Lori Abichandani and I first met at a Quilt event in Los Angeles. We shared a similar approach and values in our work. Months later, her name appeared in a group email and we reconnected at The Wing.
With great excitement, Lori told me about her new company, a big idea (ABI). From brand positioning to content strategy, I’m SO excited for her and the opportunities we’ll have to partner together! I didn’t hesitate to ask her to be apart of #TheFemaleEquation.
When did you decide to start your biz? Was there an “aha” moment?
I’d say the initial decision to start what’s now a big idea was more of a slow and steady whisper than an ‘aha’ moment. Even though working for myself was something I always thought I wanted, it was really a combination of experiences, connections, and missteps that led me to actually believe I could do it.
I was working freelance at the time for Yelp around January 2018 while searching for full-time roles. Ultimately I realized that for the type of brands I wanted to work with, I could get more experience and have more impact by working independently versus at a specific brand. Because I mostly work with founders and small startups, this was a plus for them too-they could contract me rather than having to pay a full-time salary and benefits. A win-win for everyone involved.
I’m so glad I took the leap – it’s helped me uncover what having impact really means to me – which is having ownership over my work, always learning new things, and connecting people to brands, ideas, and other people that will hopefully improve their lives.
What challenge have you overcome and how?
I think it’s easy to glorify working for yourself, but the reality is that it can be lonely at times. You have to be comfortable with making decisions and dealing with loss (the loss of a client for example) without having someone to celebrate or commiserate with one cubicle over.
You also have to be wildly proactive in building your community and aligning yourself with the type of people you want to collaborate with – which means that you have to have a strong sense of who you are the type of company you want to build – or be open to experimenting along the way.
It’s really all been a lesson in managing uncertainty – what’s helped is surrounding myself with incredible friends and fellow business owners, joining communities like The Wing, and taking time to actively work on myself and not attaching all of my identity and sense of self-worth to the work I’m doing.
Who’s an inspiration or mentor to you in this rollercoaster ride of owning your own biz + one piece of advice they’ve shared with you.
This one’s easy. Since I was 17 years old and briefly thought I wanted to work in the music industry, I’ve looked up to music manager/investor/producer and all-around boss Scooter Braun. I realize now that it was less about the music itself and more about the way he built his company and the values instilled.
It was about trying and inspiring others to try at the same time. About prioritizing giving to others as a part of how you live your life and not just a marketing strategy. It was also about never losing sight of the things that are most important – especially when you’re reaching a point of success – in his case and in mine, it’s about putting everything you have into the relationships that guide your life.
For me, the making of a pop star is not unlike building a consumer brand, it’s all about the stories you tell and the connection you create. It’s the connection that has the power to have a transformative impact, and that’s why I love what I do. It’s been a thrill to watch his career unfold, and while I don’t know him personally (yet ;)), I owe so much of my outlook to lessons I’ve learned while observing from afar.
We all need fuel! What’s your current go-to podcast or book right now?
I’m almost finished with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
This is one of those classic books that lived on my bookshelf and I picked it up and put it down serval times before diving in at the end of a trip to Bali where I spent the month of July living and working. It’s dense and there are definitely parts of it that were lost on me, but the parts that stuck have been incredibly powerful.
It’s the kind of book that only really resonates when you’re ready for it. One of the lessons from my trip overall has been to actively focus on being more present. I realized that I (like many people) spend most of my time living in my mind. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without it. But the negative consequence of that is that I can easily lose sight of where I am in the current moment.
This book has been helping me bring some of that presence back into my everyday life in LA – so I can better connect with my body and my surroundings, freeing up my mind and helping it become stronger for when I really need it to be creative.
What does a “positive equation” look like to you?
To me, a positive equation is where 1+1 = 3. When two things come together and they are better and stronger than the actual sum of their parts. It’s a way to approach professional partnerships, personal relationships, the decisions you make, and even ideas that come together to impact the world.