I’d like to introduce you to Marika Meeks, founder of IncredibullStella, a nonprofit whose mission is to help rescue dogs (with an affinity towards Pit Bulls) and place them in their forever homes. With a name like IncredibullStella, you may be wondering who Stella is, right? Well, Stella is a Pit Bull that came into Marika’s life when she was recovering from Stage 3 Breast Cancer.
In this episode, Marika will unashamedly share how Stella saved her life and now, having fully recovered, how her non-profit (inspired by Stella) helps to save as many animals as possible. In honor of Breast Cancer awareness, I thought it would be appropriate to unpack an entrepreneurial journey of a founder that had to battle through a Stage 3 Breast Cancer diagnosis and come out on the other side of her journey as a cancer survivor and non-profit founder.
IncredibullStella is Marika’s first non-profit, but it is not her first venture. Previously she had an incredibly successful chain of sandwich shops, which was expanding up until her cancer diagnosis. Part of the reason I wanted to share Marika’s story is because of the power of her perspective through her battle with cancer.
And while the tone of this episode starts off a little heavier than usual, I assure you this episode is one that will encourage and inspire you, assuming you allow yourself to hear about lessons learned from someone who came face to face with her own mortality. This is Marika Meek’s startup story.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How Marika’s mom and dad were very instrumental in her desire to not only do my own thing, selling Bubblelicious at school, and her desire to always have a hot dog stand
- Immigrating to America at the age of 6 with her family, how her mom and dad provided the opportunity to live in the U.S., plus the trials, tribulations, and successes of starting a new life in the States
- Her interest in becoming a creative entrepreneur, feeling really lost after high school and her short stint at Community College
- Leaving college after only the first semester and realizing (now) that you don’t have to have it all figured out right out of high school
- Getting married at 19 and realizing that marriage is not a career path, but it did lead her to start her first business, which she worked in for a year
- Moving on from her first business to working for the family business, how doing so made her feel like a fraud, the anxiety she felt, and what she learned during that time
- All leading up to her next venture, a sandwich shop franchise
- The difficulty she had when telling her parents she wanted to follow her passion and learning this very important life lesson: When you’re feeling fearful, that's what makes you brave because you're doing it anyway
- Being diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer, navigating life during that time, and how getting cancer at 41 woke her up to understand what was really important
- The inspiration behind IncredibullStella, how it got started, unpacking everything it is today, and Marika’s vision for the future
“There is nothing you can ever do that would actually be considered a failure. Every single step or misstep is setting you up for a new opportunity. It’s preparation and not failure.” – Marika Meeks, IncrediBullStella
Resources from this episode:
IncredibullStella (the book): https://amzn.to/2nbK6rE
IncredibullStella on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/incredibullstella/?hl=en
Marika Meeks on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marika-meeks-9169b814/
The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/
Alina Vandenberghe, founder of Chili Piper & GipsyBot: https://www.thestartupstory.co/chilipiper
10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, Wayne Dyer: https://amzn.to/2lDI5nD
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches: https://www.jimmyjohns.com/
The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.
First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!
Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.
With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!
If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.
He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.
Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory