How many members of your family have BCIT diplomas or degrees? The Zabierek family not only have one but two BCIT Grads, Arek and Brian. These successful alumni are making a name in entrepreneurship, mentorship, and coaching through Amazon and online.
Arek and Brian Zabierek graduated in Marketing Management- Professional Sales Option at BCIT School of Business + Media in 2017. Their time at BCIT helped them succeed in sales through their internship and, in 2020, channelled their focus into entrepreneurship and philanthropy. They are growing their Amazon business, providing mentorship through their YouTube Channel entitled The Zab Twins, and supporting BCIT students and the community.
Aside from being twins, what helped make you close as siblings?
We always like to say we are the poster child for the definition of “twins.” We have the same interest, the same style, and the exact figure. Because of that, we did everything together, shared clothes (we were mirrored images) and grew up having the same friends.
We grew up in a household where the family was everything. We kept each member close to our hearts, our big brother ben and our mom and dad. Our brotherly love is unconditional, but it is something about being twins that creates an even stronger bond.
What are some advantages of having your family be part of your business?
Although we are almost the same person, our minds do think a little bit differently. What makes a great partnership has skill sets that complement each other. Arek is more of the analytical twin, thinking of data, and numbers, to make things feasible with the information at hand. Brian is more of the creative twin. He likes to think big and is often the visionary on what big shiny ideas he thinks of in the middle of the night.
Because we are family, we also have a sense of trust when it comes to finances which is always a tricky subject in any business and partnership.
Growing up, how did you develop an entrepreneurial mindset?
We both grew up with a hustle mindset, so we knew that business was our best option. When we were young, we treated everything we did as a business. A prime example is sports. To become a high-performing athlete, you need to train, learn, implement, lose games and create a chip on your shoulder to be better and do better every day, every week. This translates easily into our business life as we always played at a high level in soccer.
Throughout high school and college, we were always doing things to make an extra income. We sold clothes or old gear, collected loose change around the house to convert into cash, and bought, repaired and flipped cars for a profit. Anything we knew we could make an additional 5-10% or more on, we were doing it.
What are some of your biggest challenges when starting a business, and how did you overcome them?
People get into business to work for themselves and “create their own schedule.” We left our demanding jobs to have more time on our hands, but we were wrong. Work a 9-5, so you can fund your 5-9. When you work on your own business, you usually work more hours than when you were an employee.
However, here’s the difference: when you’re building something of your own, the work you put in doesn’t feel like work. You can start your day, and in the blink of an eye, 12 hours can be done. So this was a challenge because we both had partners; we told them how much more time we would have to spend with them, which was different. Being entrepreneurs affected our personal lives. It took some adapting and a lot of sweat equity to finally get into a position where we could delegate to create that time we initially sought.
Another challenge is accountability. If we didn’t produce, not only would we not be able to pay our bills, but we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills for employees, which was always a stressful thought. As a business owner, there are a lot more things you need to be aware of: insurance, taxes, logistics, supply chain, and so much more. Skillets that you do not typically have to worry about in a job. The learning curve was tough, but it was fulfilling.
Why is it essential to have a mentor in one’s career and business?
We firmly believe that the fast track to success is learning from someone who already has what you want. We call it an investment. If someone else has achieved your goals, they likely have already gone through the challenges you will face. On top of that, they can provide a road map or blueprint you can follow to get up and running and see success immediately. It is excellent to work with someone to bounce ideas off and ask questions for your next steps.
Why did you both choose BCIT for your diploma?
We chose BCIT because we knew the best way to learn was through practical experience alongside studying theories and concepts. BCIT offered a strong mix of both. Post-secondary was something we honestly didn’t want to do, but we wanted to make our parents happy. Because of this, we also wanted to do something that allowed us to gain enough knowledge and credibility quickly. BCIT is known for business, and its diploma program will enable you to finish with nearly the same credits as a degree in just two years.
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How did BCIT help you become successful in your career and business venture?
The way BCIT’s diploma program was structured not only allowed us to learn a diverse amount of skills but also allowed us to develop some very important soft skills that are needed to be successful in business: organisation, time management, communication, and sales. The practical application in business was a game changer, specifically the practicum, the networking opportunities and the consulting projects. This allows us to get a job sooner and open up conversations with people we still connect with today. This also allows us to plug ourselves into businesses to gain real-life experience before finishing school.
In what ways do you give back to the BCIT community and help current BCIT students?
As much as we didn’t want to go to school initially, we are eternally grateful that we did. We wouldn’t be where we are without the connections we have made at BCIT, and we love to give back. We have been on multiple panels for classes in the sales program, and we also sponsor an award given to the 2nd year BCIT student called the “Zabierek Award of Innovation.” An annual award established in 2022 by Arek & Brian Zabierek. The Zabierek Award of Innovation is awarded to a student who provides the most innovation and creativity while maintaining a strong GPA in the Professional Sales program.
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We will continue to give back to the school, be a part of industry panels and events, and will continue to sponsor awards moving forward.
ABOUT ASK BCIT ALUMNI
Ask BCIT Alumni Series features successful BCIT School of Business + Media grads in their chosen field and industry on BCIT News, Instagram and LinkedIn. We ask them about their professional journey, share some career advice, and provide insights about their line of work to help guide and inspire fellow BCIT grads and students. Through their unique experience, leadership perspective, and involvement in the community, we provide an avenue to highlight and amplify the messages and stories of our BCIT alumni.