Work Life Balance, It’s Worth Working On

We all talk about “balance” but what does that mean? In a world where we are connected 24 hours a day, information is immediately available, and almost as quickly as it is presented it becomes obsolete. Things move fast, and so do we. Is it possible to have down time amidst this frenetic backdrop? Is it something we should strive for?

The answer is simply, yes. When we take time to care for ourselves we are happier, healthier and (here’s the important one to all those over achievers) more productive. Research shows that happier employees equal more productivity and greater profits.

Here are a few basic themes that thought leaders agree are important to balancing your career with your personal life.

4 Simple Steps to Achieving Work Life Balance


Set and maintain your boundaries at work. This means if you need to leave on time, leave on time. If you have a day off don’t respond to work emails. Creating good habits for yourself is like training a puppy. Consistency is key. Keep yourself accountable for maintaining good boundaries and you will find that after a while you’re able to use your down time to disconnect and recharge.


What do you value most in your life? Chances are it extends beyond productivity or reaching professional goals. Surely your values also include family, friends, health or overall wellbeing. Make a list of what’s most important to you and see if your life reflects that. Be as intentional about your personal life as you are about your next meeting.


Your time is important. Prioritize what you need to accomplish for the best outcomes. This will require some analysis and organization at the beginning and end of each day. Make a list, use an app, or text a friend your agenda. When you organize and hold yourself accountable to your set tasks, you will accomplish more. Seems easy right? As easy as it seems, it is as easy to forget to do when you are grinding through your daily routine. Dedicate 10-15 minutes at the beginning and end of your day to planning your next moves.


Communicate your needs when it comes to work and life. Is it excruciating to drag yourself out of bed in order to get to the office by 9 but you have no problem staying until 8 or 9 at night? Check with your boss about adjusting your schedule. It will alleviate that “I’m late again” anxiety and will release the resentment that follows, knowing you are putting in more than 40 hours per week. Do you need to leave early on Thursdays to catch that spin class? Let the people in on what you need in order to be a more productive employee and they will respect you for it. In turn you will feel a sense of respect for yourself and higher ups.

It is also important to be honest about what you can give your loved ones. If it is difficult for you to make a 7 pm dinner, ask to push it back to a time that is more convenient for you. In an ideal world we could keep every commitment and appease every colleague, friend, and family member, but that’s not realistic. Try communicating your needs with your family or partners about work. If it’s a tough week ask for some extra support. Make plans to do something special when things lighten up and then stick to those plans. If people in your life understand what is going on for you they are far more apt to give you what you need.

Sacrifices is part of achieving greatness,  but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of your well-being.

About the Author: Jennifer Byxbee is a therapist and creative arts therapies supervisor in New York City. She has worked as an art therapist for over 10 years  in a variety of settings. Art Therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the creative process in order to promote self awareness, esteem and insight. 

Emotional Intelligence For Powerful Leadership

Have you ever felt emotionally depleted? Frustrated at the direction a project is taking? Overwhelmed by the responsibilities you’re carrying, or unsure of decisions you have to make? The answer is surely yes. Whether an executive leader or entrepreneur, you’re still human.

Today, people are pretty detached from their emotional and spiritual worlds. Can you blame them? Barraged by immense pressures at work and often a chaotic home life, it’s a miracle anyone takes the time to pay attention to their emotional state.

But you should.

At the core, human beings are feeling creatures, and our emotions dictate so much more than we’re aware, including decisions we make and actions we take everyday. Often times, this comes in the form of reacting to others. A lot of these reactive tendencies are built into our inability to attend to our own emotions, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Everything you do takes emotional energy, but how you acknowledge, process and use that emotional energy is up to you. Leaders are people too, and like everyone else, have to manage the highs and lows that are their own emotions, and often, the emotions of others.

One of the greatest tools leaders can possess is the ability to be mindful of their own emotions, and be masters of emotional regulation. Mastering this allows leaders to be active, and not reactive. Akin to a seeing a train coming down the track, you can learn to see your emotions as they approach, use the useful ones, and discard those that are not. In doing this you’re able to approach each new conversation with a fresh mind, leave useless emotional baggage at the door, be less reactive, become a better motivator, notice before you reach ‘empty’ so you can proactively recharge and continue to inspire those around you.

Once you learn to become present, you’re on the right path to being able to regulate your own emotional state, to become an astute observer (and processor) of your and others emotions – and a powerfully empathetic leader.


About the Author: Lianna is the guest blogger for popexpert, and a lifetime learner. Connect on Twitter @Lianna_Turchin. 

company culture: bonding over 4-minute exercise intervals

We care a lot about company culture at popexpert and do our best to inspire each other to continue growing and playing in different ways, from finding great concerts to attend together to sharing tips on top experts and classes.

Today marked a new milestone thanks to Casey Wilson who joined our engineering team just a couple weeks ago. Yesterday Casey started talking with a couple other team members about doing quick bits of interval training throughout the day, and today we put it into practice.

At 10:30am she got out her iPhone and turned on tunes encouraging us to do a four-minute interval workout alternating push ups and sit ups.  We added a fun twist for the sit ups by breaking into pairs and interlocking legs so we could clap hands together each time we came up, encouraging us to keep going even as we felt the burn.

I felt immediately energized after and also a great sense of bonding with the team. Highly recommend trying it out.  We’re going to go in for round two later this afternoon.

What are your tips for sneaking in exercise even in a busy day?

~ Ingrid

Company: it’s our first birthday!

popexpert homepageThey say time flies when you’re having fun!  It is hard to believe that one year ago we took the leap to start building popexpert, and I am just overwhelmed with the way our vision and message has resonated.

Thousands of talented experts have joined us across a number of categories – from meditation and music to parenting and language and everything in between! It’s been incredibly inspiring to see how much they are impacting the lives of their students and clients. People from all over the world now have access to, and are meeting over popexpert’s live video with some truly amazing experts.

When we started popexpert a year ago we placed two big bets:

1) That expertise delivered over live video would be a big thing

2) That there is a coming wave of interest in broader access to personal development

These have both unfolded even faster than we had anticipated which is a good thing.  But, there is something else that was really important to us.  We wanted to build a company that is anchored in quality and fueled by a passion for making it as easy as booking a meeting in your calendar to meet with an incredible expert that can help you learn and grow.

Today we rolled out a new homepage that makes it even easier to find an incredible expert to meet over a live face-to-face video session by offering curated content and videos from some of our favorite experts.

Check it out when you get a chance and feel free to read more about it here.

Thank you for the incredible support, lots more to come in the year ahead…

Founder/CEO, popexpert

Press: interview with Good Startups

Starting a company is no easy task but there are some great resources out there designed to provide support and guidance throughout the entrepreneurial journey. One of which is Good Startups, an awesome site founded by Brendan Murphy, who is also one of our Startup and Relationship Experts.

Brendan posted an interview with our founder/CEO, Ingrid Sanders, about her experience building popexpert and the importance of aligning your business with your passions.

Check it out here:

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press: popexpert featured in the daily muse

popexpert in the daily museVarci Vartanian at The Daily Muse published a nice piece about popexpert today that showcases some of our great experts:

Want to learn how to play the ukulele or become a beekeeper, or need a creative kick-in-the-pants to start your own business?

Not a problem. Say hello to PopExpert, a new web-based way to find an expert on just about anything and learn via live one-on-one video chat.

Read the full article on The Daily Muse.


popexpert is hiring! seeking 2 talented ruby software engineers

popexpert is currently seeking two talented ruby engineers to add to our team. It is a great opportunity to join one of the hottest education startups in San Franscisco with over $2M in funding from top investors including Jeff Skoll, Ken Howery, Learn Capital and others.

See the full job description on stackoverflow:

popexpert office in jackson square neighborhood of san franciscoYou could be working with us from our office in the trendy San Francisco neighborhood in Jackson Square!

Press: WIRED magazine on meditation in the workplace


The popexpert team was featured in the most recent print issue of Wired magazine in an article focused on how meditation is being used as a way to increase productivity, reduced stress and improve team connections in the workplace.  Also featured is Kenneth Folk, one of our top teachers on popexpert.  The photo was taken on the roof of our SF office during a team meditation session with Kenneth. Check out the article here:


Press: Dow Jones VentureWire Coverage

We had the privilege of talking with Lizette Chapman for Dow Jones VentureWire about our funding announcement and what we’re building at popexpert.  Check out her full article below:


VentureWire, Lizette Chapman, May 21, 2013

Offering mediation, yoga and other “lifelong learning” classes online, new startup Popexpert Inc. wants to make self realization as convenient as launching a browser.

Backed with $2 million from Learn Capital, Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group and Paypal Inc. co-founder Ken Howery, the San Francisco-based startup is similar in function to the dozen or so other online learning startups that have launched during the past year, but it has a distinct focus.

Unlike Lynda Inc., Coursera Inc. and Udacity Inc., which have respectively raised $103 million, $22 million and $20 million during the past year, Popexpert will not offer academic or skills courses geared toward career advancement.

“We are looking at the things that make you better at life, work and play. More EQ (emotional intelligence) than IQ,” said founder and Chief Executive Ingrid Sanders, adding that Popexpert courses will be geared toward helping people develop as human beings.

Still operating by private invitation only, Popexpert says it now has 1,000 experts teaching across ten categories including meditation, nutrition, relationships, productivity, career mentoring, language and music. All classes are taught via live video on an individual basis. Hourly classes are priced by each instructor and range from $30 to $250, with Popexpert taking an undisclosed percentage.

Ms. Sanders previously served as managing director, digital strategy for Targus Information Corp., which Neustar Inc. purchased for $650 million in late 2011, and general manager, online advertising for the Active Network. She said she founded Popexpert to meet what she saw as a gap in teaching life skills to the masses.

Following the sale of Targus Information, Ms. Sanders decided to take a one-year sabbatical while she eschewed all things tech in favor of pursuing health and balance.

She spent time with experts studying yoga, nutrition, meditation, relationships and the ukulele, earning a teaching certification in Jivamukti Yoga as a health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. After six months she decided to build Popexpert, largely out of her frustration in engaging these experts with old-fashioned tools when she knew better ones were within reach.

“When I look at the most successful people I know, they have the money to invest (in life skills) and they have the values to do so, but it’s unattainable because it’s too much of an effort to find the right experts, schedule them and try them out,” she said.

Although practicing meditation and yoga is usually associated with breathing deeply in a quiet and device-free room, Ms. Sanders says that learning such skills via video is possible. The six-person company is now working on perfecting the user experience to make it as simple and clutter-free as possible.

“Within 5-10 minutes you forget that the technology is there,” she said. “It’s incredible how much the technology fades into the background when it’s just two people and a screen.”

Other investors in Popexpert include Expansion Venture Capital, Mike Walsh of Structure Capital and David Tisch of TechStars NYC.

Document DJFVW00020130521e95lqe7z6 Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, All rights reserved. Copying & redistribution prohibited without permission of the publisher.

company: our first funding announcement!


popexpert, the live video expert marketplace that inspires and enables lifelong learning, secures $2 million from investors including Learn Capital, Jeff Skoll and Ken Howery

 popexpert makes it easy for people to discover, hire and meet talented experts over live one-to-one video sessions online

San Francisco, Calif. – May 21, 2013 – popexpert, inc. today announced it has raised $2 million in initial funding led by Learn Capital and including Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group and Ken Howery.

The funding will allow popexpert to further develop its marketplace that inspires and enables lifelong learning. Experts are available in a number of categories including meditation, nutrition, relationships, productivity, career mentoring, language and music.

“We believe learning from a talented expert should be as easy as booking time in your calendar and meeting online, and with popexpert that is now possible,” said Ingrid Sanders, founder and CEO of popexpert. “No matter how busy life gets, with popexpert we’ve created a unique, live, one-to-one video platform that makes it easy to continue learning in ways that lead to greater fulfillment, especially as the digital world becomes more a part of our daily lives.”

popexpert is currently available through private invitation and already has over 1,000 experts who have set up profiles across 10 categories that help you get better at life, work and play. Invitees can review these profiles and meet with experts for live, one-to-one video sessions using integrated payments, scheduling and video technology.

“Harnessing the Internet to accelerate learning is becoming increasingly common, but it remains challenging to locate world-class expertise for highly personalized one-to-one sessions,” said Rob Hutter from Learn Capital.  “By focusing on this problem and providing a compelling experience for consumers and expert providers, popexpert is well positioned to make a meaningful difference in a brand new marketplace category.”

Studies show that one-to-one learning is vastly superior to any other method.[1]

“The industry is ripe for transformation. The offline expert market opportunity is huge and is moving online due to the growing use of tablets, smart phones and computers with integrated cameras that make live one-to-one video sessions incredibly easy,” said Ken Howery, Chairman of popexpert. “The timing is right for this business, and this is the team to do it.”

The team at popexpert is grateful for the support of our investors including Learn Capital; Capricorn Investment Group and Jeff Skoll, first president of eBay; Ken Howery, PayPal co-founder; Expansion Venture Capital; Mike Walsh of Structure Capital; David Tisch, TechStars NYC and BoxGroup co-founder; Noah and Jonah Goodhart, Moat and WGI Group co-founders; Sachin Duggal Nivio and Shoto co-founder; Miki and Radha Agrawal of MRS Ventures; Mark Ein, Venturehouse Group founder; Justin Dangel, Consumer United co-founder; Jeremy Hinman, MongoMusic founder; Jonathan Segal, Director of independent film Norman; and Michael Chasen, Blackboard co-founder.

Visit to learn more and request an invitation.

About popexpert inspires and enables lifelong learning by making it as easy as booking a meeting in your calendar to learn something new from a talented expert over a live, one-to-one video session. We bring together talented people who have dedicated their time to developing expertise in meditation, nutrition, relationships, productivity, career, language, music, style and more to help you get better at life, work and play. popexpert is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit:

Media Contact:

Ingrid Sanders | Founder & CEO, popexpert | (415) 480-4767 |

[1] Benjamin Bloom: average student tops 2% with tutoring