Things That Keep Us Up At Night: Entrepreneur Anxiety

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Each year, I invite my clients to participate in the Lucky Break client survey. I ask you all sorts of things: about your business, about where you turn for advice, about how confident you feel in various aspects of your business, and about what biggest piece of entrepreneur anxiety is keeping you awake at night.

 

Several hundred people rose to the occasion this year (thank you!) and I wanted to share some of the responses with you. Why? Because so very many of us are lying awake with worry/ fear/ overwhelm at night, and there’s a surprising amount of commonality in what plagues us. Entrepreneurship is damn hard and sometimes I don’t think we talk about that enough.  In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve often taken comfort in community, talking about the “hard stuff” and realizing that my worries and failures are well-tilled ground among the small business set. In fact, that’s the reason that I started a consulting company- to help us connect to one another, pull back the curtain on running a product-centered brand, dish “no b.s.” business advice, and help others benefit from the 3,719 mistakes I’ve made as an entrepreneur.

 

Entrepreneur Anxiety

 

I sifted through hundreds of survey answers to discover that the vast majority of replies fell under one of five main “umbrellas.” Below you’ll find some direct-from-our-mouths answers about what’s rumbling across the brain waves at 1am. The responses are purposefully provided without any identifying information, because the replies could easily have come from any of us!

 

ENTREPRENEUR ANXIETY + FEAR OF FAILURE + JEOPARDIZING OUR FAMILIES

  • Fear holding me back every step of the way. Worried that I’ll waste my family’s money on a failed attempt at entrepreneurship.
  • Every-frigging-thing.
  • Worrying that I’ll fail.
  • Not getting this company I’ve worked so hard for off the ground and where I want it to be.
  • Wondering if it’s all worth it.
  • Are my products good enough?
  • Family balance.
  • Should I continue this business or shut it down? Is it adding to or taking away from my life?
  • Managing anxiety, and managing unfounded doubts about potential success and failure when taking risks.
  • Imposter syndrome.

Mercy… that’s is a heavy list, isn’t it? I put it forward because I think these are the anxieties that constantly dance through our heads, but so rarely roll forth from our mouths. But there is comfort in the commonality… you aren’t alone. You’re not the only one facing that fear, white-knuckling it, and sweating it out.  In my experience (and in the experience of the majority of my consulting clients), struggle is at the very core of entrepreneurship.  But there’s a tremendous beauty in challenging ourselves, pushing outside our comfort zones, and taking a risk. It’s never easy and rarely boring, but there’s almost nothing else I’d rather do with my life at this point.

 

Here’s my advice…

 

Nervous energy isn’t your friend. And I say that as someone whose first grade teacher gave her a book about anxiety at the ripe old age of 6. I’ve ultimately realized that all energy is either productive or destructive, and anxiety is massively destructive energy. That doesn’t mean that we should go running off of cliffs blindfolded in the name of courage. We shouldn’t ignore our gut, but it’s wise to be aware of (and attuned to) our nervous energy. Once we’ve made a decision, stand confidently in those decisions.  Don’t give into panic or stagnation or the negative narrative that your mind wants to produce. Becoming more self-aware is an essential building block of business success.

One of my favorite books to read to steady myself and help me pay attention to the negative narratives that run on a loop in my head is Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  It’s a good read and I hope you might find some value in it, too.

 

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Impostor syndrome is real.  And we all suffer from it. I don’t think there’s any level of success that’s immune from this beast. But the key- I think- is to hear that narrative when it pops up. Be attuned of it, but don’t indulge it. Two things that help me:

  • Keeping a journal of my accomplishments.  Progress is hard to see when it’s incremental and we’re standing so very close to it. But if I keep a notebook nearby (or even a digital note on my smartphone), then I can casually jot down the wins- both large and small- in the moment.  When I feel stagnant and like I’m up against the impossible, I leaf back through those notes and I’m continually reminded of just how far I’ve come.

 

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#LBCWantsToKnow >> September 2018: Websites

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Each month, I ask my Instagram community to join me in a focused, crowd-sourced discussion on a specific subject.  For the month of September, we rolled up our sleeves to chat about websites. Your own website is one of the most critical tools in your entrepreneurial toolboxes + I’m thrilled to see so many Lucky Break clients putting theirs to good use.

 

 

Which e-commerce platform do you use? What do you loathe or love about it?

THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…

bburford:  at Bang Candy we have used many of the platforms you’ve mentioned and moved around for various reasons. Shortly after I joined the brand last year we started working with an incredible local brand called CoHub that brought all channels of our business together. I don’t know if it would work well for you, but for me it’s great because I’m talking to a support team that is 10-15 minutes away from our shop. It makes my job slightly easier to maintain.

horsefeathersgifts: We’ve used many different platforms and Shopify is by far my favorite. It’s so user friendly!

valerieoba: Shopify is simply amazing. So user friendly and so detailed at the same time!

alliedattilio: Love Squarespace!

normalsoap: We get tickled every time we get to tell our customers our website. Shopify has made this wonderful and it’s helped with direct sales at markets, getting great sales data and tracking inventory!

ebornbeauty: We use Big Commerce and love it… many things like reporting, integration with Square and Paypal, etc are included and you do not need to pay for additional apps. Their customer service is stellar and 24/7.

woodenheartdesigns: I’ve been an Etsy seller since 2012 with my personal website forwarding to my Etsy shop. After reading something you wrote about how important it was to have your own e-commerce site, I signed up for Shopify and have been teaching myself how to tweak it and now trying to increase traffic. I love how it’s coming together and have found it pretty easy to use…and if I didn’t know or understand how to do something it’s easy to find tutorials. Thanks for the nudge to get my own shop vs just Etsy!

shopmilked: From Wix, to Shopify! I love that Wix allowed me to tweak my site, and make it incredibly beautiful without the added fee for a theme. But ultimately, I moved to Shopify for the integrated customers accounts, shipping and reporting. I do dislike the fact that Shopify still doesn’t have certain features like store pickup, or customer reviews, or more free theme options.

bubblebabez: Big commerce here, too.

sheabath: Went from Etsy to Indiemade. Best decision I ever made!

bougiequaintrelle: BigCommerce. I like the ease of use. I loathe the fact if you want to make further customization, you lose tech support.

stellachroma: Started with Etsy, moved to Big Cartel, and am currently with Shopify. I’m loving it with no complaints!

grayzenacres: I’m a Shopify convert. Love the support and apps…not fond of their payment gateway. When I installed my bank processor, Shopify added a 2% processing fee, needless to say I uninstalled bank processor otherwise it’s the best!

zhibathandbody: I’ve been with Weebly for 10 or so years now. LOVE that so many cool features come with the free and paid accounts. Love that they listen to the users on adding new features. LOATHE that those features take so long to implement. LOATHE that they now seem to nickel and dime you on advanced features and services.

makermountainfabrics: I use Shopify and love it, mostly. I do NOT love their calculated shipping as it is way overcharging and I am losing a lot of sales over it right now and need to get it in line.

sumamsworld: I love Shopify for its one-stop-shop convenience, but the shipping charges are super huge lately (like triple the actual cost if I took it to the Post Office).

pillowcandyllc: We use Shopify. I made this decision after going through your linesheet/wholesale training. So glad I did!

 

MY THOUGHTS…

The answers above are pretty consistent with what I see reflected in my client base as a whole. Shopify is the most beloved platform among my roster of product-based brands. A distant second and third are Squarespace and Big Commerce.

 

I’m a big (unpaid) advocate of Shopify and recommend it almost universally. It’s not as easy to design as something like Wix, but the design capabilities- and (more importantly) the technical capabilities- leave platforms like Wix and Weebly in the dust. Shopify is fairly cost-effective, extremely robust, and highly adaptable.  If online wholesale ordering isn’t a primary aim of your business, then Squarespace and Big Commerce might be good options.

 

I wrote a detailed, two-part review of the most popular platforms a year or two ago and my opinion hasn’t changed much since then.  Check out Which E-commerce Platform is Right For You? and Which E-commerce Platform is right For You, Part 2. I can tell you this: when you update from Wix, Weebly, or WooCommerce to Shopify, you’re going to feel like upgraded from a Ford Focus to a Ferrari. You truly don’t know what type of functionality you’re missing (or how your current technology might be hamstringing your sales and operations) until you see how the other half lives.

 

PRO TIP: Many of my clients report that Shopify will throw in the real-time shipping for free if you agree to pre-pay the Shopify site fees for the first year. If that appeals to you, then reach out to them directly and sweet-talk your way into a deal!

 

Do you offer a “loyalty” program via your website? If so, what program do you use + would you recommend it?

THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…

dorneenaturalbodyluxuries: I need to set up an actual program.

stellachroma: Interested to hear about this!

doubleclutched: I use smile.io on my site but no one uses it.

bobodesignstudio: I just saw smile.io is an integration with Privy which is what I use! I haven’t looked into it yet, but I’m curious.

priiacosmetics: We use a VIP points program. Customers earn 1 VIP point for every dollar they spend. 10 VIP points is equal to $1 in savings off of future purchases. Our clients LOVE our program!

 

MY THOUGHTS…

I L-O-V-E loyalty programs and it’s one of the things we dissect in Brick House Branding. Why? Because they encourage repeat customers. They can blissfully easy to manage thanks to new technology. And they can allow you to reward your best customers without getting into a pricing war with your wholesale stockists.  I adore a good win-win-win.

 

Big Commerce wrote a deliciously detailed blog about customer loyalty programs that’s absolutely worth a read. Shopify recently published a robust, data-driven blog that certainly makes the case for rewarding your customersm while Smile.io dissects some popular loyalty programs to get at the heart of why they work. Speaking of Smile.io, I hear good things about their loyalty technology, which is compatible with Shopify, Shopify Plus, and Big Commerce. They offer a stripped-down, completely free version, too.

 

Loyalty programs need to be continually promoted in order for them to be successful. Tuck periodic reminders in your email marketing campaigns, add verbiage at checkout to invite customers to join, and feature the account login prominently on your website. Mention that program at least once per month on your social media, too. The effort can yield massive results.

 

One new evolution I’ve been keeping an eye on? Paid VIP memberships.  Check out what wildly popular shoe company Freshly Picked is doing with their new program, The Fringe.  Customers join for $10 a month (the plan can be cancelled at any time) and they enjoy: a $10 monthly store credit that doesn’t expire, 20% off everything sitewide, free shipping, and early access to new releases. Ca-ching!

 

Do you collect product reviews on your website? If so, which software do you use + would you recommend it?

THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID… 

bobodesignstudio: I do, but I struggle to get people to actually leave one! The one I have is an app from Shopify called “product reviews”… innovative name, I know.

herbanrootsllc: The product reviews app with Shopify is awesome! Customizable, automated emails after every purchase, free and paid options. I also send out a pretty printed piece with every order listing ways that customers can connect, including writing reviews.

halfpintnaturals: Yotpo app on Shopify.

urbanessencesalonspa: I have a hard time getting folks to actually leave a review. I use AmeriCommerce for my website and after a customer makes a purchase it sends out a review request in about 10 days. When I see customers out at vending event I ask them to leave a review and they always end up leaving the review on my Facebook page.

treats4chickens: We have used Yotpo for several years on a paid plan. I include small pre-printed note card letting people know they’re going to get an email asking for a review. I also select one review a month and send that person product freebies. It seems to be working quite well.

 

MY THOUGHTS…

Product reviews are increasingly powerful tools that play a large role in converting eCommerce browsers into eCommerce customers. They serve as powerful social proof that either ignites interest or throw a bucket of water on it, depending on what’s said about your product. If Amazon, Yelp, and Google have taught us anything, it’s that customers look before they leap.

 

I’m a firm believer that product reviews are an absolute *must* on any eCommerce site. As brand owners, we need to provide a platform for reviews, respond to reviews which are less-than-flattering, and actively invite our customers to participate in the process. The unboxing experience should proactively promote customer reviews.. a simple reminder in that key moment can make all the difference. And it’s much less intrusive then repeated post-purchase emails reminding customers that they’ve yet to read a review.

 

Interested in getting a product review program going? Here are a few of my favorite resources…

  • Need inspiration? Lucky Break Clients Leahlani Skincare and Osmia Organics both do a fantastic job of collecting and featuring customer reviews.
  • Yotpo is the third-party review app that I hear the most consistently good things about.
  • I recommend two books that have helped me both understand the importance of critical feedback and better navigate these tricky customer service waters. Check out Hug Your Haters and Zombie Loyalists.

 

 

What’s your #1 pet peeve when shopping from product-based websites? What one thing would you change about your website?

THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID… 

north.oak.apothcary: When I have to jump through too many hoops to get to the end.

bathedinglaze: I visited a website just yesterday to order a gift. The banner at the top of the page advertised free shipping. When I checked out, shipping was charged. Looking further into the page to see if I could contact someone, I came across their info page that had words spelled wrong and run-on sentences. It turned me off, and I left their site without ordering.

mistybluebotanicals: I hate having to click through too many pages to find what I am looking for.

theryssa: Zulily makes you sign up to just look around. I won’t do it on principle!

mysecretmusicbox: I really dislike having to enter my shipping address etc. more than once and having to click through more than one page to complete a purchase. If they could make the journey through those pages a little more entertaining or charming it would help a lot. Great food for thought!

 

MY THOUGHTS…

All the amen’s to these answers! Typos on websites don’t inspire confidence.  Missing contact information is the kiss of death for most shoppers. A lack of search functionality, fuzzy navigation, or illogical product categories are laborious and drain energy, slowing conversions except for the most committed of shoppers.

 

The checkout process, in particular, routinely drives potential buyers away. A few questions you can ask yourself to audit your own checkout process:

  • If the entire checkout process can’t be completed on one screen, is there a progress
    bar at the top of each checkout page so that buyers always know where they are in the process?
  • If a “free shipping over x dollars” incentive is offered, does the cart reflect how much more must be spent in order to meet the necessary minimum to score the incentive?
  • Can payments be completed on site or must they be sent off to a third party site like PayPal?
  • Are multiple payment options available?
  • Are customers able to check out without needing to create an account on the site?
  • Is there an option for hurried customers to copy their “billing address” information over to the “shipping address” field to save time?
  • Are any unnecessary main navigation links removed during the checkout process to keep the user moving forward with their purchase?

 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Be sure to stop by the Lucky Break Instagram, where every month we chat about all things business. I’d love to hear your thoughts and hope you’ll lend your voice. Search the #LBCWantstToKnow hashtag to weigh in! In October, we’re chatting about all things systems.

 

The Lucky Break Consulting Calendar – October 2018

Oct 18

October is here and the Lucky Break team is officially in one of the busiest months of the year for my team. As you’re ramping up for the holiday season, we’re ramping up for 2019. This month we’ll spend a lot of team time planning what’s coming next for the Lucky Break community, and it’s one of my most favorite activities of the year. I hope you set some time over the next few months to dream about what 2019 might hold for you and your business, too.

 

If 2019 is the year you’re digging deep into your brand, then don’t miss enrollment for my Winter 2019 semester of BHB. Class kicks off in mid-January, but enrollment is happening now through Oct 12. My Operations Manager Melissa and I will also be over on Facebook Live today answering your branding questions, so be sure to stop by!

 

Whatever you’re working on, know that I’m cheering you on!

 

October 2018 Calendar

Click to download + print the October 2018 Lucky Break Calendar

Where are they now: Angie Chua of bobo design studio

Angie Photo

Bobo Logo1.jpg

 

Are you wondering what happens to my Brick House Branding alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum and new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work?

 

I’m back with another installment in my “Where Are They Now?” series and I’m doing-cartwheels-excited to show you the serious waves my BHB graduates are making!

 

Angie Photo

 

SAY HELLO TO ANGIE OF BOBO DESIGN STUDIO

You might recognize Angie from Team Lucky Break.  But before Angie was a part of my team, she was a client and a BHB graduate. I’ve been uber impressed with her since I first met her at Craftcation, and watching her grow her brand has given me many a proud mama moment. Cheers, Angie!

 

 

Lucky Break: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Angie: I launched bobo in 2008 making handcrafted makeup bags. I was working at a pharma startup that ended up closing its doors during the economic downturn of 2009. Unsure of what my next job was going to be, I began putting more effort into bobo. I had grand dreams to turn it into something, but looking back, it was definitely a hobby at best.

 

Shortly after losing my pharma job, I started my career in brand advertising, and that consumed my life until 2017 when I decided to give bobo the college effort I always dreamed of.  So while I started in 2008, I really consider 2017 the start of my company.

 

bobo before 1

bobo design studio, BEFORE Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Angie: I always joke that I had been a “long time stalker turned client,” but it’s true!  I had been following Lela and her work for a while.

 

The second I quit my job, I threw down coin to work with Lela in BHB because I needed her to blow down this house so I could build it up again properly.  I figured that I had the disposable cash at the time and thought I should tap in the help early instead of waiting till I’ve made every mistake and then trying to scramble the funds together to get that lifeline from her.  So the decision to rebrand wasn’t even really about the rebrand itself, it was about utilizing Lela’s resources while I had the financial wiggle room to do so and set the foundation for my business.

 

 

Lucky Break: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.

Angie: I knew BHB was going to be challenging work. This wasn’t the first time I had  seen a “build your target customer worksheet” or read about branding. What I did not expect was how much of an emotional process BHB was going to be. This is where Lela really shines.

 

She helped me build a deep connection to my brand and my work in a way that transformed everything for me- how I view my products, how I think about my brand, how I talk about my brand, how I create content, and how I want others to view and experience it.

 

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY? 

Angie: I had joined some online groups, “masterminds” so to speak, and taken one “target customer” online course.  While the info I learned was useful, it was all very “cookie cutter.”

 

Nothing was groundbreaking. Nothing was actually focused on my business, and it was information that could be easily found googled from a blog post somewhere on the internet. I knew Lela was the real deal, so I didn’t spend too much effort searching the web for SEO friendly blog posts by people who were not authoritative in the space.

 

 

Lucky Break: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

Angie: The biggest obstacle was nailing down the essence of my brand in a way that felt authentic, not just to me, but to my customers. I have ADHD, and I tend to be all over the place creatively (and in life), but finally ironing out my “core” helped me reign in the ideas, edit my products, and made the creation process more straightforward.

 

bobo design studio's Instagram feed, before + after Brick House Branding

bobo design studio’s Instagram feed, before (left) + after (right)  Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?

Angie: It is night and day. My brand is growing in ways that I can only attribute to Lela and BHB. Before BHB, I had no direction. I walked into fabric stores and walked up and down the aisle to see what prints spoke to me. I’d spend so much on prints that I’d bring home and never end up using.  I was waiting for the fabric to speak to me to generate inspiration. It’s very much an artist’s way of thinking.

 

Now, I think like a brand instead of an artist.  I think about my customer, where they are going, what colors and patterns they gravitate to, what complimentary goods provide value to their life? That fuels my decision-making process, and in the end, I create a more cohesive collection of goods that speak to them (and me!)

.

 

Lucky Break: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?

Angie: 100%.  People used to love my bright prints, not because of what bobo meant to them. My bags acted as great gifts; purchased by someone needing a unique gift in a pinch.  It almost was a placeholder for something of meaning. My goods didn’t end up with someone who drew a connection to what I created.  In the end, it didn’t have any real intrinsic value to the person who was buying my bags or the person receiving it.

 

But once I re-branded, I began to see repeat customers. I saw people who tagged me in photos using my bags when they traveled (which is in the context of my brand- Wanderlust goods), they began to see themselves in the brand and built loyalty to my products.

 

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?

Angie: I have two significant ones-

  1. I was asked to be a part of this branding case study! I think in my final survey for BHB, I said a goal of mine was to be a “before and after” case study! Ta Da!
  2. When one of my favorite organizations, Dear Handmade Life said they wanted to do a blog post and feature me on a podcast revolving around the evolution of my brand, how I handle social media as it pertains to my branding, and how I stay authentic to my business.

 

Sometimes branding is the work that people don’t see and takes the most effort behind the scenes. To have someone else externally take note, and acknowledge the intangible parts of the business that I’ve poured my heart and soul into- it’s so validating, not just for me as a person, but for the investment in working with Lela.

 

 

Lucky Break: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?

Angie: BHB taught me to narrow my focus and hone in on a niche. Strangely the opposite result occurred- it gave me more creative freedom to create relevant products and gave me permission to make product decisions that would or would not ultimately serve my customer.

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the brand development process? What advice would you give to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process?

Angie: If I could go back in a time machine and give myself some advice, it would be to sign up for this sooner. It’s never too early to think about branding. It will only save money, pain, and emotional heartache by tapping someone in as early as possible.

 

Investing in branding is not dependent on how far along you are or how big of a brand you are- it’s about investing in building a proper foundation. It’s about how well you understand what it is you do, the value you bring, the visual and verbal communication of that value, and understanding your customer on a deep level.  It’s about valuing your business enough to invest in it, and take it seriously.

 

Thanks for catching up with us, Angie. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and bobo design studio… We’re cheering you on!

 

If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2019, then I hope that you’ll consider joining me in the winter semester of Brick House Branding. This 9-week brand development mentorship dissects awesome brands and then helps you build your own, brick by brick, with me working right alongside you to cheer you on and ensure that you’re on the right track. Enrollment opens on October 2!

 

Meet the Makers – Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re going behind the scenes with an especially inspiring, mission-driven couple: Allison and Adam Grossman, founders of The Seaweed Bath Co. in Austin, Texas. Welcome, Allison and Adam!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as entrepreneurs?

Allison & Adam: Adam suffers from severe psoriasis. We had reached the end of the road with prescribed medications, so we started looking into alternatives. That’s when we discovered the powers of bladderwrack seaweed. We were blown away by the results Adam saw on his skin, we decided to create a line of personal care products to help others. We soon realized that using bladderwrack seaweed benefits all skin and hair types, and have built the line out to appeal to everyone.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Allison & Adam: We envisioned the business being defined by the quality of the products and the authenticity of our reason for being. Our team is now made up of inspiring people that, in their own lives, can relate to our story of turning a negative into a positive. That is how we know our vision is coming to life.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Allison & Adam: Nutrient-rich, seaweed-based bath, body and hair care products that naturally nourish and soothe all skin and hair types.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Allison & Adam: Natural products stores across the country, including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts and Natural Grocers. Online on our website (www.seaweedbathco.com), Amazon, iHerb.com and several other online retailers.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Allison & Adam: As a husband and wife team with two small kids, it was imperative that we set boundaries and roles. Adam is the CEO and face of the business. He is responsible for all facets of the business. Allison manages our social media marketing efforts as well as our graphic design.

So, our day usually starts early with goals for the day over coffee in the morning. Adam heads to the office while Allison takes the kids to school. Focusing on Adam’s day from there, a check-in with the team in the morning followed by analysis of sales, inventory and other items. Then the fires start and we try to put them out as soon as possible. As a small business it is hard to move from reaction to pro-active planning.

Our team has doubled in size over the past 120 days (4 to 8 people), so Adam’s days of being in the stores constantly are now replaced with days supporting the team in their roles.

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Allison & Adam: 1. Are strangers willing to provide you with capital? Friends and family will be caught up in your excitement. A stranger won’t and it is a good barometer for how well you have thought through the business.

2. What is your personal financial situation? It will take longer to reach your goals than you think. Adding personal financial stress on top of that makes it even more difficult and likely may make you quit earlier than you should.

3. What is your distribution and revenue strategy? Sounds simple, but a lot of businesses don’t fully think through how / where they will make money.

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Allison & Adam: How lucky we are to be doing something we are so passionate about. Also, thinking about everything we have overcome in six years. That gives us strength, knowing that we just need to get back to doing things one step at a time.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Allison & Adam: There are two decisions we made in 2014 that changed the trajectory of the business. First, we entered into a CPG incubator here in Austin, TX called SKU (formerly Incubation Station). Through that program, we took a fresh look at our business and ended up meeting a group of investors that backed our business in a big way.

The second was our re-design. The products immediately started flying off the shelves when our new vintage beach look launched.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it? 

Allison & Adam: Your own pre-conceived perceptions and beliefs can sometimes be a detriment to your business. We hired somebody who we both liked personally, but we overlooked the person’s professional shortcomings because of the personal connection we felt. It did not work out and we had to part ways.

On the opposite side, we initially resisted a qualified candidate due to a personality we weren’t sure we would want representing us. We ended up bringing on this person, and they have propelled the business forward and we learned that we actually had a lot in common. It was a learning lesson in that you gain respect for people who are great and passionate about what they do.

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Allison & Adam: We work with the Surfrider Foundation in certain areas of the country. Our team members started this on their own, and it just made sense since we are so passionate about the ocean and its amazing benefits. Keeping our beaches and our oceans clean is crucial. The Surfrider Foundation is working to stem the negative tide of trashed coastlines.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Adam: 1. My wife (she is the brains and the level-headed one).

2. A docket – every morning, I break my day into a list bifurcated by Urgent, Important and To Do.

3). TI-83 Calculator – Yes, the one from Algebra in high school. I still have it!

 

Allison: 1. My husband: he is extremely creative and passionate and always inspires me.

2. Other CPG entrepreneurs: regularly hearing their advice and about their own experiences is invaluable.

3. Google: It sounds so basic, but whenever I need to learn about a new graphic design tool or technique, I can Google it and find the right information I need almost instantly.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Allison & Adam: The Seaweed Bath Co. would be at a place where we are positively impacting thousands of lives on a daily basis. Our team continues to grow personally and professionally through our business. And that we are available wherever high-quality, natural personal care products are sold.

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

Allison & Adam: Ice cream.

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Allison & Adam: Our girls’ favorite songs for our jam sessions to and from school.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Allison & Adam: These cookie dough bites from Better Bites Bakery (a local allergen-friendly baker here in Austin).

 

LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?

Allison & Adam: Laundry. With two young kids, it never ends.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Allison & Adam: “Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”  –Theodore Isaac Rubin

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Allison & Adam: We would donate it to National Eczema Association with an ask that they focus on continuing to find a cure for infant eczema. Our youngest daughter, Leah (2), was born with eczema from head to toe. We used our products to help get her symptoms under control, but it was (is) very difficult for us. When your child doesn’t sleep because she is itchy and scratches herself constantly, it can feel helpless. Adam has spoken to hundreds of parents who used our products for their kids’ issues, but it is different when it is your kid. We truly understood their plight and feel fortunate that we are part of the solution. But, we envision a world in 10-20 years where parents will have better, safer options to treat, and hopefully one day, cure it.

 

Thank you, Allison and Adam, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with The Seaweed Bath Co., and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you. We’re cheering you on!

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!