You’re scheduling your aspiration marriage ceremony and an even dreamier honeymoon. When you and your spouse established out to populate your wedding ceremony registry, you understand you by now have all the dishes, tiny appliances, and cocktail shakers you need – after all, you’re both of those older people. What you genuinely have to have is some time away alongside one another to launch your life in a memorable style.
Which is what happened to Sara Margulis and her fiancé Josh when they determined to question their marriage company to enable underwrite their honeymoon in lieu of items. They launched their have enterprise to assist other folks do the identical, and nowadays, Honeyfund is the most reliable funds gifting web-site. The system has authorized 6 million givers to fund far more than $640 million in presents for more than one million partners. I spoke with Sara about shifting occupations from marketing to tech get started-up, the Shark Tank influence, striking out on her possess, and balancing family existence with running her possess firm.
Shelley Zalis: You previously labored as the affiliate director of promoting at Golden Gate College. How did you make your mind up to make a profession swap and start your own enterprise at Honeyfund? What was your lightbulb moment?
Sara Margulis: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I were engaged to be married and planning our personal marriage ceremony, and we had this dream of honeymooning someplace exotic and considerably absent like Fiji to get absent from the pressure of two full-time employment. But we didn’t have the resources after shelling out for our own wedding ceremony. So rather of registering exclusively for regular housewares, we made a makeshift want list for the prices affiliated with our Fiji honeymoon – issues like excursions, resort evenings, island hopping flights, etcetera. Our wedding day attendees confused us with much more than $5,000 in contributions, but much more importantly, they beloved the concept. They requested us to make some thing like it for other partners. That is how Honeyfund was born.
I experienced just graduated with an MBA in advertising and my co-founder is a computer software engineer. I had been doing work at Golden Gate College on advertising and marketing tasks this sort of as the university’s new website, e-mail advertising and marketing packages, and a CRM implementation. We took the idea and enthusiasm from our personal wedding ceremony guests, and all that experienced background, and created and released Honeyfund.com from our sofa.
Zalis: How substantially prior knowledge, if any, did you have in the startup field prior to launching Honeyfund? How did your time on Shark Tank catapult your journey?
Margulis: We ended up in San Francisco in the early 2000s when the technological innovation startup growth was taking place all all-around us. We experienced close friends at Twitter when it to start with launched, for example. Neither of us actually had any immediate practical experience in startups, but we could create and take care of tasks. And we both equally had a aspiration of getting fiscally unbiased and getting a adaptable schedule so we could be there for our future children.
In 2013 we have been living that desire: the small business was supporting our loved ones and we had all the adaptability we envisioned. We experienced purchased our dream home and we had two healthier young children who had been developing up in an idyllic city in Sonoma County, California.
When Shark Tank referred to as, we had to make a tricky selection – do we expand past our way of life small business and enter the world of a rapid-escalating startup? Getting on investment decision money, being aware of exactly how we desired to deploy it, understanding how to unlock the future period of progress – people were being all unfamiliar to us. Setting up a little something is pretty distinct from developing it.
Nevertheless, we felt it was the suitable factor to do for the Honeyfund brand name and our member neighborhood. So we used for the show and received cast. Our episode aired in Oct 2013 and it was a hit! Our web site crashed from all the traffic. We were so thrilled to have the consideration on the Honeyfund manufacturer. We understood that once folks had read of Honeyfund they cherished the strategy. So our Shark Tank look and the deal with Kevin O’Leary released us on to the countrywide stage. This drove a great deal additional targeted traffic and associates, but it also brought us the notoriety to sort superior-stage partnerships, these kinds of as our registry integration with Concentrate on.
Zalis: What are the pros and shortcomings that appear with a vocation transition and branching out on your own to launch a small business?
Margulis: We have been really fortunate that Honeyfund was effectively obtained and grew itself to the level that we had been equipped to make a excellent residing prior to being on Shark Tank. That was period a single of the changeover from doing the job for an individual else to operating for ourselves. It was what we experienced dreamed of. So we felt we ended up enjoying all the pros of executing our own factor.
But the enterprise was rising more quickly than we have been. It essential extra from us. We did not have adequate workforce to provide our couples and manage the web site. That launched us into a growth section that was genuinely difficult to discover how to handle – we did not have the experience there. Ultimately just after a extensive and winding highway, we split up and I purchased my co-founder out of the company. So that stage of growth arrived with a great deal of stress and issues. And I felt pulled in so a lot of instructions as a mother, wife, and company owner. I stopped taking care of myself and burned out. Then Covid strike and I faced a different huge problem with the company, this time alone at the helm. I had to get a very long search in the mirror and check with myself if I had what it normally takes to ensure Honeyfund could survive a 90% fall in revenues and a pandemic with no finish in sight.
I made a decision to phase up and do my ideal to continue to keep the company going for its customers and staff members. I invested a ton in developing as a chief, hired a management group to deal with the development, and clarified my purpose in the business. We released a crowdfunding campaign to invite our associates and reward givers to spend in the company’s subsequent section of development. And we bought by means of! But those have been some of the hardest years of my daily life. Staying responsible for a enterprise, a team, and prospects – it is a substantial stress at instances.
Nevertheless the opportunity to grow and develop into the leader of something impressive will come the moment in a lifetime – so the strengths considerably outweigh the disadvantages for me. I see it as a journey and I am at any time-evolving along the way.
Zalis: In the final couple of several years, there has been an escalating pattern of women of all ages leaving their positions to start off their very own corporations through the Great Resignation. Dependent on your encounter, is there a “right” time or are there best situations for a career transform?
Margulis: The pull among job and family is so tricky. In a large amount of techniques, a job with a specified number of hrs that you can depart and occur property is so considerably healthier for that household harmony and your private self-care than a start off-up. I would say there is no ideal time to commence your own matter if you’re passionate about it just do it. But with this a single caveat: women with associates and/or young children need to consider extensive and really hard about the amount of money of time and concentration they want to be able to give their spouse and children. And then devote what is left to a new enterprise. All people will inform you that you have to give 200% to a startup but which is actually not genuine. And it will lead to burnout so speedy if you are not mindful.
Alternatively, start out your venture with a staff that can give their comprehensive focus. If you are keeping the eyesight and objectives, you can and should really reserve time for self-treatment and your family members. I know this can be so really hard to achieve, but I’m a realist so I split it down like a simple math issue. I search at how many several hours I have in a week and I try to first prioritize my very own self-treatment, then my time with my little ones and companion, then my function priorities.
I also contemplate the seasonality of my company and my children’s faculty. Summertime is a wonderful time to be equipped to give a minimal much more to youngsters and a tiny much less to the small business. But if you’re commencing a small business (like mine) that has superior summer season calls for it could be hard. The key is having incredibly genuine with oneself about how lots of hours of target you are inclined to give to a new venture.
Zalis: What suggestions would you give to ladies seeking to improve their job but who really feel discouraged or uncertain of wherever to start out?
Margulis: I would say commence with a change toward the business or skills you want to discover and get actually fantastic at all those though working for an individual else with continual get the job done several hours, positive aspects, and pay. Or be part of a volunteer firm. After you are confident in your competencies and know precisely how you will control your time and emphasis, then set up your new undertaking inside of those parameters.