Ingrid He of the Sjogren’s Tracker app on using her creativity to help people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms

Ingrid He_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) Tracker is an app that helps people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms and flares. We aim to help our users better understand their conditions and identify triggers to their flares. Our mission is to create innovative solutions to improve the lives of users and facilitate communications with physicians.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I had worked in the corporate world for over 7 years. At a certain point, I just decided that what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On some level, I just didn’t feel fulfilled. I wanted to pursue something with more purpose, where I can use my creativity to help others and make the world a slightly better place.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I actually worked as an attorney for 7 years, doing litigation and regulatory compliance work. I learned a lot during that time and worked with some pretty great people. I don’t regret the experience at all, but just didn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life. I wanted to use what I’d learned and take it to the next level- to build something of my own that is impactful and lasting.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Not at all. I always thought I would take the safe road in life and get a stable job with regular paychecks. Life can be surprising sometimes.

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?

I’m not sure I had any concrete marketing strategy at all when I first started. I was pretty clueless and just wanted to get the word out there that my product existed. I was slowly exploring social media channels and gaining traction that way. I believed and still believe that as long I stay persistent, the business will grow, slowly but surely.

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?

This was my first time starting a tech business, so I made some mistakes in terms of hiring developers. I overly trusted third-party vendors to vet candidates for me and didn’t do enough due diligence of my own. And when I suspected that the developer wasn’t doing good work, I waited too long to replace him, which resulted in more time and money spent on work that would later have to be fixed. I learned to be more thorough from now on and to always do my own homework. I also learned to trust my instincts and correct mistakes sooner rather than later.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I won a few business pitch competitions earlier this year. For someone who’s extremely introverted, I’m pretty proud of myself for following through and pitching to an audience of experienced business executives and entrepreneurs. And the fact that I won some prizes made me feel validated that my product is a good one with potential to help a significant market.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

My go to questions are: 1) What was the last project you worked on that you were excited about? 2) What is your communication style when it comes to collaborating on a project?

Hiring good people is really hard. And sometimes, it’s not just about whether they are good at what they do, it’s also about whether their working style meshes with yours. It truly is like a business marriage, so you have to be very careful who you choose to work with.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

My business has actually not been impacted as much by Covid-19 since it doesn’t require in-person interaction. One thing that has happened though is Covid-19 has led to increased interest and studies of our immune system. People with long Covid also share a lot of the same symptoms as individuals with autoimmune disorders. I’m hoping this will lead to more studies on how our immune system functions and lead to more awareness for autoimmune diseases.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

In the next few years, I am going to try to establish partnerships with non-profit research organizations. I’m hoping information gathered through my app can help the research community better understand chronic and autoimmune conditions. I also want to raise more awareness not only of my app, but of autoimmune disorders in general.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I actually only started my business in 2020, so the biggest lesson for me was to just put myself out there. Opportunities don’t come unless you reach out for them. The more you put yourself out there, the more chances are that you will connect with people who are willing to help you.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

You can never foresee everything that will happen or affect your business. The best you can do is be prepared about the things you do know and stay flexible so you can adapt when circumstances outside of your control change.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I have a close circle of friends that I have known for almost 20 years now. Keeping in touch with them has always kept me grounded. They are the type of friends who will give me their honest opinion and tell me like it is. It’s good to have friends who will be completely honest with you (in a nice way) and let you know your flaws so you can improve as a person.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely. Especially with my autoimmune disorder, stress can trigger a flare of symptoms. I try to minimize stress by planning ahead and making sure that I set aside time to wind down every day.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not sure if this is surprising, but I have 2 incredibly adorable rescue cats. If there were ever a competition for cutest animals, they would rank high up there.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Make a list of things you want to accomplish for that day.
  • Break large tasks down to smaller steps that you can check off as you complete.
  • Block off time to really focus on projects that require concentration, such as research and writing (I’m talking about putting away your phone).

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It’s such a privilege to be featured on Entreprenista. It means joining a community of strong and independent women, and helping other women get started on their own entrepreneurial journeys. I love it when women help other women and lift each other up.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Melanie Rivera of Breaker28 on making an impact while finding joy in everyday life hiccups and surprises

Describe Breaker28 in a few words? We develop leaders with H.E.A.R.T. – Healthy, Equitable, Antiracist, Real and Trust-Centered. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been planning my business for four years – perfecting content, testing out approaches, and I feel that I have a message and a model…

Bex Gold of Brite Hair on combining ethics and fashion to drive innovation into the haircare space

Describe your business in a few words? Brite Hair makes quality ethical, vegan, cruelty free hair color & hair care products that are accessible and fun! What made you take the leap to start your own business? I founded a hair color brand after a long-term relationship ended – I was in my 30s and…

Sonya Tkacs of Recruitlynk on why marketing and selling your business as an owner never stops

Describe your business in a few words? The Recruitlynk mission is to recruit and source top executive and management talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We strive to help sustain and nurture inclusive cultures where differences drive innovative solutions and uphold diversity in the workplace. Our goal is to effectively hire leaders who care about…

Isabelle Tierney of The Feel Good Life on helping people lead more fulfilling lives with her ground-breaking methodology

Describe your business in a few words? I help individuals, as well as businesses, relieve stress and choose well-being. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had a highly successful private practice for more than 20 years as a marriage and family therapist, but my personal life was anything but…

Brittany Whitlock of Big Mood Digital on why the thing you are afraid of is the thing you have to do!

Describe Big Mood Digital in a few words? I train business owners, marketers and teams on how to conquer digital marketing confidently making it approachable and manageable through private sessions and courses. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I love working with passionate people who get excited to learn something…

Courtlyn Jones of The Design Database on being a creative entrepreneur, and how she is helping freelancers create the career of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? The Design Database is an online platform and community designed to be a support system for Creatives, helping them find jobs. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was hired as a graphic designer at my “dream company,” 10 years after I set…

Erin Pohan of Upkeeping on overcoming fear, and her three best tips for staying productive

Describe your business in a few words? My goal with UpKeeping is to continually evolve to meet the financial accounting needs of entrepreneurs. We currently offer full-service bookkeeping services, accounting clean-ups and QuickBooks training. What made you take the leap to start your own business? For most of my life, I sat back and watched…

Danielle Elias Las of Bump’n Clothing on growing a business while giving back to the IVF community

Describe Bump’n Clothing in a few words? The ultimate in maternity and postpartum apparel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? The desire to create the perfect maternity pant while giving back to the IVF community. What was your background prior to starting your own business? Attorney; In House Counsel for…

Miriam Airington-Fisher of Airington Law on combining law and entrepreneurship and how she is making an impact

Describe your business in a few words? Airington Law is a women-lead law firm specializing in defending against wrongful convictions and litigating civil rights issues What made you take the leap to start your own business? I initially started my law practice out of necessity. I went through a divorce and became a single mom…

Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…