Exploring Mental Health with 18Percent Co-Founder Zach Schleien

Zach Schleien is a mental health diplomat at J&J, the co-founder of the mental health online community 18percent.org, and has run two successful crowdfunding projects on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). His passions lie in technology, entrepreneurship, and nutrition. When he is not working, Zach loves to travel the world, listen to podcasts, and workout.

August 14, 2018 24 mins Download (MP3)


00:53 How is your day going?
01:09 Imagine you just had the best day of your life. Where are you going to eat, and what are you ordering in order to make your day complete?
02:15 Tell me about a time you felt lost or blind in business. What was it like, and how did you overcome it?
03:51 Why are you so passionate about mental health? What are some things that we need to think about, as mental health is consistently growing to be more of a recognized discussion?
05:44 Tell me a bit about 18Percent. What does it do, and how does it help people?
07:36 You started as a campaign, but it’s now turning into a business. Where would you like to see this community grow towards? What would you say is the goal you had when starting this?
09:04 What are some tips that you could give to an entrepreneur to further help them along with their highs and lows?
10:55 What has changing your mission as a professional from being product-centered to helping people done for you personally, as well as an entrepreneur?
13:21 What was it like jumping out of an airplane?
14:29 What has David done for you, your business, your career and so on?
17:02 You were involved in a TEDx talk, where the topic was about mental health. Could you speak about that experience?
18:45 What is your dream?
19:52 The Blind Entrepreneur podcast was created for those individuals that may be temporarily blind in business. To those individuals, what are 3 pieces of advice that you could share with them?
22:20 What are some things that we can do to ‘calm us down’, to help with mental illness?

I think that with the highs is to understand you’re in a great spot in that instance; you should be excited, and acknowledge your team; after all, they did help you to get there. But you should also remain cognizant of the fact that things can come tumbling down – a deal may come tumbling down, for example. Therefore, I think it’s important to keep your expectations reasonably low. I say this because if you set really high expectations, and it doesn’t work out, you’ll feel really terrible after. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t maintain a positive attitude, however. As for your lows, it’s important to have that support system in place to rely on, that person to turn to, is important. But you need to also learn to not get caught up in the small things. We’re human – we will have highs and lows in our day to day lives.  Being an entrepreneur tends to be hard, due to the emotions that swirl around it. If you have your business as your sole source of income, then having those lows can bring out what I mean.

Zach Schleien’s Dream

My dream is to run a company independent of everything else, as well as travel whenever I want. I also wish to be in control, but have a good team under me that works really well with me. I also would want them to provide good support in building cool projects and services to aid my mission of helping people. Another related dream of mind is to ensure we at 18Percent have the budget to facilitate helping as much people as possible.

Three Pieces of Advice From Zach Schleien

My first piece of advice is surround yourself with good people to further your development. Who you surround yourself with can either bring you up, or pull you down. You may have many acquaintances, but it’s the really close friends that you have that really count, so keep that in mind. Secondly, I would advise to spend some time on developing yourself. I’ve been into leadership courses, read a lot, among other things. It also helps to reflect on things that happened in the past, and see how it can affect you today. My last piece of advice is to simply just be a good person.