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Balancing personal life with running a startup: tips from a founder still learning

Get ready, because TechChill is just around the corner and we can't wait to see the magic unfold! Connect with like-minded individuals, swap stories, and gain valuable insights from successful women who have conquered the startup world. And to kick things off, we'll be sharing exclusive interviews with inspiring women who are ready to inspire and empower you to reach for the stars.

Introducing Co-Founder Farah Kabir - Entrepreneur that wanted to change the world since she was a child and she wasn’t alone. She shared a vision together with her friend from school Dr Sarah Welsh. Their passion for solving issues that affect sexual health resulted in the rise of the business - HANX.

HANX is the female-founded startup focused on sexual wellness and intimate care without stigma, launched in 2017 by Farah Kabir and Dr Sarah Welsh. Their sustainable, gynae-backed sexual wellness essentials sit alongside a pioneering hormonal contraception subscription service, plus intimate health treatments. Alongside their DTC offering, HANX is the only challenger brand on shelf in over 2,500 UK high street stores with retailer partners including Boots, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Superdrug. In late 2022, it embarked on the first phase of global expansion, with the launch of direct-to-consumer shipping to the US.

What are some of the key skills or qualities that you think are essential for success as an entrepreneur?

Self-belief and willingness to get stuck into turn your idea into a successful reality. You need to be dedicated enough to go out there and do your own market research (not just rely on what's on Google!) to really pin down what makes your idea different to others already in the market. It’s also essential to be able to confront the hard questions, not just get excited about and lost in the vision. Ask yourself: “are there any other brands doing this, what’s my core unique selling point that would set my idea apart?” or “do I have a rainy day fund equivalent to support myself? If not, how can I get to that point?”. You need to be able to be really honest with yourself from day one.

How do you stay motivated and focused when faced with setbacks or challenges in your business?

We’ve been told that we’re just “two little girls”, that we’ll never make it, and that women don’t buy condoms, despite our data and passionate community clearly proving otherwise! Hurdles, naysayers and setbacks just motivate me more. We have a team channel on Slack called ‘Bad Day’ where we share anonymous DMs, reviews or feedback from our community, which we look at when we need a pick-me-up. It keeps us focused on the real change we're making happen via HANX. Alongside that, working with people who are united behind the vision and are resilient keeps me motivated. Teamwork makes the dream work!

What have been some of the biggest lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Calculate your risk. By that I mean look at the market, see what else is out there and really be honest about whether your business is offering something different. Always accept feedback as it will help you improve on your offering. Sometimes, it can be hard to hear, especially if it contradicts an idea you're really passionate about. Try to accept it in the spirit it's offered - it ultimately makes your product or brand better.

How do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a startup?

It’s not easy to find work/life balance, especially when you’re building your personal vision for your business. I haven’t 100% achieved it yet, but I try to make the most of my downtime and am working on not checking Slack, emails or Shopify late at night. Quality time with friends and family is always restorative for me, and I’ve recently started making time for Les Mills Bodycombat on my VR headset in the mornings. It sets me up for a long day of pitches, data analysis and growing HANX.

How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends and new technologies that could impact your business?

London is a great tech ecosystem, and I’m part of several founder communities which actively share updates and advice on emerging tech that could be a positive tool for the business. Aside from this, I’m a fan of Courier’s weekly newsletters - I love their super practical guides to everything from customer retention to HR for startups.

Thank you Riga TechGirls

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