You are currently viewing 056 The Founder’s Mental Health

056 The Founder’s Mental Health


Miriam Dorsett is a serial entrepreneur and fulltime artist and community activator. Her passions are the arts, community technology and sustainability. In 2016, She founded the connection company Chibur. In 2018, they launched their first product, and she’s working toward launching a few new products as well this year.


Katherine Ann Byam  0:03  

Miriam, thank you so much for joining me on where ideas launch.

Miriam Dorsett   0:53  

Thank you so much for having me, Katherine. It’s an honour. I’m a big fan of your work and being a part of your community. It’s great to be here.

Katherine Ann Byam  1:01  

Thanks so much. It’s a great compliment. I wanted to talk to you about serial entrepreneurship because you are the absolute definition of a serial entrepreneur. Tell me what inspires your creativity on this side? And what inspires you to create so many movements?

Miriam Dorsett   1:20  

Yeah, I definitely am a member of the do too much club. And that is why I identify as an artist, because I wake up and you know, it’s taken me time to get to this place. But I truly when people ask me, like, what do you do? My answer is, I do whatever I want to do, right? So my purpose in my life is very clear. I want to bring more good to our world. And so every day when I wake up, I’m doing the things that I’m called to do around that. So that’s where my drive comes from, I guess it’s just my purpose.

So right now my main focus is quokka. It’s an anonymous messaging exchange designed to increase the mental health of founders. I just completed my first official boot camp, which was at first startups, like it’s a business style boot camp. So for an artist going to a traditional programme like that, you have to make compromises with how you see things. It was very good for me. I was able to narrow in my niche market and develop my customer persona and launch this product, which I have been working on since 2018.

As a way to kind of scale synchronicity and challenge the status quo when it comes to how technology is incorporated in our lives. I believe that technology today is not always built to support our humanity and quokka is here to change that and to support founders who are so important to innovation in our communities driving the changes that I believe in, but are extremely under pressure to perform and pack that on top of it being very taboo to talk about your mental health. Um, it’s just a problem that I’m really excited to tackle and support my fellow founder community. So that’s my main focus at the moment.

I also have bootstrap publications, which has been going on for a while. We publish books for artists that focus on writing as their primary medium. And we also have Zen’s in Miami with a talented group of artists and community people here in Miami, Florida. It’s an art gallery. It’s a place for events, workshops. And we just support

Katherine Ann Byam  3:50  

Miami is in the sort of climate Jeopardy zone. How What are you doing? or How are you supporting the whole sustainability initiative in the area that you live because I know that you’re really big on community activation,

Miriam Dorsett   4:05  

Thank you for bringing that up. Miami is ground zero, or the climate crisis and being from California and being someone who was raised very holistically and it’s kind of innate for me to do things and appreciate nature. I’ve realised that a lot of people want to help, they don’t want to do things to harm the environment, but they just don’t know how to, to help or to stop doing things that are harmful to the earth. So I became a certified climate crisis speaker through the Clio Institute, which allows me to go out there and talk about the climate crisis to educate people.

My specific talk track is for youth. And I use my story of entrepreneurs to empower the future generation to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses, but do it sustained To play and think about how your work can impact our world. I also have a mentor, she is an amazing woman rella bagay. She was our chief Bay officer here in Miami Dade County, which I’m very proud to have her as my mentor. Because she’s doing amazing work to make sure that our waterways stay beautiful.

And I’d like to support the organisations that are existing here, by amplifying their voices and supporting the events that they do spreading the word and the message we have everything from beach cleanups to political organisations to just food swaps and places that you can go like community gardens, my home space, I also structure in a way that’s very sustainably minded, we have no plastic policy here in the home. And anyone who comes here, in like an Airbnb, they learn about different small things that they could do to help make a difference.

Katherine Ann Byam  6:11  

That’s so great. I think that’s such an important and relevant way to talk about how we’re travelling and how we’re managing ourselves in travel. As an intrapreneur, myself, I know that it’s really difficult managing all the additional workload that sustainability brings to your business. And what I mean is that because we’re in a stage now, in the world, where Yes, sustainability is getting more popular, and there’s definitely more solutions being offered.

 But there’s still a lot of decision fatigue around, you know, when you go into the grocery or you shop online, or whatever, you know, you have to make a decision, is this, is this packaging, the right packaging? You know, is this going to make a huge difference to my recycling, you know, you have all these decisions that you need to make, and it wears on you when sustainability is your first priority, but it isn’t yet the global norm. So how do you manage that sort of, you know, decision fatigue, alongside all of the community work that you’re doing? How do you manage your own mental health?

Miriam Dorsett   7:19  

I mean, I’m not the best, I definitely have had low moments with my mental health journey. But I am lucky to have been taught the tools of gratitude and nature and breathing from a very young age, these things were put in place like I remember when I didn’t feel good. My mom would say, Well, do you need to take a mental health day, like I did as a child?” She acknowledged that there are times in your life where you just can’t do it, you’re just like, Look, I’m not prepared to function outside of my little bubble today. And that’s okay. And so I think people are afraid to talk about it. It’s taboo to speak about struggles and vulnerability. And especially in entrepreneurship, we are under pressure to feel like we have it all together at all times.

And we know everything and, and it really prevents us from learning. It prevents us from growing and getting help and allowing others to help us which, as entrepreneurs, we so badly want to help each other. That’s why we do what we do problem solvers. We want to fix things, right? So it’s this awful cycle. And when we look at female founders and people of colour founders, which I belong to both of those groups, it’s even worse because there’s this other layer of unfairness in the systems that exist that you’re trying to fight through as well.

So that’s why Coco’s anonymous, if you know, is there to structure and support but for me, mental health is just every day self care type of breathing, stretching, and having a few hours to my day that are just dedicated to me before going out and working with others. I’m not perfect. I get very stressed out. I snap on my team. I have to apologise you know, constantly always trying to improve myself and get better. You know, it’s all part of the journey. I know that sounds cliche, but I just tried to get a little bit better

Katherine Ann Byam  9:32  

every day that it makes complete sense. How can people experience qualquer like, tell us a little bit about the app and what it’s like to use it?

Miriam Dorsett   9:42  

Yes, thank you. quokka is really easy to use all messaging you don’t have to download a thing. We are on a private beta testing of our MVP. Unfortunately, with this test, it’s available in the US only. Our test group before that was open to everyone internationally because we were using WhatsApp for that test group. But now we’re using a more scalable system that’s here in the US. And to join, you go to our, our blog page and our like about landing page and you just sign up as a member $7 A month. course, if you are struggling with depression, or if you’re a veteran, we are open, you know, you’re eligible for a free membership, then you get to get messages from all of the members at random, and you can send them and they go out at random, you can ask questions to quokka.

Quoka will send you inspirational quotes, the way that it works is members send in messages, they go to coca, coca analyses the message and routes it appropriately to other members of the club. And that’s the simplest way that I can explain some of the questions as well, how do you make sure that negative messages don’t get through, right? Because sometimes as a founder, you get upset, you’re angry, and you maybe want to express that in poker is a safe place for that expression to happen. So I hope people sign up and give me feedback. I’m really looking forward to hearing how people like using it. And so far, the feedback has been really good. Members really like it.

Katherine Ann Byam  11:25  

Thanks so much, Marian, for sharing quokka. with us. I’m looking forward to trying it out myself. And any closing advice that you would like to give to people who are just beginning on their sustainability or entrepreneurship journey? And what kind of things should they kind of look out for Be mindful of?

Miriam Dorsett   11:48  

Yeah, absolutely. I would say first of all, anyone who is going on this journey, listening to this podcast, thank you for choosing to do this hard work. Being a sustainable entrepreneur is not the easiest path. Easy to just set up like an Amazon shop, start making money, things of that nature. But I don’t think we’d be properly preparing ourselves for the journey ahead. If we thought that brands who aren’t going to change their business models to be more sustainable aren’t going to fight us tooth and nail. So I would just ask that you think very strategically, think long term, take a rest, team up with other people, join communities like Katherine’s, you know, don’t let your passion consume us like passion and anger, it’s a very fine line for me. I’m like, I get angry when people don’t recycle or sometimes even and it’s like, anger is not going to get me to the places that I want to be. So just try to amplify the good stories. Let’s drown out the bad things by just shining the light on the good things. Don’t get caught up on being perfect. Speak to our youth. They’re the real change makers, run for office if you can use your powers, which are your voice, your wallet and your vote. And those are my words of advice. I know that’s kind of a lot. But thank you so much.

Katherine Ann Byam  13:20  

This episode was brought to you today by the Eco business group Club by Katherine Ann Byam and by the space where ideas launch, the Eco business growth club supports positive impact SMEs with coaching new health, and community support toward achieving the impact and reach they set out to meet. You can find out more by connecting with where ideas launch on Instagram or following the hashtag where it is launched across all of your social media.