Startup Stories – Gr8nola CEO, Erica Liu Williams
It’s no easy feat starting a business. Are entrepreneurs born fearless or can this mindset be tapped into and developed through life experiences?
Today’s guest, Erica Liu Williams, founder of Gr8nola, is a driven founder, yet it took her a few steps to get there from A to B.
Erica attended Stanford on a swimming scholarship and, upon graduation, wasn’t particularly career-driven. Instead, her ambition was to be a homemaker. However, after her parents divorced, she decided that she wanted to be financially independent. She watched others build their passions and decided, “if they can do this, why not me?”
Erica and I dig into the mindset of an entrepreneur, her intense (and frankly grueling!) schedule as an elite swimmer from the age of 13 onward, how she thinks about work-life balance, her work cadence on a given day on the weekends – something that all founders struggle with – along with other personal daily rituals.
On the biz front, we cover Erica’s thoughts around growth and raising outside capital vs. growing your business from customer revenue. We also discuss an epiphany that she’s had this year, managing challenges (and why they should be meaningful challenges…).
And, finally, we cover her personal and business metrics for success, the importance of mentorship, and tools and platforms that she uses on a daily basis.
Erica Liu Williams is a former Olympic Trials swimmer and Silicon Valley techie-turned-food-entrepreneur. She came up with the idea for gr8nola by accident when she was searching for a delicious, yet healthy snack for a post-Super Bowl "cleanse" she and her NFL hubby do each year. Stuck with few options, she created her own low-sugar granola recipe using clean ingredients and unique and functional superfoods.
Her granola was such a hit that she created a side business out of it in 2013, selling it at the farmers market while working full-time. 4+ years later, Erica officially left her 10-year tech career to pursue gr8nola full-time and has hustled her way into becoming Silicon Valley's favorite granola, supplying gr8nola at some of the biggest tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Linkedin and more.
The gr8nola line features seven superfood flavors (The Original, Cacao Crisp, Cinnamon Chai, Black Coco Chia, Matcha Vibes, Golden Spice and Peanut Butter) that are free of soy, dairy and refined sugars and have only 5g sugar per serving. You can find gr8nola on Amazon Prime, gr8nola.com and 100+ grocery stores.