Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shanna Traphoner-Liu, Co-Founder, and CEO of bekome, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are bekome, and we start with a vision to help the world "bekome" a place where mental wellbeing is core to the human experience (and not easily punted to the back burner or seen as separate from physical health). To do that, we're starting by embedding mental wellbeing and anxiety reduction into the fabric of our most basic human need - nutrition. Why? It's a little-known fact that 90% of our serotonin (aka our happy hormones) is created in the gut, so our gut health and the nutrition we intake have a significant impact on the rest of our bodily functions, many of which contribute toward better mental health. So, we offer nutrition & supplementation support to our busy customers who struggle with anxiety and want more natural, homeopathic solutions to feel better, less anxious, and be their best selves every day.
Tell us about yourself
We're Shanna and Vanessa, co-founders of bekome. Shanna is a former management consultant who's a self-proclaimed introverted extrovert with a passion for all things wellness. Vanessa is a prior mental health non-profit founder who's a lover of learning, adventure, and food. We met while getting our MBA degrees at Northwestern Kellogg and bonded over our shared passion for mental health and deeply personal experiences with anxiety and mental health in general. This led us to find bekome.
Both of our mental health journeys have been decades-long and winding, and in recognizing how difficult these paths have been, we thought it was about time that people could access mental wellbeing solutions with ease, comfort, and a sense of community. In the months and years to come, we hope to grow our company into that community for our customers - one where they come to learn more, feel better, and track progress, so they truly feel in the driver's seat of their own mental wellbeing journeys. Each step we take and milestone we accomplish toward achieving this motivates us to keep going and persevering, especially in this space where there's always more to learn and more room for innovation.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment has realized the impact we're having on our customers, who come back month after month to continue partnering with bekome on their mental health journeys. Recently, we heard from a customer that our products are helping them to "feel more connected with moments of joy and happiness than [they] have in months." This truly made our day and helped to validate the WHY behind what we're here to do.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Recognizing that some challenges and obstacles are truly out of our control, we have to keep being creative with how to work around those obstacles with a good attitude to make the impact we want to make for the people who need us most.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Persevere with Conviction: Entrepreneurship is hard. The journey is full of peaks and valleys, but if you are passionate about the problem that you want to solve and have a conviction that you are the right person/team to solve it, you can make magic happen.
- Focus on Your Customer: Talk to your customers, truly understand their pain points and why they feel and do the things they do, and then build your company and products around what really meets your customers' needs (not just what you think will work without talking to them).
- Build a Support Network: Entrepreneurship isn't just hard; it can often be lonely, which is why it's so important to build a team that aligns with your values and a network of mentors and peers who are willing to help (and you're willing to contribute back to as well). Sometimes, it truly is about who you know.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It's okay not to be okay, and it's okay to feel anxious. But if you think you need help managing your anxiety, we are here for you! Check us out at https://joinbekome.co.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.