In this episode of Ecommerce Building Blocks, Jason is joined by Mady Maio, host of the popular business and lifestyle podcast Okay Sis and co-founder of the travel recommendation app Camber. Jason and Mady talk about mental health for founders and entrepreneurs: why it’s so important and what all of us can do to make sure we use our well-being to show up for the projects we love and ourselves every day.
Jason and Mady start their conversation by talking about the particular challenges that face female founders and entrepreneurs, and why preparing mentally and emotionally is crucial to balance and success. Mady shares what self-care looks like (NOT bubble baths) for her and how this plays into her definition of success. In the second half of the episode, she and Jason talk about Camber app, what it has to offer, and how Mady has navigated her relationship with her co-founder through inventing, building, and finding investors for this project.
Okay Sis podcast: https://linktr.ee/okaysis
Mady’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/madyrosemaio?lang=en
Mady’s TikTok: @madymaio
➡️ Building Blocks website: bbclass.co
🍍Jason’s twitter: https://twitter.com/EggrolI
Sign up for Jason's weekly newsletter: http://news.bbclass.co
Digital community expert, advocate for women entrepreneurs, podcast host, with Camber app currently in beta testing.
[00:00:00] Mady Maio: Being able to connect with other female founders is what has saved me. And also what propels me forward because you realize how you are not alone in order to avoid burnout. I invest very heavily in self-care and when I say self-care, I don't mean like. Skincare and like bubble baths. I mean, yeah.
[00:00:33] Jason Wong: Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Building Blocks podcast show today I'm joined by Mady Maio. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:41] Mady Maio: Hello Jason. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:43] Jason Wong: You've been busy. You've been, you've been building right.
[00:00:46] Mady Maio: I've been building. I've been building. Yes.
[00:00:49] Jason Wong: And, uh, I did a little research, a little homework on you.
[00:00:53] You have also a very successful podcast called Okay Sis, where you talk about mental health issues with female [00:01:00] entrepreneurs. Am I getting that right?
[00:01:01] Mady Maio: You are getting that correct. I've had a podcast. I do it with my sister, Scout . Uh, we're coming up on four years. Oh my. So it's been, it's been a long time and yeah, the, the premise is we, we bring in a rad female guest, every single episode to join in on the sisterly banter.
[00:01:18] And, you know, we believe that women should be multifaceted individuals. So we talk about anything from pop culture, mental health, female entrepreneurship, um, and sisterhood.
[00:01:29] Jason Wong: I love that. I love that. And you know, I've gotten the pleasure to meet with so many amazing female entrepreneurs actually interview a lot of 'em on the show.
[00:01:38] And a lot of 'em really felt that the space needs more of 'em, you know, like there wasn't really a platform for them. They kind of had to fight a lot harder to get the same attention and mental health in general for, for both sides, really just. What's really not talked about. And I know a lot of founders who struggle with mental health.
[00:01:58] So those are some of the points I [00:02:00] wanna touch on, on today's show with you because you obviously have a lot more exposure. Um, yeah. Tell me a little bit more about like all the female entrepreneurs that you have interviewed so far. Like. What has been like the most common topic to talk about?
[00:02:13] Mady Maio: Yeah. I mean, you know, although we bring in a lot of female founders similar to kind of how your show is, like, it feels more of a conversation than like an interview.
[00:02:24] Um, obviously we get into things, both me and my sister are entrepreneurs. We have our own companies, so we'll ask things like selfishly from like business standpoints, but really it's mostly about them as individuals, a lot that touches on mental health lifestyle and the way that they're navigating this, like very, very unique and, uh, intense experience that is entrepreneurship and across the board, I think, and something that I've experienced also being my own, uh, a founder of my own right, is being able to connect with other female [00:03:00] founders is what has saved me and also what propels me forward because.
[00:03:05] You realize how you are not alone in the process. I think as a founder, it can be very lonely. You feel like, holy shit, I, oh, can I cuss on this? I hope I can.
[00:03:16] Jason Wong: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:03:17] Mady Maio: OK, good. Cause it's gonna come out a lot. Um, so, you know, as a founder, it can get really lonely in terms of, uh, you know, every day you're faced with something that you have absolutely no idea how to do and that you're trying to figure out. And when you look online and you look around you're like everyone else has everything figured out. Like, am I doing something wrong? Whereas when you tap into that network of female founders and of women, um, they're so willing to help one another.
[00:03:46] And there's this incredible support system that comes with it. So that's kind of what I've found. People are so quick to help one another and build each other up. There's so much room at the table for us. There's so much space and, [00:04:00] um, I've been just so fortunate connecting with these founders because it feels like this amazing network that I can tap into for any question that I have about building a business.
[00:04:10] Jason Wong: I love that. And what, what would you say is like the most common hardship facing female entrepreneurs that aren't really talked about?
[00:04:18] Mady Maio: I mean raising money. I hear a lot. I'm kind of starting that process. Um, we're gonna be raising our pre-seed round for Camber. And, um, I'm honestly like, obviously I'm preparing from a like operational standpoint and a logistical standpoint, but I'm also preparing emotionally and I don't think a lot of people talk about that.
[00:04:40] There's a ton of limiting beliefs and rejection that comes with it, of course. And then there's also just, you know, there aren't a lot of female founders that are raising money. I think something like 2.5% of funding goes to women founders. So wow. There is, there is definitely a lack. And so when you're entering these [00:05:00] spaces that are heavily male dominated, It's very emotional and it's very taxing on, you know, yourself and yourself as a leader and trying to convince people that, you know, your, your business is something separate from your gender.
[00:05:14] So, um, I hear that a lot. I hear that that process is pretty grueling and pretty intense. So I kind of, as I prepare for that, I'm not only preparing. You know, for the deck and the pitches and all this, like I'm actually preparing internally. Um, which I don't think people talk about that, you know, the emotional side of business and of entrepreneurship is like usually not as highlighted.
[00:05:39] Um, I think it's one and the same, like I think it's, you cannot have one without the other. Um, and people need to know that before they, before they jump into this type of, uh, career path.
[00:05:51] Jason Wong: No, I, I, I totally see that. It's a whole, it's like an invisible battle. Like you come into the pitch meeting knowing that you are somewhat at a [00:06:00] disadvantage statistically.
[00:06:01] Mady Maio: Yep.
[00:06:01] Jason Wong: You know, and you kind of have to fight for your own position there let's talk a little bit more about, you know, how founders in general can, can improve their mental health. And I, I feel like recently that's been talked a lot more about a lot more founders, like getting burnt out. I wanna hear your thoughts on from all the conversations that you've had and even yourself personally, what are some things to avoid burnouts?
[00:06:23] Mady Maio: Yeah. I, so I've been like very. Which I'm trying to destigmatize what I'm trying to speak more about, because I think it's really important, but there is this glamorization of the founder journey and definitely, uh, you know, there's this hustle culture mentality that has enveloped the whole founder space.
[00:06:47] And I, I do not subscribe to hustle culture. I do not like to work 12 hours a day, or even like, I do not like I like to have my sleep. I can, you know, I like [00:07:00] to be like prepared and mentally there in order to work at my optimal efficiency. And I personally, I think that there's this narrative that founders have to, you know, there there's like a stereotype.
[00:07:15] They have to pull all nighters and eat ramen noodles. And it's like, I don't feel that way about my lifestyle and about what I'm building. I also don't think my, my company would be successful if I were operating like that. So to me, I, in order to avoid burnout, I, I invest very heavily in self-care.
[00:07:40] And when I say self-care, I don't mean like skincare and like bubble baths. I mean,
[00:07:45] Jason Wong: yeah.
[00:07:47] Mady Maio: I mean, therapy. I mean, like deep inner work. Um, I do like a very intense manifestation and like shadow work process. Um, I go to therapy very, very regularly and consistently, [00:08:00] and it's not fun. I'm not, you know, I think people have misinterpreted what self care is.
[00:08:05] And I think it's like a fun, like restful, like spa day. That really is not what I'm talking about. It's like actual. Reflection and taking time to restore yourself. And that doesn't, again, that doesn't mean sitting on the couch and watching TV. That means going on a walk, meditation, I meditate every morning.
[00:08:26] I journal every morning I drink a shit ton of water. Like. I, I move my body and I don't, I don't work out for like physical things. I work out for like the mental clarity. So there are just ways that I make time for all of these building blocks that allow me to show up for my bus, my business show up for the podcast and show up for myself.
[00:08:49] I just personally, I love to read and, you know, I stop work and I read at, in the evening. Sorry. Like I'm not, I'm not spending my [00:09:00] whole evening working on my business. And I think that. Really it's like, I even feel I'm like getting like schvitzy and like sweaty even saying that, because I feel like people are gonna come for me being like, you're a bad founder where it's like, no, that's the way that I recover from a day of intense work and focus.
[00:09:18] And that's just how productivity is to me. I think something I'm learning. I definitely do not have the answer to this, but I have been trying to redefine what success. Productivity mean to me, I think I've been heavily influenced on what society. Of success and how they define it. And, uh, the money aspect that is attached to what success is.
[00:09:40] But, um, lately I've just been like, look, did I, did I move the needle? Even one centimeter today? Great. I was successful. That was it like, I think I thought before, if I'm not exhausted at the end of the day and I, my eyes are like bleeding from looking at screens all day, then it wasn't a [00:10:00] successful or productive day, whereas that's just not how I wanna live.
[00:10:04] Day to day. So I've just been fine tuning that a little bit, uh, to what feels good to me.
[00:10:10] Jason Wong: I love that. And really built at your own pace. You know, I've been, I'm not sure how long you've been in, in business. I assume many, many years, um, early in my career, I also thought that I need to be grinding 18 hours a day, this whole Silicon valley tech hustle culture that I was trying to fit in.
[00:10:27] And I wasn't even in tech, I was in CPG. But at the end of the day, you look back and said, was it worth it? Like, did I move to needle? And you're so exhausted. You can't even think about that. right. Um, and I would say like, you know, three, four hours of really deep, valuable work, beats way, much of nine, 12 hours of work that you feel like you just have to work on.
[00:10:50] And then you look back and said, did I do the same? Or did, did I actually make incremental changes? And oftentimes you find that many of those hours are, was the whole eight [00:11:00] hour, day week is, or a workday it's, it's something that was created back in the day for for manufacturing automobile. It was not meant for today's generation of work.
[00:11:10] So mm-hmm, , you know, I, I love that you are able to set your own pace. You, you know, that what you wanna manifest and you write that down every single day. Um, I think that's wonderful. It's good to hear more entrepreneurs talk about. it's good to be vulnerable, really, um, lay all your cards out and, and, and say, this is who I am.
[00:11:28] This is how I'm gonna build my business. Whether or not you like it, that's up to you. Yeah. But that's how I'm build my business. Speaking of building businesses, I also deal a little with digging. You also are currently working on amongst many different things, a new app. Can you tell me more about that?
[00:11:43] Mady Maio: Yes.
[00:11:44] So I am currently building a platform called Camber it's a travel recommendations platform. Um, basically allows you to share your favorite places with your friends and the way that this idea came about my co-founder and I, she was actually my first [00:12:00] boss out of, out of my first job out of college, which is really funny.
[00:12:03] And so we worked really well together and we knew that and, uh, stayed in touch. Always knew we wanted to build something together. I think I've always had this like entrepreneurial bone within me. Um, but I just didn't know what that idea was. And so she, I was always that friend that she would text for recommendation.
[00:12:23] She'd be like, Hey, I just saw that you went to Austin on Instagram. Can you send me a Rex? And I'm sure you and everyone listening has either like, received or sent a text like this. Um, and I would, you know, send her. A shared notes screenshot or like a Google doc. And there was just this completely disjointed process.
[00:12:42] And we just thought like, why isn't there a more streamlined way to share these like amazing places and create more like a social component. Like a lot of our generation might have Google maps lists or have things saved, or even screenshot things of like Instagram and there isn't [00:13:00] this beautiful interface to organize all these places.
[00:13:03] And then also. That social and community added element to, um, follow your friends and see where they recommend. So we sought out to build Camber. Um, this was about almost three years ago, which is wild.
[00:13:17] Jason Wong: Wow.
[00:13:17] Mady Maio: And we, yeah, so we worked with an agency to do the UIUX and the development and kind of product managed this whole thing. Never been a product manager before. Again, you'll kind of hear this, uh, common theme that anything I have been doing with Camber has been like the first time doing any of this. Um, like I'm like HR, I'm a product manager, I'm a marketer. Like just everything is, is a brand new experience, which is very fun and also very humbling.
[00:13:48] Um, but. We, we built this, this awesome app that allows you to share your favorite places with friends. And, uh, we are in a public beta right now on test flight. So anyone can download the app, test [00:14:00] it out, have fun, add, add your favorite places. Um, and we just wanted to create this awesome community that really values cool spots and the biggest growth I think we've seen has been the TikTok.
[00:14:16] So I think either people listening probably have, have seen my face off TikTok. Um, it was funny that you said like it's good to be vulnerable. Like I have been very open on the internet for a very long time. I think it started with Oasis and then I feel very comfortable opening up on the internet, putting myself out there.
[00:14:36] I think it's not, it's really not something that, um, It's something. I talk about a lot that when you are a founder, you're suddenly a content creator. Like you're suddenly a brand in, in your own, right? In, on, on top of actually building a business. You're now like having to build this personal brand. Right.
[00:14:52] Um, especially as a female founder, I think every female founder is basically expected to be the face of the [00:15:00] brand to. Uh, their own personal like leader or, you know, thought leader, if you will. So, uh, we started building the TikTok and nicheing down into Los Angeles specific recommendations. And that is where we really started to become like a trust trustworthy resource for people in LA to find cool things to do and places to be.
[00:15:23] And that's gonna be really our strategy. Cause I think. We definitely hit, hit, like scratch an itch that I think people in LA have been missing where it's like, where do I go to find these cool new, hidden gems, but also like cool spots. Um, there's such a great discovery element that happens in LA. So once we finalized that formula here, then we will, uh, roll it out to other cities.
[00:15:53] You can still use the app in other cities for sure. But, um, definitely the content, the community is LA based for now.
[00:15:59] Jason Wong: I [00:16:00] love the tagline. Um, I'm just gonna read it here from the website. Um, It's for tourists that want to feel like locals and locals that want to feel like tourists. That's that's beautiful.
[00:16:11] Mady Maio: Yeah. We call our community local tourists.
[00:16:13] Jason Wong: There you go.
[00:16:14] Yeah. I feel like when you live in a place for so long where you, like, you grew up there, you don't really explore. Like, I, I remember like being, you know, when I was in Toronto, people were like, oh, did you go to this place? I'm like, oh, never, never heard of it.
[00:16:25] but apparently everyone talks about it. So I, I love that this is a bridge between the two types of people that often come to LA. There's a lot implants and there's a lot of locals and, you know, sometimes you just wanna make the switch. Um, exactly. I, I wanna talk a little bit more about working with a founder, you know, at, at early stages, what are some of the challenges that people should be aware of when they have co-founders?
[00:16:47] There's obviously a lot of ups and downs of having co-founders. What are some of the things that you feel like have surfaced so far and how, how are you combating them?
[00:16:55] Mady Maio: Yeah, a co-founder relationship is to me, it's [00:17:00] been the driving success of what Camber is. Um, there is a, as I mentioned, being a founder and starting a business is incredibly taxing, um, emotionally and mentally.
[00:17:15] So having someone there to either bounce ideas off of, or debrief after a call or be able to just like, be like, what the fuck was that? You know, just , there's just all these little moments that happen. And I get to experience and share them, um, with my co-founder Lauren. So that has been, I mean, I wouldn't have started it if I didn't have this person, like, it, it it's just been so integral.
[00:17:46] to the whole success of, of what we are building. And then I guess like a challenge is just, um, dividing up tasks. And, um, you know, in the beginning we kind of did everything together and, uh, made [00:18:00] decisions together, which is obviously, um, you know, in the beginning when you don't really know what you're doing, it's, it's great to have that person, but now we're at the stage of the business where we're kind of figuring out, okay. Like actually you probably don't need to come on every podcast with me, you know, maybe I'll be more the forward facing founder and you're more the operations. So it's been interesting to kind of like divide up those, those camps and, uh, Realize our strengths and realize like where we can lean on each other for support or come together when needed.
[00:18:30] But, um, that's been, that's been just a new shift, I guess, in, in the dynamic lately. Um, but, but other than that, it's been, it's been an incredible support, uh, that I think again, as female founder, as, as a founder in general, like to have that person, like a long for the ride with you, uh, to celebrate wins to also, like process losses, anything like, it's just, it makes the [00:19:00] journey more
[00:19:01] Jason Wong: I love that. And you seem so happy to talk about your co-founder, which is really, really good to hear. Um, yeah. You know, it's like a marriage, right? Like you you're you're gonna go up and you're gonna go down together. Mm-hmm so make sure you find a good partner for it.
[00:19:16] Mady Maio: And then also, I mean, for anyone listening, who has a co-founder, I. I keep talking about the emotional side of business only, cuz I think it is as important, if not more important than like any part of the business. Uh, we have emotional check-ins every single week on the calendar and what these are. Um, you know, we talk about things that we're grateful for in the business, things that are worrying us, things that we need from each other.
[00:19:45] And the reason that this has been so important is that it doesn't let anything like build up any resentment, any, any little thing, maybe like a communication error or something [00:20:00] like we lay it all out on the table during that week. And don't let it build up to the next week. I think that is such an important practice that if you are in a co-founder relationship, putting that on the cal and it should be treated this with the same respect as a financial, you know, looking at the budgets meeting or like a marketing meeting, like it should be something that you guys really, really commit to. Um, because it's allowed us cuz you, again, you don't really know, like there are moments where she'll be like, Hey, the way that you said this, or like maybe I, I need your support on this area.
[00:20:36] Like you wouldn't have told me that just in a regular day. Right. So right. I just think it's really, it's a, it's a practice and a thing that we've been, we've been doing that I really recommend.
[00:20:46] Jason Wong: And, and really like the downfall to any type of relationship, whether that's romantic or business. Not having communication channels opened up and things bottle up and there's resentment.
[00:20:57] And there's like, oh, I thought you were doing this. [00:21:00] How come you weren't doing that? And then, and then things fall apart. So it's good that you treat that one on one, as important as a finance meeting, cuz truly it is. And that's really why I want to bring you on a show is to talk about the side of business that people don't really talk about.
[00:21:14] It's not the sexy side of the business, but it's the bloodline of your business. If you do it well.
[00:21:19] Mady Maio: Exactly.
[00:21:19] Jason Wong: So I appreciate you giving that tip here. Um, one last thing before I let you go, I wanna give you, um, 60 seconds to tell me your hot take.
[00:21:28] Mady Maio: Ah, okay. This is gonna be really hot and I hope I don't get canceled for this.
[00:21:36] I hate leftovers.
[00:21:39] Jason Wong: Like food?
[00:21:41] Mady Maio: Like food leftovers.
[00:21:43] Jason Wong: Why?
[00:21:44] Mady Maio: This is everyone's like, what are you talking about? They're the best. I just, it's never as good as the first day you have it. And it just like tastes funky. I dunno. I'm just like everyone loves leftovers. And my hot take is I, I, I don't. [00:22:00]
[00:22:00] Jason Wong: I mean, uh, you have standards for your food and there's that?
[00:22:02] No, one's gotta fight you on that.
[00:22:04] Mady Maio: There we go. That's what I like to
[00:22:07] Jason Wong: That's that's I didn't expect, but one that I love to hear because that's so new. Um, well, Mady, thank you so much for coming on a show. I wish you the best in your podcast show, um, and your new app. It looks amazing. I'm traveling for next two weeks.
[00:22:21] So I'll actually be logging in and see if I can, you know, make some content around Asia. I'm going to Singapore.
[00:22:28] Mady Maio: Oh my God, please. Yes.
[00:22:31] Jason Wong: Because cuz you're right. Like I'm tired of screenshoting. I'm tired of like saving to my collections and like sending links to people that I'll never discover again. And then like just hours ago, I was asking my friend to send me an itinerary for this country I've never been to. And it's still very not streamlined, so you're right. I see the problem. I'm your customer and happy to download on test flight.
[00:22:53] Mady Maio: amazing.
[00:22:54] Jason Wong: Thank you so much for coming on and hope you have the best week.
[00:22:58] Mady Maio: Have a good week too. And [00:23:00] enjoy your travel.
[00:23:02] Jason Wong: You just heard an episode of the Building Blocks podcast. If you like what you heard, subscribe below to keep hearing conversations that I have with brilliant marketers, founders and innovators on how they built their best ideas. Now, if you wanna learn how you can turn your best ideas and build something massive out of it, visit my website, bbclass.co, or follow my Twitter at @eggroli
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