Honeyfund’s CEO And Co-Founder, Sara Margulis

You’re organizing your dream marriage ceremony and an even dreamier honeymoon. When you and your companion set out to populate your wedding ceremony registry, you understand you already have all the dishes, modest appliances, and cocktail shakers you need – just after all, you’re the two grown ups. What you actually have to have is some time away collectively to start your life in a unforgettable fashion.

That is what took place to Sara Margulis and her fiancé Josh when they decided to talk to their marriage ceremony attendees to assist underwrite their honeymoon in lieu of gifts. They established their possess company to assistance many others do the same, and currently, Honeyfund is the most dependable dollars gifting website. The system has authorized 6 million givers to fund more than $640 million in items for extra than 1 million couples. I spoke with Sara about shifting occupations from advertising to tech start out-up, the Shark Tank result, hanging out on her individual, and balancing loved ones everyday living with running her own organization.

Shelley Zalis: You formerly worked as the affiliate director of promoting at Golden Gate College. How did you make a decision to make a career change and launch your have corporation at Honeyfund? What was your lightbulb second?

Sara Margulis: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I were engaged to be married and arranging our individual wedding day, and we had this dream of honeymooning somewhere exotic and significantly absent like Fiji to get away from the anxiety of two whole-time careers. But we didn’t have the resources just after spending for our very own marriage ceremony. So as a substitute of registering solely for conventional housewares, we designed a makeshift wish record for the expenses linked with our Fiji honeymoon – items like excursions, vacation resort evenings, island hopping flights, and many others. Our wedding attendees confused us with more than $5,000 in contributions, but far more importantly, they beloved the plan. They questioned us to make a thing like it for other partners. That is how Honeyfund was born.

I experienced just graduated with an MBA in marketing and my co-founder is a software engineer. I had been operating at Golden Gate College on internet marketing jobs these types of as the university’s new web-site, e-mail internet marketing plans, and a CRM implementation. We took the concept and enthusiasm from our very own wedding visitors, and all that specialist qualifications, and created and launched Honeyfund.com from our sofa.

SZ: How a lot prior expertise, if any, did you have in the startup industry right before launching Honeyfund? How did your time on Shark Tank catapult your journey?

SM: We have been in San Francisco in the early 2000s when the technological innovation startup boom was happening all all around us. We had pals at Twitter when it to start with introduced, for case in point. Neither of us truly experienced any direct practical experience in startups, but we could develop and manage jobs. And we the two experienced a aspiration of becoming monetarily impartial and acquiring a adaptable schedule so we could be there for our long run little ones.

In 2013 we had been living that aspiration: the business enterprise was supporting our family and we had all the adaptability we envisioned. We experienced purchased our aspiration residence and we experienced two healthy children who were being growing up in an idyllic city in Sonoma County, California.

When Shark Tank referred to as, we had to make a hard determination – do we grow outside of our life style organization and enter the planet of a rapid-growing startup? Taking on investment decision cash, being aware of exactly how we desired to deploy it, figuring out how to unlock the following period of development – all those ended up all unfamiliar to us. Beginning a little something is really distinct from increasing it.

Nevertheless, we felt it was the correct point to do for the Honeyfund model and our member community. So we used for the show and obtained solid. Our episode aired in October 2013 and it was a strike! Our web-site crashed from all the site visitors. We were so thrilled to have the awareness on the Honeyfund manufacturer. We knew that once men and women experienced heard of Honeyfund they liked the thought. So our Shark Tank overall look and the deal with Kevin O’Leary introduced us on to the national stage. This drove a ton a lot more targeted visitors and users, but it also brought us the notoriety to form higher-stage partnerships, this sort of as our registry integration with Goal.

SZ: What are the positive aspects and down sides that come with a occupation changeover and branching out on your possess to launch a business?

SM: We were being exceptionally blessed that Honeyfund was properly gained and grew itself to the point that we ended up capable to make a superior dwelling prior to becoming on Shark Tank. That was section just one of the changeover from operating for a person else to doing work for ourselves. It was what we had dreamed of. So we felt we have been taking pleasure in all the benefits of accomplishing our possess issue.

But the small business was expanding a lot quicker than we were. It necessary far more from us. We didn’t have sufficient employees to serve our couples and keep the web page. That released us into a progress stage that was actually difficult to discover how to manage – we didn’t have the working experience there. In the long run following a lengthy and winding highway, we split up and I purchased my co-founder out of the company. So that phase of development came with a ton of stress and challenges. And I felt pulled in so many directions as a mom, spouse, and organization proprietor. I stopped having treatment of myself and burned out. Then Covid hit and I confronted another substantial obstacle with the small business, this time alone at the helm. I experienced to take a very long seem in the mirror and talk to myself if I had what it usually takes to make sure Honeyfund could survive a 90% drop in revenues and a pandemic with no end in sight.

I made the decision to move up and do my ideal to retain the corporation heading for its members and personnel. I invested a ton in increasing as a chief, employed a management staff to deal with the growth, and clarified my function in the corporation. We introduced a crowdfunding campaign to invite our associates and gift givers to spend in the company’s future section of expansion. And we acquired as a result of! But those had been some of the toughest years of my lifestyle. Becoming accountable for a corporation, a team, and buyers – it is a huge load at instances.

Even so the opportunity to grow and become the leader of a little something impressive will come after in a life span – so the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks for me. I see it as a journey and I am at any time-evolving along the way.

SZ: In the past number of many years, there has been an expanding pattern of ladies leaving their careers to get started their personal businesses in the course of the Terrific Resignation. Based on your working experience, is there a “right” time or are there excellent instances for a occupation change?

SM: The pull among career and family members is so hard. In a whole lot of techniques, a task with a selected amount of hours that you can depart and occur residence is so significantly more healthy for that relatives harmony and your individual self-treatment than a begin-up. I would say there’s no correct time to begin your individual point if you are passionate about it just do it. But with this one caveat: gals with companions and/or children need to believe lengthy and difficult about the volume of time and focus they want to be capable to give their loved ones. And then dedicate what’s left to a new venture. All people will explain to you that you have to give 200% to a startup but that is definitely not genuine. And it will guide to burnout so speedy if you’re not cautious.

As an alternative, commence your enterprise with a crew that can give their complete concentrate. If you are holding the eyesight and plans, you can and should really reserve time for self-care and your family members. I know this can be so tricky to attain, but I’m a realist so I break it down like a uncomplicated math dilemma. I look at how numerous hrs I have in a week and I strive to first prioritize my own self-treatment, then my time with my young ones and partner, then my get the job done priorities.

I also take into account the seasonality of my business enterprise and my children’s school. Summer months is a terrific time to be in a position to give a small a lot more to little ones and a tiny less to the business. But if you are starting off a company (like mine) that has large summer season needs it could be tough. The crucial is receiving pretty true with yourself about how a lot of hours of concentration you are inclined to give to a new undertaking.

SZ: What information would you give to women looking to adjust their vocation but who sense discouraged or unsure of where by to start?

SM: I would say commence with a change toward the business or abilities you want to study and get genuinely very good at people whilst doing the job for anyone else with regular function hours, benefits, and pay back. Or sign up for a volunteer business. The moment you are assured in your expertise and know just how you will regulate your time and emphasis, then set up your new undertaking within individuals parameters.