Anyone who’s heard my backstory knows I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship. I started selling pagers in high school and later ran a dry-cleaning business that led me to newsletters. I thrived being my own boss, running my own company, and managing my career — until I didn’t.
Passion Is Key
Early in my tenure as an entrepreneur, I bought an alcohol inventory auditing company. My main motivation was the money I thought I could make from the bar scene. From the first day, I knew I had made a mistake. That gut-wrenching feeling of regret didn’t leave for 10 months, at which point, I sold the business for a loss. That was the experience I needed to give me the resolve to never do anything purely for the money again. After that, I tried 2 other endeavors — successful ones — a hot dog cart and a dry-cleaning business. Then, I eventually found what fueled my passion: helping other small-business owners through newsletter production.
Today, Newsletter Pro is a multimillion-dollar company that employs over 60 people countrywide and continues to grow. I found my passion after years of trial and error, celebrating my successes, and learning from my failures. It’s been a wonderful 8 years, and I know we’re destined to keep growing.
But I’m not basking in the success of the niche I stumbled into from the dry-cleaning business. I also spend hours every week helping entrepreneurs use their own passion to drive their businesses. I’ve been the business owner who hated my business and lost sales while struggling to get by. And I continue to use the lesson I learned from that experience. Now, I offer my expertise through mastermind programs and my Scale Your Business Bootcamp.
I’m by no means perfect, but I’ve been in the game long enough to know a few things. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I need to have passion for what I do. My buddy, Andy Macksenson, and his partner, Sean Kelly, found similar success by following their passion. And it led them to changing the landscape of office snacking.
A Passion For Health And Business
I’ve always known Andy as someone who is driven to help people. He moved up the ranks in the U.S. Navy to become an officer. Andy eventually led a special forces boat team in the Iraq War. When his stint in the Navy ended, Andy earned his Master’s of Business Administration from Stanford University. Meanwhile, Sean’s drive led him to Columbia University, where his ultimate goal was to save lives as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Of course, Sean wanted to prevent his patients from ever making it to the operating table.
Sean and Andy met through a mutual friend who recognized they had similar traits. Both wanted to help others live healthier, and both were looking for an outlet for their passion.
Together, Andy and Sean launched Helping Unite Mankind And Nutrition (HUMAN), America’s first healthy vending company, whose popularity grew quickly. Andy and Sean were destined for something special with HUMAN. But like many entrepreneurs, they began to realize their passion could serve an even bigger market.
SnackNation Feeds The U.S.
In 2014, the pair shifted their focus and launched SnackNation, a “tech-enabled snack delivery service and CPG insights platform.” SnackNation delivers healthy snacks to small- and medium-sized businesses across the U.S. Andy and Sean’s launch made fellow entrepreneurs shake their heads. I mean, I like a gutsy move, but even I would have been skeptical of this big move.
But everyone was wrong.
SnackNation’s revenue grew tenfold in its first year. Today, the company serves more than 6,000 offices and 500,000 consumers every month. Despite their success, Andy and Sean’s original passion to help people eat healthier never diminished. They saw a need to help others in the food and nutrition industry grow, and they knew they could contribute.
The duo created SnackNation Insights as a way to offer key lessons they’ve learned to other food and nutrition businesses. Its case studies, research, and guides help these brands grow and expand their original visions. Through this, SnackNation Insights is helping to get healthy, prepackaged snacks into the hands of thousands of customers each day. The company provides data and research for dozens of corporations, including big players like Hershey’s, Clif Bar, and Welch’s. SnackNation was not focused on big companies at first. But by offering these industry leaders consumer-focused data, SnackNation is changing the face of the food industry for the better.
If SnackNation has proven anything, it’s that there’s little you can’t accomplish when your passion and drive fuel your business. This can be the difference between a 10-month loss and a rapid expansion that propels nationwide innovation across industries.