology can be used not just for looking into the future. It’s also for shaping it by helping us make more informed decisions at critical junctures in our lives.

Though numerology may seem somewhat mysterious at first glance, it is quite complex and nuanced. It’s with many levels of meaning hidden beneath each number. Nonetheless, those who study numerology never fail to find it fascinating and engaging. They reveal new layers of meaning with each new mystery they uncover.

Core Numbers in Your Numerology Chart

The numbers that make up your life are called “core numbers.” These five major numbers will never change, and they’re derived from either the date or name you were born.

1. Life Path Number

Your life path number reveals the person you are destined to become and gives you a sense of purpose in all that happens. It gives an in-depth look at what you have to accomplish, any obstacles or challenges that may arise on your journey. It also tells you about some lessons you need to learn along the way.

Your life path number is calculated by getting the sum of all the numbers in your full date of birth. When you end up getting double-digit numbers, keep adding them until you get a single-digit number.

2. Expression Number

Also known as Destiny Number, your expression number can tell you about your abilities, desires, and personal goals. Your destiny number could also make you aware of any inherent traits.

3. Personality Number

Your Personality Number shows how others see you. You might think that this does not apply to you. However, it’s true for most people today – they hide their true selves from those around them and live under a persona.

Your personality number can show the things you ignore or don’t deal with by acting in a certain way. So, it is often quite enlightening to see how your personality number reveals deeper insights into behaviors when different circumstances arise.

4. Soul Urge Number

The Soul Urge number represents your yearnings for something more. Some people call this the Heart’s Desire, but there are no differences in meaning whatsoever. It simply refers to whatever drives you forward and motivates all aspects of life, from decisions made to dreams realized.

5. Birthday Number

Your birthday number is a map of your unique talents, abilities, and strengths. Your gifts are meant for the world’s benefit.

Your numerology reading will tell you what the future holds. It translates your spiritual world into physical formulas. It’s important to remember that while numbers can be looked at individually, they should always go together as a complete unit.

The critical part of numerology is not just calculation. But instead, correctly interpreting your numerology number.

Numerology Reading doesn’t have to be complex

If you are looking to tap into this 4,000-year-old science, there’s no need to grab your calculator. Numerology reading and self-discovery now all be done instantly at no cost!

Numerology experts Numerologist and other sites can do all this work for you, meaning less time wasted on figuring out your life numbers. Check them out and get a free personalized numerology report today.

- Jessica

An employment lawyer is well-experienced in handling all employment-related legal issues for both employers and employees. Whether you are an employee or employer, standing in the midst of any legal problem, getting in touch with New Jersey employment lawyers can help.

Primarily, it is the task of an employment lawyer to review all necessary employment agreements and terms to make sure that both the employer’s and employee’s interests are taken care of. 

When an employer reaches out to a lawyer, they can get necessary legal advice on framing appropriate retirement packages for the soon-to-be-retired employees, legal solutions to fight cases relating to hiring and firing, or tackle serious cases like workplace harassment, hazards, and discrimination. 

The  employees can also consult them when they feel that the employer is not complying with the relevant terms and conditions as mentioned in the employment offer letter.

In a nutshell, an employment lawyer is the best person to handle the intricacies of various legal issues relating to employment and jobs. 

Legal Benefits of an Employment Attorney: An Employer’s perspective

It helps you understand any recent amendments made to employment-related rules and regulations.

The lawyer constantly makes you aware of any new addition or deletion of any clause within the state statutes on employment-related laws.

You can get more legal insight about specific laws from your lawyer. They can explain relevant clauses to you in lucid and easy-to-understand terms.

Your lawyer can help you frame employment contracts, agreements, and personnel policies to comply with legal formalities as applicable in your state. 

The lawyer will always help you adhere to relevant rules regarding overtime pay, retirement benefits, occupational safety concerns, and various other matters. 

If you wish to fire an employee, you can do so as per the advice and guidance of a well-qualified lawyer as per law and the relevant job contract terms and agreements.

The Necessity of an Employment Lawyer: An Employee’s Perspective

An employee within the territorial jurisdiction of the US has various rights as sanctioned by the US Constitution. An expert attorney can help them understand their rights and duties. 

Many employees face discrimination in the workplace based on their skin color, gender, or language. Though it is not allowed,  several employees go through these pains silently. But when they have the support of an employment attorney, they can easily sue the organisation, their colleagues, or managers who indulge in such activity.

Similarly, if the company is not complying with the necessary worker’s compensation laws, you can hire an attorney to get the maximum compensation through applicable laws and statutes. 

An employment attorney will also remind you of your legal duties as an employee. Thus, while ascertaining your rights, the lawyer also helps you become responsible for your work to fulfil your job-related obligations. 

In Conclusion

Legal issues are unpredictable. Anyone can get affected because of a sudden legal problem. You should immediately contact an expert lawyer to get legal assistance and help.  

- Camille
Which finger does a wedding ring go on?

Wedding rings have a great significance in married life. Wearing the ring on different fingers show different meanings.

For married couples, it is important to know what is the ring finger and how to wear the wedding rings correctly so that others can clearly see your marital status. This helps to keep out crises that could jeopardize the relationship and to live a happy married life.

Which finger does a wedding ring go on? Why?

It is recommended that you wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of your left hand, which is traditionally the ring finger or the wedding finger. This is because the ring finger is considered to be connected to the heart, as the blood vessels in this finger run straight to the heart.

Therefore, for married couples, wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger is equivalent to a solid bond in two persons’ hearts and minds.

What hand does a wedding ring go on? Why?

It is common practice to wear the wedding ring on the left hand. Apart from the reasons mentioned above, it is also because most people are right handed. It can be very inconvenient to wear a ring on the right hand.

In particular, wedding rings are very valuable jewelry. If they get dirty or damaged, it is very costly and troublesome to repair them. Therefore, for most people, it is more practical to wear the wedding ring on the left hand.

Also, in different countries and cultures, the wedding finger or hand is different. For example, in China, men tend to wear their wedding rings on their left hand while women tend to wear them on their right hand.

Meanings of rings on other fingers

Wearing rings on different fingers has different meanings. We already know that wearing a ring on the wedding ring finger means you are married.

A ring on the middle finger means you are engaged or in love. A ring on the little finger is for those who are single or who do not want to fall in love. Lastly, for those who want to have a romantic relationship, you can wear the ring on the index finger.

The index finger: Expecting a romantic relationship; The middle finger: Engaged or in love. The ring finger/the fourth finger: Married. The little finger: Single or not interested in a relationship. How Do I Measure the Size of My Ring Finger?

Ring size chart: How to measure ring size at home?

There are multiple ways to measure your ring size, even without professional help.

Method 1: use a string or a strip of paper to measure your size; Method 2: take the size of a ring that you already own; Method 3: use a tape measure; Method 4: buy use a ring sizer. Read this article for more detailed information:

Ring Size Chart: How To Measure Ring Size At Home? Our recommended wedding rings

Which finger does a wedding ring go on?

Rosery Poetry 14K gold moissanite eternity band $173.90, SHOP NOW.

This eternity band is made of 14K gold and natural moissanite stones. You could never go wrong with such a classic half eternity wedding band. It portrays your elegance effortlessly in its shining beauty.

Stacking with your engagement ring or wearing it solo is both an ideal choice; this timeless design is a dazzling symbol of your love.

Gem s Beauty Solid 14K 10K Rose Gold Black Quartz Ring for Women Pear Emerald Cut 4

Rosery Poetry Toi et moi ring with natural black rutilated quartz $62.90, SHOP NOW.

This very special toi et moi ring (you and me ring) is inspired by the famous engagement ring from Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais in 1796.

It features a natural pear cut 5 x 7 mm black rutilated quartz stone and a princess cut 6 x 8 mm white cubic zirconia stone.

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Rosery Poetry Pink Morganite Engagement Ring $56, SHOP NOW.

This pink morganite engagement ring is inspired by Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which is a 12 carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds set in 18 karat white gold. It features a pink oval nano morganite stone complemented with white cubic zirconia stones.

Conclusion

Wearing a wedding ring on the ring finger means the connection of two hearts and represents a lifetime commitment. It also allows others to clearly understand your marital status. We recommend that you learn how to wear the wedding ring.

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- Jessica

A traveling entrepreneur can be an incredibly romantic notion sometimes. It can be you, a car, a suitcase, and the open road. But if you are spending a lot of time away from home, you’ve got to have a sense of grounding, especially when you are so far away from everything that is rooted in normality. But you should also think about what you can do to make the most of your time. You may spend a lot of time traveling internationally and there can be plenty of benefits to being an international entrepreneur, but it’s also important to remember that it can eat away at your time, effort, and even your sense of self. What does it take to be an effective traveling entrepreneur? 

Choosing the Right Method of Travel

When you are making short stop journeys within the same state or locale, a car might be better for you, not just because it saves money in the long run, but it can be a little slice of home that you can take with you. If you’ve got a car that is your pride and joy and is decked out with your sound system and you’ve fit lowering springs to change the suspension, it’s these little things that may make you feel more at home even though you are not! 

But it’s important to remember that the driving itself can be a welcome distraction from the stress of the work you need to do. It gives you something else to focus on, and can almost be a meditation of sorts. However, it’s important to balance out the driving with the relaxation. If you are driving for 6 hours late at night, it’s going to take a while to get to sleep and this will have a knock-on impact on your meeting or productivity the next day. 

Find the Right Accommodation

You need to be productive, so you’ve got to find the right accommodation that meets your needs. This is why most people spend their time in Airbnbs rather than hotels. It doesn’t just give them a proper accommodation with a fridge and a bed, but it can also allow that proper downtime. And what’s more, an Airbnb will always have a great wi-fi connection and workstation. 

However, there could be times when you may want to go to the hotel, for example, if you are having a meeting. But there are some downsides to going into hotels. They may provide all the meals under one roof, but the fact is you may find yourself on the same floor as other people who are being too noisy and this can greatly impact your ability to rest ready for the next day! If you take the extra time to make sure you meet your needs, it will make a big difference to your productivity and your ability to relax. 

Structuring Your Days

It’s easier to structure your days when you’re traveling via train but you also need to utilize the travel days to the best of your ability. It’s easy enough to say that you are not reachable because you are traveling, but if you do it right, you can get a lot more done on your travel days so when you hit your destination, you can relax. When you are traveling by train, there is a lot you can achieve. Granted, you may not be able to schedule calls if the wi-fi is not very good on the trains, but you can certainly schedule a phone call or take the opportunities to do low-impact admin. You can make it fun and listen to some music while you are doing it! However, it depends on the context of your journey. If you are in an incredibly noisy carriage, it’s not going to be feasible to have a detailed business call! But you also need to make sure that your days are structured with things that aren’t business-related. 

Sightseeing is always a good thing when you are traveling somewhere new. You don’t want to be just stuck inside the hotel; there are plenty of opportunities for you to get to grips with art and culture wherever you are! Even if you are just too tired, there’s nothing wrong with getting in a movie! You have to give yourself some time to decompress when you have the opportunity. And when you start to structure your work and your relaxation, it is going to make a big difference when you are on the road. It can be very draining, and after all, nobody has ever said that their health has improved because they travel so much. This is why you’ve got to win the battle of the suitcase!

- Jisub

Social wealth and status are the harbingers of luxury. People want to live in luxury but they focus more on good clothes, shoes, and houses. But their teeth can actually pose a different picture. No matter how much money one has, if the teeth are not white and shiny, the ‘’luxury’’ sheen they want may well be missing.

Read on to find out why great teeth may be a sign that a person is living in luxury.

A Sign of Good Health

Peak Family Dental Care in Arizona focuses on good health and all its services are rendered to ensure that. Oral health is a part of good health and a person who can maintain their health is obviously a person who cares about herself.

Have a Better Special Life

Studies have suggested time and again that people who have a good social life enjoy life more. People who have a ready smile and beautiful teeth are more likely to have a better social life. Why? Because others seem to like them more.

It has been seen that persons who have crooked teeth don’t smile as often because they feel their defects show. This may deter them from making friends. Having perfect, shining teeth may just be the new way of making more people like you. This can be a luxury at a time when friends are few and far between.

Get Better Jobs

Studies have also suggested that people who have good teeth are more likely to get better jobs. While education and qualifications may be the first thing you need to get a job, how you fare at the job interview may have more to do with how pretty your smile is.

If you take care of your teeth and make them look good, chances are higher that you will get a better job and what’s more, people are also going to like you better.

Be Better at Relationships

Perhaps a big luxury of today’s age is having good relationships that are long-lasting and comforting. Better teeth may just help you have better relationships.

The confidence that people seem to have when they know that their teeth are in perfect condition can be just the push they needed to be better at maintaining their relationships.

Higher Self-Esteem

While a Hollywood smile may be easy to get if you have a smart dental professional to help you, the good news is that it can make your self-esteem grow. There is a lot of work you can get done, including but not limited to porcelain veneers, dental implants, dentures, and dental crowns. Getting what you need will help you be more confident about who you are and how well you look.

Talking about luxury never hurt anyone and it does not imply that a huge amount of money needs to be spent. The ability to take care of oneself is a luxury that most people can afford and it is high time you did too as well.

- Camille
Why choose an opal engagement ring? And our hand-picked collection

While a lot of newly-engaged couples are showing their diamond engagement rings to the world, those who prefer unconventional rings are turning to opal engagement rings.

An opal engagement ring is unique as well as playful due to its striking fire and color change effect. They are a great choice for those who aim to be special and nontraditional.

Hyuna and Dawn’s opal and diamond engagement ring View this post on Instagram

A post shared by hyojong (@hyojong_1994)

In February this year, K-pop star Hyuna posted her engagement ring on Instagram and it became a hot topic on the social media.

Her engagement ring is very unconventional. It is made of white gold, with opal as the main stone and 7 diamonds of different shapes and colors as side stones.

So what’s attractive about opal engagement rings?

It is playful: Opal can flash in almost any color on it own

As the world’s sixth most precious stone, opal was once described by Shakespeare as “the queen of gems”, known for its special color change effect.

In fact, throughout most of human history, opal has been considered the luckiest and most amazing gemstone thanks to its excellent capability to present almost any color of the rainbow on it own.

In 75 AD, the Roman scholar Pliny pointed out: “Some opali carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.”

He was very amazed. On this kaleidoscope-like gem, you can see the color of rubies, amethysts, emeralds and many more. It is colorful, playful and beautiful.

Indeed, opal is known as the palette of gemstones, thanks to its special color-changing effect.

It is one of a kind: Each opal stone has a unique and changeable fire

In addition to being playful, another distinguishing feature of opal is that each color is unique due to its intense and changeable fire. It is almost impossible to find another identical opal.

From this point of view, it is even more “unique” than diamonds. That is why now more and more people are choosing opal engagement rings for their special day. Hyuna is one of them.

Opal engagement ring meaning

What does an opal engagement ring mean? Opal is said to mean love, passion, hope and creativity, which makes an opal engagement ring the perfect representation of a passionate relationship with sparkle and glow.

How much are opal engagement rings?

Depending the metal and the design, an opal engagement ring costs from $100 to $2000. Generally speaking, it is a much more affordable and unconventional alternative to diamond engagement rings.

Our hand-picked collection of opal engagement rings (price high to low)

Why choose an opal engagement ring? And our hand-picked collection

Rosery Poetry 14K Rose Gold Ethiopian Opal Ring $359.9, SHOP NOW.

This special semi-eternity Ethiopian fire opal ring features five natural Ethiopian fire opal stones and lab created pink sapphire stones. It is a very stunning maximalist ring.

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SUSANNAH KING 9kt yellow gold opal and diamond signet ring $1510, SHOP NOW.

Susannah Kings elevates a classic 9kt yellow gold signet ring reiterating it with a bright synthetic opal and sparkling diamonds for a radiant finish.

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Catbird 14K Gold Wandering Star Ring Opal $1250, SHOP NOW.

A ring of epic beauty, plucked straight from the night sky. It is made of 14K gold with an Australian opal and 10 brilliant diamonds.75809 main

Blue Nile Oval Opal and Swiss Blue Topaz Halo Ring in 14k Rose Gold $1250, SHOP NOW.

This 14k rose gold ring is splendidly crafted with a vibrant oval opal framed by a double halo of blue topaz and white sapphires that cascade down the band.

SR0717OPD WG AAA 6

Angara Round Opal Halo Ring with Diamond Accents $872, SHOP NOW.

An iridescent opal in a prong setting is surrounded by a glimmering diamond halo. The shoulders are also adorned with diamonds for added sparkle. Crafted in 14k white gold, this round opal halo ring is simply luxurious.

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WWAKE 14k yellow gold opal crossover ring $575, SHOP NOW.

WWAKE’s creations are lauded for their simplicity and their spotlighting of precious and semi-precious stones. A case in point is the iridescent opal and sparkling diamond that top this slim 14kt yellow gold band.

K Best Design 10K Rose Gold White Opal Engagement Ring Set $427, SHOP NOW.

This is a beautiful opal engagement ring features a lab created white fire opal stone.

Satya Jewelry Healing Path Lotus Pink Opal Ring $169, SHOP NOW.

This 18kt gold plate ring is adorned with a lotus flower—symbol of new beginnings and full potential.

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Gorjana 14K Rose Gold Opal and Diamond Trio Ring $120, SHOP NOW.

This fine ring is made of 14K rose gold, and natural gemstones. Be prepared to embrace a mix of opal and diamonds that will keep your stack interesting.

Read More

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8 Diamond Alternatives That Look Like Diamonds But Might Be Better!

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- Natasha Barrett
5 Tips To Overcome Loneliness As An Entrepreneur

The focus of Mental Health Week in the UK this year was loneliness, and it’s a really important conversation for us to have as entrepreneurs.

Loneliness is one of the biggest reasons why I started the Female Entrepreneur Association. I felt so lonely building a business, like I just didn’t belong. I felt like there were very few people who understood what I was going through.

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In a study about entrepreneurship, more than 50% of the CEOs interviewed shared that they had felt lonely at some point in their business journey. In reality, it’s probably so much more than 50% who truly feel lonely and isolated.

Another study into this topic found that CEOs who feel lonely are also a lot more likely to burn out. There’s so much pressure as a business owner, and it’s so easy to get in your own head about how you’re feeling and what you’re doing, especially when you have no one to talk to about what’s going on.

Building a business is an emotional rollercoaster, so I wanted to share 5 tips that can help if you’ve been struggling with feeling lonely as you’re building your business.

If you want to surround yourself with amazing people, who get what you’re going through and are on the same journey as you, come join us inside the Female Entrepreneur Association Members’ Club! 

It’s an amazing community and a safe space where you will feel seen, heard and supported. You don’t have to go through this journey on your own – we’re here ready to be your support system at every step of the way.

Join us for our next CEO Powerhour with Carrie Green

The post 5 Tips To Overcome Loneliness As An Entrepreneur appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
3 Tips To Try When Your Business Isn’t Making Money

When you first start a business and that business isn’t making money yet, it’s so easy to feel like a failure. Like you will never be able to create success.

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So many entrepreneurs feel like this, and so many quit because of it. But this is when we need to be our strongest and find a way to push through. 

I know a lot of us can relate to a post someone shared inside our Members’ Club Facebook group last week: 

“I don’t have a business…

I decided to take the time to grow my audience…I write blogs and share content on social media…

During that time, I am not making money… so I don’t have a business… so I am not the CEO I wish I was…

I am basically a content maker…shameful, isn’t it? Because I feel I am stealing time from my family and I don’t bring money (yet).”

If you’re in this situation, I made this episode because I want to help you to hang in there, see the way through and get clear on how you can actually start making the money that you want.

And if you want an easier way to start making money than creating your own products, we created a Resell Rights Bundle of digital products that you can sell as your own! It’s the easiest way to get some sales flowing into your business.

Check it out here before it expires >>

The post 3 Tips To Try When Your Business Isn’t Making Money appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
How To Make Sales Without Creating Any Products Or Services

In this episode, I want to share with you the real way I got started in business back in 2005. This is a way to build a business that’s so much easier and less scary than creating your own products.

That business became a huge success and I never even had to create a single thing!

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It was also the perfect stepping stone for me to eventually start and grow the Female Entrepreneur Association into a multiple 7-figure business, and in this episode, I explain exactly how it all happened

We all want to build businesses and create success. We all want to do something that we feel inspired by and that we’re proud to share with the world.

But so often, we get so hung up because we feel like we’re not qualified to create products. Even when we know the steps to take, it’s so easy to get in our own way.

We’ve been trying for so long to find the easiest way to help people to just get going with their online business and go straight to make sales, rather than getting stuck with creating digital products.

Well, we did it! We’ve created a high-quality digital product bundle that you can resell as your own and it’s incredible!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RESELL RIGHTS BUNDLE

The post How To Make Sales Without Creating Any Products Or Services appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
You Don’t Need To Niche Down To Succeed. Here’s Why.

So many entrepreneurs get stuck thinking they must niche down and target the smallest possible audience in order to be successful. 

They end up not making progress and feeling frustrated because they intuitively feel like they don’t want to niche down and they want to help lots of different people.

This is something I see coming up over and over again.

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Maybe it’s something that has been affecting you: maybe you’ve been confused about identifying a really specific audience and you feel this pressure that unless you niche down, your business won’t work out, because that’s what a lot of experts and coaches say. 

While it’s important to get clear on who it is you want to serve and who would be your ideal audience, we put too much pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out. 

So in this episode I want to share with you why you don’t actually need to niche down to be successful, and what to focus on instead.

 

The most important part of building a business is that you show up for your dreams, be of service in some way and get your message out there.

There are plenty of businesses out there that haven’t niched down and are still wildly successful, so give yourself permission to just do things on your own terms. 

You don’t have to have everything perfectly figured out, but if you’d love some help getting more clarity around your vision and your ideas, I have a free workbook that will help you out!

It’s called Uncover Your Winning Business Idea and you can click below to download a free copy!

Uncover your winning business idea

The post You Don’t Need To Niche Down To Succeed. Here’s Why. appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
How To Find Your Winning Business Idea

As entrepreneurs, most of us tend to be ideas people – constantly coming up with new ideas of all the amazing things we can create.

But with so many options and so much opportunity out there, it can feel incredibly scary and overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right idea.  

So instead we get stuck coming up with all the reasons why we SHOULDN’T try our ideas.

That fear of making mistakes is what holds so many of us back, so in this episode, I wanted to share with you what to do when you feel stuck like that.

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This is all about giving up trying to make things perfect and just giving yourself permission to try something instead.

Actually giving your ideas a chance is what will eventually lead to success. You never know how the path will unfold, you just need to focus on pushing yourself to take that next step.

If you’ve been feeling stuck with no ideas… or you have the opposite problem and you have too many ideas to choose from, I’ve got a free workbook for you!

It’s going to help you to dive deep into your ideas and figure out what to do so that you can make progress, start making sales and grow your business.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

Carrie Green talking about choosing a business idea

If you loved this episode, come and share your business idea with me on Instagram, I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

FEA INSTAGRAM CARRIE GREEN INSTAGRAM CARRIE & CO. INSTAGRAM SHE MEANS BUSINESS BOOK

The post How To Find Your Winning Business Idea appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
The Easiest Ways To Create A Successful Membership Site

This episode is part 2 of this series where I’m sharing all my best tips to help you create and build a successful membership site!

It follows on from last week’s episode where I shared my journey to building my membership site, The Members’ Club.

I shared the steps I took, the numbers behind the scenes and I also talked about when NOT to start a memberships site.

If you’d like to watch last week’s episode, check it out here >>

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I have so many tips to share in this week’s episode with you:

The different types of membership sites you could create (and the easiest ways to get started) What content you can create for your membership (and why simple is better) How to set the price for your membership (and find a strategy to attract members) The best ways to grow your membership (and get people excited to join)

It’s so doable for you to create a successful membership site. When you go all in with it and you keep experimenting, trying and practicing to create something amazing – you can create so much success.

Action to Take:

Make sure you sign up for the free  Turn What You Already Know, Love, And Do Into A Profitable Membership workshop by Stu McLaren right here

He only hosts this once every year and it’s going to be AMAZING… if you’re serious about building a successful membership site, you can’t miss this training!

Stu has helped me to build my membership and his advice is priceless!

Links from this episode If you’d love to build a community for your membership, check out Circle.

The post The Easiest Ways To Create A Successful Membership Site appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
What you need to know about creating a membership site and when NOT to launch one!

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One of the questions I get asked the most is: how can I create a membership?

Having spent nearly 9 years building my own I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what NOT to do, so over the next two episodes, I’m going to take you behind the scenes and share with you where to begin with creating and successfully launching your own membership site.

Action to Take:

Make sure you sign up for the free  Turn What You Already Know, Love, And Do Into A Profitable Membership workshop by Stu McLaren right here

He hosts this once every year and it’s AMAZING… if you want to build a successful membership site it’s an absolute MUST. 

Stu has helped me to build my membership and his advice is incredible, honestly, don’t miss out on his workshops

The post What you need to know about creating a membership site and when NOT to launch one! appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
How To Build A Physical Products Business

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I love digital products, but creating a physical product line was always a huge dream of mine and it’s been such an amazing experience to create our luxury stationery line, Carrie & Co.

So many people always ask questions about how we built this business and how we create all the products, so in this episode, I’m joined by my brother James and we’re sharing everything!

James has been with me every step of the way to build Carrie & Co. and he now manages that side of the business.

In this episode, we’re talking about how we built out this vision from an idea I had and the biggest lessons we’ve learned over the past few years of developing products and creating this brand.

It’s not all good news though… recently our warehouse where we keep 99% of our inventory burnt down! I woke up on a Saturday morning to a message from James telling me there had been an arson attack on the warehouse and we had lost everything.

Luckily we had insurance, but it’s still been a huge setback and a really devastating blow.

We talk all about it in this episode and how we’re planning to rebuild it all bigger and better than before!

Building a luxury stationery line was a huge goal of mine – if there’s a huge goal you’d love to achieve but you’re not sure how to make it happen. I’m hosting a free training where I’ll share exactly what you need to do to create so much success! (no matter what your goal is!)

It’s called the She Means Business Workshop – It’s taking place this Thursday, April 7th at 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm UK and I’ve got so much powerful stuff to share with you – it’s going to be amazing!

CLICK HERE TO SAVE YOUR FREE SPOT

I also have a special 20% off discount you can use on any full-priced products in the Carrie & Co. shop! Click here to get your 20% off discount >>

The post How To Build A Physical Products Business appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
We stand with Ukraine

We stand with Ukraine

The reality of what’s happening in Ukraine has deeply affected so many of us, and all our thoughts are with the very people living through this horror. We have Ukrainian members within our community, members with family in Ukraine, as well as team members who are in border countries witnessing the incredible humanitarian efforts taking place.

What’s happening is utterly heartbreaking and it goes without saying that we stand in solidarity with Ukraine and hope for a peaceful resolution as soon as possible.

As a supportive and compassionate community, we know many of us want to know how we can do more and offer our support.

As a business community, it’s unimaginable to not only have your life turned upside down, but to also have your livelihood and business that you have worked so hard to build disrupted as well.  

We know just how much heart and soul goes into all the amazing women-owned businesses around the world, which is why we wanted to share ways that we can all directly support Ukrainian businesses, and the women behind those businesses, at this time. 

Here are a few businesses through which you can support Ukrainian entrepreneurs:  

ShurShur Support Sellers in Ukraine (Etsy page, digital sellers) HappySpacesWorkshop Artliciousness MisTeryPlace CalligraphyByAnnY VividStitchShop StitchyPrincess Drawiind DigitalNastasiaArt AirBnB 

As well as supporting businesses, if you’re in a position to donate, these are a few charities providing humanitarian relief:

Red Cross (https://help.rescue-uk.org/ukraine-crisis) Disaster Emergency Appeal (https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal)  Save the Children (https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/emergencies/ukraine-appeal) Choose Love (https://donate.chooselove.org/campaigns/ukraine-appeal)  The Pachamama Project (https://www.thepachamamaproject.org/index.html#welcome) – period poverty in war  

If you’re not in a position to donate or support a business right now, remember the power of visibility and your voice.  

Share links to amazing businesses on your social media, keep the people of Ukraine in your thoughts and join us in praying for the end of this conflict.

It’s a scary time and our hearts are with all those suffering, but together we can all play a small part in supporting the people of Ukraine. 

The post We stand with Ukraine appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- Natasha Barrett
The Most Powerful Ways To Overcome Negative Thoughts And Limiting Beliefs

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Life is a rollercoaster ride, going through phases of feeling fine and then times when your mood and your thoughts can really dip.

Sometimes we’re not even aware of the limiting beliefs and negative thoughts that we have bubbling beneath the surface, but they still hold us back every day and lead us to sabotaging ourselves without even realising it.

So many of us struggle with what goes on inside of our heads and it can feel like such a lonely place to be in, but when we speak up about it, we see that we’re not alone, weird or crazy.

So in this episode, I wanted to share with you some of the key things I’ve done over the past 15 years that have really helped me to overcome my limiting beliefs and my negative thoughts whenever I’ve found myself in that dip.

I hope this episode helps you to realise that you’re not alone if you’re struggling with these negative thought patterns, and that there are things you can do to take back your control and your power.

What helps you to overcome your stresses, anxieties and limiting beliefs? Share in the comments below and let’s have this important conversation together. 

With the start of quarter two, so many of us start feeling anxious and frustrated that we might be falling behind on the goals we set for ourselves back in January. 

If you’ve been feeling like you’re not where you wanted to be this year, I’ve created a brand new workshop where I’m going to show you what you need to get back on track and make huge progress this year.

Click below to save your free spot and come join me on Thursday, April 7th at 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm UK.

The post The Most Powerful Ways To Overcome Negative Thoughts And Limiting Beliefs appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.

- David Prosser, Contributor
How Dukkantek Plans To Digitalise The Merchants Of The Middle East
Dukkantek has expanded into seven markets since it raised $5.2 million from investors
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Meet The Fintech Founders And Startup Investors On The 2022 30 Under 30 Asia List
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The 30 Under 30 Asia 2022 Entrepreneurs Transforming The Booming Logistics Industry
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Indonesian Firms Lead The Under 30 Asia Startups Fueling Regional E-Commerce
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Sales Funnels And Which Kind Is Right For Your Business
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How PreSkale Promises To Turn Sales Leads Into Real Revenues
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Nine Effective Ways To Build A 'Thicker Skin' As An Entrepreneur
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- Miriam Grobman, Contributor
How to Make a Successful Transition From a Big Company to a Startup?
Itching for action and considering joining a startup after a career in a big company? There are several important adjustments you will need to make.
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How To Avoid Groupthink In Startups
Groupthink is the tendency to accept a perceived group consensus without questioning it regardless if you as an individual think it is correct. It can be deadly to the creativity of an early-stage startup team. In this article, we discuss two models that would help you avoid it.
- YEC, Forbes Councils Member
Why Thought Leadership Matters To CEOs
Thought leaders who are convincing have an authenticity that attracts others to listen to what they say.
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5 Things All Growth-Obsessed Leaders Do
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Eight Ways Solopreneurs Can Better Manage Their Energy And Avoid Burnout
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CEO-Worker Pay Gap Widens—And Employees Aren’t Happy About It
If you thought the pandemic might have made a dent in the wealth gap between CEOs and rank and file workers, you’d be wrong.
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How Shiva Can Help Corporations Build Unicorns In Revolutionary Trends
Corporations have tried many approaches to addressing the increasing pace of innovative disruption, but not much has worked. The solution may lie in recreating Silicon Valley in the corporation through the Chief Venturing Officer position. In the exponential age, every corporation should have one.
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How BUD Plans To Bring The Metaverse To The Masses
Metaverse creation platform BUD has raised more than $36 million in its latest funding round

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Is Zoom Video (NASDAQ: ZM) Starting To Bottom Out?
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Podcasting for Profit: How to Turn Your Podcast Into a Full-Time Job
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How AI Ads Are Disrupting Marketing
AI marketing is a new way to reach customers that is much more personalized, targeted and engaging than traditional methods.
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The Demise of Third-Party Cookies: Retaining the Sweet Spot
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'You Just Saved a Life': Kind Stranger Brings Starbucks Barista to Tears in Life-Changing Interaction
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Stop Leaving Money on the Table: 5 Proven Psychology Tips to Catapult Your Conversions
Words sell. Injecting psychology into them will help boost your conversion rate and make you more money.
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Merchant Cash Advances: Fighting Cash Flow Uncertainty, One Business at a Time
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- Jean Ginzburg
6-Step Plan to Convert Leads Into Sales
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Human Design for Business: 3 Instant Ways To Magnetize Your Brand Voice
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FBA Aggregators: What Makes Amazon FBA Brands Unparalleled Acquisition Targets in 2022
Learn why Amazon FBA brands are highly desirable for acquisition and how to plan ahead for the growth of your brand.
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The Business Benefits of Learning a New Language
Language gives your business the opportunity to expand internationally.
- StackCommerce
Meet the Chef-Inspired Robotic Kitchens That Can 4X Restaurant Profits
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5 Common Marketing Mistakes You Need to Look Out For
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You Might Not Always Have A Right to Dispute Negative Background Checks - What Job Applicants Should Know
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Next Year's Super Bowl Halftime Show Will Look Completely Different for the First Time in a Decade
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- PROSPECTIVE IDEAS
THE HONEST TRUTH ON SMALL BUSINESS START-UPS: ONLINE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
When running a small business, to be able to survive and be successful, it is vital to possess the appropriate mind-set. This is actually the stage when individuals might not even be considering becoming small business owners. Should you be prepared you'll have less to be concerned about and are going to be able to relay your position and business needs more effectively. If you're someone contemplating the changes which will occur by turning into a prosperous small business proprietor, it'll be helpful that you have a bird's eye view of where you're along the continuum.Related article…http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2016/05/7-most-important-guidelines-for-first.htmlFor example, starting an internet business takes very little time and in the majority of cases, expense, which is primarily for all these reasons that there are a lot of internet businesses dotting the view. These implications are frequently different depending where you're running your company from, be it a shop or from home. Assuming you already have quite a few years experience below your belt in a similar organization, then you ought to have a fairly decent idea what things to expect and almost understand what these unforeseen expenses may be.Cash flow is a huge deal for virtually any entrepreneur trying to attain a fledgling business off the ground. Your small business start-up might have to possess somewhere to receive money together with a way of paying bills. To fuel your company start-up you'd definitely require appropriate guidance on ideas for company. Whenever your business empowers you to really work together, you may achieve success together.See also…http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2014/12/details-of-40-small-businesses-you-can.htmlAmong the most crucial steps to starting a little business is securing stable and respectable lines of credit. Another route to take would be to consider starting the company on a part time basis. Setting up an extremely detailed table of expected expenses and revenues for the very first few years of the brand-new start up organization is important and forms the basis of your own business enterprise plan. An accountant shouldn't be an afterthought for your personal business.For a lot of entrepreneurs hoping to begin a small business locating the cash to do so is often a big stumbling point. Think about that if you're seriously considering starting a little enterprise. If you prefer to start your organization hard enough, you're going to get through it in style. While working and scheming to start your business, you'll need to really have a map of things you should concentrate on.Related article…http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2015/06/no-capital-or-fund-7-ways-to-earn-money.html There's zero way a small company in the 21st century can expect to survive with no web presence, however it's not sufficient to simply have a web site, any business looking to succeed needs a competitively placed site that is certainly visible to its customers. If you would like to start an internet business, like network marketing, you're able to typically intend on shelling out several thousands to start off with, even though this will change from company to company. The little business enterprise idea is possibly rather detailed, even if it's an easy organization. This normally requires a whole lot of work and certainly will signify the creation of a company plan. At this time, you're set to begin your small business enterprise. It may be as easy as beginning a terrific window cleaning company or as complex as a different tech start-up.Feel free to share this informationFor your Business Registration, Business Plan, Brand Marketing, Business Proposals, Strategic Business Development, Content Management, SMS and E-mail Marketing, Expatriate Quota/Work Permits, SMEs start-up.Contact us at:Prospective Ideas Nig Ent5, Atunwa Street Off Unity Rd,By Custom Training SchoolIkeja.Lagos - State.+2348034201291; +2348170327317ideasandprospects@gmail.com;     lekanolanite@gmail.com  
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ARE YOU MORE WORRIED THAN EVER BEFORE? 55 GUARANTEED STEPS TO REDUCE STRESS FROM YOUR LIFE
Honestly, I have never really been worried and disheartened in recent times as compared with the period when I was an employee chasing unimaginable monthly sales targets here and there. I was terribly stressed when I was still single in contrast to when I am now happily married with kids and lots of fatherly roles to play at the home front. I appear to take life more uncomplicated now than ever before not because I have everything but rather because I had cause to be thankful for the much little I have. Apparently, I am taking solace in the fact that "The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don't have." Though, research has shown that there are more cases of stress induced depression, low productivity and performance at workplace, decreasing morals and motivation, absence of positive thinking, high level of domestic abuse and escalated violence, recurrent suicidal actions, extreme drug abuse and excessive alcoholism and many other anti-social activities in the society at large. In order to tone down the effect of stress in our daily lives, here are 55 surefire steps needed to reduce tension from your life:1.     First and foremost, you need to identify the real cause of stress. 2.     Activities causing stress and tension should be noted down and analyzed twice in a month. 3.     Your reactions to each stressful event should be recollected and compared with one another. 4.     You Should not give immediate response to stressful event, always take little time to think and ponder on the best alternative cause of action. 5.     If any tension comes, ask your inner mind for a solution, he is more intelligent than you. 6.     Past is past, always concentrate on future events and gather courage and willpower. 7.     You need not bother about your loss, but find out the reason for it and try to solve it. 8.     Face all situations with confidence. 9.     Keep faith in God and believe in Him alone to make things work out as you desires. 10.                        Always hope for the best in all things you do.11.                        Always keep a positive approach. 12.                        Before doing anything plan a solution to face a negative situation. 13.                        You should not live your life only for money reason alone. 14.                        Help the poor people if you can, it gives you a sense of fulfillment. 15.                        Visit the sick people and give them moral support, it could be the best and last moment for you or the sick ones. 16.                        Whenever you are tensed take a deep breath and relax. 17.                        Don’t ever replace working hard with prayer and replacing prayer with hard work. 18.                        If any stress comes, look at the beautiful things around you most especially the nature. 19.                        Keep some inspirational and motivational books around you, read whenever you are stressed or under pressure. 20.                        Practice breathing exercises regularly. 21.                        Keep little time for positive thinking and meditation, an hour a day will refresh your mental alertness. 22.                        If you are tensed up, make a surprise call to your loved ones, spouse, parents or old friends. 23.                        When you are tensed think about others who suffer from more serious problems. 24.                        Keep close contact with your family and share some problems with them. 25.                        Go for pleasure trips with your family members. 26.                        Avoid sedentary and isolated life; always mingle with others to reduce the chances of being wayward or suicidal when faced with severe stress and tension. 27.                        Always approach others with a smile, it is the most natural way to bond with people and also a stress reliever. 28.                        Laughing and sharing jokes with others will make you feel relaxed. 29.                        If any stressful event comes, discuss it with your partner or intimate friend. 30.                        Spend quality time with your kids and join in their toy stories and child’s play. 31.                        Always approach the people in a polite manner, first impression lasts. 32.                        Maximum attempt should be made to reduce enmity towards others as this will stimulate the stress level. 33.                        Keep a regular routine for your activities. 34.                        Stop procrastinating and start getting more things done as quickly as you can possibly do. 35.                        Sound sleep and quality bedtime relaxation is very essential to calm down your mind and body. 36.                        Avoid staying in stuffy and unventilated atmosphere, always prefer room with fresh air. 37.                        Learn to get up as early as possible in the morning, it always sets the tone for more active and brighter day ahead. 38.                        Wear some perfumes when necessary and freshen up your rooms or workplace with nice fragrances. 39.                        Personal hygiene should be maintained at all times and in all places. 40.                        Your health problems should be discussed with medial professionals and follow their instructions. 41.                        Make a habit of cleaning the home and surroundings as often as possible. 42.                        Keep sexual relations with only one partner, this will prevent emotional stress and reduce the risk of contacting STDs. 43.                        Always take a walk in between every other activities, it is a good way to relax the brain and calm the nerves. 44.                        Afternoon sleep is good but should not be a deep sleep with snoring. 45.                        Listening to good music sometimes recalibrates the mind. 46.                        Spend little time with pet animals if you cared for one. 47.                        Engage in some games such as chess, scrabble, Sudoku, swimming, tennis, football, etc. 48.                        Keep some time to engage in your hobbies. 49.                        When you have the time, write some literal things like articles, poems and stories. 50.                        Keep a regular timing for food, even skipping a breakfast sometimes can trigger stress and tension.51.                        Take plenty of fruits and vegetables. 52.                        Prepare your favorite meal and have it with your family and friends at the dinner table, picnic and other memorable places. 53.                        Excessive drinking and eating should be avoided, obesity and other eating disorders are some of the causes of stress and mental depressions. 54.                        Learn to always speak the truth absolutely, it is the best way to free the mind from unnecessary worries.55.                         Don’t forget to share these tips with others, you just might be the reason someone somewhere is overcoming his/her worries.
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7 RULES FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS - PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STARTING RIGHT DURING AND AFTER THE PANDEMIC
The period of this COVID-19 pandemic is one the best time to be an entrepreneur—in the last decades; technology has leveled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. As an entrepreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choice more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that you’re lighter, more flexible, and faster on your feet. You can target new markets more quickly, and you can turn on a dime.But being a successful entrepreneur requires that you look at the big picture and follow a plan through from beginning to the end. Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine also gives some practical guidelines that can help you when beginning your own enterprise:1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job. (Avoid Jumping The Ship)Consider starting your business part-time, especially if it’s online, while you’re working and have a steady income. It usually takes six months to a year to get a business going and you don’t want your ability to make your house payment to hinge upon your company being an overnight success. Start with what you can manage, financially and time-wise, and scale up as your business grows.2. Find Your Niche.(Discover And Identify Your Area Of Specialization)The days of general stores are over. Particularly online, consumers are looking for stores that specialize. You have to find a need—something a specific group of people want, but can’t get at the big chain stores—and fill it.“You can’t compete with the big guys, so you have to find where the big guys aren’t and go into your niches.” 3. Start Small To Grow BigA little beginning is sometime needed to build a bigger brand, many of the world’s foremost companies started from the garage, library or micro cubicle. You do not need to overstretch your resources to start a business of your own, Rome was never built in a single day. Many humble beginners have risen to become multinational corporations, e.g, General Electric, Amazon, Dangote, Ford Foundation, Alibaba, Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc.4. Have an Online Presence. (Build An Online Brand For Easy Access) Even if you’re not planning to start an online retail business, consider that the internet can still play a valuable role in your company. Having an online presence eliminates the limitations of physical location and broadens your customer base by, literally, millions. It’s also a great tool for promoting yourself and letting people, even in your own area, know that you’re there, and what you’re doing.5. Build Trust And Be Consistent.The first and most important tool you need in building your client’s confidence is Trust, never compromise your trust and integrity for profit. The more people have trust in what you do, the more attractive your product and services to multitude of potential customers.6. Refuse to Quit.Successful entrepreneurship requires creativity, energy, and a drive to keep going when you fail. Few people realize that before Bill Gates created the extremely successful Microsoft 3.0, he created a Microsoft 1.0 and 2.0, both of which flopped—but he kept at it. And that determination and refusal to give up is what will separate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones. “Arm yourself with optimism to get beyond the ‘No’ or the trouble. There’s nothing wrong in failure—just don’t repeat the same mistake!”7. Separate Business From PleasureThis is not the best time to plan on holidays and vacations, the current reality does not give room for frivolities and arbitrary spending in the name of tours and philandering. Concentrate more on sustaining the growth of your business and making it to be a standard brand that will stand the test of time. Whenever the coast is clear for vacations and shopping spree, it will naturally come without much ado.Credit…Rieva LesonskyContributor....Olanite Olalekanlekanolanite@gmail.com+2348034201291.
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HOW TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL AS A NEW SENSATION INTERNET MARKETER.
The first internet marketing I did was selling an internet browsing tweak way back in 2006 just before I got my marketing job in the bank, thereafter, I venture into VOIPS, selling e-books and other information materials that I created myself or got through a reseller or resale rights. In addition to the above mentioned, I started writing and publishing on forums such as Nairaland, blogs and other self development online platforms. Nairaland really helped shape my internet marketing direction as it became the turning point for the things I thought were mere passion but turns out to become a source of sustenance till date. I have few of my articles and publications on nairaland that are still bestsellers till date, when it comes to business and school registration, my article has garnered more income and revenue than my total wages when I was working in the bank. And my article on nylon production business, recycling plastic and nylon waste is today still the most visited in that niche and I still earn from it till tomorrow.If, unlike me, your career in life has not involved any form of marketing or selling, then to get involved in internet marketing is one hell of a giant leap.I was first introduced into internet marketing in 2006 through Success Digest publications owned by Dr Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, a business coach and mentor. I was a lover of complete sport magazine and every last page of the sport magazine carries some information about online and internet marketing business. I kept seeing an advert for something called Google Ads, click-banks, PayPal, e-books, info products and a lot of other relevant reports. At this point, I was still in the banking system chasing deposits day-in day-out and i all I used the internet for was either networking with colleagues or just browsing in general for any information that I needed on any subject matter under the sun.Even inside success digest papers and complete sports magazines, there are columns where you can place advert for your internet marketing skills, info product, software services and people would buy your products and you would receive a generous income. Simple, I thought, that is until you try it as an uneducated marketer. I lost more money than I invested, however, this can be quite normal for the beginner. I accepted the fact that I had lost money but vowed to continue looking for something that I could do.So, being curious about money making on the internet I decided to investigate further. I came across many money making opportunities that promise this that and the other, which I am sure a lot of you have seen yourselves. Successful internet marketers such as Akin Alabi, Nzimora, Seun Osewa, Patrick Ogidi, John Obidi and a host of others had encounter with success digest one way or the other. Anyway, after a while I found an offer that I thought I could try out and see what happens without losing an absolute fortune. After starting a venture into internet marketing for the first time you will find yourself seemingly lost in a world of information. There is so much to learn and so many ways to learn it.It takes time to learn what you need to know about internet marketing And I don’t think that there are any real secrets, just techniques.On the internet there are thousands of people trying to make money and they are all either making new products or looking for products to help themselves financially. There are endless programs and E-Books and ideas available that tries to help you succeed in whatever money making business you are involved in.I am not trying to promote anything here, I am just trying to say that when you go into internet marketing, take your time, learn, read, re-read, and learn again.Nothing is right if it is not right for you.If you don’t fully understand something, keep asking questions until you do understand it or don’t do it.There is no easy answer for the beginner, it is just a matter of that person finding out what is right for them. I just hope that anybody who tries internet marketing for the first time takes my advice on board and succeeds. There is no single best way to succeed on the internet, every successful story has a its peculiar strategy and style of reaching out to the larger audience, some internet marketers make use of video skits, youtube, twitter, instagram, facebook, vox-pops, etc, to attract their audiences. Whatever skill you possess and have deep passion for, now is the time to turn that dream into reality.To your successOlanite Olalekan.  
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11 VITAL REASONS HOW EARNING EXTRA INCOME WILL BOOST YOUR FINANCES
The pervasive news about recession seems to me a global phenomenon and not a malaise peculiar to Nigeria as a country. However, recession itself is not the major impediment to survival but the willingness of the people to look inward and create alternative source of income. Any nation whose development and growth is hinged on a monolithic based economy will ultimately fall into recession whenever it experiences financial shocks.Doing extra jobs, working extra hours, selling extra products, doing holiday and weekend jobs, affiliate marketing, by and large, earning extra income during recession is the greatest way to cushion the effect of economic depression, high cost of inflation, job insecurity, financial meltdown and the likes.Have you ever imagined how it feels to get up at your own lovable time and not hasten to office in the regular chaos of snarling traffic all the while getting choked on pollution? And then, to begin the day as though you are fresh from home and nothing has happened. Earning Extra Income has not impaired anyone up till now, and it should not be hurting you either if you start today. As long as you are willing to do that extra bit of work or take an extra mile trip for your boss, you should be more than willing to do so for yourself, especially if you feel that it would improve the quality of life of you and your family.For extra income job to be more rewarding, it is advisable to start with something you are passionate about as extra Income does not come for free.  A little bit of motivation and inspiration could set the ball in motion even for a greater business idea.1.        There is a global recession striking and there couldn’t have been a better time to engage in extra income activities than now. From America to Europe, Asia to Africa, the message is all the same, prices of oil keeps fluctuating, inflation rising on the steady, world population geometrically progressing, global warming and climatic change is affecting earning potentials of both the government and households, therefore, working extra hours and earning extra income is very germane at this critical period in our lifetime.  2.        Little fear of Job security and fear of unemployment vanish 3.        Flexibility to experiment with your passion and creativity, working extra jobs or earning extra income always present us the opportunity to try out new ideas.Read also.....12-key-reasons-to-start-earning-extra-income-in-20174.        The above factors help you to pursue your regular income job until you are sure of the extra income business. You can always switch.5.        Earning extra income and pay at your leisure hours. Be your own time master. Flexibility benefits are more for mothers and people having other responsibilities apart from profession6.        You can be your own boss in less time with no one looking over your shoulder. Freedom of time, moment, goals, finances everything left to you.Helpful Topic.....Getting-second-job-for-short-term7.        There is that Self confidence going through the sky. This factor will help you face most hurdles in life with a lot lesser heartaches and stress.8.        Limitations of earning do not exist. You can earn as much as you want by just stepping up the speed.Related article......ARE YOU TIRED OF EARNING SALARY ALONE? 11 GENUINE REASONS WHY YOU NEED AN ONLINE BUSINESS9.        Many countries offer tax benefits for home based businesses and extra income opportunities, since it is considered extra income and ultimately lesser tax obligations.10.      The possibility to retire early from career or paid job is guaranteed, you could decide to retire at 30 if you start early or at 60 if you stayed longer in it; it’s entirely up to you. 11.      Sense of pride. Make you more of a complete person who can proudly say that he/she is an entrepreneur who has achieved something.More helpful topic.......DO YOU NEED AN EXTRA INCOME: START SMALL AS AN ONLINE BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURFor your Business Registration, Brand Marketing, Business Proposals,Strategic Business Development, Content Management,SMS and E-mailMarketing, Expatriate Quota/Work Permits, SMEs start-up.Contact us at:Prospective Ideas Nig Ent5, Atunwa Street Off Unity Rd,By Custom Training SchoolIkejaLagos-State.+2348034201291; +2348170327317ideasandprospects@gmail.com;lekanolanite@gmail.com.
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HOW TO SURVIVE DEPRESSION WITHOUT GETTING SUICIDAL
Are you always feeling under the weather? Are you always not in the mood to be around others and have a good time? If you’re suffering from prolonged sadness for quite some time now, you should face these bouts of depression and get yourself diagnosed by a psychiatrist, there are psycho therapists who can actually help you out with your problem.The alarming rate at which people commit suicide lately is really a cause for worry, both the young and the olds are not left out in this ugly scenario. My last article was centered upon depression and worries, coincidentally, some suicide tragedies struck and the media went into frenzy on the news of a medical doctor who reportedly jumped into the lagoon from the third mainland bridge in Lagos state, Nigeria. And just when we thought we have had enough, another lady was also reported to have attempted similar suicide attempt around satellite town Ojo also in Lagos. What could have triggered this end-of-time trend in suicide actions by individuals?Related article....How To Overcome Your WorriesDepression or prolonged sadness is actually quite common in the Africa especially Nigeria considering the economic situation at the present time, around 30 percent of the Nigerian population actually suffer from this illness, however, not all of them get to be treated, thus, depression and its ill-effects continue to be a burden to many individuals. This illness may seem quite simple to treat but in reality, it takes more than a little cheering up to actually cure depression. Constant visits to a cognitive behavior therapist is a must as well as taking all the prescribed medicines that the doctor will ask the patient to take – none of these exactly come cheap, but the amount of suffering that a person is going through because of depression is enough reason already for others to start taking notice and face depression head on.  Depression oftentimes can easily get in the way of an individual’s daily activities and his or her normal functions, one’s enthusiasm for life can quickly and easily dissipate due to depression. And in place of an individual’s sunny disposition is more or less a person who hates him or herself, having no self-confidence, trying to isolate oneself from the world and basically just not caring about living any more. More so, a person suffering from depression isn’t the only one who’s going to suffer from this destructive illness, his or her loved ones are sure to follow suit. By seeing the individual grow through such rough patches, basically not caring about anything or anyone anymore, it’s highly likely that not only will depression affect one’s relationship with oneself but with his or her loved ones too. Fortunately depression can now be cured, especially when diagnosed early, depressed individuals can actually be treated through therapy and medication, although it may be a bit costly, a person’s good mental health is something that shouldn’t be frugal on. Cognitive behavioral talk or interpersonal talk are just some of the available psycho-social treatments that cognitive behavior therapists can offer to their patients, both actually prove to be able to produce fruitful and positive results.See also....7 Top Revealing Secrets On How Best To Conquer Fear of Business Start-upsStill, people tend to not recognize depression even right before their eyes, being honest with oneself is key to being able to cure such an illness. Never overlook the various symptoms, depressed individuals oftentimes exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors such as suddenly lacking interest in one’s hobbies (or other stuff that he or she usually enjoys), sleeps too much or actually aren’t able to get some shut-eye, suddenly becoming anti-social, talks a lot about death or being a worthless person. There are actually a lot more other symptoms but in case these already fit in your category or of someone that you know of, go to a reputable psychiatrist at once in order to see if the depression is still at an early stage or not. From here you’ll be able to assess how the treatments will actually go.Depression shouldn’t be something that people fear of, instead, people should just start taking charge of their lives and actually face this illness and fight it. Life is too beautiful a gift to waste and if one will spend the majority of his or her life just moping around about every single little thing then what kind of life would that be? Depression may not kill one’s body but it’ll certainly kill one’s spirit if you’ll let it. Don’t be a victim.
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8 BEST KEPT SUCCESS SECRETS OF TOP MOTIVATIONAL GURUS
Author Michael Jeffreys personally interviewed 15 top motivational gurus in 1997 for his then upcoming book.  After talking to gurus from Brian Tracy to Dr. Wayne Dyer, he distilled 8 Secrets to Success they all agreed upon.  These secrets are still good today and are as follows:1.     Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life – In a society where people blame everything from their parents to the government for failure, those who don’t buy into this mentality or succumb to the “victim” thinking succeed. To blame something or somebody outside yourself is saying they have control of your life and not you. Someone else’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality.2.     Live Your Life On Purpose -  What separates motivational thinkers from the unsuccessful is that they believe they’re doing what they were put her to do. The difference between this and just living, is that the latter is just getting through the week with the least problems.  But when you live your life on purpose, your main concern is doing the job right.  For the entrepreneur this means finding a cause you believe in and building your business around it.Helpful Topic.....http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2015/07/top-11-reasons-why-people-start-small.html3.     Be Willing to Pay the Price - Be willing to pay the price for your dreams.  Wanting a big house, a luxury car, and a million dollars in the bank is all very nice, and everyone wants these things – but are you willing to pay the price to get them?  This is one of the major differences between the successful and unsuccessful.4.     Stay Focused – Every day we’re bombarded with hundreds of tasks, phone calls, messages, and everyone competing for our time.  Focusing requires giving up something in the present because you are investing your time in something that will pay off big-time down the road.  Jack Canfield and Mark Hanson were turned by 30 publishers when they submitted the first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book.  Instead of giving up, they stayed focused on their goal and did four or five interviews per day for radio, TV, and newspapers, for five days a week for a whole year.  Eventually, a small publisher decided to take a chance, and of course now it’s a best-seller that spawned an entire series that have sold more than 10 million copies.Related tips.....http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2014/12/details-of-40-small-businesses-you-can.html5.     Become An Expert in Your Field  One striking factor all successful people have in common is how seriously they take their profession.  They strive to be the best at what they do, and do almost anything to improve.  If someone followed you around all day with a video camera at your business, would it be a tape you’d be proud of or embarrassed about?  Make the decision today to work at being the best in your field.  How? By finding out what the “best” in your field are doing, and do what they do.6.     Write Out a Plan for Achieving Your Goals -  Write out an action plan/map for how you’re going to achieve your goals.  Trying to reach your goals without a plan is like trying to drive from Los Angeles to Chicago without a map.  A goal that isn’t written down is merely a wish or fantasy.7.     Never Give Up -  Never, never, never give up. When you’re fully committed to achieving your goal, giving up is not an option. You must be willing do whatever it takes to make it happen.  The power of perseverance is an awesome force.  As someone once said, “inch by inch it’s a cinch”.  Think of the lowly inchworm – if it pondered the length of the trip from start to finish before it started, it probably would never move. To a worm’s point-of-view, the garden path must look like a trip to Mars. Never give up! Keep on going like the Eveready battery bunny, and pretty soon you’re there.8.     Don’t Delay - Nobody knows how much time they have left to accomplish their dreams, and we must remember that we don’t have forever. The clock is ticking, and sooner or later your number comes up and you’re gone.  Successful achievers know this too, but they don’t view it as a “negative”.  Achievers use it to “spur them on”.  They go after what they want as energetically and as passionately as possible, for as long as they have.Related topic.....http://hollalaycan.blogspot.com.ng/2016/06/7-top-revealing-secrets-on-how-best-to.htmlCredit.....Author Michael Jeffreys
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HOW TO WORK PART TIME AND EARN FULL TIME IN A DYNAMIC ECONOMY
Have you ever dreamt of working part-time and yet still earning full time? Yes, this is a craving rumbling in the minds of so many employees and unemployed who desires to live like a boss. There are two popular options needed to achieve this aspiration, one, is to be able to work very HARD and the other, is to be able to work very SMARTLY. Ironically, it is not the amount of hours that you put into a working day that will ultimately bring the desired return, but rather, the amount of productivity you put into the hours spent. Therefore, instead of jumping from one task to another and end up doing nothing efficiently it is far better to plan your day so you can maximize your resources.Helpful topic....HOW TO SACK YOUR BOSS BEFORE QUITTING YOUR JOBFinancing your dream side income business proposition sometimes does not need a large sum of money. All you need is a good idea and the ability to put together a business plan that will convince investors that you can make good returns from the investment. When people are swayed that you can earn reasonable income from the business idea, getting them to invest in your proposition will not be a daunting task.To go the way of the SMART-TRACK, a whole lot of millennial entrepreneurs are venturing into the World Wide Web business characteristically because they have dreams of having time all for themselves, sitting on their couches with laptops on and cash deposits dropping in their accounts continuously for every visit and click on their pages.Related topic...7 BUSINESSES YOU CAN DO AFTER 9-5 HOUR SALARY JOBS By working smartly and in order to work part-time but earn full time, it is better to take your business idea online where majority of the prospects are looking out for products and services to buy. I have earned more money online in the past 4 years than any other period of my work-life. There are many people operating at the moment making a full time living out of info-products on the internet and I am one of the lots out there. Some books will show you everything you need to know, how to produce a very profitable and regular income from a loophole that has been brought about by the Internet and the masses of internet entrepreneurs that have sprung up and continue to do so. This loophole can never be controlled or edged out and as the Internet grows the number of opportunities this loophole will make obtainable will multiply.Although, it is still not true that online business entrepreneurs can get things easily better than others or that we even earn more hundreds of thousands bucks while we snore away on our sofas, nonetheless, we enjoyed the specific idea of becoming a home based internet business entrepreneur leaving an old job of stressful deadline buzzing and annoying bosses overlooking your works, in exchange for a flexible job that guarantees personal freedom. There is absolutely no better way to work part-time and earn full time other than running an online business as this has been tested and proven to be the cheapest and most economical way to showcase your products to prospective buyers. Therefore, if you must start a side income business idea, start with something that will flow with the World Wide Web.More helpful topic......TOP 129 SMALL BUSINESSES YOU CAN START WITH LITTLE OR NO CAPITAL.For your Business Registration, Brand Marketing, Business Proposals,Strategic Business Development, Content Management,SMS and E-mailMarketing, Expatriate Quota/Work Permits, SMEs start-up.Contact us at:Prospective Ideas Nig Ent5, Atunwa Street Off Unity Rd,By Custom Training SchoolIkejaLagos-State.+2348034201291; +2348170327317ideasandprospects@gmail.com;lekanolanite@gmail.com.
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WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN A BUSINESS BEFORE RETIREMENT
Investing has become increasingly important over the years, as the future of retirement benefits becomes unknown.People want to insure their futures, and they know that if they are depending on retirement benefits, and in some cases pension plans, that they may be in for a rude awakening when they no longer have the ability to earn a steady income. Investing is the answer to the unknowns of the future.See Also....7 BUSINESSES YOU CAN DO AFTER 9-5 HOUR SALARY JOBS.You may have been saving money in a low interest savings account over the years. Now, you want to see that money grow at a faster pace. Perhaps you’ve inherited money or realized some other type of windfall, and you need a way to make that money grow. Again, investing is the answer. Investing is also a way of attaining the things that you want, such as a new home, a college education for your children, or expensive vacations. Of course, your financial goals will determine what type of investing you do.If you want or need to make a lot of money fast, you would be more interested in higher risk investing, which will give you a larger return in a shorter amount of time. If you are saving for something in the far off future, such as retirement, you would want to make safer investments that grow over a longer period of time. Helpful topic..10 MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE VENTURING INTO A NEW BUSINESSThe overall purpose in investing is to create wealth and security, over a period of time. It is important to remember that you will not always be able to earn an income… you will eventually want to retire.You also cannot count on the retirement or pension plan system to do what you expect it to do. So, again, investing is the key to insuring your own financial future, but you must make smart investments!Related Article...HOW TO SURVIVE WHEN LAID OFF FROM YOUR CURRENT JOB
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7 PROVEN WAYS THAT HELPS THE MIND TO IMPROVE YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
Honestly, my background has given me a lot of opportunities to excel in life. I was not born with a silver spoon neither was I raised in abject poverty, I had the privilege to mingle with the well to do as well as the less privileged of the society. Fortunately, one of my greatest strength lies in the fact that, whenever I set my mind to achieve something, I always give it my best shot even when the result isn’t favorable. My MIND has been my best companion when all odds seems not in my favour and even when the chips are flat down, my mind always keeps me going and reassuring me of better deals ahead. I have come to realize in life that with positive mindset, the ants could also move the mountain. Using your mind to improve personal life is a great start to achieving. When you use your mind, you set out to gain qualities that guide you in the right direction. To use the mind to improve your life, consider the following tips: COMMITMENTSWe all have commitments. Commitments are a part of life. When you have commitments, you enter into promises that you will get something done. Start making commitments to you. I commit to change habits that hinder me from achieving my goals, or improving my personal life. Helpful topics...HOW TO CONQUER DEPRESSION HEAD ON WITHOUT COMMITTING SUICIDESKILLS Evaluate your skills to see how you can use them to better your life. While you are evaluating your skills, look for new skills. Reach deep inside you, accept the discomforts, fears, or things you do not like, look past them and find new skills. PRIORITIES Do you have your priorities straight? Do you have all your plans in perspective? Re-evaluate your plans to make sure that you are on the right path to improve your personal life. If you notice areas you can improve, don’t be afraid to take action. Taking action is the last steps you will take in anything you do that helps to improve your life.FAILURE:How do you view failure? Failure upside down is achievement. Failure is common and happens to all us daily. Failure helps us to learn how to develop and grow into a better person. If you sit around stressing failure, then you are heading nowhere quick. Failure is a part of life. You have failure around you, in you, and in your future. Learn from your failures, accept your blame and move to make things better for you. Related article....8 BEST KEPT SUCCESS SECRETS OF TOP MOTIVATIONAL GURUSSAYING NO! People hear the word no and fear it. No is not a rejection; rather no is a positive action you take to spare your future. When you say no, I am not going to the bar, you are saying I have better things to do than waste my time in a building filled with drunks. Sometimes you have to tell someone you love no. For instance, you may have to tell your mate no when he or she asks you to watch television when you know you have to prepare a waiting report or business proposal. Don’t let your mate hold you back. It is ok to say no.RULES: We all follow rules. Rules are a part of life, which sometimes the rules are hard to digest. You have to learn to open up your passageway and digest them anyway unless you are willing to stand up and protest in a positive way. People complaining about rules they don’t like and not taking action is wasting everyone’s time. You have the power, yet it takes you to use that power. TRIAL RIDES:Life is filled with trials. Every day we walk out our door we are on a trial ride. Each day we have good trials and bad trials. How do you handle trials? If you are willing to take risks in life, likely you handle trials well. On the other hand, if you fear changes, then you will need to find a way to deal with the trials in life. Unfortunately, too many people deal with these trials by drinking excessively or drugging. Don’t be one of these people. You have many options in life. Good options and bad options will come your very way each day. Sometimes you will choose bad options, yet when you make mistakes, don’t dwell rather pull up your resources to see how you could have done things different, and do it different the next time.See also...ARE YOU STILL IN PAID EMPLOYMENT? 11 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE YOU QUIT
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NIGERIA CONFIRMED 10 NEW CASES OF CORONA VIRUS
March 21, 2020Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has recorded three cases of COVID-19, The PUNCH can confirm.The PUNCH learnt that the index case is an official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and was one of the passengers on British Airways flight that landed on March