By writing lists the night before, you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you check those tasks off one by one the next day.
Laina Gossman, the founder/CEO of Soul Insole has a deep background in orthotic design, kinesiology and biomechanics as well as multiple patents in her field. Her company, Soul Insole has grown into a well established and loved brand. Their foot rehabilitation products are sold online and in over 150 shoe stores, shoe repair stores, and doctors offices worldwide. Soul Insole was recently selected as one of just 6 finalists for Amazon’s Women Owned Small Business Of The Year due to their success on the Amazon Platform and their inspiring efforts in helping people to get back on their feet and doing the things they love.
Where did the idea for Soul Insole come from?
I worked in orthotic design, studied kinesiolgy & biomechanics. After exhausting every other resource including doctors, $500 custom orthotics, surgeries, people came to me with their serious foot ailments. My designs worked. I wanted to help more people than I could by individually hand-carving, so I patented my designs, got them manufactured and started Soul Insole.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day begins the night before. I write a list of things to do for the next day. In the morning I generally start my day checking and responding to emails. Then begins checking off my list of larger projects including taking steps towards tasks such as new product design and development, website improvements, marketing, sales calls etc.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It begins with a need from my customers. It may be something that they’ve been asking for for years, or something that I’ve hand made in the past for people in need. Next I hand make samples to test. The next step is to 3D design the mold and send that off to my manufacturer to have them make samples. Those samples are tested. Adjustments are made if necessary. Production begins!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love that being healthy and listening to the body’s needs is becoming more popular and trendy. Improved focus on one’s health brings a better quality of life to the individual and others surrounding them.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me more productive is writing lists of my most important things to do. I keep that list on my desk and it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross those bullet points off.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could give advice to my younger self, I would say that the world is huge and the number of people who are capable of participating in the production of specific aspects of your business are many. Don’t be fooled to believe that there is only one person or one business who can accomplish a given task. Search far and wide to find the very best at each task to move forward faster and smoother.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can find success following your entrepreneurial dreams even if there are already huge companies in your field. No matter how many people tell you that you “can’t compete with the big guys”, I’d like to share my experience as proof that with the right work ethic, and the right idea – something that really makes a difference – people will notice, they will tell their friends, you’ll feel that sense of undeniable purpose, and you will get a piece of the pie.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Inbox Zero – Going through emails in a timely manner to stay organized.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Kickstarter was a great way to launch my business. It helped to build my initial customer base which has continued to multiply each year.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I initially began the manufacturing process with a man who was described as the best mechanical and chemical engineer in the footwear world. Unfortunately, my project did not rank high on his to-do list and he would take weeks and months to respond to simple emails and design improvements. Weeks became months, months became 2 years and the material never rose to the quality necessary for production. Finally I decided to stop the headache of working with this manufacturer. I searched across the world, I made a list of over 60 manufacturers and narrowed it down to the one I have chosen to work with since my launch. They have impeccable quality standards, they were willing to take the time to develop my product materials to perfection and I have happily built a very good relationship with them over the years.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Uberize something – meaning take a business category and make it something that anyone can participate in or offer as a service. For example: dinner at a local person’s house, local travel guides, coffee and internet in a house, local homebaked goods or anything you love!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently, I went to get a good deep tissue massage. Owning your own business is busy and can be a bit stressful. My business goals include helping others to improve their health and quality of life, so I feel that it’s very important to remember to take care of my health as well.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google is amazing. I use so many of their services: Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, Search Engine, Analytics, Ads…it’s endless! They are really at the top of their game in helping entrepreneurs like me to stay organized and productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. It’s an inspiring, easy read to help you become more efficient.
What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ― Calvin Coolidge
- By writing lists the night before, you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you check those tasks off one by one the next day.
- Before you decide on a person/company to work with, search far and wide so that you have a larger pool to choose from and you can make the best choice.
- Persistence is a major key to success
- Listen to your body’s needs in regards to your health physically and mentally.
- Read “4 Hour Workweek” to get a better understanding of how to work efficiently.
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.