Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Overcoming Fear with Tomer Alpert

George Grombacher December 1, 2023

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Overcoming Fear with Tomer Alpert

LifeBlood: We talked about overcoming fear, the challenges of entrepreneurship, combatting the loneliness epidemic, the power of a handwritten note, and how to start making better connections with people you, with Tomer Alpert, Creator of Felt.       

Listen to learn a simple process for successfully managing fear in your life!

You can learn more about Tomer at FeltApp.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Tomer Alpert

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Tomer Alpert is the creator of felt there an organization combating loneliness and disconnectedness through handwritten cards and notes. Welcome Tomer.

Tomer Alpert 0:13
Thank you. Glad to be here.

george grombacher 0:14
Yeah, excited to have you on the show. Tell us a little about your personal life more about your work, why you do what you do?

Tomer Alpert 0:21
You bet. Yeah, growing up, I never sent a card. I didn’t like reading cards. I just wasn’t trained to do those sorts of things. But what I love to do is writing notes in school, I was, you know, CB student, I was that guy. But I loved writing notes in school, I’d get in trouble for it. But the passing of a note and the making of it felt really special and connected to my friends. And so then as an adult, I started a company with my dad. And then I wanted to build a company that something that I felt had even more meaning than the one we my dad started with. So that was my goal, something meaningful. And when I had this idea for cards from a phone, I was on the way back from a dinner party, we wanted to send a thank you card. I was like, There’s got to be an app for this. This is back in 2012. And there were, but the only let you take when I was like, I am not sending a tight thank you card. No way. It’s got to be handwritten. And so we download these apps. And then I downloaded art apps that let you draw, and I was fighting with their pens. And then we printed it on my friends laser printer. And it looked great. We could just print mail this, like this is it. So then, you know, the conundrum was, I’m not a greeting card person. But I am a handwritten card person. So that’s what brought the product to life for me. And then I still was like, cards are not it. It’s not about the card, it’s about the feeling, you get receiving something that was made just for you. And so the special tactile experience in our day where everything is digital text, comments, and posts are prolific, and everything goes on your phone, everything from your vet bill to your reminder to pick up the kid from school, everything is on your phone. So bringing something to somebody who you love, outside digital, really makes them feel special to you. And being connected is about feeling special to one another they’ll love that goes through the channel of connection is what makes us feel valued and important to each other. And so our mission of job is to help people send more cards back and forth to each other cards with friends is kind of our internal motto that we’re creating.

george grombacher 2:41
I love it. And I think it’s I flashback as I think everybody probably did to my time in Junior High in high school and watching somebody fill out a note and wondering where they were going to pass it to. And then if it found its way to you or whatever, just the curiosity and the mystery and the fun of it. So I certainly identify with that.

Tomer Alpert 3:00
Yeah, great. I love that too. It was it was it was a font, and I still have my notes. I have a jar full of them still. Oh, funny. Weird. I know. But I still have

george grombacher 3:10
you. You really love them.

Tomer Alpert 3:12
Yeah, I just don’t love throwing things away, you know, probably a mix of the two.

george grombacher 3:17
Got it? Nice. All right. So I have a great meeting with somebody, I leave I get in my car, I pull up. Is it an app? Is it a site, walk me through the just just to take me through how it actually works? You bet.

Tomer Alpert 3:32
Yep, Apple or Android downloaded on your phone. So it’s an app. And then you can pull it up, you can pick a card, from our 1000s of designs, we partner with independent designers, or you can pull a photo off your phone. And then you can flip it over, you can handwrite on the back on the front. It’s a complete open canvas. So just like you had a piece of paper in front of you, you can even just write a note, you don’t have to put a designer photo on it could just be a blank felt card that you write front and back. And then you can also add a fun gift, you can add real cash. So we do to do $50 bills, they can be put in the card, you can do a Starbucks gift card, you can even just make it fun, do stickers, or like a little iron on patch that we do. And then we have bigger gifts as well. So you can do candles, you can do coffee, you can do all sorts of fun stuff. And then you can schedule your card. So if you want to do all your birthday cards for the month, you could do them a month ahead or your ad and we’ll schedule and mail them out for you at the right time. And

george grombacher 4:38
okay, so obviously I need to know people’s address.

Tomer Alpert 4:41
Yep. Yeah, so addresses can be done one of two ways either have them then you put them on the envelope and then we print and mail it or if you have a friend who’s already on Felts. Everybody on felt has what’s called a smart address. So you put your address on your profile, it’s saved never shown in the app. But if a friend finds you on felt they can Send you a card, and we just print the address on the envelope.

george grombacher 5:04
Very cool, okay. And then it magically finds its way through the mail and into their hands and and brightens their day, or has the effect that you are hoping to have.

Tomer Alpert 5:15
Yeah, that’s right, exactly. Somebody goes out to their mailbox and finds a card that was made just for them from a friend that they love. And they get to hold and keep something and have that magical special experience, because they’re receiving texts and emails all day long. So even if you send something super sweet, in a text, it’s not that it’s not great, it is great, you know, it’s better than receiving not that thoughtful message. But being able to hold and keep it hits harder, lands deeper on somebody, you know, we think that digital is phenomenal. And it’s like a million miles wide, but it tends to go about an inch deep. Because you have so much coming at you on digital.

george grombacher 5:56
Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. I think we, on average, the average American receives well over 100 emails every day. And we’re hit with hundreds of 1000s of solicitations every day and this debt the other thing. So this really resonates with me because I am a person who has my mom forced me to write handwritten thank you cards when I was a kid, and I hated that. But now throughout my entire professional life, which is over 20 years at this point, I’ve always written handwritten thank you notes. Or if I’m trying to prospect somebody, I’ll write them a note, when I read about them in the newspaper, I used to cut out clippings and send it to them. And I just know how powerful that is. So that you’ve taken it and made it so you can write and then really personalize it. And I love the idea of just being able to take a photo from your phone or whatever. I think that that’s a great connection.

Tomer Alpert 6:45
Yeah, it is. And you know, I do I do the same thing in my personal and business life. Right? Because I know that the person on the other end of the phone call of the Ask whatever it might be wants to help me. And then they’re, they’re not expecting it in return. Right? None of us are really expecting someone else to do something nice for us. So when you do it, it you elevate yourself, right? In business, it’s profound. And in our personal space, though, right, when we’re in a pandemic, and epidemic of loneliness, when we feel more important to our insurance, you know, Agent than we do to some of our best friends that we grew up with sometimes right? Now, that’s a problem. Right? That’s, and that’s what, that’s why we feel so disconnected. It’s not because we’re not, you know, wanting to make it wanting you to know that you already loved and that I actually care about you immensely. I do write we all do. But we need to show it because the act of putting forth effort shows the other person that they’re special and meaningful. Right? And that’s why physical tangible works is because digital feels effortless. It always has always will you receive a text or photo, you know, it was so easy to do. But it also leaves so quickly. Right? It’s gone. It’s forgotten about, you know, it’s so fleeting. Right. And that’s why holding, keeping having something in your physical space, elevate that experience for the receiver.

george grombacher 8:25
I can 100% attest to that. I’ve numerous occasions, dozens dozens of occasions where I’ve walked into somebody’s office. And I’ve seen the note that I sent them on like a bulletin board or something like that people really do like that. So you’re, you know how you shared you still got some of the notes from high school that you’ve saved. It’s just different, you know, and it’s for all those reasons that you just described. So all right, so you start this company, and you’ve discovered something that everybody wants. So it’s all been smooth sailing, I imagined.

Tomer Alpert 8:57
Yeah, yeah, we just became millionaires overnight. Now we’re all living our dreams. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t know that my dream would be to just struggle, and to wake up in fear 95% of my mornings, you know that. So that’s, that’s our that’s where we are in our journey. You know, we are pushing the envelope of what a small team can do, you know, we’re selling for dollar cards $4.50 Now, and so you have to sell a lot of cards, to support, you know, a few people on your team or even 10 people on your team. And we didn’t raise a lot of money. And so we are in this place now where we’ve taken 10 years. You know, we’ve been in business for 10 years now, which you know, I think is phenomenal. I think that’s just amazing, personally 10 years to be, you know, running a startup is is crazy. Yeah, we’ve gone through just building an app that let you send a card, to trying to make a service and a platform that people can not only find each other on, send each other cards without having to know their addresses. But now we’re trying to create the reciprocation effect where, cool, I sent you a card because I feel it and I want you to know it, right. But now we want people who receive it to be able to take action, right? Because they just got coupled with a bunch of love. They’re feeling it. And they’re the sender, right? It’s the it’s a classic giver scenario. In life, you have people that are givers, and they give and they give, and they give, right? And that’s, that’s great. When a giver receives, they are full, you know, they, we want to fill up the cup of both the receiver and the giver. Right, and turn them both into both receivers and givers. And so we’re on this like, mission that feels really deep and sincere. We haven’t raised a lot of money. So yeah, we’re, you know, right now we’re in the swing into the holiday season. And our business is struggling. And so I woke up this morning, you know, we were talking a little bit about this, and I woke up in a ton of fear. And this isn’t, this isn’t a negative side of it, I have found it is the expensive side of it. So I wake up in a bunch of fear, what do I do? I have this deep, you know, experiential like practice now, where, first of all, I gotta check in with myself. How am I waking up? Okay, I’m freaking out, right? It’s a classic entrepreneurial story, I’m freaking out, okay, I’m freaking out, you know, and then, and then I have a bunch of prices I do around the fear, to realize eventually, that I have nothing to be afraid. Right? Even if the business collapses, I have nothing to be afraid of, really, because we’re all safe and secure, in a profound, you know, spiritual way. Because I have to connect to whatever, you know, the well being is. So I connect to that. And that brings and it soothes. And it comes because I have to be creative. You know, I’m the one coming out here making videos, you know, preaching the good word of trying to be and live a more connected life together. So I can’t be enamored in fear. But I am. That’s the conundrum. Right? We all are. Right? And I’m sure you wake up, you know, how, what, what’s going on? You know, what am I gonna do today? And is it gonna be good enough. And so my personal expansion has been to be able to wake up in fear, deal with it, right in a healthy, super profound way for me. And that’s allowed me to kind of reach my fingertips out and touch the edges of my life’s experience. Right. So that’s personally that’s how the entrepreneurial journey is going. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s hard, but the heart is, it’s different for me today than it was maybe, you know, five years ago, five years ago, the hard was, you know, also me smoking and drinking it away, you know, and stress eating it away. Yep. And now the heart is, you know, it kind of creates the opportunity for wonderment for me now, right, as I’ve become more mindful, and I’ve invoked a lot of these more clean living practices. The heart is the expansion because without the heart, if it was just if it was just smooth sailing, like, it doesn’t I know if I know it internally, but it wouldn’t be as meaningful. Right? Because personally, the heart is me stretching and reaching and growing. And having to learn that fear is not indicative of danger. Right? Like I’m not at, I’m not in danger. Nobody’s gonna walk through the door and stab me. Right. But yet the fear creates that plight, the what feels like it’s going to kill me, literally. Right? That’s why some mornings you don’t want to get out of bed because you don’t want to face the, you know, impending doom that you think is coming at you. But that’s not true. Right? Truth is actually, you know, we all are living in a lot of abundance. Right? Like, we have the ability, like, I have the ability to hear and talk to you like, I’m in abundance. I have this great saying there’s so many. When you’re in fear, you’re in abundance of fear. You’re definitely not just a little bit of fear. You’re typically in abundance all the time. Even if you’re in fear. You have a lot of it, you know, and it’s a weird saying but when you get when I grasp that when I internalize that it gives me this string to hold on to and pull myself up out of it, because I can realize that it It is a facade. It’s a mirage. Right? It feels real. Right? But it’s just perspective. So that’s how I woke up today. That’s where we’re at in our journey. And you know, my message to other entrepreneurs or people listening is Oh, can you hear me? Oh, speaker, what’s happened? No. Let me see.

george grombacher 15:25
You good, man. Oh, we’re good.

Tomer Alpert 15:27
Great. I couldn’t hear you for sorry. Yeah, that’s my message, you know, is is just like the fears real, I feel it too. And you know where I am now, as I’ve learned to kind of use it to stretch and reach the edges of my abilities.

george grombacher 15:45
I’ve always avoided whether, for me, whether it’s fear, or anxiety or stress, it’s probably all those things. Maybe I’m not smart enough to segment out which one is which. But in 100% drives me and it’s interesting, right? We’re talking so much about mental health. And I think that that’s not the better positive thing. Because when we’re feeling stress, fear, anxiety, and it’s causing us to do negative things, then it’s a problem. But I don’t get the sense that you’re talking about this being negative. In fact, you’re using it and channeling it for more positive.

Tomer Alpert 16:22
Well, I’ve come from a super negative background with with fear, stress and anxiety, you know, and I personally don’t think it matters, how you talk about how you segment them out, right? It’s all just not the feeling you want to be having in the current current moment. That’s that’s, that’s all it is. Right? And, and, you know, I still so my go to move now. Like the negative go to move is distraction, right? Oh, I’ll just go check the revenue. Oh, I’ll just go check our ads or do it Oh, I just go check how my Instagram is looking. I’ll just go check them all my friends are saying over here, dude. I mean, it is just one click away from from a world of submersion, right. But what am i I’m submerging myself in unconsciousness. I’m disconnecting I’m like, you know, cut the stream from the fear from the from the pain doesn’t go away, though. Right? You come out of that eventually. Or you just stay in it and you you are withering, right. But when you have that a bit of awakeness and consciousness, do you know it’s happening? Okay, fine. I’m doing it. You choose then to come out of it. And what do you choose and do face the feelings? Right? You’re choosing to face the fact that oh, man, God dammit. I am anxious. Right. Okay. Where am I feeling it in my body? Right? That’s that’s that was a step that I’ve been taught. Right? Where are you feeling? Physically? It’s such a different thing, right? People always like, Oh, I’m thinking I’m feeling it. Okay. I’m feeling good. When you bring awareness. Physically, it could even be in your brain. Oh, man, my head is spinning. My head hurts my hedgesville. But here’s the man. I’ve been taught when you do that awareness, attention. What is attention as a kid? How did it feel when your parents gave you attention as a kid? Great. Great, right? Because attention is love. Bring that to the feeling in your body. You’re just bringing yourself love. Love heals. All right, including your fear, doubt, and all the negative feelings. So you know that’s a simple little thing that I’ve been taught but the move from unconscious disconnected scrolling, Instagram checking revenue checking the move from that too, okay, I’m gonna check in with myself I’m gonna bring that attention to my body is a frickin can feel like the Grand Canyon. You know, feels you have to cross a huge bridge because it is. It is monumental. It’s not a small thing. It’s the move from you know, a fear based life to a consciously engaged life. That is not a small thing. But it is a decision. It is a you know, I quit smoking cigarettes a long time ago. But when I quit smoking, here’s how I did you know, I wasn’t short of attempts either. Me my dad spoke together. It was like our thing right? We were building a company together freaking out together smoking cigarettes together. And we’d always have to see where to go on this trip or road trip when we come back. We’re not going to be smoking. Right we’re not we’re not gonna smoke on the trip. last cigarette and Dallas boom are gone. No more cigarettes, we’d always fail. I mean, we tried six times. I mean, again, we put money into this thing I guess road trips, right. So then I have this idea one day. Smoking cigarettes is a decision and a decision and we’re writing computer code a decision is a one or a zero. There is no black and there is no gray in decision making. There’s no oh, I kind of did it. No, you didn’t kind of do anything. You know, I either picked up that cigarette, lit it and smoked it, or I didn’t. It is a one or a zero. And it just clicked for me somehow. But the decision to go from that negative, fear based mindset where I’m disconnected from my consciousness, I’m disconnect from my intuition I’m disconnected from everything is everything sucks, disconnect from it all and shove my head into the feet, or whatever I’m gonna do. The decision is still just that it’s a decision. So, you know, not to get too preachy, but I do break it down, it is a one, or a zero. And that’s kind of, you know, the truth.

george grombacher 20:48
I think it’s great. I think, the awareness, the attention, I believe that I believe that to be 100% True. And I’ve to Not that it matters one way or another, but fear and anxiety, all those things are things that we all feel and how we manage through them and how we deal with it is is the key and that you found the way that works for you. And it certainly makes sense to me, I think is awesome. So hope for the future. Tomorrow. I appreciate you coming on where can people learn more about you? How can they get engaged with felt?

Tomer Alpert 21:22
Yeah, felt app.com Instagram, go download from the App Store. Send your friend a card. And yeah, you know, I’ll be I’ll be I’ll be around on the YouTube soon. And a lot of other places so you can find us on Instagram, they’ll dev.com Excellent.

george grombacher 21:42
If you enjoyed as much as I did show Tomer your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to felt app.com And check out everything that or check out what Tomer has created to combat loneliness and help us to feel more connected and help us to feel special and help other people to feel special. It is a super cool platform, and I’m confident that you will enjoy it and then find them on Instagram as well. I’ll link all those in the notes of the show. Thanks again tomorrow.

Tomer Alpert 22:15
Thank you.

george grombacher 22:16
Till next time, remember, do your part. Doing your best

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