We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonya Papanikolov and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tonya, how do you think about risk?
Healthy amounts of risk keep life exciting, fun and on my toes. Like most things, I try to approach risk with both balance and audacity!

Anyone who is willing to start their own business and go out on their own, comes to face risk head on, constantly. What if the market doesn’t like this product? What if people don’t understand? What if I’m too early? What if I can’t find clients? What if I lose all my money? In my experience, risk takes intuition, instinct and gut feelings and a good dose of realness, research and being analytical.

It is so important to dig in, do market research and evaluate things practically. Start where you can – risk is a spectrum. It’s easy to confuse risk and fear. Risks are your practical considerations while fear holds you back and keeps you playing small. It’s always good to be aware of the difference here. Write them out so you can see clearly what your risks are, and what your fears are. Release on your fears.

Ultimately, prosperity favours the bold. We all know this.
I believe risks take courage, passion and an all-in mentality AND that you can start anywhere on the risk spectrum. You don’t have to dive straight out into the deep end and risk it all. Take small risks at first. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
As a social entrepreneur and someone who has built their company (Rainbo) with logic, hard-work, intuition and strategy — many would consider my initial “approach” risky, however, it didn’t feel that way for me. I had trust and conviction that the world needed our products and education. I didn’t have a business plan, I didn’t take a business course (though I am a naturally entrepreneurial person and learn quick), I spent a few years grinding without getting paid – no anxiety about the future either, I just went ALL-IN. Like 110% in. That’s the only way.
So, when I think about risks, I ask myself, “do I have 110% conviction?”
When I was starting Rainbo in 2018, I saw a clear gap in the market, I did research, spent a year learning and formulating, ran pilot studies. I felt, as many entrepreneurs do, that Rainbo would be a success, but ultimately and every single day, I considered everything an experiment. I still do.
Starting a business is risky! There is no way around it. I approached it as lean as I could. I invested only a small amount of money that I knew I’d be comfortable losing — and gave it all my time, effort and heart. And ultimately, all of my trust.
I believe every person has a purpose and dharmic path. When you find that, accept the mission, and step in fully, you are met with unstoppable passion, vision and energy. So a risk to “start something new” doesn’t feel like a risk, it’s a calling that you can’t resist. This is the type of “risk” I’m interested in. A noble and courageous risk.
When it comes to taking risks with money, and especially with other people’s money — more caution is required and recommended! I was and am lucky to have figured out a way to launch Rainbo with very little monetary risk. When there’s a will there’s a way. As we scale and grow Rainbo, risks look different, certain stakes are higher, so my approach looks different now as we enter different stages. But I still come back to ask myself, “do I have 110% conviction?”

What should our readers know about your business?
Rainbo is a B-Corp certified functional mushroom company on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi. We create mushroom-based supplements for human and planetary health and educate on the power of fungi! We believe that fungi are medicine for the body, mind and consciousness. Rainbo’s fruiting body mushrooms are grown locally and sustainably in Canada with love and healing intention.

Born from a spore-like-dream in 2018, Rainbo was founded by Tonya Papanikolov – a holistic nutritionist, educator, social entrepreneur and wellness leader – to bring forth the magic of mushrooms she experienced firsthand through her own healing journey.

Tonya’s experience growing up with IBS, food allergies and sensitivities, combined with an inherent calling to help people led her down the healing path in search of answers. Rainbo is rooted in her education, passion and vision for healing people and the planet.

“I started Rainbo to heal, open minds, expand consciousness and awaken people to the potential of fungi, nature – and one another. Fungi emerge as human and environmental guardians at a time critical to the future of our planet. Nature is inviting us to wake up and smell the mushrooms! A shift in consciousness is happening and I believe fungi are helping lead that shift in making our bodies and minds healthier. What a future it will be.” – Tonya Papanikolov, Founder of Rainbo

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m new-ish to LA so I’m still getting to know everything myself but some favourites include:

Waterfall hike in Malibu
Hike to Deep Creek Hot Springs
Kundalini Yoga at RAMA Institute
Breakfast burrito from Erewhon
Spring water from Alive Waters
Beach walks and cold dips in the Pacific
Take Care for facials
Wi Spa for korean scrub down, cold plunge and sauna
Wednesday’s at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
Sweet Laurel for treats
Maru Coffee
Botanica Restaurant
Honey Hi
Cookbook Los Angeles
Weekend trips up the coast

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family, team, fiance, friends, advisors, spiritual teachers, therapist, mentors, Kundalini yoga and my highest self! Also, the biggest shout out to fungi themselves, for their healing, opening my mind and being in co-creation with me.

The book: The Great Work of Your Life
My teacher: Guru Jagat
My therapist: Dr. K and The Sedona Method that we practice in our sessions
My intuition: for guiding the way and allowing me to tap into divine inspiration

Website: www.rainbo.com

Instagram: @rainbomushrooms and @tonyapapanikolove

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