For her entire career, Tori worked in media. She moved from the United Kingdom to New York City, and for nearly seven years, Tori launched and managed new businesses at the New York Times.
But one day she said to herself, “I either need to do something with my ideas or shut up about them.”
And that’s when she got serious about starting her own business.
Tori knew she wanted more in her career. The question was, what was the next step?
Although she sensed opportunities, she wasn’t sure what to do with them. Like many aspiring entrepreneurs, Tori needed more support and confidence about how to get started and how to refine her ideas into something that was both compelling to her, as well as in demand by the market.
Gradually, Tori connected the dots– she knew she liked launching and building businesses as part of her day job. That led her to enrolling in a women’s leadership program at Columbia University, which in turn inspired her to enroll in an MBA program specializing in entrepreneurship and researching accelerators.
It was this personal growth that led her to realise that the entrepreneurial journey is more about self discovery than anything else. She recounts her epiphany this way, “You’re riding a bicycle with training wheels on, but then you notice you’re going along, you’re doing it and didn’t know you were.”
Day One was instrumental for helping Tori hit milestones and get her ideas into motion.
She joined Day One when she was doing customer interviews. The experience helped her adapt the process, find recurring themes and importantly identify the differences of opinion in the data.
Besides customer interviews, Tori received additional value. Feedback from Day One sessions jump started Tori into her next phase. She recalls Rahul, Co-founder of Day One, telling her to “Just build it. Just start building,” which was exactly the push she needed to hear.
As a result, the landing page for the Knowledge Shop came into being.
Tori wants to “take a more personalized approach to entrepreneurship.” Her goal is to level the playing field in entrepreneurship, by supporting entrepreneurs from atypical startup backgrounds.
Tori’s company is The Knowledge Shop a human + tech SAAS platform that supports founders and “would be” founders along their entrepreneurial journey, versus building the business itself.
By providing proactive support and curated resources, she’s reducing analysis paralysis and fear of failure that can prevent a founder from getting momentum. This way, regardless of background or level of expertise, founders won’t have to “go down a million different rabbit holes to try and solve everything.
In Tori’s words, “We keep them putting one foot in front of the other, as they build their entrepreneurial muscles and get that flywheel moving.”
First lesson: Building in public can be very challenging while navigating the early stages of a business, but adds so much value. It helps solidify ideas and brings people with you on your journey - resources, insights, cheerleaders and constructive criticism. All are incredibly valuable when you are starting out (in fact at any stage).
Second Lesson: It’s okay to change your mind. Letting go of an initial idea to move in a different direction can actually be helpful not hurtful. It was hard to understand this at first, when it is typically not done in the corporate world, but can really help expedite a startup’s progress. Reading the book Brave Not Perfect, definitely helped with that too. It’s ok and in fact essential to try something without having all the answers.
She’s had a great deal of trauma in her life, but those experiences shaped her into who she is. We asked her if she’d go there in a conversation. And, to our surprise, she really, really went there.