How KC Entrepreneur Sylvia Hall Created a Well-Being Movement Built to Scale
After her second child was born, Sylvia Hall couldn’t quite shake her postpartum depression. Coupled with anxiety attacks and mood swings, she started taking antidepressants.
Not wanting to stay on medication forever, Sylvia decided to make a big change. She researched bacterial strains that she says have a high correlation with mood support and anxiety reduction and created her own probiotic.
But she didn’t just create a probiotic for herself. Once she discovered the perfect mixture of strains, she shared it with the world.
No stranger to entrepreneurship, Sylvia has always had the entrepreneurial itch to sell. From lemonade, books and handmade goods, to peddling her own jewelry creations on Etsy, she's a natural entrepreneur.
At one point, Sylvia was selling her own handcrafted jewelry in seven stores across the Kansas City metro. However, she noticed the more product she sold and the more she tried to scale her business, the more time it took away from her family.
“I’m not afraid of hard work," she says, "but the thing about motherhood and entrepreneurship is that time is your greatest asset.” (Truth.)
Sylvia is the co-founder of Lifted natural and is a life coach and author. She started Lifted with her husband in June 2017 and has since created a second vitamin supplement.
Learning from her previous businesses, Sylvia knew she needed a business model that would let her company grow.
“My current business model was built to scale," she says. "I make sure I am not in the way of our success. At this point in the game, I make decisions based off the question: Does it put me in the middle? If the answer is yes, then my answer is no."
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Our own communications consultant Lauren Caldwell sat down with Sylvia to talk about the challenges and triumphs of starting a business in Kansas City.
You co-founded Lifted with your husband. What roles do each of you have in the business?
I wear many hats, but most of my focus is on communicating our brand message. I’m the big-picture gal. My husband’s focus is more on the behind-the-scenes things like business automation, ads and other technical things. He’s the detail guy.
Why do you do what you do?
I do this work because it brings out the best in me. When I focus on serving our Lifted community, I am energized, and I feel so alive. Being someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, I feel extremely passionate about helping others out of that cloud and into feeling better. Our brand values are optimism, empathy and encouragement. These three things drive me every day.
Instead of selling in physical stores, you sell your probiotic on Amazon. Why did you choose this route?
Many people think of Amazon as a big business which, in many ways, it is. But it also enables small businesses like us to connect with massive amounts of customers from the comfort of their homes. It’s phenomenal.
Why Amazon? Because it’s scalable. And everything about the Lifted brand has been designed with scale in mind. We want to make a big impact by helping a lot of people. Amazon enables us do that.
What challenges or obstacles have you faced as a business owner? What challenges did you face when you first launched the business?
My current biggest obstacle within the Lifted business is balancing inventory. We want to grow fast, but not too fast where we run out of inventory. I also deal with “shiny object syndrome” so staying the course and not being distracted from the business plan is a struggle.
There’s also the loneliness epidemic. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, so I try to go to networking events and workshops whenever I have the time. The truth is, we all deal with these things. It’s more important that we are self-aware, self-correct and try not to be too hard on ourselves.
Let's talk about Global Entrepreneurship Week - KC. You planned to go to one session but ended up staying all week. What happened?
I am an extrovert who works from home for most of the day. Something isn’t right with that picture. Global Entrepreneurship Week reminded me how much I thrive off of being around other people. I made connections with amazing business owners and learned about the cool coworking opportunities Kansas City has to offer (perfect for an extrovert like me who likes to meet new people).
Entrepreneurship is tough: You do a lot and have to fix all of the problems. What keeps you going? What motivates you?
When I get a message, email, or review and someone says, “YOUR PRODUCT CHANGED MY LIFE!,” that makes my day. That makes all the work worth it.
I also really like it when people are awe-struck by my customer service. I’ve spent more than 40 minutes on the phone with a potential customer who was dealing with anxiety and had a lot of questions about our probiotic. I answered every question and made sure the customer was happy with their purchase. My goal is always to help my customers feel better, and if they buy our product, too? Great. If not, I still did my job.
Are you growing your business? What are the next steps?
Yessss. We are growing and we have a big vision. I want to help one million people feel better using natural methods. Our Mood Boosting Probiotic is our first and most popular product, and we just released our vitamin/mineral blend. It’s a really potent, yet simple supplement that helps address a few common deficiencies that can lead to mood issues.
So many people struggle with anxiety and depression and have no idea how big of an impact nutrient restoration and gut health can have on their mental health. I truly believe we deserve to feel better. That’s why I created the How to Feel Better video course (free for newsletter subscribers) and exclusive Facebook group for people who believe in the benefits of natural well being and health.
What advice do you have for existing business owners like you?
Don’t get bogged down by competition. Instead, focus on how you are different and play to your strengths. Focus on who you can serve. Then go and serve them.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting their own business? How do they get started?
Dooooo it. Take a small risk and see what happens. Next, increase the size of your risk, little-by-little. Keep going.
The first try or three might flop, but you have to start somewhere and it is so worth it. As a business owner, you’ll learn so much about yourself and what makes you tick. Get started by solving a problem and do it with more passion than you thought was possible.
What Kansas City resources or organizations have you used to grow your business?
As a minimalist in training, I love using the library to get my personal development fix. The Mid-Continent Public Library offers free business workshops and learning sessions on business basics and growth. This is also how I get my people fix and meet other entrepreneurs who may be in the same boat as me.
Follow Sylvia’s entrepreneurial journey and the growth of Lifted on her website, Facebook and Instagram.
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