Today we have a great episode of the Healthpreneur Podcast that is actually kind of a throwback to one of our earliest episodes. In episode four we talked with Gunnar Lovelace—the founder of Thrive Market—about how he was able to grow his company from one to 500 employees in under three years.
If that isn’t ringing any bells, you should probably go back and give that episode a listen. But today we are talking with Stefani Beckerman, who is a branding expert and was a core part of the Thrive Market team. She actually did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to help build their influencer program, which was single-handedly responsible for their rocketship growth in that first year.
Stefani also has a boutique consulting business where she works with various wellness lifestyle brands. She helps them grow and market their brand/message to more people and I like to refer to her as the brand whisperer. This is a great episode because Stefani brings an awesome, bubbly energy to our interview which is also packed with nuggets of wisdom—both for branding, specifically, and entrepreneurialism in general.
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In This Episode Stefani and I discuss:
- How Stefani got involved in Thrive Market
- Influencers, ambassadors and brands
- Walking the walk and talking the talk
- Growing pains
- Your unique ability
- Taking care of yourself
3:00 – 10:00 – Stefani’s time at Thrive Market
10:00 – 18:00 – The brand consulting world
18:00 – 26:00 – Growing pains, the personnel question.
26:00 – 29:00 – How can I make this more fun?
29:00 – 31:00 – The Rapid-five questions
What You Missed:
In our last episode we spoke with Cynthia Thurlow who started out as a western-trained nurse practitioner—she grew up in the classic medical setting. But she later realized that she wanted to go do her own thing, and ended up starting her own functional nutrition practice. She now works with clients all around the world and supports women with various hormone issues.
The really cool thing about Cynthia is that she’s been able to bridge that gap between traditional western medicine and the holistic side of things.
There’s tons of great stuff in this episode—we talked about what I mentioned above as well as outsourcing, the entrepreneurial spirit, and transitioning from a 9-5 job to owning your own business. And I’ll even bring my love of flying into the mix.
If you missed it, you can catch it here.
Remember back in episode four—literally right after launching this podcast—we spoke to Thrive Market’s founder, Gunnar Lovelace, and we talked about how they exploded that company from one to 500 employees in under three years? How they became one of the fastest growing companies that I’ve ever known in the health space?
Remember that episode? If you haven’t listened to it, go back, rewind, and check it out.
The reason I’m bringing that up is because today’s guest is kind of the behind-the-scenes person who is working side-by-side with Gunnar to develop, build, and scale Thrive’s renowned influencer program, which was single-handedly responsible for the growth in that first year.
Her name is Stefani Beckerman, and she is a brand strategist committed to helping people integrate well-being effortlessly into their daily routine—both at a wellness level, but also with the businesses that she works with in the health and wellness space.
As I mentioned, she was part of the core team that launched and grew Thrive Market to over 4 million registered users in under two years. That’s pretty impressive, right? At Thrive, she developed a unique understanding of how to grow a brand quickly at scale and decided to eventually branch out on her own in order to support other health-centered brands accomplish these same objectives.
She has a boutique consulting business where she works with lifestyle brands who fall under the umbrella of living well, and helps them grow and really get their brand and their message out to more people.
I’m really excited to have Stefani on the podcast today because she’s a wealth of knowledge. She brings a really cool, bubbly energy to what she does and the things that she touches. I think you’ll get a lot of value out of this episode. If you want to learn more about Stefani, you can check out her website, stefanibeckerman.com.
Without any further ado, let’s bring Stefani on to the show.
Yuri: Stefani, welcome to The Healthpreneur Podcast.
Stefani: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Yuri: Yes, I’m excited to have you here because we actually interviewed one of your former team members, Gunnar Lovelace. It’s actually one of the first episodes in the podcast, talking about Thrive Market and the amazing growth. But what a lot of people don’t realize, before listening to this episode, is that you were very instrumental in a large part of that growth.
Can we go back to day one? You were employee number four, I believe, at Thrive Market. How did that come about? How did they find you, how did you find them? And then, how did you guys create this amazing, “monster” that just grew so fast?
How Stefani got involved in Thrive Market
Stefani: Well, I mean Thrive, Gunnar and Thrive have been some of the greatest lessons and teachers of my life.
I was in entertainment. I went from talent rep to wanting to start a digital department at the company I was at. They weren’t quite ready for that, so I left to start the business that I’m working on now, but I left the company I was at and worked on this for like a month, and then was introduced by Sam Teller.
He was a really influential player in the space, and he ran Launchpad—the incubator program—back in the day. He is one of Nick Green’s best friends from Harvard. He was like, “I know you want to consult for Thrive, but I’m going to introduce you to them. I think if you have an opportunity to work with them in a bigger way, you should take it. They’re going to be a really big deal.”
I met Nick and Gunnar, and their energy was like rocket ship energy from day one. As a team, Nick and Gunnar, they’re just funny. They’re great. They’re so opposite, and they just bring such different skill sets to the table.
It was inspiring, and I’m passionate about the space, so I just jumped on board. It was really exciting. It was really all hands-on-deck—do whatever, from research to cold calling brands to whatever we needed in the very beginning.
Then as we sort of stabilized, I wound up working side-by-side with Gunnar to develop, build, and scale our influencer program—which has become really well-known and was single-handedly responsible for our growth the whole first year.
It was really interesting, because getting it to be as impactful as it was required so many subtle steps and systems—from assets, to conversations, to the way you pitch the company, to the way we’re building incentives, to how we were creating this coalition of value-aligned influencers and having them help us be referred to other influencers.
It was just all very systematic, so there were a lot of learnings in that, but it was also just so inspiring because just from day one, everyone was so excited about the mission of Thrive and what it could do.
It was really cool to be a part of that.
Yuri: Yeah, I bet. That’s amazing.
Yuri: Gunnar was telling us how they had approached 60 venture capital firms, and they were all shut down, like they were turned down. They’re like, “Ah, this is not a good idea. It’s never going to fly.”
Then he came back and shifted the business model … And I think you guys were one of the first companies I’ve ever heard of to build a business model around this type of influencer/investor type of platform.
How did you guys even come up with that, and how did you get people excited to jump on the ship with what you guys were doing?
Influencers, ambassadors and brands
Stefani: Well, I mean, Gunnar had a lot of great ideas about how to incentivize the influencers from the beginning. So for every referred member, they received a combination of cash and equity.
It was a very lucrative opportunity, but because so many of our influencers either were investors, or once we connected with them and developed a relationship, they were so excited that they became investors, the equity compensation became really exciting. And because they had skin in the game they did more, I think.
That’s something that was a great learning too, to get people not just excited about what you’re doing but to make sure that they feel that they’re really involved is so great. And then because it was a natural value-add to their communities, it just made sense.
It didn’t feel selly for them, it didn’t feel like, “Oh, here’s another thing I have to endorse to my audience.” It was genuine. They all really believed in the mission and their audiences. It was helpful. It was genuinely helpful to people.
Yuri: Yeah, well, I think it really fills a gap. It’s like, “Hey, do you guys want healthy foods without retail prices?” I mean, who wouldn’t want that? You would tell your friend about that. Why not tell your audience?
I think it’s done so well, partly because it’s just a no-brainer offer. Everyone sees the value in that.
Stefani: Totally, and if you are into this space and these products, you know how much of a savings that you’re getting on Thrive. The fact that it was curated, you really have help in filtering through not only what’s available but what you could possibly want that you don’t know you need yet. You know what I mean?
Stefani: I think it all just contributed to being really, I keep saying the word helpful, but it was helpful to people.
Yuri: Yeah, absolutely, and it continues to be. I mean, it’s amazing what you guys have done and what they’ve done over the past couple of years. It really is a rocket ship. It’s phenomenal.
Yuri: You are kind of, I don’t want to say the brand whisperer—because I don’t know if anyone’s ever said that—but I’m just going to put you in a little box for a second.
I mean, you specialize in helping brands develop, build, and scale. How do you do that? When you look at a company, when you’re working or consulting with a company, what does that process look like for you?
The brand consulting world
Stefani: First of all, thank you so much for the brand whisper comment.
Yuri: You can use that if you want.
Stefani: Yeah, I don’t know if I can take that much credit, but I absolutely love it, and thank you.
Yuri: You’re welcome.
Stefani: I think, first of all, I really am inspired and focused on these brands that fall under the category of living well. A lot of these brands have so much heart and so much value but don’t have as much experience on the business side.
And what I have learned over the years in many different ways—but I will attribute so much of the lesson from Thrive—is that there are so many pieces you need to support growth, infrastructure-wise. And some of them are very subtle and you don’t know what they are until you know what they are.
I think because I had the opportunity to learn about all of that and see it all happen simultaneously, I’m very clear on what these brands need, what they have to offer, what they’re missing and how to quickly set it up for them, with success. Because you really need that strong foundation in order to grow successfully and scale the way that everyone wants to.
I think because I genuinely live the lifestyle of the brands that I work with, because I’m so passionate about it, I just get their message and I experience it. I know what the value is that these products or people or places offer because I have that feeling directly, and I just help them craft their message in a way that is accessible to people.
I also have an amazing team that I work with, from anything from social media to ads to content to photography, video, web data—I have a very trusted team of talent that can support the whole process. They’re awesome.
Yuri: That’s great. I mean, your website—for anyone who hasn’t checked it out, www.stefanibeckerman.com—it’s very clean, very simple. And I’m sure there’s a lot of work that goes into simplifying those messages, which is something you’re obviously very good at and you help people with.
When someone says, “I want to build my brand,” or, “I want a brand,” how do you define brand or branding?
Stefani: So… What people normally refer to as a brand is that visual, the name, the way it looks, how it feels. Those touchpoints have usually already been established by the time the brand gets to me.
What they’re trying to do when we connect is usually build community, increase their audiences, continue a flow of content that gets people excited, which can also be used to drive sales. But the messaging and the verticals are usually about creating community and making the message easy for people to understand and get excited about.
Yuri: That makes sense. Are you seeing any trends in the marketplace with respect to what brands are looking for—some of the things that their communities are looking for compared to a couple of years ago?
Ambassadors and Partnerships
Stefani: Well, I think ambassador programs are huge. I know the affiliate programs have been around, but I think there’s just a new take on that whole landscape that is always changing, but it’s important.
I think content marketing is obviously huge. I think educational content—people are wanting to know what they don’t know. They want quick tips and tricks. There’s so many ways that you can create that value-add content into sales funnels that is really easy and effective.
Social media, obviously, is an animal of its own, and I think that there’s two ways you can tackle social media. You can just make your images look pretty and say some quick snappy content around it, which is a nice visual representation of your brand.
Or you can work with someone, like the girl on my team who geeks out on social media algorithms and staying current with them and really understands how to make social media a truly viable revenue stream and channel for growth. I think that’s really important to handle social media in the right way and use it for good.
And partnerships as well. I’m a big fan of partnerships. I think partnerships are a big trend, and tackling partnerships in different ways is huge. Being as creative as possible with them, from co-branding assets to giveaways to co-reg sweeps to offline events. I think collaboration is really key these days.
Yuri: Sure, absolutely. For point of clarification, how do you, for people listening, what’s the difference between ambassadors and partners?
Stefani: I would call a partner more of a brand, like if Osea skincare is aligning with Torii Labs to co-brand a bunch of assets and promote a giveaway. Versus, ambassadors are individual people with lists and they’re promoting your brand for a reason.
Yuri: Sure. That makes sense. So with what you guys have done, what you’re seeing, what do you think separates successful brands? And success being, let’s say, impact or how people perceive those brands as being good in the marketplace versus brands that are not doing so well.
Stefani: I genuinely believe it’s operating from a place of integrity, always. Time and time again, I’ve seen that people that talk the talk and don’t walk the walk can’t seem to get it right, and vice versa.
If you really live authentically to what you’re trying to promote and get out there, it’s successful, it’s heart-centered. Those are woo-woo terms, but they’re true.
Yuri: Sure. No, I completely agree with you, and I’ve noticed a shift in the market since I came online 12 years ago, where people are moving away from this automated, systemized, robotic type of business to being much more connected to their audience in a way that’s actually genuine, hopefully.
I think it’s good because it’s needed, and I think business owners are feeling less fulfilled if they’re not doing that stuff.
Stefani: I totally agree with you, and that’s why I’m inspired by what I do because I want to help the businesses that care about that do more of it.
Yuri: Yeah, totally. In your journey, what’s been one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to face, growing the consulting side or even maybe with Thrive Market.
Stefani: For me, the overarching lesson and challenge that always comes up is growing pains. Growing too fast is usually more common, but just … Growing is challenging.
I struggle with impatience, wanting to have something or be somewhere or do something faster than it is occurring naturally, but yet if you move too fast you don’t learn the lessons. You create more problems in the foundation, and long term, I think you’re not as successful.
I think that concept of growth—it’s in business, it’s in our personal evolution, it’s in relationships. That’s just the thing that I’m constantly working with. The balance of pushing and resting and moving and staying.
Yuri: Yup. Yeah, I think we can all relate to that for sure.
With that said, do you think all businesses are built to scale? Not every business is going to be a Thrive Market. Should every business strive to continue growing and scaling? Or are some businesses maybe better off at a lower revenue level, maybe more lifestyle-related? How do you see that? What’s your take on that?
Stefani: I definitely think everyone should grow as much as they want, and that idea that abundance is available for everyone and everything—I truly subscribe to that.
But I think it’s, again, about growing too fast. I think it’s pacing your growth. I think it’s sequencing your rhythm and making sure that you are always anchored and stable and centered, so that as you layer on your growth and your channels and your people, every piece of the puzzle—you’re going to be effective and you’re going to be strong.
I think that would be the message to everyone. Just get that right.
Yuri: So, I know that personnel and team and all that stuff is a big pain point for a lot of people listening here as they’re growing their health and fitness business.
How do you know when it’s the right time to bring someone in? You want to grow, you want to scale, you want to help more people, but do we focus on just selling a lot first and then dealing with the infrastructure later? Or do we think proactively to create those systems first, bring the people in, then worry about selling … What advice do you to that type of person?
Stefani: That’s a really good question. I mean, I’m a big believer in team, and like I said, collaboration. I think we should all have support. It’s necessary, and it makes things easier.
That being said, you might not be able to afford the support you need before you sell the product or bring in a particularly priced client or whatnot. But I think if you can align with at least some form of support, whether that’s one person on your team or something that you outsource, some way that you can take things off your plate … I guess the message is to stay in your zone of genius as much as you can. If that means spending before you have what your goals are to get that support, I think it’s worth it.
Yuri: Cool. Interesting. Good to know. It’s also cool to see different perspectives. Because I remember, I don’t know if you know Dan Sullivan, the strategic coach?
Yuri: I worked with him for a number of years, and one of the things that I recently came back to—with Healthpreneur being more of a new company compared to our health and business, which has been around for 12 years—is he has this whole concept of a self-managing company.
And it’s the whole concept you just talked about, which is spending only your time only in your unique ability, your zone of genius. But again, when you’re in year one, if you’re starting everything from scratch, you almost have to wear all the hats.
Stefani: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Yuri: I remember him saying, for a lot of companies, it almost takes like three years—and every company’s different—to get to the point where you’re generating, as an entrepreneur, at least six figures in take-home revenue and you can start bringing people in to support you and really start that self-managing company.
It was interesting just to hear the different perspectives. I don’t think one is more right or more wrong than the other. I guess it just depends on the business owner, the way they’re building their business, and what they have access to, but it’s cool. Thank you for the insight.
Stefani: Yeah, of course. I mean, I think there’s so much, I think there’s a lot of value in his perspective as well. I definitely wore all the hats for almost the first year, and I think that is important in itself.
But you also sometimes can’t move to the next level without the support. But also, self-care is such an important piece of this. Bandwidth is connected to that—understanding what yours is and when to stop or pause or how do you recharge.
I guess maybe that’s more of my point, and staying connected to that and listening to yourself and then figuring how to give yourself what you need to refuel is more of the method.
Yuri: Yeah, no, and I agree because otherwise you just burn yourself out. You’re working 20 hours a day, and you’re like, “Why the hell did I start this business, which is essentially a job, because I can’t step away from it.”
I totally agree with you, for sure, because the way I look at it is any time we have a little boost in income or revenue, I’m looking at, who do I bring in now to simplify things even more for me?
Stefani: That’s exactly how I am too. I am the same way. I mean, and look, that’s more value for the people you work with too. When I started outsourcing certain things to my team, I realized that it’s actually going to do the clients a service because it’s going to make X, Y, and Z better for them. So if I take a little bit less of that retainer, it’s worth it for everyone because that’s going to help me grow with while staying inspired and energized.
I think that’s the struggle for all of us entrepreneurs—we started doing this because we’re totally passionate and inspired and excited by something. So we followed it. But building a business is not for the faint of heart, and you’ve got to give a lot.
How do we stay excited and energized and creative, but not deteriorate? Or when we deteriorate, what do we do and how do we know that’s happening? How to we heal it? I think those are all just parts of the Healthpreneur conversation that are really important.
Yuri: Yeah, totally. One of the trends that I’ve noticed too is that most people in the health and wellness space start off in business as a technician. They’re a great nutritionist or a health coach or a trainer, and that’s what they’re really great at doing. They love creating the contents around that and servicing their audience.
But then as their business grows, they become more of the operator and doing a lot more stuff in their business, and then they take on the role of the CEO. Then they like run into this existential crisis where they’re like, “What the hell am I doing? I just want to do videos about stuff I know.”
Is this something you’ve run into with the brands that you work with as they’ve grown?
How can I make this more fun?
Stefani: Oh, yeah. I’ve run into it with the brands I worked with, I’ve run into it with myself. I think, yeah, that is something that is very prevalent. And I think, again, that goes back to why support can be very helpful and the whole zone of genius conversation.
I have a mantra on my mirror right now that just says, “How can I make this more fun?” and that is what I am trying to bring in to the pieces that are not my natural skillset. Because when you have to do a lot that’s not in your natural skillset, that’s where we get like, “Ugh.”
So how can we make it more fun? How can I bring more creativity to this, how can I approach this with a lighter energy and experience it differently? I think it’s in the intention that that shifts.
Yuri: Sure, because that’s a great lens to look at stuff through. Because you can be like, “Oh, I hate doing this,” and just live there—or you have your perspective, which is, “How do I make this more fun?” A totally different experience, which is very cool.
Stefani: Yeah, yeah. It’s, I think, a glass half-full perspective. That’s how I operate naturally, and then when I’m not there naturally, I try to remind myself to go back there because everything is always working out for us.
That’s what we forget. I mean, I’m a very spiritual person. I have a strong practice. I don’t know if that’s a term that everyone relates to, but I think that understanding how our mind and bodies work together, and leaning into that and finding practices that support the balance of the two really does help with all of the work and the business life and the teams and the leadership. All of it.
Yuri: Yeah, and I often say that entrepreneur is the ultimate spiritual journey-
Stefani: I think so.
Yuri: Because you learn so much about yourself than you wouldn’t otherwise learn if you were an employee.
Stefani: That couldn’t be more right. You’re forced to. You have to look inside, because you have to learn how to support yourself and how to nurture yourself and how to nourish yourself. These are not things that we’re taught in everyday life.
Yuri: Yup, totally. That’s why entrepreneurs are just cooler people! That’s it.
Stefani: I’m into that. I like that a lot.
Yuri: That’s right. But don’t tell anyone else. Everyone listening, it’s between us here, so it’s all good. Cool. Stef, this has been a lot of fun. Are you ready for the rapid five?
Stefani: Yeah, I’m ready.
The Rapid-five questions
Yuri: Alright, you’ve had no prior knowledge of these questions. I’m just going to fire them at you. Whatever comes to mind is the right answer.
Yuri: All right. Here we go. Number one, what is your biggest weakness?
Stefani: I try to do too much.
Yuri: Cool, number two, what is your biggest strength?
Stefani: I’m a people-person and a connector.
Yuri: Nice. That’s one of the most common answers from this question, just so you know.
Stefani: Really? Oh, wow.
Yuri: Emotional intelligence, I’m telling you. It’s such an important thing for entrepreneurs to have. It’s great.
Stefani: Yeah, I agree.
Yuri: Number three, one skill you’ve become dangerously good at in order to grow your business.
Stefani: I would say organization.
Yuri: Nice. That’s a good one because I’m not very organized and I’ve had to become organized to save myself.
Stefani: Yeah, exactly. It really helps.
Yuri: Totally. Number four, what do you do first thing in the morning?
Stefani: I meditate and I drink my coffee, and I wrote in my journal 10 things I’m grateful for and just a couple of pages of free-write. I try to keep my first hour of waking up that little morning routine.
Yuri: Nice. It’s a good way to start the day.
Yuri: Finally, complete this sentence: I know I’m being successful when ____.
Stefani: I’m happy.
Yuri: Cool, and how do you know when you’re happy?
Stefani: I think that I just feel joy and energy and no expectations. Just happy in the moment. Present.
Yuri: Very cool. Stefani, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you so much for joining us. What is the best place for people to follow your work and maybe inquire a bunch of services?
Stefani: My personal website, stefanibeckerman.com is a great place to inquire about my services. I am also building my own lifestyle brand—slowly, but surely—and welldone.guide is where you can check it out, stay tuned for updates, and be part of the process as I move through that one.
Yuri: Awesome. Welldone.guide. Is that a new extension now, dot guide?
Stefani: That’s just what you settle for when you can’t get the ones you want.
Yuri: That’s cool. I mean, why not? Let’s just do what we can. Awesome, well Stefani, once again, thank you so much for taking the time. I just wanted to acknowledge you for all the great work you’ve done and continue to do—just the energy that you bring to you everything you’re working on, so thank you so much.
Stefani: Thank you so much for having me, and right back at you for all that you’re doing, I’m excited to collaborate in the future.
Yuri: Yeah, thank you so much.
Stefani: Cool. Thank you.
I’m back. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with Stefani Beckerman. I want to leave you with a little thinking exercise. We didn’t really get too much into the branding side of things in this interview, but I want to leave you with something.
When people think of you, what do they think of? What is the drawer that you occupy in their filing cabinet? Because when people think about you or any business, they’re typically going to categorize you, they’re going to categorize us.
We categorize everything in very box-like categories just to simplify the way our minds work. Not that we’re going to do a whole branding exercise here, but I want to leave you with a little thinking exercise—who do you want to be known for? What do you want to be known for? what is the space you want to occupy in your prospects’ minds, where when they think of X, they think of you.
That’s what I’m going to leave you with today. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, by all means, leave a rating and review over on iTunes if you haven’t already done so for the podcast. And if you still haven’t subscribed, please do so today because you won’t miss any other awesome episodes we’ve got coming your way.
I’ve got a great solo round coming for you next week. We’re also speaking with a fellow Hay House author and my main man Kevin Gianni who I’ve known forever. Great friends running a great business, and that’s going to be a great conversation as well. Lots of great stuff coming your way.
If you’ve missed any of the previous episodes, by all means, go back through the feed, download and listen to them. There’s a lot of really good stuff, and as I mentioned in the beginning of this episode, listen to episode four with Gunnar Lovelace from Thrive Market, if you haven’t already, to get the inside scoop. To go even a little bit deeper as to some of the stuff Thrive Market did and some of the challenges they went through as they grew their business so rapidly.
Once again, I want to thank you so much for joining us. Finally, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Health Profit Secrets, well, now is your chance. Remember, you get it for free. Just cover a couple of dollars in shipping, and I will send it right to your front door. Pretty good, right?
You can grab that over at healthpreneurbook.com. Inside the book, you’re going to discover the four underlying secrets that all successful health businesses have in common and you’ll also get a cool scorecard to score yourself in those four areas. Again, healthpreneurbook.com.
That is all for today, my friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. It’s always a pleasure to bring amazing guests to you because I believe in what you’re doing.
I believe you have a message, you have a story, you have a gift that can transform people’s lives, and my hope is that you will never give up. Even though crap will hit the fan, even though it’s going to be a bumpy ride, there’s the highs and lows, I’m here to let you know that it’s worth it.
Even though you don’t hit your goals, you get close, but you don’t quite hit them, that’s fine. That’s all good. It’s about who you become in the process, the number of people you serve in the process, and obviously, helping you live a great life on your journey.
Thank you so much again for listening in. Go out there, continue to be great and do great, and I’ll see you in our next episode.
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