Episode 25 - Entrepreneur Experience: Amanda Gunville, Serial Entrepreneur Extraordinaire


Entrepreneur Experience: Amanda Gunville, Serial Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

Today for the next episode in our Entrepreneur Experience series, we chat with serial entrepreneur and operations genius Amanda Gunville, current COO and CMO of Wander+Ivy, and CEO and Co-Founder of Sports Bet AR. There are very few people who can give such keen advice to new and repeat founders alike, and there’s absolutely no one with Amanda’s unique blend of wisdom, experience, and insight.

Today we are joined by Amanda Gunville, a serial entrepreneur with experience ranging from pro sports, to the beverage industry, to technology, and beyond. Her zones of genius are operations and marketing strategy, and in this episode, she deals out wisdom in spades.

Amanda is a seasoned entrepreneur and business consultant focusing on businesses that have developed proprietary and innovative technologies. She is currently the COO and CMO of Wander+Ivy, CEO and Co-Founder of Sports Bet AR, and Partner in A11OW Investment Media. Over the course of her career, she’s worked in Private Equity, created and run several businesses, and is passionate about creating state-of-the-art companies that leverage new technologies to enhance consumers’ lives.

Cynthia and Amanda’s discussion includes everything from how they met (with a shared passion for women in entrepreneurship!), to how hiring “experienced” talent in your startup could hurt you, to the most important considerations when putting a value on your early-stage venture, and more. And if you’ve ever wondered how on earth $10 million could wreck your company, she’s got that story, too. She even lets us in on what she’d try if she couldn’t be an entrepreneur anymore… Sneak peek: Bridezillas beware!

Find Amanda Gunville on LinkedIn, and keep your eye on Wander+Ivy.

Check out her recommended resources here:

“How I Built This with Guy Raz”

“The Entreleadership Podcast”

Sara Blakely on Instagram

Jesse Itzler on Instagram

Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to Precursa: The Startup Journey on your favorite podcasting platform and tune in for the next episode!

Email us with any questions or comments (startup@precursa.com). Check out our website (https://www.precursa.com) for more information on getting your startup rolling.

Straight to you from Denver, Colorado, this is Precursa: The Startup Journey. We share the ins and outs of building a tech startup from inception to launch to revenue and beyond. If you’ve ever wondered what building a startup from scratch really looks like, you’re in the right place. With full transparency and honesty, we reveal it all about Precursa on our ride from idea to exit: the wins, the lessons learned, and the unexpected twists and turns.

Speaker 1 (00:37):
Hello everybody. And welcome back to pre the startup journey. This is another one of our entrepreneur experience segments. I have such an amazing guest for you today. I’m so excited today. We’re joined by Amanda Gunville. She’s the serial entrepreneur, she’s the CEO and co-founder of sports bed AR and she’s the COO and CMO of wa in Ivy. She got all the skills in her tool bag. She started her career in sports and media, but she’s built several companies along the way, primarily in the CPG space, but also in tech. And she’s one of my favorite humans on the planet. So without further ado, welcome to the show, Amanda.

Speaker 2 (01:19):
Thank you, Cynthia. I’m so excited to be here to a, just enjoy some time with you.

Speaker 1 (01:25):
I know. I love that. We get to spend time together like this. It’s so fun. It is.

Speaker 2 (01:30):
We need more of

Speaker 1 (01:31):
It. We really do. You’re not you’re you’re so right. All right. So why don’t you start by, just tell the audience a little bit about yourself. What do you, do you know who you are?

Speaker 2 (01:41):
<laugh> well, thank you. Oh, this might take the whole hour <laugh> so yeah, I’m Amanda. Uh, as you said, I’m, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I just, I get so excited about starting new things, but started my journey. As you mentioned in the sports world, moved into consulting and then started several of my own companies, which I exited, which gave me an opportunity to really take a look at what I could potentially invest in and get behind. And so, uh, currently am working with two different companies. One is wander and Ivy, which is the premium and organic single serve wine company, which my family and I have in the invested in. And I am fortunate enough to be the COO and cm O of the company. And then I would say more, my side passion project is sports betting AR, which is a technology in the sports betting world. So that takes up all my time. And of course the new baby <laugh>

Speaker 1 (02:43):
Yeah, Amanda’s a new mom. We were talking before, uh, we started recording and I was saying, how is being an entrepreneur different than being a mom? So why don’t, you know, if you don’t mind telling us a little bit about like, what’s that experience been like, you know, trying to build and run and nurture two companies and then having a little human to build a nurture <laugh>

Speaker 2 (03:08):
Um, exhausting is the first word that comes to mind, but <laugh>, but you know, it’s, it’s interesting because like you, I’m a research and I researched the heck out of any new company, you know, and if you sort of put together the formula, you sort of expect a certain outcome. So of course, being a mom, I did the same exact thing. I think I’ve read every blog, every book I’ve tried every method. And at the end of the day, you just can’t predict human behavior in a two month old, older of three month old. And so I have to tell myself, go ahead and implement the strategies, but if it doesn’t work, it’s not, you’re not the failure. It’s just, you’re dealing with a little human who has her own idea of what she wants to do and when she wants to sleep and when she wants to eat and when she wants to go to the bathroom, <laugh>

Speaker 1 (03:58):
I guess that is kind of unique, right? Like a human, they do have their own will, even as a baby, there is, there’s something that is unique and, and willful in that. Whereas, you know, mostly our companies fail to exist outside of us. I mean, I always think of them as a separate entity, but it’s not one that has its own will. I mean it, but I’m the one who has to do it. Right. Yep, exactly. So, all right. So tell us a little bit more about what you’re currently working on. So you said sports bed AR is kind of your passion project. Tell us a little bit about wander and Ivy and what does that experience look like? How did you get involved with that? By the way, Dana, who is the CEO and the founder of that company, we would love to have her come on here as well because to get a dual perspective on the same company would be amazing.

Speaker 2 (04:47):
Oh, and she is lovely. And so articulate, so stink and smart. So she would be a phenomenal guest for you. So, yeah. So it’s a fun story. It actually involves you. Of course <laugh> so Cynthia and I are a part of a group of, of ladies and one man who are very passionate about supporting female entrepreneurs and in various ways, one of which is of course money when entrepreneurs need money. Um, so back in November of 2019, we held a pitch event for eight different where we had them come and pitch to us for 20 minutes. And from that we decided there was about half of ’em. We were, you know, fairly interested in. And so we did a deep dive diligence on three or four of ’em and just absolutely fell in love with Dana who, by the way, at the time was eight months pregnant. So blue all away that she came in and knocked it out of the park.

Speaker 1 (05:45):
She was amazing. She walks in, I don’t remember who was sitting next to me, but I turned whoever sitting next to me and I was like, do we need to have somebody like standing by? Is she like, is this baby coming like any minute? And she’s here pitching her company. Oh my gosh, amazing, like amazing

Speaker 2 (06:02):
On a day that it was blizzarding and she was wearing heels, which I don’t know, but, but my center of gravity while pregnant was not one that heals allowed for, well, just

Speaker 1 (06:14):
My center of gravity on a normal for Hills, especially in the snow,

Speaker 2 (06:21):
That’s the truth. So there was three of us that sat down with her for a half day about, I think, two, two weeks before she delivered her baby. And we, you know, we dug into every piece of the, of the company and our goal during that session was of course the diligence on whether or not we wanted to put capital in the company, but also identifying ways in which we could support her and help her. And that was, you know, that’s really what our passion is as you well know. And so we spent that whole day just giving ideas and, and to be fair, um, myself and one of the other ladies in the group, Sarah looked at each other and we said, holy smokes, I, we just cannot find a flaw with this, with this founder. I mean, she, of course there’s inherent risk in any startup, right?

Speaker 2 (07:08):
I mean, of course that’s, that’s just the, the, the facts of the matter. But as far as risk mitigation across the board, she had just nailed it to the point where she had a for insurance policy on herself. If anything happened to her, all the investors would get paid back their initial capital. Wow. I mean, it was just incredible. And so, so that was, uh, I guess, December of 2019. And then, you know, we just, you know, went through the process. She was planning on closing her funds in a few months. She had her baby and then COVID happened and you and I, and Sarah and the rest of the group said, okay, this is an unprecedented time probably, you know, rounds of funding are not gonna be able to be closed, but how can we be a resource for these entrepreneurs and really help them in a time when we just don’t know what the capital market’s gonna look like?

Speaker 2 (08:01):
And so we each did our part with various different companies that we had met that we felt passionate about. And I happened to have previously owned a beverage company. So I had a ton of experience in the beverage world, not alcoholic, but I am a level to somelier that I did <laugh> for just because I love wine. And why wouldn’t you? Oh my gosh. I love that. Yeah. So I, I, I reached out to Dana and said, Hey, I want to support you. I know you don’t have any money. That’s okay. Yeah. But I would love to just, you know, start working with you and, and help you. And she said, wow, fantastic. And so we started working together and within two weeks she said, this is so much fun. We are crushing it together. Can we make this formal? And, uh, and you know, within a month, do you wanna go steady?

Speaker 1 (08:52):

Speaker 2 (08:52):
Basically we were dating, actually we were dating and quickly became married because my, my family and I, you know, within, also within about a month, decided that we wanted to, we wanted to invest in wander and Ivy in a pretty significant way. And so we, uh, we joined the round of capital that closed. I believe it was closed in June of that year. Yeah. You know, brains are mushed. So some sometime in the Juneish timeframe, pre COVID

Speaker 1 (09:21):
Post COVID, nobody knows what happened during COVID. <laugh> exactly.

Speaker 2 (09:24):
Isn’t that the truth? Yeah. So we’ve just been working on the company, growing it, 20, 20 soft, phenomenal growth. We were up 450% year over year. Wow. Expanded across both states in the direct to consumer market and amongst national retailers. So it was a really fun year. This year, 2021, we are up a little over 250% year over year. Um, and what’s really fun is we’re exceeding Dana puts together forecasts, which are pretty of, and each quarter we we’re, you know, anywhere from five, 10, 20% above the forecast, which are pretty aggressive. So that’s awesome.

Speaker 1 (10:05):
It’s fun. <laugh> and how long has wander and IV been a company cuz you know, there’s this myth about the overnight success and it’s easy to look at that and say, oh, in the last two years, look what you’ve done. And it’s like, well it took longer than that. So talk a little bit about how long wander Ivy’s been doing their thing. Heck

Speaker 2 (10:22):
Yeah, it’s a definitely not overnight. So Dana founded the company in 2017, you know, took as, as you can imagine in the wine business, it’s not like you sign the papers, your entity docs, and the next day you have wine to sell on the shelf at the, um, there’s the growing of the grapes and the production and bottling and all that. So production, she began selling in 2018 and then actually launched the direct to consumer business in 2019. But the bulk of 2000, the, you know, what was left of 2018 and into 2019 was really product and price validation. So yeah, launching in the home state of Colorado, which for those who don’t know the wine business, which I would imagine as most, a lot of states are chain business states. So, you know, you get into the big chains, you get one decision maker and all of a sudden you get into 50 or a hundred stores and Colorado it’s largely independent. So there is no chain business. So you have to literally go and knock on hundreds of doors, every each and every single one of ’em, which she did successfully. She was in, I think within a, a first year she was in a hundred accounts, her going in telling her story and wow. And validating the price point of a 187 milliliter, beautiful glass bottle of delicious wine.

Speaker 1 (11:41):
<laugh> yeah. I love that. You said that. So I wanna point out a couple things for our listeners. So the first thing is Dana has a pretty specific niche that she found for wander and Ivy. And we talk a lot about nicheing down and I hear people all the time say, oh my gosh, but everybody would love what I’m doing. And it’s like, yeah, but you gotta find that sort of like core audience. And so for wander and Ivy, Dana does single serving, you know, you said a hundred eighty, a hundred eighty seven milliliter, which is basically like two glasses, right? So for people who maybe their spouse doesn’t drink or they don’t have anybody else in the house. And so when they wanna open a bottle of wine, they don’t wanna open a whole bottle, but all of the single serve wines previous to wander and Ivy were like wine in a box or wine in a can or things that were like, you know, wine, like, right.

Speaker 1 (12:29):
And so what Dana did was she took vintage and vintage blends that are exactly the same quality as what you would get out of a good bottle of wine and put it into single serving sizes. And the bottles are gorgeous and the product is beautiful. And like, you feel so elegant when you’re drinking it and it tastes good, which is really unique for that at space. So she niched down in that way. But did you also remember that Amanda said Dana started her company in 2017 and it wasn’t until 2019 that she had validated her price, what she was building, how she was pulling together, all the manufacturing that’s a couple years. So if you’re building a come and you’re three or four months in and you’re going, oh my gosh, I have to get to market, take a breath. It’s okay. Like go slow to go. Smooth, smooth will get you fast. Right. So thank you for, for kind of expanding on that a little bit, because I feel like people, people really do buy into this overnight success and you, you know, oh, Bumble Whitney sold her company for over a billion dollars. Yeah. It took her 12 years to do it. That’s the piece that people don’t realize. Right.

Speaker 2 (13:44):

Speaker 1 (13:46):
I’m gonna go back in time a little, you had a beverage company before, right. And I know that this, this for you is kind of like my commercial real estate for it. Tell us a little bit about that experience. And what did you learn from that?

Speaker 2 (14:04):
Let me tell you, I learned a lot more from that experience than any other success. It is. It is. You’re exactly right. It is my biggest learning experience. So it was a beverage company where I teamed up with a, a couple of doctors in the Denver area who had developed a formulation that with the department of defense with about 10 years of data, 20 different clinical trials in both humans and animals. And it was essentially an antioxidant micronutrient formula that essentially reverses the effects of concussions. And so, wow. We, we took that formula, put it into a drink and I, I met the, the two doctors and they had done all the studies and they said, well, let’s commercialize this thing. Yeah. So that some, for some reason they trusted me to do that, which was fun. So we created because you’re amazing.

Speaker 1 (14:56):
<laugh>, you’re so

Speaker 2 (14:57):
Sweet. Um, so we created product teamed up with a local distributor and it was amazing. We grew so fast and so furious. But with that, gosh, I, where do I start? There are so many lessons <laugh>. So we were funded by a pretty significant investor. And I learned, I can tell you, I learned, you know, when somebody is willing to give you 10 million, you don’t worry too much about what the paperwork says. You’re just excited about the money. Right. Um, but you, I, I will say, be cautious. I mean, yes, you have to have the money to start the thing, but you also need to read every line because when you give that person power to essentially shut your company down or, or let it soar, or, you know, our funding came in tranches based on milestones that we hit, we, you know, which we did amazingly, every single one of ’em, ultimately he still had the power to decide our destiny.

Speaker 2 (15:58):
Um, so, so that was one lesson learned. The other one was that I at the time was in my early thirties and I had never been in beverage before. So I hired very seasoned males in their late forties, early fifties, who had 20 years experience in Coke and Pepsi. And I paid them very handsome salaries. And I also, yes, put, let them control everything. I had really strong feelings about, you know, what the product should look like, but they, you know, look at me. Well, that’s just not the way it’s done. And I didn’t trust my gut or no, we need to do a photo shoot for $275,000. And I was, and I thought, no, we don’t. I mean, we can get product photos for less than that. No, this is just the way it’s done. This is the way it’s done. I heard that a million times, this is the way it’s done. And I was young and I didn’t, you know, didn’t trust myself on enough to be honest, to just say, okay, maybe the way it was done, this is the way it’s going to be done because this is my company. <laugh>. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (17:04):
So, but it’s a good point. You’re making, which is that executives of big companies. Yes. They have a ton of experience. They all, I mean, if you’re at Coke or Pepsi, you’ve probably got a half a billion dollar marketing budget. That’s very different than a startup. That’s gotta be scrappy and figure out different ways and find different paths to penetrate whatever market you’re trying to get into because you just don’t have cash to burn like that. And there’s a lot of executives that have never run a, they’ve never owned a company they’ve never started from nothing. And they don’t understand that it is different.

Speaker 2 (17:37):
I think that is such an, an enormously profound, just like drill that into your head. Is that just because somebody has decades of experience does not necessarily mean that they are the right team member for you to hire well, and also think about it. They also have a team of not only do they have the half a billion dollar marketing budget, but they also had a team of hundreds, if not thousands that were working with them to do all of the little menial tasks, the things that really made the, the system. Yep. They, they had tons of people to do each of those jobs. They themselves may or may not have ever done it, or if they did, it was two decades ago and now pass. And so, yeah, I, I mean, you really need to make sure that when you’re hiring, it’s not just about that experience. It’s really about somebody who has built something before mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> understands that I don’t care what your business card says. You have to be willing to take out the trash and, you know, clean the toilet. And

Speaker 1 (18:45):
So what you’re saying is entrepreneurship is not glamorous. I, I,

Speaker 2 (18:49):
I don’t know what you’re talking about. <laugh>

Speaker 1 (18:54):

Speaker 2 (18:55):
Goodness. It’s so it’s so it’s so darn fun, but it is so much work. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:01):
What ultimately happened with the beverage company.

Speaker 2 (19:04):
So we, um, hit our milestones. We unfortunately, our, our investor, or had a change of heart we’ll we’ll just call it or decided, well, I shouldn’t say change of heart. He was taking his parent company public. And his lawyers said that there were about 20 companies in his portfolio that did not fit the core of what the parent company was doing. And they needed to quote divest, which just basically meant he didn’t have to continue to fund. And, you know, we didn’t have any money. Were they in breach of contract? Absolutely. But we didn’t have any money. So, you know, we knew we couldn’t fight a person who has billions of dollars. So, and at that point, you know, we were, you know, we were cash strapped and, and had no runway another lesson right in time. Yeah. And just because I just assumed that that a assigned contract meant that that per you know, people would do what they say they’re gonna do, but it doesn’t.

Speaker 2 (20:07):
So you, you need to have plan a, B, D and E in place, just in case risk mitigation, risk mitigation, risk mitigation. And even when you have those contracts in place yeah. To make sure that you, you, again, you just have plan B and the, and plan B should be a, a beautiful runway of cash. Never wait till the point it, where you’re a month away from running outta cash. I mean, we had just sold into 2000 stores and we didn’t have the money to, for production to be able to fulfill those orders. You know, you would say, well, oh, okay, well, if you have the POS, why can’t you just get the bank financing? Well, good luck finding bank because your startup

Speaker 1 (20:52):
Exactly. <laugh>, it’s like, and especially early stage startups, you know, part of the reason why, you know, the Whyo exists and the mission OFO exists is because there’s this weird place that most early stage startups fall into, which banks are looking at the past and they definitely don’t want you growing too fast. They’re about, we get paid our interest over time, if you have steady growth so that you can make your payments, but you’re not growing so fast that you paid off early, we never make our interest. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> VCs, private equity firms. A lot of angel investors they’re looking are the future. And they’re looking for proof. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that either, you know, you have revenue or you’ve got a product already out there, like, there’s this weird middle spot that a lot of early stage startups exist in where it’s just like, you do whatever you can to find money. And there’s very few traditional. I’m putting traditional in quotes. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but traditional outlets for finding money for those kind of companies. And that’s exactly where you were.

Speaker 2 (21:55):
And here’s another huge lesson that I learned is that at the time, you know, we were able to raise money on a pretty significant valuation. It was, it was, uh, 10 million pre money, 20 million post, which, you know, as a, as an idea, I literally came to it with an idea and some clinical studies behind it. Yeah. Which you know, which was significant. Right? Yeah. Um, but the, the second you start producing and generating a dollar in revenue, you now qualify for, for a multiple valuation. In other words, if you made a dollar today and industry standard is 10 X on revenue, your company’s worth $10. Okay. Yeah. So once we had started generating revenue, cuz at the other question, somebody would say, well, well, your company was doing so well, why wasn’t there another investor interested and yeah, for me to go and say to an investor, well, this is a 20 million company and they say, well, but you’ve only generated a couple hundred thousand dollars in revenue. <laugh> I can’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t follow the math on an hundred X valuation.

Speaker 1 (23:02):
Um, yeah, but we already gave away half our company at that. So

Speaker 2 (23:06):
Mm-hmm, <affirmative> absolutely. You can’t go down, you can’t go back and say, well, and now our company’s worth, well, you know, a million dollars. So we need half a million and give away 50 it’s it’s it’s done. Right. You’ve already set the stage. So, you know, there’s two options. One is get as much cash as you can up front. So, you know, you have the runway to get to the sales point that will get you to the next valuation point. Yeah. You know, all, or just don’t get over your skis on your valuation, which is a hard one, right. Because yeah, you say, well, oh my gosh, if I’m gonna get money, I’m not gonna take investment money. And they’re gonna gimme this high of evaluation. I mean, that’s great. I’m not giving away as much of my company, but just make sure you have enough runway to get you to the next, you know, to the next stage else. You’ll be in a down round, which is the kiss of death.

Speaker 1 (23:54):
Yeah. Talk about trough of sorrows. Right? <laugh> so what would you say in your experience is the most I trait or characteristic that someone needs to have? If they’re going to be a successful entrepreneur,

Speaker 2 (24:12):
Perseverance, a hundred percent perseverance because you will have a hundred times sometimes in a day, sometimes in a week, sometimes in a, in a month there will be a hundred things that come at you that tell you that you should not do what you’re doing. There might be someone who says it might be a potential customer that tells you you’re an idiot. It might be investors that tell you your, your concept is dumb and I’ll never, you’ll never get funding. It could be a spouse. It could be a family member that tells you what you, you know, what you’re doing, isn’t worth it. There are so many reasons it could be, you know, a, a a, if you’re a manufacturing, a manufacturing plant that goes down, or right now the international shipping debacle that you can’t get any products, um, you know, on an, an appropriate time. So that’s my long winded way of saying there will be so many times when you’re told no and told to give up. So you have to have perseverance to say, I believe in myself, I believe what I’m doing. I know I’m gonna be successful and you just keep going.

Speaker 1 (25:25):
I love that. So you’re my, I, listen, I listen to a podcast called the happiness lab. Okay. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and, uh, it’s Dr. Lori Santos and she is a neuroscientist. She, she teaches at Yale. And so she does all these really clinical scientific studies. Right. And the, the episode I was listening to yesterday, she was talking about the Michael Phelps story. And his coach was saying, you know, know, not only did, did we work with Michael physically? You know, obviously he had a lot of raw physical talent. We had to kind of hone and refine that so that he could really use all of it. And he’s like, but we also work mentally. You know? And so he, I, as he’s swimming his, as he’s swimming his races and swimming his laps and doing his practice, he’s thinking about the outcome that he wants, he’s visualizing the at.

Speaker 1 (26:08):
And he said, what I didn’t realize before the 2008 Olympics is he was also doing the opposite because mostly we hear, you know, positive thinking, focus on the outcome you want, blah, blah, blah. Right. And you know, deemphasize the negative, here’s the thing. Michael Phelps got bored, doing all the focusing on the positive. And so when he was in the pool, he think about what would happen if I couldn’t see, because my glasses fogged up. What if somebody came into my lane, what would I do? Like his mind started working out all of the, what if scenarios? And here’s what happened in the 2008 Olympics, he was poised to win the gold and break the world record in. I believe it was the butterfly. The gun goes off. He jumps into the water and immediately his goggles fill with water and he can see nothing. And in the Olympics, you can’t stop and handle that situation.

Speaker 1 (26:58):
You just have to keep going because otherwise it’s a penalty and you’re disqualified from the race. Well, he had planned for, if I can’t see, what do I do? Not only did he win the gold medal, he broke the world record. Now here’s the funny part, because he was focused on also the potential obstacles that could come into his path. So he knew exactly the number of strokes to get from where he was to the other end of the, a pool and back. So he knew exactly when he should feel the wall without being able to see it. He knew exactly how to execute his turns without being able to see it. That is the power of thinking about, you know, you’re saying plan B, plan C plan E plan F. So you know, all the way to plan Z sometimes, and then back around again, right?

Speaker 1 (27:42):
Double a the at is the power of that because life is going to happen, right? I mean, that’s what we’re saying, life’s gonna happen. And so when Amanda says perseverance, what she’s saying is life’s gonna happen? Do you have the resiliency? Do you have the ability to see the obstacles, maybe even plan for a lot of those obstacles so that your brain is in the, a mode of what do I need to do to overcome this? Or what, how do I change my path to go around it? So I love that answer. It’s a great answer. <laugh> well,

Speaker 2 (28:13):
You, you, you gave me goosebumps. I had not heard that full story before, and that is, oh my gosh, it’s such a great story. Powerful. So powerful, powerful.

Speaker 1 (28:21):
And so, so Michael gets out of the pool and he is, he takes off his goggles and he is talking to his coach. He’s like, oh my gosh. He’s like, I could have shaved another half a second off of that. If I could have seen, fortunately I planned for it, like what happened? And the coach is like, dude, you won the gold and you broke the world record, even though you couldn’t see. So let’s put a smile on our face, cuz there’s billions of people watching <laugh> But it just shows you the power of somewhat say the power of preparation, but it’s really about giving your brain the freedom to think about all the things that it’s always thinking about and that freedom to be creative. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so yeah, it’s a great story. I love that

Speaker 2 (28:58):
Story. You know, that’s funny. It reminds me when I was a kid, I played competitive golf and my dad, you know, take me out after either before he went to work or after he went out to work and he would put me behind a tree and we would spend an hour, you know, perfecting the loft of the ball so that I could hit over the tree under the tree, around the tree. And wow. It was all of the obstacles so that, because you know, in golf you were at some point going to hit a bad shot and you are going to be, you know, in a weird place, in a weird place. And so, you know, it, it made it so that when that happened, it actually brought a fun feeling, right. Because my dad made it fun and I would say, I’ve got this shot. And you know, and instead of feeling defeated, I felt like I can overcome this obstacle. So I it’s funny, I hadn’t thought about that in yours. It’s been, it’s been a few years since that love, but similar, I guess, in, in a, in a way of, of being trained for anything totally

Speaker 1 (29:59):
Anything totally because you ad could have put you down with perfect putts or put perfect drive shots or whatever and said, okay, how do you do this? But he didn’t, he put you in this situation where it was like, there is a big MF entry in front of you, what are you gonna do? And you’re like, okay, let’s really work this out. Like what are the options? Right. And that is what building a startup is like, that’s what building a business is like, it’s it is to your point. You know, I was interested in, in one of the things that you said, because a lot of times people, you know, I say you need to do customer validation. You need to talk to people. You need to get that early product market fit feedback. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and a lot of people will say, well, I talk to my mom and I talk to my wife and I talk to, you know, my best friend.

Speaker 1 (30:39):
And they’re all good with it. It’s interesting is you said sometimes it’ll be somebody close to you. Who’s telling you, you can’t do it. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that may seem like it’ll never happen to you. And that is also, but if it does, it’s also not an indicator that you’re on the wrong path, either agree. Like you have to kind of consider the source, right? Like some people are just really negative or couldn’t do it. Perfect example. I was at dinner a couple weeks ago with some very, very good friends of ours. And I have this agreement with Sarah Page that if we can sell our company for a billion dollars, I’ll get the unicorn tattoo. Like that’s the only tattoo I will ever have in my life. And that’s the only reason I would ever get it. But I made that deal with them. Right. And so I was telling my friend at dinner and she was like a billion dollars really? And it would’ve been very easy for me to start feeling a particular way because she’s somebody who’s, she’s, she’s very wealthy. She’s done very well for herself. Like all these things. Right. And, and I was like, yeah,

Speaker 2 (31:40):
Yeah. A billion. Yeah,

Speaker 1 (31:42):
We’re doing totally possible. I work in, I live in a world where that’s totally possible. And so it’s, but it, but you have to that’s again, back to your point of perseverance, you have to marsh your thoughts and you have to marsh what, what data you take in from the outside versus what you sort of like don’t take in because you realize that it doesn’t match your intuition. It’s not the way that your company is telling you. It wants to go,

Speaker 2 (32:08):
It’s it, it’s so true. And that, and, and I think you make a very good point in that, you know, you don’t dismiss everybody’s opinion, right? Yeah. Because you do need those, those customer validations, you take in all the information and then it truly is up to you, your experie into your intuition to determine I’m keeping this, I’m throwing this, I’m keeping this, I’m throwing this and, and then you can make good, but you do, you have to trust yourself. That’s

Speaker 1 (32:35):
Right. You know, that’s right.

Speaker 2 (32:37):
Yeah. Making those, those calls.

Speaker 1 (32:40):
<laugh> all right. So if you could give other entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?

Speaker 2 (32:46):
Oh boy. Woo. Can I have like 10 <laugh>?

Speaker 1 (32:53):
That’s why I have a podcast. I have a new one every week. <laugh> I know. Right?

Speaker 2 (32:57):
So you could, so you could do that. You know, if I could give entrepreneurs one piece of advice, it would be just try, you know, just get out there and just take the next step. Even if that next step is, you know, customer validation, but each day you take the next step and the next step and the next step. And, um, the next thing you know, you’ve created a company, the next thing you know, you’ve sold a product. The next thing you know, you have employees, the next thing you know, you have, you know, a real viable sellable company. And it’s because it’s not, like you said, it’s not an overnight success it’s because each day you will woke up and decided to take the next step. So just try, I

Speaker 1 (33:44):
Love that. I love that. That’s totally gonna be the quote for the cover art <laugh> all right. All right. A quick, quick lightning round. Mm-hmm <affirmative> what job, other than your own, would you most like to try

Speaker 2 (34:00):
A wedding planner?

Speaker 1 (34:02):
Ooh, I love that. Why? Um, I

Speaker 2 (34:07):
Just think it’s like it’s so, okay, so don’t get me wrong. I’ve I’ve thought about, oh, you’re dealing with bridezillas and you’re working on the weekends. Okay. Let’s pretend none of that exists. If all I got to do is create gorgeous, um, events with people have the time of their life and create memories and you know, it’s just fun. Gotcha. Love event planning. So

Speaker 1 (34:29):
I love that. I didn’t know. I’m gonna call you. I’m gonna call you next time. I have to plan an event. <laugh> oh,

Speaker 2 (34:35):
I love event planning. It’s so fun. Oh my God. At least for me.

Speaker 1 (34:39):
<laugh> I love that. Uh, okay. Tell me your, your first thought about the statistic. Okay. I’m gonna give you a statistic and then you’re gonna tell me what you think. 42% of startups fail because no one wants what they’re building.

Speaker 2 (34:54):
Ooh. I mean, I think that that is I’m sure it’s correct. And I would say, that’s why you have, have to do your homework. And if you can, if you can do, basically what you preach, you know, in your, in your work is getting that market validation. You’ll have half the battle one, right? So you don’t waste your time, whether that’s a day, a year, three years on thing. And it could just be a small pivot, by the way, it might be the core of your company might be darn near spot on, but there’s one piece that’s just not gonna resonate or one shift that you could make that could get you to not be a part of the 42%. <laugh>

Speaker 1 (35:41):
I love that answer. Uh, okay. What are three other podcasts or books or some kind of resources that you’d recommend to my audience who are primary entrepreneurs or wanna be entrepreneurs and why?

Speaker 2 (35:54):
So I love, love, love guy. Raws how I built this. I listened to almost every one of his episodes. Um, if I haven’t it’s just because I’ve just had a baby <laugh>, but, um, it’s, there’s, it’s so unbelievably inspiring. You get to hear about the stories, the, and, and one thing you find out and every multi, a million dollar or billion dollar company or exit, they came to a point where they should have stopped should have quit, but they just didn’t. Right. And so it’s really fun to hear the stories get ideas, too. Right? So that’s how I built this by Gera. It’s an NPR podcast. And then, um, entree leader ship is another good one.

Speaker 1 (36:39):
I love entree leadership.

Speaker 2 (36:41):
Yeah. That in fact we just, we just implemented, I, I, this is, you know, a couple years ago, I listened to a great episode about, uh, higher, slow fire fast. So if somebody’s, you know, a cancer or not performing, you know, significantly, don’t be afraid. You just gotta, you know, rip the bandaid off and go. But the more important piece where we, what we just implemented in, in wander and Ivy was the higher slow. You get excited about a hire. You have a great interview. Oh, we love them. And I said, no, let’s go ahead and fly them out. Let’s meet ’em, let’s go to a dinner, see how they see how they handle the themselves with people who are serving them. Let’s talk about family. You know, let’s try to get to the core of their character. Cause we know firings, not easy. I say fire fast, but it’s not easy. So let’s take our time and really be thoughtful and do our homework because it might take an extra couple weeks to get that person then they’re with you for you. So it’s worth it. Yeah. So that is another one. And then third one. So this is totally unconventional <laugh>. Um,

Speaker 1 (37:49):
But I love that on this show. Good.

Speaker 2 (37:52):
I love following on Instagram, Sarah Blakely and her husband, Jesse it’s I think it’s, I think his last name is pronounced Itzler and they’re just so inspiring. I mean, Jesse, especially he’s a motivational speaker and he always has really interesting, very unconventional way of living, but I love that the things that they do, you both in their business and personal and you know, personal being family, but also like charitable. It’s just very inspiring. So I’d say they’re great falls on, on Instagram.

Speaker 1 (38:25):
Okay. Awesome. I love that. So the key to having a successful, uh, startup is marry a motivational speaker. <laugh> miss that one, married a surgeon. You married a business guy too. Yeah. Great. Right. We’ll have to try that one in the next life.

Speaker 2 (38:43):
My husband might be motivational in trying to get me to play lots of golf and uh, <laugh> you know, having a few cocktails that

Speaker 1 (38:52):
I love that. All right. Love ask question. What’s one question you wish I had asked you and how would you have answered it?

Speaker 2 (39:02):
Oh boy. Golly. You’re so good at this game. <laugh> you? You are, it’s a, it’s a phenomenal podcast. Um, thank you. What, what is, what’s something, well, how about this? Can you have it all? Can you have, can you have family and successful career? You know, et cetera. Yeah. So can you <laugh> it’s it’s the hardest question I will say, because I I’m, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I feel like I’m failing every day, even though I know we’re succeeding, right. Like I feel like I’m tired. And so, you know, I’m not as sharp as I normally am. You know, at work, I feel like I’m, I have so much going on at work that sometimes, you know, I don’t get to be as present with my daughter as I would love to be with that said, I think you absolutely can. If you give yourself grace and time block <laugh> time blocking is huge. Right? So

Speaker 1 (40:09):
Time blocking and grace, I love it.

Speaker 2 (40:12):
Yes. Because you can, you know, and just being present when you’re doing like right now, I’m not thinking about anything else, but being here with you and having this conversation, this wouldn’t be as fun of a conversation. If in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about all the things I need to do for wander and Ivy. And when I, you know, how am I gonna do this sleep training tonight and the bottle feeding and the breastfeeding and all the other things. But you know, when you’re in the thing that you’re in being a hundred percent present and giving it your all, and then knowing that you have it scheduled out, right? Like, okay, I know from example 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM. I’m with my daughter. I don’t think about anything else. She can DRL on me. She can do whatever she wants. And you know, and then when I’m right now, 9:00 AM to 10, 10:00 AM. I’m talking to you having this great call and it’s, it will get done. Right? Yeah. And yeah, you can, it might not look what, the way you think it should look right.

Speaker 1 (41:10):

Speaker 2 (41:11):
But that’s,

Speaker 1 (41:12):
Well, it never does. Even, even if there’s no baby involved or anything else, it never does. Right. And I love that message staying present in the moment. I love that. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. Be where you are when you’re there.

Speaker 2 (41:24):
Yes. Stay present and just love on yourself. Give yourself grace self care. As we’ve talked about, you do a really good job. I think you bet. Well, you do a good job when you decide to do it. <laugh> yeah. <laugh>

Speaker 1 (41:37):
That’s true.

Speaker 2 (41:38):
Yeah. Um, so anyway,

Speaker 1 (41:41):
I love that, that I love that. Well, thank you so much, Amanda, for being with us today for sharing your story. It’s an incredible story. And Amanda and I are we’re kindred spirits in, in this really interesting way where every time we learn something new about each other, the other one usually has a similar experience or similar story. So our ability to relate is just so it’s so juicy for me every time we talk. So I appreciate you being here. I appreciate you sharing a little bit of that with my listeners today. If anybody has questions or they’d like to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do that.

Speaker 2 (42:16):
That’s actually probably the best way is just going the, the LinkedIn route. Perfect. Yeah. So thank you. I have to just say you’re one of my favorite humans, as you know, I adore you, you inspire me. It’s so fun to talk to you. I love the word juicy it’s so, so juicy. It’s always to talking to you as well. So it’s juicy and it’s an honor truly to be asked to be on this podcast and to spend time with

Speaker 1 (42:42):
You. Well, thank you. It’s an honor for me that you said yes. And, and to get to be here as well. So thank you. You bet. All right. Y’all as always, uh, thank you for joining us for this episode and we will be back with you very, very soon, happy entrepreneuring, and I will see you next time. Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a startup and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out at precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. So you never miss an episode until next time.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a startup and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out at precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode. Until next time…

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Cynthia Del'Aria

Cynthia Del'Aria is a serial entrepreneur and tech startup ninja, specializing in product-market fit and idea validation and helping new entrepreneurs reserve their time and money for the idea with the best shot at success. With two successful exits before 30, an active high-profit-margin SaaS in the commercial airline space, and two additional startups in the works, she knows what it takes to traverse the entrepreneur journey, the highs, and the challenges of turning a vision into a successful, viable business.

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  • Denver, Colorado

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Copyright © 2021 Precursa  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site Created by Natalie Jark

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