Constantly answering phone calls, attending meetings, and searching for funding can take a toll on any entrepreneur’s mental health. While founders are trying to balance it all, many forget to take a little time for themselves. That’s why Damon Brown — Co-Founder of Cuddlr — believes the key to having a healthy company is having a healthy mind.
Cuddlr was a Tinder-esque app that launched in 2014, specifically for people who wanted to cuddle, not those looking to hook up. It quickly gained attention with more than 200,000 downloads in the App Store.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready for your company to go from zero to 100,” Brown said. “Because once it does, there’s no going back, and there’s no more free time.”
The app was set to be a hotspot for platonic friendships and affection. However, things backfired once users with ulterior motives began using the app, which was acquired in 2015 by NYC-based company Hiplex and rebranded to Spoonr.
Brown was forced to deal with all of the company’s hiccups while balancing life as a stay-at-home dad and freelancer. Things became hectic, and he realized there were many times when he almost burned out.
“When you’re on the verge of burnout, you have to focus on completing the tasks that are crucial for that day,” Brown said. “There’s no room for extra stuff.”
After nearing burnout one too many times, Brown shifted gears to his original love of writing and journalism. He uses the many skills he’s learned as a founder to pay it forward and teach the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Brown now spends his time as a public speaker and entrepreneurship coach, consulting founders on how to avoid burnout and make their companies thrive. He said that founders need to take time to meditate, exercise, and block off a few hours to themselves to avoid the burnout threshold.
“Founders have to know how to deal with things outside of the company,” Brown said. “Because at the end of the day, there is nothing more important than your mental health.”
He’s now the author to more than 20 books and also works as a columnist for Inc.com, teaching entrepreneurs how to accurately value their companies and services, to increase their work-life balance, and apply positive coping mechanisms.