Take the time to celebrate the little things.
Shae Hong is the CEO, Chairman, and co-founder of Sensio, Inc. Shae has used his knowledge of business development, consumer products, and merchandising to build Sensio Inc. into a multi-million-dollar business enterprise with multiple product lines and big-box retail partnerships.
Where did the idea for Sensio, Inc. come from?
There was a time when the kitchen table was where the world would pause so we could gather and share our triumphs, failures, heartaches, hopes, opinions, and ideas. With the world becoming increasingly more connected, that time feels more and more fleeting and I think we’re losing something in that fleeting time. I wanted to bring everyone back to the kitchen table because I believe that breaking bread has the power to bring people together. The age-old tradition of preparing a meal for your family, your neighbor, or your village, and the value of making real connections is something I couldn’t let die. I made it my mission to do what I could to create simple, affordable, thoughtfully designed products that would help make it easier for people to gather and share with the people who matter most to them.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 5:30 am and meditate for 5 minutes before doing anything else. My coffee maker goes off automatically at 5:20 am so it’s fresh and ready when I finish meditating. I then read the paper, usually NY Post and WSJ, and wake my kids up and get them started for the day.
Around 6:30/7 am I start training and usually train for an hour. After training, I sit in the infrared sauna for 20 minutes and then cold plunge for 5 minutes before heading into the office. Half my day is usually spent on scheduled meetings while the other half is used to work with my team or do things on the fly without structure.
I try my hardest to be home for dinner with my family and make it a point to try to eat dinner together as often as possible. After dinner I spend time with the family, maybe catch up on some emails, and then start to wind down around 8:30/9 pm and get ready for bed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When ideas come to me, I usually write them down in my iPhone so that when I have an opportunity to go over them with my team, I can easily access them, talk them through, and bring them to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m really excited by the trend of people truly disconnecting from work so that they can be more productive when they do work. For the first 10-12 years of my career I never really stopped being “on”. It was a very hard thing to sustain and made it very challenging to be present and happy. It also took its toll and caused me to sacrifice some very important things in my life, like my family and health. Disconnecting every day is so important to me because it allows me to sustain what I’m are doing long-term and live with balance.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a very structured person by nature and have found throughout my career that being able to structure my time has allowed me to get things done and be extremely effective. I have found that structure combined with determination and perseverance really can create successful outcomes over time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to stop, enjoy, celebrate the important moments and achievements with family and friends. I was going through life accomplishing things, but I never truly took the time to appreciate and acknowledge them. I ended up being very unsatisfied even though I was technically successful.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People have the ability to change if they really want to.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Lean on your advisors and mentors on a regular basis. These people have taken a vested interest in you and your projects. They are there to give you strength, knowledge, support, and to support you and help you through challenges and unchartered waters. It’s ok to ask them for help. It’s why they’re there.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I always woke up with a focus on how I was going to grow sales or revenue. I made it a priority every day and put it first before anything else.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Over the first 10 years of my business, I would consistently get rejected by retailers. There are some retail partners that I went to multiple times every year for years and never got an opportunity. Instead of giving up every time I got turned down, I let it motivate me further to go back, try again, and win. The more I lost the more determined I became to win. It’s a mental game and I had to believe in myself, even when no one else did.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see someone create a baby bottle that balances on its own when you’re feeding a newborn, so you don’t have to secure it with another hand. I think that would be awesome.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It’s got to be either my Rhône Spar Joggers, which are crazy comfortable and can be dressed up or down, or my Air Pods. Between using them for calls and watching Netflix, I feel like I use them more than anything else.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The Notes app on my iPhone. It allows me to keep a log of things I want to review with my team and keep track of ideas I want to talk to someone about when we are meeting in person. I’ve found that my Notes app has allowed me to really stay on top of discussion topics when the time is right rather than emailing people at all hours of the night and on the weekends.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove. I love this because it teaches you to never get too comfortable. If you don’t continue to innovate or reinvent what you are doing, someone else will and you will get beat. Always be paranoid and you will always be thinking about what’s next even when you’re having success. It will help ensure that you and your business survive long-term.
What is your favorite quote?
It has to be either “The early bird gets the worm”, or “Let’s Fucking Go!” Ask my team, they’ll agree.
- Take the time to celebrate the little things.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Always be evolving.
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.