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Brittany Hodak – Beginning a company

David: So, hello achievers, we are with a new guest today. And I'm very pleased because today, she's a woman, and a young woman. And we will know a lot on the beginning of this project. She's Brittany Hodak, she comes from ZinePak. She creates custom publications for super fans on music, and hello, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, it's so great to meet you.

David: How are you?

Brittany: Excellent, thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

David: It's a pleasure. And I would like to know, how did you begin? How did you begin, and how did you do, because today, your company has awesome growth. It's fantastic and…

Brittany: Thank you.

David: …you have employees now, and I would like to know how it began. And my first question is, how do you overcome the belief that we are too young?

Brittany: So, I think being young is one of the things that led me to found ZinePak because my ideas really weren't being heard at my jobs. There was this belief in the companies that I worked in that you had to, sort of, put a lot of time in before you could have ideas, that you had to accrue a certain number of years, or a certain level of experience, before you could contribute meaningful ideas.

And I didn't like that theory, especially because I was working at companies where it was my job to be tuned into pop culture, and what was happening in the world. And I thought, it doesn't matter if you're 25 or 55, a good idea is a good idea. So, I was trying to make my voice heard and execute these ideas that I had, and the establishment at both companies weren't interested in hearing the ideas from someone who was young. And so, it was that frustration that led me to start my own company.

And I think being young is a huge asset because when I was trying to decide whether or not to quit my job to start a company, I said, “I don't have the same responsibilities or obligations of someone who may be 35 or 45. I don't have children, I don't have a mortgage.” And I kind of asked myself, “What's the worst that happens if I try and fail?” And if the worst thing that happens if I try and fail is that a year from now, or 18 months from now, I'll go get another job, that's not such a bad thing. So, it seemed like a low-risk proposition when I framed it to myself that way.

David: Okay, so you compare the advantages and the cons, and you decided to create your company to make your own choice. Is that right?

Brittany: Mm-hmm, that's right.

David: And you have maybe another struggle, not a lot of women create a company. Did you have doubts about the fact that you are a woman?

Brittany: We have run into some people who treat us differently than males, and that's something we…I wouldn't say we expected it because I think we thought that in this day and age, it had kind of moved past that, and that people would look at us as business owners and not as women, or as young women. But we still have found that a shocking, alarming amount of senior executives, most of whom are males in their 50s or 60s, do judge us. First, for being women, and second, for being in our 20s.

David: I think it's a good thing to see you. Yes, you will inspire a lot of young people and a lot of young women.

Brittany: Aw, thank you. Something that my co-founder, Kim, and I have tried to tell ourselves is that the people who will judge you for being young, or for being female, are not the people that you wanna be working with because if they have a mental block about that, I don't care where they work, I don't care how senior they are, I don't care how powerful they are. If they can't get past the fact that A, you're young, or B, you're a woman, you shouldn't be working with those people because they're not innovative and they're not in touch with reality, and what's going on with the world. And those aren't the type people that you want, either as partners or as clients.

David: And according to you, what could be the advantages of being young?

Brittany: I think one of the great advantages for us being young in the entertainment industry is we're working with a lot of our peers. So, when we work on publications, and we go and we meet these artists, it's not someone out of touch. So, if we go in and have a meeting, and interview Selena Gomez, we're only a few years different from Selena in age, or Taylor, or Justin Bieber, or some of the other superstars that we've worked with. So, I think that's an advantage, to not having people who are, you know, 45 for example, going in to interview these young artists who are in their 20s or 30s.

The flip side of that, it's really fun for us when we get to work with iconic artists that we grew up with. So, when we got to go interview the Beach Boys, for example, or Kiss. Those people are just so iconic, that for us to be able to go in and meet with them is really great. And when we met with the Beach Boys, they were a little surprised to know that Kim and I were the owners of the company, and they thought that was really cool. So they were giving us some business tips and some advice to grow our company.

David: Yes, I love.


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