Be Your Best And Beat The Best On Your Own Terms Challenges Austin Hulsey On 'Bring Your Own Awesome'
Join Dan and Broc as they chat with Austin Hulsey, the CEO of NutriFitt and author of the children’s book, Nanook.
What did Austin do when he entered a saturated market and people told him he should quit? He kept going. He strongly believes that success is a journey and not a finish line and he will reach that finish line with determination.
The world does not owe us anything. We need to be open to whatever is going to propel our success.
Dan: [00:00:01] Hey guys, it's Dan Waldschmidt and Brock Edwards. Hey, Broc.
Broc: [00:00:03] Hey.
Dan: [00:00:03] This is the Bring Your Own Awesome podcast. Boy, it's been a lot of fun. Awesome people doing awesome things and they're just like you and me. So how cool is that? Even better, right? Today, I'm excited to bring a long time friend. Unfortunately, we haven't talked in a while. A longtime friend and a guy just always doing awesome things. I'm excited to like catch up and hear what's going on. So Austin. number one, hi and then tell everybody in the community like who you are and what you're up to.
Austin: [00:00:42] Yes, thanks. For some it has been a while, Dan. Thanks for having me on the show, I'm glad you're doing well. Broc, thanks to you too. Congratulate you guys were you taking the leap and doing the show. I think that's awesome to do things, that a lot of people aren't doing, they're scared. So kudos to you guys for doing that. First and foremost, thanks for letting me come on. If anybody didn't know who I am. I'm into a lot of things. First and foremost, I'm a father. I have two kids. My fiance has two kids. I actually have four kids here so it's a full time job on top of everything else that I have going but I wouldn't trade it with the world, keep me busy, keeps me young and I love what I do, every single day, every second of my life. I'm a entrepreneur. I'm relentless in that field, Dan I think know that, along with a lot of other people that mean you're connected with. From me and you connected a couple two or three years ago I think it has been now, just to let people know exactly what I do and not just say, "I'm an entrepreneur" I started my company, Nutrifit which is a natural sports performance supplement company based in Nashville Tennessee. I started about four years ago in college with a hundred dollars, didn't have a thing and my bank account has gone through a shitty divorce and didn't know how the hell I was going to make it happen but stayed the course and three and a half, four years later, got the money up from a hundred dollars up, close to six figures to launch my company and I just surpassed last March a year in business and surpassed what I was expected to be but free time.
Dan: [00:02:31] Whoa, so it's like amazing, dude.
Broc: [00:02:33] That's awesome.
Austin: [00:02:34] Yes, it's great. It's been incredible crowds and throughout the whole process I've even gotten word in that initial phase or the ending phase of the second startup which is a company in the nutrition and health care field which is going national by the end of this year and it has a potential to be a global company which is amazing. Which kind of stem from my knowledge upstart and neutered it and learn how to formulate all these products in college because I have a degree in dietetics and chemistry. So I had to figure out how to make all this shit because I don't have the money to pay somebody to do it.
Broc: [00:03:14] So Austin, let me stop you right there because you just gave us like three hours worth of topics we could cover. [laughing]. I want a backup and I want to find out what is natural sports performance supplements? What makes it natural?
Austin: [00:03:32] Okay, when I started the company, a lot of the products on the market, when I was younger I took all that stuff and when I really increased my knowledge of health and nutrition I realized a lot of the fillers and artificial sweeteners and colors, flavors that they put in these products to make them taste like [unintelligible] and then most of them were just completely loaded with caffeine that don't really have that many beneficial ingredients in them. I felt uncomfortable using those products and, "I'm going to screw it. I'm going to create my own." So I did the research, I worked with the actual food scientist, biochemist, dietitians at my university in the food science lab to learn how to research, to formulate and create a product that was effective and wasn't harmful if ingested. So from a natural standpoint, our products come from, they have no artificial sweeteners, cobbler's, flavors we use, stadia, we do use sugar, it's organic sugars. The colors that we use in our products, the color come from like vegetable powders such as beet or vitamin A powder or different types of flowers to get blues and greens. It's amazing what you can do when you put in larger effort because anybody can make up a couple of shit taste good if you just don't have enough sugar in it and that's not the route I want to go. I really wanted to create something that was impactful and effective and safe for people in the fitness and nutrition world because if you're going to put all this time into actually working out and having a strict diet, what the hell you're going to dump something into your body thatcfive, six, seven years down the road can have an impact that called smallpox health problems.
Broc: [00:05:20] So right here, this is like kind of a big thing. I'm imagining because I wouldn't know where to even start thinking about, "Hey, I want to manufacture my own line of supplements", and not only, I mean so obviously, it sounds like you had some kind of knowledge, some connection, some motivation but you're starting it with 100 bucks and it's like, what makes you make that leap? From, "Hey, I've got a couple of dollars in my pocket too. I want to release the supplement line.".
Austin: [00:05:50] Oh man, I consider myself an year since I was in my teens. I was always doing something on my own. I hated the whole job mentality, the paycheck mentality that drove me crazy and that constantly work for somebody else. I've done a whole lot of shit and failed numerous, numerous times, from the time I was 18, up to my married 20s and you know lost tons of money doing that. I eventually got so far and I'm like damn, "No". Eventually, some got what worked . I remember going in 1810 account him saying, "Eight out of ten business Velleman first year I like and I'll start 20 of them. I don't give a damn. Whatever I have to do, to be successful I'm going to do it today because you know I grew up in a family in a childhood that I didn't have anything you know I was live with my mom after my parents divorce and she jumped around from trailer parks and apartments all the time. So there was really no stability in it really at a young age. Put hatred in me of that lifestyle. It just drove me to do something regardless of what it took. You know when I really started getting into the stuff that was now found my passion and nutrition and health. And I think that stands for health problems from my grandparents and saying them, "I'm kind of waste away. I just hated it" I'd take them to the doctors and see that nothing was working for them and it was just bad news. So I really got deep into nutrition in that field and I was already active working out of town in college. I was doing a lot of rock climbing and motoring. So you really need a lot of sustained endurance to do that for no longer than thirty or forty five minutes because if you don't, I mean here's Dan. So that's how I got into it. Everybody told me that I was insane or crazy for going into that field because it's so saturated. There's another thousands of companys trying to do this and how are you going to set yourself apart. You'll be lucky if you even set ten thousand dollars worth of product in your first year because that's the norm in this business. And you know I've done it anyway. I kept going and I'm damn sure glad I did because I said we're just over a year and yesterday,actually, I landed another retail chain. Right now they have three stores and they're going to have 13 by the end of the year. So currently that puts me in about 16 locations within a year including our e-commerce platform as well. So I think that's pretty damn good. We're up for 2019 Wholefoods Sports Nutrition Reviews so we've made it that far to the regional level as they pass. We're looking at 32 or against 32 maybe 38 I can't remember the exact number of stores that we will go into initially. In the first two years if that happens, it's amazing.
Dan: [00:08:54] What drives you to get to that next level? We talked to a few different people. Their episodes will come out. Shaun Spencer, Chanell, Nicole, you all start with similar or have similar things in your life, either homeless, suffering financially, we are broke and I'm guess I'm just thinking here. Does that still drive you today, have you or is that still your motivation? I mean you're successful, I mean you're not where you want to be. None of us are, right? You want that next level but you've broken through. What drives you now?
Austin: [00:09:31] That's also a question for me. Man, I look at expenses like there is no set level for me. You know I can sit here and say well I've done this so much this year and you know Topher Najiba doing so well. I'm in the company to pull-in 7 and 8 figures in the next 12 months with this health care venture. I just had a children's book published that released May 15th a couple of weeks ago.
Dan: [00:09:58] Wait, youu wrote a child's book?
Broc: [00:10:01] You got to stop them. Tell us more.
Austin: [00:10:04] What do you want to hear, what part?.
Broc: [00:10:07] Well,first off what inspired? You've Got four kids you're dealing with. You're starting a business. You're branching off into another business. You so kind of like a busy guy and so somewhere in there you decide to, "Hey, I have a sit down. I'm going to write a book too.
Austin: [00:10:26] Yes, right. So let me answer Dan's question real quick. What drives me is that the fact that I know what it feels like not have anything, to be broke. Honestly, it scares the shit out of me and I really don't use that fear as a crutch or use it as a tool to keep going and keep pushing out regardless of what you know happens from week to week if I get a rejection or addiction from a retailer. You know my thought is, "like hey, I've gotten this far. Keep going, keep going, keep pushing because I know it's going to be successful if I keep pushing because four years ago if they told me I was crazy. When I first started making these things in a lab and they tasted like shit. I'm just be honest with you. You know people are like, "You need to stop. You need to stop", I was like,"No" If I ever keep doing this, I keep going, I keep learning, I keep pushing myself. It's going to be successful. And you know the last saw it, with the growth that I've had the last three years from being in business and actually focusing in on what I needed to do to get to that next level. So for me, I can't sit here and say, "Oh, I've been so successful because for me like success is it you're always entertaining like I'm never going to get to the finish line. For me, it's something I'm going to do until my last breath and it for me it's about the journey to see how much you can accomplish. I'm actually myself one day being like, "Oh, okay I've been so successful now I can just sell my ass on the beach and do nothing" I think it just comes down to almost like being a maniac around what you do and and desire to kind of takes over.
Broc: [00:12:12] All right, so now you got to tell us about the book. How did you decide to take on that project?
Austin: [00:12:16] It's now will toned down get all sappy and stuff talk about book. The book Nanook is that children's book that actually originated from a bedtime story that my father told me when I was a child. You know 6, 7 years old and my dad is really awesome, things like that. And you had a great imagination. And for me at that time I want to know the exciting stories of the child. And he told me all all types of stories but this one was one that really stuck with me throughout the years of my life. I honestly think that the reason why that is because of the time my dad was telling me this was all my parents divorced and I was going through a lot of emotional issues and things and kind of like replaced myself with the character in the book and found happiness in it. So for me it really stuck with me so that when my children are at that age you know for them to understand and to tell stories and I passed it down to them and it was really really cool scenes. You know my kids excited and thrilled about the story and they did the same thing that I would do. They wanted to hear the thing three or four times a night, every night and he got the point was like, "Man, I drove my dad crazy woman telling the story every night that one night my daughter she said, "You know daddy, you should used turn this into a book so I can take it to school school one day and show my friends that, "Look,my dad wrote this book" And I said, "Why I'm going to do that? So I called my dad up and asked him if he remembered the story and he was like, "Well, I'm kind of maybe. Let's sit down, write this book. So we sat down and we wrote two or three months we had what we thought was you know solid it was a good book and we submitted it to the publisher Moore and James were then you know right after we got done writing it two or three months later they called and said hey you know we think you really have something here. The story's amazing, story behind the story is amazing. We just want to go on for the children's Editor. So we've done that for a month, resubmitted, didn't hear things like two or three months and then got a phone call the day of my birthday, 2016 I believe it was. And I said contract your e-mail today. So it was incredible. We had landed a contract to get our book published. A big publisher. My cousin is an illustrator so he done all the illustrations in this book and you know seeing bacon bags when my daughter was like, "You should turn this into a book so I can read to the kids at school and actually get in the book in hand and go into their school and have my kids sit up on stage with me or read the book to the entire school was just unreal. I felt like, I mean, I can't really describe that feeling.
Dan: [00:15:13] Yes. et me let me dig into some of this if you don't mind. Because we know when you first started your Nutrifit line. Did you have to come out of pocket for that? You're telling somebody else mixin to make all these supplements, tasting. How did you come up with that money?
Broc: [00:15:34] Yeah. So the initial first three years was all self funded bootstrapped everything. All from sourcing all the raw ingredients and the flavors I had access to manufacture and whatnot because I've done research at the University that I went to their food science lab. I work there while I was in school to get some extra money and kind of selfishly because I knew I had access and I had a key to the lab. After the school would close I can't tell you how many times I cried. You know they might still not agree if I tell you they found this but I would actually go there after hours at the school was locked down and broke into the lab and actually use the equipment of the tutoring caught the morning some lunch trying to get products right.
Dan: [00:16:23] Wow.
Austin: [00:16:25] I was also so damn determined to make it work and prove everybody wrong. I'm bootstrapped everything man. I mean, from like the branding and labelling, I didn't have the money to buy or design software so I would use Microsoft Word and have 350 text box or document that took 30 minutes to load to print. It was crazy, the shit that I did to actually get to a point to where I started pitching my brand, pitching my line and actually got investment capital to launch it and because it was six figures. I basically was working just throwing everything I had apart from paying bills and eating and all this because I believe that wholeheartedly. I'm telling you what, it was a sacrifice and it still is with the startup company because you reinvest things and it's not like I'm sitting over here, I'm out my Lamborghini. It's not about that life, for me it's about anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur. Are you willing to sacrifice a bunch of shit to one day have like you really want it and 90 percent of people can't do it and they wouldn't do it.
Dan: [00:17:43] Is that the difference? I mean, I know Broc's says some other people in interviews we've had about the dark side or the unspoken side of entrepreneurship, is that really the difference like you're just willing to do what other people aren't willing to do? Is that part of it? Is that all of it? Is that some of it? What's that thing that people is going? Yes, but there must be something, I know he was homeless and I know his family like growing up was pretty horrible and yet but still he has something that I don't have. What is it?
Austin: [00:18:11] I don't think it's all of it. I don't think that everybody, I don't know Dan if you guys think differently, you can even disagree and that's awesome. If you disagree because it's a talking point but I just don't think everybody is kind of out to do what we do. It's hard. I mean it's hard to when you're starting from the ground up and you have to take on 47 different jobs along with trying to juggle a family and life and at the time I was, it in college, extensive college, with chemistry's and everything. It was just fucking insane, I don't know how I got to it. I honestly think that something, you can't really have to become obsessed with your purpose in life and until you can realize what that obcession looks like and how to use that obsession as a tool instead of turn into a crazy person. I think it's really hard to figure out because for years I've struggled and stumbled over myself trying to figure out what it is that I wanted to do and I never could be successful in business ventures and I did that. I did a lot of things and it landed and nothing worked for me and it was like you know what the hell you know I had moments of doubt too, am I not supposed to be an entrepreneur or should I just get a job and do what everybody says. But when you for me, I really realize like, "Hey, this is what I'm supposed to do because I couldn't wake up every day and just accept that I was going to be someone with a job and not feel like something in me was dying every single day. I wasn't, at the time I was sad and really know what else called to do and searching for and searching for and searching for and I think a lot of people give up on what they're put on this earth to do because they give up on searching for and you know world and know shit. And sometimes you gotta to put in work and you're going to have to struggle and you have to keep pushing to actually come to the point where you're like, "Oh, hey, this is where I'm supposed to be doing it and I'm going to keep doing it until this mission is accomplished".
Broc: [00:20:30] You know Austin there's a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out what it is for them, whether that's a side hustle just to provide fulfillment that their current job doesn't or changing careers or trying to even just figure out what that career is. You've clearly had some success in that. What advice, what information do you wish you had when you were starting out? One year ago, three, four years ago, what information would have really made the difference for you?
Austin: [00:21:06] I would say, probably five years or longer. I really wish that I would have had someone tell me, "Hey, you need to quit being such an egomaniac and thinking that you know everything and you need to reach out to people who have done what you have done what you're trying to do or over there at the level that you want to be", because for so long I was the guy who I guess is as an introvert. I didn't want to meet people. I didn't want to talk to people. I didn't want to even get involved in a mastermind groups or had a mentor because I was, for some unknown reason I was like afraid that they wouldn't like me or wont to talk to me or Tejinder outsell them. It's just a mindset shift man. You really have to come to the point you rally like him. Am I just going to be a victim or as my damn life? If I'm going to put myself out there and people are going to tell me now I'm going to have to learn to deal with it because eventually you will find the right people they'll come into your life to get you to the next level and hold you accountable and push you in and make the connections for you that you don't have because I didn't handle that stuff. I don't have the connections to get to make this person or that person or this athlete or this guy and this type of business. I think that's what I wish I had I wish I would hassle and be like, "Hey, you need a mentor, you need a group of guys or a group of business owners to get involved with, to get around to look at what you're doing and say, "Hey, this is what you need to do. You know you're fucking up right here, you get shit together. And I didn't do that", and I think that's one of the reasons why I screwed up so much for so many years was because I don't know what hell I was doing. I mean, I learned a lot from that but at the same time it's not bad. It sucks when you can have success you can't get a win. You're losing money, you broke all the time, it's not fun.
Broc: [00:23:10] You got a chance here to reach out to the folks in the Edgy Empire. We all need help and something, we could all use a boost up, we could all use a leverage just what you're talking about right there. Yes, hard fight lessons are learned deep but it'd be nice if we could shortcut that a little bit. What question, what advice would you have for folks out there listening to this? What could they tell you that would help you get to that next level you're going to?
Austin: [00:23:40] Oh, wow, I think it's kind of what I just really just said. I still ask people and even people on my team and some athletes I ask them, "Hey, what do you see that we're doing it as a company that I'm doing as a CEO that I'm falling short on? I think you really need to be open to people telling you that you suck at some things because everybody's like, "Oh, you're so awesome and everything you're doing is great" I think that can affect you negatively in your success. I really think that accountability is huge. And I think transparency and authenticity is huge especially within a company, within a team and if you have employees or you trying to get somewhere. You need someone who's gonna tell you the truth and they're going to lead you in the right direction. I still ask for that. I still ask people, "Hey, go and look at my Web site and tell me what sucks about it", or, "Go and tell me why this week I had 13 abandoned parts and now the e-mails were covering new customers. What is it. What's going on?" Anything that can help you. To achieve success, you kind of to be open to it and that's what I ask for. I think people networking, connecting to other people who can potentially help grow you as an individual can outgrow your company and you need that. It's not just about what you can get from people to, you need to really give back so you need to try to find a way to help other people as well who are reaching out to help you.
Dan: [00:25:24] That's awesome. That's awesome. So I hear you say a few key things that I'm going to take away myself personally and when you talk about bring your own awesome on here and a couple of things one is obsess, you've got to be obsessed about where you want to go. Two, you've got to learn and grow and that's a big lesson I've been learning of the last two years specifically which is if you know it all that must mean your vision, your dream is pretty small. So you need to take it to the next level if you want them you go to be willing to learn and grow which means you got to be vulnerable. You got to share her. You can't pretend that you know it all. Awesome, I think we going to revisit this again. I love the lessons learned. Thank you for coming on today to share your awesome.
Austin: [00:26:09] Yes, man. Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Broc.
Broc: [00:26:11] That sounds great.
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