Lady Bosses I Love: Hilary Stiebel
Updated: May 18, 2020
Growing up my name wasn't very popular. In fact, as a kid, I would beg my mom to change my name to Heather or Beth, which were much more common names in the 80's and 90's. So, when I meet other Hilary's I always get excited.
I met Hilary Stiebel at a mutual friend's house party nearly a decade ago, and I loved her immediately. Hilary has a very chill vibe, making her easy to talk to and good to have around during a global pandemic. In addition to her day job as a Programs Manager at Philabundance, a wonderful Philly-area nonprofit that aims to combat hunger, Hilary runs her own company, Hilary's Homemade. Through that business, Hilary sells homemade elderberry syrup, which has been shown to be a natural immune booster. With a global pandemic happening right now, and lots of people focused on protecting their immune system, there's no better Lady Boss to introduce you to this month than Hilary.
Hilary Stiebel: Hilary's Homemade
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
Hilary's Homemade. I make artisanal organic elderberry syrup
How long have you been in business?
About 1.5 years.
How did you decide to launch your own business?
I had been making my own syrup for a few years before I saw the opportunity and gap in the market. I tested the waters by asking my local FB mom's group if there was interest so I started playing around with it and now it's what I want to do full time.
What challenges did you face in the process of launching your business?
SO many, and still being challenged daily. I get in my own way a lot, but am learning done is better than perfect! Creating a website was a big hurdle for me. I was tempted to hire out, but knew if I spent a little time I could figure out the basics and eventually I will grow the biz to a point I can hire all the help I need. I'm still working on keeping supplies in stock, creating content, and getting into retail stores. Also, this won't come to life on its own so I have to put in the time to build it and ask for help. Yet, there's only 24 hours in a day, I work full-time, have a long commute, and still want to be a present mom/wife/human during the hours that I'm at home, and get in some self-care time. Finding enough time in my day to do it all is a real challenge.
Also, don't get hung up on the trolls. Just keep going and use any negativity that comes your way as motivation to keep working harder.
Did you feel as though there were resources available to you, specifically as a woman business owner?
I do, but I sometimes feel limited by my own capacity and responsibilities. Being clear on what I want, need, and can take on helps me choose which resources to use or take advantage of at any given time.
Do you have a mentor?
I'm working on formalizing a new mentorship relationship, it's one of my top goals for this year. I have a decent network and support, but it's too piecemeal. Some of my favorite online coaches, all whom have written books and/or podcasts, include: Tony Robbins, Rachel Hollis, Tim Ferris, Jenna Kutcher, Jim Fortin, Marie Forleo, Chris Guillebeau, Brene Brown and David Bach. Highly recommend any of them!
Books you recommend?
I read--or, rather, I mostly listened while commuting--a ton in 2019. A few of my fave's: The 4-hour Workweek, The Big Leap, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Girl Stop Apologizing/Girl Wash Your Face, The Power of Habit, Peaceful Parent Happy Kids, Dare to Lead, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, The Snowball, You Are a Badass and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. More than a few, but these were particularly influential and memorable!
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love being my own boss, watching the business grow, and bringing my dreams to life. I love seeing the potential and then making it happen. And I really love making, sharing and educating people on the benefits of elderberry syrup!
What is your least favorite aspect of running your own business?
The pressure I put on myself to do all the things. Wanting to and knowing that if I focused on it full time I could achieve more of my goals more quickly.
What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about launching a business?
Trust your gut and just do it already! The worst that can happen is you fail and walk away with lessons learned, maybe end up in a bit of debt. I think most of us get in our own way, or fear the financial risk (hi, that's me!).
Ask for help, outsource, and be clear on your goals, vision, mission and values. As a mentor in my 9-5 world, I've been working with my group of mentees to create SMART(IE) goals and you can bet your a$$ I'm doubling-down on this in my biz. Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound, Inclusive, and Equitable. Write down your goals then go back and ask if they are SMART. Keep tweaking until you get there.