Woman holding heywell beverages in glasses.
Women-owned beverage brand heywell launched just before the pandemic and managed to persevere and grow over the last two years. — heywell

Owning a business comes with ups and downs, and it can be easy for entrepreneurs to focus on difficulties and feel overwhelmed. However, appreciating progress can increase success moving forward.

Ashley Selman and Britt Dougherty, co-founders of heywell, have learned this lesson over the last two years, and have learned that business owners should celebrate their wins and persevere through the challenges of entrepreneurship.

“Roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances occur daily for entrepreneurs, and perseverance is key,'' Selman told CO—. “The faster you get to a 'so what, now what' mindset, the more successful you'll be.”

Selman and Dougherty launched heywell, a “function-forward” sparkling water company, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit; so, while they were attempting to get off the ground, that ground began shifting. Though the pandemic caused about 41.3% small businesses to pause operations, Selman and Dougherty learned to adapt so they could keep moving forward.

“Retailer focus quickly shifted … and consumers changed their shopping behaviors and routines,” Dougherty said. “We had to evaluate our go-to-market strategy, find new routes to market and new ways to connect with consumers.”

[Read more: How to Start a Business With Your Best Friend]

Standing out from the crowd

For a wellness brand to succeed in today’s crowded market, it needs to break through the crowd and stand out. The founders of heywell believe their fruit-flavored sparkling waters stand out in a competitive market because of the uniqueness of the product, the passion of its co-founders and the values behind the business.

Selman described heywell’s products that “bring wellness down to earth” with a “naturally sweet” beverage that’s low in calories and free from GMOs. The pair got inspired because they noticed a lot of wellness solutions were prioritizing function over flavor and accessibility.

Roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances occur daily for entrepreneurs, and perseverance is key.

Ashley Selman, co-founder, heywell

They made it their mission to create a business that would bring simple, great-tasting solutions to everyone, especially as wellness routines shifted when people transitioned to remote work.

“For us, that means making something good for us that’s also delicious and inclusive,” added Dougherty. “We try to bring our mission to life in everything we do. Our name is meant to be a simple invitation to wellness.”

[Read more: How Staying True to Core Values Can Guide Brands During a Crisis]

Celebrating success and looking to the future

Selman and Dougherty have certainly faced challenges during their short time in business so far, but their mantra of perseverance has kept them going and growing. One thing that has helped them through the tough moments and made the celebrations even better is having each other as business partners.

“Being a business owner is a roller coaster and a long game,” Selman said. “In the space of a week, a day, an hour, you'll ride incredible highs and incredible lows. We feel lucky, as co-founders, to have a partner on this crazy ride.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published November 19, 2021