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

Hi Clay, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe that risks are tests. Look at it as your final exam before you graduate into the greatness God has in store for you. I understand the amount of fear that comes with taking risk but I deeply believe that the most beautiful things in life are on the other side of fear. For me, the desire to experience the reward greatly outweighs the fear of failure. What’s the worst that could happen? You fail but you learn how to approach that risk better. Failing is normal. All of the most successful people in the world have two things in common. They all have failed more than they’ve succeeded and they never gave up. That’s the key! Even in the face of sure defeat, you never give up. That resilience changes the odds of your success from being a matter of chance, to a matter of time. I’m no stranger to risk taking. One of the biggest risks I took was moving from the comfort of my hometown in Savannah, Georgia to the Bay Area in California. All I had to my name was $800 and a heart full of ambition. I wanted to take my music career to the next level and I believed that the Bay Area could do that for me. Not only did my art generate more money than I could’ve ever imagined but I met people who wanted to build with me. I also got more aligned with my purpose and who I really am as a person. I realised that my contribution to entertainment was bigger than music. I got into the business side and created a production company that focuses on television and film. From there I created a television show called Phat Vegan. It’s a hip hop based reality food show where I travel across the country highlighting vegan restaurants. I interview the owners and survey their most popular dishes with a non vegan celebrity guest. We shot our pilot episode in Atlanta featuring Lil Scrappy. The show is now in post production. We didn’t stop there! We also began to create outlets around the show. For example, a podcast called, The Kitchen Table, and a web series that’s now in production called, Food Fellowship. I am excited about the future of my company but none of this would’ve been possible if I never took that leap of faith. I’d like to highlight one more risk I took before I wrap this up. When I got to a comfortable space in California, I quit my day job and moved back to Georgia in Atlanta so that I could work my business full time. Quitting the reliability of a consistent paycheck and benefits isn’t an easy thing to do. I planned this move months in advance, saved my personal and business funds, and set up a living expense budget that made quitting my job make sense. It also helped that they pay you more in California and the cost of living in MUCH lower in Georgia. Now that’s what you call a calculated risk! I came back to Georgia with more than I left with. I don’t believe that God places these ideas, hopes, and dreams in our hearts for no reason. We just have to have faith and find the courage to execute these ambitions. Take the risk! I am excited about what else God has in store for me.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s like my instagram bio says, “Creating is my passion and I passionately hope that what I create can create passion for you.” From music, to television and film, I create with the intention of servicing the people. I want the art I create to speak to people, to connect, to tell their story, to help them overcome, to inspire. I want to create real change with my art. The thing that separates me from others is that I am myself. We are all alike but we are also very different. When you be yourself you tap into your uniqueness. There is no one like the authentic you. I bring this understand to everything I create.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Aww man! I would definitely take them to all the dope vegan spots in Atlanta. Especially Green Soma, Local Green, Healthful Essence, and Canna Bistro. I would take them to SevanAnda. That’s an all vegan/vegetarian grocery store. They are so dope! I never seen anything like it. I would take them to see the Guide Stone of Georgia. I always wanted to check those out. We would probably go on a hike to a waterfall at some point too. I love to be out in nature. Definitely have to go downtown to soak up the beauty of the sky scrappers. I like to hang out with fun and adventurous people. People with good energy and intentions who appreciate art and beauty. People who don’t mind stepping out the norm for a great experience.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off, I have to thank God. I am nothing without the divine. There are so many people whos influence, advice, and encouragement has led to my success. I’ll start with my mama. She is also an entrepreneur and has decades of experience with accounting and admin work. She helps me do the little but largely important things with the business. I have to thank my Phat Vegan team: Willie, Sheridan, Trelani, Ken, Damek, Victor, Yannis, Trent, Scott, Joc, The Humble Beez Digital Marketing. I have to thank my cousin Lee Thomas for always helping me level up. I have to thank my business mentor Craig Cook. All of my SAE instructors. Especially, C. Michael, Mr. Jose, Marshawn, and Dave. I have to give a special shout out to my friend Jermacia. She gave me a piece of advice that changed my life. She said, “You moved to California for more opportunity but God wanted me to tell you that you ARE the opportunity.” That piece of advice helped me realise my power and be more intentional with the moves I make. What I do and create isn’t just a good look for me but they are also opportunities that open doors for other people. God is using me to help others and that brings great joy to my heart.

Website: Hodgemahal.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claydoe912/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clay-hodges-4370b598/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/claydoe912
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Claydoe912
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/theydontknowmeyet
Other: Here’s the link for Phat Vegan related content https://linktr.ee/phatvegantv

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