BASED IN: NEW YORK
I run a website called Never Liked It Anyway. It’s an eBay for breakups where you can sell that stuff you’re let with at the end of a relationship. It’s cathartic, cheeky and all about moving on not moping about! Our sellers share the story of why they’re selling the item as well as their ‘bounce back plan’ – which is how they plan to spend the money they make from selling their breakup baggage. We also have two products – the Bounce Back Box (a little box full of goodies to make you feel wonderful) and the Bounce Back Stack ( a deck of 50 cards with 50 adventure challenges to help you out of your breakup funk). It seemed strange to me that the dating industry is massive yet no-one was there to help you pick up the pieces; and certainly not in a edgy, cheeky and modern way!
What is the best part about being an entrepreneur? What is the worst/hardest part?
Being an entrepreneur forces you to tackle problems you never even knew existed with tools you don’t even know you have. Everything you’ve ever learnt at every point in your life comes into play as an entrepreneur – the discipline you learnt through ballet, the management style from your old boss, that off-beat case study during your political course, the nurturing skills from your mum – you lean on all your learnings when you’re running your own business and find a way to put them into action – that’s the best bit! The hardest part is managing your energy (and expectations) for the long-haul. There’s lots of ups and downs and you cant let them rattle you. Equally, you cant get blasé about your achievements and end up jaded!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs? Did it help or did that set you back?
It’s quite funny, people told me I would be an entrepreneur far before I could recognize it myself! My family are not entrepreneurs, quite the opposite in fact. That said, my parents have always encouraged my curiosity and entertained my overt disdain for rules. When I had the idea of Never Liked It Anyway they insisted I go for it! I believe the key is to keep your options open. I launched Never Liked It Anyway while working full time – and kept that arrangement for a long time. My work as an entrepreneur actually helped my work as an Innovation Consultant and gave me in the trenches experience that I could pass on to my clients. Eventually, I had to pick the entrepreneur route, but it definitely happened in stages – not one fell swoop. When you take bite size chunks, the path becomes an eventuality and seems a lot more manageable – and less daunting – than just throwing all your eggs in one basket.
Do you believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur? Do you think that everyone should try?
I don’t believe it’s for everyone. There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of severe highs and lowsand it can be very difficult to separate your personal from your work. This isn’t such a bad thing, but it can be hard to not take the rough patches personally – especially when you’re in charge and you’re the ‘face’ of your brand. You need to learn to switch off and not sweat everything with the urgency of heart surgery! Though I don’t believe entrepreneurship is for everyone, I do believe everyone should support entrepreneurs and make a habit of dreaming big, questioning the norms, shaking up the regular and finding the alternate angle in their every day lives. You can think like an entrepreneur at your 9-5 job – you don’t need to be at a startup to do that.
Do you think you want to start other businesses in the future or do you want to keep growing this one as long as possible? What is the dream?
I love Never Liked It Anyway with all my heart. It’s an amazing business and I’m proud of what I’ve built, but it’s not the only one I’ve got in me. I’m strong at the upfront piece of entrepreneurship – identifying an opportunity, working up a killer concept, finding fast ways to hack and prototype and making a splash at launch. This is the stuff I love and the stuff that gives me huge amounts of energy. I’m less strong (and less interested) in running a business – which is the stage I’m at now. I’ve found it quite a challenge to gear it up, cement partnerships, scale sustainably and finesse the numbers so it’s in a position to sell. I’m learning a lot and wouldn’t change a thing, but I’m excited for the next venture too – whatever that may be. That’s a long way of saying the goal is to sell Never Liked It Anyway and then take a creative sabbatical before I find the next idea to sink my teeth into!
What is one (or more) piece of advice you can offer our readers and other entrepreneurs that are reading your interview? What is the most important to keep in mind?
My favorite piece of advice that I try to follow now, but wish I had adopted earlier is to focus on getting going, not getting it right. As an entrepreneur, so much of what you do will evolve, change and morph in ways you never thought possible. When you get welded to the idea of how it ‘should’ look, you end up paralyzed. Making a start and bringing ‘it’ to life as soon as possible takes the idea out of your head and gives it a life of its own – no matter what they ‘it’ is – a piece of art, a poem, a business idea. What matters is that you make it real and give it space to flourish – and evolve over and over again.