Podcast Episode 27 Transcript

Interview with Julia Broglie (BroglieBox)

Julia Broglie, Founder of BroglieBox

Julia Broglie was inspired to create BroglieBox after experiencing her own mental health challenges as a young adult and losing her older brother Justin to suicide when he was just 24. Justin’s passing inspired Julia to imagine a new way to deliver support and connection to those struggling with mental health challenges in today’s hectic, fast-paced and often impersonal world. The idea for BroglieBox was born: a care package of tools and resources for mental wellness and stress relief in a way that feels warm, lighthearted, and fun. BroglieBox has been featured in Forbes, goop, Thrive Global, Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, The Mighty, and more. For more information, check out @thebrogliebox or www.brogliebox.com

Julia Broglie

Interview with Julia Broglie (BroglieBox)

Show notes

Katerina: Hi Julia. 

Julia: Hi. How are you? 

Katerina: Good. Great to see you and have you on the podcast. 

Julia: Yeah. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Katerina: Thanks for coming. I guess the first question our listeners want to know is a little bit more about your background. How did you become an entrepreneur? 

Julia: Sure. So, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I actually studied chemical engineering in college and I worked in the skincare and cosmetics industry for several years after I graduated. But I never, I never had this like burning passion for anything in life, really, until I unfortunately lost my brother, Justin, to suicide. And I also struggled with my own mental health challenges for many years and really suffered in silence. I was embarrassed for so long about my anxiety and my depression. I thought it was a personal weakness, which now I know to be not true at all.

But when my brother died, it really just woke me up to this realisation that I needed to take my own mental health seriously. And I felt extremely called to help others prioritise their mental health, speak openly about their mental health and ultimately get help if needed. So, that’s kind of the basis for why I dove deep into the world of mental health. And I started my company, Broglie Box, as sort of as a side project and it grew really quickly to the point where I was able to quit my job and focus on that full time so it’s really exciting. But the whole concept behind Broglie Box is basically wanting to send a care package of products, tools and resources that are both useful, effective but also bundled and packaged in a way that it feels like a gift. It feels very heartfelt and warm. But the products are actually useful and meaningful. So that’s kind of the whole concept behind Broglie Box and, yeah.

Katerina: Well, that’s an amazing concept. I looked at your website and you do different boxes with different products. I guess logistically, how do you manage it? Because you need to work with all these different suppliers to be able to put them. How do you know what to put in each box?

Julia: Yeah, so the contents are sourced. We have, basically, I feel like my engineering background, I’m just a researcher by nature, and so before I even started the company, I really started looking into mental health from a holistic perspective. So what are all the factors that go into our mental health? And I came up with, you know, six key areas, after having interviews with different psychologists and therapists. And those key areas have turned into our six pillars that we talk about on our website. And those six pillars are mindfulness, gratitude, sleep, fitness, nutrition and relaxation. And those six things can mean something different for everyone, but all the products and resources that we put inside the box, kind of stem from those six pillars. So we are very connected. We have a network of over 30 mental health professionals who advise us on products that maybe they’re making a recommendation to their patients.

Because the reality is a therapist can’t be with their patient 24 hours a day and a lot of the things that they recommend in therapy, you know, they make recommendations on products that their patient can use outside of therapy to remind them of what they learn to implement in therapy. So we’re, we keep our eyes and ears open constantly for product recommendations like that. We also listen to our community.

So, we have a pretty active network on Instagram and Facebook and so any recommendations on products that people are, you know, have said, this has really helped me. And then talking to our vendors and seeing the data that they’re presenting to us. So they have all this research that proves that their product helped, you know, X amount of people and in this way, then we listen to all of that and take all that into consideration. 

Katerina: I’m just looking at your website to find, I’ve seen those, the reference to six pillars. And so this sleep, exercise, if you just remind me, what are they?

Julia: Yeah, so they’re mindfulness, gratitude, sleep, fitness, nutrition and relaxation. So there’s different products and if there’s not a physical product, so, each box is different and it’s kind of either for a specific issue like anxiety or a specific type of person like a student. And there’s also different price points and combinations of products. So if something is not in the box for sleep, for example, you know, I’m asked since a number of our boxes or, you know, lavender sleep spray. But if a box doesn’t have that element, then we do have information about why sleep is important for mental health in our magazine. Every single box comes with a magazine, and it has its own unique addition for that particular box. And we have our, our network of mental health professionals writing articles for us. We have resources, we have the links for articles  

that are out there, and some recipes to help with, we call it like our mood food section because we believe you are what you eat, not just from a physical perspective, but from your mental health as well. So yeah, we get on all six pillars in every single one of our boxes in some way. 

Katerina: No, I think it’s a great concept and you have such a supportive network of professionals to help you and because the concept is absolutely great. When I looked at your website I thought, wow. It’s just, for someone to come up with an idea like this, it’s amazing. But are those pillars should be addressed consequentially or do we need to prioritise certain elements of those six pillars? Or do we try to have all those in place to be healthy mentally?

Julia: So I think, I mean every single person is unique, and what self-care and mental health care looks like for me might look very different for you. For example, you know, sleep is so easy for me. Like I can go to sleep no matter what. Like I don’t, it’s not something that I really have to work on, so I’m good in that category. Whereas, maybe, you know, mindfulness was something that was a recent implementation. After my brother died, it really helped me with my own mental health, but that was a practice that I had to implement and really work on. Whereas you might be very different where you know, you… 

Katerina: I was actually talking to one of my guests last week who’s a psychiatrist and psychologist and I said that after my first failed venture, I lost sleep for a year. I just couldn’t sleep. So that was a struggle for me.  

Julia: Yeah. I’ve been so lucky, you know? I think that’s like, the one, many things I learned in college, but that was like one of the main important things that I learned in college. Like when you had a chance to sleep you did it because for chemical engineering, like, we barely slept. So I feel like I trained, I almost like trained myself that if I have an hour here or if I, you know, like I have to get those eight hours. Like I cherish those eight hours so much.  

Katerina: You actually also mentioned about eight hours but I guess, I don’t know, whatever you want to believe. I think I’ve listened to some yogi, I don’t know, the Indian yogian and he says that, yeah if four hours is enough for you. Everyone is individual, you know. There’s this psychiatrist professor in the studio. He actually mentioned that eight hours of sleep is ideal for people. 

Julia: Yeah. We believe that each person is unique and, you know, in what they, in their needs. But for me and for our company it’s all about listening to your body. Listening to what’s going on. If you feel like you’re not, you feel anxious and you feel these things, these emotions that are uncontrollable or, it’s okay to get help and it’s okay to tune into yourself and say, okay, what areas of my life need improvement? Or what areas of my life can I make an improvement in to ultimately better myself and my mood and overall happiness. So, yeah. 

Katerina: Yeah, I agree with you but the problem is that when people start up companies they, the last thing that’s probably on their mind is actually to look at the mental health. Because the first thing they care about is how to make company more profitable. And why do they neglect, why do entrepreneurs neglect their mental health? Why’d you think?  

Julia: So, this is, I’m so glad you brought this up because I’m in a network of so many other entrepreneurs and what’s helped me the most, and what I tell other people that I interact with who are founders, is that you are your company’s greatest asset. And if you are not well, your company will not be well. So you’re worried about profitability? Okay, that makes total sense. But if you’re losing sleep, or you’re not eating well and taking care of yourself, how do you expect to give everything to your company when you’re, when you’re experiencing brain fall? Or when you’re stressed out all the time? I mean, granted like, we’re all going to experience the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, but it’s all about kind of making that delta a little bit less. So you can kind of stay in this middle ground in between the highs and the lows. You can cut out this middle ground and, I mean, time and time again like I’ve talked to founders who choose to take care of themselves and in the long term, they are much more successful as a company and as a CEO or as a founder, because they chose to take care of themselves rather than, you know, fret over, maybe a small situation that in the long run is actually not going to matter. So I’ll say it again, you are your company’s greatest asset, especially if it’s just one or two people like, if you’re a single founder or if you have you and one other person. Like the employees and the founders make the company and you have to be well in order to do that.  

Katerina: Yeah, no, I do agree with you. But then again, you know a little bit of anxiety is not a bad thing. I mean, being anxious is not necessarily an indication that something is wrong with you. So how can people, or entrepreneurs, spot when anxiety becomes something more of a concern, leading to the mental health conditions?  

Julia: Yeah, so I’d like to preface this with saying, I’m not a certified therapist or anything like that but in my experience and just through listening to people in my network, and my, like my own experience with anxiety is when it becomes to the point of affecting your everyday life and completely debilitating, affecting your ability to make decisions, which is so important for a founder and entrepreneur. You know, when it’s outside the norm of everyday anxiety, like little anxieties about a situation, if it’s situational or something like that, but if you wake up and feel anxious and you haven’t even started doing anything and it’s preventing you from carrying out your normal everyday activity, then that’s an indication that it’s time to maybe seek out some help. So again, that’s just in my experience and kind of what I’ve heard through our community and our network. And our recommendations from our advisors who are, you know, seeing patients on a regular basis.  

Katerina: Yeah. So, have you had mental health struggles in the past?  

Julia: Absolutely, yeah. So I suffer, I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with depression. And it got really bad for me in college and I just really hit it very well, honestly. It got to the point where I was having some suicidal thoughts, and luckily, you know, my friend at the time encouraged me to go to my school mental health centre. It got really bad for me in my senior college and I went to my, my school mental health centre. And unfortunately, I was put on a three-month waitlist. But what bothers me the most about that situation is I was sent away without a single resource or a piece of information or advice on how to get me through that three months until I could see someone. It’s concerning that there were literally hundreds of students in front of me, which is why I was put on a waitlist to begin with. They didn’t have the capacity just to help all those students. But I walked away and completely empty handed like, what am I supposed to do next? How am I supposed to get through these three months?

And so for Broglie Box, we actually have the company segmented into three different businesses where one is our direct to consumer online, like our website. Another, the middle segment, is companies. So we work B2B with companies and supply employee boxes and then the third is students. So we work, you know, work with universities, equipping their mental health centre, so that when students like me go in and they can’t see me right away, which is not their fault, they’re over capacity and you know, there’s a huge need right now, especially now. COVID. Um, but, you know, sending the student away with some resources that they can implement themselves or that they can look at. There’s so many resources online, you know? There’s no excuse anymore. And so that’s a big, a big vision for us, for our company.  

Katerina: Yeah, I mean as an academic, I see, and I guess COVID is not making the situation better, I see more students coming, you know, coming out with issues that require attention but like you said, we are stretched and there are not enough resources to help everyone. But what can people do? What alternative do they have whilst they’re waiting for help?  

Julia: So I think that, I mean there are tons of like, student specific resources, you know? I could send you like a full list, but us specifically, what we provide, um, you know, we of course have the boxes of products and the products that have resonated most with our student population in terms of physical products are like affirmation cards, even like adult colouring books. Gratitude jars, Pinch Me Therapy Dough, massage roller balls, that type of thing but then we have a magazine that really is jam packed with those resources on. You know like, how to deal with the stress of preparing for an exam or how to deal with turbulence at home. There’s a resource called the Buddy Project where you can actually be paired peer to peer. And then, or, if you want, if you can’t wait for your mental health centre to see you and you want to see a therapist right away, there’s plenty of online therapist options now like Talkspace and BetterHelp.

All the crisis text line numbers and crisis hotline numbers that you can call, all of that really, the student needs to walk away with those in hand so that if it does get to the point where there is a crisis, they know what to do and they have something physical that they can reference because I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that state of mind but you are not thinking clearly and you’re not like, oh, let me go Google the suicide prevention hotline number. And unfortunately here in the US, they just did get approval to implement the three-digit suicide prevention hotline number, but for now, it’s the full, it’s like 1-800 273, you know, like it’s a full number that you have to have memorised and if you don’t have that memorised, then you know, you’re, you have to be responsible to look it up and that’s kind of hard on someone who’s already struggling.  

Katerina: Yeah. And you see entrepreneurs, it makes it even worse for people starting up their businesses because I’ve had guests on the podcast who never had any issues, you know, like anxiety or toxic stress and stuff like that but then, when they started the companies, they start experiencing those mental health conditions. What help is out there for entrepreneurs? Because there is also, there’s a common, sort of, I don’t know, that you have to kind of fake it till you make it, right? And it’s not always, and there’s a stigma around the whole mental health issue in entrepreneurs and then often, you fake it till you make it, right? Because you want to appear to be as successful as you can be. But then, we have these cases like Kate Spade committing suicide because of the underlying problems such as depression and stuff like that. So what help can be accessed by entrepreneurs? Is there anything for entrepreneurs?  

Julia: I’ve seen some things here and there pop up. I’ve actually seen venture capitalist firms popping up and saying like, we actually pay, like would they, of the money that they give to founders, a portion of that goes to their health care, including mental health support. I think when you’re looking for an investor, you want to look for someone who obviously wants to grow your company and its bottom line and everything like that but should also, you know, how do they take care of themselves? Are they talking about their own health? Are they, you know, are they talking about how they prioritise these things? But for entrepreneurs, the number one thing that I see with my network of founders is impostor syndrome is like the biggest thing. And burnout is the second biggest thing. Because as a founder, you’re responsible for everything. And, you know, you’re looking at your, and a lot of times, you’ve raised money, you’re taking on this responsibility to do something with that money and you don’t want to lose that money.

Um, and then like you said you’re, it’s like a ‘fake it till you make it’ and that mentality can create a lot of impostor syndrome, because you’re literally like, you’re literally trying to portray something that, portray something to make it seem bigger than it is. And constantly you’re coming back and self doubting So, I mean, my recommendation for things like that is to, there’s this method called the reframing technique. And basically if you have, you know, a negative or an anxious thought, and you have something that’s coming up and it’s impostor syndrome, you actually write down that negative thought. And then you scratch it out, and you run an arrow and next to it you write what is true. So you write what is true about the situation so, um, you know like, if you say like, I’m a fake. Well you can scratch that out and say, I’m actually so true to my mission and my cause. And the thing I do every day is because I believe in what I’m doing. And that is true. So you can practice these different methods, I think. But in terms of like resources for entrepreneurs, I think it all comes back to networks that you’re in, joining a group of like-minded individuals. Community, I think, is so important. And you’ll find that when you’re talking to other entrepreneurs, they’re experiencing the same things. And it’s validating, you know, you’re not alone in those…  

Katerina: Yeah. I mean that was the initial sort of idea for this podcast to create a platform for people to start talking about this openly because it’s not easy. Entrepreneurship is not really encouraged and it’s, you know, when you sign up for entrepreneurship, you sign up for longer hours, more stress, more anxiety, probably less money. Yeah. And you’re likely to fail, let’s be honest with this, unless you really hit, I don’t know, golden mine. But, yeah, you have to sometimes fail several times before you can actually make it.  

Julia: I forgot what the …is but it was like, it was a large number of entrepreneurs, give up before they actually hit the point of, you know, being successful and if they would have just waited a little bit longer, been a little bit more persistent, it would have been successful but… 

Katerina: I think you’re referring to Seth Godin’s ‘The Dip’? Yeah? When you go through this dip, you feel like, oh my god, what’s the point? And then it just may be another step further and you’ll be on the way out. But a lot of people, yeah, they start self-doubting themselves. If you believe in your idea and you have this big “Why?”, right? Then it’s something that can keep you going. And passion is everything. Like that was the conclusion of one of the podcasts. Passion is everything. It can get you through difficult times.  

Julia: And like, find an accountability partner or buddy or, you know, just like you’re a network where you can, you find, you can have that community aspect. Because it’s very lonely. I mean if you’re a founder, you’re by yourself, and you feel all this pressure on you and you’re holding it all in, I mean that’s horrible. You want to be able to share that experience and maybe talk to someone who’s going through something similar to you because a lot of my friends aren’t entrepreneurs. And so, yeah, they empathise with me or they sympathise with me but they ultimately don’t really know what it’s like, just like I don’t know what it’s like to be in their job. So it’s nice to talk with other people who are going through the same thing.  

Katerina: Yeah, but you know you mentioned they’re not entrepreneurs and their life is not going to get easy with them. This technology and artificial intelligence slowly being adopted in  large corporations. But there’s been a published report recently about people feeling anxious having a 9-5 job because they’re afraid to have to learn skills they’re not capable of learning or because you know, innovation eventually will push them out of the job. So it’s not going to get easier, but I guess entrepreneurs, you know, you are, if someone is doing it to you, you should actually do it to yourself, standing up for entrepreneurship. But what about failure? Because failure is a big part of learning and success. Have you, what was your biggest failure, say in the last year? And how did you, what happened? How did you overcome it? Can you hear me? 

Julia: Yes.  

Katerina: Oh, I don’t know. You just kinda went blank. Yeah, I was asking about failure. What was the  biggest failure in the last year and why do you think this happened? 

Julia: So, one, I guess failure that we had was, so I told you that student boxes are a huge initiative for me and for the company. And in like February timeframe, January, February timeframe, we had all these universities lined up and they were going to buy boxes, either for incoming freshmen class or to keep on hand at the mental health centre, or to distribute, you know, during finals week at the libraries. It was different for every school. And then COVID hit. And so, we, you know, essentially lost those opportunities completely. So it was really just about pivoting and realising that that is something completely out of our control. Like there was nothing that could have been done about that. We’re restarting those conversations now. But that was really scary for a minute to know that you know, because it was so exciting to see these, this, this work that had, I mean it takes a long time, these … for universities is pretty lengthy. Um, and so to finally have some concrete orders and everything and then to have all that kind of taken away. Luckily, that wasn’t our, that wasn’t our only part of our business otherwise that would have been really scary. But that was one aspect that, you know, it was a lot to swallow at first, to be like, okay, like, now we have to figure something else out and just know that these conversations are hopefully going to pick back up, which they are. Not to the same extent but they’re picking up. Now that school’s back in session and everything. 

Katerina: I do start teaching next week and I mean, as far as we know, everything will slowly start going back to normal. But then again, maybe two months down the line, we end up in another lockdown, who knows? And then, yeah, you have to kind of adapt all the time and try to pivot, like you said. But, you know, going back, how long have you been running this business? Because you started when you were just 24. You’re quite a young entrepreneur. 

Julia: No. So my brother died when he was 24. 

Katerina: He was 24. Sorry, yes.

Julia: I was 23 when he died. Let me, let me think about how old I was. It was November of 2018 when our website went live. And I’m 29 now so I was like 27. Yeah, so it was a year, like a year and a half ago, a little over a year and a half ago. We’re coming up on two years. And we originally launched a company as a subscription box. Yeah. That was another pivot that the company made. We were a seasonal subscription box, and the box , so you know, every season, there’s a different set of items. And we actually, we had an overwhelming number of requests for specific types of boxes, and most of our subscribers were actually sending the box as a gift to someone else and they wanted to know what was inside. Well, if you’re buying an annual subscription, that’s four boxes and people, you know, we can’t tell you what’s going to be in the winter box if you’re buying, you know, the summer box. Because all of that stuff, you know like, for subscriptions, part of the fun of subscription boxes is its surprise. Um, so we, yeah, we just got so many requests for okay, I need grief resources to send to someone or I have a student in college I want to send a care package to or I have somebody dealing with anxiety. So, before the boxes were very general and now it’s very specific. And we have several different options. So, the company launched in November of 2018, our very first box went out in December 2018. And then in May of 2020, so this past May, we launched the specialised boxes and got rid of the subscription model completely. And we have plans to release new care package options. And we’re working on a build-your-own care package option as well.  

Katerina: Oh, drone? 

Julia: No, build-your-own care package. 

Katerina: Oh build-your-own. Because I thought drone delivery.  

Julia: Wouldn’t that be fun?  

Katerina: Yeah, I mean, if we’re on lockdown and someone needs it, that’s an idea.  

Julia: My boyfriend and I were driving the other day and we saw a Postmates, do you know what a Postmates is? It’s like a delivery service for, like, if you order. It’s kind of like Uber, but for food. So you order from a restaurant and you can have a delivery man from Postmates, or woman, pick it up and take it to your house. Well, they had these, it was a cart. It was, like, unmanned, like it was just a cart driving. And it was like delivery from Postmates. And I was like, Oh my god. 

Katerina: Almost like a robot? Like a robot?  

Julia: It was a robot. 

Katerina: Yeah, yeah. I think we have in Milton Keynes, we have robots. I haven’t seen them. But I know because my husband used to work in Milton Keynes. And he said, yeah, we have robots.  

Julia: Yeah. I couldn’t believe it. It was like…  

Katerina: Yeah, that’s cool. I mean, that’s an idea. Yeah. But yeah, I mean, since the beginning of the company, and obviously, you know, you’ve made mistakes and you learned and, and but what, what is the biggest mistake you think that entrepreneurs make when they start their businesses?  

Julia: So I can speak from personal experience that I, I think I focused so much on, like vanity metrics, like growing our Instagram following and like trying to get like all this press. And although those are important, and of course, depending on your business model, it can be really important to have, you know, like an Instagram. But what we did like, instead of focusing on building like my email list, I focused on growing Instagram followers. Now looking back, I wish I would have started from the very beginning, like growing our email list. Because now we, when we look at the data, we see that most of our buck, like almost all, all of our email list is like people who are actually buying or interacting with us. And Instagram, although the community’s very active in terms of like bottom line, and sales, um, we don’t see it as much on Instagram. So I think, and then, and then with press, like, I was so surprised to learn after getting like, we just got, you know, featured in Forbes, and we’ve got featured in Goop. And I’ve been on interviews, like TV interviews, and yes, we do see a spike in sales after those press opportunities come out. But it’s not like one thing is gonna, like blow up your business. That’s just not the experience that I’ve had, or any of the entrepreneurs that I know. It’s a bunch of little things that kind of contribute to all of that. So, you know, that stuff is really important. But I think like, I was so surprised to learn, like, I mean, I spent so much time like we’re, you know, focusing on like PR opportunities, and it just, you know, it was surprising to learn that that wasn’t, that wasn’t like, you know, that big of a deal, actually.  

Katerina: Yeah. Because you were featured, you mentioned on Forbes. But did you actually use any proactive strategies to get in front of the PR people? Because it can be quite difficult to actually get your story in front of, you know, some journalists to be picked up? How did you go about finding, you know, news outlets, media outlets to be featured on? 

Julia: It’s a lot of time spent because, you know, for every hundred journalists you reach out to, you’d maybe get responses from one. And I’ve been more recently trying to be like, very strategic about it. So if I see, you know, for in the case of the Forbes article, I read something that this journalist wrote that just really resonated with me. And I reached out to her, not to pitch myself actually, I just reached out and I said, I love this article. It was actually about like, alternative methods of raising money. Like everyone thinks ‘Shark Tank’, oh, you gotta, you know, you got to seek out venture capitalists and there’s actually all these other methods and I just thought her perspective was amazing. And I reached out to her and I told her, this article really resonates with me, I love it. And then I saw she also wrote about mental health and I was like, I see that you’re writing about mental health too. And I just wanted to let you know you have a new fan. And I kind of left it at that, because it wasn’t meant to be, I wasn’t trying to actually, like sell her on myself. I just loved her writing. And then we formed, you know, kind of a relationship over LinkedIn. And we eventually, like got on a call. And we were just talking. And then a couple weeks later, she’s like, I’m writing about you on Forbes. I was like, “Oh, my God!” Whereas before, you know, I’d be like, reaching out to journalists, like, immediately with the pitch, you know, like, here’s my company, here’s my story. Here’s what I’m doing. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. But what I learned is that like, I’d rather have these, like, really amazing relationships with people. And that’s, that’s what people are interested in. They’re interested in the person behind the brand.  

Katerina: Yeah. Being human, yeah. Having a personality, yeah. I guess they get so many sales pitches every day and they’re just like, you’re one of them. But, yeah. That’s great advice actually, to be yourself. 

Julia: And find, like, it’s, I think it’s like quality over quantity. You know…  

Katerina: Don’t have expectations that someone will come back to you and say, well… put yourself out there and just don’t have high expectations, because again, I guess we often get disappointed because we have to have expectations. You know, you got to watch a movie in the cinema. Don’t think that it’s going to be a great movie, right? Just be surprised.  

Julia: Yeah, right?  

Katerina: Yeah, it’s great advice. But you know, as a founder, there is so much going on from what you’re saying with subscription boxes being, you know, changed into other types of products. But how do you stay on top of things as a founder?  

Julia: Well, I’m heavily reliant on my calendar. Um, and what I mean by that is not only for business, but I actually like schedule time for myself too. Because it all goes back to like self-care. And I really practice what I preach in my own business. And, of course, not every day is this like, perfect, like, oh, I hit all the six pillars today, you know, like, I’m also a human being and I’m not perfect. I’m, like, very reliant on my calendar and scheduling and time blocking. And we actually have this product. And the reason that I put it in there is because it was so helpful for me, as a founder, um, it’s a time cube. And it literally, like it has 5, 15, 30 and 60 minutes on all four sides, and then you flip it based on the time and it starts, it starts timing you basically. And then it beeps when it’s done. But it’s helped me so much to manage my time. And it’s different than, like setting something on my phone. Because then I get, I go to set my timer on my phone, and then I’m like, distracted by my phone. Whereas the time cube, I can just put on and put my phone in another room and say, okay, for these 16 minutes, I’m going to get this thing done. And then I’m going to take a break after. And so yeah, that’s like my biggest, that’s like what’s kept me like, really organised and, frankly, sane.  

Katerina: That’s really good. I need to check out, it’s called time cube?  

Julia: It’s a time cube.  

Katerina: Never heard of. Yeah, it’s great. With the phone you can put… I guess my listeners will love it. I sometimes use the egg timer. But, yeah. That might be a great idea.  

Julia: There’s something really powerful about scheduling time because it’s like, there’s an end in sight to and then also being cognizant of how much you can realistically get done. So before, I would put the, I would have these crazy to do lists. And if I didn’t get my to do list, then I would feel bad that I didn’t get it done. But it was never reasonable to begin with. It was never, no way I was ever going to get that much done. So now I’ve tried to be really cognizant. Like if I have a task, then I say okay, it’s gonna take me this amount of time. And I’m going to schedule that amount of time to do it. And, you know, like and be more realistic with yourself and be honest with yourself and how much you can realistically get done. And then I’ve totally, well not totally, but my goal is to totally get rid of multitasking. It’s so unproductive. Like, I try to do more than one thing at once. I end up not getting anything done. Um, and for me it feels so powerful to like, scratch one thing off my to do list. Then, you know, a fourth of four things.  

Katerina: So I don’t know why, well, especially men, think that women can multitask. I can’t.  

Julia: There’s actually studies that have been done that show this is not beneficial for like, for your job, or for your like, actually the work that you’re doing. It’s not, it’s not good for anybody.  

Katerina: I even, you know, if my husband talks to me, and I’m thinking or I’m doing something else, he’s like, oh, you know, you know, I don’t know the phrase he’s using but it’s so funny. He’s like, you’re in your…  

Julia: In the zone. 

Katerina: In the zone, in another dimension.  

Julia: I’ll talk to you later.  

Katerina: And sometimes I’m nodding and he’s like, you haven’t heard a single word I said. Just funny. And so I guess another question is, how do you relax? What do you do for fun? What do you do when you feel like you’re overwhelmed? And you know, you’re approaching maybe a burnout stage? Or maybe you can manage it? You know, not to let yourself burn out. But how do you relax under management?  

Julia: Yeah, so my favourite thing in the world is being outside and being in nature. So I try to get outside in some form every day. And although I don’t like working out, I’ve noticed that the days where I move my body and exercise, I feel so much better from an energy level and also from a mood level or mood state. So my like go to thing for when it comes to like relaxing is like, I live in LA. So we have amazing hiking trails, I can go to the beach, you know, I can drive up to the mountains, Big Bear is, you know, less than two hours away. So I have all these options to get outside and, and that’s like number one for me. Even during the lockdown, the quarantine, I went for walks twice a day, two or three times a day, I had to get outside. That was like my escape, even if it was just around my neighbourhood. And then yeah, and then other, like self care things that I do is journaling. I was never a big journaler until I founded my company. And then I was like, I need to get all these thoughts out on paper because they’re just crowding my head. And so I started doing this thing called ‘morning pages’. And since evolved into like, now I journal more at night, but when I first like, was trying to get into the practice of journaling, I did morning pages, which was three pages every single morning and it was just a stream of consciousness it didn’t have to make any sense. I never re-read anything that I was writing. It was just any single thought that came into my head, I would just get it down on paper and head on my day knowing that I had all that like, gibberish, like anxious thoughts. It was out of my head and on paper. Um and so now, I’m a much more frequent journaler and it becomes much easier for me than it was at first but yeah. Those are like my go to, is just getting outside and journaling and spending time with the people I love which I know is hard during quarantine and COVID but schedule FaceTime calls or you know, if you can see your family or your friends, do it because that’s re-energising to me.  

Katerina: Yeah, no, that’s great advice. I find nature very soothing and I actually, before the lockdown, I created the meetup group to go to parks. Yeah, and of course I think we went into lockdown and I think it was March, end of February, March, and I guess a lot of people just use this opportunity to go for walks and the … is actually healthy but then the data which I hear from the media is that actually more people now drinking, consuming alcohol as a result of bogged down. So I guess I don’t know.  

Julia: I heard about it too… I had to stay away from our bike trail because it was crowded. Like before, I couldn’t believe there was nobody on there. And now there was like, all these people on their bikes and walking and out with their family. And so yeah, like, you know, I’ve seen a bunch of different things but… people were outside which  always makes me happy. 

Katerina: I guess bike companies, they made lots of profit during lockdown because they were selling,like, triple the amount of sales during the lockdown, so yeah. Everyone is just buying a bike. Yeah, so I guess just to wrap up our conversation, what lesson could you teach starting or existing entrepreneurs? So maybe your final, sort of advice for entrepreneurs, what would it be? 

Julia: Man, okay, so this is hard to like, wrap it up in one thing. But I guess one…  

Katerina: Take as much time as you want, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. 

Julia: Um, I think I already said it and I but I think it proves to be resaid is that you are your company’s greatest asset. And so schedule time and for yourself, recharge, rejuvenate. Figure out what that is for you. Because what it might be for your best friend is very different from what it is for you. And like, you know, if you’re more introverted, then maybe like, scheduling time with friends as your recharge time is not good. So make a list of things that bring you joy, and then set like, put them on your calendar, like literally time block them on your calendar. Another thing that’s been absolutely critical for me and something I learned about later, like after I started my company is how important your breath is and your breathing patterns. And so when you’re actually getting into an anxious state, you tend to inhale and take in more oxygen than you exhale. And so just really, you know, taking time to think about like, you know, practising these different breathing techniques to calm down. If you are in a stressful situation, one easy method is it’s called square breathing. You basically breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds and hold your breath for four seconds. Doing that a couple times just to like, reset yourself, that has been an absolutely critical game changer for me. So those are like my two biggest pieces of advice. But like, I guess, like, the number one thing is just really take care of yourself because your company, your company relies on you. That’s number one.  

Katerina: Yeah. Any advice to female entertainers? Because, again, this podcast genuinely is aimed at female entrepreneurs. And there is some data suggesting that we are more anxious. We are stress bunnies.  

Julia: I think my advice is don’t listen to, like don’t get the statistics and don’t listen to them and don’t believe like, they might be true right now, but I personally feel like there is this great chance that’s happening, where you know, female entrepreneurs are like, there’s a statistic like female entrepreneurs are so much less likely to be to be funded. Well, you know, maybe there weren’t as many female entrepreneurs as there were when that statistic was originally established. So, yes, you know, there are statistics, but I think that those statistics are changing. And don’t listen to anyone tell you that just because you’re a woman means that you’re gonna have such a more difficult time. Someone said that to me and it prevented me from launching the company right away. Like I actually was like, I need to rethink this. I need to figure out a different way and all this other stuff. At the end of the day, you just have to like, do it and know that you’re, you’re gonna be okay because there’s so many qualities about being a woman that are our advantage. And so yeah, knowing what those are and utilising them to our advantage. Like the people to people connection, the empathy. You know, there’s statistics about women being more empathetic in your business. Because utilising the things that you’re good at and it’ll end up making your business even better, too. So I try not, I try to drown all that out. I’ve been experiencing this since college because I studied engineering, and it’s mostly, most of my classmates were male. So I just like, it’s hard. But I’ve learned that it’s better to just not even listen to what they’re saying. Just go, just look straight ahead. You’re on this mission you’re on. You’re on this rocket ship, and anyone who is lucky to get on that rocket ship with you and will benefit because you know, I think women are amazing. 

Katerina: Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I think our audience will take so much out of this conversation. And yeah, thanks for sharing this on this platform. I wish you all the best with your company and it is a success and I’m sure it will prosper and will bring a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people out there looking for ways to look after their own mental health. Thank you so much and all the best.

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