Ep. #784 - Starting a Business Later in Life
In this episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway and Risa Stein, Founder and CEO of SeeInMe, talk about her founder journey – which happened to start ‘later in life.’
Covered In This Episode
Can you be an entrepreneur later in life? What is a T-personality?
Listen to Lauren and guest Risa as they talk about starting a business later in life. And Risa’s transition from being an accomplished educator to the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship. They also discuss the importance of psychosocial factors in quality care – a driving force behind her startup.
Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode today!
- Risa Stein’s background (1:55)
- From the academe to the business world (3:26)
- SeeInMe (6:27)
- T-shaped person (15:23)
- Achieving, Midlife Crisis, Finding New Drive (21:00)
- Taking risks and starting a business (25:41)
- Being authentic will lead to success (27:16)
- Being comfortable with failure (36:00)
- SeeInMe in the near future (37:10)
- Wonder Woman’s compassion lasso (39:09)
- Wrapping up (40:42)
When I look at the most successful entrepreneurs that I know, the vast majority of them have some deep understanding of some area, but then they’ve sort of stepped outside their domain and applied it in a way that perhaps folks beforehand never conceptualized.Risa Stein
When we talk about, you know, abled, disabled, you know, ability, I don’t think a lot of people, you know, the average layperson really knows how to help how to be inclusive what to do, because that’s not a part of the conversation that we have as often.Lauren Conaway
It wasn’t until this point in my life that I realized, you know, the world doesn’t revolve around you, nobody really gives a shit, what you do, you can make an impact by just being a little bit more vulnerable, and doing things that are going to help other people out rather than being self-serving. And, you know, that’s, that’s made all the difference in personal fulfillment, and I’ve been so much happier in my 50s and taking the risks of starting a business than I ever was in my safe zone in academia.Risa Stein
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 0:02
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And I do have to tell you that Today’s episode is sponsored by Full Scale, fullscale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And we love them around Startup Hustle. We love them around Kansas City. We love them all over the place because they do a really good job. Helping our founders and helping our entrepreneurs get their tech projects off the ground and doing it easily, and they just do an amazing job. I can’t tell you how much positive client feedback I have heard. So I am so excited about today’s show. And I know I know you hear that from me a lot. I get excited about hearing awesome founders and their stories. But today, we actually have a founder with us who has an interesting journey. And we’re gonna hear a little bit about that, that she is a brilliant, brilliant entrepreneur, and she’s offering a little bit of industry disruption. You know, we love talking about connectivity here and Startup Hustle. You know, I love talking about inclusion, and Reese, Risa Stein, Dr. Risa Stein, she is the founder and CEO of SeeInMe. And she’s going to talk to us about SeeInMe. She’s going to talk to us about where I think we’re going to talk about starting a business later in life. We’re just going to have a really great conversation about a lot of different things. But Risa is an incredible entrepreneur in the Kansas City community, and I cannot wait to introduce you to her. Dr. Stein, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Risa Stein 1:40
Oh, thank you so much for inviting me to the show, Lauren. It’s a pleasure and an honor.
Lauren Conaway 1:44
Okay, we’re gonna go ahead and kick-off, and I’m going to ask you, are you ready for the softball question, because here she comes? Tell us, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Risa Stein 1:55
Well, as you mentioned, I am an entrepreneur, new to the game, though. And despite being somewhat later in life, I don’t meet a whole lot of other over-50 women who are just now starting their entrepreneurial journey. So that’s been exciting, but most of my life has been spent in psychology. My background is as a clinical child and health psychologist, and I’ve been teaching at the university level for nearly 25 years now. I’m a wife, a mom, I’ve got a dog. My mom lives with us. And I’ve been in the Midwest for 24 years now. So that’s, that’s kind of it in a nutshell.
Lauren Conaway 2:38
Right. So I love that. And in one of the questions that I wanted to ask you, and I hope that you won’t take offense when I say this. When I think of folks, you know, you’ve achieved great levels of education. You know, you’ve been involved in academia for years and years and years. When you think of academia, though, I don’t often think of innovation either, like fast-moving, you know, the things that I connect with the entrepreneurial spirit. And that’s not a knock. But I kind of want to ask you, you know, you decided to start seeing me, and you know, as you said, you started it a little bit later in life. But what has that? Are you experiencing culture shock from world to world? Talk to us a little bit about that. I’m just really curious. I’ve always wanted to ask you that question.
Risa Stein 3:26
Sure. No, you bring up several really good points. And the first is that universities are probably one of the least innovative industries out there. And in part, because I think faculty and academia are generally independent contractors, and we tend to operate in silos. But nevertheless, my foray into entrepreneurship occurred when I Well, it started back in 2012, if I can digress just a little bit of life crisis, and I had a near-death experience. And it was a real wake-up call about, oh, wow, what am I doing in life, and that that led to this whole wormhole of vulnerability and the chip on my shoulder and wanting to accomplish all these goals in life. And just sort of as a foray away from my everyday life, I started taking classes at the business school at Rutgers because it’s there. It’s got a great reputation. I figured, like, you know, what the hell. And as I got into that, it opened my eyes more to this whole entrepreneurial community. I’d already been involved in Design Thinking, had a chapter of university Innovation Fellows, and taught a class and creativity, so those kinds of things were all my way of trying to infuse my life with some greater passion. And so when I put all those things together after taking Business School classes, it naturally opened up this world of entrepreneurship. And what I found, I think, most interesting is, I always had this impression that businesses and corporate life were all cutthroat and competitive. And what I found since entering into the entrepreneurial community, especially in Kansas City, is that, oh, my god, everybody is so nice here. And it’s like far less competitive in the US.
Lauren Conaway 5:30
It’s so true, like,
Risa Stein 5:32
Lauren Conaway 5:33
I know. I love it. And I do think that most folks in the within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and here in Kansas City, like we do understand a rising tide lifts all boats, like if I help you to succeed, then I am going to realize that benefits, so why not just get in there and help each other out? You know, we certainly have our issues, just as any community does. But we are a pretty tight-knit, supportive community.
Risa Stein 6:00
It’s been a breath of fresh air coming in from the Academy, which I’ve enjoyed for 24 years. I’ve loved teaching, and I love working with students. But this is just so different. It’s been really cool journey.
Lauren Conaway 6:12
Oh, I’m sorry, I’m so glad to hear that. Well, say. So I want to hear a little bit more about that journey. I want to hear, tell us about SeeInMe, you know, give us a little bit of background on kind of well, tell us what it is first, but there was a little bit of background on kind of how you came to it.
Risa Stein 6:27
So if it’s okay, actually, I will flip that a little bit. So, okay, part of why and how I developed SeeInMe, which actually is intended to ensure equitable care for the most vulnerable populations. So the way I came to this is growing up kind of as an outsider in my childhood, not feeling particularly understood by my peers. And then, when I had my son, later on, he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, which made him a bit of an outsider as well. Then coming from a background in child psychology, and health psychology, I’ve always been interested in childhood disorders, but also in terms of health outcomes. So I combine those things. And then it just occurred to me that working with some of my friends who have children with autism, and kids who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome, they argued so much for care for their kids that oftentimes the whole, optimal personalized care that’s tailored to their children’s individual needs, falls by the wayside, and in part, because their kids can’t advocate for themselves, oftentimes, they don’t have the communication abilities. So I saw that as a real opportunity to blend my background, my skills, and my passion for creating something that would ensure those parents peace of mind when they have to leave their kids at school, or with a caregiver or provider, as a way to ensure those kids are being seen as the unique individuals, they are not just the diagnosis.
Lauren Conaway 8:11
So I love that so much.
Risa Stein 8:15
So SeeInMe is a platform through which parents can share the characteristics and the behaviors that make their kids unique. But it’s portable, it’s immediately accessed through an NFC embedded card, so that individuals who don’t know a child can just tap the card with their phone, and that child’s personality profile appears on their phone screen, in any setting. So they can get to know the kid and achieve that level of familiarity that enables these compassionate and really warm-hearted people who go into this field anyway, to create a genuine connection with a more and more vulnerable person and in that way, ensure equitable care for them. Does that make sense?
Lauren Conaway 9:06
It does. And I have to tell you, one of the things that I love most about SeeInMe is how comprehensive it is. So like when you’re tracking information for these children, you know, if I remember correctly like we’re talking everything from allergies to you know, sensitivities to, you know, preferences and triggers, and, you know, likes and dislikes and, and I love that, you know, you’re really getting a whole picture of a child, you know, because I know like there’s those medical alert bracelets that people have and then that’s great and but you’re really communicating like who this individual is. And I just think that that is so cool, because I think so often, it’s easy to forget the most vulnerable among us, and it’s easy to, you know, we’re all moving so quickly. And so just having that reminder binder that, you know, this child is not just a mass of, you know, idiosyncrasies, and, and allergies and all that stuff, this child is a person who has likes and dislikes and things that are going to make them happy. And this is how we can support you, as a caregiver, in offering that to them. So you’re empowering the caregiver, you are creating a safe, positive environment for the child, and you’re doing so in a really, really easy, accessible way. So kudos to you, my friend. What a beautiful idea.
Risa Stein 10:35
Thank you for summarizing my product better than I actually did.
Lauren Conaway 10:41
I’ve been following you for quite some time because I just think that what you’re doing is so good. Like we talked about inclusion. So often around Startup Hustle and around innovate her and it’s just something that I think about a lot but when we talk about, you know, abled, disabled, you know, ability, I don’t think a lot of people, you know, the average layperson really knows how to help how to be inclusive what to do, because that’s not a part of the conversation that we have as often. And so you are, you’re driving forward the conversation in a really positive way, and you’re offering tools to help people in this and I just, I am so awed by what you do. Of course, I know what you do.
Risa Stein 11:22
Well, I appreciate that. And the equity and the inclusivity part of it is huge. And I think that the fear of their children missing out on that is what creates this terror. And it’s way more than anxiety for most parents. So knowing that you have to leave your kid with somebody who does not know them well and cannot easily get to know them. It keeps parents up at night and gives them ulcers. So what I’ve tried to do is ensure that not only that the kids are receiving the care they need, that the providers can deliver the care they want to deliver, but that parents can, you know, cheese, they deserve to go out for a glass of wine or half a bath or go to high V without, you know worrying that in 20 minutes, you’re going to be called back because somebody can’t handle the challenges that their kid is?
Lauren Conaway 12:19
Well, well, because the caregiver, like accidentally, through not knowing, did something that triggered the child. And then you know, the child is, of course, overwhelmed, overstimulated, like all of these things that are perfectly natural. You’re finding a workaround for that. Yeah.
Risa Stein 12:36
And part of what is most confounding for parents is they’ll share this information, you know, they’ll email somebody, or they’ll write a note and pin it to Timmy as he goes to school, whatever. But there’s really no confirmation or validation that anybody is actually using that information. So one of the novel aspects of SeeInMe is that anytime anybody accesses the child’s what we call an instant connector, the NFC embedded device, the parents received confirmation of that. And so they can update the full profile for the child or they could just share a headline, you know, something that happened yesterday that isn’t life-altering, or a fundamental aspect of who that child is that you’d want to build into the profile. But a daily headline, like Timmies goldfish, died last night, you know, that’s gonna put me in a bad mood today, and you want their caregiver to know about that. Yeah, you know, Timmy learned to ride his bike yesterday. We want to celebrate that with him, right? So the parents have the opportunity to share a daily headline. And anytime someone accesses their card or the URL that they can embed in the electronic records, parents get confirmation of that. And that’s really what sets their mind at ease.
Lauren Conaway 13:45
Sure, like, not only have I provided this information, but somebody is actually using it. Right. I love that. Well, well. Dr. Stein, that is a that’s an incredible thing that you have taken on and that you are championing. How’s it going? Talk to you about you know, what you’ve been up to? I’ve seen you around the Kansas City community a ton. But tell, tell our listeners, you know, how has that been working for you?
Risa Stein 14:15
It wouldn’t be anywhere without the support that I’ve received from this community. I will tell you that much. I mean, we just incorporated it a short time ago, and I should say I there really is no way I consider it a weed because there’s so many people in the Kansas City community who have been helpful to me so far. I feel like it’s a team effort. I’ve got folks who are helping me with the website Digital Sandbox has provided funding, pure pitch rally has provided funding and connections, artists and Technology Group has been amazing. Just all sorts of folks who have been so open to helping me along the way that I really feel like I’m covering my bases and doing it right this time. What If, if nothing ever comes of it, it won’t be because we haven’t put our ducks in a row and launched it appropriately? So it’s coming to raw along really well. By the line, yeah, but by the time this podcast airs, we’ll have be well underway and ready to launch. So I’m confident that things are on the right trajectory.
Lauren Conaway 15:23
That is incredible. And I do want to give a little InnovateHer plug here. Dr. Stein actually recently took part and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun during our pitch, showcase. And she did an amazing job. Just wanted to throw that out there because I was very proud. So talk to us a little bit. You, you mentioned an interesting concept when it when I think when you were talking to Jessica, about being on the show, and I want to delve into this with you a little bit. But you mentioned something. Something about being a T-shaped person. Yeah. So folks listening, she just gave like a little smile, but I want to hear about that. Because, because I feel like, it’s so interesting. Like, your journey is so interesting to me coming from a, you know, an environment that’s very different from the, you know, entrepreneurial community. And, again, not a judgment, just, it’s just different. But you know, you’ve got, you’ve accomplished so much throughout your career, but now you’re doing something that is so divergent from what you’ve done before. And I’m fascinated by people who do that, because that means that you’re comfortable with discomfort. And I think that everybody should be comfortable with discomfort. If you are not uncomfortable, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough. So I want to hear a little bit more about that. Talk to us about T-shaped people. What does that mean?
Risa Stein 16:50
Sure, I appreciate that. So I’m a nerdy academic at heart 100%, through and through. And so when I first started getting into this stuff, I started reading every book I possibly could. And one of the first ones I read, discusses this whole notion of T-shaped people how you have this, this area that you have a depth of knowledge and you know, that’s the vertical piece, but then you have a breadth of understanding of various other areas, and that’s the horizontal piece at the top. So you should be able to apply your depth of understanding to a multitude of different situations. Personally, I prefer to think of it like a flower where your stem is your depth of understanding. And the petals, which all come together and actually meet up, are your breadth of understanding. And for me, that depth of understanding is clinical psychology. And the breath that I’ve developed is an understanding of undergraduates. And now a bit more about the business area, health outcomes, autism, Down syndrome in just this multitude of different areas that if you bend it all around like you take that top part of the team, you’ve bent it like a circle, all of these pieces start touching each other. And in my mind, that’s what resulted in seeing me. It’s a confluence of my understanding of psychology, but also of children. And as a parent. And as a professional provider, all of these things sort of came together. And when I look at the most successful entrepreneurs that I know, the vast majority of them have some deep understanding of some area, but then they’ve sort of stepped outside their domain and applied it in a way that perhaps folks beforehand never conceptualized. So I see that a lot in our community, actually. I mean, don’t you see folks who have it as your I see that happen a ton.
Lauren Conaway 18:48
And like, as you’re speaking, I’m actually like, feeling a little bit of recognition. Because, you know, so InnovateHer was founded, like, I have a deep understanding of community building and inclusion, but then you bring those two things together, and you add my background in marketing, and you add, you know, different pieces of knowledge that I’ve picked along the way. And, yeah, like you, you create this, this confluence or convergence of past experience and passion and like the things that you you care about, but also the things that you’re good at. And I mean, honestly, I think that that’s where the happiest and best entrepreneurs lie, like when they can they can combine all of those things, you know, so, yeah. So I love that and I love that how you’ve been able to turn your personal life experience your educational background, you know your heart because clearly, you have a huge heart. But you’ve been able to unite all of these things to a really, really great deep purpose, like what you’re doing has the potential to be so impactful for, for children for kids. caregivers for parents for society as a whole, really. So I love that. So I want to ask you this question. But first, I’m going to break in and I’m going to let you know that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by full scale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. They can help you do a lot of stuff. And they are an extremely supportive, competent, amazing company that I am so glad we are aligned with and they are, of course, the producers of the Startup Hustle podcast, so we definitely love them lots. Just a reminder, we are here with Dr. Risa Stein, founder and CEO of SeeInMe, and we’re talking about a lot of stuff. But the question that I want to ask you right now, Risa, is, you know, you talked about the fact that you have a bias, a background, in psychological or in psychology. How has that informed your experience as you and helped you in your journey? As a leader in life entrepreneur? I need to know that.
Risa Stein 21:00
Yeah, well, so it’s helped me overcome everything that pushed me into psychology to begin with. So I mentioned at the beginning that I have this midlife crisis. So I’ll step back for a second. And I’ve wanted to be a psychologist since I was like seven. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life. I have an uncle who’s an experimental psychologist who used to take me to wreckers primate center when he would work with the monkeys. And I thought, Well, this was just the most fabulous thing in the world. I want to work with monkeys. I always joke that you ever get to work with monkeys, I never got to work with monkeys, but I get to work with university students. So you know, but I knew from a really young age, that that’s what I wanted to do. And I set this goal for myself to have a PhD. And by the time I was 30. So I went above and beyond as a typical overachiever. I had a husband, a kid, a new house, a new car, a PhD, and a postdoc, by the time I was 30. So all my goals were
Lauren Conaway 22:06
Wait, can I just say, Holy shit.
Risa Stein 22:11
The same forces that helped me achieve that are the ones that almost killed me. By the time I was in my mid-40s. So I mentioned that that midlife crisis, I have lived my life as someone who only lives to achieve goals. And once that goal is met, actually, not even once that goal is met. Once I’m about three-quarters of the way to that goal, then it starts losing its luster, and I find a new one. So that being said, when, when I had this experience in about 2013, where everything just started losing its luster, I’d been doing it for so long that it just started getting boring and teaching, and everything just started feeling like it was suffocating me. So then I had this experience where I’m taking my son on his college trip, and I started hemorrhaging. And I was hemorrhaging really bad, so that by the time I got back home to Kansas City, I was in the hospital for about two weeks with blood transfusions every day. Wow. And I started thinking to myself, What the hell is wrong with me that I could have died on this trip, but the whole time I’m keeping a stiff upper lip, and, you know, not letting my son know what was going on. And I’m still driving that could have killed him. I could have killed somebody else on the road. It was ridiculous. But it was a real turning point for me. And I had to figure out why I did that in the same things. What I realized was that the same things that helped me achieve all of those milestones were what was keeping me frustrated, and what nearly killed me. And it was through this massive process of introspection and applying my psychological skills to myself, that I realized I had this massive chip on my shoulder that I needed to knock off. And once that happened, and I felt more comfortable with risk-taking vulnerability failure, losing the imposter syndrome, I wrote a book detailing my process. And then that’s one I
Lauren Conaway 24:13
think, we need to call that out really quickly, what’s the name of the book, and we’re
Risa Stein 24:18
the best damn life workbook. And it’s actually a cognitive therapy workbook for folks who find themselves mired in a crisis where they just don’t know where to go next. They feel they’re stuck in this hole. And that’s kind of it’s kind of along the lines of what we had talked about before with this achievement mindset. Anyway, when once I figured that out, then I was able to make all these amazing changes that led to my entrepreneurial journey because I was open to experiences at that point, and they weren’t all dictated. Every step of my life wasn’t then dictated by what it took to succeed. And I found so much more fulfillment in really so much more personally define success once I knocked that chip off my shoulder than ever before. But then in my own personal journey. That’s how I’ve used psychology on myself to reach this point.
Lauren Conaway 25:14
That’s awesome. And I would imagine that it’s been a pretty, pretty arduous yet fulfilling experience.
Risa Stein 25:23
You know, I think one of the advantages of being in your mid-50s and starting something new is that you give way fewer fucks about stuff, and Oh, hell yeah. You know, I was okay to say how the morning when we
Lauren Conaway 25:37
post the podcast.
Risa Stein 25:41
You know, some people start out in life, and they’re way more open to experiences, and they’re way more willing to take risks. That wasn’t me. It wasn’t until this point in my life that I realized, you know, the world doesn’t revolve around you, nobody really gives a shit, what you do, you can make an impact by just being a little bit more vulnerable, and doing things that are going to help other people out rather than being self-serving. And, you know, that’s, that’s made all the difference in personal fulfillment, and I’ve been so much happier in my 50s and taking the risks of starting a business than I ever was in my safe zone in academia.
Lauren Conaway 26:17
I love that. And I do want to thank you for being vulnerable with us here today. I mean, you just told a very powerful story, you know, you talked a little bit about your, your son’s experience, and, you know, just the fact that you’re willing and able to, to open up and share with our listeners. Um, that’s, that’s very much appreciated, and how brave you’re just so courageous. So, I don’t know. You know, so it’s one of the one of the things that I talk about often is the fact that, you know, Bravery is not not being scared, like be it’s being scared and going forward anyway, right? It’s not brave, if you’re not scared, then you’re just, you know, doing shit. So the fact that you know, you you feel vulnerable, and you might, but you’re very authentic. And I just, I appreciate that, and you’re definitely brave. And I’d like for you, I invite you to own that.
Risa Stein 27:16
Well, I appreciate that. Absolutely. No, I, I my main goal in teaching now is on phasing out of academia is to try to help my students achieve that same perspective, that it’s okay not to make straight A’s if it means you get to enjoy your life, and you’re actually learning a bit more. And I’ve been trying to apply that to myself, this whole entrepreneurial journey has been such a learning experience. I mean, not just about business, but about myself, as well. It’s been just completely fascinating and totally rewarding, not that it isn’t been without its anxious, you know, it’s anxious moments, obviously. But it’s, I think, being authentic, people just feel more comfortable with you, and they want to help you more, and they feel more like they can bond with you in some ways. And that’s what’s been most. I know, you know, because you’re able to connect with so many people out there, and you’re always authentic. But this has been a really. This has been a major learning experience. For me.
Lauren Conaway 28:18
I gotta tell you, one of the most impactful moments in my career occurred when I stopped giving a fuck what assaulted me, like, I’m just gonna you know what, I’m just gonna, you know, and I mean, honestly, like, it’s been a very, it’s over the course of what, like, the past few years and innovator was definitely a catalyst to it. But I actually find that I’m much more successful, much more fulfilled much happier. Now that I’m just saying what I’m gonna do me, and if you like it, that’s cool. And if you don’t, all right, I’m not your brand. You’re not my audience.
Risa Stein 28:56
Do you have, did you have a pivotal moment that opened your eyes to that? Or was that a process for you?
Lauren Conaway 29:04
Ah, it was definitely it was, it was a process. I think that innovator was a was very much a catalyst for me personally, they as I said earlier, innovator represents the merging and the integration of so many different things that I love and that I’m passionate about women, inclusion, community building, ecosystem development, like help marketing, you know, all of these things that I do and had done and so I finally found what I considered i It’s my purpose and you know, my, the tactics may change, but I hope that the purpose will remain the same for a good long time because I’ve never been so passionate about something that I’ve been doing. So over the course of time, you know, finding my purpose and kind of coming to the realization that it’s okay to own it and it’s okay for it to be My baby. And that means that in some ways, innovator is the manifestation of myself, I probably take innovator way too seriously, but I just love it. And so I really think that innovator was like the conduit to my personal growth. Like once I found my purpose, I then had permission to actualize myself, because I was putting so much of myself out there with this baby. Does that make sense?
Risa Stein 30:27
That’s perfect sense. I think that’s an awesome way to say it that, yeah, it gave you license to be authentic. And being authentic just brought it to life that much more. And then it becomes a sort of self-fulfilling their own draws people to you people want to be around other authentic people. So it’s almost in this one I tried to help my students and even my kids understand is that the more authentic you are, the more vulnerable you are, the more risks you take, the more likely you are to succeed, and people will be drawn to you and people who want to help you. If you keep all that inside in a competitive way, or in a protective way, then people see you as kind of standoffish, and they’re not going to be as comfortable approaching you.
Lauren Conaway 31:13
Yeah, so there’s this, I can’t remember the exact like phrasing of it, but there’s this. And you would probably know much better than I but this psychological concept out there that if you want someone to like you, you ask them to do you a favor. You get their buy in and you get their help, and then that makes them like you more. And so one of my piece, the pieces of my journey is like it’s okay to ask for help. You know, another piece of the journey is it’s okay to fail, like, as long as long as you learn and you don’t do it again. So So yeah, like there. And I do, I do think I want to kind of call out for our listeners at home, like the understanding that this journey is not, it’s not linear. You know, so like, for instance, last night, I went to an event, and I was meeting someone new and I cussed. And, and you know, like, it’s just kind of second nature to me now, like, I worked our industry long enough that like Lauren cusses a lot and people know that about me. But I did have like a self-edit moment where I was like, Oh, shit, should I have done that like this is I don’t know them. And they laughed, and I was just like, You know what, like, if they didn’t like it, hey, you know, maybe that’s not my people. And so I had to, like, remind myself that Lauren, it is okay to be yourself in these different arenas in these different areas and venues. Because in being myself, people are actually, like, if they decide that they like me, they’re actually liking me, or if they actually want to help me, they’re helping me. So you know, it’s kind of a one step forward two steps back kind of journey sometimes where it’s like, oh, yeah, you know, you’re gonna slip and fall. But ultimately, as long as you keep moving forward, you’re fine. Right?
Risa Stein 32:56
And not everybody’s gonna like you and everything you do, but everybody will at least appreciate you for being authentic. And I think that’s really,
Lauren Conaway 33:04
exactly well, because you’re giving them agency to make the proper decision, like, and they’re never gonna feel like it’s a bait and switch situation. That’s a great way to put it. Yeah. So so let me let me ask you this, um, you know, as a leader in life entrepreneur, and as somebody who is trying new things every day, and in putting yourself into uncomfortable places and spaces for you that are outside of your comfort zone. What is your best advice? We talked about some things, but what is what is your best advice that you could give our listeners at home? Like if you are, you know, a little later in life, if you are thinking of taking the leap? Dr. Stein, what is what is your best advice to those folks?
Risa Stein 33:47
Well, I can only see what works for me, because I really don’t even know that many other people who are later in life, but I mean, in terms of entrepreneurs, but I think what I have learned from the folks that I have spoken with is you need to be comfortable letting people help you. And one of the challenges when you reach my age and you’ve raised children and you’ve moved up at work, and you’ve been you know, you’ve helped out in the community, you’re so used to being the one in charge or the responsible one, that sometimes it’s difficult to give up. It’s not power, maybe it’s more authority. Sometimes it’s it’s harder to start over as a beginning learner. And if you see that as a if you if you see in that fascination and you remain open to the experiences and you allow yourself to become a beginner again, then that journey is so rewarding. So I guess my my advice to just bet anybody in any phase is to enter into every new situation as an open-minded beginning learner and just soak in everything you possibly can
Lauren Conaway 35:00
Yeah, I love that I love people who are sponges. So core values. Yeah. So mine is actually curiosity. My that is my core value. That is the reason that I get out of bed in the morning because I want to see what’s going to happen. And I want to, I know that throughout the course of the day, I’m going to learn at least one thing new and it could be something stupid. But you know, there’s gonna be six.
Risa Stein 35:26
That’s really an accomplishment, though. I mean, because I work with some of the smartest people in the world and university setting students and faculty. And curiosity usually takes a backseat to wanting to prove that you’re capable. Yeah. And wanting to prove that you’re capable means not taking risks, and not necessarily being curious, because that requires asking questions and being vulnerable. So curiosity is huge. And yeah, I do encourage people to just be more curious and open to experiences and someone else.
Lauren Conaway 36:00
I feel like the linchpin of that conversation is being comfortable with failure. Nobody likes to fail. And I mean, it with innovator, like action through my whole life, like, you know, I have failed many, many, many, many times, I’m sure that you have as well, everybody does. But just understanding that a failure is not an end. It is a beginning. It is part of the process. And so, so honoring that and being able to move forward with that, you know, I do think that a lot of people tend to struggle with it. And so, I would invite and encourage any of our listeners at home, you know, you know, think about how failure has informed your experience like maybe something failed, but it opened you up to a new opportunity, or maybe you learned something that is going to, you know, propel you to greater success and future endeavors. You know, think about that, and get really comfortable with it.
Risa Stein 36:56
Because if you’re not, yeah, if you’re not, you don’t grow. And I mean, that’s that fear of failure is what basically almost killed me. Once I got past that and regained my curiosity. It’s been so much more an enjoyable and healthy ride.
Lauren Conaway 37:10
Absolutely. Well, I just want to give you such a big hug right now because I feel like I liked you. But I’m like, we’re speaking the same language. I see. Dr. Risa Stein and SeeInMe. And we’re all very excited about SeeInMe, as well. So there’s that. So, I’m gonna ask you a couple, just alright. So here’s, here’s my last SeeInMe question. So what is on the horizon? You kind of talked about how you’ve to avail yourselves of different resources. But what’s the five-year plan? What’s the like, you’re, you’re getting ready to launch? What are you looking at for the future?
Risa Stein 37:49
Well, I haven’t given up my plans for world domination. So
Lauren Conaway 37:53
I 100% in support of that plan. Awesome.
Risa Stein 37:57
Lauren Conaway 37:59
I can be your court jester.
Risa Stein 38:01
Appreciate that you know, we’re definitely starting with kids, because that’s where my heart is, first and foremost, providing equitable care to vulnerable children. But then, my hope is that it will grow to adults in residential care. Elders with aphasia, they can’t communicate well, maybe because of a stroke, or they have dementia, then, I want to open it to pre-verbal infants to non-special needs kids, any parents who are anxious, and then eventually will enter the pet market. And so you talk about your dog’s personality and help the candle better understand how to work with them when you’re in Costa Rica, then that’s available as well. And then eventually international markets. Now, I don’t have any illusions
Lauren Conaway 38:55
about world domination, though, you know, there there are
Risa Stein 38:58
kids in China and Uruguay, who have special needs as well. And their parents are equally anxious. That’s one of the universal experiences. So maybe that won’t happen in five years. But it’ll happen eventually.
Lauren Conaway 39:09
Yeah. Well, that is absolutely awesome. So we have come up to the human question. And I’m very into there, like five different questions that I want to ask you. And at some point, you and I just want you to know, this is some at some point, we’re going to take this offline, and we’re going to have a whole conversation about polymaths. Because I’m, like, fascinated by that. And I imagine you have some amazing insights. But the question that I’m going to ask you is, if you could have a superpower, what would you want?
Risa Stein 39:42
If I had any superpower, I think it would be to create compassion. So your core value is curiosity. My core value is compassion. And I think if we could increase compassion and empathy, then the vast majority of the people’s problems in our world would disappear. We save our climate we’d decrease you know, why do you have
Lauren Conaway 40:09
Like a compassion lasso like Wonder Woman? Or, well, you know what I actually think, like I think that you’re gonna have like compassion rainstorms because that way you can hit.
Risa Stein 40:22
So allow me to also be able to fly I would be able to sprinkle my compassion dust over all over the world, and everybody would be authentic and appreciate the authenticity and others
Lauren Conaway 40:35
Just for that, Risa. I’m gonna allow it you can have two superpowers because you’re awesome
Risa Stein 40:39
Lauren Conaway 40:42
Absolutely. Well, I gotta tell you, Dr. Stein, thank you for taking the time to chat with us and to talk to us about your experience and your journey. And it’s just, I came into it fascinated, I’m leaving, still more fascinated, definitely want to continue the conversation. But first, I just, we have to come to an end. And I do just want to thank you so much for taking the time. This was great.
Risa Stein 41:06
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. It’s been a pleasure.
Lauren Conaway 41:10
Absolutely. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t think today’s episode sponsor, Startup Hustle, is sponsored by fullscale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And you definitely, if you haven’t already done so, do us a solid look-up Startup Hustle, and find us on Instagram. We’re on LinkedIn. We’ve got, you know, a group on a chat group on Facebook. You can definitely join us there. So keep an eye out for Startup Hustle wherever you consume content. We would love to connect with you, our listeners. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedules to just to listen to these stories. We truly, truly appreciate you. We will catch you on the flip side.