You are scheduling your aspiration marriage ceremony and an even dreamier honeymoon. When you and your lover established out to populate your wedding ceremony registry, you realize you previously have all the dishes, modest appliances, and cocktail shakers you need – right after all, you are both of those adults. What you seriously require is some time absent collectively to launch your life in a unforgettable style.

Which is what transpired to Sara Margulis and her fiancé Josh when they determined to request their wedding guests to enable underwrite their honeymoon in lieu of gifts. They launched their very own enterprise to support many others do the very same, and nowadays, Honeyfund is the most reliable hard cash gifting website. The system has permitted 6 million givers to fund additional than $640 million in gifts for additional than 1 million couples. I spoke with Sara about shifting professions from marketing and advertising to tech commence-up, the Shark Tank effect, putting out on her have, and balancing family lifetime with functioning her own organization.

Shelley Zalis: You previously labored as the associate director of advertising and marketing at Golden Gate College. How did you choose to make a occupation switch and start your very own organization at Honeyfund? What was your lightbulb second?

Sara Margulis: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I were being engaged to be married and scheduling our own wedding ceremony, and we experienced this aspiration of honeymooning somewhere unique and much absent like Fiji to get away from the pressure of two comprehensive-time work opportunities. But we didn’t have the resources following paying out for our have marriage ceremony. So rather of registering completely for classic housewares, we developed a makeshift wish record for the charges associated with our Fiji honeymoon – points like excursions, vacation resort evenings, island hopping flights, and so on. Our marriage ceremony guests overwhelmed us with extra than $5,000 in contributions, but a lot more importantly, they liked the thought. They asked us to make one thing like it for other couples. That’s how Honeyfund was born.

I had just graduated with an MBA in internet marketing and my co-founder is a software engineer. I experienced been functioning at Golden Gate College on marketing and advertising tasks these types of as the university’s new web-site, e-mail promoting courses, and a CRM implementation. We took the strategy and enthusiasm from our individual wedding ceremony attendees, and all that skilled track record, and produced and launched Honeyfund.com from our couch.

SZ: How significantly prior expertise, if any, did you have in the startup sector ahead of launching Honeyfund? How did your time on Shark Tank catapult your journey?

SM: We have been in San Francisco in the early 2000s when the know-how startup growth was going on all all around us. We experienced buddies at Twitter when it to start with released, for illustration. Neither of us truly experienced any immediate experience in startups, but we could build and deal with assignments. And we both equally had a dream of being fiscally unbiased and owning a versatile routine so we could be there for our upcoming kids.

In 2013 we ended up dwelling that desire: the small business was supporting our household and we had all the flexibility we envisioned. We had acquired our aspiration property and we experienced two wholesome young children who were growing up in an idyllic town in Sonoma County, California.

When Shark Tank known as, we had to make a difficult choice – do we improve further than our life style small business and enter the planet of a fast-developing startup? Having on financial investment cash, recognizing particularly how we required to deploy it, understanding how to unlock the up coming stage of progress – these were being all unfamiliar to us. Starting some thing is really distinctive from rising it.

Nevertheless, we felt it was the ideal detail to do for the Honeyfund brand name and our member neighborhood. So we used for the clearly show and received forged. Our episode aired in October 2013 and it was a hit! Our web site crashed from all the visitors. We had been so thrilled to have the consideration on the Honeyfund model. We realized that once persons had listened to of Honeyfund they liked the strategy. So our Shark Tank look and the offer with Kevin O’Leary introduced us on to the nationwide phase. This drove a whole lot a lot more visitors and associates, but it also introduced us the notoriety to form superior-stage partnerships, this sort of as our registry integration with Target.

SZ: What are the pros and disadvantages that appear with a vocation changeover and branching out on your have to start a business?

SM: We had been very blessed that Honeyfund was nicely acquired and grew alone to the stage that we ended up able to make a very good dwelling prior to becoming on Shark Tank. That was stage 1 of the transition from working for anyone else to doing work for ourselves. It was what we experienced dreamed of. So we felt we ended up taking pleasure in all the advantages of executing our personal factor.

But the company was escalating more quickly than we were. It desired extra from us. We did not have adequate workers to provide our partners and maintain the website. That released us into a expansion phase that was truly tricky to master how to manage – we didn’t have the working experience there. In the end after a extended and winding highway, we break up up and I purchased my co-founder out of the business. So that phase of expansion arrived with a good deal of worry and troubles. And I felt pulled in so several instructions as a mother, wife, and organization operator. I stopped getting care of myself and burned out. Then Covid strike and I faced another enormous problem with the business enterprise, this time by yourself at the helm. I had to choose a prolonged glance in the mirror and question myself if I had what it usually takes to be certain Honeyfund could survive a 90% fall in revenues and a pandemic with no finish in sight.

I decided to action up and do my very best to retain the business heading for its members and workforce. I invested a ton in escalating as a leader, employed a management team to manage the growth, and clarified my role in the corporation. We released a crowdfunding marketing campaign to invite our customers and reward givers to spend in the company’s subsequent section of development. And we acquired by means of! But those people were some of the toughest yrs of my life. Getting liable for a organization, a group, and customers – it’s a large load at instances.

Having said that the opportunity to grow and turn into the leader of one thing outstanding comes the moment in a life time – so the advantages significantly outweigh the shortcomings for me. I see it as a journey and I am ever-evolving together the way.

SZ: In the previous couple of decades, there has been an increasing craze of gals leaving their careers to begin their individual enterprises through the Wonderful Resignation. Based mostly on your experience, is there a “right” time or are there ideal conditions for a job change?

SM: The pull concerning career and relatives is so tough. In a ton of strategies, a work with a specified range of hrs that you can go away and arrive property is so significantly more healthy for that family stability and your own self-care than a start-up. I would say there’s no correct time to get started your personal point if you’re passionate about it just do it. But with this one particular caveat: women of all ages with associates and/or young children should assume lengthy and hard about the sum of time and concentration they want to be in a position to give their family members. And then dedicate what is left to a new enterprise. Every person will notify you that you have to give 200% to a startup but which is definitely not accurate. And it will lead to burnout so fast if you are not cautious.

As an alternative, get started your enterprise with a team that can give their total concentration. If you are keeping the vision and targets, you can and should reserve time for self-care and your relatives. I know this can be so tricky to complete, but I’m a realist so I break it down like a basic math challenge. I glimpse at how several hours I have in a week and I try to initial prioritize my very own self-treatment, then my time with my young ones and associate, then my operate priorities.

I also look at the seasonality of my company and my children’s faculty. Summertime is a wonderful time to be able to give a small far more to little ones and a little less to the organization. But if you’re beginning a business (like mine) that has substantial summer time calls for it could be rough. The essential is getting quite serious with on your own about how several several hours of emphasis you are willing to give to a new undertaking.

SZ: What guidance would you give to girls hunting to alter their job but who come to feel discouraged or not sure of the place to start out?

SM: I would say start with a change toward the business or competencies you want to find out and get really great at individuals though working for another person else with continuous perform several hours, benefits, and spend. Or be a part of a volunteer business. The moment you are confident in your competencies and know specifically how you will take care of your time and concentrate, then established up your new venture within individuals parameters.


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