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Are you heading toward burnout?



Contributed by Shawn Johal, business growth coach, leadership speaker and co-founder of DALS Lighting, Inc. He is also an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Montreal chapter. 

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” —Nikola Tesla

Life is busy, and focus is hard to come by. We have a plethora of responsibilities, and it’s often hard to choose where to focus our efforts. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with no idea where to start?

“Overwhelmed” is often our default mode. Many of us have simply gotten “used to” it. Instead of taking time to consider how we use our energy, we counterbalance feeling overwhelmed by going “all in”. But what if we are going 1,000 miles an hour in the wrong direction?

This tendency to go all in can quickly lead to burnout. As defined by World Psychiatry, “Burnout is a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors.” It’s that emotional, physical and mental exhaustion we experience when we can’t keep up or when we’re utterly drained by going too hard.

The results of a Gallup poll bring the problem into focus: Of 7,500 full-time employees, 23 percent reported feeling burnt out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burnt out sometimes.

We all have stressors in our lives. It’s how we cope with them that matters most. Manage your energy reserves effectively and you can prevent a complete burnout and even maintain a positive mindset

Follow these steps to help you navigate stress and  protect your energy.

1. Remain aware.

Above all else, you need to know when your energy is at a near critical level. There are different types of stresses—not all of them are necessarily bad. It requires introspection and self-analysis to understand if certain stressors are negative and if a burnout is around the corner.

Stop everything you are doing. Go outside, sit down and breathe. Take a few moments to recognize how you feel. Anger? Excitement? Agitation? Seek to identify any stressors that are causing negative emotions.

2. Write it down.

Once you know there is an issue, write down your thoughts. Take time to journal and document the source of your stress. Rate your energy, stress and anxiety levels on a scale of 1 to 10. The very act of writing down your scores will force introspection.

If scores are lower than 5 in any area, it’s time to create solutions and identify ways to manage your energy, stress and anxiety.

3. Free your brain.

Take a moment to identify every to-do item on your list. Be detailed. Writing down every last item that must be done offers a valuable perspective.

Then, rank them in order of importance and urgency. Begin tackling them one by one depending on where they stand.

Ideally, there are tasks you can delegate or simply ignore if they aren’t important enough.

eisnehower box The Eisenhower Box is a very simple decision-making matrix: It’s designed to help you decide where your energy goes and focus on the tasks that matter most. It gives you the option to step back and eliminate jobs that don’t need to be done—or at least not by you. 

4. Connect.

As human beings, we often have the desire to present an invincible front. We don’t like showing vulnerability of any kind. Yet, we know deep down that we have friends, peers and family members willing to listen to us and offer a helping hand if we were to reach out.

Here’s a trick I use to stay connected to my network. I make a list of the 15 people I most appreciate speaking with. Over a 15-week period, I call one person per week to catch up and share ideas with. I often express my fears or anxiety, looking for experience-sharing that could help me get back on track.

It is incredible how much compassion I find when I am willing to put myself out there.

5. Identify your energy buckets.

A key aspect of protecting energy is understanding where it goes and, more importantly, where it should go. Take the time to identify where you are using most of your energy. There are different ways of looking at energy buckets. My mentor, Warren Rustand, has taught me the value of using the following model: Family + Business + Personal + Community.

Audit yourself: Break down how much of your time is going into each of these buckets. Adjust according to what your ideal situation is. It’s likely you are using too much of your energy in at least one of those buckets, which is creating stress. Find the right balance to help you get back on track.

6. Spend time in nature.

This may sound simplistic, but ask yourself if you are spending enough time outside in nature. I have found that walking and biking has brought tremendous clarity and releases stress almost immediately.

And please: don’t use weather as an excuse. Rain and snow have never been harmful. Fresh air and time in nature is effective at any time of year. Make the most of it.

Once the burnout threshold is crossed, it is a very long road back. Do not underestimate the challenge of gaining back your optimal levels of energy once they are lost. It’s best to invest time before you reach that breaking point. 

If you choose to be honest, the world will reward you with the support you are looking for. You must seek it out. I have always found comfort in openly expressing my fears and trusting those around me to offer their support. Give it a try if you find yourself gasping for air.

Remember: You are not alone.

Shawn Johal is a Scaling Up Certified Coach currently working with several entrepreneurs and their businesses to help accelerate their growth, while finding personal balance and happiness.

The post Are you heading toward burnout? appeared first on THE EO BLOG.

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28 growth hacking strategies I’ve used to get web design clients



Hi guys! During my years in university I bootstrapped my way to my first design clients and I got pretty good at it.

Over the years friend kept asking me how I pulled it off. I figured why not write about it and send a link to the next person who is asking. It's quite a long article so I only included the key takeaways here. Click here if you prefer to read the full article.

Phase 1: Let the world know you’re one hell of a web designer [Awareness] 🚀

#1 Create alternative mockups for famous existing websites

#2 Build a free website and share it with your network

#3 Do free projects and demand they share them with their network

#4 Establish yourself as the web designer for [Niche]

Phase 2: Get people to approach you for a new website [Acquisition] 🚀

#5 Use a LinkedIn Bot

#6 Send website-review-decks to attract web design clients

#7 Reach out to local design agencies

#8 Do a viral give-away with a free website

#9 Build your own website and ask friends to share them with their network

#10 Include your website in the footer of websites you made in the past

#11 Send cold emails to business with outdated websites

#12 Cold call business with outdated websites

#13 Use paid advertising to attract web design clients

#14 Pay your friends 10% for every lead they bring in

#15 Use local SEO to attract local clients

#16 Send handwritten letters to local businesses

#17 Use Job boards

Phase 3: Get people to set up a sales meeting with you [Activation] 🚀

#18 Attach a contact form to your own website

#19 Use retargeting advertisements to people who visited your website

Phase 4: Sign the contract and close the deal [Revenue] 🚀

#20 Create urgency: Inform your client your calendar is filling up rapidly

#21 Create urgency: Inform your client you’re about to increase your pricing

#22 Create urgency: Offer a 2 months free maintenance if they sign this week

Phase 5: Get clients to pay you a recurring income [Retention] 🚀

#23 Offer a monthly maintenance package

#24 Offer an SLA with a 24 hour response time

Phase 6: Get a passive stream of new web design clients [Referral] 🚀

#25 Offer 3 months free maintenance for every referral

#26 Offer a financial incentive for every referral

#27 Record your clients when you show the final version of a website

#28 Add an outstanding footer referral to your clients website

I hope this helps you, if you're trying to get some web design clients 🙂

submitted by /u/DaveDaveYES

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Know When You Arrive! Recognizing the Signs of Success… by @StarrHall



by Starr Hall 

How many times have you actually stopped to appreciate your hard work and small successes? Like most people in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t even know what success looked like. I was unreasonably hard on myself and felt unaccomplished simply because I wasn’t making millions after two years in business.

It wasn’t until I mapped out my business plan as a journey that I realized it is the basic elements that form the foundation for larger successes, or what I like to call…wins.  I began to piece it together when my phone would ring after I landed a feature, launched a new website, grew my email list week-over-week, etc… Clients would hire me based on something they read or an email that was shared with them.

Entrepreneurs tend to forget that it is the small victories added up that equate to big ones.

I have tracked some milestones and “win signals” to watch for as you grow your business. Here’s how to know when you are succeeding:


1. Hooked Stage:

In the beginning stages of setting out after your dream or starting a new business, it is taking the first few steps that is truly the largest of small victories. This is the stage when you’ve designed your brand, launched it, and consumers learn what it is you are offering. More than that, they are hungry to hear more. The win:  they purchase, refer to you, love the product and show it by leaving a review. In short, they are hooked. Celebrate this!  It’s a success.

2. Smalls’ Stage:

“You’re killin it, Smalls!” (Yes, that Smalls from The Sandlot)  This is my motto whenever I achieve or reach a small weekly goal. Yes, weekly! The Smalls stage isn’t just about hitting it; more importantly, it’s about focusing on what you did to land the hit. For ex. when you step out of your comfort zone to call someone you never thought you could reach and they answer the phone to hear more. Or when you socially engage and reach out to 100 people a day online instead of sitting back waiting for them to find you. I commit daily to “killin it” by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing at least 5 things that make me want to upchuck. That feeling…it’s a success. Break open some champagne! You deserve it.

3. Defining BIG Stage:

Once you define what BIG looks like, you have achieved success. I’m talking about vision boards, coloring it on a wall, visually putting your BIG vision out there publicly.  This is a HUGE win. Once you have a clear vision of where you see your product or service fitting into people’s lives, then define further how many people you see using the product or buying the service.  You are then ready to GPS your entire BIG journey. Success…it’s so small and yet so big at the same time.

4. Shameless Stage:

When you build up the self-confidence to talk about your product or service in a way that is compelling and unapologetic, you have arrived. When your passion turns into excitement and unstoppable action-taking which translates into media features and social media influencers wanting to discuss it with you, this is gold. When customers or clients are waiting in line to give you money, this is full-blown, all-out success. Bask in it and breathe it in. Congratulations are in order!


There are hundreds of signs every day that represent success, but you must be open to seeing them . . . And even more committed to celebrating them. Revenue growth is great and should be the end goal primarily, but you can’t generate revenue without hooking your market, “killin it” outside of your comfort zone, defining what big means to you, and shamelessly self-promoting every step of the way. At each of these stages when I celebrate, I say out loud—REPEAT. Keep on keeping on . . . but enjoy the small stuff at every stage. It’s a great way to live and build a brand simultaneously.



Starr Hall is an entrepreneur who has been in PR/branding/marketing since she was 9 years old. She has owned several small businesses and has worked with dozens of Fortune brands, such as Sprint, RIM, UPS, NHL, Activision, Samsung, Lucky Brand, Downtown Las Vegas, Bragg Live Foods, Experian, Downey Savings & Loan/USBank, True Religion, Express Clothing, and Century 21. She is the author of The Social Wave and Get Connected.

She is also a former columnist and/or contributing writer for Entrepreneur, MSNBC, AOL, AmEx Small Business OPEN, Business Insider, PR Newswire and Biz Trends. Starr was also a contributor to “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars” by Mitch Meyerson.





The post Know When You Arrive! Recognizing the Signs of Success… by @StarrHall appeared first on She Owns It.

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A Bigger Truth About Restaurant Food Delivery



Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

I was listening to Dan Primack’s podcast on Pro Rata and he was interviewing Senator Klobucher who is now publicly and vocally speaking out against Uber purchasing Grubhub and has tried to mobilize against this.

Her argument is that if Uber buys Grubhub (which itself once merged with Seamless) it would mean that Uber Eats / Grubhub would control half the market and that with DoorDash the two together would control 90% of the market. I think that’s a largely flawed fight to be picking and of all the uses of Senator Klobuchar’s I could think of some much more productive fights to be having.

For starters Uber itself has had to lay off 27% of its workforce due to the pandemic and has been severely impacted financially from the crisis with no immediate respite in sight. Its core business was already struggling to become profitable, so having tertiary businesses like food delivery that can deliver needed profits would be welcome to their financial stability. And the market would still have DoorDash and PostMates duking it out as well as the potential that players like Instacart broaden their business one day or Amazon gets into food delivery.

Even more likely is eventual technology disruption where drones deliver foods and make it hard for existing car delivery services to compete. It won’t happen right away but I’ve seen some innovative companies doing exactly this in places like Australia where they are taking a more liberal approach to allowing drone deliveries. Therein lies the advantages of free markets and competition and if we really believed it were that easy to buy off your largest competitor and be a monopolist we’d all be surfing on AOL TimeWarner portals.

But the broader issue that hasn’t garnered much press attention is how the restaurant industry itself is being transformed and what tools a modern restaurant will need to compete. What is the Shopify of the restaurant industry? I have some compelling data that suggests it may just become ChowNow.

We know that the restaurant business already operates on thin margins and many struggle to survive. So when delivery services came along many were willing to pay the fee to try and increase business. It was only about 10–15% of their actual total revenue per month so for many it wasn’t a battle worth fighting — they just put up with the food delivery company fees. Customers were happy and restaurants focused on their in-store business.

The problem for the restaurants is that the more successful the “aggregators” of customer demand become over time, the less power the restaurants themselves have individually. This will largely be true whether you have 2 strong competitors or 5 because unless a delivery company can make a profit it won’t continue to stay in business.

The delivery companies own the customer relationship and can drive traffic to the most profitable restaurants for them. Obviously if you have a great restaurant brand with differentiated food people search for you by name but for many people looking for pizza, sushi, Mexican food, Thai food, whatever, you might go with the choice put in front of you if it’s being recommended or delivered more quickly. The delivery companies also own many of the assets like the photography so they can make certain options look much more attractive.

So just like when Groupon came out many small merchants welcomed the uptick in traffic, without owning the customer you lose the most valuable asset — the ability to re-market to your customer base and encourage them to become more loyal and more frequent customers. You lose the ability to up-sell and cross-sell products. And just like with Groupon the small businesses ended up having many unprofitable customers.

At Upfront we always took the approach that we wanted to back startups that enabled merchants to own the customer relationship and to increase profits by becoming excellent at marketing and serving ones most loyal customers.

So several years ago we backed a company called ChowNow that enables restaurants to offer self-service ordering for pick-up or delivery and the restaurant owns all of the customer information and relationship — ChowNow is simply a SaaS enablement product.

The company has done well over the past several year but never really captured the same press mindshare as the food delivery companies because when a company shows up at your house you get to know that brand rather than the tech that enables restaurants.

Covid-19 has changed all of that. Whereas pickup & delivery may have been 10–15% of a restaurant’s business before it’s currently 100% and when it’s your entire business the thought of paying huge commissions to a third-party delivery service becomes much less attractive. So while many restaurants knew they eventually needed to invest in better order management software, many had been putting it off.

But just as many product or apparel companies were happy selling at Amazon, Walmart or Nordstrom in the past and have lately realized the importance of Shopify and serving customers directly — so, too, are restaurants. Enter ChowNow.

What data do I have to make the case?

  • ChowNow now has 17,000 restaurants using its SaaS platform for take-out and delivery and is adding more than 2,000 / month right now (and trending up)
  • 10 million diners now use the ChowNow ordering platform vs. 24 million for GrubHub, so like Shopify while they built the customer base slowly and with capital efficiency they are now rivaling the bigger players in footprint
  • Last year they were serving 50,000 customers / day through their platform and did approximately $500 million in GMV (the value of the orders placed), this year they are on track to do $3 billion (with a B) and expect to end the year at a revenue run rate that may top $100 million (yes, I asked for permission to publish these numbers).

If you want to see a short spot that outlines the importance of the restaurant industry arming itself with better software tools to serve and market to their customers you may enjoy this 60-second video that makes it clear why it matters. It speaks volumes to why we all love our local restauranteurs and want to see them survive …

Or if you want to see the argument laid out clearly by a customer, look no further than Motorino Pizza in NYC who posted this note that appears before you enter their website:

A Bigger Truth About Restaurant Food Delivery was originally published in Both Sides of the Table on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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