The father-daughter founding team of Sustain, a Burlington, Vermont-based condom company, had experience on their side. Jeffrey Hollender, who co-founded Sustain with daughter Meika in 2013, was the co-founder and CEO of Seventh Generation, the eco-friendly cleaning supply company that grew into a $150 million success.
But coming from a company positioned high on the business food chain, Jeffrey had to get used to working at the level of a fledgling startup looking for capital. In an Inc. Trep Life mini-documentary, he says he had to rein in what he thought could get done during the early days of the startup's life.
"I think on a day-to-day basis, what grinds on me the most is my unrealistic expectations of what I should be able to accomplish," Hollender tells Inc. He says that you need to be realistic when it comes to completing tasks--especially when those tasks are to secure venture capital, get FDA approval, and land large clients.
"Raising the capital for the business took way longer than I thought it would. I thought it would take 90 days. It ended up taking six months. You're dialing for dollars--every single day you're picking up the phone and you're calling people for the first time, for the fifth time, for the 10th time," he says.
Hollender says the toughest aspect of dealing with these initial steps is that you have little control over how quickly they happen, or whether they even happen at all. The worst thing a co-founder can do, he says, is to let that lack of control overwhelm you.
"For the most part, life is as stressful as you let it be. I work pretty hard on not letting it be bad and I also feel that it is usually largely in my own control," he says.
Learn more about how the Hollenders dealt with the challenges of entrepreneurship in the full Trep Life video below.
Sustain: What It's Like When the Family Business Is Condoms
Father-daughter founding team Meika and Jeffrey Hollender have built a fair-trade condom company aimed at women in their twenties. This is their grind, hustle and payoff.