This post is part of our “Startup Stories” series – where we feature select Designli clients with the goal of highlighting their products, their inspiration, and what has motivated them to tackle the world of building a digital startup.
Rebecca Heiss is currently developing Icueity, an app that promotes self-awareness and more skilled leadership through peer feedback. We sat down with her to find out how she first got the idea for the app, to learn what inspires her, and to hear more about her journey.
Tell us a bit about your company. Can you share your elevator pitch with us?
Icueity is born out of the idea that most of us have blind spots. I’d been working with leaders and CEOs and noticed that there was a gap between who they saw themselves as and how their teams saw them. You don’t have to have every strength in order to be a good leader, but you do need to know where your gaps are so you can bring in people around you to fill those gaps.
I wanted to find a way to promote self-awareness, and Icueity is similar to a continuous 360 review providing feedback at your fingertips in order to start addressing any gaps.
What initially got you interested in helping people with self-awareness?
I’m a stress physiologist by trade, and before that, I studied evolution and human behavior. After taking the academic route, I started applying my knowledge of biological principles to the business world, speaking on overcoming biological blind spots to optimize performance and found a lot of interest from leadership teams.
What drove you to start your company at the specific time that you did?
I’d been toying with the idea for a long time. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer, I began to more deeply question what I was doing with my life. I started asking myself, “What’s stopping me from doing this now?”
What’s the most rewarding thing about running a company? And what’s the hardest?
The most rewarding is empowering others. I have the awesome responsibility of helping people live happier more productive lives through curiosity, vulnerability and self-awareness. By empowering the potential of each unique being, I have the opportunity to change culture and the way people interact with one another both at work and beyond.
The hardest part is that I’m my own worst boss! I’m preaching self-awareness and balance, but I often fall into the same blind spots I speak about, like work constantly. That’s part of the relief I hope to achieve with this app — it will enable me to help people all over the world without me having to physically travel all the time.
Who inspires you?
My sister first and foremost. And my family in general. They’ve supported me and always encouraged me to try things outside of my comfort zone. I am also lucky to have an incredible mentor who challenges me to continuously explore my “why.” Having him to hold me accountable to my own stated principles has been invaluable.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandmother told me once, “Don’t let your options be your burdens.” That’s great advice. In a day and age when we have so much data and so many options, it can be easy for those options to hold us back. Also, when I was struggling with what path I should take, my dad said, “Be the person that you want to be.” I love that. Claim who you are, and tell your own story.
What has been your biggest mistake or challenge when starting a business and what insights did you gain from it?
My biggest mistake is not doing it sooner. Too often we let fear get in the way, and miss out on the best opportunities. I was hesitant because I thought, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to be a founder.” But those voices are head trash that we all carry in us.
The lesson I learned is to just jump in. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn and grow as a result. Failure is not to be feared.
What advice would you offer to new startup founders or those who are in the early stages of starting a company?
My advice is that I have no advice! I’m joking in a way. But it’s important to trust your own instincts. There’s a lot to be said for trusting yourself. Nobody knows what they’re doing, and yet everyone will have advice. I do recommend finding a great mentor, someone who will challenge you to understand your “why,” your intrinsic motivations, and continually remind you of them, because the process can be brutal and you’ll need to fall back onto some powerful reasons to move forward during the difficult times. And find a peer group of people who can walk alongside you. It may be intimidating at first, but when you’re vulnerable with each other and can hold one another accountable, these relationships can be magical.
Looking to follow Rebecca on her journey? You can find her online at rebeccaheiss.com
Ready to chat with the Designli team about bringing your own app idea to life? Contact us here.