March 30, 2023

Episode 217: Stefanie Sample, CEO & Founder of Fundid

Stefanie Sample is a serial entrepreneur, expert marketer, and efficient operator. In April 2021, she founded Fundid as a non-technical, non-banking background, solo entrepreneur, based in Montana.  With a mission to make growth possible for all business owners, regardless of their size, Fundid has quickly emerged as a trusted financial partner to the smallest business owners.  Fundid attracts customers who are currently being left out of a broken financial system by saying yes to supporting their growth when others are saying no. Prior to Fundid, she has proven herself with an impressive track record of business accomplishments.  Whether starting, buying or selling companies, Stefanie has repeatedly leveraged her marketing and operations skills to create scalable business efficiency. Stefanie is also an advisory board member of a mid-market bank, co-created an accelerator program for startups, and has been a trusted advisor to many companies looking to grow.

Stefanie enjoys representing women business owners and speaking about the solutions that will unlock their potential in a world built for men.  She is an avid skier, trail runner and went on to compete in an ironman.  These days she can be found spending her free time teaching her girls to ski the trees and summers camping by Montana lakes.

Julian: Hey everyone. Thankyou so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast. Today we have StefSample, CEO and founder of Fundid. Fundid is redefining how small businessesunderstand and access capital. Steph, I'm so excited to have you on the show today.Not only to understand you as a founder and, and the growth that you've, you'veseen not only your company have, but you as, as an individual as well but alsothis whole kind of ecosystem around small businesses as they're becoming evenmore and.

I think we've seen a trend in peoplewanting to be involved in small businesses, whether it's locally or eveninternationally, or globally. Just, helping others who are building or creatingreally unique things to, to give them patronage and kind of foster theecosystem. But there's obviously a huge problem with, finance and capital asyou're growing and building a small.

That, I think is imperative to thesuccess of it, and I'm so excited to hear about how Fundid is helping themaddress that and also how they're helping, businesses grow and scale over time.But before we get into all that, with Fundid, what were you doing before youstarted the company?

Stefanie: Great question. I wasa small business owner so I became a small business owner right out of college,actually in college still, so at 22. So, I've been doing all sorts of smallbusinesses for the last 15 years. I've been in franchises, bought companies,started 'em from scratch, sold 'em, all of it.

Julian: Wow. And thinkingabout that whole experience around small businesses, I'm assuming it was, itwas a very intimate, kind of custom relationship and, and how do you build thatas a small business? Say if you have a product or service that people have tomeet you at versus, it's a little bit different when you're selling somethingthat's online because.

it's, it's a little bit easier todistribute. Comes with the selling challenges, of course, but for other smallbusiness out there, how do you essentially kind of tackle gaining customers,retaining customers, and thinking about growing a business and, and doing thatefficiently and, and, and successfully?

Stefanie: Yeah, I mean, I've,I've seen so many different approaches, but the one thing I love about smallbusiness owners is it's so relational. So your first customers, you usuallyalready know 'em, right? , you're really good at a thing. Say marketing.Everyone in your community knows you're good at marketing and you put out yourshingle and say, Hey, I'm gonna now do this for other people.

Generally those first customers knowyou. And so that ability to use network effects and those happy customersselling others it's actually a great way to grow a business and so many smallbusinesses aren't looking to. Be billion dollar companies. So that's a reallysustainable way to grow. Mm-hmm. , I would say, if anything, like learning howto grow where you have to be at scale, venture back, that kind of thing is somuch harder.

So much harder than small businessgrowth.  

Julian: Yeah. And thinkingabout just the relational aspect is. . I, I think a lot of small businessowners may have some anxiety thinking about retaining customers and keepingthat, level of service high. And what are some ways that you've seen smallbusiness owners do so successfully in kind of this whole retention piece, whichis, which is huge, you gain customers, but then keeping them around, what do Ineed to do?

What do I need to focus on? What do Ineed to measure in, in the event so I can see what's working and what's not?  

Stefanie: Sure. I mean, what'sso great is just being a good human goes a long way. being a small businessowner. But the, I think though, it's like we all know in a, in a basic way, bea good human, be reasonable.

But then when it's like your businessand you're stressed about finances or you're stressed about payroll, or yourbusiness is barely making it mm-hmm. , it's really easy to start making somereally dumb decisions. Yeah. When a customer's not happy, like digging in yourheels and trying to like retain them against their will versus trying to findthe common denominator and solution.

So like I say it and it's like, be agood human and you'll figure it out. But I also understand the flip side of it,of like the stress of being a business owner and how it leads you to not bejust a reasonable person. Yeah, yeah. But I do think like, especially smallbusiness ownership because it's so small.

The, like how you were saying like, it'sso intimate. You usually are a phone call away from your customer. It's evenmore important to just be a great communicator, talk to your customers, makethem feel like they can come to you and talk to you about problems. Mm-hmm. andthen trying to find a common solution that will go so far, not just retention, right.

But then that also leads to themrecommending you to other potential customers. Yeah. But it seems so simple. Iget it. Yeah. I think it's magic.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. And, andthinking about, I think one thing, I'm particularly interested about in termsof small business aspect and, and that kind of dynamic is finding, importantthings like pricing and what people are really able to, in terms of like thevalue that they want to or that they kind of value your product to your serviceapp.

And finding where that common ground is,because I think a. Small businesses may not investigate a little bit more so ofways that they can maximize, the value that they're, that they're giving totheir, their customer, but also the return on that value in how they feel thatit is. The appropriate amount that they feel is, is worth that product orservice.

How do you, how, how have you seencompanies do so successfully and, and in terms of ways that they can evaluatenot only how much they, they should price their product good or service, butalso maybe loyalty programs and thing around things around that. What have youseen successful and what have you seen that.

Isn't so successful in thatecosystem.  

Stefanie: Sure. . Yeah. There'sa couple things here that I see. So small businesses with service companiesthat's like a very unique individual, they tend to underprice themselves. Andbecause it's an interesting mindset, it's this idea of like, like back to themarketer, I'm a really good marketer.

I'm gonna put out my shingle and do iton my own now. And so often the line you hear from small business owners islike, if I could just make X. Then I would make the same amount in my job. Andso if you think about a lot of super small business owners, especially soleproprie, , all they're really trying to do is make the same amount they did atwhatever job they were at, but on their own.

And so they say like, oh, I could, Icould be $40 an hour because then I would only have to work 20 hours a week.And I'd make the same as I did before. I think that's wrong. It's, it's notselling your value correctly. It's not building in the, the overhead costs. Theupkeep of clients and retention and stuff.

But it's how people usually start andthen they evolve over time and price differently. The other side of that, onthe product side, especially in super tiny businesses, which is who we serveat, Fundid so let's flip over to like the Etsy owner. You'll see them a lot oftimes priced based on material costs and they because these are usually likeside hustles or.

They have a hard time factoring in thecost of their time. So they'll think, oh, I'm building this product a candle,let's say, and all my material costs were $9. I'm in a charge, 15. I'm soexcited. I can't believe I made money. But then they never factored in the timeit actually took them to make that candle.

Yeah. But you know, at the end of theday, like all those things are like good to think about and look at, but somuch of pricing comes down to the market, right. If you have a competitorselling something similar and they're undercutting you you either have to beable to like really clearly show how you add additional value or you end upbeing drugged down to that pricing too.

It's a hard one to overcome though,especially for these tiny businesses because if you think about it very few ofthem are using like solid data to figure out their pricing. . So you could, asa business owner, be competing against someone else that isn't even makingmoney and they don't even realize it yet.

That is like the market which you haveto price yourself against. Or tech companies, they're, I'm sure they're soannoying to small business owners, right? Like we've gotta be the most annoyingcompetitors out there where we literally like knowingly lose money on thingsand undercut these other businesses, probably providing 'em at not even thathigh of a margin.

Julian: Yeah. It's sofascinating thinking about the, the, like the analytics of figuring out yourpricing against the market. And I mean, that that what you said, that was ahuge triggering point where it's like you might even be comparing yourself tosomebody else who's undervaluing their product or their service and notoperating at an efficient pricing as well.

So that's, that's a fascinating kind of,I guess, I guess, Reality of it because of, of what small business owners haveto do to really understand the value of, of what they're serving. And speakingof, the small business owner and, and small business owner and, and what theirexperience is, talk about Fundid, what inspired you?

Obviously you were a small businessowner. I'm sure you were met with some challenges that that inspired you aswell, but what else was kind of a catalyst? Focusing your attention solely onFundid and, and building a platform that really enables and supports smallbusiness owners to build successful businesses.

What was the inspiration behind it andwhat did you, yeah. What was the initial problem you were looking to solve?.  

Stefanie: Sure. Yeah. Like, likeI said, I've been a business owner for 15 years. Being a business owner alwayshas unique challenges and everyone's met with a different set. It doesn'tmatter who you are, there's challenges, right?

Yes. I was coming into Covid, I hadexited a brand that I had built who one of the larger owners in a franchiseconcept. I was, found myself with time on my hands. Not a lot. I had actuallytwo other businesses at the time too, but more time than I've been used to. AndCovid was going on and there were all these articles in the news about thetiniest businesses being left out.

If you'll remember, the first round ofthe PPP loans were not available to sole proprietors. There was a lot of talkabout how the tiniest businesses didn't even have a chance to get that funding.and I just remember kind of, I'd already had a nonprofit that I was doing thatwas helping women entrepreneurs, which is something I've always been passionateabout.

And then watching what was going on inthe news to the smallest businesses. And it just kind of had this feeling oflike, to serve this problem, you have to have people that are just likediehards about the purpose of it, not, not people trying to build companies tobe profit. I think there's profitable solution here, but I really care aboutthis segment and.

Yeah, I don't wanna sit on thesidelines. I wanna be part of the solution. I wanna see if there's a way inwhich we can help these tiny businesses. And I really didn't know how, like IFor sure, I know we're 100% sure. I've never in my life wanted to be a techfounder. I've never even wanted the founder. I always thought it was like sillyas a business owner.

All these like people running aroundcalling themselves founders, and I'm like, what is that? Or I definitely wasn'tlike the biggest fan of the venture world. Sure. Like it would make fun of itall the time. But when Yeah, which is hilarious. . So when I started talking tomy network about like, how do you serve the smallest businesses?

What have you learned, what are thechallenges? Because turns out there's a lot of great reasons why smallbusinesses are so hard to fund, like really good reasons. Wow. So it's not thatsomeone was just like being like, oh, we just don't care about them. It'schallenging. . So when I really started having those conversations I realizedit has to be done at scale because it's low margin and to do things at scale,you do it through technology.

So I'm kind of an accidental tech ceo.Let's not even call me a founder. Like, let's laugh when we say founder with myname . But yeah, it was just like the right path to try to solve this problem.Yeah. So it's the path I ended up taking.

Julian: Yeah. I, I love theaccidental. Founder, haha ceo. Because it, it is pretty much, a lot of, a lotof founders on the show have been in a similar experience, but they're running,they see this problem in the market and they realize tech is just a solutionbecause of it's just, it's low, low operating cost.

If it's something, you can do online orhave on a, on a cloud, and they're just, it's becoming more and more accessibleto give resources through technology. And I wanna come back on that, but for asecond I'd love to get some. What were some of, you've mentioned there's somegood reasons why companies don't fund or help small businesses, and what arethose reasons and, and have you seen ways that small businesses can kind ofprepare themselves so that they're have a better chance at accessing thoseresources?

So, I know two questions there, but whatare some of the common reasons why it is, rightly so, that they, they can't besupportive, but also what are some ways that they can, find them, findthemselves to prepare themselves to find support?  

Stefanie: Yep. Yeah. Well, the,the first thing is that our financial system was not built to fund withoutassets, specifically in commercial lending.

So if you look at the banks out there,they're always lending against some assets. So if you don't have an asset,usually a home to leverage, you're already out of the market. And that includesthe sba. Like let's, let's be real here and acknowledge that we all think theSVA is the lender that is like the one that serves the overlooked and under.

They are not doing loans without youleveraging a home. So if you don't have a home, you're still left out andunderserved. So it's like the system was built that way. We, we believe thatassets are the way in which to extend risk to an individual. The other thing isthat a lot of the new businesses being started our, our asset light.

So it's like, okay, so say you do havean asset to leverage and you are able to get a loan for ongoing capital thatdoesn't. Continuing to leverage your personal home and your personal credit,you have to have a business in which the banking system values you as an assetthat you're building. So if you think about it, if the majority of smallbusinesses in the us that are under a million dollars in revenue areprofessional services, we're talking about 26 million businesses that don'thave.

Because professional services sometimesyou could argue that your contract is an asset or whatever, but the reality is,is in all those contracts is a clause that says if you are to sell yourbusiness, we have the right to maybe cancel our contract. Wow. So the idea toevaluate those businesses as something that is sellable is really hard.

In the US we still have a lot of limitedcash flow based lending, so, a lot of like the community banks and all ofthose, they aren't looking at cash flow as a way to extend capital to thosebusinesses. Right. So then the hard truth that I've learned is what smallbusiness owners can do.

Today. I mean, of course Fundid is hereto solve this. We are, we. that bringing together both data and behavior is a bigpart of the solution. But in today's environment where that's not as commonand, and not available what small business owners can do is realize that theirpersonal credit score matters.

Sure. No one told me that. Right. Thatwould've been really good to know as a 22 year old thinking about starting abusiness, like, oh, hey, like I might actually check what my credit score is,do some kind of credit building product. For me personally, because in earlydays of businesses, that's all the financial system really has to go off of, isthat individual's credit worthiness and so it's like, oh, interesting.

I would've thought as a new businessowner that there was some sort of score I should care about that's related tomy business. That's not actually the case. And even today there are now likecredit building products for business. But like the truth is, is no oneactually uses those. Like, like show me a lender.

That lens solely off of some businesscredit score. That's some arbitrary thing that I'm sure that credit bureauswould hope we all adopt, but we have not. So your personal credit matters andcapital's really important. So thinking about the business you're trying tocreate and knowing if you, if you really do have that kind of capital or accessto. is super important. Yeah, there are of course other ways, but it'shard.  

Julian: Yeah. Are smallbusinesses typically doing it with just liquid cash or, or lines of credit?What are some of the ways that they're able to work around it to even. To justsurvive or extend their ability to service their customers because thetransaction cycles aren't always immediate.

They might take a month, they might taketwo months, the sales cycles in that process.

Stefanie: Yeah, I know. It's sopainful and I mean, it's like I talk about it so bluntly, but this is like sopainful to me and what I'm like, I've set my whole life around trying to solvethis for them because there aren't a lot of good.

Most small businesses are funding theirbusiness with their existing customers and their personal finances. The greatthing about being ultra small is you really can get a long way off of onecustomer. Like it's almost like if you're, let's go back to marketing. You're agreat marketer. You have a friend that wants to hire you for their company.

and you could calculate, okay, if theyhire me and I could get $5,000 a month, it's worth quitting my job for it, andthen I could figure out my next customer. You really can, bootstrap it in thatway and that that's great. But yeah, personal finances are a really big deal.Lines of credit you actually usually can't get early on, like they're lookingfor revenue and nine months in business.

There are, like, I think CDFIs, whichare an alternative lender, are really great, and then there's alternativecapital lenders out there. But the, they're high interest. And the cost ofcapital is really high when you're new in, in being a business owner. So youreally are like, having to be in a place where you're willing to bet onyourself and know that like, okay, I'm okay with this classic capital.

because I know the capital cost ofcapital in the future will be lower.  

Julian: Yeah. And describeFundid and how are you kind of servicing the, the small business owner, theecosystem, and, and really how you're able to, give them the capital that theyneed and, and, non-traditional ways that they've been having access to before.

Describe the product a little bit andhow you're solving that problem for small business owners. .  

Stefanie: Absolutely. So atFundid, we're solely focused on micro businesses, which are defined asbusinesses with under 10 employees. That accounts for the majority of smallbusinesses. Actually, it's, it's actually crazy that 26 million of the 32million small businesses in America have under 10 employees.

Yet there are so few solutions for thissegment. So the, the first and foremost way we solve for this audience is thatit's all we're focusing on. And it's all we'll ever focus on because it's suchan important part of our mission and what and what we wanna accomplish in theworld, how we do it. One is, is just focusing on it, but two ways today.

So the first product we launched is afree platform for any small business owner where they could come on and findgrants. So business grants and business capital and resources that theyqualify. We recognize that business grants are actually a great solution forthe tiniest, newest businesses. Yeah.

And yet they're really hard to find andit's kind of a disaster. So we, we built the marketplace to make it searchableand easy to find those grants, give the business owner the information theyneed on those grants to know if they qualify, and then show them how to applyfor those. So that's been really cool.

And then in our lending marketplace, wepartner. with lenders that specifically are looking to serve this audience,which means we're actually partnered with a lot of non-profit lenders or CDFIsthat are lending off of some social mission over it being like a, a financialmodel. So with that, we're able to get interest rates down lower.

We're able to get a credit scorerequirements lower. We're able to get new businesses. So we tried to likeuniquely create a marketplace around where these businesses are so they aren'twasting their time applying for things they would never qualify for. And thenas of January, so just a couple months ago, we launched our, our firstfinancial product that's our own, which is our business building card.

So our card product, which is abusiness. charge card, sorry. We see as the on-ramp into business finance forthese businesses. So we kind of view it as we are building their very firsttrue business financial product and that highly likely this user is using ourpersonal credit card and then switching to ours.

Yeah. The product, what makes us uniqueis that we'll underwrite and give this product out to. Brand new businesses andall formation types, including sole proprietors which is, new businesses andsole props are like the two segments no one wants to touch. Yeah. So that'sreally what we're building this product for.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. Tell us alittle bit about the traction. How many, how many businesses have you been ableto help up to now? And then what's particularly exciting about the next kind ofmilestones that you're, that you're seeing ahead of this year and, and theyears? .  

Stefanie: Yeah, absolutely. Sowe have 30,000 people in our community that we're helping find Grants capitaland everything for, we have 14,000 people on our business building card waitlist, and then we're slowly onboarding right now.

So we are just now inviting people fromour wait list to convert to cardholders. Like I said, we like just launched theproduct. Eager to get it in market, but also eager to learn and create a betterproduct alongside of our users and figure out how to add the most value tothem. Over this next year, we'll be, we're focused on two things.

One, getting our wait lists onto theproduct, of course, but more than that is getting the product right for thesegment. The most exciting thing about inviting people on is the ability tolearn from them and really underst. What are these business owners pain pointsspecifically in finance? And how can we create our product roadmap aroundsolving those for them?

So I think we're in a learning phase.The thing I complain about all the time is I, I care so deeply about thissegment, right? Like I care about them. I didn't really care about being a techfounder. I love being an entrepreneur, but it just kind of feels like neverenough. We have to do better our products at the start line, and I'm justreally looking forward to the day where I feel like super proud of the waywe're serving them, and we still have a long ways to go before I could reallysay I'm proud.

Julian: Yeah, yeah. What aresome of the biggest challenges that Fundid faces today?  

Stefanie: Oh, endless. I mean,we're in like the craziest market ever. No, I think you know, there, like Isaid, there's a lot of good reasons why small businesses are hard to serve. Themargin's really low. You have to do it at scale, at volume.

I would say the sentiment of theinvestor market right now is they're looking for easy hits. I would say. Thisis not an easy hit this. A long term scalable solution. So that's challenging.But honestly, like, I think getting the word out there, finding these smallbusinesses. A challenge, not, not because we aren't good at it, we are good at it,but because there's so many businesses that start every single day and like theday before, they knew nothing about business finance.

So it's like, how do we make sure thatthey have the information they need? We just wanna make sure like word gets outand that they get the right help that they. And then, we're a tiny team. Likewe're doing all of this with seven people. Seven really passionate, awesomepeople, but still, we're a tiny team trying to serve a lot of people at once,so trying to figure out how to prioritize our time, how to prioritize ourroadmap, just it's all challenging.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. And, andif everything goes though, what's the long term vision for Fundid?  

Stefanie: Yeah. Ultimately wewanna redefine how small businesses access capital. What that means to us is wewanna change an entire industry of how they view this. Not just a segment ofpeople that happen to come onto our platform and happen to use our card.

So, long term we hope to come up with asolution that a lot of people can use to help all the new small businessowners, not just the people that are partnering with us.  

Julian: Yeah, that'sincredible. And I love this next section. I call it my Founder FAQs. And I'mgonna give you some rapid fire questions and, and we'll see where we go.

But first question is, looking into yourbackground, and there's a couple things that you pointed out that I think are,are just challenges that any founder would face in similar positions. You You,you're a non-technical founder, you come from a non-banking background, butbeing that there's so much access to information and resources, what has led tothe success with Fundid thus far?

Is it something internally personallythat, that you're extremely good at, or, or is it access to new technologywould in particular, help you kind of overcome what, what a lot of peoplewould. , would stop them from, say, starting a, a, a tech company. But in yourcase, it almost, I, I don't know, inspired you or propelled you forward intothat.

What, what would you attest to the, theability to overcome kind of the, the non-traditional aspects of being afounder, but, moving on and, and servicing a customer and a client that you'reparticularly, I think intimately and as an expert, have a lot of knowledgearound.  

Stefanie: Yeah. Well, I thinkyou just hit it like, I know this audience better than most people do.

It's been my community, my wholeprofessional life. Yeah. And it happens like 98% of all women owned businessesdo have under 10 employees. And I'm not sure if you've like, surveyed theFinTech scene, but there's not a lot of like, women like me doing this in it. .Yeah. So I uniquely know this audience.

I, and I'm able to speak to them andmeet them where they're at. Like, I. our content speaks their language. It'sguiding, it's helpful, it's encouraging. That I think that's, that's reallyimportant. Like, we work really hard to not be a tech company to make sure ourwebsite feels warm and inviting and that the people on it feels supported.

But we are, we are really good contentmarketers. I will say that, that is unique about our company. Yeah. And we weactually, all of our user signups, well actually mostly all, not anymore, comefrom organic search.  

Julian: It's impressive and,and thinking about content and, and being at the stage your company is what hasbeen successful and, and what has been not successful in the early stage forother founders out there who are testing different kind of strategies aroundcontent and marketing and getting that level of, of interest from people whohave, like you said, no clue on, on even business finance as a function ofsmall businesses, but also and Fundid in in the resources.

What has been successful and what hasnot been so successful in terms of strategies around marketing?  

Stefanie: Yeah. I was justreflecting on this, while it was super nice to start marketing early and toraise our seed off of that success, it was also a waste of money. I kind ofregret it in some ways.

Like we had to spend a lot of money overthe last year where we could have just focused on building a product and hadour heads down and been off the map. So pros and cons of that. I think thatthere's something like comforting when you know your marketing's working. Soyeah, that's what I did. And that's my background.

So I spent a lot of on mar marketing tobuild up a good brand. Maybe I should have focused more on the product. I don'tknow, like to be determined if that was smart or not. One of the biggestmistakes I made was I didn't have a technical co-founder or an in-housetechnical team. I used an outsource team.

By far that was my biggest mistake. Iwould, if I could do it over, I would never do it that way again. I didn'tknow, like I, I wasn't from this world, so it will for sure be my biggestlesson. I think we've solved that now, but, Definitely biggest mistake was I shouldhave had a technical team from day 1.

Julian: Yeah, it's interestingand, and it works so many different ways, but the, the, the whole building theteam and finding the right, people to, to, not only build and be passionateabout the product, but also accomplish the, the milestones and be almostaccountable, right? For, for that, what they need to accomplish.

But I'm thinking about back, I think Iasked the question earlier and I'm curious even more so in terms of preparationand ways that small business owners can, whether. Think about parts of theirbusiness in a certain way so that they can communicate it, kind of configuringtheir story, understanding their brand.

What are some ways that small businessowners can prepare themselves too? Like I, I think I asked this earlier, accesscapital or access these resources so that they become rather than, a riskyinvestment, but one that, that may have light assets, but, but it reasonably,has a lot of future promise and, and potential revenue that they can earn.

What are some ways small business ownerscan prepare themselves and communicate that to.

Stefanie: Yeah, I mean, again,your personal credit matters as a small business owner. So watching yourpersonal credit really matters. And one thing I do wanna call out is so manysmall business owners aren't actually looking to grow.

That's like the interesting thing aboutbeing now in something that's venture backed, but serving small businessowners. , I feel like I always have to explain that to investors specificallyof like, they aren't trying to get to a billion dollars. They're like trying tohave a job. But I think in accessing capital, one thing that helped me earlyon, I was not a finance major, but I always owned my business finances.

I learned, I watched videos. It is soimportant to being lendable. Like you have to be able to talk intelligentlyabout your business. Finances. It's a horrible thing to outsource, especiallyin their early days because you just learn so much. You learn about what you'respending money on that you shouldn't.

So I'm a, I'm a really big believer inlike managing your own finances. Yeah. And not outsourcing it in the early daysfor the super small business owner.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. That's agreat. . Thinking about you as a founder and, and your kind of day to day,what's particularly hard about your job?

Stefanie: Oh, everything. No, Ican . Honestly, I've had a blast. I, my job is really hard emotionally,decision wise. There's very real consequences to the decisions I make. But atthe end of every day I generally go home and. . I really think what I'm doingschool, I'm learning a lot. I'm working with really intelligent, awesomepeople.

I love my community, I love myinvestors, so I have a lot that's super positive. But there's just thisemotional burden of being a founder and CEO in a world that is incrediblylonely. It feels like you carry the weight of your decisions, not only foryourself, but for your investors, for your employees.

I really care about all of these peoplein my life. So. . Carrying that burden on behalf of the team is, it's a lot forme. It's really draining.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Andthinking about, the, the founder experience and what you have to do kind of dayto day, what's something, I always like to ask this question cuz I think everyfounder has an answer to this, but what's something you spend too much time onand what's something that you would like to spend more time on?

Stefanie: Sure. , I think Ispend too much time asking people for money and building like investorrelations. I have amazing investors. I love it. But it, it really is like,especially coming from being a small business owner where I spent none of mytime on that. Mm-hmm. , I can look at my life over the last 15 years and seehow it's more productive building a company than, than having to always like beselling this idea of the company.

Yeah. So something I wish I could spendmore of my time on is, well, specific to right now is the technical side. I'vefound it really fascinating. I've never been around engineers before, butthere's all these things that they do that are so interesting to me and soaligned with how I'm programmed. Whether it be, I don't know, like all of theirdifferent systems and processes I don't know.

I just think that part is really cool inthe structure. The idea of like how to build an efficient product roadmap andmake decisions is super interesting to me. But of course, like the real answeris that's not an efficient use of my time either. I just find it interesting.I, I need to be able to spend more of my time on being more strategic andlong-term thinking and figuring out how to bring that long-term vision intomonthly actions.

Yeah. And it's just so hard cuz you getso busy, you sit in so many zooms and then if you do have time in yourcalendar, it almost feels selfish to use it for thinking and, and beingstrategic. Yeah. Yeah. So I really need to be better at that.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. Switchingbetween, the operation and task orientation versus, kind of, taking a step backand looking at the long term vision and, and the value set and thinking aboutthe direction of EV that everyone needs to go.

Is an, I feel like an underserved partof, of, of building a company and but the most necessary when you're thinkingabout where you're going and where you're headed. And it's, I'm glad you saidthat cause I feel like a lot of founders they acknowledge it but you know, itneeds to be more spoken up about and so interesting to hear your perspective onthat.

I always like to ask this question causeI love how founders kind. Ingest knowledge and take knowledge and extractknowledge from anything that they're that they find and, and, and read and and,and observe. But what's something, whether you think back early in your careeror even now what are books or people that have influenced you the most?

Stefanie: Oh, that's sointeresting. So, well people for sure my husband, so my husband became anentrepreneur at a really young age when he took over his family business madeit his own and then went and built it and he's. One of the best leaders I'veever been around. He cares so deeply about people. He's such a great operator.

And we've mostly talked about businessfor 17 years together. And I've mostly learned a lot from him because he's,he's my opposite. I, his skillset is very different than mine. Books and stuff.I'm actually not super big into books especially that tell you how to do thingsbecause I think the entrepreneurial journey is so unique and yeah, is such a, ajourney in general.

But I did recently read the Obstacle isthe Way and the Hard Thing about hard things. Yeah. Which is unusual that Ijust read two books, so like I don't normally do that. I thought those arereally interesting. I love the idea of the obstacle and the way in particularthe. Leaning into hard times and spinning them in your favor and figuring outthe best path through.

But the thing that stuck out to me themost about that book was essentially, it's like all these chapters that areabout leaning into hard things and overcoming them. But then at the very end ofthe book, there's this chapter on kind of this idea of God willing or in my, Iguess I would say like releasing it to the universe Yeah.

Of this idea that you could doeverything right, cha like lean into every obstacle. , but there's this elementthat none of us could put our finger on that we maybe call luck that is at playtoo. Sure. And so, that's the thing, I think specifically for founders and CEOslike knowing that. Is what allows us to sleep at night.

Because if that weren't true, there'sjust so much stress to always carry  

Julian: yeah. Yeah. That's so,that's so well said. I always like to, know, make sure we, we, before weobviously we're coming to the close of the episode, but before we end and askfor all your, where to find you and things like that always like to ask thisquestion.

Is there anything that, is there anyquestion that I didn't ask you or anything that you would've wanted me to askyou? Anything come to mind?  

Stefanie: I don't think so. Ithink maybe understanding small businesses in the US cuz it's reallyfascinating. So some things I always like to share is that there's 32, 30 3million small businesses in the US and that's a very vague loose term cuz a lotof us would argue the ones on the higher end are, are large businesses.

Yeah. Of those. The majority, over 80%have under 10 employees. 73% I know, and 73% are sole proprietors. So, the USeconomy is built on tiny, tiny businesses that are constantly overshadowed by,, magical giant companies. But it's not our economy. Our economy really isbuilt on small businesses and these people generally are solving a problem theyhave or utilizing a skill set they have.

And one thing that I always think issuper fascinating about small business owners is this idea of necessityentrepreneurship. So when you look at women owned businesses, it like the themag. It was like the entirety of women-owned businesses due under a milliondollars in revenue. Yeah, it's like 98%.

So almost the entire market. But whenyou ask women's small business owners how they got into it, more than any othercase, it's usually from some sort of necessity. Either the existing corporateworld of America pushed them out of the job market when they had kids, and so inorder to accommodate being a caretaker, they had to create their own.

or they saw a problem that they went tosolve, but Seldomly do they say that they've always wanted to be a businessowner. So I think that's interesting.  

Julian: Yeah. It's so fascinatingthinking about how ju just the, the volume of small business owners and alsothe circumstances that lead them into, and a lot of people think like, andpeople make a choice.

And they, they see something in themarket, they're super passionate about it, but oftentimes it's like, I havethis problem, it needs to be solved. Nobody else can do it. So I'm gonna throwmyself into it and, and invest so much time and resources into, but it's alsoinspiring for those who are maybe even dealing with those challenges to, tohear that other people are doing it.

And, and I can do it as. Which is, whichis very empowering and, and I love that. Last little bit is where can we findyou? Where can we find Fundid? Tell us all your plugs. I know we're coming tothe close, so let us know as an audience where we can support you. Give us yourLinkedIns, Twitters websites.

Where can we find and support, not onlyFundid, but you staff as a founder? Or see, sorry. Well, . ,  

Stefanie: that's right. SoFundid. You can find us online at It's G E T F U N D I D. Ofcourse Fundid us on all the social channels for me. I'm only on LinkedIn. Idon't do social otherwise. So that's really easy.

And Stefanie sample on LinkedIn.  

Julian: Amazing. Steph is soamazing learning about your experience as a small business owner. What led. To,to, to build, Fundid, how you're building Fundid and, and what your mission andyour drive is about, the, the, the problem that you're solving and givingpeople access.

And it's exciting, especially hearingthe volume of small business owners the impact that Fundid can have in a hugemarket. And, and the different resources. You're, you're, you're, you'reallowing them to have. So Steph, it's been such a pleasure chatting with you. Ihope you enjoyed yourself on Behind Company Lines, and thank you so much forbeing on the show today.  

Stefanie: Thank you.  

Julian: Of course.

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