Killing It

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart

Sheryl O’Loughlin Foreword by Steven Blank

Book

Sheryl O’Loughlin, the former CEO of Clif Bar, offers the ultimate life and business course. Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But the dirty, not-so-little secret among entrepreneurs is that whether they fail or succeed, they often pay a very high personal cost—divorce, addiction or missed opportunities—for the risks they take. The all-consuming lifestyle means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.

Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way. In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing businesses (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (at the Stanford Graduate School of Business). In detailing her journey—from massive growth at hip companies to near bankruptcy and a serious eating disorder—Sheryl tells it like it is: if you don’t invest in your well-being, your business will not succeed, nor will you.

Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions and concerns, including

• How do you prepare your significant other for your business venture? And how can you continue to support each other along the way?

• How do you immerse yourself in a startup while staying committed to family and meaningful friendships?

• How do you choose partners and investors who align with your core beliefs?

• How do you find joy in the day-to-day?

• How do you walk away and start again?

This is necessary reading for entrepreneurs at every stage.

Author

Sheryl O’Loughlin

Sheryl O’Loughlin earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is the CEO of REBBL super-herb beverages, and she previously served as the CEO of Clif Bar, where she led the concept development and introduction of Luna Bars, and was the cofounder and CEO of Plum Organics. She is the former executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in Santa Rosa, California, with her husband, Patrick, and her two sons.

Reviews

“A must-read for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur or stay in the game.” —Brian Krumrei, Partner at TSG Consumer

Killing It is like the emotional handbook for entrepreneurs. Without a sustainable work life balance your business will not thrive.” —L. Hunter Lovins, President Natural Capitalism Solutions

A thought-provoking and honest work by a successful entrepreneur with insights into the realities and issues of starting and running a business. Highly recommended. Library Journal

Sheryl O’Loughlin brings a unique and deeply personal perspective to what it means to launch a successful start-up. Sheryl opens up about the true costs, as well as the joys, of entrepreneurship. This book is a trusted companion for business leaders. —Michael Farello, managing partner at Catterton

“Sheryl’s personal experience as a leader, mentor, and founder gives her the ammunition to deliver more than just platitudes. Killing It is the kind of practical advice entrepreneurs need to thrive in the world of churn.” —Professor Irv Grousbeck, Consulting Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Killing It! is a relevant and incisive look at what being an entrepreneur is really about. Sheryl’s deeply personal account provides authentic insight into not only the much-lauded upsides of entrepreneurship, but also the considerable toll it can take on one’s relationships and well-being. This is a must-read for female leaders in particular, who are too often expected to be all things to all people.” —Betsy Holden, Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Co., Former CEO Kraft Foods

I adore this book. Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult-and yet most rewarding-career paths anyone can take. In Killing It Sheryl brilliantly captures the ups and downs of her own journey and distills them into a guiding principles every entrepreneur should use. —Nancy Duarte, bestselling author and CEO of Duarte, Inc.

So many aspiring entrepreneurs have no idea what they’re in for when dreaming about their start-up. Sheryl O’Loughlin’s Killing It! condenses decades worth of hard-earned wisdom into a compelling and personal manual for success both as an entrepreneur and a human being. —Jon Owsley, managing partner at Catterton

“Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? Sheryl O’Loughlin’s book, Killing It, is the perfect guide to help you answer that question. Jam-packed with real-life stories of what it truly takes to be successful, Killing It also provides a wealth of sage advice and critical questions to ask yourself and your team as you get your company from the idea stage to the exit.” —Denise Brosseau, serial entrepreneur and author of Ready to Be a Thought Leader?

“Killing It is a testament to the years of experience Sheryl has an entrepreneur. Her advice is savvy and hard-won. If you aspire to start a successful business, and live your life, this is necessary reading.” —Dr. William Silver, Dean , School of Business and Economics, Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University

I adore this book. Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult-and yet most rewarding-career paths anyone can take. In Killing It Sheryl brilliantly captures the ups and downs of her own journey and distills them into a guiding principles every entrepreneur should use. —Nancy Duarte, bestselling author and CEO of Duarte, Inc.