Brook Sheehan is a full-time chiropractor at Cardiff Health and Wellness where she works with each system of the human body to reach optimal results for each individual. As a functional medicine practitioner, it is important for her to look beyond the symptoms to discover why the body is expressing itself in that way and correct any interference that may be causing dis-ease.
While in grad school, she co-founded Cup O’ Sugar – a mobile app platform that connects neighbors together around sharing and requesting food ingredients. As a self-proclaimed food waste hero, it pained her to discover that so much household food waste occurs and the thought of throwing something out prior to it’s full consumption kept her up at night. Her best friend is passionate about building up stronger communities, so collectively they built Cup O’ Sugar as a solution to bring neighborhoods together while simultaneously reducing food waste because food IS the master connector!
She is passionate about connection. From connecting an individual, internally through the power of chiropractic and externally through the power of food, she expresses her greatest self.
When Brook is not working with patients and building an app company, she enjoys writing about the many facets of her life – developing a strong mental attitude, motherhood, tips for living a healthy life, and business – on her blog at brooksbee.co.
Where did the idea for Cup O’ Sugar come from?
My best friend and I found ourselves in a bind one summer evening while cooking in the kitchen. We were missing a vital ingredient and heading out to the grocery store at the time just wasn’t possible. So she grabbed her phone, texted her neighbor, and we had the 3 eggs in our hands within moments. Fast forward a few months and here I was again in this predicament. I was making a brand new recipe that called for Worcestershire Sauce (something I struggle pronouncing even to this day) but didn’t have the same connections my best friend had; so I headed out to the grocery store and purchased a brand new bottle. I used it twice! The rest of the sauce eventually went to waste. That was the ah-ha moment! What if an app existed that connected neighbors together to share and/or request food ingredients so more authentic connections were made, time could be saved, and impact created? Voila! That app is here today.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a morning person so naturally I feel the most productive during those hours. My day always starts with gratitude, prayer and meditation, a cup of coffee, some sort of movement whether yoga, cardio, or weights, and reading. That hour of quiet time in the morning sets me up for a solid day of intention. Most days, I’m out the door by 7:45am and headed out to my chiropractic office. After a day of serving, I come home, make dinner, spend outdoor time with my daughter, and put an hour or two in for Cup O’ Sugar in the later evenings. Thursdays are 80% app work and 20% other ventures that I’m a part of. A large productivity hack includes setting up my week ahead of time so I know what I’m focused on during that hour block each weekday in the evenings. I split the smaller items into those slots and the bigger projects into Thursdays. It’s all about using valuable tools that work for you. I use both digital and old school methods, but prefer my hand-written planner to track my personal stuff. When it comes to team items, of course, digital is better.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Well, when an idea first pops into my mind, I take some time to “brain dump” everything in a notebook. It can be the smallest of things related to that idea all the way up to the grandiose ones and everything in between. After a solid block (or stretch of days, weeks, etc) of dumping, I begin to research topics related to the idea to see what is and has already been created. That research step is very important! Between those steps, I do share new ideas with a close group of people that I trust to get their take on it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The fact that people are beginning to cook more meals at home together.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I stack my time whenever and wherever possible. I utilize the time it takes to get ready for my day to learn and grow. Mainly this is done through podcast interviews but occasionally I run a video in the background from a business course I’m taking. I keep a notebook handy to jot down any takeaways from whatever I’m listening to so I can implement.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Dreams mean nothing unless you have the confidence to go after them. And the way to build confidence is doing the things you say you are going to do. Don’t let fear stop you! When you are afraid, do it anyway. It is in those moments of being courageous that the most amazing things happen and greater confidence is gained. God honors those willing to put in the work and grow.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Salt makes everything taste better – coffee, granola, yogurt, etc. But don’t try this at home if your blood pressure is high. Trust me, I’m a doctor! 🙂
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meditate!!!! It’s so vital to keeping you mentally stable and strong to overcome the immense challenges ahead. Ed Mylett, a prominent business leader, often says, “Entrepreneurship is the greatest personal development strategy that ever existed.” I believe it! You will experience highs and lows and be tested but the strength of your mind and how well you’ve emotionally evolved will keep you moving forward when times get tough.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Partnerships! Partnerships are key to any business growth. When the company first started, I would cold call property managers to see about hosting community events at their properties. It was a lot of uncomfortable work and definitely stretched me but it led to a lot of open doors. I met a Regional Manager for a property management firm that introduced me to one of his property managers where I hosted an event. Through that one introduction, I was introduced to another key player and secured a partnership with a large firm that has full time people on staff setting up events. It saved me a lot of time and effort and expanded the business greatly.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure?! That’s a tough one. I personally believe I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I wish I hadn’t. But one of the more costly mistakes that I made was paying thousands of dollars to establish a 3rd party vendor that provided a service for Cup O’ Sugar that was not what I thought it would be. After a long 6 months, ties were cut. Word to the wise, if something isn’t working, don’t hold on to it thinking it is going to get better. It just might burn a hole in your pocket.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As a concert junkie, I’d love to see a company that makes it easy for attendees to purchase band merch from their seats and pick up on the way out of the show or even be able to order ahead of time. All merchandise sold in the venue is exclusive product that isn’t typically found on the band’s website. Yet, so many times, bands lose out on revenue because we as attendees don’t want to lose our spot for the show. Let’s create a solution already 🙂
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently committed to a year of business coaching and mentorship through a colleague that I greatly respect. It is a $100 a month fee to join and only a small handful of us were selected to participate. I made the choice to be a part of this because I know how important getting outside perspectives on your business and life is and how impactful it can be. Too many times as entrepreneurs we get stuck in the minutiae of running a business that we are blinded to the better ways of doing something. Having multiple eyes on something makes for easier detection especially in those moments you feel stuck.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Dropbox Paper! This is basically Google Docs on steroids. We use this throughout the whole company to track projects and timelines and have all the information stored in one place. As a remote team, this makes communication much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Upstarts: Uber, Airbnb, and the Battle for the New Silicon Valley by Brad Stone. I choose this book because I personally believe that anyone can gain something from it whether they are pursuing a tech venture, a brick and mortar, or happy with their 9-to-5 job.
This book gives a detailed account of the origin stories of some of the greatest disruptors in American history today. It portrays the challenges faced, the ridicule that never seemed to end, and the countless pivots made by the founding teams to get to where they are today.
The biggest takeaways I got from this book are these: 1) If you have a dream bigger than your current situation, you must do whatever it takes to make that a reality. Sometimes that means rewriting laws and changing governments. Other times it means keeping your mouth closed and rolling with the punches. 2) You have to be willing to fail, to take a chance on yourself, and connect with people that can help take you to the next step in business (or life). 3) During the lowest of lows, when it feels like no one supports you or understands, you my friend, have to foster strong mental fortitude to keep pressing forward. When Airbnb first began their journey, they couldn’t even get their closest friends to engage with the app. Look at them now.
What is your favorite quote?
You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. – Steve Jobs
- Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Keep yourself emotionally grounded and mentally strong to push through the downturns.
- Goal setting is vital. If you don’t have a map; it is difficult to get to your destination.
- Be courageous! Do things afraid. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover the amazing doors of opportunity that open up.
- Stack your time. When you’re making your morning brew or getting ready for the day, pop on an educational podcast or video.
- Adjustments are key! Be ready to make necessary pivots as you continue to build and scale.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.