“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
After moving to New York, rapidly gaining weight, and experiencing a plethora of health problems, Pasquale Cozzolino decided to get serious about his diet.
What happened next?
Over the course of seven months of monitoring his calories and eating a pizza each day, Pasquale dropped an astonishing 101lbs! Suddenly, he was being featured in places like the New York Post, People, GQ and Good Morning America for one thing – his PizzaDiet!
As a student of Gaetano Esposito, the great-grand-nephew of the inventor of the renowned Neapolitan Pizza Margherita, Chef Cozzolino uses pizza recipes that are 200 years old and bold in flavors (see them here). It’s his honor to the history of Neapolitan cuisine and pride for the region that keeps him true to form.
For someone who’s worked as a private chef with singers such as U2, Madonna, Muse, and Cold Play, owns Ribalta Pizza, and the now originator of the #PizzaDiet, we had a quite a few questions to ask this chef-entrepreneur.
Though his full interview will be featured in the upcoming issue of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine, here are seven pieces of advice we gathered from Chef Cozzolino for achieving entrepreneurial success.
Consumers are becoming increasingly skilled at sniffing out a phony, and with the power of the internet at their fingertips, they can quickly substantiate claims. For this reason, entrepreneurs should always be authentic.
As Cozzolino says, “I am not a big specialist of Social Media but what I would like to suggest is: always be true! Don’t try to fool people, don’t be afraid of expressing yourself and the things you care about. People will appreciate it.”
People like originality, especially early adopters. A problem some entrepreneurs face is they fear their originality won’t resonate with people so invariably they copy someone else. All of the sudden, they wake up years down the road a figment of their original self. It’s vital to stay true to who you are and embrace your originality.
As Cozzolino says, “What helped me very much in gaining more interested followers was without a doubt the fact that I did not invent #PizzaDiet for commercial purposes. I needed a diet that helped me in losing weight very quickly for health reasons. I wanted to be able to play with my kids! #PizzaDiet was a need for me, and I think people appreciate the human aspect of my story.
Your understanding of the market in which you reside and your ability to see around corners is crucial. It allows you to stay a step ahead, or at least on par, with the market. However, this only happens when you become intimately involved in the market and feel the pulse.
As Cozzolino says, “A deep knowledge of the market in which you want to rock is the key. Every country is different, keep that in mind. Product availability is also essential. Buying is more important than selling especially when talking about prime quality products.”
Build a Team
In the beginning, when your business is a glimmer in your eye, you may be going at it alone. As you evolve, your growth will be in direct proportion to your personal bandwidth. When you hit a point where you’re stretched thin, it’s time to build a team. Especially when you have weaknesses in areas and need team members to counter balance.
As Cozzolino says, “I get help from reliable people around me in different fields. I mean, when things start to go very well you cannot do without being supported by friends and/or assistants. Today, I have a Social Media manager who cares about Facebook and Instagram in order to manage the huge amount of content and interactions coming from the web.
Be Comfortable with Delegating
Let me say this loudly; you can’t do everything by yourself at all times! It’s an impossibility. As such, when you have a team of people whom you trust, you have to delegate tasks and trust people to do their jobs. However, if you feel uncomfortable delegating to your team, you may need to re-evaluate your people.
As Cozzolino say, “It’s important to let your assistants do the things they are hired to perform, because it’s what they’re hired to do, even in a team oriented environment. And it is important to delegate tasks to reliable and skilled team members.”
Always Be Networking
As the saying goes, “Your network determines your net worth.” It’s a profound truth for entrepreneurs. To add to it, the speed in which you transition from “idea” to “in business” is also impacted by your network. As such, networking should become a habit for any entrepreneur, especially with the media!
As Cozzolino says, “Networking is essential! I always try to create a connection on my own with journalists, this is the best way to build up faithfulness with stakeholders. Always be honest and try to understand their needs and helping them feel comfortable in your own environment.”
Be Open to Opportunities
There are two types of mindsets according to Carol Dweck, fixed and growth. For those with a growth mindset, they believe hard work and their ability to learn and adapt all contribute to success. As it relates to opportunities, they exist all around us. It’s a matter of being open, being aware, and seizing them when they appear. For Cozzolino, he’s found opportunities between food and technology and is working on bridging the gap.
As Cozzolino says, “The future is also in technology. With my last partnership, NASA founded startup BeeHex. For example, I am acting as an advisor for the first 3D pizza ever made. It is a forward-looking project that aims to improve the quality of pizzas delivered at home and life of disabled people.”
If you want the full interview, be on the lookout for the upcoming issue of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine. You can also download the Entrepreneurial Chef App for Apple or Android devices and get a free trial.