Jenna Tanenbaum is the founder of GreenBlender, a delivery service that sends you smoothie recipes and fresh ingredients weekly. Each week, you get five new smoothie recipes and all the pre-portioned ingredients you’ll need to make ten delicious, nutrient-packed smoothies. The ingredients are organic, and the Green Blender team sources from local farms, green markets, and sustainable vendors whenever possible.
I met Jenna Tanenbaum at a Women’s Health breakfast and we quickly bonded over our common interests. We even went to a meditation class together later that week. I know you’ll enjoy Jenna’s company as much as I do!
Jenna Tanenbaum, Founder of GreenBlender
What inspired you to start GreenBlender?
Amir and I launched GreenBlender shortly after moving into a Prospect Heights apartment together. I’m a big health and fitness enthusiast, and Amir…well not so much. I bought a Vitamix and started making smoothies for breakfast before work and giving Amir some of the leftovers. We got really into smoothie making and we started to feel pretty amazing. That’s when we realized that when great ingredients and delicious recipes were easily accessible at home, it was easy to start our day with a healthy decision.
What is GreenBlender’s mission and how do you achieve it?
GreenBlender is a smoothie delivery service. Every week, we send all the pre-portioned ingredients and superfoods to make amazing smoothies at home. GreenBlender’s mission is to help people create healthy habits that last a lifetime. This mission came about because I often find that when we decide to make a health change two things happen: One we get immediately overwhelmed with choices. (Should I go paleo? Do I cut out all grains and dairy? What about quinoa?) And two, we start moving towards extremes. (I have to go raw vegan tomorrow! I can never have ice cream again!)
This diet path can get overwhelming, lead to deprivation, and may not cause long lasting results. Living a healthy lifestyle starts with building healthy habits and not extreme dieting. GreenBlender is all about setting our members up for long term success by helping them start their day with a healthy decision.
What were the first logistical steps you took to start a business?
The first thing we did was figure out if this crazy idea we had actually was something people wanted. We created a landing page and drove some traffic to it before we really had anything figured out.
My biggest advice for people who want to start a company is to solve for the problems at hand, and don’t worry about future problems. For example, our main “problem” when we first started out was to see if people wanted to buy GreenBlender. Only after we realized there was a market for it, we had to figure out where to find and ship all the ingredients. It can be very overwhelming to start and run a business and I have found this to be the best way to prioritize.
What is a day as Jenna like? Please walk me through a day!
I am a creature of habit and like my routines:
I wake up in the morning and workout. I usually keep my weekday workouts short, no more than 30-45 minutes as I am not a morning person. If I miss a morning workout, I make a lunchtime workout at my local rock climbing gym.
On the train to work, I always do a 10-minute guided meditation on my Headspace app. After years of trying and failing to sit on a cushion and carve out 30 minutes of meditation at some point during the day, I found that working it into an already set routine held the best results. Now I never miss a day!
Every day at 11 am, live on Facebook, I make a smoothie from the GreenBlender box that week. I want to show people how easy it is to start your day with a healthy decision and empower them to take control of their health.
When I get into work every morning, I make a to-do list of top priorities for the day. Work is never ending and I started the to-do list strategy to help focus myself on what actually needs to be done.
At the end of the day, I try to read fiction, even if it’s just a few pages. It helps me unwind, look at something other than a screen and think about something other than work.
You started GreenBlender with your boyfriend. What advice do you have for other people who want to start a company with their significant other?
If you feel you could work with your significant other, I highly recommend it. Amir and I often think about how amazing it is to be able to spend so much time together. We already proved we worked well together as a couple so it seemed very logical for us to work together in a professional setting. I don’t think working with your significant other is for everyone but here are a few reasons I think it works well for us:
Draw clear lines:
One reason why this works so well between us is that we have very complementary skills. I work on marketing and customer acquisition and he works on product and the website. We are never stepping on each other’s toes because we have divided our roles in the company in a clear way.
Respect each other’s business sense:
We also have a very deep respect for each other’s opinions and business sense. I trust that Amir will make the correct decisions for the business and he feels the same way. We aren’t second guessing each other.
Set time aside that are not work related:
Work can be all-consuming, especially when you work with your significant other. It’s important to carve out “no work” times so you can both take a break.
What’s your favorite GreenBlender smoothie recipe?
This would have to be the Creamy Pineapple Mint Smoothie. Nothing beats fresh mint in a smoothie.
What is the most important characteristic for entrepreneurs to have?
Perseverance. Plain and simple. Running a business is a marathon. While you will have a lot of high, highs, you will also face a lot of failure and tedious work. While I think this work is well worth it, I really underestimated how all-consuming running a business truly is.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
It all counts. There are no mistakes or setbacks in a career. Everything adds to the skills and person that makes you, you. I often felt like I “lost time” while I was working in banking but, looking back, the amount of money I was able to save during that time allowed me to eventually work on GreenBlender. Don’t sweat it so much, just learn as much as you can with each new opportunity.
What is on your desk right now?
A large glass of water! I don’t mess around with hydration.
What are your three favorite books?
That is really tough to narrow it down to just three. I’ll give you my top books by life goal:
Best book to pump yourself up to start your own business: GIRLBOSS
Best book to pump yourself up once you started your own business: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Best book to pump yourself up to run a race: A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable, that’s where you will do your best work.
What are you reading right now?
One of my goals this year was to spend less time in front of screens. After years of being loyal to my Kindle, I am now moving back to reading real, paper books! I’m taking a break from the business books right now and am reading the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. I have never read a series of books that looked so deeply at lifelong friendships. These books are really amazing and I often find myself thinking about the characters throughout my day.
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. I talk to a lot of young women who genuinely don’t feel like they have enough experience or qualifications. If you truly believe in something, you will find a way to teach yourself the necessary skills to get the job done. Action is better than inaction. Even if, at the end of the day, you don’t end up achieving what you set out to do, think about all you learned in the process. Now think about what you would have learned if you had done nothing. Do the damn thing.