Advice from a CEO: Finding balance in life as a female hybrid entrepreneur who does it all

Meet Maryam Garg (CEO and founder of MODMASK) and read about her journey to creating a female-owned, successful startup amid the COVID-19 crisis, while also maintaining balance in her life as a mom, teacher, student, and entrepreneur.

MODMASK, standing for Modern Mask, was designed to make mask-wearing the best experience it can be. MODMASKs are silky soft, breathable, stylish, and antibacterial, all while keeping you and others well protected. As an entirely female owned and led company, MODMASK prides itself on being comfort-orientated and eco-friendly. They value kindness to each other, but also to the environment, making sure to use ecofriendly and ethical fabrics, all while being entirely made in the USA. Along with this, MODMASK donates one mask per purchase to frontline heroes like postal workers, grocery store employees, nurses, and childcare teachers. In the midst of a global crisis, MODMASK is finding a way to give back, one mask at a time.

For MODMASK, the key to success was good timing. In early 2020, Maryam Garg, while studying for her master’s degree, was creating masks to protect against pollution in California for one of her classes at the University of Southern California. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Maryam was presented with the perfect need for her product. She was able to enter the industry before it was flooded, allowing her prime access to the clientele. Her success is partly due to her strategy. She first started with customer discovery and made a pitch deck. From there, she came up with a prototype and contacted manufacturers. Next, she researched fabrics to ensure her product was top quality. During the virtual event with Junior Judges, Maryam shared her top tips for entrepreneurs wishing to start a company:

  • Don’t invest too much upfront, this allows you to adjust your product as the needs and feedback of the clientele changes.

  • When naming your company, make sure the domain is available; this is more important than a trademark. You want to have a name that stands out and is not already in use.

  • Customer acquisition is the most important part of running a business.

  • Collaboration is KEY. Maryam accredits most of her success to collaboration. She used her contacts and resources around her to save money, essential for a startup. From everywhere to making commercials for her products as well as the actors in them, Maryam utilized her friends and contacts to make this a reality.

While these business tips were indispensable when starting her company, Maryam also shared her tips for balancing life as a hybrid entrepreneur. For Maryam, entrepreneurship looks a little different. To her, being a female entrepreneur is not only about building a business, but also about maintaining a balance between all aspects of her life.

Maryam classifies herself as a hybrid entrepreneur, meaning she is also a teacher, student, and mother alongside being a CEO. Talk about girl boss! For Maryam, finding a life and work balance was essential. As a hybrid entrepreneur, the volume and workload are entirely up to you. Especially in the business industry of today, new generations have a better sense of balance, allowing people like Maryam to find time to do it all. For many young or working entrepreneurs who don’t have the ability to quit their day jobs in pursuit of a startup, they accredit this sense of equilibrium between work and life to be the reason why they are successful. Allowing yourself freedom and balance in all things is key; it keeps you well-rounded and resistant to burnout, but helps keep your priorities straight and allows for real success.

To learn more about Maryam and MODMASK, check out their website or check out their Instagram

Mira Soin is a volunteer with the Women Founders Foundation.