Like many members of Gen Z, Sandy Lin took to TikTok at the start of the pandemic. She was co-founder of WROOOF, a boutique lifestyle brand offering a bespoke collection of pet accessories. But little did she know, she quickly became a social media sensation known for her energetic videos and resourceful business tips for young entrepreneurs.
“I really need to sit back and say, ‘Hey, like, what do I really want to do?’, and I can not burn out because that's not good for myself,” said Sandy. “So I dropped back from the co-founding positions, focused on TikTok full-time and entrepreneurship. That's where Small Business Tips, my third company, came about, which is insane. That whole company came about from TikTok.”
This week, The Conversationalist Founder and CEO Sophie Beren sits down with TikTok sensation Sandy Lin. She is the CEO and founder of Small Business Tips, a community-centered collective empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs, which she created entirely through TikTok.
Sandy co-founded her first company WROOOF when she was 19 and a full-time student at Northeastern University. During her time in college, she was involved in the Women's Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship as Co-VP of WeBuild and was a mentor in the Husky Startup Challenge before graduating in December 2020.
In proper TC fashion, we opened the conversation by breaking the ice. In a series of rapid-fire questions, Sandy shared she surrounds herself with people who are givers. “My parents always taught me that as long as you give to people the universe will give back to you,” said Sandy. “And I find myself surrounded by people that are very similar, like yourself as well. And people that have similar values to me that are genuinely just authentic on the internet and off the internet.”
One of the biggest lessons Sandy shared that she learned as an entrepreneur, is that you can’t please others. “You cannot make everyone happy,” said Sandy. “You stick by your value, you stick by your missions and the way you’re going, and you attract the people you attract.”
As an Asian woman in the entrepreneurial space, Sandy said it took her a while to feel confident in herself and in her knowledge, but she also added that this ultimately comes down to upholding your own beliefs and goals. This came into play when her original co-founder for Small Business Tips decided to step down. Sandy, however, made it her mission to continue empowering the next generation to build the lives that they want to live through SBT.
There are many benefits Sandy noted about Gen Z, from being more vocal about inequality to being innovative. One of the greatest challenges she believes the generation is facing is burnout.
“We are lucky that we grew up in a fast paced environment,” said Sandy, “but it's only going to get faster. And our generation needs to adapt to that fastness or that will lead to burnout. And you need to make sure you have a work-life balance or your mental health is going to decline. I think that's the biggest challenge we're going to have.”
Sandy shared that she’s taking everything day by day with SBT and enjoying the process as she goes along. “I do have a vision of where the mission will take it to, but I really do think that you can't predict the future, right?” Sandy said. “I have a clear vision of where I want it to be, but I would not be upset if it's not that because if I do every single day to the best of my ability and make sure that the mission is my goal and my values, whatever happens in the future will be to the best of its abilities.”
Here at TC, we have a whole room in our community dedicated to Hot Takes, where members can share a controversial thought, question, or icebreaker about something they believe. This week’s hot take was brought to us by TC community member Basia, who believes oat milk is the superior milk.
Sandy, however, had to disagree. “I cannot say oat milk is for me. It's like my least favorite of alt milk,” replied Sandy.
She explained that, growing up in Taiwan, the milk was very different from the milk in the U.S. “When I first tasted the milk here, it tasted like water,” Sandy said. “I literally just do, like, flat out a hundred percent milk. Like I can’t do 2%. I can't do it. It just tastes like water for me.”
Sandy’s biggest piece of advice for young entrepreneurs is to surround themselves with fellow entrepreneurs. She placed a lot of emphasis on networking and how the people you surround yourself with can change your career path.
“When you surround yourself with the people and the resources, it’s sometimes what dictates your path and how it flatters your mind as well, being in the different communities, such as The Conversationalist,” said Sandy. “It's so important because of the way you connect with people. Network, that's going to help you figure out so many things.”
Sandy recommended getting a mentor and learning from people in the industry you’re interested in to avoid common mistakes and for motivation. “There are so many crazy, amazing, beautiful features of surrounding yourself with the right people, it's really going to help you, determine what you want to do in the future as well and try different things.”
Sandy invited listeners to follow Small Business Tips on TikTok, Instagram, and to check out their website to learn more about running a start-up business. She also shared her personal Instagram account to keep up with her day-to-day activities as a young, female entrepreneur.
Major snaps to Sandy for sitting down with us and sharing her incredible advice on being a young entrepreneur. We are so grateful for her wisdom.
Now, we want to hear from you! How are you using your voice for good? Join The Conversationalist Community on the Geneva app. You’ll be able to make new friends, find new opportunities, and have 24/7 conversations about anything under the sun that matters to you. Come and introduce yourself, break the ice, share your hot takes, and more. Want to be chosen as our featured hot take on our next podcast? Make sure you’re in our community and sharing your thoughts in our hot takes room.