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Navigating sexual and reproductive wellness
Behind the scenes with Allbodies as they fundraise to grow their online community, shop, and practitioner access network.
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, Supermaker went to work with Lauren Bille, the co-founder of Allbodies, an online space that helps users navigate their reproductive and sexual healthcare by connecting them to education, providers, products and community support.
We’re living in a time where our bodies are increasingly policed by social media, technology, and harmful government policies. It is becoming increasingly crucial that individuals have resources to help them navigate these increasing threats to bodily autonomy. Of course, navigating health and wellness can be more challenging for some than for others, and we’ve seen statistics that women (especially women of color) and non cisgender people particularly experience barriers to proper care.
Allbodies is setting out to be a remedy to the current status quo. Their mission is, as their name implies, to inform and empower all bodies. The platform is an "ecosystem of tools for an optimum and holistic healthcare experience," and includes educational content, an online shop, and access to practitioners who are trauma-informed. Allbodies is in the midst of a fundraising round and co-founder Lauren brought us to work with her for a day to demonstrate what it’s really like to raise money for a startup.
8:30 -- I wake up, say some nice words to the universe and do a quick manifestation exercise. Then I check my calendar, do some stretches, begin the coffee making process, turn on The Daily Podcast, and jump in the shower.
9:00 -- I finish my skincare routine and my coffee and check my phone for new Slack messages (we have a team member in Europe and she is seven hours ahead) or emails, and get dressed.
9:30 -- I pack up my stuff, leave my apartment, and walk to train. I continue responding to Slack messages on the train.
10:00 -- I walk into my coworking space and get settled. Today I find a spot in the cafe, which I like because it’s bright and bustling.
10:15 -- I begin to review and prep for a check in call with Ash, my co-founder.
10:30 -- I get on my call with Ash to go over outstanding tasks and priorities, update each other, and talk through and make decisions. Currently we’re discussing the details of the class series we are rolling out, priorities for website changes, and conversations we need to have with team about 2020 roles. We share what we’re working on that day and ask for support if we need it. I tell her my plan for the next two weeks of fundraising before the holiday. My priorities today are: finishing up the deck, updating our VC list, and planning for intros and check-ins over the next two weeks.
11:30 -- I work on finishing up the deck.
12:30 -- I order a sandwich and eat while working.
2:00 -- I prep for our VC meeting while walking to train.
2:30 -- I meet with the VC at the Nomad Hotel.
3:30 -- I take call while walking back to the coworking space. The call is with the Partnership Lead from our team and we go over her strategy for a proposal.
4:00 -- I take a VC Intro call with a woman from a Series A fund. She says we’re too early but would love to be of help.
4:30 -- I check email, respond, and send a follow-up to the VC.
5:00 -- I switch gears to re-work our business model to send to the VC from the 2 pm meeting.
5:45 -- I have a check-in call with the advisor who is going to make some more intros to investors. I take it in a cab on the way to another meeting.
6:15 -- I meet with a potential individual investor at a cafe in the East Village to discuss the company.
7:15 -- I take a cab home. On the way, I post an Instagram story on Allbodies to help promote a new partnership.
8:00 -- I get home and put on comfy clothes. To set the vibe I turn on my diffuser, light a candle and adjust the room lighting, and put on music. Then I order tacos on Seamless. While I’m waiting I do some push-ups, handstands, and stretches. After eating, I chill for a few and check my Instagram and dating apps. I also text boys I’m dating.
9:00 -- I get back online to finish a few things related to pending brand partnerships.
9:30 -- I revisit the deck and our business model.
10:45 -- I return texts from today that I haven’t responded to yet.
11:00 -- I close my computer. Then I do some stretches, wash my face, brush my teeth, make tea, and clean up my room.
11:30 -- Before going to bed, I check tomorrow’s schedule. Then I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m and read the news before plugging in my technology.
12:00 -- I put on chill music and get in bed.
What was it like keeping track of your day?
It was helpful because it made what I do more clear in my mind. It was really helpful just to have insight and perspective—like, “wow, you really do get up and work all fucking day and then go to bed and do it again"—I guess I forget, you know? Since starting fundraising it’s been this whole other ballgame so my short answer is: It was really useful to step back and look at what I do. It gave me respect for myself and the process. It also made me feel more organized.
How did this day compare to a normal or ideal day?
It was very regular. These days, I’m juggling fundraising meetings and sitting in on important decision-making with the company and team. Sometimes I wish that I could just fundraise and that my co-founder could handle everything (not that she can’t but this is our baby and part of the magic is coming together to make decisions for big things). I feel very responsible (I mean, duh) but it’s really cool. It’s such an honor to have this be coming to life, and to serve—that’s what it feels like. When I’m pissed that I’m running around from meeting to meeting, I remember that I get to be of service and show up. But yeah, my typical day is juggling a lot. And it will change—as soon as the money comes, then I’ll be doing other stuff.
How do you normally stay organized and on task?
I actually I haven’t found the right hack yet, I flop around a lot. I definitely use Google calendar and also use Trello sometimes, usually for bigger to do’s not daily things. To be honest, my co-founder helps keep me in check. I’m very free-flying, but part of my magic comes from that, too. So it’s helpful because she’s a lot more grounded and manages time. Striving for more efficiency with time and energy is always something I’m looking for more hacks for. I’m always traveling around so one thing I like it do is use transit as a place to either take calls, write emails, or do strategy thinking.
Is there anything you’d like to change or do differently?
I’m always looking for more effective systems. There’s so many ways we could save time but we don’t have the money, time, or skills for things. But as we grow, we’ll not only hire people to help us develop organizational systems, but we’ll need to look at things in a more organized fashion, too. But I’d say I need help. Ha! I think I need help in general with managing email and managing time. I’ll probably get an assistant someday. Someday.
How does your life as a founder compare to what you thought it was going to be?
I mean, I didn’t know. You hear stuff, like “this is going to be really hard” or that every startup fails, you know? That’s what everyone says. And people are hard on you about your idea. It’s given me this deep respect for anyone who’s built anything, and also for bosses I used to talk shit about. There’s just so many factors to what leadership means and what making decisions on behalf of an entire organization means that I never understood before‚ and that I want my team to know. After being an unhappy employee for many years, it’s given me so much insight into how to design a culture where my team are all stakeholders in the bigger vision and a part of the decision-making process. And also how their role is pushing us all forward. I didn’t know this was going to give me so much forgiveness and understanding. It’s given me an incredible perspective that I never had before.
What are your current business goals and how did this day tie into that?
My current business goals are to close the fundraise. As soon as that happens we will have very different goals, but, for now: close the fundraise and continue to hone in on growth and revenue.
Do you have any words of advice for new founders?
A couple of things: One, make friends and build a community of other founders who can help you to not feel alone. When I talk to any founder and they’re like, “totally, bro” that’s the most helpful thing I can have, particularly from people who came before me. That’s one of my most helpful assets.
The other thing is to remember that there are no rules—there are cultural patterns, like around fundraising and what you should do. But like, some white man made that rule, and then it just caught on. So I’d say to remember that you should constantly be independently and innovatively thinking. Even when you are at an early stage. Trust yourself, because if you’re going to be a successful founder you’re going to be the one leading. You don’t always have to do the norm. I have to constantly remind myself to step into my own leadership and power. But to also do so with humility, because I don’t know all the answers.