Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur

Founder and CEO of In Your Corner. Emotional expert and badass businesswoman.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 02, 2016

Discussion

Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
Hey! I'm Bea Arthur, founder of online therapy site In Your Corner and co-host and co-producer of YouTube series You're Not Crazy. I've been through every stage of the founder journey and have worked with clients on any and everything you can imagine so when it comes to all things emotional or entrepreneurial, feel free to ask me ANYTHING!
Cindy Gallop
Cindy Gallop@cindygallop · Co-founder & CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn
I would love to see InYourCorner scale massively, not only to help the rest of the world, but particularly to be seen as the go-to resource for the entrepreneurial and startup community, to tackle the inevitable and wholly understandable mental health and depression issues related to #startupstress. What do you and InYourCorner need to make that happen?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@cindygallop Cindy, my love!! Cindy was my very first mentor, y'all :) I'd love to see that too. We're now in 39 states and 23 countries. I am humbled when I think of how many people we've helped but there's still only 7% user adoption in the online therapy space and there's like five companies going at it. As for us, I need just one more technologist that I can trust. Partnerships would be helpful in going after more markets in parallel. And we need funding. I'm in love with my company and I've sacrificed a lot for it's growth, so I work for free but we'd go a lot faster if I was sleeping better lol. I've done a LOT without any of that so just think how much we could do with a cash infusion. I'd call on investors to see durable, persistent, profitable businesses like mine as a real, less risky opportunity than a new app that's "just crazy enough to work." That's why 95% of these companies are failing. Too many people are trying to turn and burn without the stamina to see things through and finish what they started. I'd love to be able to offer our service as a resource or toolkit for all portfolio companies to help manage #startupstress better. We have pretty good adoption in the startup community already so I'd love people to be brave enough to tell their friends and users how helpful it's been. When people think therapy, they think problems but all we really do is offer solutions.
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@BeaArthurLMHC I would love to hear what is a bigger challenge for you, building the demand side of the business or building the supply of quality councillors and therapists? Also as a marketplace that lacks the virality and scalability that others have, how do you approach unit economics? Love to hear what you think and a big supporter of @InYourCorner very important work and service provided. Huge respect to you and always welcome on @twentyminutevc
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@harrystebbings @inyourcorner @twentyminutevc Hi Harry! Yes, it's true - a marketplace like this does not have a natural network effect. No one is running around telling everyone about what their therapist said. And for me, I'm a therapist first, so I was always very picky with the therapists I chose. You have to curate very carefully on the supply side to make sure no matter who a client chooses, they have a good experience. Therapy DOES NOT WORK if the therapist doesn't work for you. I focused on that first then I focused on finding the people who needed us in the right place and in the right mood. One of our very first clients was a man in Dubai. This is something that is truly for everyone so I just made my team extremely valuable and that makes the service sticky for our users.
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez@headhanchoarod · Founder/CEO at WorkMand & Code2040 EIR
What was your experience like at YC and what advice would give to those applying?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod Hi! Sorry about that everyone, tech difficulties. Story of my life!
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod YC was a valuable experience. Your mindset towards your company expands in ways you would have never thought of. We went in as a team of three and I left as a team of one, so to say it was intense is an understatement but I learned so much so quickly. We tripled revenue. I made great friends, and my company broke a major plateau I'd been stuck on for a while.
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod My advice for those to be applying would be to know why you're doing it. On a pure level. Not because it's the best, or you want that pedigree. They only care about how much growth they can help you achieve in a short time, and you need to be laser focused on that. Show them the why and the how and you're golden.
Lejla Bajgoric
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Thanks so much for being here, your work is phenomenal! What makes you feel empowered and fulfilled? What do you do when you're in need of some emotional therapy yourself?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@lejlahunts That is so nice Lejla, thank you!
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@lejlahunts What makes me feel empowered is checking in with my therapists to see what they need. My team is TIRELESS. They have refused to cancel appointments even after being in the hospital overnight. They care about their work and their clients. So I take care of them so I can take care of their clients. They remind me why I'm doing this in the first place. I got this idea because I was extremely depressed at one time in my life and I felt extremely alone even when I was with my sister. So to now be on the other side and see my therapists so committed to reaching out to their clients when they're feeling alone or misunderstood or frustrated. The passion they have for their team lifts me up. It gives me fever. That kind of connection is gold.
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@lejlahunts I also feel empowered when I feel strong and look beautiful. I love myself like I love my best friend. I don't always like myself. I wish I was less impulsive, more patient, had a flatter stomach but I accept myself fully. I feel lucky to be in this body, with this life, in this country. I feel like I have every option before me so I choose joy. And I look for it. I take myself on dates. I go to the gym. I laugh with my friends. I love on my man. I live the shit out of my life!
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez@headhanchoarod · Founder/CEO at WorkMand & Code2040 EIR
How have you been able to coupe with the stress of running a business and maintaining good relationships with familia and friends?
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez@headhanchoarod · Founder/CEO at WorkMand & Code2040 EIR
Thanks for doing this, Bea! A few other questions, I'd love to hear you answer. 1. What advice do you give to those looking to raise a seed round? 2. Best advice to early stage startups on getting those first 10 and 100 paying customers? 3. Overall best advice to a first time entrepreneur? 4. What can be done to improve diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem in someones city? Thanks!
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod Okay I'll take these one at a time: 1) Raising any round is hard. The hardest round is friends and family. Try telling your cousin that you need to borrow $20,000 that they won't see for a very long time. Then try telling a stranger to trust you with a chunk of their retirement. But it's just like selling your first users. They need to believe in the service. They need to like and trust you, and they need to want it as much as you do. People buy what they want not what they need, so sell the sizzle not the steak.
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod 2) Good question. The first ten should be easy. If you talk to ten people that are right in your target market (and that's the trick: knowing exactly who your target audience is. Don't waste your time casting a wide net. Go where you're loved.), four of them should want to sign up right then. A sustainable 40% conversion rate is amazing. Give everything for free at first. Don't let them worry about anything except getting their hands on your product. Then talk to them. YC's whole mantra is Make something people want then talk to your users. I was a solo founder and employee for two years. I talked to everyone whether they loved or hated the site, but I learned a lot. Do not be afraid of criticism, it is your best form of guidance. Get tough then get going. On getting to 100, make sure you have time to reflect at each milestone. 10 to 50. Then starting to charge them. At each place, learn who your customers are, why they signed up, what's keeping them there, if/why they left. Basically what the real value is, then lean heavy on that. Your operations structure will change at each milestone. Don't be a runaway train. Evaluate and have a plan.
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez@headhanchoarod · Founder/CEO at WorkMand & Code2040 EIR
@beaarthurlmhc Awesome advice, thanks! Too add to that, you believe we shouldn't charge the first 10-50 customers? Even if we're a b2b startup or make revenue from a transaction fee? Does the advice still apply? What advice do you give to a B2B startup (that does charge from day 1) on making a product our users love?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod 3) Best advice to a first time entrepreneur: be positive and proactive. Don't let the stink of failure stick with you for too long. People who are actually in the game know what it's really like. Things go wrong the majority of the time. That's your job as CEO to put out fires and course correct, especially as you grow. We had MAJOR growing pains last year with our rebrand and I was a little too transparent with our advisors and investors and to them, things looked great because we were still growing! The pain is not their problem and it shouldn't be yours. Shake it off and remember why you started. *Don't get distracted by the bullshit.*
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@headhanchoarod 4) After all this time, I really don't know. I've met a lot of really impressive female founders and founders of color that just aren't given a chance. I'm 100% sure I wouldn't have raised a dime if YC hadn't vouched for me. Even though I've generated revenue since Day 1 and created awareness and traction all by myself. I think there are just lowered expectations. One person told me I was more LA than SF. Um, so? They get it popping in LA! One person told me I was "likeable" but not "bankable". I get told A LOT that mine is a lifestyle business. I was like, No, it's just a real business. Which is why I have more revenues than anyone in your current portfolio, but fine. It helps to find a way to make money first because getting that first check is hard, because we don't get taken seriously. The best way to do it is to make them pay attention. More successful brown founders. More boss chicks! Make them miss us. Investors have to feel like they're missing out, and they are.
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's something you've changed your mind about in the last year?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@jakecrump I've changed my mind about what running a startup should look like.
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@jakecrump I started wanting to open a counseling company and ended up running a tech platform. Both approaches are very rigorous and all-consuming but the way I spent my time and energy changed. As a solo founder out of New York, I was just hustling and figured it out as I went. Once I entered Startup Land, those expectations and assumptions changed drastically. What your team looks like, what your growth looks like, what your life looks like, what you look like, are very different. Very different measures of success and one made me miserable. It's made a lot of people in the Valley miserable as well. A lot of them are clients on my site. Being a CEO was never supposed to be easy but your job is also not supposed to make you kill yourself or someone else on a daily basis!
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez@headhanchoarod · Founder/CEO at WorkMand & Code2040 EIR
@beaarthurlmhc @jakecrump How does it look now, compared to how it looked early on?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@jakecrump You should still be excited, not exhausted. If you are, time to shift.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What can be done to encourage more bad-ass-ery in business?!
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@bentossell Be brave. Be humble. Get feedback. Ask questions. So many people have helped guide me. Don't keep it to yourself. I'm only a badass because I got knocked down a lot. Nothing else matters to me except seeing my company do well, so I didn't let pride get in the way. I hope that's helpful everyone. Best of luck, keep kicking ass!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Bea! What has been the biggest challenge in founding In Your Corner? How have you overcome this?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@ems_hodge Easily - dealing with princess programmers and tap dancing for investors who are fucking with your mind. I don't like to play those games but it's part of the game. I was much happier before I had to deal with any of that and there is a way to make money when you don't make that your top priority. Focus on the product and your audience. The money will come.
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does a typical day look like for you?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@jakecrump Hi Jake! Every day is different. I SO wish I was better at time management because I often find myself in too many meetings. Now I wouldn't be where I am now without relationships so it's important to make time but I find myself behind on email and basic operations tasks often as a result. I like to wake up and try to meditate. When that doesn't work, I read the news. I go to the gym, I make a big breakfast while singing then I sit down and work until my next meeting. Sometimes my boo comes over for lunch. Meetings and email is my life right now.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What are your favourite questions to ask founders?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@bentossell Hi Ben! I like to ask people "Why are you doing this?" No seriously, WHY? Being a founder fucking sucks. People don't tell you that. You will never work so hard for so little. The ONLY reason to take on this life is if you NEED to see this idea out of your head and out of your heart and into the real world. This vision came from a personal need and something that kept coming up in conversation. But the process is so brutal. I don't know why 9-5s get a bad rap. In this life, you get yelled at first and paid last. But I feel pride. I feel the good kind of pressure that moves me forward. I've made unbelievable connections and friends. But it's a hard life. That's kind of the issue I have with Valley culture. People there start a business because that's what everyone does. Out here in New York, we do it because we want to. Doing something out of want, versus out of need will always yield a better result. "Want" has more power behind it because dreams are there. With need, you're already operating at a deficit and it will be a quicksand experience for you.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What do you find the most rewarding from your many roles - from public speaking, to founding the business and producing your Youtube channel?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@ems_hodge Good question! I feel like I've stretched a lot in building the business. There's things you could have never learned unless you did them yourself. No one could tell me ANYTHING when I started! But so many people were right about what it would be like. So that's been a challenge but totally worth it. Reconnecting with speaking and the show has been like summertime and your first kiss and getting free food. It's LOVE! I love connecting with people. I'm so nosy and I LOVE people and I love a good story and getting to engage with that lights my soul on fire. My company means the world to me but the world is so big and I'm ready for more of it. The world is people. I want to know more people. So the show and speaking and mentoring are a true gift.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What's an average day look like for you?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Bea! What's something you used to fervently believe that you've now changed your mind on
Lester Choi
Lester Choi@lkchoi · Co-Founder, Developer @ Pith Studio
Hi Bea! Seems like the sky's the limit for someone as dynamic and electric as you are. Congrats on the success of IYC! Here's my question: What would you do differently if you were to go through the whole startup experience again?
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur@beaarthurlmhc
@lkchoi Thank you, Lester!! I would definitely have fired people faster. Don't ever be understanding to unreliable people. When you're a small team, one person can ruin even the best efforts. Also, I learned the hard way about being a non-technical founder. If you have an idea and you are a hustler, but your company depends on tech, for THE LOVE OF GOD, for the love of your business! Take a class on Lynda. Do a One Month course. There are so many shitty developers out there taking advantage of people who don't have technical skills or the knowledge to call them out on their bullshit. This happened to me over and over again and finally I became my own product person. I do deployment schedules. I wireframe. I map out acceptance criteria. I would have saved so much time and money if I weren't so dependent on dev shops and shitty developers. And these motherfuckers are divas too. They're like, I want equity. I want more money. In no other profession could you demand that without proving yourself first, and they know that. LEARN THE BASICS before you boss them around! I want to name names out here but I'm trying to stay classy :)
Lindsay Martin
Lindsay Martin@lindzora · i design / build stuff
Preach!