In Conversation with Dana Snyder of herdesk
Describe your business in a few words?
herdesk is a responsibly-made desk designed by and for women.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I started my first business (Positive Equation) working as a digital consultant for nonprofits nearly four years ago. The moment I walked into my boss’s office to quit was terrifying! I just had this gut feeling that I’d make it work. I accepted the challenge and never looked back!
I wanted to design my own future and work with organizations doing good in the world. Starting herdesk was much less terrifying. Honestly, because I was so naive to the e-commerce and product aspect of building a business! I started herdesk because there’s a big gap in the market for quality furniture that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I wanted to provide a better desk option for women that would also inspire creativity in the WFH space.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Since I graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2010, I’ve worked in digital marketing. I had a brief career working for a nonprofit and then moved to New York City. I spent about five years working for incredible companies on their digital products and social media campaigns.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes and no. I always challenged the status quo wherever I was working. I didn’t realize or think I had the potential to fully run my own business until I was later in my 20’s. At that point, I had built great relationships and leaned on those to jump start my first business.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
When I launched Positive Equation, I had about $10k in my bank account at the time and I decided to host launch parties in key cities where I knew influential people – Orlando, Sarasota, and Los Angeles. The events didn’t generate immediate work, but they paid off in the long run.
For herdesk, COVID definitely made things a bit more challenging. I sent an email to Create & Cultivate about a potential speaker position for an upcoming virtual conference. They surprisingly said, “yes!” I marked that live speaking engagement as the launch day for herdesk. My session was all about how to start a business during COVID-19. It was great!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
When I first started working for myself I worked ALL the time. I was living alone, so I would wake up… walk over to my computer at 7:30 am and log off around 11 pm. It was awful and quickly burned out.
I learned to schedule breaks outside and to set strict times for when I respond to clients.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
For Positive Equation, I helped run Movember’s North America digital campaign in 2019. That was a BIG moment.
herdesk was recently featured in Forbes by a friend of mine I greatly admire for his purpose-driven work.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Both businesses have been greatly impacted. There’s been a significant increase in home office furniture. There’s issues with meeting that demand with companies manufacturing from China and overseas.
herdesk is manufactured and shipped right from Texas. The cost of materials are a bit higher right now, but we’re able to not have 2-4 month long wait times.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I hope to see herdesk expand into multiple desk options with different features, chairs, home office accessories, and more!
Right now I’m a solo-entrepreneur and I’d love to have a team by my side to help grow herdesk as an internationally known brand.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Accountants are your very best friend! Make sure to set up all of your books and hire an accountant to help you through anything you don’t understand. Don’t try and DIY it on this one.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
This has been a CRA-zy year. We canceled our April wedding in Mexico, moved across the country from LA to ATL in June, replanned an October wedding in South Carolina, and I launched herdesk in September.
I’ve stayed grounded with amazing family, friends, and a glass of cabernet in the evening. 😉
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I think this year has shown us that each day is not guaranteed. I truly believe in living life enjoying what you’re doing and getting the most out of it.
Working out is key for me to feel healthy and have a fresh start to each day. I always leave time in the day for some kind of workout.
Put the phone away. I’ve been getting better at this… It’s important to not be attached to technology. Whenever a notification pops up, we feel obligated to answer.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- 1. I work from my herdesk and use the whiteboard top everyday to write my To-Do Lists. This keeps me on track!
- 2. I take breaks from the computer throughout the day. Leave and come back refreshed.
- 3. Close your email when working on an important task.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means believing in yourself and – this is crucial – accepting help from others on your journey. We can accomplish SO much more together than apart. As you check accomplishments off your list, make sure to open the door for others.