Julien Meyer | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Julien Meyer

Background:  

BlurtBox is an online platform that provides hospitality companies the opportunity to receive customer feedback anonymously in real time using a private dashboard. The startup is a graduate of the University of Central Florida's Business Incubation Program.

The Mistake:

My biggest mistake was not knowing how important your health is.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and business, there’s a lot of glitz and glamour that surrounds them these days, and I think that’s rather unfortunate because that’s not the real story. I think it leads to a lot of people who get into entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons. Then a year or two in they realize [they] have this huge amount of debt. They’re working on something they’re not passionate about, and it’s a very easy way to hit rock bottom.

I used to be a huge believer in the [notion] that there’s no such thing as work-life balance. If you were chasing a dream, it was all day, every day, no matter what because you really have to work for it. You have to go for it. You have to chase it.

And that was my mindset for so many years. And then when I sold my first business and, seeing success going down that route, I said, “OK – on to the next one.”

And over the years that mindset put me in a place where I had lost a lot of friendships and a lot of relationships. And I was starting to lose my health. It didn’t get really bad until one day about a year ago I woke up and I couldn’t breathe, I was definitely overweight again, and I was back in this funk of not feeling well and low energy. And it came at a horrible time because we were going through a tough time growing BlurtBox.

And it was in that moment that I said, "I’ve made a huge mistake, and I can’t run my company if I can’t run my own life."

I used to be a huge believer in the [notion] that there’s no such thing as work-life balance.

The Lesson:

One of the things I’ve learned is that you’re always responsible for whatever’s wrong in your life. You can’t put that on anybody else. You can’t blame your investors; you can’t blame your customers, your employees. You can’t blame anybody else.

In those moments, you just have to muster up the strength to own up to [your mistake] and say, "OK, I messed up and I have to make a change today in order to have a better life." That was my strategy, and since that moment I’ve gotten my health back.

It was definitely eye-opening because you read so many articles about the glamour. I’m guilty of it too. Because a lot of the interviews that I give highlight the good.

A lot of entrepreneurs are focused on the good and the glamour. But you know there is a lot of stress, a lot of pressures, and I don’t think there’s enough real advice out there about that.

Follow Julien Meyer on Twitter at @UCFJuelz and BlurtBox at BlurtBoxApp.

Photo by Michael Mowery | Courtesy of Julien Meyer

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