For this week’s #Female Founder, we are thrilled to feature Erin Mastropietro, CEO of DopeDog. Erin’s company produces a unique line of high quality holistic pet products that aim to improve our canine pal’s quality of life.
Sparked after watching her own dogs suffer prolonged joint and back pain, Erin realised there were no holistic products available to help them; so she took the opportunity and decided to create her own.
In this post, Erin discusses how starting business requires constant innovation and pushing for progress.
In addition, she conveys that resilience is key when facing rejection and it’s OK to fail as long as you pick yourself up and try again.
We also can’t lie, working with dogs seems like Mondays would never be bad.
1 Why did you start your business? What spurred you on?
Since a young age I was always experimenting with my own small businesses, some more embarrassing than others. But to be completely honest, it wasn’t until the corporate company I worked for closed its doors and left me jobless that I was actually able to seize the opportunity to go all in on starting my own business full-time.
2 What are the unique challenges you have faced as a female founder?
I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with amazingly supportive communities and people. Because of dialogues like this – I feel more supported than ever being a female founder.
3 What were the 3 steepest learning curves during your first year in business?
With a background in sales and retail, about half of what I’ve come across in this first year of business has been second nature to me. The other half has been more of a challenge. My main learning curves have been:
1) The need for constant self-promotion.
2) The need for fearlessness when trying new things and failing.
3) Navigating the backend of a successful e-commerce site.
Luckily, my partner excels at these things so we make a good team.
4 What is your favourite thing about founding your own company?
The opportunity to share what I’ve created to help and inspire others. I am lucky that I get to connect with so many pet owners daily – not to mention the major bonus of meeting endless adorable dogs!
I feel more supported than ever being a female founder.
5 What is the best business advice you have been given by someone else?
One size doesn’t fit all. As a new business owner, I’m constantly consuming information. Whether that’s reading a new business book or connecting with fellow entrepreneurs, it can be valuable to hear others’ trials and tribulations. However, sometimes I need to remind myself that each business is unique and even the best advice might not apply to exactly where my business is at that moment.
6 Do you ever suffer with Imposters Syndrome? If so, what do you do to tackle it and move forward?
Absolutely. I think this is natural, regardless of what industry you’re in. There is something about having such a large stake in a business that means you can’t help but question things and wonder what the next person is up to. I stay focused by keeping in tune with my customers, what they are loving and what they’re asking for. This keeps me moving in the right direction- authentically.
7 What’s the best Business book you’ve read?
My business book of choice this year has been “Making Money is Killing Your Business” by Chuck Blakeman. It introduces savvy ways to view your business and provides actionable items that I have used to propel my company in the right direction. I’d say it’s a must read!
8 Tell us about another brilliant business woman you think our readers should know about?
One of my all time favorite idols is Sheryl Sandberg. Not only is she kicking butt as an executive, but she’s in the business of helping other women realise their full potential and encouraging them to ask for what they deserve. If you have not read her book “Lean In” or visited leanin.org, get on it!
9 What piece of advice would you give yourself if you were starting your business now?
Just start! I would remind myself that nothing happens unless you DO, so stop wondering and planning and just throw something out into the universe. Only then will progress happen.
10 If you were working with a marketing budget of £1,000 what would you spend the money on?
This is a tough one for me. I am conservative when it comes to marketing (I lean on my partner for this one). With a limited budget, I think the most valuable marketing would be that of which reaches a pre-qualified audience. That is, identify who your ideal customer is, not just a potential customer, but the ones who live and die for your brand. Becoming visible to these people will be worth every dollar.