We recently attended a Shark Tank Reunion with dozens of other entrepreneurs who received “The Golden Ticket” i.e. aired on Shark Tank. It was an amazing opportunity to network with others who did “the hallway walk” and came out on the other side of what very few people experience in their lifetime. When we pitched to the Sharks in July 2022 and aired in March 2023 we didn’t realize our experience would get us exclusive access to an incredible network of like minded people who are out there hustling just as hard as us.
We heard over and over again whether it was about TikTok (follow Pluie!) or developing a new product that the beginning is the hardest part and not to overthink it. So many founders also stressed the importance of authenticity (watch Bethenny Frankel’s take on J Lo and Blake Lively). As moms and users of Pluie products ourselves it is easy to be authentic to our brand but we were also advised to be relatable. Admittedly we oftentimes feel the need to ensure our content is carefully curated. We straddle the line of appearing that we are much further along with also sharing the reality that scaling a business usually takes many years.
As we participated in break-out sessions led by entrepreneurs paving the way in all things business management we heard over and over again that every founder (no matter how successful) is juggling and struggling to keep up with the constant to-do list of scaling a business. Not to mention the 15 different tools we are all consistently interfacing with on a daily basis: HubSpot, ZoomInfo, Gusto, G-Suite, QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, Ramp, Canva, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, etc.
What we’ve learned though is to embrace the juggle and accept the struggle which isn’t easy and comes with additional learnings:
- You don’t need to have the right answer but you need to have an answer. I always say that one day in a start-up is like one month in a corporation. We need to move quickly and make the best decision with the information that we have at the moment. And there are plenty of people in our network to help us generate an answer quickly. Just need to ask. However, we ultimately need to make the decision as no one knows the business better than us.
- You will need to ask for help. Though we often like to think of ourselves as super human, we aren’t (wish we were!). We need to ask for help from our mentors, peers, contractors, friends and also our family members. Starting a business requires asking for help in all areas of our lives. We’ve learned that being vulnerable is actually a super power.
- You will need to accept that perfection is unattainable. There is the famous quote by Reid Hoffman which really resonates with us: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” This is constantly top of mind for us and we look back at our prototypes and early marketing materials with dismay. But we don’t regret a single thing because it got us to where we are now.
- You are going to have some off days. I will never forget waking up on a day that I was scheduled to present to 100+ strangers and pitch Pluie. I felt off. My son had just been in the hospital for a week (low low) then our Shark Tank episode aired (high high). I was coming down from it all and just felt depleted. I got on stage and my mind went blank. I still cringe thinking about that moment when I felt like I let my team down but I needed to forgive myself and move on. It’s how I pick back up and move forward that really matters.
- You will often feel out of your comfort zone. But continuing to show up with passion and persistence is key. As long as I wake up with passion then I know whatever the challenges are that day, I can overcome them. And with persistence we will push through discomfort from the rejections, the nos, the not right nows, and be confident knowing there will also be a YES!
The reality is starting a business often looks super glamorous on the outside but with the glamour comes the juggle, comes the struggle. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Written by Pluie Cofounder and COO Brittany Hizer.