Ryan Novak: Chocolate Pizza Company Founder

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Read The Native Influence Full Q&A

How did you get into the industry? Chocolate has been in my blood from a very young age. As a toddler, the Chocolate Pizza Company store was across the street from my house and my mom would take me over in a stroller. They tell me I was very good at reaching up and finding the sample tray while the women talked. At the age of 15, I got my first job at the company washing dishes and mopping floors. I loved working there and learned everything I could about the business. My enthusiasm was rewarded by the founder who mentored me in how to work with chocolate. It was just a small-town chocolate shop when she retired in 2010 but I knew it could be much more so I offered to buy it and she agreed. I was 21 years-old.

Career Advice? Aspiration demands perspiration – you should work for what you want. Young entrepreneurs should not be afraid that their dreams are too big but rather that they are too small. Big dreams come with big challenges that keep you up at night. Don’t fear the work, fear being stagnant. If you are not living, breathing and sweating the pursuit of your dream, then you are not reaching far enough. If your goals are coming too easily, then your expectations are failing you. Thomas Paine once said, “What we attain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.”