Tell us a little about your background and your role within Good Zing?
I am the Founder of Good Zing, currently the fastest growing health and wellbeing platform in the UK. We are a user-generated content platform that engages with the world’s top specialists to give consumers access to all the available options for their everyday issues – from migraines to mindfulness to acid reflux or anxiety.
I started Good Zing out of the Columbia University Startup Lab in New York after graduating with my MBA and am deeply passionate about the mission of Good Zing.
What incentivised you to start Good Zing?
After graduating in 2005 I got sick and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome amongst other things. I literally spent 2 years looking for different ways to get better. Fast forward 10 years and I was listening to my sisters who both have young children chatting about what to do for their babies teething, what to do for a headache and so on and realised that there was no one centralised database which has every single type of tip from home remedies to what doctors advise to the best products. After reflecting on my own health experience, I realised how much a platform like this would have helped me.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
Prior to starting Good Zing I did my Masters in Business Administration at Columbia Business School where I started two businesses that both failed quickly. One was around business networking and the other was in the more medical health space, and so in some ways Good Zing is the blend of those two failed ideas. I’ve always wanted to start my own business – a brand that has positive social impact.
What has been your favourite tip on the platform?
With well over 3000 tips now on the platform it’s so hard to pick a favourite. From a personal perspective I have found so many practical tips that have genuinely helped me deal with Fibromyalgia, sleep issues, headaches and so on. Some of the home remedies have totally intrigued me and I have learnt so much more about products (and started to use them) that have really helped.
A lot of my favourite tips come from our verified experts who have done an amazing job breaking down in laymen terms things you can do to help yourself.
For example, I have acid reflux and tips from experts like Nutritional Therapists Maria Merkeal on dealing with acid reflux have really helped me personally.
One of my favorite examples is by Psychotherapist Sabrina Wyeneth’s who shared the tip: Dissolve Anxiety using Somatic Psychology. Whenever I am feeling really stressed or anxious I re-read this tip and try to understand where the anxiety is manifesting from, and I have found it has really helped me cope better.
What do you predict for wellness in 2019?
Wellness has been such a buzzword and trend for the last few years and there is no sign of it abating. However, I believe what we are beginning to see more of is professionalism coming into the space, with less focus on bloggers and individuals without health or wellbeing credentials. We’re finally seeing more doctors and people in the existing health and medical space recognising and getting involved in the positive impact that wellness can have in preventative health.
In addition, 2018 wellness was all about mental health and I believe it will continue to be so for 2019. But what I think we are going to see more of is the link between mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing and how the two interact.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Like for most founders there is no such thing as a typical work day – when you are wearing so many different hats some days can just be about putting out fires and other days focused on day to day operation of the business. I try to give myself one day of the week as an ‘introverted day’ where I work from home, I take no calls or meetings and try to power through emails, strategy and writing work.
What has been the hardest thing(s) about starting this latest venture? How you’ve worked around the challenges
Possibly the hardest thing was moving back to London from New York before launching the platform as my visa ran out. All of my network in both health and technology was in New York and so in London I had to start from scratch. That took longer than I thought and at times was very lonely as I had left a tight community in New York. But as I have discovered London has such a fantastic technology and founders community which is proving to be very supportive.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start in the health industry?
In comparison to other industries I have worked in, the great thing about the health/wellbeing industry is that the vast majority of people are involved because either they themselves have had health issues and/or they want to help others. As a result it is an extremely collaborative environment where people are willing to help each other out as they are often looking at the bigger picture of helping to solve problems which deeply affect how people live their lives.
What are your favourite brands right now?
I love new brands coming out that are solving an actual problem – and doing it in an interesting way. One of my current favourites is without a doubt Dame, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, wearedame.co/ – reducing plastic, stylish packaging and a sense of humour. It’s a common sense problem that they are solving and I cant wait to see what other products they have up their sleeve.
Another one is Spire, a beautiful designed wearable for understanding your breathing and stress levels. I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to these kind of products as there are a fair few on the market that over promise and under deliver – but this one really is good, I love the design and the people I know who use it are understanding their stress levels through their breathing and it is having a real positive impact.
Did you have a mentor or people you asked for advice?
I don’t have one specific mentor but a whole range of friends and advisors who I reach out to from time to time on a variety of topics. Some I talk to about the struggles of being a founder, others about technical issues, or discuss a particular problem I am having. As a founder I think it’s important to have a wide range of people you can reach out to for help. One consultancy company that I often reach out to for advice and help for specific problems is SmokeBaller – a group of US and UK founders who have all been VC backed and are literally the top of their game and expertise.
What’s been the funniest moment of in starting Good Zing?
I am actually pretty dyslexic which is ironic that I have started a content business. When I launched the first iteration of the platform I was super proud and sent it to a whole bunch of friends. I got multiple calls and emails very quickly stating that basically I spelt a lot of things wrong, and by wrong I am talking very wrong. (At least everyone on my team now knows how to decipher “Seren-glish” at Good Zing HQ!)
What are the top 5 books and blogs on your reading list?
Top books I recommend are always a mix of health and empowerment
- What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey
- Lean In – Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg –
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
- Off – Your better digital detox for a better life by Tanya Goodin
- The Vitamin Complex by Catherine Price
If you could do any other job, aside from what you do now, what would it be?
Honestly I am exactly where I want to be, there is no other job I want than to grow Good Zing into the platform I know it can be. I and my team have a big vision of the company and I am excited to scale that in the coming years.
What’s yet to come with Good Zing?
We only launched Good Zing in Spring 2017 – in that time we have grown to include almost 200 separate health and wellbeing topics with over 3000 wellbeing tips and have had well over 1million visitors in our first year. Over the coming year we are planning on launching some big new categories as well as add a whole raft of new features so watch this space!
What is your motto?
I read this many years ago on a calendar and it has always stuck with me: “Never let a minute of anger deny you 60 seconds of happiness”. I have it printed out on the wall at my office and it always makes me smile and reminds me to be happy!
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