Business Idea to Successful Startup

[00:00:00] Welcome to the If She Did It podcast, I’m your host Becky Feigin, a business coach for beginner online entrepreneurs, consider this podcast your go-to guide for all things, scaling your business to your first 10k months. Get ready to be inspired through marketing, mindset spirituality, and the stories of successful entrepreneurs. I’m so excited to have you here. Now let’s dive in.

[00:00:24] Welcome back to the If She Did It podcast. I am so excited for this week’s episode. I mean, what else is new, but I’m so excited. I spoke with the founders of Fourplay Social, Danielle Dietzek and Julie Griggs. And let me tell you guys, they have such a cool story. Their app is so awesome. And it was just so much fun learning more about them and their journey. I loved getting the opportunity to bring someone new onto the podcast that isn’t my typical guests. So this was really, really fun for me. I think you guys are going to absolutely love this episode. And with that, we’re going to dive right on in and be sure to stay tuned to the end for a surprise announcement.

[00:01:22] Welcome to the podcast, Danielle and Julie. I am so excited to have you here.

[00:01:27] Thanks for having us. Thank you so much we’re super excited too.

[00:01:30] Of course. So let’s dive right on in. I want you ladies to share your story of getting into entrepreneurship, share what you guys do and we’ll go from there.

[00:01:45] So Julie and I are best friends from college. My name is Danielle Dietzek and Julie Griggs. We’re best friends from Penn State and we really never intended to have a business one day. We both studied health care tracks. Julie is a physician assistant and I am a nurse practitioner and we ended up in health care in New York City. But I’ll rewind a little bit to how we came up with this business called Foreplay, which is a double dating app. So about two years ago, Julie, who is still in PA school at the time, was going to be doing a rotation at a New York City hospital. And so she lived with me for about six weeks. And in that time, we were like, we should create a shared dating profile and double date. So we changed one of our dating profiles on a very well-known dating app to pictures of the two of us. And we wrote in the description, swipe right if you and your awesome friend want a double date, me and my awesome friend. And then from there, the response was just like, incredible. So many guys were interested and we definitely had some guys who were like totally had the wrong idea. And we had other guys who were like, well, what if I just want one of you? But for the most part, guys were really down with it. And that’s when the wheels kind of started spinning. And that’s when Julie’s family got a little carried away with the idea of this potentially becoming its own app. Do you want to tell it from there? Yeah.

[00:03:23] I mean, that was pretty much how I was a pretty good summary. And then from there, we just had our families encouraging us to pursue it. They thought if we didn’t do it, somebody else would. And the guys that we were matching with were telling us that there should be an app and that it was so much more fun to do with a friend than to do it solo. So we did it not just because we were so passionate about it, but because we felt like it was going to be a missed opportunity if we didn’t.

[00:03:53] That’s the thing, it’s like we both have an entrepreneurial spirit. I mean, although that’s changed a lot and now we both really have that. But it was more just like I think we should do this because if we don’t, someone else will.

[00:04:07] Yeah. So I think that that’s so cool because I can tell you guys right now the number of ideas that my family has come up with, just like, you know, shooting the shit and like that would be such a good idea. And then five years later, we, like, see something like it come out. We’re like, wow, we really missed an opportunity here. And you guys jumped in, and actually did it. And I think that that probably happens to a lot of people where they have this idea, but they get scared to do it. So, I guess kind of I know that you said that Julie’s parents were kind of like, do it, do it, do it. But really, how did you guys decide that? OK, yeah, we are going to actually just take these steps, you know, beyond just being a missed opportunity, because everybody says missed opportunity, but they don’t do it. You guys did it. So what was that kind of like?

[00:04:54] Well, I think it’s also a little bit different because of my family so I’m the youngest of four and each of my siblings have all started their own thing at one point or another. So my brother, my oldest brother, who is one that was really pushing for us to do this, had launched his own business that had after like seven years failed. So he had a lot of experience with how to not do it.

[00:05:19] So he was when I was really pushing us to do it and he gave us a lot of advice and he got me really excited about it. And then Danielle was like, please leave me out of your family group chats, just like I feel so overwhelmed by this. I’m like trying to just go to work as a nurse every day.

[00:05:36] Like Ian needs to have his mic muted, like what’s happening. And then one day Danielle came home and I was like, Ian thought of it like it’s going to be called Foreplay. And Danielle was like, I’m down. Like, I’m not going to miss the opportunity to have an app called Foreplay. So I think once it’s I think it’s like anything else. Right, like. You’re pregnant, it’s kind of like an abstract concept, like to have a baby growing inside you, then once you name it and you have a name for it, it becomes like human and it’s yours. So it was once we named the concept, it went from being a joke to like, oh, this is going to be ours. We’re going to own it. And that’s what got us excited then like within two weeks I went on the Internet, I registered us as an LLC, we organized and we just went from there.

[00:06:24] And honestly, I just think it also didn’t seem like it would be so difficult. I mean, it obviously has been. But we thought this can’t be that hard to make as the technology exists already to swipe through other people. Right. Like to make a profile about yourself and to swipe through other people. So we just need to change it to a profile, that’s me and my friend, and swipe through someone else and their friends, like, how hard can it be? So I think that’s also part of it, but it was really hard.

[00:07:00] Well, I think that’s so great. And almost like being naive when it comes to starting a business is almost like ideal. That was the same with me when I originally started my business. I had been working after college and the job I had a lot of free time. So I would just scroll through Facebook groups. And one day I found because I was a social media manager at the time, somebody was looking for a social media manager, and I just like shoot my shot, and I got it. And I was like, that was so easy. I can do this for a living, like, I can be an entrepreneur. And so I ended up in a place where I need a new job. And in my head, it was like I thought it’d be easier to start a business than to get a new job. Like that was what made me decide to start my business.

[00:07:41] So funny. And I think that takes a level of confidence. Like I think that a lot of people probably feel as though it would be easier to work for someone else and someone else tell them what to do. But I think when there is a level of self-efficacy and you’re like, I could do this, like I’m capable, I think that’s a really big part of it. And I think we felt like we could do it, not because I think I could do it and not because she thinks she could do it because we thought together we can do it like she’s the into my yang and we’ll be able will be able to do it.

[00:08:15] Yeah. And I love that. And I think that that’s like goes so well with the app you’ve created because it’s all about doing things with your friends. Can you explain the app more for everybody that’s listening who is asking what the hell is this. What are they talking about?

[00:08:30] Yeah. Which is probably everybody right now, you know. So OK, so with Foreplay you download it from the App Store and you create your own individual account the way that you do on any other dating app. You answer questions about yourself, like your age, where you live, what kind of diet you follow, what your zodiac sign is, all these crazy questions. And then from there, you invite a friend to be your teammate. And with Foreplay, what’s nice is that you can have an unlimited number of teams. So if you have more than one single friend, you can have a team with each single friend that you have. And then together you guys create a shared dating profile where you upload photos or videos of yourselves and you write a description about who the two of you are and what the two of you are looking for in another team. And then you put the preferences for the age and location and gender that you want to be shown. And then from there, you guys swipe on your own phones. And when you and your teammate and two other teammates, when the four of you like each other, it creates a match, which then opens up a group chat for the four of you to get to know one another and talk and hopefully plan to meet in real life. And in the next few weeks, we’re going to be having group video chat integrated.

[00:09:44] It’s going to be really, really fun. I think people are going to love that. Yes, we’re really excited about that.

[00:09:49] That’s awesome. So what was the process for you guys, like from idea to OK, wait, this is there’s a name now this is actually happening to it being live? Like, how long did that take? What was the process like?

[00:10:04] We organized as an LLC very, very shortly after we came up with the name and I think that’s like Julie’s Capricorn nature is like just get it done. And so, like before we even like had an actual product, it was like, well, let’s just get the name and let’s just like be a business with that name registered to us. So Julie did that, like, super-fast because she’s really on top of stuff. And then I think it was maybe like a month or two before we, like, actually found an app developer. Would you say we had like as I mentioned, I’m a nurse, so at the time I was working as an MP in a doctor’s office and I had a patient who was like, I can give you some advice. Like I’ve started several companies. And I met him at his office, which was a wework. He told me a bunch of stuff and I related to Julie, and we kind of learned that we should use a company overseas to develop the app. Julie had spoken with a friend of hers from school who was a former entrepreneur, and he said, well, it’s going to be like at least one hundred thousand dollars. And we were like, oh, no. So after we kind of played the field and got all the information from everybody, we decided to start working with a company overseas in India and they started building the app for us. And that probably was like two, maybe two or three months after we organized. Yeah And then it went live like maybe eight months later. It was a while before it went live.

[00:11:45] No, yeah, it was eight months later. They had given us a timeline that it would be a lot sooner than that. We had anticipated going live a lot sooner. But things that you don’t think about when you’re developing an app and you’re not a tech person like just because they give you the deadlines of the milestones, but then we have to, on our end, test it and make sure that it’s to the standard that we want. And they understood everything that we were envisioning for the app so that when you give your feedback and they have to fix it, so it delays the process a little bit. But still, all things considering the fact that we organize as an LLC and within like 11 months we were launching our product, which is pretty fast.

[00:12:23] That’s really awesome. That’s really cool. So, OK, I just thought of this question. Tell me if it’s like asking too much of it. I just thought of it and I’m so curious because I think that a lot of people like I’m thinking about people that might be listening to this. And I think that a lot of people have ideas. If somebody wants to start a business that’s not what the stereotypical, like, online business these days are, they’re like, well, how do you profit from it? So how did you guys figure out how you would profit from this app?

[00:12:54] I had a feeling you were going to ask something. It’s a really good question. And anybody that’s going to start a business or launch a product, needs to think about how they would generate revenue from it. So with Foreplay, we’re going to be pre-revenue for a while because that’s just the nature of the app. We have to develop a dense enough user base that we can then monetize on. But our goal is not to monetize from our users. Our goal is to monetize elsewhere. So we had come up with our plan for monetizing before we launched the app. So we knew that already something and something that you’ll be asked if you’re going to pitch to investors is how do you plan to monetize? And they want to see how you’re going to monetize. So I wouldn’t launch a business or product until you have that thought out for sure.

[00:13:41] And before, like, you know what the infrastructure of the business will be. I think that’s super important because even though we didn’t have anything live in the actual app, we kind of had a handle on what it would look like to have multiple streams of revenue coming in and how they could be implemented in the product that we did have.

[00:14:02] We’re extremely lucky that we work in health care because we’re able to continue working like two or three days a week to continue to self-fund. So we were told multiple times before we launch like you’re going to have to go full time with Foreplay. You’re going to have to leave your jobs in health care. And we were really resistant to that because that wasn’t what our goal was. That’s not what we wanted for our future as we had been health care providers first and foremost, which has since shifted like we definitely now feel way more passionately about Foreplay than we did before. And we definitely see it becoming something that will take over the majority of our time. It already has. And we’re more open to shifting out of health care temporarily to build up our product. But because we knew that we weren’t going to generate revenue for a while, we knew that we had to continue to work, which not everyone can do. It’s very challenging and it will slow you down if you continue to work and build your business, it’s going to slow down the production of your business.

[00:15:00] Obviously, what I am curious to know is since you guys are in nursing and I know that you said that with your careers, you have this ability to be pretty flexible with your work time. With that being said, with Foreplay taking it more and more of your time, how do you how have you been able to balance the two of working for your job and working on your business?

[00:15:24] Well, first, we’ll say we’re super lucky that we both have shiftwork, and so it’s like rather than working a 40-hour workweek by doing it Monday to Friday, we can do like 12-hour shifts. So that’s a huge asset. And then the other thing is we didn’t necessarily manage it. Julie actually got another job before that like she did wind up needing to leave so that she could find a better job that would be well suited to having a business at the same time. And now we’re both part-time at our other jobs.

[00:16:00] I think my biggest piece of advice to people trying to manage it well, first of all, time management is a skill that you need to develop for sure. It’s a really important one to have if you’re going to have a business. But I think what works best for us is block scheduling. So taking chunks of time and saying what you’re going to work on during that time because there’s always a to-do list and that’s always going to have stuff on it. So to block time out for different things is a really effective way for us to stay on top of everything.

[00:16:29] I think I love I just love how honest, you guys are that you’re like, yeah, we honestly didn’t manage it at first, we’re really terrible.

[00:16:47] Exactly. And we also didn’t have like we didn’t have distinguished work hours like we didn’t make that a thing for a long time. And then we were like, oh, why don’t we make that thing.

[00:17:01] I was just always there was like not like I just was like always when I wasn’t I was still in school in my graduate program. So when I wasn’t studying for, like the boards or my exams, I was working on Foreplay. But that didn’t leave room for much else. Yeah, it was it wasn’t a healthy way to live.

[00:17:17] Yeah. And I think also creating a space, an actual physical space where we do work was also very helpful. And I would say if anyone’s listening, who is thinking about starting a business or has a business, I think separating your workplace from your leisure place is so important like we establish an area here that we call the office and we’ll be like should we eat lunch in the office today? Like do we call this the office? Like my living room is next door. Yeah.

[00:17:46] We’re not living so large like it’s still the same apartment that Danielle sleeps in. It’s just like a section of the apartment. So we don’t have like office space, but we have designated an area that’s the Foreplay office. Yeah.

[00:17:58] Yeah. Which I agree. I think it’s so helpful. For the longest time, I was working in my bedroom and I’ll tell you what, what your bed is like staring at you and you’re trying to work. Yeah.

[00:18:09] And then actually I’m from a health care perspective that’s actually really bad because then you associate your bedroom with doing work and then it becomes harder to sleep, right?

[00:18:16] Yeah. No, I would not recommend that.

[00:18:19] No, not ideal. Not ideal, but not the situation anymore. So we’re good. OK, so let’s talk about the app for a minute. I know you guys like explained it, but what would you guys say is like your absolute favorite part of this app that you have created?

[00:18:35] We might have different answers. So we’re two straight women so I can talk about what I really enjoy as a user on the app, what I enjoy seeing in guys I love, like the friend dynamic, like I love seeing the guys will put up pictures of themselves, like together and doing like adorable things. And you don’t see that on other dating apps because the guys are just showing themselves. But for example, guys on the app who are showing like one giving the other a piggyback ride or their baby pictures together like they’re like they’ve been friends since they were four. And so I really enjoy that because I think that it’s the first step to seeing someone in the context of the world, which is something that you don’t get on other dating apps. But on foreplay, you can see who that person is like with their friends because that’s literally what they’re displaying.

[00:19:34] What about you? Yeah, that’s also my answer. I think I’ve said that in the past.

[00:19:40] No, I think there’s a really cool feature of my favorite part of the app would be either seeing them, seeing the guys and then also as a user of the group chat, there’s just a lot of fun.

[00:19:47] Yeah, we’ve been having a lot of group chats lately and we’re like lately we’ve been very active on Foreplay. We’ve got a ton of matches and so we’ve been having a lot of group chats and then we’ll just text each other on the side and we’re like, do we create the best app? This is so much fun.

[00:20:03] Also, shoukld I tell her what the cold shoulder feature is?

[00:20:06] Sure. Yeah. Another feature that we really like about Foreplay that I haven’t used myself and neither has Julie, but we created a feature that allows someone to preemptively block someone who they never want to see. Unlike other dating apps where you can block someone that you’ve actually seen on Foreplay, you can actually put in the phone number or the email address of maybe an ex-boyfriend or maybe like a neighbor or like your brother. And then on our end, we make sure that if that person has Foreplay, they’ll never see their team. If that person joins Foreplay, you’ll never see their team.

[00:20:45] That’s really cool. That’s you guys really I think you are making the best dating app out there. We think so. So when Danielle when you were just talking about the pictures of the friends together, it made me think and I have to ask, like, so, you know, obviously, you guys know on typical dating apps, men can be very, like, vulgar and the messages and say some crazy things. Do you see that that happens less often when it’s like a group dynamic on your app?

[00:21:18] No. Really. Yeah, really. If we’re being totally honest, it definitely still happens. And I think that I think that it’s just like the way. And it’s not I don’t think it’s only guys like girls have also been reported on our app like it’s and I think it’s both like people are I think people are just inappropriate when they’re doing something digitally and they can’t be seen and it’s like just behind their screen, you know what I mean? Yeah.

[00:21:47] I mean, I think I’ve seen it less for sure on Foreplay. We still see it. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely still see it from a user point of view. I see it less on Foreplay than I do on other dating apps that I’ve used. I think also people tend to be more vulgar one on one because it’s a different dynamic. When you add the third and fourth person in, it becomes more friendly and less sexual, even though our app is called Foreplay. So it becomes more like a friendly teasing each other type of vibe than how hot do I look in my mirror selfie shirtless. Do you want to come over in like let’s bang. So that definitely changes the dynamic. And also I feel like people are here because they have their friend there. So like Danielle and I will call people out, like when people are getting like a little bit gross in the group chat will I put them in their place and be like like no.

[00:22:42] Yeah, yeah. And I guess that’s true because if you say something disgusting, like you could blow it for, like the three other people, it’s like you’re not we’re not going on the date anymore because of you. And that actually did happen to us that we’re not going on the date anymore because the one friend and I think the other friend is like, why did you say that?

[00:23:02] But that’s so funny. Yeah, I was curious because I was thinking about it. I’m like, I feel like a guy might be, you know, they like you said, like when it’s one on one, that’s like no one has to know other than the person on the other end that they don’t know. But if it’s like in a group, it’s like their friend is seeing them be gross. Right. You know, that’s so true.

[00:23:24] And we also created a separate chat so you can toggle over to just you and your teammate so that you guys can, like, talk about what’s going on with the other two people that you match with seeing. So I think that also creates a sense of being on good behavior because it’s so easy because we talk it over immediately in the private chat and we were like, are they kidding with what they just said? Like, that’s so gross. And like, I feel like like, you know, that you could so easily be talked about in that chat. You have to be on better behavior.

[00:23:52] I love that. That’s so fun. So I’m just so intrigued by this. I think it’s so fun. So another question I have is what happens if you know your matching whatever and well, I actually I’m asking this question, but I think I just answer it based on what you guys said before about me to ask anyway, does everybody have to match for you guys to get put together? So, like. Do you know what I’m asking?

[00:24:20] Yes, yes, yes. So a team is one entity, so it’s like Danielle and Julie have a team. And if if Justin comes across us on his phone and he gives the thumbs up or he swipes right on me and Julie, that’s one person, his teammate now is going to come across us as well. And it’s going to say teammate approved on Danielle and Julia’s profile. So he knows, like, OK, Justin already liked Danielle and Julie, and then he can also give us the thumbs up, if he doesn’t give us the thumbs up by the way, we have a little prompt like, are you sure you don’t want to, your teammate already proved this and then the options are like, sure, I’ll be a wingman or no, I’m selfish, which we love. And then on our end, when we come across Justin and Friend, we also both have to like that team. So it does require that everybody’s interested in dating one another. You don’t have to pick who you want to date. Like, it’s not like, OK, I want Justin and Julie is going to get Brandon. But we have to say we’re both interested in dating them. We’re both interested in going out with them and vice versa.

[00:25:40] Mm. That’s so fun. I feel I can just, I just feel like I don’t know, my mind’s going wild. I’m like all the things that can come from that. But that sounds so fun. I love it. So OK. So I feel like I can ask you a thousand questions about this app. I can ask you a thousand questions about your journey, but to keep it short, sweet and all that, I would love to I end all my episodes with the same question. So for anynody that’s listening to this, that has that is simply listening because they think they want to start a business or maybe they’re just getting started and they’re terrified. Maybe they have cold feet and they can’t take the next step. What would you want to say to them?

[00:26:26] Wow, so much, run.

[00:26:31] You know, it’s like, do you have a therapist get one.

[00:26:35] Yeah, you don’t have one, you need one. That’s a prerequisite for starting a business. I would say there’s a lot that I would say to someone who’s considering I would say, if you’re passionate about it, go for it. If you believe that you can do it, go for it. Because the passion, Danielle and I weren’t necessarily so passionate about being app creators like that wasn’t our life plan, so we weren’t necessarily passionate about it. We’ve become extremely passionate about it because we’ve nurtured this idea and it’s become a functioning app that stands on its own against bigger names like Hinge and Bumble on Tinder, which is pretty amazing. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, go for it, but I would caution that you should have a really good support system, probably don’t dump your whole life savings into it, because I’ve seen it from the perspective of a company that’s succeeding, like for. I’ve also seen what my brother went through with his company that didn’t succeed and how it set him back a lot in his life, emotionally, financially. So you need to make sure you have a really good support system. You need to be a really disciplined person who can sit and actually get the work done or have a disciplined cofounder. And I would say like. Now is the time to do it, like if there was ever a time to try something, now is the time. There’s so much changing, so many landscapes are changing in so many different industries. And especially if you’re young, if you don’t have kids, if you’re only responsible for yourself.

[00:28:16] Now is the time. And women are getting, I think, women now there’s this whole movement towards like funding women and giving women a voice, like in the tech industry, because, like, women haven’t had a voice really in the tech industry. So now is the freakin time.

[00:28:31] Yeah. And I would say like I said if you don’t have kids and if you are only responsible for yourself, if you don’t have kids, you absolutely should do it. Also, I’m just saying, if you literally are only responsible for yourself, like the way that Danielle and I are, you have no excuse. Go for it like you have no excuse. Just do it. The only thing that’s happening is your fear. So just do it. Dive right in. And the biggest piece of advice that I would give is to ask everybody for help. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people and get other people’s advice who have done it before. Because the only reason or a big reason why we have gotten as far as we’ve gotten is because of all the resources we’ve utilized.

[00:29:09] I love that. Thank you, ladies, so much for sharing that with us and for sharing your story and all about this amazing app with us. I really appreciate it. And thank you again so much for being here today.

[00:29:25] Thank you and thank you for having this podcast. And hopefully, there’s somebody out there who is inspired by it and we really appreciate you having us on.

[00:29:31] Yeah. How amazing was that episode like? I mean, I just know. So amazing. So if you enjoy this episode, it would mean the world to me if you would review the episode, give it five stars, please, and let me know what you’re loving so much about this podcast. Maybe what you loved about this episode. Make sure to share this episode on social media. Tag me tag Foreplay Social. Let us know what your biggest takeaway was. I absolutely loved having Danielle and Julie on the podcast, and I hope you guys enjoyed it as well. Now, before I sign off for the week, I just want to let you all know my best friend Courtney and I. As you know, we absolutely love launching in our businesses and we are hosting a free master class that is going to teach you how to have a five-figure launch the next time that you have a launch. And we are so excited about it. The link to learn more and sign up will be in the show notes of this episode and we hope to see you there. And with all that being said, have a fabulous week and we’ll see you next week on the If She Did It podcast.

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