Honeyfund’s CEO And Co-Founder, Sara Margulis
You’re organizing your aspiration wedding and an even dreamier honeymoon. When you and your lover established out to populate your wedding registry, you realize you now have all the dishes, tiny appliances, and cocktail shakers you want – soon after all, you are the two grown ups. What you really will need is some time absent with each other to start your life in a unforgettable fashion.
That is what happened to Sara Margulis and her fiancé Josh when they resolved to request their wedding day visitors to help underwrite their honeymoon in lieu of presents. They started their have small business to assist others do the same, and nowadays, Honeyfund is the most trusted money gifting web page. The system has authorized 6 million givers to fund more than $640 million in items for more than a single million couples. I spoke with Sara about shifting careers from marketing and advertising to tech begin-up, the Shark Tank result, hanging out on her very own, and balancing household lifetime with functioning her personal firm.
Shelley Zalis: You formerly worked as the affiliate director of advertising and marketing at Golden Gate University. How did you decide to make a job swap and launch your have corporation at Honeyfund? What was your lightbulb minute?
Sara Margulis: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I had been engaged to be married and organizing our personal wedding, and we experienced this desire of honeymooning someplace exotic and significantly away like Fiji to get absent from the stress of two entire-time employment. But we did not have the resources after shelling out for our very own wedding ceremony. So instead of registering completely for classic housewares, we established a makeshift would like listing for the charges connected with our Fiji honeymoon – items like excursions, resort nights, island hopping flights, and many others. Our wedding day friends overcome us with far more than $5,000 in contributions, but additional importantly, they liked the plan. They requested us to make a little something like it for other couples. That is how Honeyfund was born.
I experienced just graduated with an MBA in internet marketing and my co-founder is a software package engineer. I experienced been doing the job at Golden Gate College on advertising and marketing assignments these types of as the university’s new web-site, e-mail advertising applications, and a CRM implementation. We took the strategy and enthusiasm from our have wedding ceremony friends, and all that professional background, and created and introduced Honeyfund.com from our sofa.
SZ: How significantly prior experience, if any, did you have in the startup marketplace in advance of launching Honeyfund? How did your time on Shark Tank catapult your journey?
SM: We had been in San Francisco in the early 2000s when the technology startup increase was happening all all around us. We experienced close friends at Twitter when it very first launched, for illustration. Neither of us seriously had any direct knowledge in startups, but we could generate and take care of jobs. And we both experienced a dream of remaining economically independent and having a flexible agenda so we could be there for our potential little ones.
In 2013 we were residing that aspiration: the organization was supporting our loved ones and we had all the overall flexibility we envisioned. We experienced acquired our aspiration home and we had two wholesome young children who were being increasing up in an idyllic city in Sonoma County, California.
When Shark Tank identified as, we had to make a hard determination – do we improve beyond our life style small business and enter the planet of a quickly-growing startup? Getting on investment money, being aware of just how we needed to deploy it, knowing how to unlock the next phase of progress – individuals had been all unfamiliar to us. Starting off a little something is extremely distinctive from rising it.
Even so, we felt it was the proper thing to do for the Honeyfund brand and our member neighborhood. So we utilized for the display and obtained forged. Our episode aired in Oct 2013 and it was a strike! Our site crashed from all the site visitors. We were being so thrilled to have the focus on the Honeyfund brand name. We realized that after folks experienced heard of Honeyfund they liked the plan. So our Shark Tank look and the deal with Kevin O’Leary launched us on to the national phase. This drove a large amount far more traffic and users, but it also brought us the notoriety to form large-stage partnerships, these as our registry integration with Goal.
SZ: What are the rewards and cons that appear with a vocation changeover and branching out on your have to launch a enterprise?
SM: We have been very blessed that Honeyfund was perfectly obtained and grew itself to the point that we ended up equipped to make a good dwelling prior to being on Shark Tank. That was stage just one of the transition from performing for anyone else to performing for ourselves. It was what we had dreamed of. So we felt we have been having fun with all the strengths of doing our very own detail.
But the business enterprise was developing a lot quicker than we were. It desired additional from us. We didn’t have plenty of workers to provide our partners and sustain the site. That introduced us into a growth stage that was genuinely challenging to find out how to manage – we didn’t have the expertise there. In the long run immediately after a lengthy and winding street, we split up and I acquired my co-founder out of the firm. So that stage of expansion came with a ton of strain and issues. And I felt pulled in so numerous directions as a mother, spouse, and organization proprietor. I stopped taking care of myself and burned out. Then Covid hit and I faced a different huge obstacle with the company, this time by itself at the helm. I experienced to take a extensive search in the mirror and question myself if I experienced what it requires to ensure Honeyfund could endure a 90% fall in revenues and a pandemic with no conclusion in sight.
I made a decision to step up and do my finest to hold the organization going for its members and workforce. I invested a ton in growing as a leader, hired a leadership crew to control the growth, and clarified my function in the enterprise. We launched a crowdfunding marketing campaign to invite our users and present givers to devote in the company’s subsequent phase of advancement. And we bought via! But all those were some of the most difficult a long time of my life. Getting dependable for a firm, a team, and clients – it’s a large stress at occasions.
Nevertheless the possibility to expand and develop into the leader of one thing impressive comes once in a lifetime – so the strengths considerably outweigh the shortcomings for me. I see it as a journey and I am ever-evolving together the way.
SZ: In the previous handful of years, there has been an growing development of females leaving their positions to start out their possess corporations through the Great Resignation. Centered on your practical experience, is there a “right” time or are there ideal circumstances for a profession adjust?
SM: The pull concerning occupation and loved ones is so tricky. In a good deal of approaches, a work with a selected range of several hours that you can go away and occur house is so a lot more healthy for that relatives equilibrium and your private self-treatment than a start off-up. I would say there is no ideal time to start your have detail if you are passionate about it just do it. But with this one caveat: women of all ages with associates and/or young children ought to consider prolonged and really hard about the amount of time and emphasis they want to be ready to give their spouse and children. And then devote what is left to a new venture. Everybody will convey to you that you have to give 200% to a startup but that’s actually not real. And it will direct to burnout so speedy if you are not mindful.
Rather, start out your undertaking with a team that can give their full emphasis. If you are keeping the vision and aims, you can and really should reserve time for self-treatment and your loved ones. I know this can be so challenging to achieve, but I’m a realist so I crack it down like a uncomplicated math issue. I seem at how a lot of several hours I have in a week and I strive to to start with prioritize my have self-treatment, then my time with my youngsters and associate, then my get the job done priorities.
I also consider the seasonality of my organization and my children’s faculty. Summer is a good time to be ready to give a minimal extra to young ones and a small a lot less to the business enterprise. But if you’re starting a business (like mine) that has high summer season calls for it could be challenging. The crucial is having really genuine with yourself about how lots of hours of target you are eager to give to a new undertaking.
SZ: What guidance would you give to ladies on the lookout to modify their job but who sense discouraged or not sure of exactly where to start out?
SM: I would say begin with a shift toward the market or capabilities you want to study and get definitely fantastic at people whilst performing for a person else with regular operate several hours, gains, and shell out. Or be a part of a volunteer business. After you are confident in your skills and know precisely how you will deal with your time and target, then established up your new venture inside of individuals parameters.