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Rand Fishkin and Ryan Williams

Rand Fishkin and Ryan Williams

Rand Fishkin was depressed and anxious for around a year. He had trouble sleeping and got trapped in the loop of “regretting decisions from the past.” He felt sunk and felt that nothing useful was coming from his business, Moz. Meanwhile the company was a $20 Million revenue business at the time, and has grown even more since 2013 when he was fighting through his dark period.

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Rand speaks regularly about Moz and is an expert in online marketing. At the time, Rand was giving talks about marketing around the world. But it didn’t matter while he was depressed. After giving inspiriting talks to marketing audiences, people would approach him afterwards to compliment him. Audience members would say “it’ so great to meet you, I’ve been a Moz customer for years. I love your tools and software.” And Rand felt so bad, he tried to convince the attendees that his talks were truly bad. And he even tried to prove to these paying customers that his products weren’t working properly.
Many of you know that I am a former standup comedian. And many of you don’t know is that I struggled with depression in my early 20’s, while performing stand-up. There was days I never left my room except for comedy and my day-job. I went through a dark phase and it was really hard talking to people about my own challenges with depression and anxiety. I discovered that there was a real stigma around depression amongst my friends and colleagues. People saw it as a stigma and thought that I was “weak.” In fact most people told me to “suck it up,” and deal with it. I’ve never told anyone outside of my close friends this story.

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In Rand’s case, startup founder depression is a real thing. And creative people are highlight likely to go through depressed periods in their lives. Talking about depression can be a hard conversation to have. It’s not easy. But it’s okay to be depressed. It’s okay to tell others openly and honest about how crappy you feel. Severe depression and anxiety doesn’t last forever. Any sort of self-loathing or misery that you feel is temporary.
What you’ll learn from this episode:
  • How to identify traits you may be experiencing as a depressed person
  • How to cope with bouts of depression and anxiety
  • How to share your feelings with friends during a dark period
  • How the stigma of depression of often prevents people from asking for help
  • How depression is often temporary and that people can get through it
  • How startup founders can fight through depression
  • Where to look for help if you’re a startup founder depressed (start with friends and family)
Rand Fishkin’s Moz article: The Long Ugly year of Depression that is Finally Fading
Rand Fishkin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/randfish
Follow Ryan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanjwill


Stories from The Influencer Economy