As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney DiFoggio.
Her mission is to inspire people to take better care of their teeth, motivate patients to regularly implement proper homecare techniques, help decrease fear of the dentist, and debunk non-factual social media trends regarding teeth.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. I would love to know more about your story and your background. Give us some details about your journey as a digital entrepreneur.
Thank you for having me! My journey as a digital entrepreneur started on YouTube, where I was creating videos about dental health, which inspired me to create my own dental health website. The combination of providing dental health awareness on both my YouTube channel and website is the foundation of my dental media company!
What do you specialize in, and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
As a dental hygienist, I’ve found a way to celebrate my dental health passion and share it with others. Dental health is not always considered an “exciting” subject, but if you’re passionate about something, there is always a way to make others excited about it, as well!
In addition, when it comes to dental health, it’s unfortunately often related to treating a current problem, as opposed to preventing a current problem. So, when someone watches my videos to solve a current issue, they often tend to stick around to learn more about how to improve their future dental health. I consider this a win!
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing and if you’re solely doing it for the “wealth,” …it’s not going to work. Or, maybe it will work, but you’ll be miserable. My best advice is to follow your passion — and the wealth and success will come along for the ride. If you force it, the result may not be the outcome you want. Make sure you truly believe in what you’re doing.
Is it tough for a woman to survive in this industry? How did you overcome those panic attacks?
Even though the dental hygiene profession is female-dominated, the corporations and businesses surrounding the profession are not. It’s a man’s world trying to cater to a female-dominated industry, which can make it extremely difficult to navigate.
So for me, building a team that respects and values everyone’s opinion was critical. It was of utmost importance that my team genuinely believed and treated everyone with equal support.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government to help overcome those obstacles?
Whenever I’m struggling to survive as a woman in business, my team members always have me repeat the mantra “the past doesn’t limit my future,” and (1) that’s why a supportive team is key, and (2) I truly try to live by that. Understanding the past and working towards a better future will help us continue overcoming those obstacles, whether it’s on an individual or community level!
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder, but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Of course — because of equality! And in addition, it’s important to gain a female perspective on the world. Every single industry needs more women — and dentistry is one example where different voices and backgrounds can only help improve the industry as a whole. Having more women as founders in all industries will help ignite this perspective in the world.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
A huge myth would be that the founder IS the company. Although, yes, I first started the company, that doesn’t mean every single thing the company does is because of me or my call. I trust the knowledge of my team members, and if they feel something will help the company, I will follow their lead. Each team member of a company has their own strengths. So, I focus on my strengths, and they focus on their strengths, and we all help each other out along the way. The founder is not the only leader of a company. The team members are equally important in the foundation of the company.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Make sure you really want it. If you’re unhappy with your current job, starting your own business isn’t the answer. I feel it’s more important to want to focus on starting your own business to expand your life rather than to change your life. Of course, expanding will inherently lead to change. However, it’s important to focus on the WHY. Why do you want it?
Coming to the main part- has the pandemic affected your business, and what have you learned from it?
In the dental industry, the pandemic was a very tricky situation due to dental offices being closed for a few weeks to months (depending on the location). This related to my dental media company because more and more people started to search for dental information online when it wasn’t available in person. This taught me more about “supply and demand” in a very non-traditional way. I never thought about supply and demand relating to information. It was definitely a learning curve to slow down on the information I personally wanted to put out — and start putting out dental health videos and articles that are specifically being searched.
What do you think is the key to a truly successful online business?
I feel that having a team where you all have the same goal is the key to success. It’s okay for each person to have different processes and ways they plan to reach the goal, as long as the goal itself is the same.
Can you describe what you believe a typical workday is like in this industry?
In dental health media, specifically, each day differs largely due to the position in which you’re working. For example, I tend to focus on leading the content team (writing, filming, and editing). In addition to content, another main focus of mine is social media and communication, making sure that the dental health messages are effectively reaching the audience. On other days, I might sit in on meetings regarding marketing, sales, etc. It just depends on how you set your schedule and what works best for your individual life. Most of the time, owning a business allows you the flexibility to schedule important meetings at times that work for you — not always — but oftentimes, it can be an option. Either way, a typical workday often tends to involve self-discipline, focus, and hard work.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself, “I can’t take it anymore; I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes! All the time 🙂 Luckily, again, my team keeps me going. Building your team to be your support system is largely recommended. However, if you are unable to build a team, then family and friends and networking to find like-minded people would be my best advice. Sometimes a simple pep talk from someone who either relates to or understands what you’re going through can help you remember why you started in the first place.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
Hopefully, always evolving, growing, expanding, and helping others. I truly love and believe in what we’re doing now — and my goal is that in 5 years, we will continue doing what we do in a larger format!
What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?
Something I’ve been saying to myself lately is: “Everything I could possibly ever want, have, or need, is right here inside of me” -Quoting Kristin McGee, Peloton instructor. This 100% helps to remind me that I am enough and I’m going to keep growing and going!
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is –
(1) helping others. Service is key to my business.
(2) Happiness is life. You can have all the money in the world and still be unhappy. Focusing on happiness is critical to success, in my opinion.
(3) Financial stability. It’s difficult to grow a business and take care of yourself and your employees without financial stability.
In all, success to me is more than just one thing. It’s many things that combine together to give you the true meaning of success 🙂