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





11 Business Tools Entreprenistas can’t live without

With so many business tools and solutions out there to choose from, we know it can be difficult to decide which to use. Our team asked some incredible Entreprenistas to share their favorite solution with us so that we could provide a round up of trusted tools for you to check out as you begin…

Mara Smith of Inspiro Tequila on breaking into the male-dominated spirits industry

Describe your business in a few words: I am a former attorney, corporate strategist and stay-at-home mom, and the founder of Inspiro Tequila.  I started drinking tequila when I was looking for a clean, gluten-free spirit that fit into my active lifestyle. I searched for a tequila brand that was additive-free with a look, taste…

Kamal Brar of Healthify Tea on maintaining a healthy mindset and lifestyle

Describe your business in a few words: I’m Kamal Brar, Founder of Healthify Tea and Certified Holistic Health Coach specializing in autoimmune conditions and weight loss. Healthify Tea is a result of dissatisfaction and a consequent want to offer a superior, more delicious, fresher tea with focus on its health benefits. Our company is one…

Elisa Molina of COVEDOZA on creating space for underrepresented women

Describe your business in a few words: I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur, a first-time mother, and Founder and CEO of COVEDOZA – an Afro-Latina owned brand created for the passionate feminist with a mission to uplift the voices and artwork of Black, Indigenous and Women of Color (BIWOC) artists via print collaborations.  COVEDOZA creates feminist…

Rachel Johnson of ah.mi on working together to achieve collective success

Describe your business in a few words: ah.mi is a wellness revolution focused on getting healthy for good, by sticking to the basics: greens.water.move.repeat. ah.mi was started out of a desire to get healthy after my second baby.  As a busy corporate lawyer, I found there was no company out there that spoke my language…

How Zoho CRM Helped Entreprenista Sustain Continued Business Growth

When we began researching the best CRM platform for Entreprenista, it became clear that there were many on the market for us to choose from. We wanted something that was going to grow with us, keep us organized, and have good mobile functionality. As we continued to wade through the sea of reviews and websites…

Catalina Escallon and Daniela Guarin of Noodo Studio on bringing ideas to market

Describe your business in a few words: We are Catalina Escallon and Daniela Guarin, a dynamic duo with a serial entrepreneurial spirit. We are Co-Founders of Noodo, an idea accelerator studio, where we cultivate, accelerate and bring ideas to market. We help brands come up with creative solutions for challenges they face like: creating innovative…

Stephanie Riel of Riel Deal Marketing on how building community can impact your business

Describe your business in a few words: RielDeal Marketing is a full-service boutique brand marketing firm. My team and I handle everything from brand strategy (refresh and launch), website development, social media management, paid advertising email marketing and automation to help ensure our clients ideal customer experiences a clear, consistent message….because as I always say…

Ashley Piszek of MISS SWISS on generating quick growth and expansion in the startup phase

Describe your business in a few words: In less than a year, MISS SWISS has been picked up by major retailers including Urban Outfitters, Verishop, Amazon, and boutiques around the US. Our MISS SWISS 2-in-1 Brush Holder & Drying Rack was awarded a Her Campus Beauty Award in October 2021, and our products have been…

Abbe Feder of InCircle Fertility on stepping into her entrepreneurial spirit

Describe your business in a few words: We’ve all heard of becoming an expert in something we never wanted to be an expert in – that’s me. I didn’t want to become an expert in infertility. But after twelve scientifically assisted attempts, a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, and a termination for medical reasons, once I…

Performance Coach Natalee Champlin on running a high performance team

Describe your business in a few words: People call me The Velvet Hammer. I help entrepreneurs achieve their goals without putting more on their plate by running a high performance team. I run a consulting and coaching company that supports clients with two things: business growth strategy and accelerated results. What was your background prior…

The best gifts for everyone on your list (from Entreprenista-owned brands, of course)

We’ve handpicked the best gifts for everyone on your list! This guide has you covered with the perfect gifts for the beauty enthusiast, the fitness lover, the friend who seemingly has *everything*, and everyone in between. SHINERY The globe’s first clean, plant-based jewelry and hand wash, SHINERY is the brainchild of newly minted Entreprenista Brea…

The 13 best gifts for kids from Entreprenista-owned brands

This holiday season, we know you have a lot on your plate. That’s why Entreprenista has handpicked this season’s best gifts for kids from women-owned businesses, so you can easily shop knowing the kids in your life will love these one-of-a-kind products. DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections When Entreprenista Kristen Tomlan moved to New York City…

12 Mamaprenista approved gifts from women-owned brands

Mamaprenistas do it all. This holiday season, the Entreprenista team has put together our favorite essentials from women-owned brands that will enable the Mamaprenista in your life to put her best foot forward as she enters the new year. Whether it’s indulging her sweet tooth, treating her to luxury items, or empowering her to glow…

The 11 best gifts for the Entreprenista in your life

Are you shopping for a go-getter who is serious about their personal and professional success, but not quite sure what they need? Not to worry, the Entreprenista team has you covered this holiday season! We’ve curated our list with incredible gifts for the hardworking, biz-minded Entreprenista in your life – ranging from biz-boosting programs to…