Build your product in public!"
I've heard this piece of advice a lot since I started on this #femtech journey. “You'll get fast feedback and potential investors this way.” On my better days, I absolutely agree that building in public - a.k.a. sharing my founder's journey on social media - is a wonderful and smart idea. On my worse days, I just want to hide from the mere thought of it. Is this what they call imposter syndrome? Or what is that?
Sometimes I do, absolutely, doubt my abilities. Then I remember this HBR article by Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey that I read last year and think to myself “Oh, heck no!” Most of the time, however, I really only cringe at the thought of adding my voice to the social media craziness, because I wonder “Do we really need another voice in this sheer endless ocean of voices?!” Does this mean I doubt that what I have to say might be useful for someone else or might elicit the attention of similarly open-minded (potential) investors? No. Rather, I am trying to live as authentically as possible. What do I mean by that?
I am building a menstrual health app that not only lets you track your health data, but that also turns this data into meaningful health reports, and that gives you tangible every-day tips and tricks to live in sync with your hormonal cycle - not against it: the Baba Yaga Cycle Coach! Because, menstrual health is about so much more than when you get your period and whether or not you want children (I wrote about this here). Among other reasons, of course, I decided to start my own thing because I wanted to create a lifestyle in which I am the boss of my time - and nobody else. In large parts, this has to do with living by my infradian rhythm rather than the more well-known circadian rhythm. I cannot be the exact same person every single day. I am not linearly productive, creative, or even happy. I have come to love this 29-day cycle of mine and I hope to empower others with periods to honor their cycles as well.
This is where my authenticity comes in. I recently found myself trapped in the #hustleculture of the startup world and the social media scene. Trying to post consistently, multiple times a day, every day, pushing new features to our Beta testers as fast as possible, while also taking care of the back office stuff (and a house, a dog, a cat, and a grandfather...). And above all else: I noticed I was constantly comparing myself and my work to others'. Enter: vicious cycle. So, I pulled the brakes, went silent on Instagram and TikTok, and took my own app as a guiding force: I lived by every single daily hormone power and the tips I created for our users. I listened to my own body and gave her what she needed: rest during my luteal phase, creative outlets for our new branding and app launch campaigns during the end of the luteal & beginning of the menstrual phase, meetups & collaboration Zoom calls during my follicular phase, etc. I not only noticed instant changes to my overall health, I also felt in flow - all the time. A feeling I don't think I've ever had for a longer period of time, working “for the man”.
I lived by every single daily hormone power and the tips I created for our users. I listened to my own body and gave her what she needed [...].I not only noticed instant changes to my overall health, I also felt in flow - all the time. A feeling I don't think I've ever had for a longer period of time, working “for the man”.
As I am approaching the launch date for the iOS version of the Baba Yaga app, I am more relaxed than I thought I would be. I am confident in my product and how it has the capacity to affect positive change in the lives of people with menstrual cycles. And most of all, I am feeling better about sharing my voice in this sheer endless ocean of voices: ending period stigma & truly empowering women and people with uteruses starts with talking about our lived experience.