Talent   //   May 9, 2024

A day in the life of a Gen Z startup founder who swapped big-city life for the local touch

Amrita Bhasin is a 23-year-old who is currently calling Portland, Maine her home. 

It’s probably not the first place, or even the first five places, you’d think of for a young entrepreneur who is looking to kickstart her company, get funding, and grow connections. Since she grew up and went to school in the Bay Area, she wanted to see what life would be like on the East Coast. Roux Institute, Northeastern University is what brought her here. 

She started building her company in her undergrad at University of California, Berkeley, and even spent some time at the Hacker House in San Francisco. The Hacker House is one of many tech accelerator residences where like-minded entrepreneurs can live under the same roof, dedicating all of their time to building new projects.

Bhasin still very much spends almost her entire day dedicated to her company, Sotira, a SaaS startup that lets you buy and sell surplus inventory. But, her work routine looks very different from how it is when she’s on the East Coast – something she is happier for.

Late mornings

Unlike other (suspiciously unrealistic) day-in-the-life accounts, Bhasin’s doesn’t start with a 4 a.m. wake-up call. That time is actually closer to her bedtime.

Instead, Bhasin wakes up just a few minutes before her first meeting, which usually starts at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. If there is a significant amount of prep that needs to be done, she’ll give herself 30 minutes to an hour before the call. If not, she’s out of bed just 15 minutes before. 

“This past summer, when I was still kind of figuring out what a good work schedule was, I was waking up at the same time every single day, and it was kind of messing up my schedule,” said Bhasin. “So now, I’m more subscribed to the belief that I wake up before my first meeting. It’s been a lot better for me because I don’t go to bed at the same time [consistently each night].”

She heads to the office, just a short drive away from the house she is sharing with others in the residency, puts her homemade lunch in the fridge, and gets going on the rest of the meetings for the day. 

Those meetings range from calls with potential new customers or investors to a fundraising readiness program for female founders. Every day is different, but being in an office has been a huge benefit for her – providing the human interaction she enjoys, and needs given she’s moved to a new location.


Because of a later start, lunch is also a bit later and usually not until late afternoon. One of Bhasin’s favorite things about Portland is the food – largely farm-fresh. She makes all her meals with local ingredients, making it a highlight of her day. In fact, she’s a regular at the nearby bakery, where the baker saves her a loaf of bread every week, and the local cheese shops. 

“The thing I like the most is everything is local and independent and it provides a level of character that goes beyond the old buildings and living in New England,” said Bhasin. “The lady who works at my favorite bakery knows my name and recognizes me. That’s something I didn’t have in San Francisco.”

One thing she doesn’t get: how people eat lobster every day. She’s happy to stick to her other farm-to-table favorites.

After lunch, there are usually afternoon events happening on campus, which include pitch events from other founders, socials, or visiting speakers. 

Break time

At around 5 p.m., when most people might be wrapping up their day, Bhasin goes for her long walk, which can range anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half, or 8,000 to 10,000 steps, depending on which loop she does. 

“That walk during the day is very refreshing,” said Bhasin. “Everyone talks about it on campus, like ‘let’s go on a walk by the promenade,’ and I think that’s really important to me.”

But the seasonality depends on a lot of what she does during this time, as well as on her weekends. She and her peers also have spent time skiing, maple sugar shaking, sailing and hiking.

“I didn’t just move here to work, I also get to live, so I’m enjoying the local things,” said Bhasin. “There’s a lot of access to the outdoors. It’s totally changed my view on where I want to live and work in the future. I don’t think I’m a big city person. I don’t want to have to drive five hours to go on a hike.” 

Wrapping up

After a solid break, she usually takes a few more meetings with folks who are on the West Coast and are three hours behind. 

“We have phone booths and private rooms, which I can pop into whenever,” said Bhasin. “I like it because there is a combination of a school and an office. You can have those water cooler conversations, meet people and have an open office. People know where to find you, and then you can go into the office rooms and reserve them.”

The office closes at 10 p.m. On a good day, she heads out around 8 p.m., but hasn’t been a stranger to staying there until lights are out. 

Dinner and bed

That means dinner isn’t until 10 p.m. In a lot of ways, she feels like she is still operating on a Pacific time zone schedule where she works late into the night and starts later in the morning so she is on for their core working hours. On top of that, her friends and family are in California, so any catching up with them has to happen when they’re off work and it’s later at night in Maine. That time is well worth it for Bhasin, who hasn’t seen her family since January – the longest she’s ever gone without seeing them. 

“It’s hard because the easiest way to get here from California is by flying to Boston and then getting a bus up to Maine,” said Bhasin. “It almost feels like I’m in a different country in terms of how far away I am. It makes me realize how big America is.”

When she doesn’t decide to have dinner at home, she and her friends explore local options like movies at the historic theater, the Portland Art Walk, and museums.

She is in bed anywhere between midnight and 2 a.m.

It’s nothing like her life in busy San Francisco, and that’s something she has learned since her time here. Her residency ends in August, and then it will be up to her to decide if she will stay or return to a city much more well-known for its entrepreneurship.