Jessica Mah – Founder & CEO of inDinero

Episode 69

My guest, Jessica Mah, started inDinero in 2010 to help entrepreneurs with all their accounting and tax needs.Over the past 10 years, she has grown her company from zero to over 250 employees, and she has been featured in the *Forbes* and *Inc.* "30 Under 30" lists. Not only is Jessica an incredible, raw, real, and unstoppable entrepreneur, but she’s also a world traveler and licensed pilot who flies planes around the world when she is not running her business. On this episode of Unstoppable, Jessica talks about how she built and reassessed her business early on, the importance of an ever-evolving pivot, how to refuel when you're feeling the entrepreneurial burnt out, and more.

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Kara Goldin: All right, everybody. We are here today for Unstoppable, and very, very excited about my next guest. Guys, this is Jessica Mah, one of my favorite people. Super, super excited to have her here today. She’s the co-founder and CEO of inDinero, but so much more. So, a little bit about Jess. If you do not know much about inDinero, I’m going to give you a little bit of feedback, but she loves helping other entrepreneurs run better businesses. She started inDinero back in 2010 to help entrepreneurs with all their accounting and tax needs after she was going through some of her own challenges, really trying to figure out her own business.
And she’s grown the company from zero to over 250 employees, and has been featured in the Forbes and Inc. 30 Under 30 lists. inDinero has graced the cover of Inc. Magazine, and some may have seen Jess on that cover. I remember how excited I was when I saw that. That was a couple years ago, though, right? That was-
Jessica Mah: Yeah. That was almost three years ago, four years ago. I don’t know. It’s been a while.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. That’s awesome. So, her company’s backed by some of Silicon Valley’s top investors, including the founder of YouTube, the CEO of Yelp, the founder of Eventbrite and others, and more than anything, Jess is just an amazing, thoughtful person. We’re both in YPO together, and that’s how we met, and she’s just a smart cookie overall. Can I say a cookie? Right? And a lover of podcasts, too, so we’re super excited to have you here today. So, welcome.
Jessica Mah: Thanks. I’m so excited to get to do this with you.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. Really, really fun. So, Jess, so tell us first off, what is inDinero for people who don’t know in your own words?
Jessica Mah: Yeah. In layman’s terms, if you run a business, you got to do your accounting. You have to do your taxes. You have to manage your finances. You have to know what’s going on and have oversight on where the money’s going. And so, we make it really easy for entrepreneurs to take care of all of their finance back office needs, and so we make the software to do it, and we provide the people to do it for you. That’s inDinero in a nutshell. And we try to make it fun. Try to make it easy and affordable, because bookkeepers and accountants, a lot of them are really slow moving, and old school, and I thought there’s got to be a better, more modernized, 21st century way to do accounting and taxes for business owners.
Kara Goldin: So, when did you really think of this idea? Above and beyond sort of looking at your own business and thinking, “God, this could really be a business.” I mean, were you sitting there, did you always know you wanted to do something in finance? Or what was kind of your thinking?
Jessica Mah: Well, I was in college, and I started other businesses, and accounting seemed to be really tedious and horrible, and so I really wanted to build something for myself. And I thought that there could be a cool way to do it, and I was a techie, right? I loved programming, I was studying computer science in college, so no prior background in accounting. In fact, I couldn’t read financials at the time and I thought, “All right. Well, if I’m having trouble with this and I’m a business owner, I’m sure other people struggle with this, too.” And accountants, they’re not really good teachers either, right? They’re not good at explaining things necessarily. Some are. The good ones are. But a lot of them just aren’t, and the tax people too. It’s just phone calls I would never look forward to, and so that was really the inspiration.
Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. And your parents were entrepreneurs, right?
Jessica Mah: Yeah. They still have their own businesses, and I heard about business from the dining room, every night, coming home from school. They basically talk about all their business wins and losses, and it was kind of a up and down yo-yo every single day. Some days they felt unstoppable. They’re like, “Oh my God. We’re going to take over the world. We’re doing great.” And then the next day they’re like, “Oh my God, we’re going to get crushed by China, or by tariffs, or whatever.”
Kara Goldin: What kind of businesses are they?
Jessica Mah: They are both doing their own businesses. They do clothing design and manufacturing. And they-
Kara Goldin: Oh, wow.
Jessica Mah: … a lot of manufacturing in China, so I learned all about that.
Kara Goldin: Wow. That’s wild. Well, you give me hope for my own kids, because at times, I think they’re sponges, right? Like they’re picking up on all of this. But then definitely at times they’re like, “Okay, I cannot talk about Hint anymore. I can’t even hear about supply chain and talking about different types of relationships with FedEx and UPS and stuff.” But I’m like, “Oh my God, can you imagine like 10 years from now, when they’re actually in a company and they’re sitting here thinking about let’s just call FedEx on the phone and see what they say or whatever?” I’m sure you picked up on so many things, right?
Jessica Mah: Oh, totally. I think that exposure is just so important, to know that all your problems and issues are fairly common. So, I think about that all the time, with anything I go through, it’s just like, “Huh. All right, I’m sure my parents dealt with this already. Oh yeah, I remember talking about that over dinner when I was eight years old or whatever.” Yeah, this really has an impact.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I think so, too. I think the more that as entrepreneurs, you and I were talking right before we hopped on this that the more we talk about challenges, or even just talking about just stuff that happens, I think people just learn. And that’s what I feel like goes on, like I think more and more we just… We send kids to school and we say, “Okay, go and learn this language.” Or, “Go and learn this.” Or, “Go and learn this.” But if we actually put them into a situation where… I mean, you’re so lucky in so many ways, because you learned about this stuff, and then you also learned that they’re normal people. They’re your mom and dad, right? But they’re actually going out and doing stuff where it’s pretty incredible.
My dad, I don’t know if you know this story, but my dad actually worked for a big company, Conagra, but he founded a brand called Healthy Choice. And I would hear about Healthy Choice. I’d be like, “We are not having that dinner. I will not have that anymore! I got too much Healthy Choice in my life!” And then of course years later I’d be like, “God, it’s so crazy how innovative he was.” I mean, he was such a great storyteller, too. And how he was probably one of the first people that was actually telling stories on a brand box about how he… Where did the fishermen actually get the fish from and all of this. He was a huge believer that products were not just about great products, but were also about the why, and that was kind of the first place, and I think about this all the time, that I just breathed it all the time. I didn’t appreciate it, but I’m sure you did, too. Watching your parents have good days and bad days, and like that, as stressful as maybe at times it might have been, I think it probably also helped you to kind of be the entrepreneur that you are today and overall, so I think that’s super cool.
So, after you launched in inDinero, you discovered that its business model wasn’t really sustainable, so talk a little bit about kind of that feeling, too.
Jessica Mah: Yeah. Well, we’ve been through, just like every entrepreneur, you go through your ups and downs. And for us, just launching the business, super fun, really exhilarating, hired a lot of my friends out of college, and yeah, our first business model wasn’t really working out. We tried to build a product that we could sell for $10, $30, $100 a month, and frankly we wanted to compete with QuickBooks, which is the main business accounting software tool sold by Intuit, and Intuit’s the maker of TurboTax, and they’re just the big, 800-pound gorilla in the room and it wasn’t working out.
And so, we just had to call our customers and say, “Hey, what would you pay money for? What is the real hair on fire problem that you’re looking to solve?” And that’s what led us to thinking, “Wow, we can’t just build a tool, or a nice to have dashboard. We have to actually do your accounting. We actually have to file your taxes and save you money.” And then at that point, we could justify making a lot more money, so then we were able to compete with accountants, and bookkeepers, and tax people instead. And instead of making a few hundred dollars a year off a customer, we’d be able to charge a lot more and still save the customer a lot of money. And so, we just evolved and we’re still evolving.
I’d say back then, I thought it was a big deal. I thought, “Wow, we’re doing a pivot.” But actually now in hindsight, I think that as an entrepreneur, you’re pivoting every six months. And so, now I don’t see it as a huge deal. I just see it as part of being an entrepreneur. And that’s what makes it exciting.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. No, absolutely. And my book is coming out in October, and that’s part of some of the lessons too. I’ve always looked at the word pivot as like, “Okay, that’s fine.” But I think more than anything, the best entrepreneurs are the ones that I’ve seen that are sort of on this journey, and they’re going to stop at different points in the road and say, “This is working, this isn’t working. Okay, let’s go in this direction.” And that’s really what… I mean, I know your story, and I feel like that’s what you’ve done really, really well, which is awesome. But it’s also it takes a lot to be able to stop and do that, and again, not every entrepreneur does that too.
What do you think are the biggest things that you’ve learned along the way just in that journey and sort of call it pivot, pausing along the way, and sort of stopping. What were the biggest surprises and what do you think are things that are the biggest takeaways?
Jessica Mah: I think you should call it maybe like thoughtful evolution, and it’s like-
Kara Goldin: I agree.
Jessica Mah: It’s kind of like water breaks on a long marathon, and I think every few months that I’m doing this, I find it so important to reach out to other entrepreneurs and talk to them about their evolutions, just to get that inspiration. Like for us, I’ve had to hire new people along the way and replace a lot of my original people, and that’s been really hard, but I’ve had to learn a lot about how to constantly topgrade my team along the way, and really get ahead of it and think, “All right. Well, here’s where I am today,” and I think one of the biggest mistakes I made is hiring only for today, versus thinking what are my needs over the next three years, and in my evolution thinking about that. So, I’d say that’s one thing.
Another thing is just like where do I want to be in five years, and planning around what are my personal preferences, and I think a lot of the time I’ve thought about my shareholders, because we have investors. I’ve thought a lot about just our existing customers. But how about myself? What are my goals? What am I trying to get out of this experience? And I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they’re mission driven, right? They’re selfless. And something I see in a lot of my friends is that they don’t really prioritize themselves at a certain point, and that leads to burnout, and so a lot of people… I’m sure you’ve seen this too, like through YPO, which is an organization we’re in with a lot of other CEOs and entrepreneurs, people say, “Oh, I think I’m burned out or getting burned out.” But if you think you’re getting burned out, you’re probably already a little fried, and you’re already pushing the limit too much.
And so, I think I’ve been at this for 10 years now, and I’d be curious to hear about this from you, but I think at the seven-year mark, I was just so fried, like I basically had a COO help me run the business for a solid year while I explored, traveled. I still worked, but my mind wasn’t really in it, and I needed to inject some new outside creative energy. And so, something that I’m pretty open about now is that now I do other projects, too. Like I had inDinero. inDinero’s my main thing, but I’ve got other side businesses, side hustles, nonprofit stuff. I love talking to other entrepreneurs and mentoring other people. I like doing the media stuff. I like talking, doing these podcasts, because it kind of reminds me of my roots and gives me that new, fresh perspective, and reminds me why I did this in the first place. And I think it’s just so easy to forget about that and just get sucked into the day to day of a business, you know?
Kara Goldin: Well, I think also the other thing that happens for a lot of entrepreneurs is you’re just so busy, right? There’s not enough hours in a day. And it’s everything from making sure that your business is running, your product or your service, and then you’re hiring people, or you’re firing people, and then you’re trying to build the right team, and you get sort of stuck inside of the company, and there’s just not enough hours to do anything else. I learned from another organization, EY, that I’ve been involved with over the years, that there was some meeting that I had with them back in… Actually, it’s interesting. It was the seven-year mark, and it was like I started the company in 2005 and it was 2012 when I had this conversation with them in this group. I was part of their Winning Women program.
And I remember somebody in the organization at EY saying, “You’ve got to work out of the business. Don’t just be in the business.” And I was like, “Well, that’s really nice and everything, except that when the buck stops with you, and how do you do that? There’s just not enough hours in the day.” And they were like, “You have to literally program outside.” And then the other thing that I had been doing, but I really hadn’t actually thought about it until they sort of made me think about this a lot more, was that I gained the most perspective from other industries when I talked to people, and I think you have a lot of friends that are sort of in other industries, as well, that you really bounce ideas off of or whatever.
A lot of times people think when they’re starting a business, “Oh, I have to go talk to everyone I know at Quicken or whatever.” Or in the case of Hint Water it was like, “Everyone I know or can figure out how to get ahold of people at Coke and Pepsi.” And the reality is is like that’s not really what I needed. What I really needed is to hear how other entrepreneurs hired, or figured out, got their product to market or whatever, and I think that’s where that’s such an important piece, as well, because I think if you talk to people outside your industries, it actually allows you to create a little bit more, find vision. I don’t know. That’s what I… I’d be curious to hear what you think about that, too. But I really think that it’s sort of a missed opportunity for so many people. So, two things there I really think are important, like don’t get stuck talking to people in your new industry that you’re sitting in, but then also you have to block time for actually working outside of the business.
And working outside the business doesn’t mean you have to go take a class. It means set up meetings, like cold calling people or whatever, sitting down for coffee with people that you just admire. Sort of what they’ve built or whatever that helps you to explore and learn in some ways. Yeah, so that’s-
Jessica Mah: I couldn’t agree more with that. Two years ago, as you know, I left San Francisco, where I had lived for about 10 years, and I started spending all my time really between LA and New York, and now mostly LA, at least through coronavirus. And I’m meeting such different people. Like in the Bay Area, it was so many people in my industry, in tech, who had all raised capital, and who… It was just so similar. And then now I’m meeting people from all these different walks from life, and also what I love now is meeting people who’ve been building their business for decades, like 30, 40, 50 years, versus I think when I first started I spoke way too much with people who were only like a year or two ahead of me. And they’re like, “Yeah, I want to sell my business in a year or two.” They just didn’t have the same context that someone who’s built something that lasts does.
Kara Goldin: Totally. No, and I think that that’s right, and you probably are… I mean, I totally agree with that, as well, that it’s like they just have a totally different perspective. They hear that you’ve been doing this for 10 years and they’re like, “Oh, you’re just brand new at this.” Right?
Jessica Mah: Exactly.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. It’s wild. I mean, Helen, do you know Equator Coffee? I had her on my podcast a few weeks ago and that’s a 25-year-old brand.
Jessica Mah: Yeah.
Kara Goldin: Right? And you look at everything that she’s done, and learned, and she’s built community in addition to having great product, and there’s a lot of lessons learned there. But I almost fell out of my chair when I was talking to her saying, “Wait a minute. 25 years?” And she’s learned… Anyway, I just feel like there’s people like that, where she’s really looking to build a brand that sticks, and she has key pillars that she thinks about, and she goes at her own pace, right? She’s not in a rush to go and build the next Starbucks. It’s kind of like she recognizes that that’s there, and how does she build her company and her brand? And she’s very zen about it.
So, you talked about travel and kind of enjoying taking breaks and trying to reenergize. Actually, I know this about you. You’re a pilot. So, you’re-
Jessica Mah: Big part of my life. I mean, I try to bake flying into my entire existence. I’m flying every week, at least. I’m flying to Colorado Thursday. I was up in the Bay Area this weekend. Vegas before that. I’ve probably traveled more during coronavirus than anyone I know.
Kara Goldin: [inaudible 00:21:30]
Jessica Mah: And you know-
Kara Goldin: And you love it. That’s your passion.
Jessica Mah: It is. I’m totally addicted. And I think it’s also made me just appreciate life more, because I saw so many friends who just got sucked into their work. They started their business because they had purpose. They lost the passion along the way. And it’s just so sad. It’s such a tragedy in my opinion for an entrepreneur to fall out of love with their business and then decide to sell it. So, the big question, we always talk about how do you keep it hot and steamy in our romantic relationships, but how about you twist that question and do that with work? How do I keep it hot and steamy at work?
Jessica Mah: And ask that [inaudible 00:22:14] every week.
Kara Goldin: How do you do that?
Jessica Mah: Well, for me, I don’t spend that much time on operations. I mean, I probably spend less than eight hours a week on operations. I’m spending 80, 90% of my time on strategic, and talking to cool people, and traveling around, and doing really fun stuff. And you know, actually I was really inspired by you. I remember when we chatted, this was a few years ago, and you were talking about how you were launching sunscreen, and I’m like, “What? What? Really? Sunscreen has nothing to do with water.”
Kara Goldin: Yep.
Jessica Mah: And it was so inspiring for me, and you were telling me how you thought of it and how you decided to do it, and how you could do it in such a better way than all the other kind of big mass producing companies out there, and I’m like, “Wow. There’s so many other things I could build that I’m inspired on.” And it doesn’t have to be a linear path on just what you’re doing today. You don’t just have to do water or beverages. You totally jumped. And so, I’ve been thinking about that too for my business, and we started with just bookkeeping, and then we started doing taxes, because I thought, “All right, we could help companies with their taxes.” Not to say I’m passionate about taxes. My inspiration’s more because I want to help other people who hate doing this stuff.
And right now we’re looking at insurance as a category to help businesses. We’re looking at we help companies with their payroll now and manage that for a bunch of companies. So, it’s just like this evolution of being inspired and having fun, that’s what keeps it hot and steamy.
Kara Goldin: It’s funny hearing you talk about this. Whenever people come to me and they’re trying to figure out, do they go and join a company, and they’ve got the startup, or maybe a little bit more than a startup that is interested in having them come in, or also people who have started a company after leaving a large company and telling me that being an entrepreneur isn’t for them. It helped me to figure out that there’s different stages of companies, and what I’ve learned over time, and there’s a whole chapter of this in my book, actually, is that I wouldn’t have been able to actually say this until probably 10 years ago, but I’m a builder. And so, a lot of what you talked about, like the whole being in the innovation side of things, and coming up with sunscreens, and we’re actually coming out with hand sanitizers in the next couple of weeks, because I thought that everything out there pretty much sucked, and again, for me, once things get kick started and they start going, I’m still fine and of course I want it to keep growing and whatever, but I know this about myself. I’m a builder.
When everything is sort of humming along and the fence is already built, it’s already stained, I’m like, “Okay, that’s done.” I’m on to the next thing. I’m trying to figure out, “Okay, now what do I do over here?” And I’m constantly doing that, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs are. That’s who they are. And unfortunately, this is a whole other topic, I think that if you have private equity, which I don’t have, they don’t know how to deal with those entrepreneurs, right? And you have to have… The builders, and Steve Jobs talked about this all the time, it’s like they’re a little crazy, right? They switch gears really fast, because they’re trying to fix problems all over the place and create. But there’s a place for them and so many of these things would not get done.
Categories don’t get done and companies don’t get built without those people. And oftentimes, if you actually remove those people from the company, too, this is a whole other episode, it’s like then all of a sudden you come calling back to them in the next couple years. We’ve seen many examples of that, or in some cases like these crazy ones or founders or whatever end up buying companies back, right? Because it’s like these acquisitions or private equity companies end up destroying these companies in many ways, and they want the founder juice and the creativity to come back in. But that’s what I see in you, too, that I think you’re a builder, right?
Jessica Mah: Yeah, totally.
Kara Goldin: You’re not just an entrepreneur. You’re a builder and you like the new stuff. You’re not afraid of the new stuff. And there are people that are afraid of new stuff, that are like, “Well, what if it doesn’t work? And what if it’s like I can’t really tell you how big it’s going to be, therefore I can’t hit go.” And I don’t think that’s you. I think you’re just like, “I’m going to go try and see what happens.” It’s a type of entrepreneur, the builders, that are really, really important. I’m one of them too, and I think you are as well.
Jessica Mah: Oh, totally. I mean, we’re wired similarly in that regard, and also in the fact that neither of us have private equity or formal VC investors, right? We could be in control of our own destiny completely. And I remember being so inspired by you on this actually, and I kind of did this tour of trying to find entrepreneurs who were happy, because I met so many entrepreneurs who were depressed, and angry all the time, and if you hang out around too many of them, then you become unhappy and depressed and bitter yourself, right? And so, you’re the average of the five or ten people you spend the most time with, so I hope that they’re successful, and happy, and cheerful, and optimistic.
And when I did this with talking to other entrepreneurs, I found that the happiest ones had long-term goals. They weren’t just in it to flip it. And they got to build, and they didn’t have private equity breathing down their neck. I think private equity or VC breathing down an entrepreneur’s neck, that was if not the number one thing you could do for your happiness, the second worst thing. And so, it’s like choosing to optimize around happiness, I think there’s nothing wrong with that.
Kara Goldin: No, I think that’s absolutely right. But I think it’s also having sort of outside things that are really important to you, and I think that’s another key thing that is definitely I see more people. I think if you want to go be an entrepreneur, it’s not just about being an entrepreneur. It’s also take up a hobby. Find something that scares you and go and figure that out, too, because I think you got to have some kind of… People call it balance. I don’t even know if it’s balance. I think it’s just something to look forward to that is not just related to your company. And I think it’s so important for people to have, and we’ve talked about that a little bit through YPO, as well, that I think it’s an important thing.
So, C19 Coalition. I saw that. You’ve done a little bit of work with them. Can you share what that is?
Jessica Mah: Yeah. Well, I haven’t really done a whole lot of nonprofit-related work before coronavirus, but then I started, just like everyone else, seeing all those horrible stories of nurses and doctors having to use the same mask days and days on end, and just having that mask shortage, so I teamed up with a few people and we started C19 Coalition, which is a 501(c)(3), and we basically bought a lot of masks and helped get it to front line workers, and our coalition has bought many tens of millions of dollars worth of masks. And so, I was basically working 40 hours a week on inDinero and 40 hours a week on C19 during March, April, May, and then June it kind of got back to a more reasonable level.
But yeah, that was really exhilarating. It actually gave me so much more energy on inDinero in a weird way, and my excuse for not doing nonprofit work earlier was, “Oh, I don’t have the time. I want to have a life. And I want to have a successful business.” And I just got pulled in. I just couldn’t help myself.
Kara Goldin: You probably met a ton of new people too.
Jessica Mah: Oh my God.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. That are just doing different stuff, and I totally… That’s awesome. That’s super, super great.
Jessica Mah: Yeah. I highly encourage it. The lesson is that doing more stuff that’s not your normal work helps your work. It’s the most selfish thing you could do for your business. Whereas the default way to look at it is, “Oh, I’m actually going to hurt my business by taking on these other hobbies or interests.” It’s actually the opposite.
Kara Goldin: So, through corona, how do you think your business will change?
Jessica Mah: It’s changed automatically, but we’re kind of riding the surf waves. We at first were targeting companies that were growing, and during coronavirus we found a lot of customers who said, “Hey, I’m spending a half million dollars on my finance operations and it’s so clunky. I need to save money, so can inDinero save me a quarter million dollars and streamline my operations and help me get through coronavirus and beyond?” And we have been picking up a ton of customers like that lately, and it was not really in the business plan earlier, and now we’re riding, we’re surfing the waves of coronavirus and leaning into that. And that’s similar to what you’re doing too, right? With the fact that you have US operations and you’re getting all these new customers who are getting stuck with the supply chain in China, right?
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I think that’s just something that a lot of people aren’t talking about, but I think more and more companies are going to be in the case of having physical goods, I’ve talked to a lot of people in a lot of different categories. If you have your supply chain dependent on a relationship with Europe or Asia, and in the case of not just factories shutting down, but let’s just say that China as an example, or say you’re getting product from India, and the government actually says like, “Well, you have to actually supply our country before you’re going to be supplying a retailer in the US.” Those are real conversations that are happening right now, and when they’re happening to you as a company, can you imagine? There’s kind of nothing… If you’re dealing with a country that might be in those kind of situations, I think that you’ve got to really think about your supply chain and think about what if that happens.
And so, I’m always encouraging entrepreneurs that I’m mentoring to really look at worst-case scenarios, like what if your supply chain totally shut down, right? In this other country. I talked to a friend of mine who’s in the apparel industry and she sources all of her cloth from Italy, and she sews in China, and she doesn’t have a collection until hopefully next summer at this point, because she is not… She can get the fabric, but she can’t get… And again, now everybody’s grabbing all of the seamstresses that they can in these different places, and she can’t afford to raise her prices. It’s just like there’s so many issues that again, you’ve got to sort of look at worst-case scenario and what would happen, and I think it’s such an important time to do that that you really have to think about those kind of things.
And I think maybe it’s different in software, right? And I don’t know, I think for physical goods, whether it’s apparel, or drinks, or pharmaceutical, I think it’s the same kind of conversation, but I don’t know. I think it’s… I haven’t really thought about it for the software side of this business, but what do you think?
Jessica Mah: Well, I think with software it’s just different considerations, right?
Kara Goldin: Right.
Jessica Mah: And for me in particular, it’s like, “Well, what if the IRS just said, “Hey, we’re not going to need to process tax returns for another six months,” and that leads to no one coming in the door because there’s no urgency anymore?” So, I’d say every vertical area will have different worst-case scenario questions, and we’ve had to ask all those questions, and that’s also led us to figure out how do we differentiate and diversify our offering a lot more, which clearly you’re doing, right? With the hand sanitizer, and sunscreen, and so I think it’s powerful. And creating a container to just do that, have those chats every quarter with your leadership team, and stepping back to do that, I think that’s actually a lot of fun. It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. It could be exciting and it’s like here are the worst-case scenarios, and here are all the ways we could win.
And converting the doom and gloom psychology to playing to win psychology, like how can we capitalize and maximize during coronavirus and double or triple our business over the next year or two or three? And having those brainstorms with your leadership team and with your employees I think will get them into a better state, and frankly it makes being an entrepreneur a lot more fun.
Kara Goldin: Much more fun. So, as you mentioned, you moved down to LA. Everybody’s still virtual, right? You guys, do you still have offices? Or are you guys-
Jessica Mah: We still have offices, but we’re remote first now. We told everyone about a month ago now that they don’t ever need to return back to the office if they don’t want to. And if they want an office space or they need an office space, as long as the state or the city or county allows it, we’ll pay for a desk for them somewhere. But we surveyed our team and the vast majority of them, like over 80%, say they are just as productive if not more productive or extremely more productive working from home and will not want to come back to the office if given the ability. So, we saw the survey results and we’re like, “Wow, perfect.” And we presented those survey results to the company we said, “Hey, if you’re in the 20%, we’ll still pay for an office space for you, but at least we’ll bring our office footprint down by 80% over the next 12 months.”
Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. Wow.
Jessica Mah: People love it. It’s such a-
Kara Goldin: Yeah.
Jessica Mah: People are traveling now, and doing their work from really cool places. All in the US, of course. No one’s left the country as far as I know, and it’s cool.
Kara Goldin: So far, it’s working. That’s great. That’s super, super awesome. So, last couple of questions. First of all, what’s your favorite Hint flavor?
Jessica Mah: My favorite is the Cherry Hint Fizz.
Kara Goldin: Yay!
Jessica Mah: I ordered so much, many. I mean, I had it delivered to my home and I drank at least three of those a day, and it got me off orange juice. I was drinking orange juice in the morning and I had horrible headaches, and I switched to Hint Fizz Cherry and changed my life.
Kara Goldin: I love it. I love that Fizz, too. It’s super, super yummy. So, what makes you unstoppable?
Jessica Mah: I think what makes me unstoppable is having such close girlfriends who are also entrepreneurs. I built this community of unstoppable badass women, and we call it Badass Female Founders, and so I’ve got a WhatsApp group with some of them on it, and we just cheer each other on and lift each other up during bad times.
Kara Goldin: I’m not on this, though. I got to do a guest appearance somewhere in there.
Jessica Mah: Oh yeah, you do.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. No, totally. That’s awesome. But that’s good to know. Look, as people always say, it can be lonely being an entrepreneur too, and I think just having that tribe of people that you can talk to is super, super important, so that’s awesome.
Jessica Mah: Yeah!
Kara Goldin: Really, really good to hear. Very, very cool. Well, also creativity and curiosity, for sure, in Jess, and if people want to learn more and follow you, where’s the best place to actually connect with you?
Jessica Mah: I love telling people feel free to even email me. [email protected]
Kara Goldin: Awesome.
Jessica Mah: And then yeah, I’m on Instagram @jessmahofficial.
Kara Goldin: Jess Mah Official. Very, very cool. And inDinero’s Very, very cool. So, awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it.
Jessica Mah: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: Hopefully this was super helpful to everybody listening, and definitely subscribe if you guys are not subscribers yet to unstoppable, and we’re very, very excited to just really have everybody on and learning, and if you guys have any requests for other great founders and disruptors, please let us know. But Jess, thank you so much for coming on. It’s super fun.
Jessica Mah: Oh, thank you. This was great.
Kara Goldin: Super great. All right, thanks everybody.