Continue to invest in and reinvest in your business(es) and things that help your business(es) grow…your business is the priority, if you want to see it succeed, you have to water it and help it to continue to grow
Te-ana Souffrant is an entrepreneur and mother of three whose struggles with postpartum care motivated her to create an international network of health care providers.
Women today (in 2019), are 50% more likely to die during childbirth and immediately post partum, than their mothers (say 30 or 40 years ago), and for women of color, the number is significantly higher. Her mission stems from a need to improve birth outcomes and ultimately eradicate incidences of maternal mortality and morbidity for ALL, by connecting clients directly to individualized support, through a curated directory of vetted birth professionals.
The Arch App, puts the power of choice back into the hands of those who both want and need support.
The Arch App boasts over 90+ providers, in 20 states and 2 countries taking out the “guess work” of how and where one can go to find birth support, doulas and other non-clinical birth professionals.
Where did the idea for The Arch App come from?
In my first few years as a Doula I noticed trends that hadn’t been previously addressed. One: Clients didn’t have direct access to support. Two: Unnecessary competition and “inhouse fighting”. Three: I wanted to give power to those who felt powerless and support to those who felt unsupported. Creating an app wasn’t the first idea to come to mind, but as “tech” started booming and becoming more ubiquitous, I thought, what better way to solve these problems other than through an app.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am a firm believer of the rule of three: I am a mom of three small boys. I have three jobs: homeschooling, wife and full-time entrepreneur all the while hustling to keep The Arch App alive for almost three years. It’s been a challenge, and I definitely had more time to build my business when my kids attended school, but I’ve gotten use to the hustle. A typical day for me either starts or ends with breakfast with my kids. Some days I’ll have an overnight client, other days I get to ask my kids how they slept and prep them for class. They enjoy a normal school day with four to five hours of lessons before recess while I make lunch. As lunch begins, I sit down for my daily phone meetings or last-minute calls. As school ends, I begin administrative work until dinner. Most nights I will take calls and additional meetings in the evenings while my kids settle down. Then the cycle begins again either with overnight postpartum work or preparation for the coming days. I think by cramming in the more tedious aspects of being an entrepreneur into my breaks I’m able to work more efficiently than I would if I let the inertia of the day get to me.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a creative— for me, once it’s written down it real. As soon as a good one (or two, or three) hit me I write it down, I create the imagery and then I find out how I can get the idea to market. Which is, of course, exactly what I did with The Arch App.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Smart technology—such as apps—as an aid in modern medicine. Its exciting to see the collaboration between novices, such as myself who have an idea, they want proliferated, and those capable of presenting it to an audience of people who need nothing more than their phones to take advantage of all The Arch App has to offer. That’s where our tagline: “Where access meets support” comes from. The idea that wider access can link us all to better, more supportive systems.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I learned a few years ago that my lot or mission in life is to be a conduit. I do it with family, friends, clients. If I feel like another person or thing or place can be useful to someone else and I can make that connection to that thing, then it’s a huge motivator. I know what it’s like to not have support and not know where to find it. But to see the stress and anxiety leave my clients’ voices and faces knowing I’ve connected them to something useful… I look forward to doing that over and over again. It’s what I’m meant to do. It’s what I feel good doing. Who doesn’t want a job that does that?
What advice would you give your younger self?
You already know who you are and what you want, stop letting people tell you different.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
“Gatekeepers” are what’s keeping this world from being as great as it could be.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
WRITE IT DOWN. I write my thoughts, my ideas, I sketch out my visions for other apps, etc.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Staying true to the mission to connect people, serve and support, being honest, reliable and a brand of its word. Some people are motivated by money, fame, attention. I am motivated by altruism. Keeping true to that has inspired others to spread the word about my vision.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I rushed and didn’t really plan OR get to know some of the people I hired to help me with my app. I lost out on the majority of the money and now had to come out of my pocket to pay for a new app developer (one who I vetted, and really respect and enjoy working). My idea was always, as a business owner and boss, I don’t have to be mean, I just need to be FAIR. I don’t have to LOVE everyone I work with; they have to do the job they were hired for. I need to take my time and not be hasty. This is my business and I am in it for the long haul.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A music app that seamlessly blends songs into mashups for the wannabe DJ at a house party.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The platform that hosts the app is not your typical route to app creation. It is a code-less app platform that is meant to teach your everyday person how to make an app and be able to host it/ present it to the world. While I was pregnant at the end of 2017, I was stressing about how I would fund this BIG idea and future BIG ideas and didn’t have the resources/finances to pay for a $40000-$100,000 app developer. It gave me an opportunity create The Arch App, and support people in need.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My iPhone Notes/Reminder/Siri Feature, I am a pen and paper girl and 90% of the time, I will use pen/paper. But in those moments when I am on the go, and need to leave a voice memo, remind myself to do the 70 things I need to, or ask Siri to add something to my calendar, it is so impactful for my business (and my life). Its made so many of life’s inconveniences, convenient.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Leading Women – 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets To Leadership, Business, and Life” – by Nancy D. O’Reilly, PSYD – This book was given to me by my sister in law, at the peak of my entrepreneur journey with The Arch App (2018), leading up to its launch. There are so many powerful women in business, doing wonderful things in business around the WORLD and such important work, making strides and are made accessible to us via social media, but having that “access” still didn’t feel close enough for me to grasp. These women shared their journey’s, the lessons they’ve learned, the mistakes, the failures and their wins and all from different perspectives, experience levels, and sectors in business. For women in business, whether you are new to it or a long-time business owner, there is a story in here for you.
What is your favorite quote?
“If it is to be, it is up to me” – A Snapple cap circa 2001
- Use your experiences (good and bad) to shape and frame your why, and use those answers to be motivation
- If you want it bad enough, you will find a way, no matter how hectic your life – it’s called PASSION
- Hold the vision, trust the process – if you can see, draw and hold it in your mind, you can have it in your hand
- Money should not be the main motivator, and the ONLY reason you get into business – because there will be days that MONEY can’t even get you out of the bed and on those days, you need something bigger THAN YOU (greater purpose) to motivate you
- Continue to invest in and reinvest in your business(es) and things that help your business(es) grow, whether that is books, a membership to an entrepreneur space/community or ink for your printer in your home office – your business is the priority, if you want to see it succeed, you have to water it and help it to continue to grow
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.