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Johnny Crowder is the founder of Cope Notes, a positive psychology-based subscription service that sends daily text messages to help users develop healthier thought patterns. Crowder has had his own battles with mental health: he's a survivor of abuse and attempted suicide, constantly fighting a war inside to stay positive. That battle led Crowder to send positive texts to 32 of his friends one day, the very first manual iteration of Cope Notes. The response Crowder was so appreciative, he made it his business to spread it throughout the world. Now, Cope Notes is an international business that sends positive texts everywhere, from the U.S. to Ireland, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand.

Years in Tampa Bay

I’ve lived here in Tampa for almost my entire life.

Hustle (job)

Founder & CEO of Cope Notes.

What do you do?  

I help people develop healthier mental and emotional habits. It’s the coolest job on the planet. (Astronauts still have a leg up on me, though.)

Why do you do it?

I’m a survivor of suicide and abuse. I’ve been diagnosed with every mental illness you’ve ever heard of, and even a few you haven’t. I struggled through therapy, medication and general insanity. I’ve seen the bad and the ugly, and it’s about time we saw a little good here and there.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I sent a positive text to 32 of my friends (the same text, and probably an elementary one at that), and the response was overwhelming. Everyone interpreted the text differently based on the context of their own lives, and the only common sentiment was “How did you know I needed that?” And the truth was that I didn’t. The power of the brain to interpret stimulus is nothing short of inspiring.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Everyone thinks that I just dream up random texts and then manually shoot them out through my own cell phone, haha. I actually source content from countless scientifically sound outlets, and every text goes through about four to six weeks of edits before it’s reviewed by a panel of mental health experts. Then, and only then, it’s added to our content bank. So no, I don’t just text people “Smile!!!”

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Overcoming the widespread stigma surrounding mental health issues. So many people are afraid to broach the topic or take any measure of emotional/mental maintenance or self-care seriously just because they don’t want to look at themselves. It’s sad to see how many times we’ll share an article about mental health before actually acknowledging that we could afford to feel a little better, too.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

“There’s nothing wrong with chasing money, it’s just the quickest way NOT to make any.” I think about that all the time. If I was focused on short-term profits, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. My daily goal is to make Cope Notes better than it was the day before, and I knock that sucker out of the park every time. That’s what gives me the juice to press forward when stuff gets tough.

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