Over the past year, we’ve worked with multiple clients who have appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. Shefit is our OG Shark Tank client, the one who opened up the world of Shark Tank through watch parties, covering episodes live on social media and the infamous “Shark Tank effect.” We’ve been on quite a ride with them and are coming up on our one-year anniversary working together.
We talk with Sara Marie of Shefit about our working relationship, being an entrepreneur and the pressures faced when you’re in the tank.
What do you enjoy about working with us?
The team approach and the collaboration that 834 provides is great for us. The 834 team is involved in several PR, design and marketing aspects and have been great with helping dial us in and move us forward. As a small business owner, I appreciate the attention to detail that 834’s team brings to the table. If I overlook something, the 834 team helps review and ensure that everything is in its place. But they’re not all left-brained, though. When we collaborate and brainstorm, the ideas generated are great. And if, for some reason, something isn’t working, they’re willing to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm something new. They go the extra mile. That means a lot to me – especially because I’m not always the easiest to work with, as running my business keeps my mind going a mile-a-minute in a million different directions. They recognize that and have worked with me to bring me back to the table and move us all forward.
Not to mention, the team is a strong mix of powerful women, which is great for our brand. Their team really becomes involved in the brand and becomes brand-champions even outside of their offices. They’ve all been amazing.
How have we helped your business?
The 834 team has taken ownership and really helped carry their weight, and then some. Our small internal team simply didn’t have the time or bandwidth for our high-level of social media and PR needs. I’m confident in the work 834 is doing. I know I’m in good hands, it’s peace of mind. Plus, the Shefit community is more engaged and loves the content we share. 834 is helping us become relevant thought leaders, as many women consider our social channels a source of great information for all things health and fitness related. That, and the PR and earned media, does a lot for our business in both credibility and sales.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
Well, it’s not for everyone. It is constant work, it never stops. Most of the time, I’m ending my day exhausted, yet looking to find a few extra hours in the day to do even more. It is not easy and I frequently feel I’m missing out on a lot. But the passion I have for what we are doing at Shefit – and the solution our product provides to so many women – is what drives me to push though even the hardest days. When you hit that patch of rough days, all it takes is a testimony or a customer call or email to reminds me of why I’m meant to keep pushing. When a woman says she’s run for the first time, felt more confident being active than ever before or changed her life because of our product, it is entrepreneur gold. On top of all that, my four little girls look up to me, and I never want them to think it’s OK to quit – or worse, to never try something for fear of failure. I want them to know that if they have a dream, they should do all they can to make it come true. That is what I love about being an entrepreneur, I’m making my dreams come true.
What is the biggest challenge of entrepreneurship?
On top of all the above challenges, entrepreneurship means never being able to just leave it at work, because work never stops. Work is your passion, it’s in your blood. There is always someone else out there willing to keep going and that person needs to be ME!
Health and wellness are important to you. How do you fit health and balance into your busy entrepreneur schedule?
Well, I’ve been forced to become a morning person, even though I’m not. I’ve no option other than to do it first thing at 5:30 a.m. It’s before my kids wake up, before the daily school routine starts, before my work day begins. Once my work day begins, everything goes full throttle, so if I don’t work out first thing, it won’t happen. I also feel guilty on the days I skip. My day feels much better when it’s started with a morning workout. On the weekends, I try to pre-plan dinners and snacks for the week ahead. With work and four kids involved in school and extracurricular activities, we’re a busy household. Everything needs to be quick, easy and grab-and-go to make the week work.
What is a simple change someone can make in their life to become healthier?
Make no excuses. We can all find 20-45 minutes in our day, and focus on starting with just three days each week. Make it part of your routine, make it happen no matter what. If you change nothing else, but add a half hour of activity into three days, that’ll make significant changes in your life. Over time, it’s bound to inspire you to make healthier choices with food.
What kind of music do you use to fuel your workouts?
COM’ON! Only booty-music & hip-hop when I’m working out. I’m a country girl at heart, but not for my workouts. I also will take a little heavy metal here and there on days when I just want to really pound out some heavy weights. YES ladies, weights, and heavy weights at that. It’s the only way to get and stay toned. Music is what pumps me up.
You’re coming up on your Shark Tank anniversary. What have you learned after appearing on the show?
I know it’s cliché, but the whole thing was a blessing and a curse. Honestly, it was ALL GOOD, but it has been so much more work than what gets shown on television. From the pre-show preparations to the post-show meetings, follow-ups and inventory challenges, it is so much more than just the TV episode. However, we have grown as a team and our customer support team has excelled at working through the new post-tank reality. We’re proud of our team!
I’ve also learned to overcome doubt. Going into the show I really found myself questioning my product. As much as I was confident we had an amazing product, there was still doubt and apprehension around showing it off to millions of people. Shark Tank helped provide me with added confidence and validation. Not only because three Sharks seemed interested in it, and Daymond jumped on a deal with us, but also because the customer response has been amazing. So many women have reached out and to let us know our product has changed their lives. That’s the true gift from the show, the validation and confidence, it’s the fuel to keep the fire going and help us push harder every day. The deal with Daymond and his team is like the icing on the cake. They’ve been amazing to work with.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who want to go on Shark Tank?
Do your homework and make sure you are prepared. Go above and beyond with your prep and planning. Don’t wing it. Practice. That is what we did and it showed. We knew our numbers, our customers, our plan and our vision. There wasn’t one question we couldn’t answer, there wasn’t one point of mission or vision we couldn’t fight for.
Also, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you know your company can do. Shark Tank is a chance to pitch not just to the Sharks, but to the millions of viewers sitting at home. Don’t just sit back and nod your head. Sure, you should listen to these successful investors, but follow your gut and push back if you must. Practice every possible scenario, you’ll perform better if you have already prepared for several unexpected situations. They are called “Sharks” and they act like it, they chomp and bite and attack. But, BE CONFIDENT! Don’t show anything but that confidence, they can smell it!
If this small-town girl from Michigan can make it to the carpet in the Tank and get a deal, you can too.