By Riley Kaminer
Is it possible to achieve work-life balance as an early-stage startup founder? It is a question that Quoka founder Miriam Dorsett thinks about a lot.
“Being an entrepreneur is about making it work, regardless of the circumstances that you’re in – as messed up as that may sound,” Dorsett told Refresh Miami.
“If you’re lucky, you don’t compromise on your values on the way to the top. But it’s carnage for many entrepreneurs like myself who didn’t know how to start something. They might have tried to get help but didn’t know the resources that were available, so they gave up.”
In Dorsett’s case, a series of unfortunate events in her personal life added significant turbulence when she was in the midst of launching her startup.
“I was going through a crazy life event where everything around me was changing,” she shared, noting that this situation led her to become depressed. But out of this difficult time came a positive realization: “I learned that I had to put a structure in place to help my mental health.”
For Dorsett, those tools included learning breathwork, starting to journal, and experimenting with homeopathic remedies. Now Dorsett is focused on helping other entrepreneurs overcome their mental health challenges.
“Quoka helps you discover the many tools available outside of drugs or therapy, to navigate life’s challenges with confidence,” Dorsett said. Once users choose a plan, which start at $5.95 a month, they then start getting messages from Quoka. Plans include ‘rebound,’ for people going through a breakup; ‘new chapter,’ for people moving to a new city; ‘parents,’ for new parents; and ‘entrepreneurs,’ focused on tech founders.
The idea is that through Quoka, users get regular text messages with meditation prompts, mindfulness practices, and affirmations. They’ve also developed a guide to help startup founders with self care. “I want everyone to have more happy days through these micro moments of happiness delivered through text messages. And with that, I hope to raise all of our mental health – and make the world a better place.”
An artist by vocation, Dorsett has been bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures and artistic projects full-time since 2017. Mental health has been a major focus of her efforts since then. Quoka first launched in August 2021 and Dorsett remains the sole full-time employee.
“I believe that mental health is really the foundation for people to be at their best for the maximum amount of time in their life,” she said. “To do your best work as an entrepreneur, you want to have a strong mental health foundation in place at all times. That should be priority number one.”
So far, Quoka has primarily served consumers. But Dorsett signaled that the company plans to grow its B2B offering. She noted that currently Quoka has two B2B clients: Kwamara Thompson Founder of Black Women Matter, who will be deploying Quoka’s platform in her community; and Instagram influencer Andrea “Cryptogal” Doucette, who will be using Quoka for her WorldWide Sisterhood community.
“What brings us all together is our struggles,” said Dorsett. “You may be having something hard going on that’s different from me, but the way we feel is the same. So sharing the things we try can help each other.”
“I’m happy to provide a platform that makes it very easy for people to discover these new tools and techniques in a way that’s not disruptive to their day and supports their mental well being – all while being completely anonymous, protective of their privacy, and easy to use.”
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- Brave Health raises $40M Series C to expand Medicaid-focused mental health platform
- Opción YO creates mental health counseling platform tailored to the Hispanic market
- Mental health startup nue.life launches brand amid 500% growth, more funding
- Mental health platform Opción Yo acquired by serial entrepreneur Abi Mandelbaum
- CedrusMed expands platform to more than 4,300 mental health specialists
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