Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur“ we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Markevicius.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Brooke Markevicius: I think my “Aha Moment” came pretty quickly after quitting my tech job. I loved the idea of working with other moms and supporting each other in a way that was flexible and provided income. Typical freelance is a hassle and I really wanted to hone in on a solution to make the process as easy as possible for both clients and experts.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Brooke Markevicius: I was not aware of the entrepreneurial path as a kid. I grew up the daughter of a preacher and a teacher and I felt my path would be similar because that was what was visible to me. Looking back I was always having ideas, reading a ton, wanting to be the leader in class, the leader at home. As I grew up I took on more and more leadership roles but always looked at myself as a servant leader. It was not until my late 20s that I stumbled upon entrepreneurship and realized it was for me.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Brooke Markevicius: When my boyfriend (not husband) was working at Microsoft I saw a video about how they were opening up tech centers in third world countries and I loved seeing that Tech was being used for Good, so I started exploring what tech could look like for myself. That led to a Master’s in Computer Information Systems and eventually a job at a startup. It was not until I left that job for more flexibility after I had my daughter that I saw the path of having my own business. It was a mixture of many people, but the How I Built This Podcast, and Sara Blakely’s episode was huge for me.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Brooke Markevicius: Coming out of a year where more than 3 Million women left the workforce due to the lack of support for mothers and caregivers, we are offering a solution that gets women paid through flexible work. In addition, the pandemic made businesses have to shift and get more sustainable with their growth and our management marketplace allows for that sustainable growth while also getting support from our company. We were building this before the pandemic but the pandemic amplified what had been happening for a long time.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- I am scrappy, determined, and just keep showing up, I dig deep when days get hard and find a way. I got my company to product-market fit during a pandemic with a tea of mothers that all lost childcare for most of the year. We made it happen.
- I have always focused on building long-term relationships and fosterig them and his has helped significantly as I have built this company. It has helped us build a team, raise funding and build a company.
- I have been through a lot in my 35 years and some very rough patches, including being married to an abusive man who was a drug addict. I have seen rock bottom and I rose out of it. I know I have the power to do a lot.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Brooke Markevicius: A lot of people in the startup world tell you to listen and follow venture capitalists or really focus on your competition. I spent about a year too worried about that when I should have had my blinders on focusing on my own product. I learned to trust my gut and instead ask people who truly care about what you’re building.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Brooke Markevicius: Listen. Offer support often. Make sure you are not distancing yourself too much from the day-to-day operations of your company. Even when you are out of the weeds yourself, make sure you know who is in the weeds so they do not get burnt out. Also find time to have some fun with your team, laugh, and get to know each other.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Brooke Markevicius: Keep showing up. Learn your industry in and out, study it. Learn the main players, and follow them, learn from them. Success leaves a trail. Try to get into publications as a thought leader sharing your expertise and insight. Start your own podcast
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Brooke Markevicius: You have to establish your brand as a leader so people can know, like, and trust you AND your brand. As a leader, you represent your brand as well and you need to make sure you uphold the values of your brand.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Brooke Markevicius: They spend too much time worrying about what other people are doing or might think, instead of focusing on what they are building. They try to bypass essential areas like building their MVP and getting potential clients to test it. As well as they do not talk enough to the potential customers.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Brooke Markevicius: On any given day I could hit the highest of high moments and lowest of low moments. Startup and Entrepreneur life is a rollercoaster that just keeps on going day after day. You have to be self-aware enough to realize when the highs and lows are affecting you more than normal. That is usually a time to take a moment for yourself and regroup. As an entrepreneur, there is no clocking and clocking out. You are on the job 24/7, so you have to set your own boundaries with your team and yourself. If not you will burn out.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Brooke Markevicius: As excited as I was that we raised $500K in funding, I was exhausted after 3 months of raising. I actually was the most excited when our Chief Scientist signed on to come to Allobee, and she turned down an offer at Google to work for us. That was a HUGE win for us.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Brooke Markevicius: There have been many times. I think the hardest for me is when I feel we have failed a client or an employee/contractor. Those are the items that keep me up at night, that make me run over the issue in my head a million times. I do not want to fail, but more than that, I do not want to disappoint and that is hard as a founder.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Brooke Markevicius: Whenever those really hard moments happen, I know I have to take a step back and look at all the positives that have happened. I usually re-read testimonials from clients, positive surveys, and also just look at how much we have paid out our experts that month. Then I am reset and reminded why I am showing up each day.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Self Awareness
- A Team
- A Support Network outside of your team
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
- Being able to ask for help
- Survivor not victim
- Social connections
- Problem Solving
- Self-awareness and control
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Brooke Markevicius: I moved a lot as a kid and as an adult. The constant change and adaptation help a lot with resilience. I also left a domestic violence marriage and started over and that was a huge lesson in resilience.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
Brooke Markevicius: I try my best to be proactive, and not as reactive to the situations. It is hard, but I try to be self-aware and ask myself a few questions or take a breath before I react in different situations. Our job as leaders is to find the rose petals in the pile of shit as Satya Nadella says. So I remind myself of that saying.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Brooke Markevicius: If a leader is positive, even in hard situations, then the team will be less reactive. They will strive to be more proactive and lessen the issues that might arise. Positivity breeds more positivity, and it is essential for the leader to model this.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
How can our readers further follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!