Sophie Dornstreich of InCircle Fertility on unapologetically setting expectations and boundaries
Describe your business in a few words:
My undergraduate and graduate education is in Social Work and my entire career was in the nonprofit sector until…secondary infertility knocked on my door. I emerged on the other side of my fertility journey crystal clear on the fact that I needed to turn my pain into purpose. Fortunately, my now business partner Abbe had also come out on the other side of her infertility struggle and, incredibly, had the exact same vision, at the exact same time. InCircle Fertility was founded to provide coaching services to individuals and couples all over the world and wherever they are on the path to parenthood. Our clients receive full hand and heart holding as they navigate the rocky terrain of infertility, including total support and guidance in moving forward and finding a resolution.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have always been in the nonprofit sector, having gotten a social work education that focused on “macro-practice” social policy work. Notably, although I found fulfillment in many aspects of my work over the years, I never felt that I was fully maximizing my strengths or realizing my potential. I *always* felt like something was missing (not to mention the sad nonprofit comp!).
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I never, ever wanted to be an entrepreneur! In fact, I used to walk around saying how risk-averse I am and how poorly cut out I am for entrepreneurship. But in reality, it has been an incredible opportunity to push myself, get uncomfortable and see what I am truly made of. It is so much more rewarding to find success doing something that starts out feeling totally foreign and unattainable.
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?
We started out trying to build a presence on Instagram, sending emails to our respective networks and even printing hard-copy fliers to distribute to doctors’ offices and the like. We are also heavy networkers, and started out by consistently reaching out to people who we thought might be able to help us and/or lead to other meaningful connections. Our email marketing strategy is still being built and one year in, the majority of our clients come from referrals.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I am most proud of my business partnership. It is HARD to work so closely with another person, on something so incredibly important to each of us. The stakes feel very high and we are two different people with strong personalities and paradigms. We are constantly learning how to manage conflict, improve communication and leverage one another’s strengths. It takes work and it is so worth it. Bottom line is that every day we choose to partner in this business instead of going at it alone and that is quite an accomplishment.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Work/life balance feels like an outdated concept, intended for those who are punching clocks at office jobs. As I recently saw on a mom meme, “the juggle is real,” and that is the reality of being a working mom. It always has been!
Especially with young kids, when the time and physical demands are high. The best thing any of us can do to find “balance” is unapologetically set expectations and set boundaries. With so many competing priorities, we will never be able to “have it all” or “do it all.” Maintaining integrity with the boundaries we set (with both ourselves and others) is at least a good start.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We will be building strategic partnerships with clinics and clinic networks. We have so much value to add regarding patient care and patient support. We will also likely be adding new revenue streams, such as self-paced online courses, product sales and more. We will also always be thinking of ways to scale our one-on-one coaching services – this part of the business will grow and evolve as we figure out how to do that.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from other women forging an innovative and self-driven professional path. We are so much stronger together; sharing resources, providing support and leaning in on the wisdom of those who “came before.” I can already see the wealth of knowledge and inspiration now at my fingertips as a member of the League!