This #WomenCrushWednesdays, we’ll be talking with a woman who is dedicated to helping OTHER women (and men!) achieve their best selves. Now that’s the true spirit of a female founder!
Describe your business. What is its main goal/function?
Jess: The purpose of Wish Route is to get people motivated and moving in the direction they wish they were going. We are starting with health & wellness wishes like “I wish I exercised more” and “I wish I ate healthier.”
Wish Route is an accountability service that gets users unstuck with their wellness intentions and taking action by providing personalized suggestions, check-ins, and incentives.
Why did you decide to become a female founder? What inspired you to start your business?
Jess: I was inspired to start Wish Route during my MBA program at Babson last year. I finally had the time to invest in myself and make the changes I’d been thinking about for years.
For instance, I stared meditating first thing in the morning, before I looked at my cell phone. I started to notice a lot of people around me kept saying “I really wish I exercised more” or “I really need to try that meditation thing” — which I had probably been guilty of before going back to school. This is when I noticed a wish epidemic.
Everyone wakes up with these really good intentions, but we get busy, life gets in the way, and all of a sudden it’s the end of the day and we didn’t follow through on our plan. I reflected on this problem and thought about what has enabled me to make changes in my life. I have the support, inspiration, and most importantly, the time to vet good content and find things that are fun and interesting for me to try.
I took all of this and developed Wish Route. We focus on what users can ENJOY and realistically fit into their day. Even a 10-minute workout is a win and we want to celebrate that with you. As users progress they earn surprise gifts which adds an element of fun and delight — who doesn’t like to earn points and get gifts in the mail?
What are the greatest challenges of founding your own business?
Jess: My biggest challenge has been getting used to not being able to do everything I want to do in a day. Prior to starting Wish Route, I had a career in Forensic Consulting. Every project was a crisis situation and I often had to travel without notice. I thought that was intense!
Little did I know, starting my own business would require me to work harder than I ever have before, but it has also been, by far, the most rewarding work I have ever done. The effort has led to incredible opportunities and invaluable connections which I’ve had to balance with important day-to-day tasks.
I’ve had to learn to be okay shutting down my computer and knowing I’ll pick up the most important things the next day.
How have your experiences as a female founder shaped you?
Jess: Creating something that doesn’t exist has been freeing in a lot of ways, and has required a lot of self-reflection. We get to make important choices every day — it is overwhelming at times but it’s exciting to build a business the way I believe it should be built.
I’ve had to get clear on what is most important to me. The best part has been getting to work with people who deeply inspire me and believe in the same Vision.
Growing up, what were your goals in life? Did you ever imagine you’d create something like what you created?
Jess: Since I was very young, I’ve always known I would start and run my own business. When I was in elementary school, I brought a business plan to my parents to breed hamsters and sell them to my friends. My parents have always been incredibly supportive of me — they bought me my first hamster a few weeks later.
I learned not all businesses are the right business for me. Turns out, I’m terrified of hamsters and couldn’t even hold the thing without industrial strength gloves. Needless to say, that business started and ended within the week.
I’m very glad that Wish Route is a business that I can see myself growing with and thoroughly enjoying day-to-day. I’ve had a life long passion for health and wellness and supporting others — excited to have a career focused on just that.
What’s next for your business?
Jess: Our next step is to take what we have learned from our test users and develop a web-application to support and scale Wish Route service.
The feedback we have received thus far has been incredibly helpful in refining what we do but also incredibly positive. I’m excited to launch on a broader scale.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women and girls looking to make an impact?
Jess: I think recognizing, reflecting on, and facing fear is the most important thing we each do to move forward in life. Have faith that no matter what, you are going to get something great out of the experience. Put yourself out there and see where it goes — if you aren’t risking something (like breaking the status quo) then are you really living a fulfilling life? Maybe not.
If I could leave you with one thing, it’s START. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. We create our own realities and narratives in our heads. Once you show yourself you can change one aspect of your life, anything is possible If you are stuck and need a push, reach out! Happy to provide one :)
Special thanks to Jessica Lynch for taking the time to tell us her amazing story!
Want to learn more about Wish Route? Follow Jess on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @WishRoute.