Episode 27: How Founders Taboo is Disrupting the Startup Ecosystem’s Approach to Entrepreneur Mental Health with Janos Barberis and Annabelle Cameron

Sep 24, 2023 | podcast | 0 comments

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You can find a link to the full transcript for this episode HERE.

Founded by Janos Barberis, Founders Taboo is a UK based startup working to increase awareness, access, and affordability of support for startup founder mental health and well-being. They aim to solve the problem of founder well-being at scale in order to disrupt the entire startup ecosystem’s view on this topic. They’re building the world’s largest online community and resource hub offering psychoeducation, online support, and connections to providers specialized in offering treatment and crisis support specifically for founders. In addition to online offerings they also offer regular retreats for founders. All of this is available to founders at any stage, anywhere in the world, and you’ll find a link to join below.

With a track record in building world-class accelerators and applied academic research, Janos Barberis has seen first-hand how prioritising the health of the founder is critical to the performance, success and continuity of one’s venture. Janos has turned lived experience into pioneering a movement to build a healthier, more fruitful startup ecosystem with founder wellbeing, mental health and performance at the core.

With a background rooted in psychology, Annabelle Cameron works at the intersection of psychology, entrepreneurship and performance, and the relationships between these. Through the Founders Taboo movement, she is working to improve the provision of and access to wellbeing support for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Collaborating with experts, researchers, and key ecosystem stakeholders, Annabelle and Founders Taboo are driving for a healthier, more sustainable startup ecosystem.

As you’ll hear Janos say in this interview “the world needs more entrepreneurship, not less.” However, we also need to ensure that founders are able to grow their businesses without harming their mental health and relationships, which is exactly what Founders Taboo is aiming to do.

Founders create wealth power, they create something out of nothing, so if there’s 0 they create 100, but unfortunately energy and time you deduct. And founders don’t necessarily think that. That’s why they always think that ‘No, I’ll create, I’ll generate more wealth, more energy, more power, more passion.’ But it doesn’t work that way, it works for companies, but doesn’t work for human life. I think that’s difficult to grasp.

As a founder, why would you invest X amount in yourself when you could put it into your business and potentially yield a 10x return? In those cases I try and help [founders] understand that it is an investment in yourself, it’s an investment in the business, it’s not time lost, it’s time gained in terms of productivity, creativity, innovative capabilities.

In our conversation you’ll learn about Janos lived experience that inspired him to start Founders Taboo, Annabelle’s observations on the challenges faced by the founders supported by Founders Taboo, and the ambitious and inspiring ways in which Founders Taboo is working to support founders and shift the global conversation around founder mental health amongst all key players in the startup ecosystem.

Any founder can sign up to Founders Taboo, the free online community and resource-hub tailored to entrepreneur wellbeing. Registration HERE.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How Founders Taboo supports founder mental health and well-being and the common reasons founders seek support
  • Janos experience as a founder that inspired him to create Founders Taboo, and why he wouldn’t want to go back and change the struggles he faced as an early founder
  • The conversations founders need to have with investors about allocating funds for mental health and ensuring they have an adequate salary
  • The research that Founders Taboo is carrying out in collaboration with Ute Stephan of King’s College and why this research is essential for disrupting the startup ecosystem’s view on mental health
  • Why imposter syndrome are so common amongst startup founders and why it’s important for your business success to work on overcoming it

Find Janos, Annabelle, and Founders Taboo Online:

Resources & Inspiration from the Show

List of resources to help you find a coach, therapist, or peer support If you’d like additional support for your mental and emotional well-being as a founder

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About Founders’ Fears & Failures and your host, Dr. Melissa Parks

Melissa is an entrepreneur, former therapist (PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology), and an executive coach for entrepreneurs with a special focus on startup founders. Her passion for supporting startup founders in particular began after witnessing firsthand the emotional rollercoaster her husband experienced as a startup co-founder.

She started the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast with the mission of shining a light on the mental and emotional challenges that come with life as a startup founder. Having lived abroad for 10 years herself she realizes how much we can learn from hearing stories from around the globe which is why the show doesn’t focus on a country-specific startup ecosystem.

Melissa is also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapist Community, and a mom to a toddler who keeps her on her toes, and fuels her passion for helping to make the world a better place.

If you are interested in coming on the show, please get in touch. We would love to hear your story.

Want to connect further? Get in touch with Melissa on social media:

Want to work with Melissa?

Melissa is a former therapist who provides executive coaching for entrepreneurs around the globe. Schedule your free discovery call HERE.

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Disclaimer: The Founders’ Fears & Failures is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to be used for personal health advice and should not be construed to constitute personal or professional consultation or guidance, or to replace medical or mental health treatment. The opinions expressed by this podcast, including the podcast guests, are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of a medical or mental health provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your medical and/or mental health needs. If you are in crisis, please visit this website to find a list of suicide hotlines around the globe. 


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I'm a therapist-turned-coach who loves working with clients around the world! I work with the globally mobile community to support them through transitions as well as entrepreneurs who need support navigating the rollercoaster of entrepreneur life.

I'm also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, a mom, a self-compassion advocate, and an aspiring author.