None of us have any idea what the future holds. All you can do is work hard, be kind, and see what happens.
Bob grew up in the Philadelphia area. Starting with his first marathon a couple of years ago he started training for longer races. His first ultra-marathon was a 50 miler, followed by a 100k and then a 70 mile mountain race in British Columbia. He’s currently working towards his first 100 mile race and is very much involved in the Ultra-running community.
Professionally, Bob’s experience is mostly in the corporate world, doing stints at fast growing start-ups as well as larger consulting firms. He currently splits his time between Philadelphia and Vancouver, making as much time for running as he can. Bob holds a B.S. from Penn State University and an MBA from Temple University
Where did the idea for Trishmoves come from?
The idea for Trishmoves came while I was working in the corporate world as a management consultant and training for a marathon. I would come home from work, tired and hungry, and look for something to eat before my training run. I was frustrated that there weren’t any nutrition products made just for runners. There are so many bars out there but some are carb heavy, some protein heavy, etc. There wasn’t a bar made with functional nutrition just for runners; something I could eat before my runs that would give me energy and wouldn’t mess with my stomach. That’s when I decided to make something myself.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Days are long. I’m usually up at 5:30am and work on Trishmoves for a couple of hours. Then head to work (I still work full-time in the corporate world) till 5-6pm. Then I usually go for a 1-2 hour run, then home again to work more on Trishmoves before bed. In terms of productivity, I just try to make progress everyday. Whether it’s pitching one new customer, or checking something off of our to-do list, or writing a new blog post, as long as we’re moving forward then it was a good day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Prioritize and execute. That’s really all this is. You set the strategy and then get to work. There’s nothing glamorous about it and it isn’t always fun. In a lot of ways, coming up with the idea is the hardest part, until you have the idea. Then bringing that idea to life is the hardest part. Then once you have a viable product/service, gaining traction is the hardest part. Are you sensing a pattern here?
What’s one trend that excites you?
In the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) space, I think the splintering of brands into micro-niches is really exciting. Think about YouTube, there’s a channel for every hobby and interest imaginable. I think we’re starting to see that same trend in the CPG space. If you’re into cricket protein, or collagen, or functional ingredients, there are now products for you. And because the startup costs are becoming less expensive, you have companies thriving in these forgotten corners of the market.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Suspension of disbelief. Being an entrepreneur requires that you take a leap of faith, especially if you’re starting something that hasn’t really been done before. There are so many opportunities for self-doubt; you really have to force yourself to believe, or else you won’t have the energy to keep going.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry so much about the future and focus on the present. None of us have any idea what the future holds. All you can do is work hard, be kind, and see what happens.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I don’t think a written business plan is necessary for success. I understand that by writing a business plan, it forces you to think through all of the different aspects of starting/running your business. But there are so many different ways to come to the same answers. I think a lot of entrepreneurs write a business plan because they think they have to. You don’t. I never did.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Relentless forward progress. Maybe it’s also the ultra-marathoner in me – but I firmly believe that you have to just keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Eventually you get somewhere. It might not be where you initially thought you would end up, but at least you covered distance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Focus on the process, not the end goal. For most businesses, the end goal is revenue and growth. That’s great, you need to make money in order to survive. But in the beginning, focus on those things that will set you up for success later on: define your brand, your brand voice, ensure your processes can scale, invest in people, invest in yourself, learn about your industry, make sure your company is well funded. If you’re successful in all of those things, the sales, revenue, and growth will come.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When we had our first prototype it was awful but I doubled down on it anyway. I signed a commercial lease and spent more money than I’m willing to admit here to purchase customized packaging. Eventually I had to admit that we had to start over. I cancelled our commercial lease and still have about 20,000 obsolete wrappers sitting in my basement. In the end it taught me that it’s never too late to scrap everything and start over, especially if it’s in pursuit of improving your product. We now have an amazing product that we’re all so proud of and the reception has been overwhelming.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve honestly only had one decent business idea in my life and that was Trishmoves.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The $9 I spend every month on Spotify. Being an elder millennial, I remember when you had to spend $1 for every song on iTunes. Now I have access to (almost) every song ever made for $9 a month.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Fulfillment by Amazon. A life-saver. Whether someone orders product through our website or Amazon, Amazon handles shipping, warehousing, reverse logistics, and customer service related to shipment.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This probably isn’t unique recommendation amongst the IdeaMensch readership, but the book I always have close by is Tim Ferriss’s “Tribe of Mentors.” It’s actually eerily similar to this format. Tim asks leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs the same 10 questions and records their answers. I read at least one response every day and always take away something new.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ll give you two:
“It never gets easier, you just get faster” -Greg LeMond, Tour de France winner
Same goes for running or starting a business, it never gets any easier, you just get faster/better at it.
Mark Zuckerberg became good at running Facebook because he runs Facebook.
“Souls are not saved in bundles” -Emerson
Pay attention to the people in your life, one at a time.
- Focus on the process, results will follow
- It will be hard and often uncomfortable, that’s how you know you’re on to something
- Invest in the right things: people, yourself, your product
- Not the wrong things: revenue, vanity metrics, swag
- Don’t worry too much about the future, you’re going to be just fine