Team Austin was proud to host an all-star panel of Austin leaders to discuss how they've built and lead highly effective teams, and habits you can implement to become the best leader & teammate possible

We had the pleasure of connecting with Julia Cheek, Founder/CEO EverlyWell, to discuss her business, her challenges, and advice to fellow entrepreneurs. See below!

What is EverlyWell?

EverlyWell is a direct-to-consumer health testing company that provides innovative, at-home kits and redesigned lab results. We are at the forefront of personalized medicine, focused on transforming the $25 billion diagnostics industry.

 

What fueled the passion for starting EverlyWell?

After personally having a really bad experience with very expensive lab testing that resulted in little explanation from my doctors, I knew there had to be a better way – especially since managing biomarkers is a top contributor to preventing chronic disease. With a few other passionate people, EverlyWell was launched to redesign lab testing to be convenient and meaningful.

I knew that the market was ready, and I knew that if I didn’t at least try, that I would regret that decision for the rest of my life. I was super passionate about the idea and solution, but I also looked at the market forces and believed this could actually work.

 

What has been the most challenging part of building an effective team? How did you overcome that challenge?

Learn what traits will align your team early on.

The people you hire will all have very different skills from you - engineers, designers, you name it. That’s necessary for success, and the team ultimately will determine whether you succeed or fail.

The one thing that aligns the folks that succeed on our team is a common set of traits that are independent of expertise: intellectual curiosity, data-driven decisions, and excellent execution.

Those are not the right three for everyone, but they are EverlyWell’s three. And we now have a process in place, including a detailed project that takes 2-4 hours to complete, for anyone who is interviewing for a role here.

I learned to get this right early on so you don’t have to make talent changes that are painful for both sides.

 

What daily habits/routines have had the greatest personal and professional impact on your life?

I am a big advocate of David Allen's 2 minute rule and apply it to how I efficiently manage my daily work and stay as productive as possible. This is especially true with email -- I manage to inbox zero, and I am extremely disciplined about email management and fast responses.

The pace that you set with your work trickles down into the rest of the organization, and I want to be quick and accessible for the team. My time is so limited and I'm pulled in 100 different directions - I need to be sure that I'm making decisions and unblocking the team as quickly as possible, and this was the best strategy I've found.

 

What is some quick advice you would give aspiring entrepreneurs?

You know your business better than anyone else.

Listen to feedback from advisors and investors, but ultimately remember that you know your business best, and you are the one building it with your team!

If you hear a consistent theme, figure out how to address it. But if you take every piece of feedback seriously, you’ll never be able to move forward. You have to have a healthy amount of confidence in your business and path forward to be able to stay focused and incorporate advice sparingly.

Additionally, being a female founder can be particularly challenging, but it can also be amazing, and I want to encourage other women to do it.

I would love for women to know that starting your own company can be amazing and rewarding, and it can be the best career path in the world. I really want to encourage other women to build the life and the business you want.