Chelsea Rivera

Co-Founder of Honest Paws

Chelsea Rivera co-founded Honest Paws and currently serves as Head of Content for the brand. Chelsea graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Radio-Television-Film & Advertising. Her role at Honest Paws stems from a love of digital content and the adoration she has for her CBD-loving pup, Baby Rose.

Where did the idea for Honest Paws come from?

When my pup, Baby Rose was just 3 years old, she started suffering horrible seizures. As any worried dog mom would do, I searched for options to help her. However, all the anti-seizure medication came with negative side effects that would cause her to feel lethargic and curb her spunky personality. So, I decided to take the holistic route and look into alternative medicine. This led me to CBD. I knew it was already being used by humans to help with various problems but I didn’t know much about the animal side. But – within a month – Baby Rose’s seizures stopped. This was the start of Honest Paws! I realized that many pet parents were in the same boat as I was and saw this as an opportunity to help pets everywhere live happier, healthier lives.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I normally wake up around 7 am (sleep is important). From there, I work out, have breakfast, and depending on stress level, may do a little meditation. I work from home but I still get dressed for work and go to my home office. I find it helps me maintain the right mindset to get things done. First thing, I answer emails before anything else. I set my priorities for the day and get right to it. I usually finish around 6 pm. In the evening, I like to take Baby Rose on walks or decompress with a book.

How do you bring ideas to life?

At Honest Paws, I count on an amazing team of people who are always up to test new things. I establish an idea by first determining what the desired outcome is and how it will meet the objectives of the company. Once I can determine that, I will bring it up in our growth meeting. At the growth meeting, we determine what steps need to be taken and who will complete them. This way, there’s an established plan with objectives. It clarifies who does what, deadlines, etc

What’s one trend that excites you?

TikTok is growing more every day! And it’s no longer only entertaining Gen Z, but rather everyone! It allows people to become content creators. There’s actually a lot of engaging, entertaining content to be consumed. It’s pretty addictive. Businesses use TikTok to engage with their communities through this app so that is definitely something we are excited to get into.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I avoid my phone in the mornings. It’s hard to do but once you open up your email, it’s easy to abandon all self-care (exercise, breakfast, etc) and start working from your bed. When I hit the gym, eat a healthy breakfast, and reserve that time in the morning for myself, I find I am always in a better place to tackle the workday.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop overthinking every detail! It took me a long time to bring Honest Paws to life because of how much I overanalyzed every single detail. Whether it is your branding, messaging, product, or anything else. The important thing to remember is you can always come up with an MVP (minimum viable product) and make changes later on. Nothing is permanent.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Working from home is not easy! I love the flexibility my job allows me but it takes a lot of balance and self-control. It’s definitely not for everyone. Lines get blurred when it comes to time and you can find yourself working longer hours than usual unless you have the ability to set limits for yourself. On the other hand, distractions are always present, whether it’s my dog, house-related problems, or family interrupting my workflow. That’s why having a work station (be it an office or just a desk) is a must. As WFH gets more popular, people are starting to enjoy it more and more, but the best advice I can give anyone is to learn to set limits for yourself. Balance is crucial.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I always listen to my team. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that EVERYONE has good ideas. Positioning in the company should not determine who we listen to first. In fact, some of the best ideas and projects that we’ve executed have been created and brought to life by team members who are sometimes not even a part of the department who would be in charge of the project.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We move fast. We saw how rapidly CBD was growing in the holistic world and decided to jump right in before the industry boomed, making us a leader in the pet CBD space. And we’ve adapted all of our workflows to move just as quickly, with projects being executed in two weeks or less. Obviously, there are special cases that might take longer but we try to keep those to a minimum and make sure we don’t waste precious time on projects that won’t make a difference.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Honest Paws is not the only brand we’ve established. In fact, we’ve attempted many brands, namely a brand of CBD for humans. However, as the market became so saturated, trying to focus on both humans and dogs made it difficult for us to set priorities. We ultimately overcame it by deciding to stick to what we do best: building brands that help pets!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If someone is interested in being an entrepreneur, I do not recommend reinventing the wheel. There is no shame at looking at current business models and focusing on you could make it better or more efficient. I highly recommend looking at SaaS products because they are easier to maintain and change, versus say tangible products that you sell out of a brick and mortar store.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I spent recently was on a meal delivery service. Now, I definitely love my fair share of junk food but healthy eating is so incredibly important (especially during the workweek). Not only does it nourish your body but it improves your mood. When I stick to unprocessed food, I am more alert, happier, and more productive. When you work from home, it is easy to get carried away with your workflow and forget to eat OR in a time crunch, make a poor food choice. That’s why I recently subscribed to weekly meal delivery service, Snap Kitchen.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Asana! It’s fairly new to our team, but we are getting the hang of it. This tool allows you to set your own to-do list as well as assign team members tasks. I am constantly working on my own tasks at work that sometimes I forget what I owe other team members. Having a tool like Asana helps us all stay organized and give each other updates.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. You don’t have to analyze businesses similar to yours in order to be successful, but rather the steps that successful people in general take. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the different factors that successful people take into consideration.

What is your favorite quote?

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” from A Course in Miracles. It serves as an invitation to let go of what you don’t have control over and focus on what you know to be true: that success is inevitable.

Key Learnings:

  • Teamwork most definitely makes the dream work.
  • Working on your personal goals to become the best version of yourself is necessary in order to reach professional goals.
  • Adapting to new trends will help you succeed.
  • Failing is also a lesson that helps you determine what works and doesn’t work for you.