Lisa Popovici of Cartloop

Founder Coffee episode 049

I’m Jeroen from Salesflare and this is Founder Coffee.

Every few weeks I have coffee with a different founder. We discuss life, passions, learnings, … in an intimate talk, getting to know the person behind the company.

For this forty-ninth episode, I talked to Lisa Popovici, Co-Founder of Cartloop, an SMS marketing service that offers you a team that helps customers with their abandoned shopping carts on your Shopify store.

Lisa went to med school. While doing that, she wanted to earn her own money, and started a women’s fashion brand. She came home from classes every day, excited to work on her business, and found out she was more passionate about e-commerce than her studies.

After getting her degree, she decided to focus herself full time on her passion. And then she wanted to do something even bigger: really solving a problem. The problem was right in front of her: abandoned shopping carts.

We talk about why she chose entrepreneurship over med school, what motivates and what scares her, everything she does to stay healthy and balanced, how you make your customers the heroes, and why it’s important to build habits and set priorities.

Welcome to Founder Coffee.

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Jeroen:

Hi, Lisa, it’s great to have you on Founder Coffee.

Lisa:

Hi, excited to be here!

Jeroen:

You’re the co-founder of Cartloop. For those who don’t know yet, what do you guys do at Cartloop?

Lisa:

Yeah, so Cartloop is a conversational, SMS marketing platform. We help brands recover their abandoned carts by texting their customers in real-time. So this is in a nutshell what we do.

Jeroen:

So if I understand it well, it’s for Shopify business owners, like people who have their webshop on Shopify. And you give the abandoned cart recovery a totally different approach.

Lisa:

Yeah. We’re available on the Shopify app store for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants. It basically works like a fully managed service. We have a team of experts behind every single conversation and they do all the hard work. And what I mean by that is they interact with every single customer on a one-to-one basis. They are assisting them throughout their shopping journey, offering support, offering help with any questions they might have. They’re not only trying to convert the customers and get a new sale. We’re also really trying to build that trust and relationship from the very start. So we increase not only ROI but also LTV and of course, we retain customers for the long run.

Jeroen:

I mostly get these emails after I leave something in my cart, saying, “Hey, you still want to buy this?” Or I get Facebook advertisements. Is that what’s more common?

Lisa:

Well, it’s basically the same trigger because you’re then in the cart. So that’s the main trigger. But our approach is different because we are super focused on providing that human touch. So after you would like, for example, abandon your cart, you would accept marketing and provide a phone number at checkout in order to be compliant. Our experts will text you saying something like, “Hey, I saw you were checking out this product, awesome choice. Would you like me to help you with something?” Or sometimes we also provide a discount. And the beauty of it is that you, as a customer, can reply back and start a conversation and you can reply at your own pace whenever you have time. It’s not that pressure for example, that you would have on a live chat that you would have to wait for that live agent to actually be live or just return back and open the tab again.

Lisa:

And all these steps that are required for the other solutions or I don’t know, like Messenger marketing, texts are always super personal. It’s super friendly. We’re trying to keep it like, as it would be like their personal shopping assistant talking to them right there, or their best friend going shopping with them. We’re really trying to bring that in-store experience online.

Jeroen:

Yeah, that’s nice. So it’s basically like having a sales team or customer support team or combination of those. It’s sort of the same nowadays behind your shopping cart, but then through text.

Lisa:

Yeah.

Jeroen:

Did you have a Shopify store in the past yourself, or how did you exactly come to this idea?

Lisa:

Yeah, yeah. I actually have a background in e-commerce. My co-founder and I started a couple of brands back in like I would say in 2014, I guess. And this is how our entrepreneurial and e-commerce journey began. I mean, personally, I was studying med school. And while I was in college, I wanted to basically earn my own money and this is how I got into e-com. I always liked the online environment. And this is how I started my first fashion brand. It was a women’s fashion brand. And after that, during the six years of studying med school, I just found that I’m very passionate about e-commerce. I always was so eager to get back from the classes and some practising at the hospital.

Lisa:

I was so eager to get back and just work, like opening my laptop and just work and get creative. And I don’t know, I just found a different world that I wasn’t really aware of, all the opportunities that the online environment can offer. Because for example, where I grew up, I had such a difficult time when I was 18 years old to decide what I want to do with my life. Where should I go to study? What career should I have? And all that pressure that a lot of teenagers have. I don’t know how is it in the other parts. But here, it’s really difficult to decide because I would say, the government and the studying system and the school, they teach only to have options, like go to med school or be an architect, or be a lawyer, or I don’t know an engineer. But nothing like tech-related or marketing related.

Lisa:

It’s just that you have such little options. And I remember that there was a turning point for me when I realized that something’s missing from my dedication to medicine because I’ve always been such an ambitious and driven person. And I always like to give 100% to everything I do. And I felt like this was missing from my involvement in med school and in medicine. And I didn’t want to become another average doctor because there’s plenty of them. And I really felt like something was missing. And that part that was missing was all put into my work, into my e-commerce work. So I remember back in 2018, I was travelling, I stayed a couple of months in the U.S and I went for the first time to San Francisco.

Lisa:

And I was working with like, we can say, like a freelance on my brands. And I was working every day. I was going to all the tech-related events or e-commerce related events there. It’s hard to describe it, but I felt that hard working atmosphere and this energizing atmosphere and all those ambitious and driven people were there. And I started learning more and more about the startup ecosystem and how the tech industry works and all the niches. And during this period, since we started my co-founder and I, with our businesses, with our e-commerce businesses, we always knew that we wanted to do something bigger. We wanted to make something that would solve a problem. Not just like having a couple of brands and that’s it. We always came up with ideas. We were discussing, we were debating within ourselves. And yeah, this is basically how I started with my, I can say entrepreneurial journey.

Jeroen:

Yeah. I understand. Personally, I studied engineering for similar reasons. I guess I always wanted to build websites and sell second-hand cell phones and all this kind of stuff. And there’s no study for that really. So, I personally looked at computer engineering first, but then that kind of looked boring. So I did something else, another type of engineering, biomedical. And then I look at my sister as well. Who studied to be a doctor. It seems like something great to help people to fix their health. She’s a paediatrician. She gets a lot of love from it and all but it’s something where you don’t really build out a lot. I mean, you can specialize, but you’re not really building something. You’re more of an operator or something. I don’t know.

Lisa:

Yeah. It’s true. I mean, you don’t have any control. Maybe only after, I don’t know, 20-30 years of being a doctor, you have some control. But it’s an amazing career. Of course, it’s a noble career. It’s awesome. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to med school. But I just felt like I really wanted to be, I don’t know, more free and to have, as you said, control over my life, control where I would work from. And also, I just wasn’t passionate enough and I wanted to do something for the rest of my life that would really make me like, cannot wait to wake up and just start doing it.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Was there someone in your family who inspired you here or was your family mostly saying, “Lisa, are you crazy? You just started studying to be a doctor and now you’re selling clothes online?”

Lisa:

No. During that studying period they were really proud of me because I started something on the side and I was really motivated and earning money on my own. That was not a problem. They were always super supportive. I wouldn’t say that they have inspired me. I mean, they are pretty entrepreneurial themselves, but yeah, when I decided to just finish, I actually graduated from med school because I wanted to really graduate and not leave it like that. But after I graduated, they were a bit skeptical because they weren’t as knowledgeable about the industry. They were a bit skeptical. They kept saying that you should go forward with medicine and stuff like that. But as hard as it was for me in those moments, in those months, I knew what I had to do. And I knew the path I had to follow.

Jeroen:

Did you still do your internships as a doctor or I suppose to finish the study?

Lisa:

Yeah, I finished my studies last year. I graduated, but am no longer pursuing it. I was supposed to have my residency now.

Lisa:

I don’t regret it at all. I love what I’m doing.

Jeroen:

So how many e-commerce brands or web shops did you have? And then is this your first tech company from there?

Lisa:

Yeah, so I personally had two brands and I also helped my co-founder with his brand. So it would be like I was working on three. But of course, I wouldn’t be working on all of them at the same time, because the first one was sold. So yeah, and I would say, that I’m a second time founder, because we previously had another company, which we pivoted from to Cartloop. It was mostly on the email marketing side of things. And we pivoted at the beginning of this year. And it was one of the best decisions we’ve made.

Jeroen:

And your co-founder, how did you meet each other? You were both working on e-commerce or how did that exactly happen?

Lisa:

So it wasn’t work related. We just met actually in his hometown, because I’m not from the city I live in right now. I’m from [inaudible 00:13:49] originally, but we met here where we live. We just became friends and then we found out about each other, a lot of hobbies and we really, I would say, related to one another. Our hobbies, ambitions and stuff like that. We just started to connect and we really wanted to build something. And I was the one at the beginning because he had some previous ventures he was working on. I was the one that was wanting to get involved and help him with his first business. And then we started in e-commerce on Shopify. He was the one that discovered Shopify for the first time. And then he taught me and yeah, I learned a lot from e-commerce and also startups and everything from him.

Jeroen:

Before that, did you do any startup, like projects, or did you, I mean, sell anything or was that your first experience?

Lisa:

We had a small brand here in Romania. We sold locally, but nothing major. I mean, it was just, I would say, one of our attempts at e-commerce. But nothing like a startup or something like that.

Jeroen:

Right. Thinking about what you’re doing right now and thinking about what you like to do. Do you have any idea where in at least the medium term, you want to take all this? Where do your ambitions lie in this respect?

Lisa:

Do you mean Cartloop related?

Jeroen:

Yeah. Cartloop related or just for yourself? What is it exactly that you like to do and that you would like to spend your life more on? What motivates you? A lot of people are looking for this kind of stuff. So it’s always interesting to hear your story.

Lisa:

Yeah, definitely. So I can start with what motivates me. And I actually had this conversation, I think with Andre, my co-founder the other week. We were talking about what motivates us and what really drives us to go forward because I mean, in a startup every day is a challenge, and I’m just now learning that I have to be patient with myself, and there is no right or wrong. There is just persistence and growth. And personally, I failed a lot of times and I learned a lot from my mistakes. And what motivates me the most, I would say, are the results. And just seeing that a customer is happy. One of our users is happy. One of our team members really enjoyed working with us. And that means that we set the foundation of our culture correctly.

Lisa:

That also motivates us and myself. I also love when I see the other members of our team are making progress. And really like, even if they came to Cartloop, they joined us on a very, I would say, with a smaller responsibility at the beginning. And then they grew and they are now in a bigger position. I love that. And I love seeing people grow. Myself included. Every single week Friday night, I feel like I’ve learned so much. And if you think about it, I don’t have a background. I wasn’t an entrepreneur. I just had some brands and that’s it. I also started medicine, so it’s not like I had a huge background. I feel like I’m learning so much every single week.

Lisa:

And that actually motivates me so much because I really want to grow as an individual and as a professional as well. In terms of Cartloop, I mean, the way we see mobile messaging is the next big way to reach consumers and drive revenue. That’s in the most human way possible. Without, for example, being intrusive or impersonal or semi, and we really want to provide real value. Our goal is to become the go-to conversational marketing platform that bridges the gap between consumers and brands and enables seamless shopping experiences. And everyday we’re working really hard to implement new features and make Cartloop even more useful for both brands and consumers. And we really want to take the shopping experience to, I would say, making it the best way possible and making it a really enjoyable experience for both brands and consumers.

Lisa:

We have a lot of ideas and things that we want to do that are on the roadmap. But we just have to take it step by step. This is also a thing that I’m trying right now to remind myself every single day. To be patient. Because maybe you can relate to this, but as a startup founder, you get so impatient every single day. You just want the team to be the best. You want them to perform the best, to see results every single day, to move forward because you see the competition like how fast they are growing, and without wanting to start to compare yourself with the competition. And that’s really not okay both for mental health and just for productivity. I’m trying to be more patient with myself, not beat myself up for sometimes not taking the best decisions or maybe, I don’t know, not being like a top performer every single day because we’re human and I’m really trying to take it step by step and just learning how. Because right now we’re expanding our team and learning how to manage and delegate.

Lisa:

This is also a challenge and this trying to stay in a positive, in a really healthy state of mind, is what I’m trying. Yeah.

Jeroen:

That’s for sure, extremely important. Especially if you’re in it for the long haul. You can’t keep running all the time. A marathon rather than a sprint, they sometimes say.

Lisa:

Yeah, true.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Talking about that, what is it that keeps you up at night lately? What are the things that you are now most busy with?

Lisa:

Yeah. That’s a good question. So maybe, you can also relate to this one, or you’ve also been through this situation, but as an early stage startup, you basically have to do everything. I have to manage or handle some tasks from every single department. Either sales, marketing, product management, hiring, administrative work. And I basically do a little bit of everything. Of course, I’m trying to focus right now on hiring. Me and my co-founder we’re really doubling down on hiring right now and really building a powerful team and culture, setting our foundation. Also what I’m mostly doing at the moment is focusing on growth and also product management. So it’s a lot that I’m doing at the moment.

Lisa:

Last night when I went to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep on the spot and all those responsibilities and what I have to do for tomorrow, they just popped in my mind. It’s like a challenge to just clear the noise and just fall asleep and not think of it. And I feel like we don’t want to lose the momentum we’re in right now. Because we see there’s a huge opportunity and a lot of interest in this space. And I believe the biggest thing that keeps me up at night it’s just, we’re not evolving the way we should be.

Jeroen:

Yeah.

Lisa:

I just got to learn to be patient and take it step by step.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Well, if I could add something. What works very well for me after all these years is first of all, priorities are very important of course, but you cannot enforce priorities if you don’t make to do lists. And that means not just on a daily basis but also slightly longer terms. So we have a few time horizons on which we plan. We do the more strategic stuff, more on a quarterly basis. We do the operational planning more on the bi-weekly basis. And then every day we do a stand up meeting. So on all these levels, you try to plan the most important things you need to do. And then you just focus on those. That brings a lot of peace to things because then you can instead of feeling like you have to go crazy between all the things that you think might be super important, pick out the things that you find most important consciously and then take them up one by one in a way that you also still try to enjoy doing them.

Jeroen:

Let’s say, I had days like weeks ago, where I felt like things were starting to become a drag. I was going from call to call to call, to call. And I was like, “When does this end?” But then I figured if I just take every call like I try to enjoy it, have a little small talk, try to connect with every single person, it doesn’t have to be a job. If you know what I mean, it doesn’t have to be a task. It can be something that you do enjoy and you’ll do it much better as well. But then it’s of course important that things stop being chaotic because chaos makes it very unpleasant. So I think planning and prioritization are key there, and you don’t need to plan everything exactly. But at least some kind of rough planning helps a lot.

Lisa:

Yeah. Definitely setting long-term goals and short-term goals helps a lot and prioritizing those. And yeah, sometimes we have like 15 calls a day. So what I started doing is just scheduling all my calls within a week, for example, on Tuesday or Wednesday. So I know all my calls are within those days. And then the other days I can focus on really going into deep work and not being disturbed by anything else.

Jeroen:

That’s nice. Yeah. That’s something that I also still want to do. I’m not as disciplined about that yet.

Lisa:

Well, of course, it’s not like a definite rule, but it happens. Some people are scheduling calls only when they can, because not everyone has the same rule as me, but I really try to stick to it. Yeah.

Jeroen:

Yeah. I sometimes do that. I tried to block off days for something where I really need a lot of focus, but then other times I just forget about it, then my week is over before I know it. Then I haven’t done my focus work at all.

Lisa:

I completely relate to that. I mean, I feel like this year has passed so quickly. I can’t even believe it. It is the fastest year of my life, but I would say the most exciting as well, because I’ve learned so many things and grew Cartloop to where it is right now. And can’t say it was bad, bad.

Jeroen:

Yeah. So you were saying that you mostly spend your time on growth and product management, right?

Lisa:

Yeah. I would say right now, this is what I want to focus on.

Jeroen:

So how does your day kind of look, or is every day a bit different?

Lisa:

So I start my days with a workout. This is how I cope actually with stress anxiety, or my energy levels. Working out on a daily basis really helps me and also helps me with keeping a positive mindset. I also practice, as soon as I wake up, meditating for 10 minutes and I recently started journaling. But I would like to keep it in the evenings when I’m more relaxed. And then I get to the office and we also have a daily stand-up meeting with the marketing and the growth team.

Lisa:

My co-founder does it with the development team and yeah, we’re trying to talk about, “Okay, what are the priorities for today? What do we want to achieve by the end of the day? And also at the beginning of the week, establishing goals for the entire week and at the beginning of the month for the entire month.” And then I just start with some administrative tasks that are quick and then yeah, going into the most important work, which can be either product management or hiring, or working with the growth team.

Jeroen:

Cool. And how do you end your day? That’s what the journaling is for?

Lisa:

Yeah. Recently started journaling and sometimes we end our work days quite late. So I’m really tired and maybe I would just write something, or just relax. Spend time with my cavalier. I want to start writing more, maybe listen to some podcasts or some audio books. This is how it usually is. I feel like I’ve stepped into such a routine, but I know this is one of the most challenging periods that we’re in right now. And mostly with the lock down and everything that’s going on, you don’t really have a lot of options.

Jeroen:

Yeah. By cavalier, do you mean the dog?

Lisa:

Yeah, the dog. I have a puppy Cavalier.

Jeroen:

Actually, we have one as well. My wife really likes Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He is seven years old now, I think.

Lisa:

Oh, mine is six months old.

Jeroen:

That’s a good time. That’s when they look really thin, like a teenager or something like that. They’re like very, very fast and they look super thin.

Lisa:

Yeah.

Jeroen:

Another question I had. You said you do meditation first thing in the morning. Does that work for you? You don’t fall asleep during meditation?

Lisa:

Of course, I take a shower for it. Then I really try to wake up properly, but no, it really helps not going directly on my phone and checking my emails or checking Slack. And when something goes wrong over the night, I get anxiety first thing in the morning. I don’t want that. I’ve been there. I don’t want to go there again. And I’m just trying to meditate for 10 minutes. Sometimes I feel it’s quite challenging because you cannot enter that really relaxed and chilled state of mind. But I’m feeling like, I would say, a beginner, even if I started like years ago, but I’m still struggling with it, but trying to really improve at this.

Jeroen:

So you don’t keep your phone around you when you sleep.

Lisa:

No, no, no, no, no. I keep it in the kitchen.

Jeroen:

Right.

Lisa:

It also gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and catch news.

Jeroen:

Yeah. I used to have my phone next to my bed as well, but that’s horrible because first thing in the morning, you just take the phone and you get immediately in this kind of weird flow. So it’s a nice thing to be able to leave it in the kitchen. Like, it doesn’t really matter an hour before you go to bed, maybe just before you go to bed, but at least when you’re in the bed. You’re not next to the thing anymore in the morning.

Lisa:

Yeah. And before you go to bed it’s recommended that you don’t stay on your phone, at least half an hour earlier because you can really mess up your sleep.

Jeroen:

Yeah. And in the morning, if you immediately get to it, you miss a lot of those…I don’t know what you’d call it. I get a lot of good ideas for instance, in the shower in the morning. And if I take my phone immediately, that’s just gone because my mind is already on whatever message I saw. And that’s gone.

Lisa:

We actually get a lot of ideas at night in the evenings after we are at home. We like to exchange ideas, but it is just that thing that you don’t know how to separate work life and just personal life. Like focusing on you and it’s a bit challenging. But ideas are ideas. I get too excited about ideas and I can not postpone them.

Jeroen:

The best thing though and I think, at least for me, I’d like to have them myself, but I don’t like someone to send them to me. Also if I have them myself, I write them down and I keep notes on it a little bit, but I will not start annoying people in the evening with my ideas, because the piece is gone. I like to keep it for the next day or even later.

Lisa:

Yeah, definitely.

Jeroen:

So what is it exactly that gives you energy for all this? You mentioned growing a product, making customers happy, growing a team. Is that what it is? What gets you in the flow state?

Lisa:

Well, what I love to do the most and actually was able to do it last weekend was working a couple of hours. I worked on product management and just got creative in Figma. And I just love doing that. I don’t know, doing design creative work on the products, coming up with new features or where should I put that button? Where should I put that feature? How would I validate it with users, with potential customers? And that’s what I love the most. But also I love seeing that I’m learning stuff. For example, I’m learning right now, a lot of administrative stuff that I didn’t even know how to, or didn’t even know that I was going to have to do because I’m also on the operational side of things. But yeah, I would say, that the personal growth and just seeing what I’ve accomplished so far, even though sometimes I feel like I haven’t done enough in some situations and I beat myself up for it, but I really have to be grateful for how I’ve evolved over the past years and where I’m headed.

Jeroen:

So it’s mostly in personal growth and in building experiences and seeing those come alive.

Lisa:

Yeah. Definitely.

Jeroen:

Cool. You already mentioned you do different things to sleep well. You do meditation, you do some journaling. What kind of working out do you exactly do? You go running?

Lisa:

Yeah. What I’m currently doing. I’m going to the gym. I love going to the gym. We are pretty lucky that our gym is not closed. And during the current thing, like the past month that we had here in the spring and summer, I did home workouts, but yeah, right now I’m going to the gym and just doing some functional training. I’ll try to switch it up. Sometimes on Thursday, I do kickboxing. I really love it. And that one hour or one and a half hour, I feel like I can really relax and unwind and just, I don’t know, get my energy levels up.

Jeroen:

Where are you exactly based? It was around collusion.

Lisa:

Yeah, it’s called [inaudible 00:38:16]. It’s near [inaudible 00:38:18]. A really nice city.

Jeroen:

Yeah.

Lisa:

I wanted to mention what also helps me and I really enjoy cooking. I try to do it at least once a day, of course, easy and quick stuff, not being fast 20 or 30 minutes. But yeah, I really love cooking and experimenting with new recipes.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Does that then close your working day when you start cooking?

Lisa:

No. Because I don’t really eat after 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM. I do brown cake most of the time and on the weekend maybe I will cook in the evenings or something like that.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Got it. So I wanted to ask about Cluj. I was actually at a conference last November. And you said you were there as well, but we didn’t meet each other.

Lisa:

That was in Bucharest.

Jeroen:

In Bucharest. Yes, yes. But I noticed that it required some startups coming from Cluj. What are some of the coolest startups our listeners should know about?

Lisa:

So yeah, Cluj is known as like, I would say, the Silicon Valley of our country or San Francisco of our country because there are a lot of students and there are a lot of tech companies that have their HQ there. But I think there’s this startup, really cool startup that just received funding. Let me just search them. They are called Neurolabs and have three co-founders and I think they just got funded. Yeah. So they are pretty cool.

Jeroen:

Neurolabs.

Lisa:

Yeah, it’s a Computer Vision platform that allows users to build custom image recognition algorithms using 3D models. Or maybe I was wrong, but yeah, there is Neurolab. They’re pretty young. The co-founders and yeah, your listeners should check them out.

Jeroen:

Yeah. I think I remember from somewhere. I think I had a mentorship session with them at the conference or something at Hot Web. For listeners Hot Web is a great conference as well. It’s based in Bucharest. It’s not happening this year because of COVID but they have a very nice offering aligned with some nice mentorship sessions and workshops and all that. People outside the CE region can also participate and is definitely recommended.

Lisa:

Okay.

Jeroen:

Going slowly into learnings. What is the latest good book you’ve read? And why did you choose to read it?

Lisa:

Yeah, so the latest book I would tell you about two. So the first one is Atomic Habits from James Clear, and it’s so, how can I say, what he talks about it’s pretty predictable because we all would love to follow all those habits and be on track all the time, but he really explains them in a different way and how it can really improve your life and really goes into detail. The last one is Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. I wanted to read it because we are in the process of rebranding and really improving our messaging and positioning. And I really wanted to learn more about this and really learn how to approach first time visitors, for example, or how to talk to customers.

Lisa:

The first time customers are just long time customers. And it really has a really cool framework. It’s called the SB seven framework. And I can go into a wide overview. So it basically talks about the customer being the hero and not your brand, not your company. And we as a company, should be just the guide for the customer and really try to approach him by actually talking about his internal problems, tackling his internal problems and finding, I mean, showing the customer a solution to his internal problems. Because most of the companies tend to sell solutions to external problems that can be superficial and cannot really come back to the customer. And we should just be the guide with a plan and we should challenge customers to take action.

Lisa:

And we should show customers why they have to lose if they don’t use a product, if they don’t get on the same boat with us. And the last thing of the framework says that you should never assume how people understand your company and how your company can change their lives. You should really tell them. And, yeah, at the core of this book it just says be, and talk as simply as you can, to your customer talk as if he would be a five-year-old and not get rid of the marketing BS and stuff like that. So that’s a thing that I really needed to read and listen and learn because the marketers inside of us always tend to go extra. And we really, what we should do is just keep it simple. And yeah, it’s a really cool book.

Jeroen:

Oh, that sounds good. I think it gets some really great ratings as well. I see. It got 9,000 ratings and it’s at 4.34, which is really great for a book. I put it on my read list. You convinced me to read it.

Lisa:

Awesome.

Jeroen:

And the Atomic Habits. I also really read it by the beginning of this year. It’s a really nice book if you want to do better as a person or as an entrepreneur, I would say.

Lisa:

Yeah, definitely. It is like, I don’t know, productivity and focus and it motivates you.

Jeroen:

Yeah. And it actually even inspired some things we do now in the company where we are not just as people, but also as a company focused more on habits and on consistent input rather than on lofty sales goals and all that we just try to consistently deliver is value and improvements. And then the goals by themselves get reached, let’s say.

Lisa:

Yeah. True.

Jeroen:

Is there anything you wish you would have known when you started out?

Lisa:

That’s a very good question. Well, for example, I can tell you something that we did with our previous startup from which we pivoted and we now, as Cartloop really tried to do things differently from what we had learned. And what we’ve learned is that you should not be super focused on the product. You should not be afraid of putting your product out there and getting as much validation as possible and as much feedback as possible. Actually we didn’t really focus on that validation and customer feedback, at our previous startup and we focused too much on the product. We wanted everything to be perfect before we land, we wanted the design to look stunning.

Lisa:

We focused on the little stuff that no one really cares about. And this is why we lost to abstraction and this month went by without us seeing big results. And yeah, I mean, as first time founders, we were afraid to not do something wrong. Also, we are perfectionists. I mean, myself I am a perfectionist, and this is one of the things that I’ve learned. Mostly if you’re starting out, don’t focus too much on the product, just focus on finding the market. Let’s just not go into product market fit, but that validation and really try to solve a problem.

Jeroen:

Is that different in e-commerce, which is what I’m wondering now?

Lisa:

Well, no, it’s not different. I mean, if you sell a product, that product should solve a problem. If you want to work for the long-term, that product should solve a real problem. So I think these are the brands that are really sustainable.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Maybe it’s because when you have e-commerce shops, it’s just easier to get everything perfect. Then when you’re building software, it just takes some more time.

Lisa:

Yeah. It takes more time. And there are more things to be aware of. Not just, I mean, the product and how the website looks and distribution and stuff like that. So with SaaS products, I mean, it’s a lot to manage all the aspects.

Jeroen:

Yeah. Finally, what’s the best piece of business advice you ever got?

Lisa:

So this relates to the previous question because how we actually realized that we weren’t going on the right side with our previous startup is we went to an event and we got this piece of advice from another founder. He actually looked at our product and saw that we were too focused on the product. We didn’t really think of it from a customer or from a user’s perspective. We thought it would be the best based on how we want it to be. But that’s wrong. I would say, yeah, just try to always think about how your customer would want your product to look, and what’s important to the customer. Don’t add anything, just what’s important to him and always validate it.

Jeroen:

Makes sense.

Lisa:

This was very good advice. And I’m still thinking for every single feature that we have the idea of putting out or developing, or I don’t know, marketing strategy, anything I’m just trying to think, “Is it valuable for the customer? How would I think if I were in the customer’s shoes?”

Jeroen:

Definitely. Well, this was super interesting. I think there was an enormous amount of good advice in here. Thank you again, Lisa, for being on Founder Coffee, it was really great to have you.

Lisa:

Thank you so much. I really appreciate your invite.


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