Meet Uyi Abraham, The Founder of VONZA, $50K/Month

Meet Uyi Abraham, The Founder of VONZA

Uyi Abraham was born in Nigeria and came to America for medical school with only $100 and a suitcase of clothes.
Despite his humble beginnings, he has attained entrepreneurial success and is devoted to helping others become successful entrepreneurs.

In the last 15 years, he has built several successful businesses, authored over 20 books, and impacted thousands of lives. He has an earned Ph.D. in Divinity & Entrepreneurship and has been featured on Yahoo Finance, CNBC, ABC, Marketwatch, Fox News, and Forbes.

He loves working, doing philanthropy, and spending time with his family.


Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I’m Uyi Abraham, I came to America from Nigeria with only $100 and a suitcase of clothes. I had come to America initially because I wanted to be a medical doctor. But as I started taking some classes I fell out of love with medicine and that was how I began my journey in entrepreneurship.

I did several businesses from website design to have a print shop and it was when I started an online business that I start seeing some success in my life.


Where did the idea for VONZA come from?

The name just came to me from nowhere. I hadn’t heard of the word VONZA prior to when the name came to me. To date, I don’t really know what it means. I just liked the way it sounded and I went with it.


How did you get started in your industry?

So why did we start?

Before Vonza, entrepreneurs and business owners needed several different platforms, multiple subscriptions, apps, tech people, plugins, and a ton of duct-tape to run their online business. That was the same pain and frustration that I had running my online businesses.

After years of using everything else out there and seeing how immensely lacking they were; I set out to create the solution for online business. is the solution – a one-stop-shop to provide a new and modern way of doing business online.

We’re proudly self-funded just like you, a small business owner. We didn’t sell our soul to the fat checks of Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists who only care about profits and exit strategy instead of customers. All the old guards out there a.k.a our competitors (you know them) are all funded by venture capitalists.

But because we are self-funded, we can obsess over our customer’s success and innovation of our software. We have the ability to shift in the direction that best suits our customers without worrying about what’s best for the VCs and their money.

Vonza is currently a small team of 40+ highly passionate, dedicated people who care about our mission and customers; remotely distributed over 4 continents and countries including the United States of America, Pakistan, Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Bangladesh.

We give 10% away to various local and global charity organizations and nonprofits including Autism speaks, educational scholarships, and building an orphanage home in Nigeria.

We’re on a mission. Our mission is to create the best software ever for the best companies in the world so they can focus on what matters most. Create your business on Vonza, let’s grow together!


As an entrepreneur, what is it that actually motivates and drives you?

The main thing that motivates and inspires me is seeing our platform change the lives of so many entrepreneurs all over the world. I love to see entrepreneurs win.


What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

To change our primary color from lime green to blue. I wrestled with this decision for months but finally got the nerve to give the go-ahead to my tech and design team to make the switch.

We are bootstrapped and were able to build a 6 figure business in 9 months but I knew that for us to get the thousands of customers we will need to go blue. Blue is the most trusted color in tech.


What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

One of the biggest mistakes I made when we first launched was spending too much time with the wrong customers. In the beginning days, I often spent too much time with customers who wanted to cancel their service often because of a feature we didn’t provide yet.

In one particular case, I spent over 2 hours on the phone trying to convince a customer to not churn only for her to churn the next day. I learned then that everyone wasn’t my customer and I shouldn’t spend my time on the wrong customers going forward.


What excites you most about your industry?

Where do you see it heading in the near future? The online education business is growing rapidly and more people will create online courses and start online businesses.


What’s your daily routine? How do you achieve work-life balance?

I typically wake up at 6.30 am and I say a short prayer and then check my phone to read through some messages that came through overnight. Then I help my youngest son to wake up and get ready for school.

I take him to school and try to do some exercise for 20 minutes and then I get on my laptop and start working until I feel hungry and then I eat a late breakfast or lunch. I typically work until 11 pm and often do meetings and take phone calls in between my day as well. Before I head to sleep I spend time with the kids after school and with my wife as well.


Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Five years from now I see dominating the world of saas all-in-one platforms. I see us having over 30,000 paying customers worldwide.


What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

We use Loom a lot to communicate and share tasks with each other in our team. We use Loom daily. Our tech team uses Slack as well for team communication and Collaboration. We also use Vonza Meetings our own scheduling tool to schedule meetings.


What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would recommend Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff. It’s a good read and well written as well. It revealed the behind of scenes of Salesforce when it was just starting and how it became the mega-successful software company it is today.


What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

My best advice for a newbie entrepreneur is to never give up. Just continue to work and improve on your app or idea daily and soon you will see it become a success.

Meet Dr. LaVern McCants, The Most Legendary Author

Meet Dr. LaVern McCants, The Most Legendary Author

Dr. LaVern McCants is The Most Legendary Author in articulating words of wisdom throughout her books for a wide range of audiences. Throughout the media, she has been widely featured with her books “Wise Girl Talk” and “Single Lady Wise Talk: The Rule-Changer.”

She spent most of her adult life as an author and education expert, holding varied education-related positions while also pursuing four higher education degrees. Besides being an education expert, McCants is also a fashion designer.

Also, she writes influential books for women, girls, boys, and parents. Her books are geared to help youth make wise choices. This influential author, also known as the rule-changer author, has been named the Solution-Provider for Rising Generations.

Recently I had the luck to caught up with McCants to discuss her journey to authorship, and here is what went down:


Please inform us about you in the field of education and about your accomplishments outside of education.

I spent a lot of my adult life in the educational field, holding varied positions and pursuing four higher education degrees. However, I also have a highly creative side. The creative side of me has been evident as a professional in traditional educational settings, alternative settings, and outside the education world.

In the educational field, I appeared to flourish in positions where I could use creativity to develop methods to improve student learning.  Even books that I have written to enable children to perform better in school allowed me to use my creativity while supported by research.

Outside of the field of education, I have always loved fashion. My love for fashion has existed for as long as I could recall.  My late mother was an author, businesswoman/fashion executive. She also had a love for fashion. I loved her style of dress. She would say that my love for fashion came from admiring my parental grandmother. However, in essence, my late mother demonstrated a chic fashion style, and the business savviness that I admired and adopted.

In late 2016 following my late mother’s footsteps, who was an entrepreneur in the fashion industry, I evolved professionally in fashion by establishing LaVern McCants Corporation™ that features McCants Designs and LaVern McCants Designs. My late mother had a keen insight into the fashion industry. She demonstrated her enterprise ideas, venture, and implementation of fashion lines’ presentations through several sorts of fashion presentations. From her training, my experience in fashion launched my preteen through my college years though I did not start a professional journey as a fashion executive until 2016.

I am certainly not a universally recognized or widely acknowledged fashion designer, but I love designing fashion. I find it therapeutic and rewarding.

I will likely remain a writer for the rest of my life. However, I am not sure if I will remain a fashion design businesswoman for a season or will my love for fashion and the creative side of me influence me to continue the path of fashion for many years to come.


Tell us something that you contributed to the educational community.

I believe that my most significant professional accomplishment has been to have the opportunity to be a strong advocate for youth and having the opportunity to witness the fruit of my labor.

I have inspired youth for many years.  Instead of becoming burnt-out, I have become more motivated day-by-day to make a difference in youth lives. I truly thank our Heavenly Father for directing me to pursue this path.


You have another release later this month, titled Wise Girl Talk. Tell us a little about this book.

I have many years of experience guiding teenage girls professionally. Wise Girl Talk provides profound guidance for girls on making wise choices when faced with severe and often life-altering decisions. Having an opportunity to guide adolescent girls for many years, I decided that a book written exclusively for teenage girls would provide me an opportunity to reach adolescent girls on a massive level.

One of my books was just released. The recent book release was Single Lady Wise Talk: The Rule-Changer. Single Lady Wise Talk: The Rule-Changer is an excellent empowerment book for single women.

It reminds them of their value, and it offers much more. Though it is not one of my books filled with several hundred citations from other scholarly works, I find this book to have great value for single women.

As I mentioned earlier in this interview, the book Wise Girl Talk offers sound guidance for teenage girls. In addition to Wise Girl Talk, I have several other books for teenagers and children that will be released this year.

Those books include What Every Teenager Needs to KnowChoices That Lead to a Promising Future, What Every Child Needs to KnowChoices That Lead to Promising Futures.

Parents Right to KnowProven Methods on How to Influence Youth to Make Wise and Responsible Decisions That Lead to Promising Futures is another excellent read that is scheduled to be released this year. This book is a guidebook for parents.

Other books scheduled to go on the market this year that I truly hope to become good reads are From Boy to ManhoodEvery Boy Has an Opportunity to Become a Great Man; Every Girl Deserves to Live Her Dreams, and Bullying Stops Here. I also have a few education-related books for educators scheduled to go on the market later this year. 

The inspiration behind these books is to influence my readers to live their lives to their fullest. I believe in aspiring people to choose the best path laid out for them. 

I have many books on the market this year, but I started my research and writing drafts many years ago. Finally, these books are going on the market.


What has been an author taught you about your inner self?

After I became an author, the most critical thing that I learned about myself is that I am overjoyed to witness individuals make choices that would likely enhance their lives.


Tell us why parents and educators should be interested in your books?

There are many excellent informational books on the market for parents and educators. I have read some of these fantastic books. My books are filled with research like many of these books. I can add that I have a strong background working with students on K-12 levels, parents, and educators in various capacities in diverse environments.

I can confidently say that I have a keen awareness of many widespread problematic issues in K -12 schools in diverse educational settings. I address issues of importance and effective methods for solving widespread problematic issues in my books.


Tell us about family and personal life.

I usually live an extremely busy lifestyle, but I always make time for worship and family. Family means everything to me. I love, respect, and appreciate my family. No matter how busy my schedule becomes, I always try to spend time with my family.  During my downtime, I love to read. I also love to play tennis and go out to dinner.


Who is the person that influenced you to become a writer?

Two people influenced me and my work. One was a writer, and one was not. Those individuals were my late parents. My late mother was an author, but my late father would have been an excellent writer, but he did not elect writing as a profession. My father was a sagacious man that extended his wisdom beyond the walls of our household. Writing is hugely time-consuming and takes much patience. My father was a realist, and he also had a strong focus on making sure that he provided a foundation for his family where we never had to be concerned about necessities and stability. Both his immediate family and individuals outside our family could lean on my father for support. Though he made it a practice to ensure financial stability in our home and was in a financial position to extend loans to people outside of our family, being such a realist and conservative man, he would sometimes loan finances to people, and other times, he would offer great words of wisdom. He was a wonderful man that many people leaned on in many ways.  Both of my parents were extremely wise and highly respected individuals that provided great words of wisdom to their offspring and beyond.

As a young child, teenager, and young adult, I cherished spending time with them and learning valuable things about life and life choices.

I avoided many unnecessary mistakes as a teenager and young adult because of their valuable and wise guidance.


Tell us about the pros and cons of being an author.

I would advise a new writer to realize that all books do not become bestsellers. Besides, I suggest that a person writes because they desire to write, not for financial gain. Even if a book becomes successful, the writer earns an exceedingly small portion from books’ sales.

A traditional publisher pays an author about $1.00 per book in royalties typically.  Writing a book reminds me of becoming an educator. They are both professions that I would recommend that a person pursues because of a great passion.


What are your book plans for 2021?

Once this pandemic is over, I am scheduled to begin a 100-City Tour sponsored by my publisher. I am knowledgeable that I will tour some major U.S. cities, but I am not aware of what countries I am scheduled to tour. The tour was previously scheduled to begin this past year before this unprecedented world crisis.


How can people purchase your books and follow you on social media?

The books currently on the market and pre-orders can be purchased at www.lavernmccants.comon Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell Books, teacher stores, university presses, or any bookstore globally.  The publisher also provides order taking via phone at 212-692-0000.

I welcome readers to follow me on and  My publisher established these Facebook pages and controls and monitor these pages. However, all of my future tour dates and information about my upcoming book releases are also published on these pages and at


Brian Mingham Discusses the New Norms Involved with Running Your Business During COVID-19

Brian Mingham

Brian Mingham is the President of CFSI Loan Management (CFSI).  CFSI is a service provider to financial institutions, not a lender.  They help financial institutions to assess whether to make a construction loan or not.  The financial institutions hire CFSI to look out for their best interests.  It is a business to business (B2B) relationship.  CFSI manages about $8 billion in construction loans currently.

There is a lot of risks that are involved in a financial institution making loans on construction projects and CFSI helps them to assess the level of risk.  They handle residential, commercial, and multifamily types of projects. 

They go out and do inspections and we make sure the project is being completed on schedule and by the maturity dates on the loans.  There is a lot to a construction loan that is different than a regular mortgage.

How has your industry been impacted regarding COVID-19?

In construction lending in general, when the first set of lockdowns occurred back in March, it brought everything to a standstill.  Every new construction project in the process stopped.  The cities went home, which meant all the permits were not issued. 

The people to go out and do inspections were not at work.  No one could get a new project done and barely could get a projected completed.  We saw a dramatic decrease in new loan volume.

Our inspection network continued to work through the pandemic.  The real challenge for us was making sure that our vendor network and our employees were safe and healthy.  We went out and bought and CFSI facemasks. 

We’ve sent them to our inspection networks so they can wear them even today as they go inspect properties.  Our employees and staff are finally back in the office as well

The business did not start to come back for us until June 1st.  In April and May, lenders had stopped lending 100%.  Part of that had to do with the PPE lending from the government.  A lot of our banking clients were required to get PPE out, so they had stopped the construction lending. 

It really touched all our business.  We had scared employees, and we’ve had employees that had to teach their kids.  We had to find a way to become very flexible and understanding of people working from home. 

The efficiency changes that occur with people not being supervised was a challenge for us.  We found a way to get through it.  People are starting to lend again, and people are starting to feel better about having a vaccine in the coming months.

What keeps you motivated during this time at home?

I normally work from home all the time, but for me, I had to make sure that my office staff felt safe when they came back to the office.  I had to motivate them to want to come back to the office and having them feel safe and secure in doing that. 

We make sure we had enough hand sanitizer, enough cleaning.  We have people that clean at night and the first person that come in the morning will clean all the doorknobs and offices.  We have another person that cleans at noontime. 

We have masks and PPE for all the people in the office.  The office was set up to have big dividing walls six feet apart. 

People with kids probably want to get out of the house after three or four months.  People are glad to be able to be in the office and have conversations with each other again.

Suggestions for good ways others can cope during this time.

For me, I get out and exercise every morning.  It clears my head and gets my heart rate going.  Obviously, wearing a mask and washing your hands is important.  Keep yourself healthy and active and eat right.

It is a real mental challenge that we are all going through right now.  We are used to being free to hang out with friends, coworkers, and extended families.  This pandemic has really changed the fabric of society today, and people are having a real hard time with this. 

However, people are also doing great with using Facetime and Zoom, and that helps take the edge off, but it is a mental challenge for us.

What does your typical day look like now versus prior to social isolation?

I am always up early, working out, having coffee, checking emails.  The main thing that has changed for me is I am normally on the road.  Now, I am not traveling at all.  But before COVID-19, I would be traveling to attend conferences, seeing clients, and spending time at the CFSI office as well. 

I was on the road every week.  All of our large banks have very strict COVID-19 protocols, so we are not seeing our clients in their offices anymore.

How does working remotely change how businesses can support their customers?

That is certainly what we are learning right now.  It is a crazy time for people who have to work at home and it’s very difficult for people to balance getting a job done and managing their family time. 

We have had to learn to have empathy and understanding for people in those particular situations.  We have given our employees some time and have let them deal with things the way they have needed to.

What advice would you give to fellow businesses who may be struggling during COVID-19?

You’ve got to focus on your customer, and you’ve got to focus on your employees.  Actively listen.  Tighten your belt and conserve cash.  Don’t spend money on stuff you shouldn’t.  You’ve got to be able to think on your feet to keep your business going and find a solution.

What are some things outside of finding work that you are doing now to stay busy?

That’s the crazy thing about being an entrepreneur, when things are going well you are so busy trying to make sure it doesn’t go away.  You work.  When a business goes down, you just keep working to try to figure out how to replace whatever has left. 

When there is really not a lot to do, you have to keep your mind occupied with something.  For me, normally my free time would be spent traveling.  Now, it is very difficult to relax.  Working out and reading are about the only things to do.

You work out and try to get rid of the COVID-19 which they should have told you was the 19 pounds you gained.  I’m glad it wasn’t COVID-45, because 45 pounds would be much harder to lose.  Don’t buy any more ice cream and cookies at the grocery store.  Just buy fruits and vegetables.

Do you think a work and life balance is important and how difficult is it in these circumstances?

Your work/life balance is super important.  You are stressed with family in your personal space while you’re trying to work, but you have to find a way to make things work and handle it day-to-day. 

A lot of people don’t have a dedicated area to work in their home, but you still have to find your groove to get things done.  Be as organized as you can.  Follow a schedule that includes taking breaks.

What are some of the lessons you have already learned from having to work remotely and tips you can give to the readers?

Spend more money on your internet connection.  If this goes on, we have to have the ability to work from home with the least amount of stress.  Businesses should focus on the specific technology requirements for your employees to have at home. 

People will need laptops, docking stations, maybe an extra monitor, and something to help them transport these items at a moment’s notice.  If anyone in our office finds out they have been exposed, they need to leave the office right away. 

We send people home immediately.  We can’t risk anybody passing along COVID until there is a vaccine.

What is one piece of advice that is getting you through these current times?

We need to keep being hopeful and resilient.  We have to hope for the best.  We have a lot of smart people trying to find a vaccine.  Americans have been through a lot of tough things before, and we will get through this as well.

A Discussion with Eric Strand About Not Being Afraid of Failure and the Three Phases of Career Development

Eric Strand

With more than 15 years of experience, Eric Strand is a Senior UX Product Designer and has worked with both small and big-name brands throughout his career. He currently resides in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Eric Strand attended and graduated from Berklee College of Music. His passion stems from wanting to design a great experience for users and he found himself making a natural transition from music to UIX design. He has had a long and successful career in the design and production of web and mobile properties for multiple well-known companies including NetApp, Adobe, ClimaCell, Hitachi, Berklee Music, AT&T, FedEx, IBM, and Harley Davidson.

With a wide variety of skills, Eric Strand has expertise in conceptual prototyping, information architecture, workflow and wireframing for functional specification, and web application development for enterprise business solutions.

Marshfield, MA’s Eric Strand’s specialty skills include expert software product designer (UI/UX), expert interface, graphic design, and icon production for enterprise, web and mobile solutions, HTML, CSS, jQuery, JavaScript. In his spare time, Eric Strand also created and designed a Real-time Strategy (RTS) game for PC and XBOX and a casual Christmas game for the Nintendo game as well.


How did you get started in your industry?

After studying at Berklee College of Music, I built, owned, and operated a new digital recording studio called One Language Productions. It was a great experience and worked with a lot of up and coming local acts, but it was a love of the job that kept me going even when there was little money to be earned.

At one point I was asked to interview at the Strategic Interactive Group (Now Digitas) for their Digital Studio group. I was quickly hired and started my online media career as a Senior Designer for Adobe, FedEx, Disney, and IBM.


What do you do in your spare time? What problem are you currently grappling with?

In my spare time, I work on my own side projects that mix my creative side with my experience in product design. One of my main priorities in both my personal and professional life is task management. Sometimes, this can result in me feeling unfocused because there is a lot of stimulation.

When this happens; however, I have learned that the best thing to do is switch to another project that is more related to my hobbies. I enjoy working in my woodshop or composing music until I’m ready to return to the original task at hand.


What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

Working on a project – which I can’t talk about due to its stealth approach – I came to the conclusion that being more focused on the projects differentiating values made the project more viable and less risky for market fit, so it was decided to identify some really cool features that we spent many months of design time on that would go into the waste can or at a minimum into a far more future feature release.


What is your most satisfying moment?

Walking off the stage of my first live performance with my band House of Raven. It was a rock band that produced all original music and focused on ripping it up in the first 15 minutes with heavy groove improvisation.


What business books, articles, journals, people have inspired you?

“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. A great book about leadership.


What did you learn from your biggest failure?

Really, I learned not to be afraid of failure. The fear of failure sometimes paralyzes people so much that they can’t get anything done and try to perfect things and then they feel like nothing will ever be good enough. This keeps you from being productive and excelling in your career.

Eventually, you realize that you know what you’re doing and that you do complete quality work. You will have that confidence. But the earlier you learn not to fear failure, the better off you’ll be. Fear holds us back. It’s the reason that so many people stay at jobs they hate or positions where they get stagnant and complacent.


What are some red flags to watch out for in daily life?

I’d say to be aware of when you are getting complacent. This can translate to anything really, but especially with relationships and your job. Once you get complacent, any potential red flags are hidden from view and you won’t know there is anything wrong until it’s too late.

It’s important to always be aware of when you start getting complacent so you can either move on in your career or can work on a solution to improve your relationships with others.


What advice can you share with others?

Professional growth takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself. You will not land your dream job or dream salary right off the bat. Really, to me professional development takes place in three phases: doing, becoming, and being. The doing phase is actually the earliest phase because during this time you are exploring and discovering what resonates with you most and what motivates and inspires you to get out of bed in the morning.

In the becoming phase, you are performing the steps it takes to get to where you want to be, which could include schooling, making important relationships, and some of your first job roles, during the time when you still don’t really know how to excel in your industry.

Once you lay the groundwork, become confident and make a name for yourself in your field, you are truly in the “being” phase. But the best part is that if you are in the being phase, you don’t need to acknowledge it because you are still recognizing that you can learn new things and continue to develop as a professional. You know you don’t have all the answers despite all your existing knowledge. In that way as well, you never truly get complacent.

Jonathan Weiss on the Process of Becoming a Real Estate Investor and Always Staying Motivated

Jonathan Weiss

Jonathan Weiss was born in New York City, but his family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut when he was about nine years old.  He grew up playing sports.  He chose to play baseball mainly and was recruited heavily by several colleges across the country to play baseball for top baseball programs.  He played baseball for Boston College in his freshman year and Tulane after that for three years, and then he finished his studies at Cornell.  He studied psychology, but of course, baseball was a big part of his life for a long time.  He had a bad injury during a game that took him out for a season and then led to more shoulder operations that brought an end to his baseball career.

After college, Jonathan spent some time trying to figure out what he wanted to do.  He thought he wanted to be a doctor.  At one point he worked for a hedge fund and also worked in fitness.  He did a little bit of everything to try to determine his real interest.

Jonathan Weiss has been involved in real estate now for the past five years and it is the path he wants to pursue.  He left his last position at Red Sky Capital six months ago and he is nearing completion of a Master’s program in real estate finance.  He is looking for real estate investment opportunities and will be focusing on real estate full time after he completes his Master’s degree.


Why did you decide to become a real estate investor?

It is a way to make a big impact on the world.  I like creating spaces for people to live and to work.

I also like the real estate industry because I also have an appetite for risk.  As an entrepreneur, I need to be willing to take risks.  You are taking your ideas and putting them out there.  You are raising money.  You have the full conviction that your ideas are good.  It is a high risk/high reward perspective.  You can put a ton of time and money into something that could just be zero, but you get excited because of the potential for the high reward and outsized returns and success makes it worth it.  It is a real driver for me.


What trends in your industry excite you?

I am excited about the transformation of retail.  It is not dying, but it is transforming.  We need to come up with new creative ways to fill that space.  It is exciting to think about what that will eventually turn into.

There has also been a trend in the past 10 years of office space getting smaller and smaller with less square footage per person.  Now with COVID I think the trend is going to reverse, and it is going to go back to companies needing more space, more square footage per person, and more separated workspaces.


What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could?

It has become so bureaucratic to conduct real estate transactions in New York.  It can seem impossible to get anything done.  Everything is so expensive.  It takes a long time to get through to city agencies.  It can take six months to get approval just to get a permit.  This affects your timeline and makes your costs go up.  It almost makes it not worth investing in that area at this point.


If you could change 1 thing you did in the beginning of your career what would it be? 

I would have taken more risks early on and not be scared to make a mistake.  I would have just dove in and learned from my mistakes instead of being scared to make them.


How do you maintain a work-life balance?

I value the time I have with my friends and family and taking care of my health.  To me, these things are more important than work.  I take pride in enjoying what I do so then it does not feel like work all the time.  I make sure to prioritize my health, my relationships, and having a social life.  Life is too short.  Your best memories come from your relationships, not from work achievements.


What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The hardest thing I have had to overcome was losing my father.  He passed away around the time that I graduated from college.  It has been tough for me to not have him around in my adult years.


What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Don’t settle when you are looking for your partner in life.  It is a big decision.


What does success look like for you?

I will be a success if I am remembered as a person that was giving my time and money.  I would like to be a mentor for someone.  I want to help others that are in a harder place than I am.  I want to be as philanthropic as I can.  I want to create a legacy for my family.

Tim Cheung on How to Transform your Food Passion into a Profitable Career

Tim Cheung

The San Jose born Tim Cheung, notably known as @bayarea.foodies on socials, sat down with us and openly talked about how he managed to become one of the most well-known food influencers in the San Francisco area simply by leveraging his innate passion for food.

Tim started out food blogging on Instagram in early 2015. At that time there weren’t that many other food bloggers/influencers in the scene. His initial mission was to highlight and boost exposure for local mom-and-pop restaurants. Tim started out simply taking photos of restaurants and their most delicious food with his phone camera to soon realize that his social media followers loved his work. His audience rapidly grew, indeed. As time went on, he invested in this side business purchasing better equipment and learning how to take and edit professional-level photos.

Once he realized he could be doing this as a career, he dedicated all his time to his brand dropping out from Oregon State University to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. Soon after he started offering photography and consultation services to restaurants that he genuinely liked and from there, his business steadily grew through word of mouth and referrals. When we sat with Tim, we immediately realized how genuine and passionate he is about his whole career of his. Here some questions we asked him.


Despite the young age and a successful track record, what is the biggest lesson learned ?+

The biggest lesson about food blogging or any other career you want to pursue is that consistency is the key to any form of success. During my 5 years of being a food blogger, I noticed a lot of people around me eventually gave up, sooner or later, because they didn’t see the results they expected on social media. I learned that once you find a strategy for growth, you just need to be patient and keep at it in the long run. Always have a long term objective and never lose sight of it. Patience is very important. Even a tiny drop of water eventually will hollow a stone.


And what about your biggest success or turning point? That moment that you thought, for the first time, “Wow, this is happening!”.

Business-wise, my biggest success was getting my first big-named client for a consultation work in the food space. This allowed me to gain invaluable experience and rapidly kick-start my business. My biggest success in food blogging was when I first got viral on TikTok. It was just crazy. During that viral momentum, I received tens of millions of views on my videos and my brand got a lot of recognition almost overnight. That spark made me proud on one hand and even more determined to achieve more on the other. And the local recognition that followed even helped me get invited as a guest on radio shows, podcasts, and local events.


You are young and you have a life ahead of you but I’m sure you have a detailed plan and goals ready. What are your future ventures and goals on your map?

My main goal I try to stay laser-focused about is to continue building my Food Blogging brand, continue growing and scaling my consultation business, and to open a Boba shop. If you don’t know what Boba is, don’t worry, I get asked this all the time. Boba is most known as bubble tea or pearl tea, it originates from Taiwan and it’s a drink made of tea, milk, and cassava starch balls or pearls. It’s growing in popularity and I’d love to open one soon, A more far ahead goal is to open a full restaurant and start my own chain, with my brand name on it.


What would you recommend to a fellow young individual willing to pursue entrepreneurship?

The most important thing is to develop the mindset of an entrepreneur – knowing how to be proactive and how to create structure in the things you do. I worked closely with a successful entrepreneur in the beginning and that is how I learned how to do business and how to do my own sales. It is important to dream big, but it is even more important to know how to reach those goals in a timely and efficient way.

Marco Valentinsig, a different view of marketing

Marco Valentinsig

Born in Gorizia, a small Italian town, Marco Valentinsig graduated from IUAV in Venice before becoming the youngest marketing manager in all of northern Italy. With his desire to grow personally and professionally, Marco earned a doctorate in visual communications arts and created the first marketing office in one of the largest design companies in the luxury sector.

Always passionate about marketing, he trained on the net by himself and then participated in speech numbers in the sector. After seven years of managerial management, he opened his company called Beliked, a marketing consultancy company formed by creators and influencers who oppose the web agency tradition that has now saturated the advertising market.


Tell us about you and what you do.

I am 32 years old and I live in the northern part of Italy on the border with Slovenia. I’ve always been interested in the digital side of things and communication has captured my attention from the first moment I met it. I grew up with social networks, forums, and portals and I started working for the creation of online communities at the age of 14. Today I have a company called Beliked and I mainly deal with B2B social communication.


What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing?

People inspired me. My relationship with marketing was born in a personal field, I have never been able to express myself well either at school or with family or friends, however, I realized that changing what I was saying also changed the reaction I got, I began to get interested in the discipline. The marketing sector is very similar to the communication of people, everything is the same and nobody tries to change.


What kind of management style do you prefer?

In recent years I have seen different managerial typologies, many still adopt a vertical style, I prefer horizontal management. I am referring to internal company communication, therefore with my collaborators and suppliers both as regards the communication strategy that I recreate for my customers. Top-down management as far as I’m concerned is dead and it’s about an old and poorly performing business model.


What do you think are the three essential skills for a career in marketing?


In my opinion, there are no three standard skills, everyone can work well in marketing and take different forms. The great thing about this sector is that it gives the opportunity to become extremely different professionals capable of bringing value to the market. However, information certainly plays a key role regardless of the skills you have, it is a very dynamic profession and what binds us as professionals is information.


What social media channels are you familiar with?

I work on all social media, I have worked a lot with Snapchat and Twitter and at the same time always with Facebook and Instagram. Today I’m focusing a lot on Tik Tok and Tripadvisor, they are two marketing pearls and few have understood it, in fact, I was the first to launch a course for companies on these two platforms in Italy. I really like the world of tourism, I believe that catering and hotels have yet to fully flourish and I want to help these sectors take a strong position online. I like to go where others aren’t there yet.


How would you manage a new product launch?

Before launching a product, you need to know the company you work for. The product must not only have excellent communication but must also be accompanied by commercial support, pr and above all, it is necessary to find a trigger on social media that is able to recreate a flywheel of attention so that the community promotes in a way independent the message. Furthermore, the launch does not only concern the initial part but above all the final post-launch part, in which the follow up must be decisive.

A Discussion with Travis Zipper About Investing in Yourself

Travis Zipper

Travis Zipper is a functional diagnostic practitioner, health coach, and entrepreneur in the medical industry. Travis helps his clients uncover their underlying health issues, and achieve their health goals in ways that don’t revolve around taking pharmaceuticals. Travis began his coaching career by co-founded the Nutritional Coaching Institute (NCI) and later branched off to create Wellfitz Mentorship.

He continues to coach clients with difficult health challenges at NCI through a program that teaches entry-level health coaching. Travis also provides instruction for clients through Wellfitz Mentorship which is a more advanced health coaching program providing one-on-one mentorship to clients. Travis is currently working on earning his doctorate in clinical nutrition through the Maryland University of Integrative Health.


What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I love the fact that for the most part people are trying to do some good and help people learn how to live better, more optimized lives. I like the interaction of working with other people who have like-minded goals of paying it forward and wanting to help other people.


What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

You have to learn through trial by fire. You have to just get out there and do it. There is nothing that will replace actual experience in working with people and helping them live healthier lives. You can’t be afraid to do that. You can’t have paralysis by analysis, thinking I have to take this course, I have to learn this, or I have to have these skills before you do it. You only need to know a little bit more than the client to be able to help them.

You should work with someone who has already been there and done that. You will shorten the learning curve tremendously and you will learn what has already worked, and more importantly what hasn’t worked. You don’t have to waste any time. But with that, there usually comes an investment. You have to be willing to invest in yourself and your future.

The health coaches that are in my Wellfitz Mentorship program know they always have someone there to answer their questions with regards to their clients. They have access to protocols and plans so they can help clients right off the bat. In the first month of the program, most people will say it has made a huge difference in their confidence and their ability to go out and work with clients. I encourage all of the coaches to implement everything they are learning on themselves as well, so they get a really good feel for what they are asking their clients to do.


What keeps you motivated?

I try to live a life of surrounding myself with positive and successful people. I use that as my motivation. I am always learning from other people in other realms.


How has your company grown from its early days to now?

I have been a part of growing the Nutritional Coaching Institute (NCI), along with my co-founder because we saw the lack of programs to teach people how to become nutrition and health coaches. What we saw out there was a cookie-cutter approach that did not show people how to apply much more than the basics. We have now certified more than 5,000 people and have several more courses available to clients.

I created the Wellfitz Mentorship to create another option for people that wanted more training beyond the certifications available from NCI but who did not necessarily want to get a master’s degree or go to medical school to become health practitioners or doctors. I am working with my second group of students in the program, but groups have been filled just by word of mouth. I am confident it will continue to do well.


How do you maintain a work-life balance?

I enjoy what I do so I don’t feel like there is a sway in the negative direction. I spend about nine hours a day building courses, writing, or helping other people. I feel like I have a good balance there because I enjoy my work so much.


What traits do you possess that make you a successful leader?

I am not afraid to put in the necessary work. I have always considered myself to be a grinder. I am always willing to first try things on myself and put myself through the fire. I would not expect anyone to do anything that I would not do first. I am able to teach and articulate things in a way that is motivating and gets the point across without overcomplicating what might be considered difficult concepts.


What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The hardest obstacle I’ve overcome has been deciding how to do things on my own without the help of others. I had to overcome a fear of doing something on my own without a safety blanket or a worry about whether I would fail. At a certain point, I needed to diversify and make sure I did not have all my financial eggs in one basket. That required taking the plunge and diverting a lot of my hours towards fixing that problem.


What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could?

I still feel there are a lot of people in this industry that are taking money from well-intentioned customers and not providing true value. For example, a lot of people are automating their programs that teach other people by putting it online. They can reach more people, but they are no longer working with people in one on one settings. I think that takes away from the value that you offer when you no longer have that interaction.


Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

In five years, I hope that Nutritional Coaching Institute is certifying 5,000+ people per year. I hope that I will have two fully filled mentorships groups through Wellfitz. I hope to be looked at as an authority in the health coaching space and that people will read my content and it will be helping other coaches go out and make a difference in people’s lives.

Meet Serial Entrepreneur Brandon Hensinger: The Renaissance Man of Our Generation

Brandon Hensinger

Leonardo Da Vinci is a known artist who embodies the ideals of a renaissance man during his time. He was an expert in every facet, be it in painting, music, or invention. Indeed, he has set a high bar for anyone who wants to encapsulate what it means to be a renaissance man.

However, in this generation, we don’t have to look so far. In fact, Brandon Hensinger is a perfect example of the one we might call a modern-day Renaissance man.  He has devoted his energy and time to accomplishing groundbreaking projects that helped society for most of his life.

He has been at the forefront of many innovative and life-changing technologies in the reproductive health and genetic industry. He majored in outdoor leadership and has built his education in genetics and the business world.

Today, Brandon Hensinger is a prominent quad-lingual, adventure athlete, business growth specialist, and published entrepreneur. He is also the founder of Avrio Genetics, a company established to provide fertility testing solutions in over 20 countries.

His healthcare expertise has also paved the way to creating his pandemic division of Avrio Genetics, Bio Testing Supplies and Bio Testing Labs. Surrounded by a competent team, Brandon launched multiple COVID-19 and viral testing products aimed to help the world return to normal.

His company not only quickly pivoted and thrived in the face of a global pandemic but even helped create testing products for COVID-19.

Brandon has built his career based on the principle that life and business should be an adventure. Now, he sets a new path for himself to help people become highly productive and successful while living the life they dream of since it has always been a passion for him to share his success with other people.

Brandon wants to impart knowledge in achieving success through the lens of his own adventures and experiences. That is why he decided to launch his own coaching brand to help develop and coach future entrepreneurial leaders.

Like how he has built his international companies from scratch and out of a passion for improving the healthcare industry, Brandon’s personal coaching brand is also born out of the same foundation.

This time he wants aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders like him to reach their highest potential through his brand. He wants to give the right solutions so they can finally establish the businesses they ever dreamed of.

Currently, Brandon Hensinger is about to release his new book titled Stand on The Summit: Reaching the Peak in Life and Business, Through the Lens of a Lifetime Climber and Entrepreneur. His book encourages a spirit of adventure to one’s business.

To do so, one must commit to change the conventional and deep-seated ways of running a business. Moreover, he even has several free ebooks on his website to guide business leaders who continuously seek opportunities.

Brandon Hensinger’s charisma and endless curiosity have fueled him to chase his entrepreneurial dreams. Get more tips on building your business by following him on FacebookInstagramYoutubeTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Patrick Bieleny Discusses What Makes Him a Successful Leader

Patrick Bieleny

Known as a “house flipping guru,” Patrick Bieleny is a renowned entrepreneur and real estate investor based in Calgary, Alberta. After immigrating with his family to Canada from Eastern Europe, Patrick earned a Degree in Business Management from the University of Toronto. After graduation, he purchased a condo townhouse in Calgary, renovated it, and sold it at a significant profit — and from that moment on, he realized that flipping houses were both professionally lucrative and personally rewarding. Today, Patrick heads PB & Co. Houses, which since its beginning has grown significantly in both profitability and size.


 What do you love most about the industry you are in?

 What I love most about my industry is that it rewards those who take risks and make bold decisions. This aspect has allowed me to find many lucrative deals in several markets, and generate profits when the odds were clearly stacked against me. Of course, I am talking about taking educated and informed risks, and not reckless risks. This is important because many people who are new to the house flipping field tend to leap before they look, and end up mired in a money pit or have an experience that is so financially and psychologically damaging that they exit the industry entirely.


What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

 Forget what you see on television, as most of those projects are edited and are designed to be entertaining. In real life, house flipping takes discipline, focus, patience, and an extremely strong work ethic. The other thing I’d say to novice house flippers is don’t get caught up in the hype of buying your first or second property. Pay attention to all aspects, especially location and neighborhood amenities like schools, parks, shopping, and so on. The market value of a home, as well as the speed at which it will sell, is not always determined by the property itself. There are many other factors to consider, and it definitely pays to do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and never make assumptions.


What keeps you motivated?

What keeps me motivated is the challenge of seeing potential where others can’t, and ultimately matching customers with the home of their dreams. While there are financial rewards involved, making money and generating profit is not my primary motivation. The experience of handing over the keys to a couple or family — especially if they never thought they would be able to own their own home — is extremely rewarding and energizing.


Who has been a role model to you and why?

 I have been fortunate to have been positively influenced by many great men and women throughout my life, from teachers to members of my professional network. However, I would say that my most inspiring and important role model is my father. He moved us to Canada and made tremendous sacrifices — including working 12-hour shifts in the construction field — so that our family could have a better life in Canada. Today, I am proud to say that I get my extremely strong work ethic from my father, as well as my do-it-yourself attitude.


How do you maintain a work-life balance?

 My personal motto in life is to work smarter, not harder. To that end, I have put together an exceptional team of experts who I trust to get the job done, including title attorneys, general contractors, lenders, marketers, tradespeople, and real estate agents. As a result, I have the ability to spend quality time with family and friends, including the occasional vacation. I trust my team to do the right things in the right ways, and I am not terrified that things will fall apart at the office or at worksites during my absence.


What traits do you possess that make you a successful leader?

 There are a few traits that have supported my leadership success, including the ability to communicate and build relationships with a wide variety of professionals, as well as my ability to focus on solutions instead of dwell on problems. I also think that my ability to learn something from every experience helps me as a leader because it keeps me flexible and open to new ideas. When you stop learning then you stop growing, and if you stop growing then success becomes impossible. The only direction in life is forward.


What trends in your industry excite you?

 I am excited about the shift to smart homes, that use technology like next-generation appliances, smart entertaining and lighting features, alarm systems with motion detectors, and so on. With this being said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all smart features appeal to all types of target buyers. For example, while some home buyers may not be all that interested in an automated curtain system that adds $20,000 to the selling price, most home buyers are eager to invest in smart home technology that reduces energy consumption, such as a learning thermostat that adjusts the temperature automatically based on a homeowner’s daily routine.


What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

 Basically, I would say expect the unexpected. All kinds of issues and challenges arise in the house flipping industry, and if you can’t adjust and rapidly find intelligent solutions then you’ll not only lose a lot of money, but you’ll get overwhelmed and burned out. Of course, I’m not trying to discourage anyone. However, I’m urging anyone who is thinking of doing this to develop a clear understanding of the industry, and to build a strong network of professionals. Don’t try to do everything yourself and have all of the answers — that’s simply not possible. You need a great team around you, which is something that I am fortunate to have at PB & Co. Houses.


 What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

 The biggest life lesson that I’ve learned is that while you can strive for perfection, you can’t make it your expectation. We all make mistakes, and it’s part of what makes us human beings. What matters most is what we learn from our mistakes, so that we can improve and grow. In the same spirit, I believe that leaders need to accept the fact that members of their team can sometimes make honest mistakes. When this happens, instead of playing the blame game and handing out punishments, the experience should be used as an opportunity to learn and grow.


Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

 I see us continuing to grow and thrive. There are many hidden gems in the market, and the low mortgage interest rate environment means that more people can afford to purchase their first home or upgrade their existing home to something larger, better, or in a more desirable location. I see PB & Co. Houses playing a pivotal role in helping more people find the home of their dreams.