Bea Arthur knows a thing or two about making a pivot.
And no, just to be clear we’re not talking about the same Bea Arthur who starred among the OG Girl Squad – the Golden Girls. This Bea Arthur, like the other, was a bad ass. But, unlike the Bea of nostalgia’s past, this Bea Arthur has an entrepreneurial bug that bit her hard and never left – seeing her through two startups since graduating college in 2008.
Now, as for that pivoting, as a licensed therapist and startup founder, Bea has learned the importance of making nimble, not-so-easy decisions and has mastered the art of picking herself back up again. Her company, In Your Corner (formerly Pretty Padded Room), is a leader in using telemedicine to offer counseling and coaching services online through video and text. Her idea was so standout that it landed her an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank. Even without getting an investment from the sharks, Bea used their feedback to tweak her idea, and as Fast Company put it, she “turned her mistakes into assets.”
Now, Bea is about to make a pivot again, and has decided to close the virtual doors of In Your Corner to make room for her next business venture in the online therapy space. But this time she’s turning her attention to America’s warriors – service men and women – and is launching an online resource for them later this year called Inside the Wire.
“[When you’re in the military] you can’t stop to think about your circumstances,” Bea says. “You can’t wallow and eat a burrito and watch Netflix. You have to keep your mind sharp. I got really into the idea of emotional endurance.”
In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Bea is a TEDx speaker who shared her ideas on the “Culture of Comparison” (which, we highly recommend you YouTube.) She also was the first African-American woman to be accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program in Mountain View, Calif. She’s also the co-host and co-producer of You’re Not Crazy, a comedic show about mental health on YouTube. She is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Houston, Texas, by her parents who immigrated from Ghana in West Africa.
In episode 13 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Podcast Editor Polina Selyutin speaks with Bea about her college education at Columbia in New York City, her first startup fizzling out, her work helping domestic violence survivors and how the three have swirled together to give Bea business ideas that are helping to solve problems and assist others.
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN TODAY’S SHOW:
- Ambitious In The Big Apple: Why Bea made the leap from working in real estate to her current field of therapy. “You eventually find your path,” she says.
- One Thing Leads To Another: How Bea’s first company, Me Too, led her to start her second company, Pretty Padded Room.
- Making Ends Meet: Bea says many therapists start out “making peanuts” as many get their start doing charity work, social work and grant work.
- Brain Lifting: “Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health,” Bea says.
- On Idea Sharing: Don’t keep it to yourself, Bea advises. Tell as many people as possible as it will get you, “a lot further, a lot faster.”
- Do The Hustle: Bea discusses her cultural influences, including her parents whose hard work led to success and inspired her to work hard and hustle.
- Mamma Knows Best: “My mom is a blue collar hero,” Bea says. “It wasn’t until my first company failed and I was heartbroken and lying on the floor, and my mom was like, “Did I ever tell you about the first two years of my company?”
- Lessons Learned: The importance of knowing what you don’t know when it comes to a startup. “Once you get to a certain growth stage, literally your job as CEO is to put out fires,” she says.
- Eyes Wide Open: Bea discusses the importance of “being awake while you are learning” and discusses how paying attention to patterns, noticing what is working and what isn’t working are some of the therapy tools Bea has applied to her business.
- Fertility Freeze: Bea discusses her decision to freeze her eggs until she’s ready to start her family in two or three years. She recommends EggBanxx and is a brand ambassador for the company.
- Parting Advice: “I’m not that special,” Bea says. “The difference between successful people and people who don’t make it is persistence.”