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“Why you should actively listen.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Dmytro Okunyev

This is the ideal time to revisit all of the tasks that you never had time to do, tasks that make an impact on your growth, product or service. You can use this time to learn more about your competition, revise your strategies or double down on something you’re great at, like sales or inbound […]

This is the ideal time to revisit all of the tasks that you never had time to do, tasks that make an impact on your growth, product or service. You can use this time to learn more about your competition, revise your strategies or double down on something you’re great at, like sales or inbound marketing. Look at the bright side — you may have temporarily lost some sales, but you’ve also been given the gift of time, so use it well.


Asa part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dmytro Okunyev.

Dmytro Okunyev is Founder of Chanty — a simple AI-powered team chat. This powerful team communication tool is on a mission to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Before launching Chanty, Dmytro founded three agencies and this is his first SaaS project. Originally an internal project, Chanty is now used by more than 10,000 people worldwide.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Istarted out my career as a developer and I quickly got my first clients. I ended up founding my own development company and it took off incredibly well. I established two more companies, each of them focusing on web design and development. At some point, I realized that I couldn’t communicate with everyone that I worked with, so I needed a team chat app. We tried out everything in the market and nothing worked out for us, so we did something crazy — we decided to build our own app called Chanty. Initially, we just used it internally, but it turned out that it had potential so we started marketing and selling. Three years later, Chanty has more than 10,000 active users.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Before founding Chanty, I actually started three different design/development agencies and I never gave too much thought to the process. I just had an idea and ran with it, every time. With Chanty, I wanted the process to be more structured and logical. This is the book that gave me insights into how a startup is born and which steps I needed to take first. It taught me the value of hiring great people and the value of establishing a structure and a solid plan instead of just going out and building something that I thought my target audience would use. Thanks to this book, I approached building Chanty like building a house with solid foundations instead of building a hut and transforming into a house over the course of time — like I did with my previous companies.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

From my point of view, the only good thing about the virus outbreak is that we’re all in it together. No industry and no individual will be unharmed, we are all going to feel the consequences. That’s actually good, which means that we will also be recovering at the same time. This is a great time to revisit your business model, find new ways to appeal to your target market, come up with ways to save costs that don’t imply firing your employees. While business is shrinking for everyone at the same time, it also means that it will be booming for everyone at the same time in the future. This is the ideal time to revisit all of the tasks that you never had time to do, tasks that make an impact on your growth, product or service. You can use this time to learn more about your competition, revise your strategies or double down on something you’re great at, like sales or inbound marketing. Look at the bright side — you may have temporarily lost some sales, but you’ve also been given the gift of time, so use it well.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Here are the steps that you can take to reduce anxiety for the people around you:

  1. Actively listen. Show interest in people and their problems.
  2. Don’t be too quick to judge. We all have different circumstances in life — find out someone else’s before labeling them.
  3. Give different kinds of support. Some people need a helping hand, others need a conversation and a hug. Someone else may want business advice. Don’t think that one way of support works for everyone.
  4. Focus on the good stuff. There is a ray of light in the darkest situations. For example, we may be forced out of work, but that means that we get to spend more time with our families.
  5. Share your own experience and be brutally honest. I always love telling people how broke I was before changing my approach to work and professional life. It’s motivating to tell people how a broke, jobless college graduate is now an owner of four companies.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Talk to your parents, grandparents or someone who’s old enough to have lived through different things in life. They’ve been through some hardships in their life and they will tell you their perspective on things. Sometimes, it’s good to hear what others have been through to understand that this is just a phase — there is much more to life than a small temporary crisis.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Work hard because it will pay off. It may not pay off immediately, but it will at some point. — this is by far the wisest thing that I have to say. I’ve had a lot of luck in my life and some help from great people along the way, but there is nothing that replaces hard work. When you work hard, it’s like a magnet for good fortune. I strongly believe that the harder you work, the more likely it is that good things will come your way.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a movement where every business owner has mandatory openings for fresh college graduates. There are so many great young people who can’t wait to get started but they simply don’t stand a chance in a tough job market. We always have openings for fresh graduates where we pair them with more experienced employees. We get fresh blood in our company and young people are always eager to work hard and prove themselves. Through the years, these people stayed with us and moved up in their job roles. Some have moved on, but they have contributed greatly to the company that we are today.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

They can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dmytrookunyev

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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