How do I manage stress? Can I reduce the stress in my business? What are ways to cope with stress? We have a great conversation with business owner and psychologist Dr. Melissa Root about handling stress, stress management, and how business owners can improve their lives and businesses through healthy stress management. Melissa's passion is combining technology and psychology to improve performance and quality of life, with a dose of competitive sailing on the side! Her motto for calmpak and life is “live better – because you can.”
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Dana Dowdell 00:06
Russ Harlow 00:07
What's happening Dana?
Dana Dowdell 00:08
How are you?
Russ Harlow 00:10
I'm stressed, slow season, you know, trying to keep the revenue up. I don't know.
Dana Dowdell 00:16
Well, we're gonna talk to someone who I think can shed some light on stress in general, but then also being an entrepreneur and creating a product. So I'm so excited. We're joined by Dr. Melissa Root. She is the CEO of Root Success Solutions. She focuses and stress She's a psychologist, by by education and training. But then she's also an entrepreneur, she created this amazing product called compact, which we'll get into. And we're going to talk all about her journey and what it was like creating a tangible product. So Dr. Melissa root, welcome to the podcast.
Dr. Melissa Root 00:52
Thank you so much for having me, Dan. And Russ. I'm excited to be here.
Dana Dowdell 00:56
All right. So tell us your journey. Tell us about how you got started with route success solutions, and then about how you decided to create the product of CalmPak?
Dr. Melissa Root 01:08
Sure, absolutely. So I start I was a former professor, I was running projects for the state of Connecticut, and working in some different sort of soft funded positions, and was feeling stymied by progress as can happen. And it really felt, you know, I had access to some tools, some information that I thought really needed to be out there in the world, and decided I could probably impact the world a bit better on my own. And so I, I started figuring out just, you know, doing a lot of online research and so forth, how do you start a business? How do you start an LLC in Connecticut, and, and, and in July of 2016, I started route success solutions. And so that's how I sort of took that leap of faith, I was a single parent of three, it was a, a, it was just sort of one foot in front of the other, and I kept going, and it's 2022. And I'm still going. So I think that's good. Right? But it's, you know, it's that in and of itself a lot of stress with with that entire process. But, but that's what he did, in my initial to your question about creating a product, my initial foray into business was a service business, which I still have, I provide services to schools and to businesses about how to create, basically training videos to help either individuals or groups. Learn how to do tasks on the job in life, how to handle, you know, what's coming at you. And then in 2020, things adjusted. And I'd always had this idea for creating a product that we could actually give to people to help them handle stress. And I wanted to move a bit away from the service model, where I'm just getting paid for my time, to hey, I can create something and then build it larger. And so that was my mice, which my dish, and I should say, into building CalmPak, which has its own set of stressors and to create a product and find manufacturers and evolve it. But it's been a fabulous journey, a journey that I have really, truly loved.
Dana Dowdell 03:23
So let's talk a little bit about stress. Because Russ and I were commiserating before we hit record about like, you know, just the stress of being a business owner and all the weights that you have to carry and all the challenges and, you know, what, what is stress? Because that's really your focus is like stress management. So what is stress? And what does it look like?
Dr. Melissa Root 03:49
So there's sort of a two pronged component of stress, there are stressors, things that happen in our environment, that that come at us exist around us that can increase our fight or flight response. Right. So it's usually it's acute stress, right? Maybe you get bad information, maybe, you know, bad news comes out you maybe you're the example I like to use is you're driving down the street, singing your song driving the car, everything's hunky dory, and all of a sudden, the brake lights come on immediately in front of you, right, or a ball goes out in front of your car and all of a sudden, right, your heart rate goes up, your your palms are sweaty, react, immediately the foot goes immediately to the brake pedal, and you stop, right. So that's your stress response. It allows your body's it's a big flood of hormones that allows all the blood to go to the right places. So you have the energy to respond appropriately to these things. And then with acute stress, right, the car stops, everything's fine. You start driving again, within a few minutes, everything goes back to normal heart rates normal. You're back to singing your song, everything's good. So so that's your response to an acute stressor that's fast and easy. that chronic stress is the problem that is the situation, that's a problem. And that's where you have these stressors around you, they'll always be around you, you won't stop that. But when you are constantly responding to it, when you're constantly having this leak of hormones, it causes inflammation in your body, it causes problems for just nearly every health ailment, you'll see a thing about oh, handle stress better, right? So it's that it's diabetes, it's cholesterol, it's a heart disease, it's cancer, it's obesity is the whole range of things are impacted by this sort of constant stress. So stress is really your reaction to things happening around you. And the good news is, is that you can control that actually, there you can learn ways to modify how you react to those things. So you're not experiencing this con, chronic stress and the impacts of that.
Russ Harlow 06:01
So I'm curious, because this is the conversation I was having with Dana earlier, like, the when I first started in business, and I know a lot of people have this experience, there's so many things that come up, like the checking accounts going down, there's not enough calls coming in. And that causes a special kind of stress, because it's like, how am I going to pay my bills? So you know, and over time, you kind of get used to some of those stressors. And so I'm curious if my body's just getting callous to that stress? am I dealing with it better? Am I ignoring it? Like? How do I evaluate whether or not that's rotting me out from the inside out? Or, you know, if I'm actually just, you know, getting better at dealing with it?
Dr. Melissa Root 06:44
So it's a great question. And, you know, I don't know you individually, my guess is, you're getting better at handling it, right? Because you've probably had more ups and downs, right? owning your own business, as you both know. And as your audience knows, there are a lot of ups and downs, it's a roller coaster ride, some days are fabulous. And some days, you're worried about everything right? And things are not going well, you're not getting those calls you've a deal has fallen through, there are a lot of ups and downs. The more you go through those ups and downs, the more you realize, there are ups and downs, right? Once I'm down, it will go back up again. Right? So you're probably getting better at it or better at buffering that response to it. But your question, how do I know if I'm running out from the inside, as you say, there are symptoms that we can look for, right? So if you look at Yale medicine has a list of, of symptoms that that to look out for that might indicate you're under chronic stress. And so I'm going to I'm going to tell you this list of symptoms and, and just know, it's like, if you have between three and five of them over several weeks, then you might be thinking, yeah, there's probably some chronic stress, right. So having aches and pains, we all have aches and pains, right. But if there's sort of this chronic ongoing one, either excessive sleep or not enough sleep, right. And I don't just mean like, oh, it's I've got to get ready for this presentation. I'm not sleeping, but like, sort of again, for a few weeks, you're either sleeping all the time, or you're really not sleeping at all. So big change in your sleep pattern is really the key. Either staying in more often or going out more often. So socially paying attention to that cloudy thinking, you know, this sort of sum in that nebulous kind of odd ones, but a big change in your appetite. So either you're eating a heck of a lot more or a heck of a lot less. And you might then over a few weeks, start noticing a change in how your clothing is fitting, that's sort of the easiest way to pay attention to that. Increase in in drug or alcohol use, right? Typically, that's going to be going up. Maybe change in how you're reacting together other people so somebody comes at you to tell you, I don't know, some moderately bad news, nothing terrible. And you're you're weeping uncontrollably, and you're like, I don't know why I'm crying, right. So those kinds of extreme reactions emotionally, so So that combination of things if you if you have like three to five of them over several weeks, the biggest ones to me are the eating in the sleeping, um, pay attention to that there's probably something happening in your world that is, is not sitting well with you and you're not handling it as best you potentially could. In the good news is there are things you can do to help you help yourself handle things better. But those are sort of the big things and nothing you can do is you talk about sort of those constant worries that you have just a technique called worry time actually. And there's two tracks on CalmPak that allow you to sort of during the day, put the worries aside. And then at the end of the day if every day for even 15 minutes, about an hour or two before you go to bed so not right before so big time, but just start focusing on what those words are. Okay? Boy, I'm not sure if I'm gonna be able to make payroll this week right and thinking about that worry dedicating this 15 minutes to what can I do tonight or tomorrow to start addressing this right? Can I go after three more accounts? Can I make five more phone calls tomorrow? Can I reach out to somebody for for a bridge loan if I need to whatever the you know, whatever the solution is, but start thinking of solutions just at the end of the day, what can I do to address this, and that will give you some control over it, and potentially help you sleep better that night, which then sort of reverses that down cycle to an upward cycle of handling stressors.
Dana Dowdell 10:42
Russ, when you said that you are rotting from the inside out. I just imagined you like pickling? Like a pickled Russ? Oh, man. Yeah, well preserved. Oh, okay. Like. So it's, you know, it's like a mental thing, right? It's, it's, it's not necessarily we've talked about this on the quirky HR podcast, right? It's not necessarily about eliminating the stressors, right? Because you're always going to have those things that kind of might wear at you or, you know, like, caused you to feel that fight or flight, but it's about becoming better at managing those stressors, right?
Dr. Melissa Root 11:28
Yeah, it's about modifying how you respond to them precisely, right. And you can learn these ways to do that. So that when they start coming at you, as you practice some of the techniques, particularly the ones that are on CalmPak, you'll start to notice physically, oh, my heart's beating faster, or my shoulders are getting tense, like this must be bothering my, my breathing is getting more shallow. And so you can start to notice that physical response to it, because there will be a physical response. And then you can mitigate that right, you can take some deep breaths, right. And that means slow, deep breaths, right. And just doing that for one minute doing box breathing for one minute, where you breathe in for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, breathe out for four, and hold that for four. And just imagine a box going around as you do that immediately slows your breathing gives you some control over your blood pressure, like all those things, that sort of system, right? Our bodies a system. And once we start to escalate it, everything escalates. And then we can but we can also de escalate that.
Russ Harlow 12:38
So like Dana said, it's it is about your mentality. And you're saying, you know, I guess the the quote, I that keeps ringing in my mind is control what you can control. Right? Not the things that you can't control the stressor, but you can control how you react to it, how you respond, what things you do to deal with it. So I mean, what do you find that there are really common stressors and really easy responses for business owners? Or is it to cater to the individual and how they're kind of responding to things?
Dr. Melissa Root 13:15
So the way you risk so the stressors will be unique to each business, right? I mean, we've got some, some general ones, the money's not coming in the door, right? That's why I keep getting no to the, to my requests, or, you know, or, you know, but depending on the business, there might be a stressor related to that particular style of business, right? Like, oh, I need my general contractor, and he's not showing up or, you know, they're gonna be very individualized stressors. But how you respond to them. That's, that's the same across all humans really, right? So no matter what business you're in, you can take those steps to control how you're responding to those stressors. And sometimes you might want to have an intense response, right? Like, sometimes it's good to have that fight or flight response. So don't, you know, it's a useful response, it saves us. But it's about that chronic stress stress that we need to start mitigating it and start responding a bit better to it. And so, so that's the great news, right is there are things that you can do. Problem is we get the downward cycle of okay, I'm worried so now I'm not sleeping. And now I'm not responding well when somebody's you know, trying to talk to me commonly and I'm responding harshly, and that's making me eat a lot more and then not getting good nutrition. So not exercising and now I'm not sleeping and it's this awful downward cycle. But again, we can reverse that which is a fabulous thing, right? Starting just with sleeping better. You can sleep better. Think about for the two of you think about the next day when you have slept well. How do you feel?
Dana Dowdell 15:00
Like a fucking champion? Hell yeah. But I mean, I'm like rest I don't sleep well. So it's like, you know I am in the boat where it's I don't sleep well I stress even last night I was laying in bed having anxiety about things and I wound up getting up and doing more work and like the the coping mechanism of quieting my mind and doing some relaxation and you know, doing some deep breathing, I was just like, fuck that I'm gonna do you know, these two tasks that are keeping me up at night.
Dr. Melissa Root 15:32
And actually, there's some research data that shows like, sitting in bed and ruminating about it and not getting up is not the thing to do. You actually did the right thing, which is okay, just get up, get out of bed, do something and then get back to get back into bed. So, so good for you. But
Dana Dowdell 15:48
I did wind up falling asleep on my couch. So I mean, that's, I was definitely tired. But so tell us about CalmPak. And you know, what tools it offers to anybody. Business Owner, student employee tell us all about it.
Dr. Melissa Root 16:05
Yeah, absolutely. So CalmPak is this is the system again for stress management. So it's a physical key fob that you hope to put on a key ring, your backpack, your purse, your wallet, wherever. And it's first of all serves just by that alone serves as his visual reminder of Oh, yeah, let me take that breath. Let me calm myself down. This is important, right. But more importantly, it connects your phone immediately and anonymously. That's a key component anonymously to these about 20. Right now there's about 25 different tracks on there. And by tracks, I mean, usually an audio tracks and they also have a visual component to them, but they are instructions guiding you to either relax your body, right and through a well studied technique, right. So we start at your feet and we're moving up we're squeezing and releasing different muscles or we're focusing on those different muscles and letting them relax. And we just sort of methodically go up the body those so there's a few that or like that there are others that are focused on helping you to fall asleep there are others that are helping you a lot can learn these breathing techniques. There are some that are just a minute long, right most of them pretty short so they can fit into your day so you can really quickly do them. And they're all designed to help you again notice your body how it's reacting to stress and controlling that response. And then there's also like I said the worry time right So Dana, your you feeling stressed about something last night it was wasn't allowing you to sleep if after, you know after dinner, six o'clock, you listen to this 15 minute one. It even has a violin soundscape purposefully designed to support your thinking through it. Yeah, no, very nice. Laura Stetler on that you believe you know, Laura Dana, yeah, she's our violinist. And she does a magnificent job. And so there's sort of we're common you first and doing some breathing and relaxing first, and then I guide you through. Okay, first focus on that one worry, right? And in thinking about it, and how did it make you feel what can you do again tonight or tomorrow to start addressing it, to solve it fully, but to maybe start addressing it right, and then put that aside, let's go to the next one and just take 15 minutes. If you do that, at the end of every day, right? You're getting control over those things. And so then when you go to sleep at night, you listen to one of the sleep recordings, puts you sound asleep, you're good to go to the next day and you start, you know, solving your problems. But so there's all these great tracks on there. They're all evidence based, as you mentioned, you know, got my PhD in educational psychology. I learned these techniques in graduate school. And I was volunteering at the local hospital here. And I would play the recordings that I had used, I'd use these recordings in research. And we showed people you know, lowering their anxiety, improving their mood, lowering their feelings of stress, right, we showed impact. So I'd volunteer at the local hospital, and people would at 9am Fall sound asleep. I mean sound asleep people with like body tremors, I've watched them just still completely. And by doing that a lot of the patients and our caregivers would say, How do I do this at home? And at the time, I could say you could Google it or write down progressive muscle relaxation and but I don't know what you're gonna find. And so it's just like, how do I put this in a product that can be given to people. And so that's how I came up with Compaq through a few different iterations finally settled on this version that it uses NFC technology which is the same technology have an Apple Pay, where you sort of take your phone, put it next to you know, whatever the device is and then it automatically connects the to that same tech Knology I added a QR code on the back as well, because in one of my trials in some people get a little stressed. They don't know what NFC is. And I thought, Oh, well, well, we'll add another way you can enter. So the whole point of product is of Compaq is to be a stress free product, and to help you learn to handle stress.
Russ Harlow 20:23
So the key fob is serves mostly as a reminder and a connection, a physical kind of connection to your phone so that you can go and get kind of maybe some of the stress relief that you need. It's not like it's monitoring you or anything like that. Because I'm thinking, I could use maybe a hammer or an open hand to slap me and go, Hey, go listen to like, sometimes I think, you know, we need those reminders. So how has that continued to grow? And has it changed as you as you develop the program? Like, have you gotten input from people and go, Oh, this has helped, but I wish I had this. So how do you develop that?
Dr. Melissa Root 21:03
So great questions. Um, so I, you know, I started, my initial idea was, well, we want to reduce stress out of it, there's just one one track on their five minute track, right. And, and I proposed that to some folks at Connecticut College, as I was even just thinking about it hadn't even brought in him developed anything yet. And, and somebody there said, well, we'd really like, you know, like to have more options on there. So all right, yeah, that's alright, that's fair. Right. So so that was sort of the first you know, change, and then I got a small grant to start developing it, and then COVID hit so I was like, Alright, this is, um, I'm gonna get a manufacturer male lead ballin? And, and I did and, but even with that, like said, I ran a small trial at the local hospital and realize, all right, I need to add a QR code. I ran a trial with some customers and friends, just look for volunteers. And somebody said, I wish there was something in the morning because it's focused more on sleep, and she'd like to start my day. Alright, so now we've got a section on starting your day somebody was using it for running a marathon and, and you know something about goal setting, right, since so there's something in the morning one about setting your goals for the day. Got feedback recently, somebody wanting habit. That's the conclusion to something conclusion to your day conclusion to maybe building up to even if you've gone to the Olympics, I just reading about this last night, like, you think they got to the Olympics, and it's fabulous. And they maybe they won, maybe they didn't win. But in either case, there's typically blues afterwards, they call it the Olympic blues, because all of a sudden, they're forgotten about or they, you know, they there's no support for them afterwards. And they're sort of I've reached my goal. But now what right so so the adding one that sort of helps people bridge that. So yeah, so I take input all the time. And it's a very dynamic tool. So no matter once you buy your key fob once, there's no other subscription fee or anything. And it's always updated. So when I come up, and somebody says to me, Melissa, I'd love to have this on there. I will do the research, create it, put it on there, and it's automatically accessed by every key fob.
Dana Dowdell 23:22
So for the tangible product, the actual key fob, like where, how did you find a manufacturer? Did you just Google it? Did you meet people? And you were like, Fuck, no, I don't want to work with them. Like, what were the steps that you took to make sure that your vision with this key fob was going to be, you know, delivered, and actually come to fruition?
Dr. Melissa Root 23:48
So I another great question, right. And it's always a process right? As you guys know, the small business, right? It's always a process. It's a lot of learning by hook or by crook, it's a lot of Google searching. It's it's talking to people. And in that process, discovered NFC technology, right, like, okay, that's the tech that I want to use. And, but I couldn't, I wanted it to be fully made here in the United States. And I could not find a single manufacturer, if anybody knows one, let me know but I couldn't find one. So I so discovered, Alibaba went through that process. And the bidding process, had one manufacturer that while in the end, they would give me a great product. It oftentimes took a few iterations and they always stood by what they did. They were fabulous to work with, but the timeline grew too long because of some of the mistakes that were being made. And so So I started trialing different manufacturers I would do small been noodles, you know, maybe an order of 500 and see how they did. And in this last one I got love them. fabulous price, really fabulous product and the turnarounds ideal and so you know, as with everything else, right, it takes some trial and error. And so so I have said, This is my third manufacturer and I will stick with them, they're really great.
Dana Dowdell 25:26
I think that's a important, like takeaway in a way is that when you're creating a tangible product, there's so many other people involved, you know, when you're doing service delivery, it's you write, and when, when you're creating a product, there's manufacturers, there's their manufacturers, like, I just, I just saw a reel last night of this company, I think they made cups, and their manufacturers cutting machine didn't come in time. And so right before their launch, they had to hand cut 50,000 straws. You know, so it's, I think it's a little bit harder. And, you know, you've you've done both. So you can certainly speak to this. But you know, when there's other people involved who are impacting your deadline or impacting your vision or mission or whatever, it can be a little bit harder of a, of a launcher of a, you know, implementation process, right?
Dr. Melissa Root 26:28
And I've been fortunate I've got a fabulous designer, because I've got so different persons designing what it looks like, her name is Allie Marsh, she's out of old line, she does a fantastic job. And she's gives me a quick turnaround, right? So somebody wants to co brand with me, she'll come up with a few designs, I show it to them, they decide which one they want. I send that to the manufacturer, they produce it and that you know, you're talking to the shipping company to how is it getting here? Is it being flown? Is it being shipped in by boat? You know, it's, it's all these different components that you need to look at. That's what makes business ownership fun, right? You're always learning, right? You're always there's something new, there's something different. There's some new input, there's some way to change. And as you guys know, a lot of people will give you advice. When you own a business. It's not always asked for it's not always helpful. I had one person tell me Oh, don't open your own business. Like I failed that my don't do. It was like, Thank you. Thank you for that support. Appreciate that was helpful. But anyway, the point being, it's, it's fun when you get into it, I do. But I seek feedback from my, my consumers, right? My clients, I sell direct to people and I also sell business to business. So I'd do both sides of it. And so I always do follow up with people, I send out surveys, I will call my business contacts, how's it working? You know, what feedback are you getting? And once you get that kind of feedback, it's great to throw up on your website, it's free to use in your you know, in testimonials, it's or it's a great way to adjust what you're doing in your product.
Russ Harlow 28:10
So is useful. Sounds like a stressful process. Now, you know how to handle stress? Well, yeah, I think that's probably a huge benefit. So like a rockstar. Love it. So then what's next? And how do you start to kind of scale that? And how does it work in conjunction with your consulting as well.
Dr. Melissa Root 28:38
So time management, right, time management is huge. Like I mentioned, I'm still doing the consulting work. So I'm, I'm giving a talk on Tuesday to Pfizer about how to develop video trainings within their organization. And so it's just, you know, like, you manage your time, right, you and you manage expectations of everybody else. And if I don't have time for, you know, 10 meetings this week, well, let me schedule them into next week, right? Um, I own the business to say where my time gets spent, which is a beautiful thing in my business, right? I mean, obviously Tuesday at nine o'clock I'm going to be on the call with Pfizer but um, the the ability to adjust your time and to say no, when you can't do something or you know, set expectations for for where your time goes is is really important. I'd say one stress management thing I would recommend to everybody and this is not Compaq related, is to turn the buzzers on your phone off. Yeah, most people's hand on my phone silence. Yeah, but is it still buzzing right or do you have an Apple Watch that's still blinking at you. Watch people when you're with them. Soon as that phone that watch blinks. They will look right at it right. They've diverted their 10 Action, most likely their heart rate has gone up a little bit, right? There's always a physical response to that. So what I do, my phone is hard silenced. Right? And if I'm working on something, I'll even turn it over. There's no, there's no, there's no. Things won't interrupt me until I'm ready for them to interrupt me. I will, when I'm ready, when I have time to look at my phone and respond to emails and phone calls, I can schedule it in I can flip over that phone and and look at it. Nobody's gonna die if I don't respond to something. So are you?
Russ Harlow 30:36
Are you sure? Because I'm getting anxiety just thinking about it. About shutting off your phone? Yeah, well, I mean, I do at night, like it's on Do Not Disturb straight up at least eight hours a day, you know? And maybe it's just the way I run my business. But all of my phone numbers come to me because I don't have somebody to answer my phones. And I also have a little bit of an obsession with response time and communication. I know, I know, in my brain that most things can wait at least 24 hours, there's there's probably nothing that's coming through my phone that can't wait at least an hour. And yet, and yet, I take a little bit of pride in being as responsive as I can, which often means it's within that first 60 minutes. So shutting it off, does just develop a little bit of anxiety for me, and maybe maybe I need to start thinking about that.
Dr. Melissa Root 31:35
Well, and I don't mean, I don't mean mine's off for I similarly respond very quickly. I think Dana can probably attest to that. But that's to me within the hour, like so I'm working for 45 minutes, and at the end of those 45 minutes, I'm flipping it over, okay, let me respond to these people. Right. I'm not talking about hours at a time. But I'm talking about it's not interrupting me, while I'm working. When I'm, when I've designated my time for me to respond, I'll look at it and I'll respond. So So to your point, Ross, I think you if you if you want check every half hour or something, but it allows you to focus your time for that half hour, and then dedicate the time to responding when you're ready, as opposed to constantly being interrupted.
Dana Dowdell 32:21
That's all. It's that whole value of like time blocking, right? I've heard that time and time again, where it's you designate an hour in your calendar to work on something that's been taking up space in your brain, or you designate an hour on your calendar to respond to, you know, quote, requests or something like that. And it can help people kind of manage the workflow manage manage the stress of having have the obligation,
Dr. Melissa Root 32:45
So Russ, when you get those phone calls, are those? I don't know if they're coming by phone or email, but um, do you? Do you notice a response in you? Physical Response?
Russ Harlow 33:02
I don't know. I know, like, I have a pretty good grasp on on me and what I struggle with and what I need to work on. Like, I struggle with context switching, period. Like, if something comes up and I'm in the middle of something, sometimes I lose time because I'm jumping back and forth between. And so I know that I need to develop the discipline of just time blocking whatever it takes to be able to give myself when I'm losing time. 100% I'm losing time when I'm at my desk and on my computer. There's that notification, there's an email, there's somebody responded to your posts on social media, somebody hope the phone just rang and I'm I'm halfway through 17 things. And then now I'm losing time because I'm going back to complete them. And does that cause stress? It doesn't cause me stress. It's just stupid, because I'm losing time. And I don't have a lot of time to give.
Dr. Melissa Root 33:54
Yeah, yep. So I mean, try it. Try it for just one week. See, if there's a difference we just shut off the notification shut off the popups right, you can do it through your settings. And just try for one week.
Russ Harlow 34:08
Maybe I should just close the 17 tabs I open in my browser at all times.
Dr. Melissa Root 34:13
Maybe I should do that start with that. I'm guilty of that too. Right. Oh, so we respond on LinkedIn i
Dana Dowdell 34:20
I guess I'm going to do list
Dr. Melissa Root 34:23
I'm not perfect at any of it. But um, but I know that things that make a difference.
Dana Dowdell 34:29
When it came to creating the product, was there anything that you wish you had known in the beginning?
Dr. Melissa Root 34:41
it's a great question and nothing comes to the top of my head. I mean, I've never honestly never had a single class in business. Right. So I probably would have been better off had I had some class in business. But I don't think it's hampered me at all. I just do, I'll do a lot of research, right, I know, I know where to get information. I, you know, I was I was able to to the University of Connecticut law clinic helped me get my both of my I have two products, but both of them are patent pending, right, because they helped me do my full patent application. So I think just really doing your research and seeing what resources are out there can be really helpful. Even if you don't have a background in business, like the informations out there. Just like everything, right, the information is out there about how to handle stress the informations out there about how to you know how to exercise and how to prep for a marathon, how to how to lose weight, how to do anything, it's all out there. It's a matter of being able to access it and use it and find it. And so do your research, I think. So I can't think of anything in particular, I wish that I'd known because I've figured it out. I guess it's useful to have somebody else that's tried to create their own business that can give you a little support. I had a friend that would always tell me about that roller coaster, there is up and down, it does go back up again. Like, Okay, hang on, you know, that was helpful.
Russ Harlow 36:30
Yeah, that and that's what we want for our listeners to understand that this experience while is unique for all of us, it's also very similar for many of us, and we struggle with a lot of the similar things. I love that. Yeah, the information is out there to deal with stress. But you've created a very simple tool to help people so that they don't have to go look for it, or they can find this. And now. You know, it's very simple for them. And I think that's what we need simplification in our lives. And I just, I appreciate that. You saw that opening? And, you know, help people. I mean, that's fantastic.
Dr. Melissa Root 37:08
Well, thank you. And that's really I kind of think of it as the you know, the the sliced cheese of mental health, right? Why don't we buy, it's not hard to slice cheese, and yet they sell like precise cheese, and I'll buy it. Because I know, I can go to a party to slice it. Great. So, so I like to think of it as that, right? It's this really simple, fast tool that you can use and, and there's no stigma to using it because nobody's tracking you. There's no login code, there's no nothing. It's just get in there and use it. Which is one of the reasons I sell it to colleges, like Connecticut College has it? Eastern has it, I'm sorry, three rivers Community College has it. University of Mississippi just bought it. There's a college out in Oregon that just bought it. But it's designed to sort of proactively give it to your students. And then they're not like when those stressors happen when those tough meetings happen when those midterms happen. They've already got the tools to handle the stress. Right? So instead of reacting to the to a crisis, you're preventing it. And that's really the goal of Compaq is to prevent those issues, because you've got the tools to handle
Dana Dowdell 38:27
stress. How have strategic relationships been an important part of your business? You know, you and I connected through Laura settler. And so how have you used strategic relationships to grow Compaq and to grow the business?
Dr. Melissa Root 38:47
So that's really been the you know, the best part of the most successful part of my business has been those strategic relationships. You know how I got to to Ole Miss and the Columbia Gorge Community College out in Oregon is connected with the Jed Foundation, which is this fabulous foundation that helps colleges figure out their mental health response and their mental health programming. And so Compaq is now in their playbook. Right. And so, so they helped me get word out, Laura connected me, like you said, with with you, Laura has been a fabulous assistance to me, you know, helping me connect to the military world and having, you know, I had a prior relationship with some folks at Connecticut College. That helped. Even when you go back to the very start of my company, you know, I was, I was working in a, in a program working with schools, and one of the schools I had said, Well, we're not going to be offering that I'm leaving the this position and she said, Well, you know, are they going to offer it after you leave? And I said, maybe, you know, I think I'm the only person in The sort of North America that does this, but maybe they'll bring somebody in and I'll check for you. Geez, oh, what are you doing on July 1? And I was like, well, starting my own company. And she said, Well, I'll reach out to you on July 1. And she did. So having those just those you know, relationships and people who know you and know the quality of what you bring and and reliability and responsiveness to your point, Ross right, being a responsive person. And you know, I'll respond honestly, I'll respond if I'm, if I'm not asleep yet. I'll respond to an email at 1130 at night doesn't matter to me, because I love what I do. So that's not a that's not a stressor to me. That's fun to me. When you own your business, you know, you like what you do. That's the beauty of owning your own business. So it's not really work. It's pretty fun. When it's going well.
Russ Harlow 40:51
Yeah, and life is never always just going well. I mean, it loves to throw you the curveballs. And it just, it's just how it is for all of us. And you're not no one's alone. It's, I guess it's kind of it's more than just being reminded to breathe. But it's nice that you have a tool that you can say, all right. Here's a reminder, stop. Take a breath. It's going to be all right. And I just I just really appreciate that. Because we all need to hear that whether we're in business or not. And so I just really appreciate you coming and sharing this. Where can our listeners find you connect with you?
Dr. Melissa Root 41:29
Yeah, so people can reach me at a Calmpak.org, which I think you guys will have in the liner notes. And happy to offer listeners of this podcast, free shipping. So we just do IJB22. And you get free shipping on your Compaq retail price is $34.95. So designed to be really accessible, inexpensive for people to be able to access these tools. And I'm also on LinkedIn. So just Melissa Roo, and happy to connect with folks on LinkedIn. You can also reach me by email at Melissa at home pac.org. So yeah, happy to connect with folks. Anybody has any questions or wants to learn more? Please reach out to me happy to speak.
Russ Harlow 42:17
Well, I just want to thank you for stopping by the podcast and sharing your experience and your expertise with our listeners. And I want to thank our listeners for being here. Remember, you can find us at all the places that it's just business podcast, leave us a review, share. Just share this one with somebody who really might be a little bit stressed out and might need some some assistance in their life or business. Remember, stop. Take a breath. It's not personal. It's just business.