Diary of a Founder #7

Well, I found my way back to the chokey, so to speak. If you’re not a Matilda fan, this reference might go right past ya. But for those who know, you know what I mean. 

After surviving the flu, I was mentally on the up and up. I went to Soho House with friends for dinner and made a surprise visit to the Broken Spoke, an Austin-staple with live music, boot-scootin, beer, AND chicken-fried steak since 1964. I convinced my friend John to two-step with me, which was sooo much fun and something I’ve had on my list to do for at least a year now. There’s something about the country lifestyle that always gets me. The ability to slow down and slow dance through life. Perhaps that’s why I love Austin so much. You can go go go and then five minutes later you’re at a honky tonk bar that’ll slow your ass down real quick.

It was also nice to be under the weather when it was 17 degrees out and most of the city was shut down. I know my midwestern family thinks we’re weak and lame but I think when something is extreme for the area you’re in it can be a bit jarring. (Side note - I really miss my mom’s side of the family in South Bend. There was a wholesomeness, simplicity, and groundedness I felt there.) 

I ended up sleeping most of the time. But I did watch Killers of the Flower Moon per my friend John’s recommendation. It was a bit slow, and now that I've seen Pete Davidson’s latest comedic bit about Leo DiCaprio on Netflix, I can’t help but think that Leo truly is riding on the credentials of his past. I want to share more of what I thought here, but I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone! 

The tough part about feeling down this month is how many exciting things are happening for Anact. Gahhhhh. A piece of me knows that February and March are shaping up to be bang bang. And in theory, January is supposed to be a time of rest for everyone anyways. We’ve just created a 24/7 work culture in this country that doesn’t know any better. I read a quote that said, I’d rather be a lion ferociously hunting with periods of rest than a cow grazing all day and that hit home for me. 

I feel so much about creating work that values quality over quantity for the sake of being productive. This has been a main point of contention over Anact’s product line. Most people are accustomed to seeing a product-based business create new products over and over again — even if it’s not the best for the sake of revenue. Instead of doing what we’re doing, which is creating a small line of the best and finding other ways to generate revenue and propel the company forward, whether through market expansion or alternate community interactions. 

The part about what it takes to start a company from scratch that could use way more transparency is the fundraising and financing. I think that’s why women often associate starting a business with candle making or a boutique store (which are great things in their own way). 

  • We don’t have access to high-network individuals, who are often male, to tap and fundraise from unless we’re born into it and even then… family can only take you so far. 
  • We’re afraid of risk and of not delivering. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hired people and, if things don’t work out, notice how men immediately double down and become confrontational (almost bullish) while women get quiet, provide a refund, and apologize. I don’t necessarily think either is necessarily correct. But I do think women need to get more confident in taking risks and knowing that doing your best with what you have is the only thing you’re required to do when operating in a high risk environment.
  • Women not taught to build relationships with other men and women (only to compete) when the truth of the matter is that good business is born on the back of great relationships. Period. 
  • The language of the start-up ecosystem is often new for many of us. Words like dry power (not to be confused with cocaine), SAFE terms, valuaton, equity, convertible notes, series A, B, C, D, E and so on, are simply not widely-known. This was an entire language I had to learn on the job. I figured it out through mentorship, and relying on myself, and my peers. If you’re a founder (or aspiring founder) reading this and you want to learn, I recommend reading, getting a mentor, and pitching. Accept that you’re going to make mistakes. The most important part is that you don’t give up — no matter what.

Other things I have been thinking about: 

  • Who cares what a million people think if the person reading these words right now doesn’t resonate with what I have to say? Someone’s follower count on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok means nothing if they can’t move the person in front of you. 
  • Hold high standards for those around you. If they hang themselves and continue to hang themselves… that’s on them. 
  • I think a lot of people are afraid to tell their stories because the situations they’ve learned from and made it through come from being hurt by people they love who might still be alive. It’s a delicate art to balance. 
  • Someone once told me that on your way up, everyone wants you to win. Once you’re at the top, they tear you down because you represent the dreams they gave up on. That really resonated with me in a situation I recently found myself in. I hope that everyone reading this blog is never afraid to reach for the stars and be successful just because it threatens someone else’s ego. 
  • I’d rather write than speak and be on social media. I’m RBG energy all day. I like to send it big time, do it quietly and strategically, and let the work speak for itself. That’s who I’ve always been. 
  • Handwriting cards is one of my favorite things to do. 
  • You can have anything in this world — all that matters is the price you're willing to pay. It’s one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned. Nine times out of ten,  I find the areas that I least want to grow in or face are the areas that I must address to go where I want to go. For anyone looking for help in this department, a really lovely book that my sweet friend Riane (who helps edit this blog) and I both swear by is The Artist Way. I will admit, there are several areas that I think are missing i.e. the spiritual work that you have to do to open the channels but nonetheless, I think it’s a great start. 
  • One of our angel investors told me that he loves to be underestimated and that I should too. I think of that daily when things don’t go the way I wanted them to or people respond to me in a way that’s less than deserving. 
  • Working out is truly a gift. I really love what the owner of my gym has created here on the eastside. Sometimes, I really don’t want to partner up with another person — I just want to workout and do my thing. But it really is a good way to improve and learn from one another while meeting new people. I also respect the hell out of the fact that the gym owner’s family is from Palestine. He’s a light for his community every single day despite everything his country is going through.

As one of my favorite influencers, Pia Baroncini, says: everything is truly the best even when it’s the worst. I hope that you can keep rowing towards whatever goals you’ve set for yourself this year, even if you feel like you’re not executing perfectly. I hope you give yourself the grace to hold yourself accountable while being realistic that sometimes, life just happens. You just gotta keep rowing.

Things I’m excited about: 

  • My upcoming trip to New York and supporting those I love, seeing family, and tacking on some work. I’ve been dying to try the pizza from Lucali’s in Brooklyn, so that has officially been added to the docket. 
  • My cousin Nicole is coming to visit from Ireland next month. I’m going to take her to my favorite Irish speakeasy, Here Nor There, and  support my friend Aaron’s new wine and oyster pop-up. I’m going to try and tack on a rodeo too, pending our time! 
  • This SX activation is going to be juicy and amazing — I can feel it in my bones. 
  • Going to the gym and working out again. I love how everyone comes together like little worker bees in a hive — buzzing around, moving energy, and getting mentally and physically stronger as a community. 
  • Sharing an exciting activation we’re doing in Italy. 
  • Writing consistently and feeling oh so grateful for everyone who takes the time out of their day to  read this! 

Until next time!

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