Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anna Peterson Macsalka, founder of Zenimal, located in Long Beach, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Zenimal offers screen-free guided meditation devices for kids, teens, and adults. Our mission is to help improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, and increase life satisfaction through a daily mindfulness practice that doesn't require a distracting smart device.

Tell us about yourself

I suffered from severe anxiety, insomnia, and depression as a young child until a pediatric psychologist taught me how to meditate. I no longer had to cope with daily panic attacks and could sleep peacefully through the night. It changed my life forever. After I had my daughter in 2015, I knew I wanted to give her this same gift, but I couldn't imagine handing her a phone to "calm" down, which is the opposite effect these devices have on our minds and bodies. When I couldn't find what I was looking for, I decided to create it myself. Every day I am motivated by helping children feel safe and less alone in the world and to bring to light the importance of mental health for all humans.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In 2018, I lost my dad suddenly and unexpectedly, and it shattered me from the inside out. He was an amazing human being and my best friend. I knew I wanted to extend his legacy into the world, so each meditation ends with "don't forget you're a good kid," which is something he said to me every single day and was the very last thing he said to me. It's a reminder that you are always enough and you are always loved. I now get to spread this message to kids everywhere, and that will forever be my favorite part of starting this company.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing that comes with running this company is that I can't give every child in the world a Zenimal for free. It crushes me that I haven't found a way to do this yet. The other challenge is finding a balance between Zenimal and my own family. Being a business owner takes an immense amount of bandwidth, so I try to maximize my time with my kids by being present and peaceful.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you love what you are doing and find a way to give back with what you're doing. This will keep you afloat when times get tough.
  2. My dad said the key to his success was that he surrounded himself with people who he wanted good things for and who wanted good things for him. This is magical. Build a support system with people who are in your boat helping you row, not drilling holes.
  3. Take care of yourself. You are a human being. You need to rest, exercise, and eat healthy food; otherwise, you'll burn yourself to the ground.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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