Have you ever had a vision of your home or office design, but soon realized that the execution is harder than it seems? Even today, companies are realizing the benefits of a "cool" workplace, but may not know exactly what designs work best for employees.

Sara Taylor-Demos, founder and CEO of early-stage startup Cora Home, is working to make designing a space much easier and fun. Cora Home is a business-to-consumer home furnishings e-commerce solution that uses augmented reality to make your home design vision a reality.

Since founding Cora Home, Taylor-Demos has focused on learning how to get out of her own way so she can focus on moving the business forward. She recently sat down with Project Entrepreneur to tell her story:

Project Entrepreneur: What inspired you to start your business?
Taylor-Demos: Furniture shopping has always been a painful process -- What goes together? Will this fit in my space? Where can I find this? In addition, I love visualization technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

And, then, the day after conceiving my business, Cora, my brother and sister-in-law's house was struck by a tornado. The pain they experienced over the next year to rebuild their house -- to feel settled again -- has been a driving factor in me to create digital solutions to turn your home design vision into reality, and to reduce the time investment required.

For busy households who find furniture shopping overwhelming, frustrating and time-consuming, Cora is a business-to-consumer home furnishings e-commerce experience that provides digital tools to better find, pair and visualize your home design before purchase.

What's been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
Focus. Out of the thousands of things you could be doing as a founder, what are the key activities you can do as the founder to drive your business?

For me, the challenge has been learning how to get out of my own way and recruit team members who are (obviously) way more talented (and amazing) than me, especially in specific areas. (Shout out to the Cora Team, thank you so much!)

My focus is shifting to sales, digital, and company vision, fundraising, and recruitment -- exactly what I should be doing and where my talent lies.

Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
Four things: 

  1. My deep passion to build a digital solution people love and that reduces frustration.
  2. Knowing that I come from a family of business owners -- that it's in my blood. My Dad is an owner of a CPA firm and my grandparents (and generations prior) owned a farm in Iowa, my home state.
  3. Our team and advisors. If it's been a punishing day, I'm thankful to have their ear and advice.
  4. My husband, George. He's my rock in all aspects.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Just when the going gets really tough, you have to hold your nerve and double down. You will freak out, but figure out how to channel that energy toward hustling and progress.

Imposter syndrome is a real thing. It does creep in for me, and to combat this I will talk, act and conduct business as for how I see myself and my business in 3 years.

What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I prepare on Sunday nights. I write my goals for the week, send out meeting invites, follow up with key stakeholders, lay out my clothes for Monday and think strategically about next steps. Monday morning is too late. 

This article originally appeared on the Project Entrepreneur website and has been condensed for clarity.

Published on: Oct 31, 2017