Episode 161.5 – Green Apple Slice


How to Avoid Burnout as a Startup Founder



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss an EU-Startups article, “How to Avoid Burnout as a Startup Founder” by Bernardo Arnaud.


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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett, another episode of Green Apple Slices coming your way where every Monday, I always call up Rachel Fisch. She has a new title. I’m not sure if she’s going to answer the phone anymore. She might too big for me. But Rachel — there she is, the Accountants & Alliances for Sage Canada person. I don’t know. I feel like there needs to be like a noun in there so I’m going to add person at the end.

    Rachel: I mean you finally got my title right so I figured it was about time to change it. Yeah. No, it’s actually really cool, Accountants & Alliances. It just allows me to not only focus on accountants, which I know is shocking, but also some of the partnerships and alliances that we’ve built out to kind of manage some of those relationships too. It’s pretty cool. It’s a very positive move.

    John: That’s awesome. Well, congratulations. I’m glad to ride your coattails on that train. It gets me nothing. But otherwise, it’s all good.

    Rachel: It gives you every Monday morning with me, John Garrett.

    John: Ah, there it is. There it is.

    Rachel: Aha.

    John: Finally. Okay, you’re right. You’re right. But we always get together. After I butcher your title, we talked through an article we find online about culture or employee engagement or things like that. I thought this one was really good. It applied more to start-ups. But that’s the angle that they’re taking. It was “How to Avoid Burnout as a Startup Founder.” It was an article by Bernardo Arnaud. It was in European, EU start-ups blog. I thought it was pretty interesting and something that would apply to a lot of people that are listening.

    Rachel: I did too. You often talk to accountants who have started their own firms or consultants who have started their own firms. In many cases, it’s because the soul was getting sucked out of them at other places so they felt like they had to, in order to be themselves, start their show. I’ve been part of a big four. I’m currently part of a large organization. But I also have run my own business. I just think there can be burnout in any of those, like kind of all of the above thing. Sometimes when pressure is coming on you from above and sometimes, it’s when you’re the business owner and pressure is coming at you from all directions. I just thought that it called some things out, recognizing it as burnout, which I think is really important. Then of course, some of the things that you can do to help that and how to create boundaries and stuff like that. I thought it was really useful across the board.

    John: Yeah, yeah. The one thing that’s hard, I mean, especially from my perspective basically having my own business here is, from a consulting perspective, is it’s hard to turn it off. It’s hard to just stop working because if you’re not working, then nothing gets done. Where in a team environment, you can mail it in a little bit and still get your work done and still get a pay check because the organization as a whole is making money. That’s the hard part. I guess he had an analogy here that owning a company is like owning a farm. It doesn’t matter if business is going well or not. The founder must still go to work and put in the same effort or maybe even more than the previous day.

    Rachel: Yeah. The work just all need to get done.

    John: That’s what’s hard. Yeah, you got to keep the momentum going. But some of the ways to prevent burnout I thought were cool. One was just basically avoid be feeling undervalued, which is something that the more you work, the harder it is to feel valued because you feel like you’re putting in so much more work than in what you’re getting out of it. You have to just recognize that.

    Rachel: I do like that the tips that he gave are just really practical tips. He’s talking about burnout isn’t just about overworking, but it’s about feeling undervalued. Maybe recognizing where you’ve made a contribution or celebrating your successes — which he actually talks about in a little bit more detail further down a little bit — I think it’s really important too. Because sometimes I think you can be so hard on yourself that even when you get a win, it’s like, “Okay, great. Yeah, that’s good. Now, next onto the next big problem that I have to solve.” Just taking some time I think to celebrate those wins will help with that feeling of undervalued.

    John: Another one too, it piggybacks on that a little too. It’s just don’t get wins just for win’s sake. Work smarter, not harder. If there’s no margin in the project or if they’re not going to get anything out of it, then don’t do it just to stay busy. Because you could be taking all that time finding better clients or better work instead of breaking even on something that’s really annoying and frustrating.

    Rachel: Yeah. Actually, for this one, I thought it was really good. Because I’ve actually found that in my current role, like my job at Sage. I’ve been here like a year — not a half yet but close — and sometimes, it feels like you’re banging down the door and, “Hey, do you want to come talk to me? Hey, let’s talk about Sage.” Meanwhile, there’s another firm down the street that’s like rolling out the red carpet, “Yes, come in. Help me transform my firm.” I’m like I’m not going to spend time banging down the door of one because it’s a big name or it’s recognizable, it would mean a lot on the market when I know that somebody genuinely wants to connect with me, wants me to work with them and really wants to improve the way they’re doing things. Because that’s what I can get excited about. It’s when — and I actually had that situation today where I’m actually helping them do something in their firm that is going to make a difference. I’ll work with any of those kind of firms any day.

    John: That’s fantastic, very cool. See? You’ve got the new title and everything. They’re rolling out the red carpet. Look at this.

    Rachel: They’re rolling it out, yeah.

    John: It took them no time, no time, no time.

    Rachel: That’s pretty cool.

    John: But yeah, if you guys want to see the rest of the article or read the whole thing, you can go to greenapplepodcast.com. There’s a link there. Also, don’t forget to hit subscribe so you catch Rachel and I every Monday or one-on-one interviews that I have with different people that have passions and interests outside of work that are shattering the stereotype. That’s on every Wednesday. If that’s maybe you and you think you’d like to do it, reach out through the website because that would be really awesome to showcase you on the Green Apple Podcast. That being said, I hope everyone has a good rest of the week and that includes you, Rachel.

    Rachel: Thanks.

    John: Ms. Accountants & Alliances person, thing. There we go. Have a good one. We’ll talk to you next week.

    Rachel: Thanks. Talk to you later.

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