It’s Okay to Feel Burned Out

Sam Eitzen woke up in the middle of the night terrified. His heart was racing, and he couldn't fall back asleep.

Good morning!

Today’s highlights: Why you should avoid industry-specific CRMs. Bank of America raises its minimum to $25 an hour. And the craft beer industry continues to fight allegations of sexism and racism. 

MANAGEMENT

Sam Eitzen, like a lot of entrepreneurs, was burned out after 2020: “Just two days before Christmas, Sam Eitzen woke up in the middle of the night terrified. His heart was racing, and he couldn't fall back asleep. He feared he was having a heart attack. The 33-year-old entrepreneur visited doctors, who confirmed his health was fine, but Eitzen's heart continued to beat rapidly and keep him awake. ‘I've never been an anxious person, and so I almost didn't believe it could be anxiety,’ said Eitzen, a cofounder of the 9-year-old photo-booth company Snapbar. ‘But the more I looked into it and my heart checked out fine, the more I realized it was stress-related."

  • “He'd pivoted Snapbar's business strategy twice in less than 12 months and hadn't taken significant time off since the pandemic began.”

  • “In early April, he began a one-month sabbatical in the hopes of treating his anxiety and mental exhaustion, an approach he suggests other founders try as they endure the crisis.”

  • Eitzen’s advice: “Forgive yourself for feeling burned out. It's been a hard year for everyone in different ways.” READ MORE

SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY

Gene Marks advises against industry-specific customer relations software: “I get these questions all the time. ‘We need a CRM geared towards manufacturers,’ one business owner who is researching CRM applications recently said to me. Another one insisted that she wants a ‘CRM system that’s specifically for the construction industry.’ When I get these questions I usually say, No, you don’t need a vertical or industry-specific CRM application. It’s not that there aren’t some great choices out there. But from what I see, most of the CRM applications targeted at industries like manufacturing, distribution, service and construction come with significant downsides.”

  • “A vertical CRM application only has a small slice of a limited number of customers. That also means a significantly smaller community of companies, developers, partners and others that provide support for a product. It’s simply less options for a user.”

  • “The makers of industry-specific products do not have the economies of scale that their larger, better capitalized competitors that sell horizontally do. That’s why, when you do your research, you’ll find that these specialized applications cost more than their mainstream competitors.”

  • “Smaller CRM providers will likely have less money in the bank than their mainstream competitors. Investing your time and more importantly your data with these companies is riskier. Relying on them to have the funding necessary for keeping their product up to date and integrated with other key applications – let alone providing the platform and security you need – is also more of a gamble.” READ MORE

HUMAN RESOURCES

Bank of America says it will raise its minimum wage to $25 by 2025: “‘It costs us a few hundred million dollars a year ... but it's an investment,’ the bank's CEO Brian Moynihan told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Tuesday, adding that It's about maintaining a ‘great standard of living for our teammates.’ Paying more also helps give employees a "career mindset" and ultimately breeds loyalty, he added. And that, in turn, is the way shareholders get paid back in this initiative. ‘The key is for big companies like ours to set a standard,’ Moynihan said. ‘We think it's part of sharing our success with our communities.’”

  • “It's not the first time Bank of America has raised the minimum wage for its employees. In 2017 the bank raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

  • “Two years later the company announced it would lift that level to $20 over the coming two years — and did so ahead of schedule, with an increase that impacted more than 200,000 workers.” READ MORE

MARKETING

If you’re trying to understand how Google generates $150 billion a year in revenue off digital advertising, here’s an explainer: “Google has been the market leader in online advertising for well over a decade and is expected to command nearly a 29 percent share of digital ad spending globally in 2021, according to eMarketer. Number-two Facebook is expected to capture less than 24 percent, while Alibaba is projected to be a distant third, with less than 9 percent. Over the years, Google has built and acquired a slew of ad tech tools that enable content publishers to make money through advertising and let ad buyers seek out the kinds of people they would like to get in front of on Google Search, YouTube, Maps and on other websites across the internet.”

  • “While search and other properties make up the bulk of Google’s ad revenues, its YouTube advertising business, which saw a near 50 percent year-over-year jump in the first quarter, is increasingly grabbing ad dollars away from traditional linear television.”

  • “Amazon is increasingly competing with Google on search. Although eMarketer expects Google will account for a 56.8 percent share of all U.S. search ad revenue in 2021, Amazon’s 19 percent share has been steadily growing.”

  • “Meanwhile, products like Maps are becoming more strategic on the ad side. Using Google Maps, advertisers can buy ads for local business listings and ‘pins.’ Maps, which only began allowing ads in 2019, has 1 billion monthly active users and it’s updated tens of thousands of times in a day.” READ MORE

REOPENING

The tattoo business is booming again: “Tattoo businesses are in the midst of a revival after the coronavirus recession and pandemic-fueled closures. Bookings and revenue are surging as Americans look for expressive and therapeutic outlets in a year marked by isolation and loss. And with nearly 1 in 2 Americans already sporting at least one tattoo, according to market researchers IBISWorld, and an expanding coterie of tatted artists and athletes, any lingering stigmas about skin art have largely dissipated.”

  • “Keron McHugh is booked solid the next 14 months with people eager for ink and the slightest semblance of permanence.”

  • “The artist was in demand even before the pandemic forced him to shutter the Cardinal Skin Art & Gallery — the Mebane, N.C., tattoo studio, art gallery and community space he opened nearly four years ago — so it was not unusual for his appointment book to be full months ahead.”

  • “But the tattoo queries kept coming even during the shop’s closure in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis, McHugh said, and it’s been ‘a nonstop wave’ ever since.” READ MORE

Amid the confusion as mask mandates disappear, businesses are making their own rules: “Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly changed its guidance to say it is now safe for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks even indoors, a number of state and local governments, including Virginia and the city of Alexandria, lifted or amended their mask mandates. That's left businesses like Jeni's to make and enforce their own rules. Businesses have spent the past few days navigating confusion. Jeni's said it is keeping its mask policies in place for now. Employees and customers are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.”

  • “Some of the biggest retailers in America are going the other direction. Target, Walmart and Costco have all dropped their mask rules for fully vaccinated people, except where state or local laws apply.”

  • “‘My fear is that people will say they're vaccinated when they're not vaccinated and then just walk around unmasked,’ said Nicole McGrew, owner of the clothing and accessories boutique Threadleaf in Old Town Alexandria.”

  • “McGrew and her two employees are fully vaccinated, but she has an 11-year-old son who's too young to get the vaccine. In the store, she still wears a mask and will continue to require that of her customers for at least a short time longer, she said.” READ MORE

WeWork’s chairman says demand for space now exceeds pre-pandemic levels: “WeWork, the office-rental company most closely associated with entrepreneurial excess, has seen demand bounce back in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, and inquiries from potential customers exceed what they were before nationwide lockdowns, its executive chairman said. ‘The demand for WeWork space today is higher than it was prior to the pandemic,’ said Marcelo Claure, who is also chief operating officer of SoftBank Group Corp., WeWork’s biggest investor, during an interview at the Bloomberg Businessweek virtual summit. A spokeswoman for WeWork said revenue had recovered after a pandemic dip.”

  • “‘Sales are back to pre-pandemic levels, and our sales pipeline is strong,’ she wrote in an email.” READ MORE

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FOOD & BEVERAGE

The co-founders of Tired Hands Brewing are stepping aside as allegations of sexism and racism continue to plague the craft beer industry:“The numerous, mostly anonymous allegations of toxic workplace behavior at various craft breweries appeared on the Instagram account of Brienne Allan, a brewer at Notch Brewing in Salem, Mass. Those describing Tired Hands were targeted primarily at [married co-founders Jean] Broillet and [Julie] Foster. Allan started soliciting reports of discrimination in the brewing industry last week, prompted by her own experiences of sexism at work. Her inbox has been flooded with thousands of grim stories; she has posted screenshots — as well as messages corroborating some accounts — in her Instagram stories.” 

  • “Tired Hands has emerged as a [Philadelphia] leading light in the craft-beer community over the last decade, attracting national attention with its funky, creative brews.”

  • “But the stories sent to Allan described a disturbing work environment characterized by toxic masculinity and intimidation.”

  • “This reckoning also comes as restaurant and hospitality workers have made waves about low wages, lack of benefits, and poor working conditions — factors that have contributed to the current labor shortage.” READ MORE

Trying Morning Report Audio

THE 21 HATS PODCAST

Episode 62: We’re Raising Wages for Everybody: This week, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and Dana White talk about confronting inflation, raising their prices, what businesses owe their employees, and the venture-backed competitor who’s opening a store in Jay’s backyard. Among the questions they discuss: Would you take back a rebound employee? Are unemployment payments the main reason owners are struggling to fill jobs? Is there anything wrong with taking business from another business? How many companies are truly disruptive? And do owners take all of the risk? Or are there risks for employees, too?

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren