This interview is such an inspiration for every young girl who wants to achieve great things in life. While talking with Loraine and Brenda, who are founders of HitchPlanner, I was very impressed with their commitment to their journey as tech entrepreneurs. Let’s dive straight into the Q&A and get to know more about what they are doing and how they successfully started their own business before 30.
What brought you to start your business?
It was the challenges
within the wedding industry that pushed us to kickstart HitchPlanner.
We first came up with the idea when Brenda (co-founder) was planning for her wedding. We realised that the brides around us were using traditional tools to plan their wedding like excel spreadsheet or “pen and paper”, which can be cumbersome and inefficient.
One of Brenda’s close friends had actually put down a deposit at a bridal studio, however, the bridal studio faced financial insolvency and the business was liquidated and she lost her deposit. There are many challenges that have marred the wedding industry for years, yet limited solutions. Hence, we wanted to create an all-in-one, sophisticated, transparent, trusted and intuitive wedding planning & wedding services platform.
We have known each other since we were 13, we were ex-classmates turned best friends. Although we have known each other for 16 years, we have been working together for 2+years. Our roles and responsibilities were formed organically right from the beginning. Brenda is second time entrepreneur and a go-getter and has confidently persuaded and secured countless business deals. Lorraine has a flair for design and marketing and has headed the operations of an early startup company before starting HitchPlanner. Whilst both of us have had 5+ years of corporate working experiences and later ventured into the startup industry, we both thrived and complemented each other in the areas we are responsible for.
What were the struggles you faced and how did you overcome them?
- Moving out from the corporate world and starting up my own business meant that I will not have a regular or fixed income stream.
- It was a steep learning curve having to learn a lot of new skills while concurrently executing the task required. Being entrepreneurs also meant that we had to put on multiple hats every day to manage the different aspects of running a business.
- Managing time differences while working remotely. This was challenging in the beginning but we eventually worked out a system that works for both of us.
- Learning a ton of skills within a very short period of time! Most people think that it’s glamorous to work as an entrepreneur or be your own boss but the amount of commitment to the business you build takes a tremendous amount of grit and sweat (mentally) every single day.
How do you deal with stress at work and life?
Brenda replied to me,
Gym 3 times a week; taking long walks; talking with my friends and family; brainstorming with Lorraine to declutter my head on business challenges; and praying. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a very supportive husband who understands the work I am doing and is constantly encouraging and praying for me.
In 2019 I started reading a book by Dale Carnegie “How to stop worrying and start living”. it has been very helpful to help me cope with the stress of running a business. It has helped me put challenges in perspective and tackle problems head-on with a clear mind.
Being intentional on how I spend my time when I’m not working. It could be cooking with my partner; going out for a drive; hiking; checking in with Brenda regularly to bounce ideas off; calling my family back home, and having a sense of humour in everyday life. I’ve also recently started incorporating a quick 20 minutes walk into my morning routine and have seen tremendous results in just a week! Reading for 10 minutes every day.
While I miss getting lost and spending 5 hours in my local library reading piles of books, I don’t have that luxury of time at the moment. Books that I would totally recommend is “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and “How to learn anything in 48 hours” by Tansel Ali.
What makes you feel healthy and progressive in life?
Brenda: I am a believer in life-long learning. I enjoy mental and physical challenges, and accomplishing them makes me feel great about myself. I set mini targets for myself in the gym and achieving them gives me the confidence to achieve challenges at work too. Also, I have been on an intermittent fast for the past 6 months and have seen great results in my attention span and bowel problems.
Lorraine: Battling with an autoimmune disease for the past 5 years hasn’t been easy (since it was discovered when I was living in Japan). I quickly realised it is important to have a balance in all areas in life: Body, mind, spirit. Learning how to de-stress is key and listen to your body! My partner and I are currently on the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet this year and making sure that we meditate and have a magnesium bath soak every week.
Whenever you face any challenges, What is the first thing you do?
Brenda: Dissect the challenge into smaller bite-size pieces and solve the ones that are simpler to fix to boost my confidence and momentum. Once that is done, I am ready to tackle the bigger issues.
Lorraine: Take a moment to reflect and think about the cause of the problem; work out a plan for attack, and go for it!
What are your future plans?
Growing HitchPlanner exponentially and helping more couples to enjoy their wedding planning process. We want to transform the wedding industry and empower HitchPlanner users with tools to shorten the time required to plan their wedding.