I’m the founder of a zero-waste toothpaste company that was featured on Shark Tank. Here’s what my day is like managing a team of 9 remote employees.

Bite founder and CEO Lindsay McCormick.

No matter when I go to bed, I try to get up around 7:30 a.m. We have a lot of late nights (hello, startup life) but I feel like waking up around the same time helps me perform my best, even if it means a little less sleep.

Every morning, I scan my texts and emails in bed to make sure there are no emergencies before starting my morning routine. I spend a few minutes in bed cuddling with my rescue pup, Nemo, before I get up to brush my teeth.

My company, Bite, makes toothpaste tablets, so a lot of the time I’ll be trying out a new flavor we’re working on. I keep a notebook by the sink so I can jot down thoughts and changes I’d like to make while I brush. 

I try to meditate for about 30 minutes and spend another 30 minutes either reading and drinking tea or going on a run and listening to an audiobook before digging into emails at 9 a.m.

My boyfriend Asher and I run the company out of our apartment in Marina del Rey, California, where we converted two of the bedrooms into office spaces and one room into a content studio.

Since we’re right on the ocean, I love being able to go for a walk on the beach when I take calls or need to clear my head.

Once the team logs in around 10 a.m., we’re fully locked in and it’s nonstop work until 7 p.m..

We have a small team of just nine employees, so there’s a lot to get done every single day. 

Asher and I touch base around 8 p.m. to recap our work day and tackle whatever tasks we need to work on together. Around 9:30 p.m., I usually go on a run (I love running on the beach at night) or I’ll read or watch TV until going to bed around 11pm. 

We have a tableting machine in the middle of our office, and I still use it to test out our seasonal flavors and new products. Our tablets are now made in an outside facility here in Los Angeles, but I created our toothpaste and mouthwash formulas (with the sign-off from some dentists and chemists that we work with) and still do our development in-house, so at any time there are various scents and oils wafting around the apartment. 

I started Bite in 2017 in order to create a sustainable toothpaste product.

Bite toothpaste products.

After learning about the harsh chemicals that are in a lot of commercial toothpaste and the millions of toothpaste tubes that end up in our landfills and oceans every year, I wanted to make a difference. I’ve always been passionate about conservation and the environment, so I started taking online chemistry classes and reaching out to every dentist and dental hygienist I knew to get their advice.

The idea was that the toothpaste tablets would come in a glass jar that could be kept and refilled — that way there would be no plastic toothpaste tubes and none of the harsh preservatives needed to keep bacteria growing in the wet paste.

While working full-time as a TV producer, I started making the toothpaste tablets on a hand-press tableting machine at night. 

I labeled and filled the glass bottles in our living room, then I’d pack up every order and drop them off on my way to work in the morning. 

That all changed overnight in 2018 when a video about our product went viral on Facebook, and our sales skyrocketed. 

Both my boyfriend and I left our jobs to work on Bite full time. We launched new products like a bamboo toothbrush and mouthwash tablets, and quickly grew to an 8-figure business.

We’re bootstrapped, so instead of raising money through traditional investors, our business is powered by our customers and their support. I spend 30 minutes to an hour each day connecting with  our community, often on social media through comments or DMs, and sometimes on the phone. 

Being on Shark Tank in February 2020 was a wild experience. 

The morning of our shoot, we had an issue pop up with our manufacturer and were literally on the phone up until it was time for us to walk on the stage — running a business never stops! We had spent a ton of time preparing beforehand but even still, I was floored by how well it went. I was so nervous, you can see my hands shaking during our pitch, but the Sharks were extremely kind and receptive to our business and growth which was amazing. 

We received two offers, one from Mark Cuban and one from Kevin O’Leary, but we didn’t end up taking either. I think anyone who has their own business should run through the thought process of what they would say if they went on Shark Tank; it’s a great way to practice your elevator pitch and showcase your business strategy from the inside out. 

We were fortunate to not feel the brunt of the pandemic as our team has always been small and operating from home.

Lindsay McCormick in the early days of developing Bite toothpaste. Early days   In Lab (1)

We’re also made in the US, right up the street from "HQ" (our living room) so our supply chain wasn’t impacted. And because so many people were buying online and thinking about their health and the planet, we were exposed to new customers and were able to grow. 

We also started new projects to keep our spirits up with the team, including making hand sanitizer to donate to organizations here in Los Angeles on Skidrow. We channeled our formulation background into tracking down the supplies and began manufacturing in-house, strictly to donate. It really helped us bond as a team and to focus outside of ourselves when the world felt upended. It’s been a wild ride, but every challenge has helped us grow and improve.   

My advice for fellow entrepreneurs is to get used to the feeling of being on unsteady ground.

It never goes away, so you might as well embrace it from the start. What I’ve learned about business so far is to be successful, you need to look for the opportunities that others don’t see and that usually means you’re one of the only ones on that path. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and know we’re all figuring it out as we go along. 

Lindsay McCormick is the founder and CEO of Bite, the all-natural, zero-waste, and cruelty-free toothpaste tablets and accessories on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable personal care company.

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Lindsay McCormick May 29, 2021 at 07:54PM

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