photos courtesy of: The Refreshed Home and Bigswitch

Are you an entrepreneur? If you answered yes, then you are aware of the great deal of sacrifice required to raise your child business, which sometimes feels like forking over a pound of flesh. It doesn't have to feel that way. One company, The Founding Kit, "[helps] you get down to business."

When I launched Styled to Wearmy fashion styling business after which this blog is named that caters to designers and retailers in need of fashion editorial, lookbook and advertisement styling, as well as, women in need of personal styling and shopping services—I was quickly overwhelmed by tasks that required expertise outside of my practice area. I spent days re-drafting service agreement contracts, one head spinning day determining the best legal company structure and home state for my business, hours researching and interrogating insurance representatives, nights learning html code, a full week building my website, more time than I would like to confess agonizing over business card design and the list goes on; it still does. I did all this because my business savvy brain instructed me to stay lean. My goal was to use as little capital as possible without sacrificing quality, but I did sacrifice quality—quality of life.
illustration courtesy of: Inc. and Ruth Gwily

The entrepreneur “[struggling] through moments of near-debilitating anxiety” in Jessica Bruder’s article, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship,” was me. For months, I hardly slept, ate little and poorly, skipped out on exercise and failed to take care of basic needs like shaving my legs. I felt like a shell of a person drowning in a sea of tasks, meetings and client commitments. I learned a lot, served my clients well and experienced thrills along the way like when a model strikes THE pose or a client squeals in delight because of something I have chosen for her. At these moments, I would feel a rush of excitement much like when your stomach drops as a roller coaster car tips over the coaster’s highest peak to begin a staggering descent, except the descent was not fun because it gave way to deep troughs of frustration and grief. Achieving great outcomes for my clients could have been easier. I had and still have the support of my friends who together could run this world. Why wasn’t I tapping into their respective legal, marketing, coding, and entrepreneurial expertise to optimally run my company? Sadly, staying lean was not restricted to monetary concerns. I didn’t want to burden my friends with frequent questions, and I’m not the only start-up founder to walk this path. According to Bruder’s article, most entrepreneurs pay a damaging price by going this journey alone—some go as far as committing suicide. When is it time to call for help? May I suggest at the very beginning or when you are pulled in so many directions that you fear adding onto your commitments or begin to resent social events for stealing your time?

Recognizing the plight of the entrepreneur from being a serial entrepreneur herself, Brown educated former lawyer and TED Talks speaker, Jill Salzman and her co-founder, Kellog School of Management MBA graduate, Tamara Nolte created a service that meets two needs: speed to market and cost-effective helping hands. The Founding Kit offers two standard packages ranging from $350 to $650 per month and an a la carte option all of which include an army of carefully selected and vetted professionals and services hired to support subscribing entrepreneurs such as: an accountability partner to keep you on track and liaise between you and your service providers, attorney, virtual assistant, accounting guidance and software, business liability insurance consultation and more. Whether you are a lawyer or real estate professional building a sole practice, retail or tech start-up or whatever your heart desires, learn from my mistake and tap the resources The Founding Kit makes available to you. What’s more, it doesn’t matter what stage of development your small business is in because The Founding Kit services new and established businesses. If you want to succeed, you’ll enlist help so that you can more easily practice and perfect your craft and serve your clientele well or continue to make decisions to ensure the latter happens.
photo courtesy of: The Founding Kit

Kyle Wong, co-founder and CEO of Pixlee, an Andreessen Horowitz and XSeed Capital portfolio company, describes customer service as: “the single most important, yet unscalable priority that is vital to master before reaching scale.” In his Forbes article titled "Why Startups Should Prioritize Customer Service" Wong goes on to list benefits of: continually finding the best product-market fit, better understanding customer needs and use cases, converting prospects to clients, and honing your story among others, if you focus on delivering good customer service at the outset of your prospective client’s interaction with your company or brand. Good service reaps customer loyalty. That said, minimize distractions and get back to business with a kit of your own.
While The Founding Kit is not actively onboarding new service providers, Tamara and Jill are open to pitches. If you would like to become a service provider to their clients, contact The Founding Kit directly.

Disclosure: Tamara Nolte and I are fellow Boston College alumnae. I met her while playing in a Boston College Alumni sponsored softball game in summer 2013.

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