If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own tech company, no doubt you’ve read about awesome women working in the tech industry who are fueling innovations in many different industries. But for a plucky upstart like yourself, matching your ambition to your dream project in tech can take a bit of figuring out. Perhaps you’ve had a brilliant idea like the COO of TaskRabbit, but weren’t sure how to transform your idea into reality. This week, in our How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with Lara Crystal and Lindsey Andrews, the co-founders of Minibar, about their at-home delivery service for wine, spirits and beer. Lara and Lindsey share advice for climbing the tech ladder.
Meet the Cocktail Pros: Lara Crystal and Lindsey Andrews
Lara Crystal and Lindsey Andrews first met while attending Wharton School of Business. The two friends went on to work for some amazing tech companies post graduation. Lara’s first gig was working at Rent the Runway and Lindsey learned the ropes at Fresh Direct. Building on their tech startup experience, the two spent time brainstorming ways to combine their skill sets. “Since I had always been at luxury companies and Lindsey had always worked in consumer products, alcohol was the perfect combo of our skill set — it’s the luxury consumable!” says Lara. Thus, Minibar was born.
1. Set time aside to discuss business ideas. If you and a friend want to launch your own company, make sure to schedule time together to brainstorm and discuss. Lara and Lindsey met once a week on Tuesdays that they designated as “Takeout Tuesdays.” Over a Seamless delivery, they chatted about a friend’s suggestion that they think about the alcohol industry. “It all just clicked,” says Lara.
2. Learn from industry pros. Take the time to talk and network with professionals who specialize in your chosen industry. Lara and Lindsey took as many meetings as possible with people in the liquor industry and leaders who started their own businesses “to learn and absorb knowledge from others. We met with everyone we could that knew everything we didn’t.” says Lara.
3. Rely on your trusted friends and family as your beta testers. While Lara admits that it was pretty easy for her and Lindsey to convince their friends and family to order “a great bottle of wine and give us their feedback on the service,” the pair also relies heavily on their support system as advisors, investors and testers.
4. Find a partner. If going it alone as an entrepreneur is too intimidating, consider enlisting a trusted friend or co-worker who you work well with and wouldn’t mind spending long hours hustling and learning with as a team. “If you’re scared to take the leap alone, find a great partner that can push you to take it,” says Lara.
5. Hire the right team. Lara and Lindsey credit their success to recruiting the ideal employees for their company. The duo took the time to find the candidates best suited for their brand, and that has made a huge difference in work satisfaction. “We’re happy that everyone we first hired is still part of our Minibar family,” says Lara.
6. Stick with your vision. When you’re launching your dream biz, it’s easy to compare yourself to every other similar company out there and get stuck on what they are doing. Instead of doubting your vision, Lara recommends, “Be laser focused and stick with your vision.”
Perfect Your Skills
1. Beer Brewing Online Class ($19): This one-hour class will teach you the basics of brewing your own beer from supplies to fermentation to the final sip. Snag the Grapefruit Honey Ale Beer Kit that goes with the class as your first brew.
2. Meet Up With Women Entrepreneurs (Free): Meeting like-minded women leaders is one way to network and learn from hustlers who have been there and done that. With MeetUps all across the world — from Singapore to New York City — you’re bound to find the group that’s right for you.
3. Become a Great Wine Taster ($69): Master Sommelier Richard Betts teaches you how to buy, taste and enjoy wines. Learn about the trends and many wine varietals out there and understand what’s in your wine glass.
Are you a cocktail maker maven? Show us your latest concoctions by tagging us on Instagram + using hashtag #iamcreative!
(Photos via Minibar)