Running your own business is no easy feat. It takes a healthy dose of passion, discipline, and commitment. Ever wondered what a day in the life of a small business owner and founder is like? We’re here to give you a glimpse!
Today we’re sitting down with MamaP founder Suzan Hernandez. Suzan was part of the Indiegogo’s 2020 Fellowship Program, which provides educational and mentorship support to entrepreneurs and creators from underrepresented groups in the tech and innovation community. Participants get guided, exclusive coursework and mentorship from established crowdfunding professionals to help them run successful crowdfunding campaigns. (The 2021 program is currently accepting applications, and you can apply here.)
Suzan used her time in the Fellowship Program to hone her crowdfunding launch for MamaP, which made a splash last year with a line of eco-conscious bamboo toothbrushes in which each particular toothbrush represented a different cause. They were also recently featured in Good Morning America.
Now MamaP is raising funds to develop cleaning brushes with fully compostable heads that can be returned to the earth when used up.
Read on to learn about what a day in the life is like for Suzan as she runs a crowdfunding campaign.
5 A.M. I’ve joined the 5 AM Club! It’s a 20/20/20 method where the first twenty minutes are used for exercise and movement. Twenty minutes of reflecting, which includes meditation and journaling. The last twenty minutes is for growing, where I plan and listen to a podcast. Today I listened to How to Save a Planet – Where’s Our Climate Anthem?
6 A.M. Walk the dog — he needs movement as well! After the walk I get ready for the day and practice gua sha on my face and neck. Then I make a plant-based matcha protein smoothie that is packed with nutrients and vitamins.
7 A.M. I start checking emails from our factory partners and freelancers from across the world. We usually have an hour where our schedules cross, so I use that time efficiently.
8 A.M. Before our warehouse opens, I check on digital and wholesale orders in the system to ensure there aren’t red flags. That way when the warehouse opens at 9am, they can begin fulfillment. We aim to have a 24-48 hour turnaround on weekdays from the time an order is placed to it being shipped.
9 A.M. At this time I’ll check emails and flag high priority vs. regular priority emails. I also catch up on Slack. For high priority messages, I’ll respond before heading out the door. For the regular messages, I’ll bookmark to follow up later.
10 A.M. I head to Luminary, my co-working space in the city. Today, I booked a pop-up office collaboration called The World’s Most Mindful Office. It was created in honor of Stress Awareness Month in April. The pop-up office is designed to integrate mindfulness and self-care into your workspace, so you can focus on what matters most. It’s supposed to be very experiential and calming – something I could use right about now!
11 A.M. I have a call with an entrepreneurship professor at my alma mater, Indiana University. She has been following MamaP’s crowdfunding campaigns and using them as crowdfunding examples in her entrepreneurship classes at the Kelley School of Business. We’re going to catch up and talk about me being a guest speaker on the topic of social entrepreneurship and crowdfunding in entrepreneurship. I love paying it forward whenever I can.
12 P.M. Our crowdfunding campaign is active and there’s lots to do! I’m reviewing prototype tester feedback with our CMO to further iterate the design. I also want to use the feedback in marketing communication and page updates. I’m continuously reaching out to bloggers and editors to share the new product and crowdfunding campaign with them. But first, I need to update the PR kit.
1 P.M. I’m also working on new product introductions that will hit wholesale and digital over the next month. The designs and forecasts are set, but packaging and product names and descriptions need to be finalized. I’m pulling together a high level document to share with the CMO so she can help with product naming and the packaging design brief.
2 P.M. Check on emails and slack messages again and then grab a quick lunch nearby. I usually work through lunch – bad habits are hard to kick. But I need this time to prepare for an important sales meeting later in the day. We’re working to land our first large multi-door account.
3 P.M. Weekly meeting with our Community Manager to discuss upcoming content, collaborations, and IG Live interviews.
4 P.M. Interview with Beachlex, a student-run nonprofit that educates people on oceanic life and raises awareness about environmental issues. They reached out after an interview we had with The Ocean Foundation on IG Live. It’s awesome to see these students work together to raise awareness and donations for a cause they believe in.
5 P.M. Sales meeting with a new business account. Here we go!
6 P.M. Head home on the subway and listen to a podcast on the way back.
7 P.M. Figure out what to make for dinner and prepare a meal. This is my relaxing end-of-day activity.
8 P.M. This is when I stop looking at tech and start to tidy up and wind down. I end the day by doing my nightly face routine and flossing & brushing my teeth.
9 P.M. Lights out.
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of what her day is like, get more inspiration in our exclusive Q&A with her below!
INDIEGOGO: How and why did you become an entrepreneur? Was it something you always intended for yourself?
SUZAN HERNANDEZ: Entrepreneurship has always been in my blood. My very first memory in business was at age 7. I was a Girl Scout and loved cookie-selling season. Every year, my friend and I would go door-to-door selling cookies in the neighborhood. I’d sell cookies at my church and to our friends and family (and their workplaces). I built up demand throughout the year and people looked forward to ordering. Cookies boxes were stacked higher than I could reach and my mom and I would package cookie orders in bags and label them. This early experience taught me business fundamentals at a young age: cold-calling, elevator pitches, building networks, developing product launches, and executing logistics, operations, and order fulfillment. I lived for cookie-selling time.
In business school I studied entrepreneurship and designed a major. I focused on classes that were interesting and that could help me down the road. I knew I wanted to launch my own business someday.
These early experiences made me the person, partner, and leader I am today.
INDIEGOGO: What makes your Indiegogo project unique?
SUZAN: Most leading brushes are made of virgin plastic that ends up in landfills and the ocean. Using a sponge is not much better. They’ve been scientifically proven to harbor more bacteria than your toilet (eeew). And they’re made of plastics that aren’t biodegradable.
Most wooden eco brushes are stiff, not comfortable to hold, and have handles that tend to rot.
At MamaP, our mission was to craft a dish brush that could be both functional and eco-friendly. Our Do the Dishes brush checks all boxes. The ergonomic handle is made of recycled plastic – diverting plastic from landfills and oceans. It’s reusable and durable which means it has purpose.
The heavy duty brush head and bristles are 100% plant based. They’re made from wood and sisal fibers. The brush is strong enough to tackle the grimiest of dishes, yet gentle enough to not cause damage.
The best part is the brush head is replaceable and biodegradable. When the brush head needs to be replaced, you can simply toss it into your compost bin knowing you’re becoming part of the solution.
INDIEGOGO: What’s your biggest piece of advice for womxn who want to start their own business?
SUZAN: Start with your idea and outline what problem you’re trying to solve. Then, research local and digital resources available to womxn and leverage those. The SBA (Small Business Association) has local chapters and oftentimes has offices that support womxn entrepreneurs. They also offer training sessions on writing business plans, finding funding, and getting minority-and-womxn owned businesses certified. Don’t wait until your idea is perfect. Get your idea in the “good enough” stage and move forward, be confident, and tell your story.
INDIEGOGO: What tools (gadgets, apps, books, podcasts) would you recommend to anyone starting their own business, crowdfunding campaign, or project?
SUZAN: I love listening to How I Built This podcast. It is so inspiring listening to how entrepreneurs got their start. I’m part of the Facebook group “Women Founders Community (the largest group for women founders of startups)”.
INDIEGOGO: What’s your favorite Indiegogo campaign, or a campaign you’ve recently supported?
SUZAN: I’m really excited for Lomi. It’s a wonderful product for people who don’t have access to an industrial compost site or backyard composting.
INDIEGOGO: You were one of the first batch of participants in our inaugural Indiegogo Fellowship Program. What was the experience like for you?
SUZAN: It was such a helpful program to be part of. I had no idea the level of planning required for launching a crowdfunding campaign. Having weekly sessions while building out our Indiegogo campaign in parallel set us up for success. Meeting other entrepreneurs was wonderful in building community. I really appreciate Indiegogo’s support pre-launch and mid-campaign. I highly recommend entrepreneurs apply for the fellowship program. You’ll learn so much!
Want to support MamaP? Check out the MamaP crowdfunding campaign today.
Interested in starting a crowdfunding campaign or project, but lack the resources to launch? Applications are now open for Indiegogo’s 2021 Fellowship Program. The program provides entrepreneurs and creators from underrepresented groups in the tech and innovation community who have limited resources and support with a 8-week educational program to guide them in running a successful crowdfunding campaign from end to end. With guided, exclusive coursework, program participants will get mentorship from established crowdfunding professionals, office hours with a core member of the Indiegogo team, and be able to connect with a vibrant business community. Learn more and apply now by June 21, 2021!