Interview with Pavlo Fedykovych about the #MyStartupStruggle Project


Pavlo, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Although a lawyer by education, I combine entrepreneurship and journalism being a social media and PR advisor as well as freelance writer with bylines in CNN, BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, Lonely Planet and The Next Web.

What do you do at the moment?

Right now I’m working closely with San Francisco-based digital signage startup Kitcast orchestrating their social media as well as writing for multiple publications covering travel, culture and entrepreneurship.

What is the #MyStartupStruggle project? 

It’s a social video project that aims to break the stigma of talking about the mental health issues in the entrepreneurial world and to raise awareness about the mental health challenges startup founders go through.

How and why did you come up with the idea? 

As a sole entrepreneur and a freelancer, I had the times of emotional lows myself. Those moments when the surrounding reality loses colors and it’s getting harder and harder to find reasons to keep on going at the beginning of the day.

When I became a part of Kitcast, we were talking a lot about the mental health challenges the founders go through. As I got to know the startup community better, it was evident that many entrepreneurs share the same negative experience of not talking about their issues. That’s when I realized that something should be done in order to address this stigma.

Is the project still running? (if yes, how can an entrepreneur learn more about it and how can he / she contributes?) 

The first part of the project is the video we produced and published on YouTube that gathered four founders talking about their mental health struggles. That is done to set the scene, to show that the process of talking is already happening.

Also, we have introduced a hashtag – #MyStartupStruggle. We want it to serve as a platform to share the experience of other founders in dealing with their own mental health issues. It is a personal confession space aided by the power of social media sharing. That’s why this initiative is ongoing and the entrepreneurs can contribute to the cause by sharing their own experience and raising awareness about this issue within their communities.

Do you believe there is a real story behind the connection of Entrepreneurs + Mental health issues? If yes, why? 

Sure. Entrepreneurship is hard. What’s also important to understand, it’s really hard emotionally. And people are not robots, people can be engulfed by negative emotions. ADHD, substance abuse, depression, all of it doesn’t happen without a reason. All these conditions require professional help. And in the world where the mental health problems are silenced and dimmed “unimportant”, these conditions can lead to very bad consequences.

How can an entrepreneur “take care of himself / herself? Your own personal experience. 

First and foremost, if there’s a problem, it should be admitted. However, it’s just the first step, another one is taking actions to address the problem, to talk about it and to have the power to get over it. A full rehabilitation circle. I had both positive and negative experiences in dealing with my mental health issues. Sharing it with others always made a huge difference in my case. That’s why I’m here to promote it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

The more people in the startup world talk about it, the better it is for the conversation. Thanks for doing your own project and thanks for supporting ours.