above a bar on the main street of Indiana, Pennsylvania. My family are dairy farmers, not entrepreneurs. I have no previous experience with starting an e-commerce business, no mentors, or any help. But I have a burning passion.
In college, I started making my own supplements and sharing them with friends*. I loved supplement science and bodybuilding. One day I mustered the confidence to try and turn it into a business.
For the next four years, BPN is a side business while I’m in the military.
Ranger School was part of my training. It sucked. It was hard as hell and I was miserable, but I was determined to earn that Ranger tab. It transformed my life by giving me perspective on what is actually difficult and hard. After Ranger School, most things in life seem easy.
The Military made me an Infantry Platoon Leader, and responsible for 40 Soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers. I loved it; loved leading a team and helping develop people.
Before and after work every day, I do whatever I can to build awareness of my fledgling nutritionals company. I start a YouTube channel (2014) and sell a little bit of product every time I post.
But still, my business is at a crawl.
And then I get bad news for my business.
The Army is sending me to South Korea for 9 months which I figure will leave me with NO free time, and kill my business.
But I decide to take my camera – just in case.
Surprisingly, I have a lot more free time, and I commit it all to BPN. No TV, no hanging out, no dating. Every waking moment outside of my Platoon Leader job is devoted to my goal to go from $2,000 a month to $10,000 a month in sales.
I post a video, that was an afterthought: “Day In the Life of an Infantry Platoon Leader.” I show what I’m eating, my workout, interview my platoon sergeant, show some of my soldiers.
Suddenly Bare Peformance Nutrition is on the map, five years after I started it in my tiny apartment.
I call my younger brother, “Hey, I’m coming back from Korea in a month, and transitioning out of the military. Want to help me build this business? I can’t pay you, but you can live with me for free, use my truck, and together we’ll figure this thing out.”
He quit his job and moved into my 1100 square foot home in Central Texas. Our garage is full of shaker bottles, and our bedrooms are packed with supplement boxes. He drives shipments to the post office while I’m at work. When I get home, we go to the gym, film videos until 2 am, wake up at 4 am, and do it all over again. I can’t count how many times I fell asleep editing a video in bed at 2:30 am, and woke an hour later, finished the video, and went to work.
In 2016, we did about $300,000 in revenue. In 2017, which was the hardest year ever because of anxiety-inducing cash-flow issues we went to $1.7 million. It was a roller-coaster ride. I’d take megadoses of melatonin just to be able to sleep at night.
In 2018 we went to 3.2 million.
2019, 5.6 million.
And then 2020, 22 million in revenue.
When I joined the army, everyone told me, “Don’t go into Infantry because there are no applicable skills in the outside world.” They were wrong. The training I received as an Infantry Platoon Leader was a goldmine for business building. When I transitioned out of the army, I selfishly said, I’m going to create that same culture I loved in the military, right here at Bare Performance Nutrition. And we’ve done that as a team.
Funny story. In college, the first time I mixed up my own supplement, I grabbed some friends and we’re all sitting around this cheap scale I got at Walmart and it couldn’t recognize that you’d put ingredients on it until 3 grams worth. But I’m trying to measure caffeine in milligrams on this bad scale. So the first time we did it, we probably took two grams of caffeine accidentally and we were wired out of our minds. That’s when I realized I needed a manufacturer.
We’ve got big goals that certainly can’t be accomplished in a year, but my dad no longer has to tell me that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I get that now. And I’m excited.
A business and brand is only as strong as its core values, ethics and people. I truly believe in choosing the hard right over the easy wrong. We all have an obligation and responsibility to do what is right, moral and ethical. Integrity is the heartbeat of my brands.
Transparency forms a bridge between my brands and our community. I believe in creating relationships built on trust where we can help each other. Being transparent with my business, fitness, nutrition and life has laid a solid foundation that we can build from.
I believe we have a responsibility to help others within our community reach levels of success throughout their life. This is the reason we have partnered with Team RWB to help veteran’s transition out of the military through physical and social support.