What to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Wellness Business: Ingredient1 Founder – Taryn Fixel

This week’s Balanced Babe, Taryn Fixel, is a major #girlboss. Taryn founded  Ingredient1, an application that helps grocery shoppers decide on what items to purchase based on dietary needs, ingredients, allergens, and everything in between. 

source: exposednyc.com

Today, Taryn is sharing with us some glorious action items you can take if you are ready to take on a new business venture. If you’re a regular reader at Balanced Babe, you know how much we love our action items. 

So let’s break down what you will learn from Taryn today:

  • Questions you need to ask yourself before starting an application. 
  • What it takes to build a dream to support your business.
  • What type of research to do before starting a new business.
  • How Taryn integrates “non-negotiable minimums” into her life to stay centered, and more!

BB: What is the mission and purpose of Ingredient1?

Ingredient1 removes the chaos from food. We are transforming the way people discover healthy & decadent foods, based on diet + philosophy + taste.  Our mobile app gives shoppers easy access to our leading all natural & organic foods database, allowing you to personalize the grocery store by multiple ingredient, diet, & sustainability criteria. It’s like having a personal shopper show you the best foods for you, before you get to the store! 

source: Ingredient1 Instagram

BB: Apps are very popular with the increase of smartphones. What are the steps that went into making Ingredient1 as an app? 

Building an app and building a business are not the same thing.  An app is one expression of a business, so the first question to ask is  – what is the purpose of the business, and how does the app advance our ability to execute on that?  Does this need to be an app, just because our users will want to interact with us mobile-y, or could it be responsive web – meaning a website that adapts to the platform where its being viewed.  What is the single atomic action that you want a user to make within the app?  What is the repeated value we are proving that will lead to repeated engagement within the app?

BB: How did you go about building your team? What were some challenges that you came across and what advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are in the processing of building out their own team? 

Try before you buy.  I meet with potential collaborators several times, then start with one small project before engaging for a larger commitment. Working on a focused project helps both parties understand the others skill sets, personality, ethics, and creative processes. This type of slow relationship building can be ambitious during crucial growth periods, but I’ve found compromising here predictably leads to challenges later – some of which are noncritical, but had we spent more time working together, I could have anticipated or supplemented better.  Also – no-one is perfect, but it’s better to have a hole than an asshole.


BB: What type of research did you do before creating the app?

The research phase before you start a company is critical. Determine the specific need you are solving for. Assess who else is is solving for that need, why they haven’t yet, what obstacles have they faced to get where they are now.  If noone is working on creating a solution to this problem, why not? Is this product actually needed? Or is there some other hurdle?  What assumptions are currently being made about the user and market? Speak to as many people as possible. Spend time with potential users to better understand the difference between what they say they do, versus what they actually do! 

BB: You collect over 127 different variables for each product. Why did you decide to give that much information to people?

Ingredients, Allergies, Nutritional Value, Taste, Texture, Certifications – these are already variables that you are consciously or subconsciously thinking about. We’ve all stood in a grocery aisle deciding between two granolas or salsas. Does this have sugar? Cilantro? Food is confusing – we organize the information so you can easily receive personalized recommendations. 


BB: What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are in need of financing their business? Do you recommend investors over business loans, or another suggestion?

It depends on the business! Focus first on how you are going to monetize without achieving scale – and then prove that out as quickly as possible. Once you understand your model, you can identify who invests in that model.  It’s important to choose your investors wisely – make sure your values and objectives are aligned. 

BB: How do you lead the Balanced Babe lifestyle? 

I have a fairly scheduled approach to balance right now. I created a list of “non-negotiable minimums” that help me stay personally centered, while starting a business. This means, at minimum, I swim 3 times a week, I see my niece once a week, I engage with art once a week. At minimum, I connect with my business accountability partner once a week and I have a series of work related lists that keep me focused. It’s easy for a morning swim to be the first thing to go in a stressful time, but that’s actually when I get my best ideas. When I’m on top of my NNM’s, I’m more aligned and engaged, and that’s reflected in everything I do.  


BB: Do you follow a specific diet yourself? What does your own daily meal plan look like?

I am gluten and dairy free, which has actually made me an adventurous eater. I’ll try anything within those parameters. A typical day is fairly simple though: Sprouted oats with banana and walnuts for breakfast. Grilled tofu, kombucha pumpkin, and veggies for lunch (I’m on a crazy pumpkin kick). Sushi for dinner. Chocolate mid-day. And usually a homemade almond butter protein bar. 

BB: What are some of your wellness go-to’s while traveling?

I always travel with plastic bags of my sprouted oatmeal and walnuts. It can be prepared anywhere with a cup and hot water!  I also usually have a square of dark chocolate in my bag – so if everyone is eating dessert, but there is nothing gluten / dairy free, I don’t feel left out. Actually having the option makes me want the sugar less. 


BB: What’s next?

We are starting with the grocery store – and eventually Ingredient1 will be the lens through which you can make any food decision. We want to organize the world’s food information, and create delightful experiences so you can easily buy foods you’ll love, that also make you feel good. 

 (photo source: Ingredient1 Instagram)

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