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Jeff Church | Career Clip

Inspiration for starting Rowdy Energy Drinks and your vision for the business?

Kyle Busch approached me in 2019 about partnering with him on creating an energy drink brand, and right away I knew this would be a great career move. It was a natural fit; I had previously started the successful organic juice brand, Suja Juice, in 2012.

I was inspired and excited to apply what we had done at Suja Juice to Rowdy Energy, being able to introduce health and wellness to a new and larger consumer base. Together, Kyle Busch and I had a shared vision to reach as many people as possible – women, men, and, overall, anyone who doesn’t think that energy drinks are for them – and prove that there are functional products such as Rowdy Energy that can easily fit into their healthy lifestyles.

What makes Rowdy Energy Drinks different, and why will customers love it?

When we were creating Rowdy Energy, we focused heavily on the taste of the product in order to create one of the best-tasting energy drinks on the market. We created an all-natural beverage that blends four natural sweeteners with no artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial sweeteners.

We are in the top 1% of energy drink brands in this category and hold ourselves to the highest standard. Additionally, we use a natural caffeine that is derived from green tea combined with a nootropic, called L-theanine, that prevents the crash and jitters people may be used to when consuming energy drinks.

Tips for being a successful beverage entrepreneur?

Our main strategy is what we like to call getting “cans in hands;” it’s critical to get the product in front of consumers to grow our brand awareness, which ultimately earns repeat customers. Of course, it’s also important that the product tastes good and is a reasonable but competitive price for what it offers.

One of my main mottos has always been, “don’t let great get in the way of good,” meaning sometimes brands obsess over making sure everything is 100% optimized. While there are times for this, they are very few and far between.

How do you motivate others?

Believe it or not, I find it easy to motivate people. Over the years, I have learned some important tips that help me motivate those with whom I work, including:

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Demonstrate to your team that you will do the heavy lifting alongside them.
  • Have the necessary conversations with your people.
  • Define the boundaries and goal lines for your team early on, then let them operate their plan within that context. Be available to provide data points that may or may not be taken by your team member but that ensure they are always heard.
  • Don’t take credit for something that one of your team members did.
  • Trust the confidence of your direct report and don’t share it with others.
  • Reward top performers and have necessary conversations with those not performing at the level to which you expect.
  • Be vulnerable with your employees and they will be vulnerable with you.

Career advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders?

  • Recognize the “Law of 2s.” Throughout my time of being an entrepreneur, I have learned that tasks can take twice as long as we often expect and cost twice as much to complete as initially thought. In other words, make sure that you have plenty of time to complete your venture and that you have plenty of money. Running out of time and money can, in the end, cause you to have to give up a lot to keep your business, despite it doing well.
  • Learn on “someone else’s nickel” rather than your own. I tell young people to not quit their day job to pursue something until or unless they have the right experience and skillset to be successful. That doesn’t mean not to focus on your passions, but rather, approach it as a hobby to do on nights and weekends while you work your day job. Then when the timing is right, you will be fully ready, and you’ll have expanded your own cash runway by allowing yourself to make mistakes while having the financial backing of a day job.
  • Keep your heads in the clouds and your feet firmly on the ground. It is fruitful and important to dream of an idea you have, but too many people fail to build smart and executable plans in order to be successful, and their dreams don’t become realities. I like to do both – dream but keep my feet on the ground, planted in realism and humility.

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