Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 3

Down with 'hustle culture'
Founders are rejecting the glamour of the grind
merican workers have been barreling toward
burnout for years. Technology has blurred the
lines between work and life, and social media has
amplified the pressure to outperform one's peers, persisting
through exhaustion in pursuit of achievement and
economic prosperity.
For startup founders, whose identity and purpose
often are intertwined with their businesses, the glamour
of the grind may be blinding. Toxic messages disguised as
motivation encourage entrepreneurs to " hustle harder " at
the expense of physical and mental well-being.
" As a founder, I felt like my first startup was a
house of cards that would all come tumbling down if I
wasn't working 24/7, " said Jordan Buckner, founder of, an online community for food and beverage
entrepreneurs. " I was constantly afraid of running
out of money before the company could be successful,
and that took a toll on my mental, physical and emotional
health. "
The pandemic has prompted many to reevaluate the
role of productivity within a healthy, happy lifestyle. Several
packaged food entrepreneurs are outright rejecting
hustle culture, and their businesses may be benefiting
because of it.
" Entrepreneurs have a reputation for always having
their hair on fire, " said Ori Zohar, founder of New Yorkbased
spice company Burlap & Barrel. " If all you do is put
out fires, you don't leave time to build a business that's
not as combustible. "
An advocate against entrepreneurial overwork is
Mark A. Samuel, founder and chief executive officer
of IWON (I'm Winning On Nutrition) Organics, a Corte
Madera, Calif.-based brand of snacks, cereal and granola.
In a recent LinkedIn post, he described his workday
schedule, which involves no calls or meetings prior to
mid-morning. First come family and fitness.
" To me, health takes priority, and that means living
a lifestyle led by
good choices that
positively affect my
mental and physical
health, " Mr. Samuel
told Food Entrepreneur.
" And the 24/7
hustle doesn't fit that
model. With a more
balanced model, it's
not to say you can't
be successful, it's
not to say you can't
work hard during
the week. You can. In
Monica Watrous is the managing
editor of Food Business News.
May 10, 2022
fact, just as much so as those who claim to work all those
long hours.
" I, for one, have a schedule that pushes me to do
more in less time. Laser focused for specific hours during
the work week. And I'd put that output up against anyone
who takes on 16-hour workdays. "
Nicholas Naclerio, founder and CEO of Mmmly, a
New York maker of functional cookies, practices mindfulness
and establishes clear boundaries.
" I listen to what my body needs, " he said. " I pay attention
to my energy levels, my performance, and my level
of clarity. I create structure for myself and even if I have a
bunch to do, I cut it off at most times.
" That happens about 70% to 80% of the time. I know
that if I don't cut off, I'm betraying myself and needs. I
definitely have days where I need to pull through, but I
consciously accept that I'm doing that and likely will rest
up a bit more later if I had an intense week. "
Detaching from those preaching " all work, no play "
rhetoric also helps, he added.
Kimberly Behzadi, founder of subscription box company
Bookmarks & Breadsticks, relies on outsourcing
tasks when possible, noting " exhaustion never produces
excellence. "
" A learned skill is recognizing you are a boss versus
an employee, " she said. " True ownership requires delegation,
and I'm not perfect at it, but grinding myself to
exhaustion has never once brought me improved sales,
just frustration and mistakes. "
Not all entrepreneurs have a team or capital to
redistribute responsibilities. The demands of building
a business are unrelenting and require flexibility and
at times moving quickly. Still, it is important to remember
that one's worth is not measured in hours worked.
Perpetuating unhealthy ideals of a ceaseless grind should
not be confused with a well-considered and well-executed
business strategy. ▪
Food Business News
is not
in hours

Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022

Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - May 10, 2022 - 13