Entrepreneurs are in constant task mode and fill their days with doing, doing, doing. However, game-changing ideas can only come in a state of Being not doing.
As part of my interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Gordon White. She is the Founder and CEO of Bossa Bars, female formulated energy bars that help women navigate the menopause years. Julie previously founded The WELL for Women Entrepreneurs, teaching thousands of women how to crack the code of growing to a million and someday selling through step-by-step training and coaching programs. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, bestselling business author, and TEDx speaker who has also served as an expert for Google Small Business, and as a host to Intuit QuickBooks Momentum to 1 Million dollars Community.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve felt that entrepreneurial pull since writing my first business plan and starting my first business when I was 10. Like most entrepreneurs, I had a problem that needed solving and realized that 31 million US women between the ages of 45–64 had the same problem. Entering my 50s and becoming an empty nester, mother of 3, gave me the freedom to ask myself: What’s next?! So, in August of 2020, I started my next business — once again supporting women — and more specifically, empowering women in the pre — through- post menopausal years unwind the stereotypes and experience the best moments in their lives so far.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
As part of our mission, we host a monthly online community MenoLounge event, focused on midlife female health and empowerment. We cover any topic related to The Pause and in a recent session, we invited the partners of our panelists to join. It was fascinating to hear from the men and discover what they knew about menopause. Hearing them speak as partners in support of this often mysterious, unpredictable and sometime uncomfortable time in a woman’s life was encouraging. It was also fun to hear how many of the men love (and sneak) their wives bars (proving everyone loves a good and nutritious snack!).
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was formulating my recipe for Bossa Bars, I made a lot of samples in an effort to get the taste and texture just right. After a couple of weeks, I thought I was losing my mind because it seemed like the number of samples I thought I had, did not match up when I checked the container to measure stability of the product over time. One day my husband saw me looking in the container with a very puzzled look on my face and started laughing hysterically. He knew exactly what I was thinking because he had been stealing them — a lot of them — from every batch! After that, I knew I was definitely on to something!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My best friend since preschool, Tracy McCubbin, Founder & Owner of dClutterfly and a celebrity organizer, has always had my back and been a great support as a fellow female founder and author herself. She wrote, Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book on Decluttering You’ll Ever Need and has certainly helped me stay organized and learn how to focus on the things that matter — one of my “5 Things”. She is also the Co-Executive Director of OneKid OneWorld, a non-profit building strong educational foundations for children in impoverished communities throughout Kenya and Central America. She is an inspiration and one of those people who keep you grounded because they have known you since before you became successful and aren’t afraid to remind you of it!
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
Two nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned as a Black Female Founder are: Resilience is Key and Think Bigger! We know female founders have historically received less funding and minority owned business even less. But that is changing and there’s always a silver lining in hard times and rejection, so our work is to find those opportunities and act upon them as soon as possible.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
Supporting and promoting women and minority owned businesses is something individuals and companies can all do. NextDoor was really supportive in featuring me and Bossa Bars as a local female owned business; Intuit included us in their Black Owned Business Shopping Guide. And I am also working with Amazon in their Black Business Accelerator. That kind of exposure really helps smalls businesses connect with their customers and then the market can decide if it is a product or service they want to use. There are also a lot more five-figure grants available now for women and women of color, which is great. We still have a log way to go to reach parity but we are definitely headed in the right direction.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Women often start a business for flexibility to allow them to live the lives they want –and that alone is a great reason to start one. But I also want to see more women find the intersection of what they love to do, are great at and think bigger stepping into the possibility that anything is possible. Not only can they become female founders but they can grow and sell and create wealth for themselves, their families and others. The more of us there are, the more those girls see, and follow in those footsteps creating their own economic independence.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
There are 3 myths about being a founder that I would like to dispel once and for for all:
1. You have to under charge under because you’re a startup or new in business. Many new founders believe that when they’re just starting out, they can’t charge full price. This is not true! In fact, it’s more important than ever that they not only charge full price, port but even a premium in. When a new business positions itself as a premium offer, whether or service or product, the marketplace perceives it as more valuable. Also, there is enough profit margin so the business is able to spend/allocate dollars on marketing, team members, and other drivers that will grow both top and bottom lines. In addition, when a business is charging a premium price, the founder and founding team must rise to the level of value that is in alignment with the price. By doing so, the business performs at a higher level and the customers have increased satisfaction. Premium pricing is a win-win.
2. If you build it, they will come. So many founders spend tens of thousands of dollars on their website only to be very disappointed when no new leads are generated. This is because a website is not a lead generation system on its own. It’s critical that a founder build a consistent way, preferably automated, way to generate new business leads on an ongoing basis. Sales funnels that leverage technology and are triggered automatically around the clock, are like having a sales team on the job 24/7. It can take a little time and work to get a consistent and performing automated sales funnel, but when perfected its pure Nirvana!
3. Referrals are the best way to grow your business. Referrals are great, but they need to be the cherry on top, not the whole Sundae! Referral-based businesses are dependent on external factors in order to grow. Again a business needs to be able to consistently generate leads from ideal clients and customers without a dependency on external referrals. When referrals happen, they are fantastic, but a business should never be built on referrals, and a founder should never be satisfied with a referral only based business.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
I do believe that anyone who wants to solve a problem and make a difference can be a founder. It takes intense desire and a love for what you are doing to bring an idea to life. You absolutely must be willing to learn and grow from your lessons. Learn, apply, repeat! Lots of people learn things but they don’t apply them quickly. Continuous learning is critical but if not applied with a sense of urgency, it’s wasted and you eventually stop growing which stalls your business and demotivates the people who are looking to you to deliver something worth everyone’s time and money.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, What are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. A BOSS State of Mind. Mindset is just as important as strategy and brand when building a company. For me, a BOSS State of Mind means prioritizing my morning practice of Gratitude, Intention, Visualization, and Enrollment, aka GIVE. I spend a few minutes every morning noting what I am grateful for, setting my intentions for the day, visualizing my goals as complete (not in progress which is an important distinction), and then deciding who I need to enroll as a customer, client, or supporter of my vision — on challenging days — that person is me!
2. Optimization of Your Goals with Systems & Routines. Entrepreneurs are overloaded with tasks and responsibilities, so the more systems — especially automated systems — that can be put in place the better. Setting automated weekly reminders for recurring tasks is a simple but fantastic way to get started. Automated lead generation systems are the holy grail. Setting up systems takes time, but the return of organization, efficiency, and accountability is priceless. Creating themes for each day of the week helps maintain focus and reduces wasted time thinking about what to tackle first that day. For example, Tuesdays are my PEOPLE days when I schedule all of my internal team meetings and other external meetings like potential partnerships.
3. The Ability to Focus on What Matters. Systems help with focus, and as prescribed in my BOSS State of Mind routine, setting a daily intention and then deciding your top three priorities for the day (start with the hardest one!), is what moves the needle in business. There are so many “legitimate” distractions every day, but only those who are able to laser focus on the top priorities will achieve their dreams. Taking it a step further, always focus on customer needs and revenue generation first — they are the lifeblood of your business.
4. Communication Skills. Over communicate with your team and clients, especially if you’re virtual. Life is busy for everyone, so it’s important remember that your team, clients, or even your family members can’t and won’t remember everything you shared no matter how important you think you told them it was. A great rule of thumb is if you’re tired of repeating it, others are probably just starting to remember it.
5. Prioritize a State of Being. Entrepreneurs are in constant task mode and fill their days with doing, doing, doing. However, game-changing ideas can only come in a state of Being not doing. A Being state can only happen when you slow down and get quiet enough to let the ideas surface. Do Less, and Be More. Taking a weekly walk in nature without earphones is a wonderful hack to quickly reconnect with your own thoughts and creativity. Mediation is also a gateway to Being. Lastly, never underestimate the value of rest, and relaxation. Ideas and strategies for all my successful companies, including my multimillion-dollar company, came to me when I was on vacation sitting on the beach watching the waves come in and out. Getting the feeling now? Less is always more.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
My favorite moments have been serving as a proponent for girls and sharing in the success of other women. I’ve been fortunate to do that through my TEDx talk, and my coaching business where I have been able to share my experience and best practices to help other women start, grow and sell their businesses to have financial success. As a podcast host and keynote speaker at industry (as well as my own event) conferences I’ve been able to also spotlight the success of other women who become inspiration to so many more.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
It’s actually our tag line, Menopause Like a Boss! I want women to love themselves move than ever — especially over 50 — and it starts by owning our life experience — instead of trying to hide it. We have earned every bit of our existence. It’s time for women to start loving the menopausal years, possibly even more than our earlier years because our been-there-done-that confidence meter is actually at all time high!
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have lunch with Deepak Chopra. His book, 7 Laws of Spiritual Success deeply inspired me to create something valuable and bigger than myself which really is the core of what we are trying to do with Bossa Bars — empowering women, giving them a supportive community and inviting them to unapologetically embrace their midlife health and happiness.