Speaking with Sequoia Blodgett was very enlightening and inspiring. She started her career in the entertainment industry as a commercial, movie, video director for 9 years. In May of 2014 she became really sick where she couldn’t feel her body. She got a cold and it ended up infecting her spinal cord and her entire body went numb – Transverse Myelitis was the diagnosis given which 1-3 out of a million get it. . During this difficult time in her life she started to reflect on her life. She thought that if that was it and end of her being on this planet, would she be excited about creating visuals for artist and ad agencies. At that moment she realized that she didn’t want that to be her legacy and a change in direction was made. Out of this her company 7AM (formally Love Uncut) was established.
At this point in her life, she also immersed herself in personal development, studying the like of Tony Robbins, Dr. Jenn Berman. The excitement about the personal development space came from her having a great love to help others; however, she just didn’t know how to leverage that into a career. She decided to submit an application to the entrepreneurship program at Draper University and received a partial scholarship to the University. She was intrigued by the brilliant mind there and inspired. While going through the program, she thought to herself that it should be a reality show (why hasn’t anyone thought of this). It was like Real World meets Survivor meets Apprentice meets Shark Tank. While going through the program she received initial angel funding from Tim Draper.
Now the program has been picked up as a reality show – Startup U on ABC Family (airs on Thursdays, season finale this week – October 15th). She stayed on at the University as an entrepreneur/resident mentoring 10 student every session while building her company.
Questions & Answers Section
How has Startup U helped you tackle your fears?
“In Silicon Valley fear is praised in terms of like failure (where a lot of your fears come from). What ever you are telling yourself that prevents you from starting something, that is not recognized here at Draper U. In other industries and you are in the process of developing something, people are looking at you judging you and trying to see if it is going to happen. Sometimes you will talk yourself out of it. Here at Draper University failure is praised. If you feel like you are going to fail at something, that is exciting for them. You fail, you tried it, great pivot and try something else. This philosophy was a big attribute that I didn’t learn before I can to Draper U.”
Who is someone that inspires you?
“Tim Draper is so inspiring. He has a level of fearlessness that I have never seen before in my life. By having that type of energy around you, it make you inspiring and makes you want to do stuff like that.”
What inspired you to be a life coach?
“I don’t know why I am so passionate about helping people, but I am. I would say about three years ago I got really hooked to Tony Robbins. I literally ate slept and breathed him for like three years straight and got so immersed in his teachings because I saw how massive the change could be if you follow certain structures and if your perspective is set on a certain pathway. I am passionate about being the greatest version on yourself while you are on this planet. I get very passionate about hitting that height and helping others to do the same. Before coming to Draper U, I didn’t know this could be a scalable business.”
What are the differences of an entrepreneur and those who work for someone else?
“The biggest difference is the drive. A lot of people have passion but don’t have action. You have to have massive action in order to be an entrepreneur. Tim looks for those founders or co founders of a company that has that drive. They will literally work on it day and night until they get to the next milestone. And that is where the success comes from. You can have passion but if you don’t have those action steps to make it come to fruition then you really don’t have much.”
What advise can you give entrepreneurs on presenting their business on topics like engaging, convincing, and closing deals?
“When you engage, you want to be passionate. When presenting to a venture capitalist, they want to believe that you are the person to deliver this idea. To convince them, you have to have the content to back it up. Do you have traction, users, revenue, etc. Team up with others that may have the skills you don’t possess. You may be a good developer and you may need to team up with a marketing guru. To close you have to ask. If you don’t already have a relationship with the angel investor or the venture capitalist, you need to build it before you ask. First meeting, explain the company and where you are. The next meeting, show them your progress since the last meeting. The third meeting, say this is the funding we are looking to raise. By this point you have built up your credibility and did what you said you were going to do. They see that it is happening and they are more likely to invest.”
Those looking to make investments in ventures that they believe in can help support their goals using online stock trading to direct spare funds into the businesses that they think will make them a return. Support from online investors is often what helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and meet their ambitious aims. Perhaps this is something that Sequoia may want to keep in mind.
What is one life lesson, aside from its okay to fail, that has stuck with you during your entrepreneurial journey?
“One life lesson would be to just try it. So many people talk themselves out of doing it, but you have to get out there and try it.”
What advice would you give an entrepreneur starting out that doesn’t have a strong support system?
“Build your own support system with your peers, share your audiences. Find other like minding people. You grow faster as a village. You cannot be successful to a massive extent on your own. When you network, you should network with the intent of adding value.”
Do you believe there is a glass ceiling? If so, how do we breakthrough?
“No, the sky doesn’t even exist for me. I think on such a massive level because I don’t feel like I have any limits.”
What is your empire going to be?
“7AM is the empire I am building. It started off as an app about relationship advice and personal development wasn’t the big focus at the time. Fast forward a couple of months and a bigger opportunity was identified in the self-paced (you can also purchase an accountability coach) eLearning space and I pivoted. Now we are a personal development platform which was launched on September 15th and we are generating revenue and doing really well”
If you can talk to someone from history, who would it be and why?
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am curious on how he was able to sustain and pull himself through all the adversity and still have the mentality that he had in order to change the world. He came and revolutionized the civil rights movement. I think this can relate to entrepreneurship. When chaos happens what do you do in that chaos. Are you calm? Are you that effective leader that needs to lead the team to the next step/level? So, I am very curious to know how he was able to do that.”
This call was very confirming for me with everything I have going on in my life. The key elements that I took away from this call were: to believe in yourself, failure is okay, get out there and try, always have the intent to add value, don’t set limits on your life, and be driven with an action plan. Join me and tune in for the season finale of Startup U on ABC Family this Thursday @ 5PM EST and wishing Sequoia much success on her future endeavors. Also, tweet along live with @SequoiaB during the season finale using the hashtag #StartupU.
For more information, here are various ways to stay connected:
- Link to Startup U on ABC Family: http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/startup-u
- Link to Sequoia B’s website: www.sequoiab.com
- Link to Sequoia B’s new company, 7AM: https://7am.life
- Sequoia B’s Social Media pages: Twitter: SequoiaB, Instagram: SequoiaBlodgett,
Best wishes and much success to you Sequoia B!