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Better bathrooms, one office at a time
A co-founder in the midst of an equity crowdfund takes us to work for a day.
If you dream of starting a company and wonder what it’s like running the day-to-day of a business, you've come to the right place. In our series Startup Diaries, we ask new founders to take us to work for a day and reflect on what they discovered during the process.
Today’s Startup Diary is with Rebecca Lima, co-founder of The Lieu, a B2B subscription service for workplaces.
The startup delivers premium grooming and personal hygiene products that aim to create better bathroom experiences for workers, particularly women in the workplace. Rebecca and her co-founder are currently equity crowdfunding and have raised, at time of writing, nearly $70,000 from a community of investors. We chat with Rebecca about what it’s like to start a B2B business, to be a Latina founder, and what it’s like to crowdfund for your startup.
7:30am -- My alarm wakes me up. I hit the snooze for another 15 min—I’m not much of a morning person.
7:45am -- I reluctantly wake up. I lay in bed for a couple of minutes to do my daily devotional and check emails.
8:15am -- I walk into the bathroom, cleanse my face, and brush my teeth.
8:25am -- I come back to my room and sit down at my vanity. My skincare routine is my favorite part of my morning routine and involves five crucial steps: cleanser, toner, serums, moisturizer, and face mist. After skincare, I move on to my makeup and hair. I take time doing my skincare and makeup; it’s my form of self-care.
9:15am -- I’m finally ready to leave my house and head to the office. I work out of a co-working space since I’m not one of those who can work from home.
9:45am -- I arrive at the office. I have a few meetings in the afternoon so I go into the office to prep and catch up on emails. I grab my coffee in the kitchen space and then start answering emails.
10:45am -- I’ve gone through most of my urgent emails and LinkedIn messages. We’re currently raising on Republic so a lot of my time has been spent personally emailing, texting, and messaging my network to invest in the business.
11:00am -- I have my first meeting of the day, it’s with a fellow founder friend of mine who has successfully raised on Republic. We’ve been developing strategies to grow the campaign.
12:00pm -- I hop on a call with our CPA, we speak for about an hour about company finances and taxes (of course) before my next call.
1:05pm -- My co-founder and I have our daily check-in meeting. We go through individual updates and upcoming items. My co-founder is based in New Jersey and works remote a few days a week. When I don’t see her in-person, we hop on an hour call to go over everything.
2:30pm -- I have a little break before my next meeting. I check inbound emails, messages, and send out a few sales emails before heading to lunch.
3:00pm -- I head over to Chop’t for a salad. I practice intermittent fasting daily so this is my first meal of the day. I feel my best when I fast, it allows me to concentrate on my tasks without feeling sluggish. During lunch is when I typically check social media. I treat myself by watching Youtube while I eat my meal.
4:00pm -- I have an investor call with a pre-seed investor. We want to supplement our Republic campaign by taking meetings with institutional investors and angels. It’s a great introductory call and he asked great questions. We schedule a follow up next week.
6:00pm -- I head to NY Tech meetup, today is their women’s tech day where I will be presenting The Lieu to an audience of women. They also provide us with a table where we can demo our products and service first hand.
8:00pm -- I eat some snacks and treats at the event. I mingle with the rest of the panelists and audience.
9:15pm -- After a few hours of presenting and mingling, I head home for the night. Today was a long, yet productive day and I am ready to be home.
10:00pm -- I get home and hop in the shower, I’m exhausted. After my shower, I sit down at my vanity to do my nightly skincare. It helps me decompress. I watch a little YouTube and unwind as I light candles in my room.
12:30am -- After a few hours of answering emails and binge-watching YouTube, I head to bed. I read my nightly devotional, pray, and, within a few minutes, I’m out.
What was it like keeping track of your day?
It was overwhelming because I am not a planner! I am very fluid with how I work, so for me it was like “Oh crap, I have to maintain this agenda for today!” But it was really good for me to understand how I work and how my brain functions. It was an interesting exercise.
How do you normally stay organized and on task?
I rely heavily on my calendar. I set reminders for myself because if it's not in my calendar and I don’t get reminded I completely forget about it. That has happened a few times and it sucks, so I rely on it. Also, I have a running list on my desktop and prioritize the top two or three things that I have to get done in a day, and everything else I kind of push underneath it. I usually put a calendar date for when things are due so I know how much time I have. But a lot of the time I end up leaving it to the last minute!
Is there anything you’d like to change or do differently?
I definitely need more organization in my life, and maybe that’s hiring a virtual assistant or something like that. It’s playing to my strengths—I know how I am, and my co-founder takes a lot of the operational side of the business. I know that if I am given a structure I can follow it. If I have to create the structure that’s when things get a little hairy. I often don’t know where to start and I found out a bit about that during this experience. I definitely need an assistant, though.
How does your life as a founder compare to what you thought it was going to be?
Oh my god, literally night and day. I thought it was going to be the most glamorous thing, going to all these meetings and these huge offices and meeting really cool people—and, yes, that does happen—but my life is primarily behind the computer responding to emails. I thought it was going to be way more glamorized and I think society makes it look like that. You think you’re gonna take private jets and raise money in the first three weeks. Then you fall on your face and fail a couple of times to really be a founder.
What are your current business goals and how did this day tie into that?
We have been fundraising on Republic and focusing on a lot of client acquisition. So we have some huge meetings that have been happening and are building our clientele base, our partnerships, and our services—that’s really what we’re steaming ahead with. The raise has really facilitated that, specifically the Republic raise has made it a lot easier.
How does fundraising on Republic work?
Republic is an equity crowdfunding site but it’s not like Kickstarter or Indiegogo—investors that invest in your campaign are actually buying future shares. So instead of selling your product at a discount to get funders or backers, you’re essentially selling future shares into your company. It’s a great thing, especially in the B2B space or for companies that don’t sell directly to consumers.
As a founder, a lot of fundraising is investor relations, which takes time away from doing sales and everything else. So it’s really helped a lot because we can raise money while simultaneously doing our actual jobs. It’s a non-traditional way of raising money, but especially for female and minority founders— I’m Latina and my co-founder is also a woman of color—having backers that can support us and be a part of our journey and see that progression is very powerful.
Do you have any words of advice for new founders?
Something that I wish I knew before I started was that a lot of times as a founder you’re thinking of an idea way before the market is ready. You need to learn to play the long-game—this isn’t a short-game. You need to take time to build. The best part about that is that, whatever you’re building, you will have domain expertise, so own it. You’re the one that’s educating investors and consumers, so it’s important to have the confidence to speak to that.
Are you a new founder building a killer business?
Reach out to our editor, Ludi Leiva!