Sarah Margulies, CEO and co-founder of Honeyfund


You’re planning your dream wedding and dreamy honeymoon. When you and your partner set out to fill out your wedding registry, you’ll realize you’ve got all the food, trinkets, and cocktail shakers you need—after all, you’re both adults. what you Really There is only one time left to start your life in memorable fashion.

That’s what happened to Sarah Margulies and her fiance Josh when they decided to ask their wedding guests to help them write a honeymoon in exchange for a gift. They started their own business to help others do the same, and today Honeyfund is the most trusted money donation site. The platform has allowed 6 million givers to gift more than $640 million to more than one million couples. I spoke with Sarah about her career transition from marketing to a tech startup Shark Tank Result, striking out on her own and balancing family life with running her own company.

Shelley Zalis: You previously served as the Associate Director of Marketing at Golden Gate University. How did you decide to make a career change and start your own company at Honeyfund? What was your light bulb moment?

Sarah Margulies: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I were engaged and planning our own wedding, and dreamed of honeymooning somewhere far away like Fiji to escape the stress of two full-time jobs. But after paying for our wedding, we didn’t have the money. So instead of just signing up for the traditional furnishings, we’ve put together a temporary wish list for the expenses associated with a Fiji honeymoon – like excursions, resort nights, island hopping, etc. Most of all, you like the idea. They asked us to do something similar for other couples. This is how Honeyfund was born.

I am an MBA in Marketing and my partner is a software engineer. At Golden Gate University, I worked on marketing projects such as the university’s new website, email marketing programs and CRM implementation. We took the ideas and enthusiasm from our own wedding guests and all that professional background and created and launched Honeyfund.com from our couch.

SZ: How much prior experience, if any, did you have in the startup industry before starting Honeyfund? how was your time Shark Tank Fix your trip?

SM In the early 2000s, we were in San Francisco when the tech startup boom was happening all around us. For example, when Twitter started, we had friends. None of us had any direct experience in startups, but we could create and manage projects. And we both dreamed of being financially independent and having a flexible schedule for our future children.

In the year By 2013, we were living that dream: the business was supporting our family and we had the flexibility we envisioned. We had bought our dream home and had two healthy children growing up in a rough town in Sonoma County, California.

When Shark Tank We were called, we had to make a difficult decision – will we grow beyond our lifestyle and enter the fast-growing startup world? Taking investment capital, figuring out exactly how we want to deploy it, figuring out how to unlock the next level of growth — all of that was unknown to us. Starting something is very different from growing it.

However, we felt it was the right thing to do for the Honeyfund brand and our member community. So we applied for the show and acted. Our episode was released in October 2013 and was a hit! Our site is down from all the traffic. We were delighted to receive attention on the Honeyfund brand. We know that once people hear about Honeyfund, they love the idea. So our Shark Tank appearance and deal with Kevin O’Leary launched him onto the national stage. This resulted in a lot more traffic and members, but it also brought us the notoriety to form high-profile partnerships, such as our registry integration with Target.

SZ: What are the pros and cons that come with career transitions?

SMWe were very fortunate that Honeyfund was well received and allowed us to make a good living before we started growing ourselves. Shark Tank. It is a phase where we move from working for someone else to working for ourselves. That’s what we thought. So we felt we enjoyed all the benefits of doing our own thing.

But the business was growing faster than us. He needed it more than us. We didn’t have enough staff to serve our couple and take care of the place. That put us in a very difficult growth phase to learn how to manage – we had no experience there. Eventually, after a long and winding road, we parted ways and I bought my co-operation from the company. So that growth phase came with a lot of stress and challenges. And as a mother, wife, and business owner, I felt pulled in many directions. I gave up on taking care of myself and burned out. Then Covid hit and I faced another big challenge with the business, this time leading it alone. I had to take a long hard look at myself in the mirror as to what it would take to ensure Honeyfund could survive a 90% drop in revenue and an endless pandemic.

I decided to do my best to keep the organization going for its members and staff. I invested heavily in developing as a leader, hired a leadership team to manage the growth, and clarified my role in the company. We have launched a crowdfunding campaign to invite our members and donors to invest in the company’s next phase of growth. And we passed! But those were some of the hardest years of my life. Being responsible for a company, a team and clients – sometimes it’s a big burden.

However, the opportunity to grow and become the leader of something amazing comes once in a lifetime – so the pros far outweigh the cons for me. I see it as a journey and I always grow along the way.

SZDuring the Great Relegation of the Past few years, more and more women are leaving their jobs to start their own businesses. Based on your experience, is there a “right” time or conditions for a career change?

SM The pull between career and family is very difficult. In many ways, a certain number of hours of work that you can leave and come home to is healthier for that family balance and personal self-care than a startup. I would say there is no right time to start your own thing; Only do it if you are passionate about it. But here’s a word of caution: Women with partners and/or children should think carefully about the amount of time and attention they need to devote to their families. And then give what’s left over to a new job. Everyone tells you that you have to give 200% to a beginner, but that’s not true. And if you are not careful, it will burn out very quickly.

Instead, start your work with a team that can give you their full attention. If you have the vision and goals, you can make time for yourself and your family. I know this is hard to do, but I’m realistic so I’ll break it down like a simple math problem. I look at how many hours I have in a week and try to prioritize self-care first, then time with my kids and partner, then my work priorities.

I also consider the timeliness of my business and my children’s school. Summer is a good time to give a little more to the kids and a little more to the business. But if you’re starting a business (like mine) with high summer demand, it can be tough. The key is to be realistic with yourself about how many hours of attention you are willing to give to a new venture.

SZ: What advice would you give to women who want to change careers but feel discouraged or don’t know where to start?

SM I’d say start by switching to the industry or skill you want to learn and become really good at those while working for someone else with fixed hours, benefits and pay. Or join a volunteer organization. Once you are confident in your abilities and know how to properly manage your time and focus, set your new job within those parameters.



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