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Brittany Hodak – Lessons to share

David: According to you… It is a global question. What could be the most important thing you have to do to become successful?

Brittany: That's a really good question. I think the most important thing you have to do to become successful is to believe in yourself and to believe that you'll do whatever it takes to reach your dreams.

David: Okay.

Brittany: Is that too vague? Do you want a more specific answer?

David: No, it's okay. So you will have perseverance, determination, that's right?

Brittany: Absolutely.

David: And did you feel fear sometimes, fear or doubt during…in your journey? Did you feel some fears or doubt?

Brittany: Absolutely, absolutely. We were always afraid. And in the first six months of the company, there was a lot of asking ourselves, “What if? What if it doesn't work? What if something goes wrong? What if it's not a success? What if we don't make any money? What if we don't get any projects?” But we never ask ourselves, “What if it works? And what if we're really successful? And what if we build an amazing company? And what if we have employees, and clients, and amazing partners?” And over time, as we became successful, the doubt and the fears kind of went away. And I think what we've learned in two and a half years of doing it is that there are very few things that you will do in life that are matters of life and death. And we aren't cardiac surgeons, we aren't on a daily basis taking anyone's lives into our hands. So even if there's a huge failure or a huge setback, it's not going to be catastrophic. It's not going to be something that you can't recover from if you put your mind to it and come up with an action plan.

David: Right. I have another question, how do you manage your time between your company and your personal life? Is it hard or not for you?

Brittany: It's something that I've put more time into lately. I will say, when you first start a company, or at least when I first started my company, almost all of my time was spent on the business. I was 24/7 working on ZinePak trying to find ways to make the company better and improve everything about it. And you can't do that for too long because you start to burn out and you start to get tired and your work suffers. So now I do make a conscious effort to spend time with friends and family away from ZinePak and try to forget about it for a minute. So my husband and I take trips when we can and go, you know, out of the country or somewhere just far enough away to where we're not so plugged in, for a few days.

David: And did you…do you do something to not think about your company? Because you can go on weekend and think about ZinePak?

Brittany: I think that goes back, again, to having a really great co-founder that I know that if I'm leaving, I'm leaving it in really good hands. So it's almost like the idea of we joke around a lot and say that ZinePak is like our child. So it's not as if we're going away and leaving our child with a stranger or with a sitter, we're leaving it with each other. So if I'm going away on vacation or if I have some personal reason to be away from ZinePak, I know that Kim is there and I know that she's gonna make the decisions and do the things that I would do if I were there. So it's great in that respect as well to have somebody else that can help you run things.

David: Okay, thank you. I would like to know… Do you have some advice you want to share to youth? Yes, life lessons maybe?

Brittany: Life lessons. Always drink water. It's so important to drink water and especially as you get busier and busier, it's one of those things that's just easy to forget to do. But if you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, you're gonna feel better throughout the day. Everything is easier and everything…you think better when you drink water, you can act better, you can make better decisions. It's a really easy thing to do to help your health.

David: All right. And how did you discover that?

Brittany: It's one of those things that when we first started the company, we…everything was sporadic. All of the schedules went out the window, so there was no regular, you know, eating schedule, or drinking schedule, or sleep schedule. Everything was just ZinePak around the clock. And Kim and I both started to realize that we would feel really, really tired, and sometimes we would think that we were hungry, but what was actually happening was we were dehydrated. So it's, again, it's a simple, simple thing that you can do. Because by the time you feel like you're thirsty, there's a good chance you're already dehydrated. Because thirst isn't your body's first reaction to dehydration. So we always and all our employees have water bottles at their desk, you know, custom bottles that they can fill up every day and try to make sure that they're drinking at least 40 ounces throughout the day.

David: Okay.

Brittany: Sorry, I wish I had something more in depth or…

David: No, it's cool, it's cool. I love it because it's not a usual answer. I think it's cool advice.

Brittany: Good, thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

David: I would like to ask you some very short questions, so a short answer. What is your favorite quote?

Brittany: My favorite quote is from a fortune cookie that I got several years ago that says, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

David: Okay, what's your favorite book?

Brittany: My favorite book is “The Catcher in the Rye”.

David: Okay, what's your favorite song?

Brittany: Oh, that's so hard. I would say…I have a lot of favorite songs. But if I had to choose just one, I would say, “Shameless” by Garth Brooks.

David: Okay. And who's your favorite celebrity?

Brittany: My favorite celebrity, ah, there's so many. Kate Middleton.

David: Okay.

Brittany: I would love to do a Kate Middleton ZinePak.

David: Oh, and how can you do that?

Brittany: The true answer is probably I can't. I don't think that the palace will be reaching out soon to do one. But I would love to do one.

David: Okay. If you have, what could be your… Do you have a mentor?

Brittany: I do. We have several people that have been instrumental in helping us with ZinePak. I have a business coach named Marla Tabaka, who I work with on a weekly basis, and Kim work with her as well. And she's really helped us sort of shape and grow our company.

David: Cool. And when your energy goes down, what do you do to renew it, to keep peace?

Brittany: On like throughout the day basis?

David: Yes.

Brittany: Usually when my energy goes down, I try to eat a piece of fruit or a snack.

David: Okay. So you stop to work and you go away?

Brittany: I try to keep things in my desk, so I don't have to necessarily stop working. But I'll have, you know, a plumb, or a nectarine, or an apple sauce, or something like that,, just enough to kinda spike my blood sugar enough to get my energy level up again.

David: Okay, and what do you do, do you have a process when you have a problem? For example, a customer decided to stop with you or anything else that's not very good for you. What do you do?

Brittany: Usually when I have a problem, I try to examine it from every viewpoint and figure out: A, how to solve the problem, and B, how it can be a lesson to do things better in the future.

David: Okay, it's…today is it automatic for you to do that?

Brittany: No. Every day I still feel like I'm learning 20 brand new things. And as a business owner, you never have the same day twice. Ever.

David: Yes. If today was your last day, what's your message…what's a message you would you leave to the world and humanity?

Brittany: I think the message that I would leave is, “Business is really important, but it's not as important as people. So don't forget that the reason that you work is to provide yourself with a means to be able to have fun. So don't ever think that work is more important than spending time with the people you love.”

David: Right. So okay. So I have a question, it is very important because, you know, I deal with success and happiness and I'm fed up about that. And I would like to know, according to you, what is the best way to become a loser in this life?

Brittany: To become a loser. I would say to stop trying. Just try to do terrible at everything you do. Never ask anybody any questions.

David: No questions.

Brittany: No questions and make sure you spend as little effort as possible on everything you do.

David: Little effort, okay. Do small things, very small things.

Brittany: Yes.

David: Okay, thank you very much. I'm sure you will help a lot of people to fail.

Brittany: Excellent. Well, I wish you all the luck in your failing. Happy failing.

David: Thank you very much.

[music]

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