What if vending machines could do more than dispense sodas or snacks? That question led Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene to create PopCom, a company that makes on-the-go shopping kiosks smarter by using data and analytics. Armed with an IT background and entrepreneurial chops, Dickson-Akpoghene set to work (and set records for) crowdfunding to get her dream off the ground.
In a recent Office Hours Q&A (check out the video above), the PopCom CEO broke down how she went from prototype to in-demand product, rebuilt her supply chain from the ground up and fostered a team that consistently outperforms. We asked her to share her hacks and habits for getting it all done.
Workspace & Routine
Do you have an office at home?
COVID has forced me to create one. Prior to 2020 I was trying to go to the office more because I found myself working from the couch. I have a bench and table with some of my awards on the wall that I can use for video calls and interviews. I did not want to set up an entire office in my home because I truly want to keep my work separate, I don’t want a home office. All I need is a little corner.
What does working from home look like for you? What do you enjoy about it? What do you find challenging?
My entire family is home all day. My husband is an entrepreneur with multiple companies, which he has operated from home office since Covid. My daughter, who is 17, has virtual classes. I enjoy being able to see them during the day, for quick hugs and kisses or to eat lunch together. The challenging part in the beginning was to get everyone on a schedule and in a flow. But we have it down now.
What do you do when you need a change of scenery?
I travel frequently—road trips and flights to new locations. I love nomad life and working remotely, even prior to COVID. On a day-to-day basis, if I need a change a scenery, I go work outside on one of our three patios or go to our local arts district for inspiration.
Time & Organization
How do you approach the workday?
I schedule everything! Some days it’s a block of work. Some days I run personal errands in between tasks. Each day is truly different, which I love. I do not like routines very much. (Besides the gym, I must go at 9:30am).
What are three things you do each morning to prepare for the workday?
Meditate and center myself for the day. Message my team with my daily gratitude. Drink water and take my herbs before I go to the gym. After the gym, I am ready to conquer the day!
How do you keep yourself on track during the day?
My to-do list and calendar alerts are my best friends! I use the notes app on my phone to make sure I don’t forget tasks.
How do (or don’t) you separate business tasks from personal ones?
I definitely separate business and personal. I have been an entrepreneur full time for 20 years. Setting boundaries is something I had to learn in order to keep myself balanced.
Self-care & Attitude
What does self-care mean to you?
It means giving yourself whatever you need at the time…it could be rest, meditation, exercise, food, setting boundaries. To me, self-care means making yourself the highest priority.
Do you have a mindfulness practice?
I meditate, exercise, I pray, I sit in the sun. I don’t take meetings before 11am Monday through Friday, so I can have the mornings to myself.
What are three things you do to wind down your workday?
Light candles. Listen to healing sounds and nature sounds. Put my phone down.
This interview is part of Office Hours, a series that connects you with entrepreneurs and experts with tips for running and growing a business right now. Find other can’t-miss conversations by visiting our Events page.