Success can be defined in many ways. But to truly call yourself successful is to be able to take your weaknesses and transform them into your greatest strengths. Success is when you think outside of the box and create something that will transform people’s lives for the better.

Success is when you transform your life for the better.

Sometimes we are faced with barriers in life that might seem difficult to overcome at first. Only the best of us can see past these barriers, and use them as an opportunity to create something much bigger and better.

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to talk with such a person. A female entrepreneur, and an inspiring individual that managed to turn her unexpected obstacle in life into a prosperous business idea.

Meet Maya French, the Co-Founder of the protein beverage brand Koia.

Due to her successful line of work, Maya found herself on the “30 under 30 US & Canada 2019: Food & Drink” list, proving that with determination and thinking creatively you can pave the road to success.

I hope you enjoy her story, as much as I did.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Can you tell us more about yourself? Who is Maya French? What is the reason behind choosing the career you currently have?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

In 2013, I realized that I developed lactose intolerance and as a very active person, I couldn’t find a good post-workout shake.

My co-founder, Dustin Baker and I had previously tried to create a cold-pressed juice, but we found it wasn’t sticking with consumers and was very expensive to make.

We switched our ideas to a nut-based protein drink that we eventually named Koia (after Nicoya, the town in Costa Rica famous for long-lived residents).

I wanted to make sure that everyone had a tasty, plant-based and high protein option out there, especially those who had similar health issues!


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

I would like to congratulate you for being on the Forbes’ list of 30 under 30! The honor must be great. Have you ever dreamed of being where you are today? What contributed to your success the most?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

Thank you so much! It truly was such an honor to have been chosen. My background was never in food — I had actually studied journalism and had gone into fashion retail.

I never necessarily thought I would be named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List — especially for being a co-founder of a beverage brand. I think what most contributed to my success is both my drive and my personal passion for the product.

As someone who is lactose-intolerant, there weren’t any post-workout vegan protein drinks that tasted good, so we were inspired to create one ourselves.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Can you tell us more about your company? How difficult it is to run a business? How do you manage your time? What are the best time-management strategies you know of?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

Koia is a beverage company that provides protein packed, 100 percent plant-based beverages that use natural ingredients to deliver deliciously nutritious flavors.

My main role as a co-founder is brand awareness and making sure our product gets out there as much as possible!

There are always ups and downs to running a business but having such a passion for the industry outweighs any challenge or difficulties that come with the job.

Managing my time can get difficult, but I like to create a plan of action for each day so that I can be aware of what is on my plate and work smarter, not harder — while also making sure I have time to get outside or enjoy a workout because that is crucial to my productivity in the office!


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

This being said, what is your simplest definition of success? Why? Have you always described success as you do today? If not, what changed?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

I think the simplest way to define success is accomplishing what you set out to do and in our case, we set out to provide a delicious plant-based protein beverage for consumers.

In my opinion, we have reached success as we are now in more than 5,000 stores across the U.S.

I think the definition of success has always remained the same in my life, it is the goals that have changed.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

According to you, what are the three most important things in a company and why?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

The three most important things in a company are the team, the passion behind the product/service, the quality of the product/service.

If the product/service is not good and doesn’t solve a problem, then it won’t sell.

The people behind the product/service must be passionate and bring energy to the brand.

If you are not excited about your business, how can you convince others to be?

The team is most important, without the correct talent in place there is no way you can successfully grow your business.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What is your opinion on fixed vs. flexible working schedule? What is your opinion on hard vs. smart work? Please explain.

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

If you have a smaller team, flexible schedules are best. In a startup, there are tons of things that occur unexpectedly that you often have to tend to right away.

Everyone also has an “entrepreneurial” mindset that allows them to handle multiple responsibilities vs. what’s within their scope of work. It’s proven that people who work flexible work schedules tend to work longer hours than those with fixed.

I always work with the mindset of working smarter not harder.

I don’t believe that a person should do everything themselves, identify your strengths and delegate your weaknesses to those who can complete the task better.

We all wish we had more hours in a day to complete tasks, that’s why it’s essential to work smarter and avoid burnout. Once burnout hits, nothing gets completed.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What is the message you would like to share with the world?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

Don’t work hard so that you can buy shiny things to impress people who don’t even matter.

Work hard so that you give back and make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Trust me, you will feel more fulfilled.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? What do you think matters in life? Who/ What you cannot survive without?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

As a self-proclaimed foodie, you can always find me trying out new and exotic foods and restaurants or exploring new adventures and activities in California.

I absolutely cannot live without my daily workouts which keep me energized and motivated, as well as obviously, my daily Koia!

What matters the most in life is family, supportive friends, and good health.

All of this combined helps me be the best person and motivates me to continue forth achieving my biggest goals in life.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Where do you see yourself in 5–10 years from now? What about your business?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

I see myself leading an organization and somehow making a strong impact in my community. My ultimate goal is to become successful so that I can teach generations after me.

In 5–10 years Koia will be a brand that has paved the way for other healthy products to be available in areas where people don’t usually have access to healthy food.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Finally, what is the best advice you were ever given? What would you advise all the young people struggling in business?

Maya French (Entrepreneur):

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As a young person, we are always trying to prove ourselves and not look like we don’t know what we’re doing. Being young is the best excuse to be vulnerable and reach out to our peers/ mentors for advice.

No one knows everything and the best way to learn more is to get advice from the experts.

With support from the people you love, enough determination, passion, and a clear vision, you can achieve all of your goals in life.

What’s even more powerful, if your intentions are pure, and helping people is what drives you towards the finish line, this will be even easier.

Sometimes we have to go through certain obstacles in life, in order to become stronger and wiser. Other times we will fail during the process. But the beauty of failing and every obstacle we experiencing is that every time you recover, you become a better version of yourself.

So find your passion, take a risk, and make a positive change in your life. That way you will be able to influence positively on others as well.

The moment you come up with a viable solution that people need, and manage to change someone’s life for the better, only then will you be ready to say that you are truly successful.


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