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Lessons from a 4x CEO and startup founder

Helena Fogarty
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Helena Fogarty is a force to be reckoned with. Her experience as a 3x startup founder and 4x CEO provides valuable insights into the trials and tribulations of making it work. In this episode of The Common Scents Podcast, we learn about her journey, which was a bit of a rollercoaster, with upswings and super fast downswings that came out of left field.

TAMAR: Hi, everybody, I am so delighted and excited to introduce Helena Fogarty from New York. We are almost neighbors or we were almost neighbors at one point. And we connected last week, I got to learn a little bit about her. I do have a little bit of background but not enough because I have the pleasure to do that right now. So, thank you so much for joining.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, absolutely. That’s wonderful.


TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. So, tell us where are you located on the planet? What are you doing these days?


HELENA FOGARTY: I love that question, on the planet. I’m located in the Rockaway in Queens, New York. And we’re surfers. My husband, I and my daughter are surfers, which is why we relocated here after we moved back from abroad, and we love it here. I live about 50 yards away from the Bay and about half a mile away from the ocean. And you walk out of my house and it’s sand.


TAMAR: That’s awesome. That is so cool. I need views. I need pictures.


HELENA FOGARTY: It requires a lot of sweeping.

TAMAR: I can only imagine.


HELENA FOGARTY: And it’s great.


TAMAR: Yeah. Is there ever a time when it’s not too much sweeping? Or is it like an annual, is it literally seasonal? I guess every single season?


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, it’s literally year-round, I guess the snow on the ground. We don’t have so much sand in our house. But it’s not like we live on a grassy knoll by the sand. We live on sand. So, it just comes in.

TAMAR: That’s so cool. Very, very cool. Yeah, I definitely want a picture of this.


TAMAR: Yeah. All right. Cool. So, I know you have a really interesting career. I mean, we met in the founders’ group. And I want to hear a little bit about that. Tell me a little bit about your story.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. 100%. So, I am a four-time startup CEO, three-time founder. And I have started and run a variety of businesses for a variety of reasons. And then prior to that, I worked in fashion in New York for 20 years for Chanel and Ferragamo and Zac Posen, and among others, Harper’s Bazaar. I went to University of Pennsylvania undergrad. And I worked in the early ages of e-commerce. So, the fiber that wound through my career has always been like, internet, e-commerce and fashion. And so, we were going to talk about the ups and downs there. I actually left New York, and I left Chanel at the time, in 2000, early 2009. And I thought I was going to run Chanel. And I had other people telling me, I was going to get a promotion and possibly eventually run the company. And instead, I got fired. I got laid off right at the beginning of the Great Recession. And as I mentioned, I’m a surfer. I had been studying Spanish for a long time, but hadn’t become fluent. And I like to go down to Costa Rica to surf. So, I noticed that there was nothing really happening in the world in terms of jobs that time. So, I went down to Costa Rica. And I had recently gotten out of a very long-term relationship, 11 years, and I’ve gotten fired from a job I thought I was going to be in for the rest of my life. I was like, maybe New York in January isn’t such a great place to be. So, I had been going down to Costa Rica surf and I went down there for a month to check it out and see if I could live there. And move from a city of nine million people to a town of 3000. And I went there and I absolutely loved it. That month, I served probably four hours a day and I studied Spanish four hours a day and lived in a little cabin by the beach, and then I came home and it was still miserable here. It was at that point, the time during spring when you think it should be nice and it’s not that yet nice. And we were still in the great recession and nothing was happening. So, I rented out my apartment, had my dog. I had my dog when I went down for the short time, I had my dog taken care of by my ex. But I got all the paperwork for her and she and I moved down there, and we moved down there with an open-ended ticket not knowing whether I’d be there for a month or for a long time, and I ended up staying for nine years.


HELENA FOGARTY:  And when I first got there, I was surfing, as I said, like four hours a day. And again, taking Spanish four hours a day, and then started a company doing production work for US brands to shoot commercials on the beach during the wintertime.


TAMAR: That’s cool.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, it was cool. And I did that, speaking in Spanish. So  that was fun. And then along that time as well, I met the person who’s now my husband, and we got engaged. And then we decided to try to have a baby. And we did right away, which was crazy, got pregnant right away. So that meant that I wasn’t going to be spending so much time 16-hour days in the hot sun on Costa Rica. So, I shut down that company and started working on another project that I had been planning, which was a swimwear company, a bathing suit company called Mila. And our tagline was, “We make sexy bikinis and stay on.” And I started raising money for that. I did a Kickstarter just to fund the samples. And then I started really building this company as a big idea. I have an MBA from NYU. I knew that there were different ways to run companies and this was not going to be my vision, not a tiny bikini shop in Costa Rica. My vision was taking over the world and creating swimsuits that were better,  were sexy and stylish. And you could do yoga in or surfing and not lose your top or bottom. And to have customers around the world and eventually move into other clothing and making it more functional as well as stylish because from my time working at Chanel and Ferragamo and Zac Posen, I had amazing clothes, and I had great shoes. But not things that were so functional, I could wear them in New York, I could wear them in San Francisco, I can wear them in Paris, but like anywhere else kind of out of place. So that was my dream. And I raised money with investors. I got our suits into Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Elle Magazine. Outside Magazine ranked us as the best swimsuits for auto for water women three years in a row. So hit all those things out of the park, raised over $1.2 million, had customers in 38 countries, had super loyal customers that would come back and buy suits for me three or four suits every year. And I invest a lot of time in this. And remember, I at this point, had a baby.

TAMAR: Right.

HELENA FOGARTY:  And I would say that my company got more focused, and potentially more time for me than my baby. I worked at the time; she loves me. She’s big, bigger now. And luckily for that, actually, my daughter’s always been incredibly demanding. So, she demanded attention from Craig. And we were on our way to raising our proper seed round of over 1.5 million at one point, at one time, with the money at Grace before I’ve been in multiple stages. And we had a deal fall that yanked the runway out from underneath us, and we had shut down. So here I was, with a business I’ve been building for nine years, I had sacrificed so much for it. I had sacrificed family time, I wasn’t a great spouse, I wasn’t a great friend, I wasn’t  great. There’s definitely places I could have improved because I had this insane focus and grit on my goal. And it all of a sudden went away. And it seemed to be the culmination of everything I’d done at that point. It made complete sense, in terms of my career. And it went away, and I lost my entire investment company and I lost the investors who invested in our company, didn’t get their money back. Now we had shut down. So that was really catastrophic for me. And I had to have conversations with all my investors and let them know what happened. Because those were my relationships in my network. And I was the one that brought them in. And then I had to let our vendors know that we were shutting down, and in some cases, we weren’t getting paid. And then I had to let our customers know that we were shutting down. And each of those stages is like it’s difficult. Yeah, it’s just like morning again. And it’s funny because by the time you get to the customers, they’re like, “Isn’t there anything you could do?” And you’re like, “No, actually, there’s not.” You can be kind of picky about it or live about it because, at that point I knew I had already pulled all the rabbits out of a hat that I could.


So, I thought that was in March of 2019, I thought that I would be sitting on the couch crying, and watching Games of Thrones from the beginning to the end up until April, whatever the last day that the final season started. And I thought that everything was a waste, I thought I was going to have to become a virtual assistant or be a receptionist someplace. Yeah, it was not good. I thought I might be walking dogs for Wag, it was a dark place. And within two weeks, because of the work I do with Mi Ola and the network, I was offered a job to be CEO of another company. And I was taking over for a founder who had literally broken her back. And so, I took over for our company and felt good about myself again, which is in itself a relationship that’s kind of funny, right? I’m older, myself, this failure, and all sudden, I get another job. And I’m like, oh, everything’s fine. So, that company was also troubled. And, you know, I say that in Mi Ola, my company that went under I, I broke my finger to have a financial back, emotional back psyche. I broke like, all these things, I didn’t take care of myself health wise, or financial or emotional or spiritual. And then I was taking  over for a founder who had literally broken her physical back. No joke, she was scheduled for a spinal surgery a couple weeks after I started,

TAMAR: Oh, wow.

HELENA FOGARTY:  and wasn’t planning on coming back to the company. So yeah, I took over for her and the board hired me to first of all, let them know what was going on with the company, and then to evaluate it, and decide what’s the next best steps would be. And this is a company that was a consumer-packaged goods company. It was a responsibly sourced hot cocoa and brownie mix company, and really delicious stuff, and made in the most ethical way possible because chocolate can be a very dirty business in terms of child slavery, and no living wages and things like that. And we were working with cooperatives in Ghana, and the Dominican Republic where people were being paid a living wage. So, in addition to selling something delicious and wonderful, we felt like we were doing good in the world. And unfortunately, the company was challenged. And I joined. Within two weeks of joining, we got the news that because of some decisions made in 2018, that impacted sales, that we were losing half of our distribution. So, we’re going from over 4000 points of distribution to 2000 points of distribution in about a month. And up until that point, I was like, “Hey, I’m so excited, let’s make this like a hybrid direct to consumer and wholesale business, it’s an amazing brand, this is going to be so great. And if we can get a success, we can get in more money, he’s going to be so awesome.” And then we lost half of our distribution, and there was no way that we could sell the brand. And we weren’t able to raise money, and the company was not profitable. So, I was given a gift in having to shut down my company, which was a terrible and emotional and dreadful for me personally. And then I had to come in, and I’m still in the final stages of shutting down another company, where we had the money to do it. I was not emotional, there was no sunk cost for me. And that had some benefits as negative. So, the benefits are that I could look at this company and say, this was an amazing company, and people loved it. And yet, it still went out of business. And that gave me some perspective on my company.


I also learned how to shut down a company. Well, the right way. And it was difficult because I was much more lighthearted and non-emotional about the process, which is helpful and getting it done. And perhaps not. I may not have been the most sensitive to some of the friends and family investors who invest in the company early on. Like the majority were institutional investors and they got it right. But there was one investor who reached out to me and said, what does this all mean? And I said, well, it means that your investment is gone. And probably I could have been a little bit softer about that. And had I had a little bit more knowledge of who that person was, and that she’s a person, not a company, and those sort of things

TAMAR: Right.

HELENA FOGARTY:  When you bring on your own investors, you know that stuff down cold, because that’s your relationship. When you’re taking over, and there’s over 300 investors in the company, you can do your research on the person and look at how much they invested. But you don’t always know the backstory.


TAMAR: Right. Yeah.


HELENA FOGARTY: Also, during this period of time, I just decided my mission to become fully transparent on a failure of my company, and other experiences I’ve been in so with the perspective that I have from shutting down this new company, and from Mi Ola, I think it’s really important to be transparent about this with other founders. Mostly, it’s been female founders that I’ve been talking to. And that mission became even more important as we entered this year and COVID because a lot of people were having to make a lot of hard decisions. And so, I am in the process of shutting down this new company, and I took a year to be trained as a coach. And I’ve been coaching founders of companies, entrepreneurs. And the coaching is my clients come with their own agenda, and they drive the bus. But I am definitely looking out for their well-being because I think that we as founders, often just ignore that and compartmentalize and put all I know, all my eggs in one basket. And if my company was doing well, I was having the best day ever. And my company was doing bad. It was really not a good day. And I think that there’s a lot more power and a lot more internal power from taking care of the person as a whole and not being so reactive. So, everything was all right and I could go to my college reunion once I got the new job. Nothing really changed. It was just that I now had a job. And I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say that I had to shut down my company. And I think that there’s a stronger place to come from where I try to operate more often these days, where it’s just knowing that I am a strong kick ass entrepreneur, regardless of what the circumstances are. That’s it.


TAMAR: Right. Yeah,  that’s crazy. It’s a great story, though. I mean, you should write a book. It’s pretty fascinating.


HELENA FOGARTY: I’ve heard people say that. I don’t know if I’d be that interesting.


TAMAR: You got to figure out how to weave in the emotionality of the story because it’s like, I’m sitting here, and it’s hard for me to interrupt because I’m like into it. And you have this ups and downs. It’s like a roller coaster. You have this whole roller coaster story.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. And that’s what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. Right?


TAMAR: Right. I guess it’s never easy. And a lot of people right now COVID times are bringing out a lot of entrepreneurship, which is great. And this  might be the right time because I guess it fosters a sense of resilience.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. Yeah. So, my favorite words, “Here’s my phone book, the good parts and bad parts of entrepreneurship.” People love to gloss over and hide the details. And that makes me a little frustrated. Like, I remember going to a big conference. And there was I think a woman from Tronco, I’m not sure not a lingerie brand. And she was up there. And she’s lovely. And she’s like, so I’m just a girl who couldn’t find a bra that would fit. And I bought 200 bras and put them out of my bed, and none of them fit. And so, I started a company and the next thing I know, we launched and our website was down because there was too much traffic. And that’s all how this happened. And I actually asked her, “That’s a lovely romantic story, but what’s the money story? What’s the real story?” It’s like, “Oh, I used to work for NBC. And I started with $3 million.” And so, that’s still valid. That doesn’t denigrate anything about someone’s entrepreneurial journey. But by hiding those kind of details, it’s a handicap for people who are coming behind. Right?


TAMAR: Yeah, you want to identify?


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, because people think, ”Oh, I can start a huge company with my $10 in the bank and a Kickstarter.” I know that sounds naive, but here I was, I had a business degree, I had 20 years in fashion. I knew I had to raise money. And I thought the fact that I raised 500,000 was huge, right? I now know that I wouldn’t start a company without having raised 3 million to have a team and to pay my team and to pay myself.


TAMAR: Yeah, the struggle of bootstrapping is real. You’re validating it.


HELENA FOGARTY: But again, that’s like coming from a decision that I want to make a large company. And I’m willing to give up part of my company and maybe part of my control, whereas bootstrapping is its own beautiful thing. And if you’re bootstrapping correctly, you’re in charge.

TAMAR: Right. Yeah. I certainly grapple with the struggle that should I be doing this? Should I be doing that? And I just took a class, actually. I took a course on understanding what VCs all about. It is so intimidating.




TAMAR: It actually made me realize that I don’t think I ever want to get VC funding.


HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah. When I say if I do another company with this point of view, and I want $3 million in the bank, I also know that I probably won’t get VC funding because of my age and my gender.


TAMAR: Yeah.


HELENA FOGARTY: So, it’s possible, and I’m not pushing that type of money from super angels and from friends and family. It just takes more meetings.

TAMAR: You are right. Of course, I’m not averse to that type of thing. I’ve had people volunteer to kind of fund my business but  I don’t want to give up the control right now. I don’t want to feel pressured. I want to make this happen on my own pace. And I had, in fact, had someone on sweat equity. And eventually, it just wasn’t fast enough for her. So, she walked away. And honestly, it made me feel better because I realized that the areas that that person was involved in, I could have executed a little faster and made things more efficient. Now I have the ball back in my court. And at the end of the day, the responsibility that everything is now on me. I want to become a huge company because I think the mission that I have is huge, figuring that all out. And getting to that next step is the hard part. But will save that for coaching. So, I think it’s great. So, I guess  it’s hard to say it for you. Because you talk about a lot of the adversity that you’re hitting, I guess that those are your stories. Those are the stories that kind of answer that second part of my podcast, which is your rise of adversity. Like I said, I’m feeling I’m on this roller coaster with you. I guess that’s the relatable part.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, I’m sorry. Just that is my story.


TAMAR: Don’t worry. Don’t apologize, because sometimes you weave it in. Honestly, my launch of my business, m  y career came from a completely different dark place in my life. So, it’s no apologies. Sometimes the career slash adversity stories are like one answer. And sometimes they’re completely different. And some people are like, I don’t even have an answer for you on one of those two things. I’m like, alright.


Yeah. So, it’s totally fine. That’s great. No, it’s good. And I think there’s lots to learn from you as well because you really have been able to kind of experience just a large variety of wins and losses, and your kind of able to grow stronger from it.

HELENA FOGARTY: So, yeah. That’s the idea.


TAMAR:  Cool. Awesome. So, let’s jump into the next part. Tell me a little bit, outside of surfing, I’m going to disclose disclaimer in the beginning, outside of surfing, what’s your self-care routine? Although you can still say it.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. So, I’m stuttering here. It’s not always easy for me to focus on it. So, I actually have a self-care tracker that I bought, and some of the things I’m really good at and come really easily to me. And some of the things, less. So, I’m in a tracker.

TAMAR:  What is that tracker. Explain that.


HELENA FOGARTY: Oh, it’s a calendar with little checkmarks that say the habits that I want to do daily, and weekly and monthly.

TAMAR: Okay, cool.

HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah. And when I first bought it, I was like, this is my first month, this is stupid, why am I buying this, I’m so excited? And I actually love it because there’s certain things that come really easily and naturally to me: exercise, like I’ve been an athlete my whole life. So, I never understood, I know there’s some people out there that don’t exercise, five times a week or four times a week. But I’ve always been someone that does. So, that’s always checked on here. But I work too. I’m good sleeper but I don’t get enough sleep, exercise daily, I meditate for five to 10 minutes. Each morning, I set an intention for the day. And not an intention like, I’m going to go make $1,000 or $10,000 or a million dollars more, more where I’m coming from for the day. So, today it’s brilliance and compassion which allows me, by thinking that this is my standard for the day – brilliance and compassion, that I’m going to be compassionate to other people, which doesn’t always come easily to me. And then I want to be brilliant. And then I’m intelligent, but also like the light. And setting a standard for the day helps me because it’s really easy for me as a New Yorker. Or maybe just me. Let’s not say anything bad about New Yorkers, but it’s really easy for me to go into a cynical maybe negative complaint, curse word, curse word kind of way. Yep, definitely hashtag New Yorker where the F word is just like another syllable that you add into words. So yeah, I find that by coming from a different place and setting that intention at six or 6:36am or 6:30, that it changes the way that I’m thinking. And through a lot of the work that I’ve done as a coach, and I have a coach, I try to be a lot more open to people and listening to them. And that has opened up a lot more opportunities for connection. Whereas before, I would just be like, “Hey, how’s it going? Oh, great. Okay, I’ve talked to you for two minutes, I got to go right” I tried to leave a little bit more room to connect with people. But anyway, on my list of self-carry: meditate, exercise, no snacking. I’m no good at that, have no checkmarks. I’m playing with my kid, have some play, cuddle with my dogs. That’s important. Have fun with my spouse, have fun for me. And then there’s some business stuff in there. So those are the things that I do. And then I strive to do consistently.


TAMAR: Yeah, I like as far as setting intention. So, I launched this perfume brands. And it’s really interesting because my whole story is that I was depressed and perfume changed my life. And now every time I reach out to anybody, and I tell them about the perfume because I launched a Kickstarter campaign, or I fund women campaign. My objective was to make sure that every single time when somebody puts on the perfume, they set that intention. Yeah, and the whole thing is sniff your wrist throughout the day and revisit that intention, and hopefully it’ll change your life. So, slowly, that is supposed to be some sort of suggestive stuff. And the intention is to try something a little bit different. And over time, this should have gradual impacts on who you are.


HELENA FOGARTY: That’s beautiful.


TAMAR: Yeah, it’s very different from what you deal with, with like, Chanel in Chanel perfume, because it’s completely different. It’s not an internal process. That product is an external product.


HELENA FOGARTY: I just think it’s such a cool way because when you’re sitting here, if you put perfume on your wrist, and you’re moving around, you’re going to start smelling it and they’ll remind you of your attention intention.

TAMAR: Right, right.



TAMAR: So, a lot suggested this and once the packaging is finalized, it’s going to be on the box, it’s going to be really, I consider this disruptive. It’s really, really hard. But that’s really the thought process here. I want this to effectively disrupt the way people are using perfume to do it for themselves with intention, and hopefully over time, it will have that gradual impact of adding happiness or health, wealth, success, whatever you really are trying as far as your intention is concerned in your life.

HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, , I see it as more than just disruptive, and perfume I think is disruptive. And the way that people are, and you’re saying that could have a bigger ripple effect.

TAMAR: One hundred percent.

HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah, it’s amazing.


TAMAR: But perfume becomes an anchoring tool. So, some people need to have something in their minds to kind of does it for them?


HELENA FOGARTY: Well, I’m saying, I think it’s an amazing idea. There’s this idea of intention. And then, there’s another idea that I was playing around with this morning when I was walking my dogs, which is setting a commitment for the day for me and what I’m committed to. And that’s a funny thing, right? Because I don’t know if we talked about this before, but I can be committed to my health, I can be committed to working out, I can be committed to losing weight. But if you actually look at my behavior, I’m really committed to eating chocolate too. My list of commitments is like that, a pretty consistent commitment I got there. So, I think that in terms of well-being, self-care, in addition to my intention, renewing what my commitments are at the beginning of the day, my commitments in terms of building my business and my commitments in terms of taking care of myself and taking care of my family, and remembering that. I love that when we’re talking about your fragrances that is also a little bit different for intention, but that’s also an anchoring thing. Like, you remember oh, wait, am I going to eat this chocolate? Or am I committed six backups? Like which one?


TAMAR: Yeah. So, I could go on a massive tangent here, but I’m going to make it very brief. So, I took the class. I’ve mentioned this in previous podcasts, but I took the class The Science of Well-Being by Laurie Santos, just offered for free on Coursera right now. And she talks about how in one of her I guess, Week Five, six, or seven, or something like that probably, she has this person who talks about this process called the WOOP, w o o p. Hold on, I’m going to see what it stands for. What does it stand for, again? As a tool it means wish, outcome, obstacle and plan. And the idea is that you say something, your wish, for example, you want six pack abs, your obstacle, there’s chocolate in my way, your outcome? Well, yeah, you’re one six. So yeah, your wishes that I am going to avoid chocolate, whatever, I’m going to eat healthy, your outcome is going to be I want six pack abs, your obstacle is going to be I like chocolate. And your plan is, if I see chocolate, I am going to push it out of my way. And if you do this, it becomes suggested you’re supposed to actually visit, there’s a little bit of visualization in it now.


And in time they actually have scientific studies that people who have applied this strategy have actually their lives over time, even like 10 months later, or 10 weeks later, whatever it was, over long. They did a longitudinal study, and they actually determined that there is a positive outcome for those people who have applied this WOOP strategy. So, there isn’t you can do what I did, and just kind of like listen to what I just said. Or there’s an app for at least the Android, I assume there’s also for iOS, and you put on your phone, it’s very basic, I have two WOOPs, each one of them. I’m not perfect on the second one. I put it on last night. So, we’ll see how I do. But I like chocolate too. And I get it. I actually bought a bunch of chocolate like three weeks ago and it got delivered last weekend. And it’s literally in my nightstand drawer. And I could totally just grab it at my convenience. But for now, I’m going to stick to my guns and avoid it. Yeah, and I think it’s potentially because of WOOP right now.

HELENA FOGARTY:  That’s cool.


TAMAR: Yeah, you should try that. Let me know how it goes.

HELENA FOGARTY:   I’m downloading it right now. (laughing).

TAMAR: Okey. Awesome, awesome. Sweet.

HELENA FOGARTY:    And I wrote down The Science of Wellbeing. I’m going to check that out


TAMAR: Yeah, it’s  a great course. I mean, it’s really just happiness stuff. There’s a book she recommended some course readings and it’s weird because I don’t do this and I never did it in college. I wasn’t until learning for learnings sake. There’s a book right now  The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, l y u b o m i r s k y. I pronounced that for the life of me. And she is first of all, an amazing writer. And second of all, I’m halfway through it  right now, and it’s very, very good. That’s a great one. You’ll learn a lot of it in the lesson. But it’s definitely an extra reading book, if you want. I read there’s another book called Nudge that she recommended. I was not as much of a fan of that, because it had way too many political tie ins. It’s we could potentially use a nudge to push ourselves in a direction of pushing. The example is when you’re in the cafeteria, if healthy food is seen first, you’re effectively nudged in direction of pursuing healthier foods. If the unhealthy food is there, it’s like a subconscious impact. So, it’s an interesting concept for sure. But it became very political, maybe we should do it for this and for healthcare, and I just wanted to hear how to become a better person versus a “let’s let the government.” What happened in Switzerland? And, don’t read that one. It was the best book that I’ve read so far this year. It’s been this one book on happiness, the how happiness, but the worst book that I’ve read so far recommended the same course.

 HELENA FOGARTY: It’s funny.

TAMAR: I mean   , it’s up to you. I mean, some people might like that. Personally, I want to get growth. I want to read books for business and set personal growth. And I don’t necessarily not going to be able to make changes in how we effectively run our health care. I mean, they want us to be the audience for the government. The things that they want the government to do, and that’s not me. Anyway, rebel. Alright. So let me know, I really want to know how the group works for you.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. I’ve written. I’ve got a lot of homework.

TAMAR: Okay, good. I love giving homework. Yes, it’s good. Because I know you’ll be throwing some homework in my direction one day soon.


TAMAR: Awesome. Cool. So let me ask you, I have one last question for you. If you were to give an earlier version of yourself some piece of advice, what would you tell her? A common sense question for the Common Scents podcast.


HELENA FOGARTY: The first thing that comes to mind is just regarding my business, and it would be, raise a lot more money and pay myself.


TAMAR: Right. Yeah. That’s valid. It’s definitely valid. It’s like the one thing that I do is I don’t necessarily try to hit a home run when I start my business. I make sure that I’m like playing both football and not football because I don’t like football, tennis and baseball at the same time. I have some sort of financial cushion to some degree.


HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah. And that advice is very particular to my situation. Right, man. That’s if you decide, someone decides they’re going to raise investment money,


TAMAR: You’re  putting it all forward. That’s also the challenge that I had.


HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah, if someone’s going to make that choice, then raise a lot. Right. And be aggressive.

TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. Because you definitely deserve for that efforts, a 100%.




TAMAR: Yeah. And that’s that sort of like the philosophy of like bootstrapping versus VC. And sometimes you’ll never see that money. That’s sort of where the class is showing me the classes like, yeah, and if you sell your business at a loss, the investor will make the money in the entrepreneur. And I’m like, are you kidding me? I’m never going into the VC world ever.


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. And then, if you give away too much control, you can get booted on your own company. And all those things happen.


TAMAR: Yeah, yeah.




TAMAR: Lots of interesting insights. Yeah. I found that I think you’re right. I think eventually there’ll be a point where I’ll be having that conversation with myself and be like, is that where I want to be? But hopefully, maybe not. Hopefully not.


HELENA FOGARTY: And there’s other ways to go.

TAMAR:  Yeah.


HELENA FOGARTY: There are other ways to get capital, maybe not as much, but there’s other ways to get capital that don’t require giving up control of your company.

TAMAR: Right. Yeah. And I pursued some of those options. Definitely, grant seeking some of those  options as well.  Yeah, sometimes (Helena laughing) life of a startup founder different decisions every single day.



TAMAR: Yeah. Cool. Well, where can we find you, learn about your coaching, learn about you,  all the things.

HELENA FOGARTY: Oh, you can reach me by email at And I’m on Instagram. It is helenamania.


TAMAR:  All of it.


HELENA FOGARTY:  Yeah, that was my old Rockstar for some.

TAMAR: So, don’t sell it. Keep it.



TAMAR: Yeah. Listen, I still have an email address. And people are like, where’d this come from?


HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah, exactly.

TAMAR: Punch runs. Before my AOL days.

HELENA FOGARTY: Yeah. It was really cool for me back in the day, and it’s still really cool. But yeah,  my specialty is working with founders and helping them achieve goals that they didn’t think were possible before.


TAMAR: Cool. Awesome. Well, I love it. Thank you very much for all the time, the experience you’re sharing, your story and getting raw about it. And I am wishing you all the best and I can’t wait for us to sync up.


HELENA FOGARTY: I know. That’d be great. Thank you so much. That was so fun.


TAMAR: Yeah. Awesome.

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