14. Entrepreneurship: An Epic Adventure Or Crushing Health Hazard?

If you went into entrepreneurship to have flexible hours, you probably found that you don’t have time for anything – and your physical and mental health suffers. So what can you do? Dr Ferro, Caitlin Brauner, Caren DeCesaris, and Jason Gillikin discuss.



Dr Bill Ferro: Welcome to the Quacks and Hypochondriacs Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Bill Ferro. I started my career as a chiropractor in health clubs, turned into a gut health expert, so if you want to call me a quack, you would not be the first. On this podcast we’re going to give you the inside scoop on the so-called quacks of the world, the quackery claims, who you should and shouldn’t listen to, and why sometimes hypochondriacs have every right to be paranoid about their health. 

So today we’re going to be talking about entrepreneurship and cell phones ringing in the middle of your podcasts, which is about entrepreneurship, and how hard it is to keep yourself healthy while you’re trying to build a healthy business. So, with me, is Jason from Earfluence who actually his business is running podcasts and engineering podcasts. So welcome Jason. 

Jason: Hey doc, and thanks for having me on the show today. 

Dr Bill Ferro: My pleasure. So, we’re going to get right into this. I think the topic speaks to a lot of entrepreneurs who are putting their head down, they’re working their butt off and they’re like, I will be healthy when; when I sell for $20 million, I picture myself having a chef and yoga people everywhere and moving to Costa Rica.

And I will be healthy then, and I think that is the dream and the offset. And then the reality, what is it doing to squash that dream by not being healthy now? What are we actually sacrificing and giving up and what will happen and at the end of that road, how has that maybe even keeping us from getting there versus I think I’m doing this best for the company?

I might as well just stay up two more hours and knock this out at two in the morning, even though tomorrow is going to be horrible, because when I sell, then I’ll be healthy. So, Jason, I’d love to hear number one, how you decided to be stupid enough to start your own business and maybe kind of, if it has impacted your health in a positive or negative way, you know, kind of talk to us about that. 

Jason: Doc, I love this topic because it is such a challenge when you’re running a business to be mentally fit and physically fit, because you’re thinking about so many different things. So back in 2019, I had been working at the same job for 12 years and it was kind of a cushy job. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but you know, I worked eight to five basically.

 And on my lunch, I would go for a run or go to the gym or go do a workout or whatever it might be. I had health insurance, which was fun. And then, you know, 2019 I for whatever reason I got the itch, I was like, I’m just not being fulfilled. And I want to start something in entrepreneurship and you know, I love it. I do. 

But at the same time, it is a challenge. I mean, you think you have all this time, right? Because you make your own hours, but to figure out when you can actually go for a run when you can actually make time for yourself, because everything, every free moment that you have for me anyway, is about the business or looking after my kids and spending time with my family.

So yeah man, it is a challenge to do this, and I’m excited to unpack this and give some tips that I’ve learned along the way. But I want to learn from you too, because it’s something I’m still trying to learn from. 

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, you said this word a few times in there, and you said when, when, when can I find time for this? When? And that’s what we’re talking about here, right? Like when this happens, I’ll do this. When can I find time? So, we should maybe call this podcast Whenday. Whenday I’ll get to that. And Whenday I’ll get to this.

 The fact that you made the leap into entrepreneurship doesn’t actually surprise me, right? Because the reward to entrepreneurship is freedom. So, aren’t we free to go for a run? Aren’t we free to do this? Did we get there yet? What, when does the freedom happen with entrepreneurship? When is that day? 

And I think in our minds, it’s when I sell, when I’m financially comfortable. And really wasn’t the whole goal of entrepreneurship so you can maybe go for a little bit longer run if you wanted to, so interesting dynamic, everything we’re going for, we’re actually running in the opposite direction of.

Jason: Yeah. Meanwhile, you know, now I’m up at five in the morning trying to get stuff done before my kids wake up, right. And then staying up until late at night to get things done. And it’s like, wait a minute. What, what happened here? 

Dr Bill Ferro: Also joining us is Caitlin and Caren. And in full disclosure, they work with Betr Health. Caitlin is a new addition and Caren also somewhat new. So, both of them have worked with entrepreneurs have started their own businesses as well. So, Caitlin, why don’t you give us a little bit background and tell us, A, when you took the leap into entrepreneurship and maybe give us a little bit of how you think it was better for your health or worse for your health.

Caitlin: Yeah, definitely. So, I was in the corporate workspace in New York. Working in entertainment, and, you know, same as Jason, I had secure health insurance. I was going to the gym on lunch breaks.  Granted I have always worked in public relations, so that is kind of a 24-hour job, especially when you’re in entertainment.

Cause you’re going to shows, you’re busy all the time.  However, I squeezed it in and I was covered and I made it work until an old colleague of mine and myself decided to start an LLC with some other entertainment clients that we were very passionate about.

So, you know, this was kind of one of those things when, you know, you always hear people saying we all have the same amount of hours in a day, and then you’re kind of like, well, when you’re running your own business, you know, you have, eight clients and it’s only you and one other person kind of trying to get this off the ground.

I mean, you’re the one answering the phones, the emails, you’re building the strategy, you’re pitching the new clients. You’re, you know, I was traveling to photo shoots. I had meetings all over Manhattan and I was paying out of pocket to fly to Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta. I was definitely in a space where it was work, work was the priority. I mean, I was having my food delivered for lunch.

I was, you know, it was eight o’clock and all of a sudden, I was realizing like, oh, I have to go out to eat, to grab something because I didn’t cook anything today. I was with clients until late at night and everything in Manhattan revolves around grabbing drinks. So, I was definitely not the healthiest that I was at all.

I mean, I couldn’t find the time to go to the gym and I was paying for an exorbitantly expensive, health insurance plan when meanwhile, I had my health insurance plan, but I wasn’t eating healthy and I was out all the time. 

It’s definitely tough. I mean, I’m, I’m wondering for you guys to just at least what I’m, what I’ve experienced, you know, how has Jason mentioning you getting up early in the morning to get his work done? Because he has kids, you’re building this business and you’re being an entrepreneur, but just for both of you, I mean, how has, how has this affected your family life?

Dr Bill Ferro: back to that question. One second. I want to introduce Caren here. She’s waiting in the wings. So, Caren, just give us an introduction to yourself and maybe some little anecdote of when you started your own business, how it affected your health or didn’t affect your health. That’d be great.

Caren: I think what I can offer here is something a little bit different because I have been like a serial entrepreneur, I would call myself throughout the last 10 years of my life, and I’m at the point where I am able to filter out those things that I maybe thought I wanted to do and actually don’t really want to do. And I’m really putting focus on the things that I actually want to do. Not that I think I need to do.  So that’s what I feel like I can offer here is, as an example, like I used to do a lot of speaking to sororities and, I would go and, you know, that’s a whole thing on its own is trying to first get in, get the contacts.

And I would just do things for free all the time. And I actually had to come to terms with allowing myself to know, yes, I can do things for free because you hear all these podcasts and all these people saying “know your worth”, but you know what I, you know, you have to just kind of know, hey, it actually works.

When you do something for free, you show what you have to offer people like you, they like your energy. That’s what you’re bringing, it’s really the energy. So, knowing, you know, you can put aside your ego, put aside what everyone else is saying. So, I think the big theme of what I’m trying to share is just putting yourself aside from what you hear and listening to your intuition about what, you know, so like with that example, I used to do that speaking.

I used to do all that. And then somewhere along the way, I found myself wanting to do something else. And I was like, why am I doing this? You know, do I even enjoy it? Am I even enjoying it now? And I wasn’t. And then years later I came back to it and I’m like, you know, I kind of missed that, but I came back to it with like, an actual desire to do it, not like, oh, I need to do it.

So, I think part of self-care in entrepreneurs on is being able to do those check-ins with yourself and really being aware of where you are at that exact stage of your life in each moment. Because sometimes we keep doing things because it’s our identity. So, that’s a whole other thing is allowing yourself to stay separate from that identity so that you can, you know, continue doing what you love.

And, that’s where the whole thing comes from. Entrepreneurism is doing what you love and letting it shine through you.

Dr Bill Ferro: I totally agree. My wife has a prime example of this it’s somewhat of her industry. So, she’s a newscaster. And when we first got married, we were living in New York and she was working in Philadelphia and she’s already got to like a top market. 

And then her agent was like, well, we got this weekend anchor, cause you want to be an anchor. She was a reporter in Philadelphia, she wanted to be an anchor well this weekend anchor position Raleigh, North Carolina. And I was like, no way, I am not going to Raleigh. I live in long island. I got my practice right here.

I just opened up a second practice and she’s like, no, we’re going because, you’ve now hired other folks and you’re opening up these chiropractic offices in gym, so you can work and do it down there. And it’s a feeder system, right? I go to Raleigh for three years. Then I can go back to New York. I can get on the network and then I’ll be hosting this show.

And what ends up happening in that industry is probably like other entertainment. Like, this is what I have to do. This is what the course is for me. This is what the plan is for me. And when, when she gets to Raleigh, she would always say anyone that would ever ask her, well, I’m not going to be here. In three years.

I’m going to be in New York. I’m going to be in these big markets. You know, so it’s 17 years later and we’re still here because she works for ABC, it’s owned by Disney, it’s an amazing company, and the cost of living is amazing. Our lifestyle is amazing, but all the things she thought, it would plague her for 10 years before she finally realized, wait a minute, I don’t need to do that.

Just so I can say, hey, I did this. Oh right. You moved back to New York and they pay you more money. But the cost of living is five times more, but it was always that bug that was keeping her actually feeling, not happy and unfulfilled. Because she felt like she was stuck in this position, as it turns out, it’s like, you have the best position in the world that you it’s, it’s an 11-minute commute back to your home every day.

You’re two hours from the beach. You know, that identity is what also keeps her from saying maybe I should do my own thing. Wait, what would happen if I’m no longer Amber Rupinta, the news lady, right?

Caren: I think it’s separating from an identity and it’s just allowing yourself to be everything. You’re everything. We’re just, I mean, life is short. We’re just here on this planet. Nothing matters. Like why do we attach ourselves to this, that, this, like, we can just be a clown one day and then we can be a performer one day and then we can work at Starbucks. Do what you want.

Dr Bill Ferro: When I had the chiropractic offices, and I had about seven of them, and then I grew them to about 30, I basically stopped practicing. So, I went to school for eight years in practice for seven. And so, when I, when my wife was like, are you crazy?

You’re not going to practice anymore? And I said, I’m just passionate about this other thing, and I lost my identity a bit. It’s like, well, what am I going to do if I’m not? And I just realized like, well, I’m just going to help people, cause that’s what I set out to do anyway. And this is going to help me scale it.

But it was a tough transition because now people always ask me what I do. And I’m like, well, I’m doctor by chiropractic trade, but it’s such a weird thing to have to transition. So, halftime just, I’m a chiropractor. I cracked backs let’s move on. But you know, oftentimes it is that identity crisis that you have, you know, going through it.

Caren:  Where do you think that identity crisis comes from in a lot of people? Like, do you think it comes from the fear of what other people are going to think of us or us being scared to not know who we are?

Dr Bill Ferro: I think it’s a pre-programmed pathway that is designed. So, all right, you’re going to be a medical doctor then you should dress like this, your car should be like this, you got to make sure you’re on match day you get into the best program possible. It’s this roadmap that someone built out for success and that we think is successful.

 We bought into that, it’s in every movie. I mean, if you watch a movie and it’s a doctor, they always portray them the same way. So, you just kind of indoctrinate of like, well, that’s the road. If I’m an entrepreneur, the first thing I’m going to do when I do it is I need a foosball table and I need kombucha on tap.

So that I feel like I’m in the cool part of life. I mean, there’s a thing called a lifestyle CEOs that all they do is essentially build the company to just raise money. They’re on series E before they make a dollar at the company. And really their whole goal is just to keep raising money and raising money.

And so, they really don’t ever operate a business.  But if they lost that identity of CEO, they’re no longer in the press releases that says so-and-so just raised another $20 million and that is pulling. So, it’s all these pre-programmed things of what we think about.

And my friend said it best. My friend had a very successful exit of a company. He said, you can’t even believe this because now everybody’s asking me to talk about it, and how did I do it and this and that. And he said, five days ago, I was a moron. Now I did this and I’m some type of genius. He’s like, no, there’s a lot of luck in this, right.

There’s no defined pathway, but suddenly I’m some type of guru. And now he has to play the guru part and everything he touches it’s supposed to turn to gold. He’s like, you know, what the chances of success in your own business are there, they’re tiny. And most of it is good luck and being in the right place at the right time.

So super interesting how that predetermined pathway is just always in our mindset. Caitlin, you asked the question of Jason and myself and I’ll start. Jason was, has it impacted your family by doing Jason? We’ll start with you.

Jason: oh, yeah, I mean, thanks for the question, Caitlyn. Especially in the pandemic initially, it was a huge challenge there because, you know, my wife is an entrepreneur as well, and we’re, we had kids at home because their schools were out. Even the little one, we couldn’t take her to daycare cause that was out for a couple months.

So how do we take care of three kids while trying to grow businesses as well? And my wife was, or is in the wedding industry, and that one was just devastated. So, she’s trying to grow another part of her business, which was online education and doing very well at it, but it takes a lot of time and I’m trying to grow the podcast business.

And how do I do that when we don’t have a lot of time, we’ve got to watch these kids and like the bigger ones could kind of play with each other, but the little one, we couldn’t even put her in front of the TV, it just wasn’t a thing at that time. So, gosh, I mean, we would do shifts of like two hours on and then two hours you watch the kids, two hours work, two hours you watch the kids, and my wife and I would be in the same house all day long and never really see each other or never really interact with each other. So, yeah, that was a really hard part.

 one tip for, you know, mental health in entrepreneurship from my perspective is going to therapy and, you know, go into therapy and just kind of talking it out with somebody else, so that you can still have that relationship.

And for my wife and I also try and whether, even if it’s just staying at home, trying to do date nights, like, and making sure that we carve out that time for ourselves. But one thing Caitlin is, that being an entrepreneur is, better in some ways with spending time with kids because I don’t feel bad in the least for taking off at four o’clock going to the bus stop and spending from four o’clock to bedtime with them because I know like, okay, fine.

I’m my own boss. And I can work from eight o’clock at night till whenever I want to go to bed. so, in that way, you know, we can spend more time, with our kids because we don’t have bosses to tell us no, you’ve got to stay till five. No, you’ve got to stay till six. Those types of things. 

Dr Bill Ferro: Jason there’s time and then there’s being present. You find that by being an entrepreneur with that stress that yeah, you might be putting time, but oftentimes you’re not mentally present because you are thinking about your business and, and other things? 

Jason: It’s something where I need to evolve and get a lot better at that. You know, I am always thinking about things like, you always have that hamster wheel in your head of things that you need to do or want to accomplish.

And so, it’s not that fair to your kids, obviously, when you’re doing that. But I’m trying my best to get better at that and to progress and make sure that my phone is just on the charger, right. And I’m not checking emails.  And that, you know, when I’m reading to them, I’m really involved in the book or playing Magna-Tiles with them. I’m really like actually they’re present and listening to them. But yeah, it’s, I don’t get there every day. I’ll tell you that. 

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, well, you can combine the two. So, you, when you’re reading to them, just say, I’m thinking about adding SMS to my platform. Let’s go over Twilio’s mission together guys, once upon a time. Interesting enough though, a friend of mine told me long time ago, or he said I’m going to give you a piece of advice on how to raise your kids.

Number one, you have two kids, never pit them against each other. Never say, look how good Bobby’s being versus whatever, because you’ll create the rivalry.  They start together as a pack, they believe they’re in a pack, but you’re the one that separates the pack. So don’t do that.

Number two, he said, don’t talk to him like a baby. Don’t say like, don’t break down the words. Just talk to them like an adult whole, whole single time. So fortunately, when I had the, uh, offices in the health clubs, my son was really young and I’d put them in the car and I’d put speaker phone, every conference call, my kids have heard.

Almost every conference call possible. And I just let them see the good, the bad, the ugly. When, my business cratered in 2008, when all the gym’s closed, I didn’t sit there and say, guys, this was my fault. Even though I’m like, I screwed up, I built so fast and so furious. I never even thought, well, what happens if the gyms go out of business?

It was never even a thought in my mind, these are the things that you learn, but they got to learn those things. And the other day, my son Jett, who’s 14.  He’s always thinking about businesses and mine and just sits there and goes, you know, I like that. He’s like, but I just don’t think it’s scalable enough.

I’m like he is listening so my advice is while they’re young, I found a way to match the fact that I’m always thinking about my business with still being present to them and just talking about it, even when they’re little like here’s lollipops, what’s more scalable lollipops or a doctor’s office?  So, I started weaving in things that I had been thinking about to, you know, to, to be more present. Cause it’s, there’d be times I’d be in the car on a call and I pick them up from school or whatever. And I’ve been sitting in my driveway for two hours in a call and they’re like in the back, like get me out of this freaking thing.

Just in earnest. I think being present is a big one and that’s how it probably affected me most at times when business was the toughest. Luckily now we’re in a great position, which is why I’m so happy and energetic.  But that end, your first habits when you start a business should be outlining how you are going to be mentally and physically healthy to start because there is no when. And I’ve been through those ups and downs. In those times, there is no when and it has to be a predefined outline. And I almost think when people come to me as entrepreneur, we should have a, a segment on this and we should make this even part of the Betr Health protocol.

It’s like, if you’re an entrepreneur, we’re going to help set you up in a healthy plan before you start, like before you start your business, we need 21 days of getting this instilled so you’re the healthiest. You’re ready, like if you were going to train for an Ironman you would do some training or a marathon. Trust me, this is worse than an Ironman or a marathon. So why wouldn’t you train yourself mentally and physically before you tackle this, 

Jason: Yeah, for sure. And then when I was you know, trying to stay physically fit as an entrepreneur, a lot of times it was just quick fixes. And that’s not sustainable, right. So, you know, I will try to do intermittent fasting every now and then. And you know, you’ll feel good for a little bit, but you know, it’s not, it’s not a long-term fix at all.

Or I would try to train for a half marathon and, you know, cool. You’re in shape for a couple months and then you do the marathon and then all of a sudden, it’s November, December, and you’re like, oh well.

Dr Bill Ferro: you look so young and your skin looks so good and you look like you’ve lost weight since we spoke, I guess, what are you doing? 

Jason: Well, getting to, what’s more sustainable now, I am one month in maybe five weeks into Betr health, which is the sponsor of this podcast. What do you know? But yeah, gosh, I’ve, uh, uh, I’ll just put out my way I’ve gone from, so I’m six, four, I’ve gone from 230 to 209. Nine more to go until I meet my goal. So, I’m, I’m very excited about that 

Dr Bill Ferro: How do you think the weight has affected your daily activities? 

Jason: So, I feel like I have more energy, you know, I want to run up the stairs rather than walk up the stairs. So just little things like that.  And one thing that’s cool is my wife keeps saying, wow, you’ve really lost your dad gut.

Or, you know, she’ll be like, you look a lot younger. And honestly, I thought my aging, and I could see myself aging, I thought that was a lot to do with, having the kids, rather than my overall gut health or overall, you know, eating habits, but sure enough drinking a lot of water, eating fruits and vegetables, that makes a difference. 

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, absolutely. And you can even hear it in your voice.  So, when you just said about impacting, you know, like the kids, whatever. Oh, my goodness. How, how much better we do when we are. Healthy and fit and taking time for ourselves. How much better we are as parents, as friends, as you know, companions, how much better those therapy programs will go.

When you show up, they’re calm, relaxed, and feeling confident about yourself. If you don’t have body confidence, mental confidence, how are you going to be successful entrepreneur? Unless you, the guy that hacks away at the computer and build some app that, you know, everybody can’t do without, but those stories are few and far between, right? The rest of us have to rely on all the things that make a business successful. 

Jason: Yeah, one thing I’ll add to that doc is sleep. You know, when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s hard to make sure that you have that sleep that you need. You know, so I’ll get, say six hours of sleep at night. Well, when I was not on the Betr program, honestly, like I would have a beer or two at night and probably some snack to go along with it.

 And I didn’t quite realize it, but that’s probably why I didn’t sleep all that well. Now I go to sleep so fast and get a good quality six hours of sleep and that mental fitness that you have, and that presence that you can have from that, with your kids, with your clients, with whoever, with your wife, with whoever else is just so important.

Um, in part of that is, is through the

Dr Bill Ferro: And Jason, you have how many kids? 

Jason: Three 

Dr Bill Ferro: And girls and boys?

Jason: All girls. 

Dr Bill Ferro: All girls. So yeah, this is your wife’s dream. So, she’s got three girls can plan weddings for. I don’t have girls, but I have a lot of nieces and I’m just, you know, I’ve always wanted a girl, cause I just wanted to walk her down the aisle.

Right? Like what a beautiful thing. Every time you see it, you’re like you can’t stop her crying when someone’s walking down the aisle and here you are. I bet you’re thinking, man. Although I don’t want that day to come. It’s still a beautiful moment. I at least want to be healthy enough to be able to be there for that.

If you’re not getting, if the fact that you’re now getting better sleep and take care of yourself. Now, I want you to be picture this, watching their kids get walked down the aisle, getting that experience twice when your, a case six times, 

Jason: Yeah. 

Dr Bill Ferro: right? And maybe their kids, right? So much to experience on this planet so much better than our businesses.

And you know, that part of our identity, our other identity is being a patriarch or matriarch in our family. And then growing that legacy, that is what is going to give you the most fulfillment in life, knowing that you’ve had all these great experiences outside of the work, and hopefully the work affords you to have more of those experience.

But if it comes in between your health, the two will never meet. 

Jason: I think about that a lot, man.  You know, I’ll be probably late fifties, early sixties, or so when my girls get married and I think about that, you know, because, you know, sadly my, my wife’s dad, I never met him.  And so, I know that that’s, a possibility that stuff could happen, it’s something that’s, always top of mind and making sure that, you know, I can provide that legacy for my kids, that I can see them, walk down the aisle that I can see grandkids that I can see them grow up.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah. And at the end of the day, your legacy isn’t that you built a business and made tons and tons of money, right? Your kids don’t really care about that at all. They would much know you plenty of times you see the guy walking the person down the aisle was like, well, he had a modest job, worked for the railroad.

Everyone loves him. He’s as happy. They don’t care if you, if, if you’ve taken them on elaborate vacations, they just want to go on vacations. Your kids would love it. If you just drop them in the car and put a tent in the middle of Umstead park here, they’re having just as much fun. And then you take them to The Bahamas, right?

They, they just want you, that’s all they want. And if you let your entrepreneurship, come between you and your family, and then between your health, you’re missing the point. And I’m not saying I’ve been able to do that, right? This is like, hey, if you’re coming into this, get your health in check first, then take on the business.

The other advice that would have is keep your day job.Until you can pick that threshold because financial stress of growing a business will absolutely eat you up. And if you just go start a business and raise investment, you will not care about that, that dime you’re spending as much as if it is your own money. And I think the slower pace of building your business can sometimes be very good because you will not get eaten up by mental competition.

Like I got to do this, I got to do this. The world is so abundant, like we’re in the diabetes space one of our competitors raised $170 million two days ago. Six months before that they raised $70 million. They have a $2 billion valuation and we raised 1.4 million.

And when blue shield sends out a press release, they say 83% of our members were either picking our competitor Virta health, which is a great company or Betr health. And so, when you look at it’s like, it used to eat me up like, oh, they’re going to beat me out. It’s like, there’s 40 million people with diabetes.

There’s a hundred million with hypertension. None of us are going to get to everybody, so if I let what they’re doing, eat me up instead of calling them a competitor, they’re a co-conspirator, we’re trying to help people. So, in your business, forget the noise, do not focus on your competition.

That will make you make really bad decisions. Pricing, go at your value proposition, find your customer base, make sure you’re healthy, your business is healthy. And if you keep your day job first and you get really good with your time efficiency, you will see that one day they’ll flip flop and you’ll be able to leave quickly into that business without the stress like I did, where I never had that security and always felt stressed.

 That would be my advice to the people that come in. And Caitlyn, did you experience something similar or different when you started your business?  Or did you have existing business that you knew? Like this is a lock I’m good.

Caitlin: It was definitely stressful. I mean, we did start out with six clients, but then it was kind of that pressure system where you feel like, okay, well I need eight, I need 10. You know, it was just sort of like how, quickly can we scale before we can feel successful enough to bring other team members on and just, you know, kind of obviously, spoiler alerts since I’m working at better health now, it did hit a point, obviously for me, where.

It, was a successful company. I really loved the clients that I was working with, but my heart and soul just really weren’t in it anymore, which is just, obviously, it’s not fair to your clients. It’s not fair to yourself. And you know, just to play off of what Sarah said earlier, you just really have to look at like, why am I doing this?

So, I felt like I was at a point where I was in the entertainment industry. My husband is, my dad is it’s the space that I grew up in, and it just kind of felt like it was part of my identity and it just wasn’t great for my mental and physical health. And it just was like, I needed to make a change. 

So, I mean, I did the entrepreneur thing. It was amazing. Maybe it’s something to look at down the line and in the future. But for me, when I left and I kind of went back into more of a team environment I really fixed all of that, you know, it was just getting to go to yoga every morning.

Again, it was having time to go for a run when I got home for work at night. And I’m so fulfilled with the work that I’m doing now with Betr health and with clients, you know, in the consumer space that I’ve been in and I’m taking care of me. So, I guess really just, I have a question then, for you doc, just kind of playing off of what we’re talking about clearly in order to run a successful business, you need to prioritize your mental and physical health.

What is your daily routine look like to kind of allow for that balance of running the business and taking care of you? Okay.

Dr Bill Ferro: I tried to do the, get up early exercise through that whole thing so that I wouldn’t do it at night. I just don’t feel like exercising in the morning. I’ve tried it my whole life. I, and maybe it’s because when I was younger, me and my friends would be like, all right, let’s go to the gym. 10 o’clock at night, 11 o’clock at night.

It was almost like we needed to go to the gym and go to the bar. We’re going to do the same things, we’re going to talk shit about each other and stare at girls, so why not do it in a healthy environment? it kind of got stuck with me. And so, I just said, why am I trying to fit this in when it doesn’t feel right to me?

So, what I decided to do is, get more sleep. I don’t set an alarm. I let my body naturally wake up, and I would say wake up between 6:30, 6:20. Usually, and the reason why I said it is when I had to take the kids to school, I just went to bed earlier, so I naturally wake up at five 55. Now my wife takes him to school and I pick him up. So, I still just believe in that Nat, let your body wake up. And if it needs more sleep than don’t start your day, go to bed earlier or, you know, just work it so that you get seven hours to eight hours of natural sleep where your body just wakes up.

So, because I do that, I feel like I already start the day off fresh. And then I usually just sit there for 10 minutes. I don’t touch my phone. That’s the worst thing I could do. I just sit there for 10 minutes and I’m like, God, I don’t have to worry about snooze. Do I want to fall back asleep and most of the time, no, because then my brain starts going, oh, let’s get up and do the day, cause I have energy? But if I have an alarm clock, I immediately am like, I hate this day. These days are already telling me what I have to do. I haven’t even started yet. So that’s step one, then I have a very simple breakfast. I eat the same thing every day because it’s just easy for me. I take two hard boiled eggs.

Sometimes have the yolk. Sometimes they don’t for no reason at all. It depends. I have a slice of avocado and first salsa and I eat that. I have glass of water. Usually I’ve tried to, uh, no cup of coffee or one cup of coffee a day, turn it to have more than that. The rest of the day, drink water. And then usually on Mondays and Wednesdays, I go to boxing and I box it out.

And then the rest of the time, I tried to do things with the kids. So, I play rugby with them or I’m active. I don’t love the gym anymore. I just, how many more times can I do back, bis, chest, and tris, and I’m not ready to, to, to try anymore, like hardcore boxing and flipping tires. It’s just not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to keep flexibility, mental stress, and the boxing does enough for me each week with the, you know, the eating healthy. 

The big struggle we have in our home. When you have a wife that has a quote unquote real job, and then the entrepreneur, and this happens to your family is she says, oh, can you go do this? And I’m like, sure, because guess what? I’m in my own business. I can do whatever I want. And it’s just unicorns and puppy dogs all the time.  You know, she’ll get upset, she goes, boy, I wish I could do this. Blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, boy, I wish my paycheck would show up every week.

No, no matter what happens in the business, right? Like, it’s like you see the other side of the equation and it up when you’re an entrepreneurial, people feel like he can come pick me up at the airport. What the heck is he doing on Thursday at one o’clock you can do whatever we want. So, I had to learn how to not be available.

You know, don’t buy a pickup truck if you don’t want to move people’s furniture. Because as soon as you own the pickup truck and your family, you’re moving people’s furniture. If you’re an entrepreneur, guess what? You’re the go-to guy for anything inconvenient for the other people that have real jobs. So, you have to set that up.

And once we set that up, it made our life a lot easier. I shared my calendar with her because when, and I said, why don’t you see what I have going on? Because oftentimes an entrepreneur you’re doing so many things. How was work today? Well, let’s see, I learned how to program Zapier to do this. I also then spoke to the head of an insurance plan.

I also spoke to four clients that were dealing with this. I also had 25 employees. I mean, I don’t think people really understand all the hats you’re wearing and you don’t understand it cause you don’t put it down. So, I just started putting it down and that kind of helped if you’re in that situation where someone has their own job, you need to set the expectations of what that looks like and what time you’re educated, dedicated to work. 

Jason: Doc, do you feel like if you didn’t have the boxing class, that you would get a workout in, or is it because you have something scheduled that you have to go to on Mondays and Wednesdays that it gets done? 

Dr Bill Ferro: You have to have it in. I have a boxing bag at home and when I’m home, I hit it like this. When I’m in the gym and there’s other people like my age or younger, like I’m not letting that guy out beat me and the instructors keeping. So, for me, I found that that group environment really works well.

 I think the same would work if it was an online zoom class and we were doing it. I still feel like I’d put the effort in, I think just that human connectivity and energy and important. And the fact that it’s into my schedule is, is incredibly important. Now, right now I’m recovering from COVID. So, I’m not allowed to exercise.

It’s killing me. Like, I’m like all I wanted to do. You mentioned you’re 6’4″ I’m 6’4″. And I was, I got down to 210, which is about the weight I normally was at, but I wasn’t like in good shape, right. I was healthy internally, but I wasn’t feeling it. So, I went to boxing, I lost 10 pounds very quickly got rid of all that kind of dad, belly fat, you know, I was skinny fat, get rid of it.

And then COVID took 12 pounds off me. So now, like, I look like a skeleton, so I’m dying to get back up to the weight that I feel healthy at, and part of that is that, that boxing, and as you said, scheduling it out. 

Jason: Yeah, I think that’s a great tip for entrepreneurs is you have to set that schedule. I mean, even if it’s just a schedule with going for a run, get into running groups.  And so, if you are putting it on the calendar and forcing it to happen, that works. Otherwise, it’s just not like you’re going to find something else that needs to be done with your business.

Dr Bill Ferro: Those are working really well. So, Echelon who we partnered with, they’re amazing. Their products are a little bit more affordable then let’s say the Peloton, but that at home fitness connection of those groups that they’re scheduled. And then the little gamification when you watch other people do it, it does, you know, lend itself and a lot and much better for an entrepreneur these days.

Right, cause you’re so worried about your time getting in the car. You know what? Ding, I get on that thing. It’d be great if we could, group a bunch of entrepreneurs for at-home fitness and wellness and say, if you’re in the entrepreneurial community, we’re going to help hold each other accountable to these habits so that you’re on with others that are into it. And then you can, you know, everyone can break each other’s shoes. If they don’t show up, it’s like, oh, let me guess you’re selling to Microsoft tomorrow. No, you can get on the damn bike today. 

Jason: that’s awesome. That’s a great idea. We should do it. 

Dr Bill Ferro: Done deal.

Caren: I think scheduling things in too, like saying, okay, today’s Sunday, I’m looking at my week. I’m going to reserve a class on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I think it also sets up yourself and your week and your day to want to eat better, to want to sleep better because you know, I’m not going to eat that whole jar of peanut butter today because I have that class coming up. So, it’s nice to keep yourself accountable with that as well.

Dr Bill Ferro: so, I don’t know if you’ve seen on Betr health, but my cousin is actually a coach, Alison.  Tremendous transformation story, like she was always working out.  She was a group exercise instructor, you know, she was really fit, but she would come and she was like, yeah, I have like five pounds to lose.

Right. And I said, okay. And I would never would talk to her about my program because it’s not my place until she says, you know, I’ve been looking at your group and I’m seeing, sometimes people think our program is just for people, like have to lose a lot of weight or diabetes. They don’t realize this is actually for dialing in your perfection health, right.

To really get you to the next level. And if she even, well, it’s funny in the social circles, if she even told someone, you know, I think I want to lose a little bit more weight. What would they say? Oh my God, you’re so skinny as it is, you know, look at me, I’m the one that needs to lose weight.

Right? So those people are silent. Those people that are in that last 10 to 15 pounds are super silent about it, and they struggle in sounds because they don’t feel like they can do a program cause that would be weird and people would make fun of them. So anyway, she says, I would think I want to try a program cause I love the gut health aspect.

She goes on to lose 20 pounds, right. And she’s like, I didn’t know, I had 20 pounds to lose and I, and I was like, well I did I just don’t want to say anything. Because well she’s, my cousin. I’m like, you know, it’s not my place, but I see it as inflammation. I don’t see it as weight, right. Just see your too much inflammation from all the exercise.

So, she goes and does it, she looks phenomenal. You got to see your before and after. She’s like fitness model, but interesting, her choice of exercise for most times she does a lot of bands, but she does hula-hooping.

Caren: My friend does it as well. It’s a huge thing that people do as expression. It’s like dance, you know, it’s beautiful. It’s an art, but it’s also a really good workout too.

Dr Bill Ferro: It’s amazing lymphatic drainage, it’s meditation. Cause you got to focus, right. When you’re working out, you’re thinking of other things you’re looking at the TV like, oh, what’s on CNN or whatever, like you’re distracted part of the time. When you’re hula-hooping you’re like in your own world because your body is spinning and moving.

I see her do it, it’s almost like she gets in a trance and she’s like meditating. I’m like. Oh, man, that that looks like something that would just be, if you did, at a 10-to-12-minute exercise each day would be your meditation, your chi, your lymphatic drainage, your time away, and what do you need a hoop? So, we’re working towards her creating a hula hoop online program that we can take people to. 

And it sounds nuts, but like we have the online yoga, intro to yoga, and the goal there was you learn a technique every day in a two-to-three-minute clip, one little movement, and it’s all standing. And then let’s, let’s string those together after 15 days into a full workout. And we got guys in there, like seventies that are like, if you would’ve told me, I was doing yoga, I’d be like, I’m not doing that hippy, yuppie puppy stuff.

I’m not, you know, going to class and, you know, whatever. And even myself, I would never go to yoga classes. I don’t want people to see my feet. There’s a lot of people trust me. There’s a lot of people are like; I’m not going in there. And then I got to wear weird yoga pants. 

Jason: Same, no one needs to see my feet. So, I’m with you. 

Dr Bill Ferro: this guy started doing it at home. And it’s like, yoga is another one of those things that you’re mixing meditation. You’re mixing relaxation and physical strength. Versus again, when you’re doing yoga, you’re not sitting there being like, oh, what’s on the TV at the gym. Or you’re not thinking of other things I think working out, unfortunately just like the typical weight ever.

Caren: I think that’s a good point. You bring up with the meditative. So, a lot of people think meditation is just sitting there like, oh, I need to, and that’s great for entrepreneurs, right? Like, everyone’s you look up? How do I relax? Okay. Number one, meditation. And we all think it’s like close your eyes.

Meditation is really just getting lost. It’s getting lost. So how can you do that? People say dogs and children are the best way to really ground yourself because they are bringing you back there. They’re bringing out that silliness, that childlike behavior.  So maybe just making a list of those top five or top 10 things that you feel lost, you feel childlike and then going to those.

Dr Bill Ferro: Let’s talk about the end game here. Okay. You’ve sold your business. 30 million, 12 million ,500 million, 1 billion. its equal happiness?  If you’re not happy now you will not be happy when. Money does not change that at all. I have very, very, very wealthy friends that say we still have the same problems, money is just not one of them. That’s the only, checkbox that you’ve really taken off there, but just because now they can fly wherever they want to do it. That still does not provide them the internal happiness. So, if you don’t find that now, and you don’t ground to that, now that that sale, you’ll just say, now I’ve got to do my next company because it only thing that’s really making you happy is that part of your life, but nothing else. So, it’s a.

Caren: think that, yeah, that ties to the, identifying yourself with something. And so that’s why it’s very important throughout your whole life, no matter what you’re doing, just to be very clear about who you are, what you want and so that you can stay detached from everything else because when you sell something, you’re still going to want that passion, that purpose. Money is not going to bring you that it might be able to allow you flexibility to do more that would bring you passion and purpose. But I think those are probably the baselines rather than the dollar bills.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, it does. I mean, I know myself, no matter how much money, and we have to either get acquired or go work with a larger organization or sell out at some point, otherwise my initial investors you’d be like, hey man, the deal. so, you have to get to that point in a business. It’s just the way it works.

But I know I’ll be through, I’ll be, I’ll be giving away the money. Like I, I’m not, I’m good at making it. I’m not going to keeping it. I’ll buy some, some will come back. Okay. I got a great idea. It’s only going to be blah, blah, blah. Let’s do it. Let’s do that. Let’s do that. I don’t think I’m going to be out of this money as fast as it comes back in, because it’s just not what I’m already happy with what we do.

, I enjoy the fact that I can help people and make a living at it at the same time. And so, I feel like the exit will be somewhat anti-climactic because it’s like, all right, I’m just going to go do this, another thing, right. I’m not going to sit around. It’s not in the nature. So, Jason, do you think about that?

Like with your business, like, all right, what is the end game? Is it for you? Is it just a way to cashflow your lifestyle for a long period of time? Are you looking or what if I can exit, what is the end game for you and what do you think you’ll feel like at that end game? Or have you not thought about it? 

Jason: Yeah. So, it’s definitely something that I think about.  Our end game is getting acquired by a media company, for example. And what happens then though, like, I don’t know, I feel like I’m still part of the business when we do get acquired, but so like will, will my lifestyle change?

 Dr Bill Ferro: More people to answer to, and you won’t be able to do things your own way anymore. 

Jason: Yeah.  You know, you talk about, setting yourself up for when something happens, and that it’s just not ever going to happen, so you need to set yourself up for now, like, you know, looking ahead if I do get a hundred-million-dollar exit. Cool, but still, I need to make sure that the physical fitness and the mental fitness are there even before that, because things probably aren’t going to change all that

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, and the statistics are not in your favor to have a hundred million dollars exit right? Statistically. It’s not enough favor to have a successful business. And statistically, it’s more likely to get divorced before we get a buyout. So, you’ve got to put some time into your, your personal relationship with yourself and your relationship. You got to mitigate that risk first, before you worry about an exit, which has even a lower percent chance of happening. 

Jason: You know, you joke, but that’s a great point because, you know, you think about, well, why do we do all this stuff? Like, yes, you want that personal fulfillment of entrepreneurship and growing something and legacy and all that stuff, but isn’t it all about the family as well? Like, isn’t it about, you know, making sure that you have something available for your family and spending time with your family?

And so like, if you’re just consistently thinking about the job or consistently thinking about the business and pushing aside, you know, the self and family part of it, that’s a problem, that you need to change right away. 

Dr Bill Ferro:  So, I do believe that there were times in my entrepreneurial career where I was not taking care of myself, I was working so many late nights. I was probably depressed and stressed from all the financial, you know, sometimes if you wake up, you’re like, I am way in the hole. If they ever called on this stuff, I’m done. So that, and we already know that that causes cravings, right.

That causes craving for the fast food. And you know what? I would stay till two o’clock in the morning and I’m starving now it’s two o’clock in the morning. What’s open, I’m just going to eat it. It’s okay. I’ll figure it out, and then that started a few patterns with me. Here I am running a health care company and I’m like through Arby’s drive-thru, you know.

And then I used to Hey myself and say, well, what if one of your customers saw you right now? Well, I always tell people like, look, this is about, better not perfect. So, I could probably explain it in a way, but that wasn’t the root cause. The root cause was I wasn’t taking care of myself.

From my time commitment perspective, my day perspective, it wasn’t shutting things down and I was letting that stress eat me up and then using the excuse of well it’s okay. Because two o’clock morning, I worked hard and I’m working on my business. And, when I finally reconciled that I’m like, dude, just go to bed.

Like you’re not going to solve it, go to bed.  And once I did that and turn the alarm off, I think just the sleep alone that I’ve made myself give myself every day. That’s my first seven to eight hours of self-care every day, I’m giving myself seven to eight hours of self-care every single day, just by doing one thing in a 60 to 70 ounces of water, you’re way ahead of the whole population of the whole world. Right, cause most of them can’t even get access to fresh water. Then you add in two days of exercise, one apple a day and an orange in the afternoon, you’re liking the 1% of the 1% when it comes to your health equation. These are very simple things.  

I did four demo presentations yesterday with a very large consumer package, good brand, huge, big opportunity to health plans. And then I got on a two hour call last night and listen to them. If you got on my call, does it look like I don’t have energy? No, you see it, okay. Because I’ve given myself the sleep, the water, the, the fruits, the vegetables, and what do we have for dinner last night?  I made egg roll in a bowl. I also made the dinner last night because I found a way to make the egg roll in the bowl. Super simple and easy, delicious. 

So, there’s little mini hacks along the way that actually give you time back because I already had those things going. And if not, of course I had the Betr meals I could have used it if I wanted, but I’ve given myself these mini hacks now that now that my health is in check, I was able to, first of all, get through COVID fast without symptoms.

If I wasn’t healthy my business might’ve cratered. What if COVID put me in the hospital for months and months and months, what would happen to my business then? It would have crumbled. Luckily, we have support staff, but if I didn’t have the support staff I have today, and this happened a year and a half ago, we might be out of business today.

Caitlin: Amazing.

Dr Bill Ferro: So, Jason, I’ve observed your business, right?  I’m your client, and what I observe about your business is while we’re working through this as a team, I’m looking for opportunities to say, well, how can we make this system better? One of those things is what I heard on your last podcast, uh, about the, was it called pod match? 

Jason: Pod Match Yep.

Dr Bill Ferro: Pod Match, were one of the pain points of matching guests in podcasts is like, it’s a pain in the neck.

You’re sending out sheets back and forth. So, Pod Match is an online dating service for podcasters essentially, and all their links in there, their bios, and you can set things in and it’s a great, you know, great opportunities. So that’s one kind of technology/community platform that things are put together.

I think if you keep listening to us and others, you’ll probably be able to spin off a program product that could also help versus just focusing, not just focusing, but maybe getting bought by a media company because you’ve expanded your business model. It’s not as scalable as the other thing. I know you have like a ton of ideas, but I’d love to get on a phone call, or our team get a phone call with the other people you support as a podcast, like the people that are, and really just do a bulldog session of all problems, issues, whatever, and whiteboard out what solution you could bring back to the, to the table for the community, because podcasts are the most dynamic way to deliver information.

They’re easy on the eyes because you don’t have to watch anything and I don’t see them going away. And when you see things like clubhouse with their huge valuation, you realize just how cool it is to just have these unedited conversations. Obviously, you edit some of them, but just to hear raw thought from people.

It’s so interesting. You pick up one or few nuggets from it. That’s just from a health perspective, I think the health of Earfluence, it comes from diagnosing problems of others and then maybe coming up with a solution other than just how can we provide more services for Betr Health from a personnel perspective, how can we provide a more technological solution or something else? 

Jason: Yeah, you know, our tagline is amplifying your expertise, and this is something that we think about all the time is what are some ways that we can do that for our clients. So, is it creating a podcast for them? Yeah, absolutely. Is it getting them as guests on other podcasts so that they can use their networks to show off what they know?

Yeah, absolutely. And then what are some other things? So, we’re about to set up a studio in, Raleigh Founded. Downtown Raleigh, and when we do that, we’ll have quickly have like all our clients come together and do exactly what you said and just kind of whiteboard and, and come up with ideas on how we can all support each other and figure out how to grow this as a team really. 

Dr Bill Ferro:  I’m thinking now, from what we should derive from this podcast is a podcaster health challenge. We should go out to a whole bunch of different podcasters who generally, I don’t know, I’m making a generalization, but there’s a lot of entrepreneurial stuff. Like if you go on, on clubhouse, it’s almost a lot of entrepreneur business. How do I do this? How to do this? 

And we should create a program just for entrepreneurs, seek out podcasters that have a lot of entrepreneurial type stuff and let’s create a before you start, or if you’re in your startup, let’s start up your health first. Let’s see what that will do. Let’s also just have them fill out initial questionnaires, like productivity, some other data points other than just health so that we can really demonstrate how we can support each other.

We can make this more communal and then we can have, a podcast just kind of dedicated to this approach and we’ll make it free, right? We’ll make it something that’s, you don’t have to pay for, it’s just this 30-day experiment for all calling all entrepreneurs 30-day experiment of what this could do before and after your life.

And then we can, you know, invite other people that have podcasts. Like aren’t you just always worried about stupid podcasts and not your health? Why don’t you come on our program? 

Jason: We can make that happen, like it’s easy to say, hey, would you like to try the Betr program and in exchange for an ad, like at the beginning of when you started doing this and at the end, like at the end of 30 days, exchange for ads for both of those time periods, like yeah. They would do it, so I think we should make it happen. 

Caren: almost like something they could do. They don’t need to do right before they’re starting. They could, it’s like as an entrepreneur reset type thing, like a 21 day,

Dr Bill Ferro: Yes. You’re in the middle of it, you can participate. You’re thinking about starting one, don’t do another thing until you get your health right, because then your brain will be right. And maybe when your brain is healthy, you’ll say, now I’m going to keep my day job.

Caitlin: Right.

Dr Bill Ferro: But if you are ready to be an entrepreneur, be ready. Be ready to pivot and never give up. Never ever give up, stay in there as long, because the longer you’re in luck will hit you. 

All right. So that was an entrepreneurial episode, on Quacks and Hypochondriacs. I want to thank our guests. Thank you, Caren. And your hoops. Thank you. Caitlin you’re in Nashville?

Caitlin: Until next week.

Dr Bill Ferro: And Nashville is wide open, right? It’s wide. Yeah, they’re having a good time. And Jason from Earfluence, who is our amazing producer of podcasts and you have to check out his podcast.

It’s really interesting. I really enjoyed that. The few episodes I’ve been listening to you do a really great job. Cee Cee’s got a great personality. She’s super quiet when she comes on ours, but she’s put a what a great personality. She has a so for everybody out there, Quacks and Hypochondriacs podcasts, or sponsor Betr Health, what an amazing company.

If they only knew how to spell. betrhealth.com, I want you to like, review, rate us. I want some reviews. I want you to write some nice stuff about us. That’s going to help us, your friends and family see is click the review button. Definitely subscribe because otherwise, how are you going to get this amazing information here from us weekly?

So, thank you very much for everybody at quacks and Hypochondriacs and Earfluence, we’ll see you next time.

Full Episode Transcript

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Quacks and Hypochondriacs is hosted by Dr Bill Ferro, and is produced by Earfluence.

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