We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Brooke Daniels a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Brooke, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry?
Corporate America gets grind culture wrong and the notion that you have to be a constant doer and work burnout hours to be a successful executive or entrepreneur. I know we’ve had a movement of more wellness benefits and “self care”, but it goes beyond this. I’m talking about prioritizing health every day and a general acknowledgment that this is how we achieve success.
In entrepreneurship and corporate America, we should be encouraging people to get enough rest, be healthy and live balanced lives. This is the only way we’ll have the best version of leaders behind the wheel making great decisions. It’s not practical to think that someone who is running on less than 5 hours of sleep with poor relationships and health and pounding caffine all day is running the company at its best. We need to change this narrative. Entrepeneurs and corprorate leaders need to think about their bodies the same way that athletes do – as the key and a neccessary component of success combined with pouring into our mental and spirtual well being. This is why I’ve recently pursued my meditation certification under Deepak Chopra. Meditation has made a huge impact in my life and I’d like to bring this to more entrepreneurs and driven professionals as the key to exeling in our careers and achieving success. It’s time for grind culture to go.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Brooke Daniels, the CEO of Daniels & Co is a formidable leader in the Startup industry. As a certified Meditation Teacher under Deepak Chopra, this mindful business strategist, fluent in German, believes in striking a harmonious work-life balance by incorporating daily meditation. With over 15 years in the VC industry and as an operator in tech companies, she is an active angel investor and business strategist who coached founders who have raised more than $75 million in VC dollars.
My career path is a story of growth. I am a serial entrepreneur who believes in supporting founders as they go through the challenges of laying a foundation for their startups. Over the years, I owned an award-winning food truck business with my husband who is a chef and, more recently, a growing real estate portfolio. But my story started with my college dream of becoming a journalist. As fate would have it, I put my dual degree in communications and German to work through a State Department opportunity that took me abroad to Germany where I worked for BMW Financial Services on an enterprise technology project. One thing led to another, and soon I was managing business units of up to $25 million at top companies like Intapp, Salesforce, and Ping. Today, as the owner of several companies, I leverage my experiences from working in high growth startups and as entrepreneur to help founders to build a viable blueprint for their success.
My company helps to address two specific pain points. First, founders in the ideation stage have great ideas. They see a problem and have a solution, but they need clarity to build a 360-degree view around their idea. Studies show that 61% of Americans have an idea for a business, but very few every turn their concept into reality. 39% say they don’t follow through because they don’t know how to get started. As business strategists, this is where we help founders to create their business blueprint and get to launch successfully. We help them understand product testing, how to bring a minimum viable product to market, and how to build a profitable business model.
For growth business, we help founders plan out that next step. It may seem impossible, but once we lay out a strategy, most founders take the leap. We also help them build out their business so they can raise venture capital or afford to hire employees.
What sets us apart is that we are a business strategy company. Coaches and consultants often give tips on tactical execution, but we work on the building blocks. We’ve worked with high-growth and VC-backed companies, and that layer of experience differs from what is available in the marketplace.
I’m most proud of supporting the founders that we work with get to launch and find the success that they’ve dreamed of in the business and in their lives.
Can you tell us the story behind how you met your business partner?
My cofounder and business partner is my husband! It’s a joy to have my life partner as my business partner. We actually met when we were in college while working at Olive Garden – he was an assistant kitchen manager and I was a server and we connected on our mutual drive for success and desire to be business owners.
Our first business together was a food truck and since then, we’ve launched several companies together including eCommerce brands and now companies focused on supporting entrepreneurs with building their business blueprint and how to leverage business credit for funding.
The secret to being successful business partners and successful in marriage is to make adequate time for both. When we turn work off, its off and we try to focus on enjoying the other aspects of our life together. We are intentional on making time for each other outside of work.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
Our very first food truck was a little bit of a disaster. Our dream of a luxury food truck almost went up in smoke when we received a truck that was falling apart, low quality, and it even broke down the first time we drove it. We had to pivot from the first truck as we knew it would not represent the brand we were creating, which was a high-quality gourmet food truck. You can imagine how it felt walking away from a large investment such as this and also disappointing clients where we already had contracts that we could not deliver.
We decided to go into blackout mode and rethink this project. After a few days, we devised a new plan where we bootstrapped an entirely new truck to the tune of another $40,000! This crisis was our make-or-break moment, but we stuck to our guns and were soon named a Top 10 Food Truck in Charlotte. This story was our first test of resiliency as entrepreneurs and we learned a tough less on the importance of thoroughly vetting your vendors and partners.