I had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people take charge of their health using healthy food and lifestyle choices. He operates one of the world’s largest health websites, DrAxe.com, which has more than 14 million visitors a month looking for healthy recipes, herbal remedies, nutrition and fitness advice, and information on essential oils and natural supplements. Dr. Axe is an expert in functional medicine, digestive health and herbal remedies. Dr. Axe founded one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world in Nashville, TN, and served as a resource for many professional athletes. He is also the bestselling author of Eat Dirt, co-author of Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and a regular expert on The Dr. Oz Show, among others. Dr. Axe co-founded Ancient Nutrition, a leader in the Natural Products Industry with top-selling Bone Broth Protein™, keto products, collagen, and many Certified USDA Organic essential oils and supplements.
Jean: Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share your story about how you became a startup founder?
Early on, I had a functional medicine practice and wrote a weekly newsletter for my patients. I wrote an article about the top five ways to lower blood pressure and one of my patients said I should post it online. I thought it was a great idea, so eventually I started a web site and regularly posted health articles and content on it. Next, I wrote a cookbook, The Real Food Diet, and asked one of my mentors, natural health expert and pioneer Jordan Rubin, to write the forward for the book. At the time, I was gradually building a “content empire” with Axe Wellness while Jordan was the founder of Garden of Life and busy formulating products and working extensively with retailers. Several years later, Jordan sold the company and was contemplating his next venture. By then, I was interested in dietary supplements, so a mutual friend suggested that it would make a lot of sense for us to merge and start a new company. As co-founders of Ancient Nutrition, we’ve utilized our respective strengths to create a successful business model that is disrupting the Natural Products Industry.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Absolutely, it’s the quality of our products. We find and source the highest-quality ingredients throughout the world for our supplements and essential oils. In addition, the ancient health principles and formulations we follow have been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years, so we have adapted them for the modern world. For instance, we may start with an ancient Ayurvedic turmeric base and add a blend of spices and specially selected fats to boost absorption. Our aim is to always offer the most innovative, highest-quality products and be number one.
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, I’m working on completing The Keto Diet Book, the essential guide to the keto diet and lifestyle, that will be released by Little Brown Publishers in February 2019. We’re also working on a keto diet television special that will air on PBS in March, which is exciting. Lastly, we’re developing new formulations for our keto and collagen products and exploring ways to increase our footprint on social media with Instagram TV and other platforms.
Jean: What do you think makes a startup successful?
Having excellent products, having a great strategy and marketing plan, and especially having a world-class team. In my opinion, having a a talented team is the most important. We constantly talk about hiring passionate, A+ team members who are best in the world at what they do instead of individuals who are just punching a clock and going through the motions.
Jean: What is one piece of advice you would give a new and upcoming startup?
Do your homework. Interview experts, be mentored or get advice from people who will share their wisdom with you so you can avoid pitfalls and be successful.
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Some favorites are Good to Great, The 4-Hour Workweek, Think and Grow Rich, and Scaling Up. I’d say The 4-Hour Workweek definitely impacted me, because I read it several years ago when I was in full-time practice. From reading the book, I learned how to work Monday through Friday until noon at my practice and then devote just four hours from 1–5 p.m. to my online business. During those four hours I wrote articles, worked on videos and built up brand awareness for two years until I was able to go full time with Axe Wellness.
What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Startup Founder” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1 - Having a clear vision for yourself and your team is really important.
A lot of times people start businesses and they don’t have any goals or vision for what the business will look like in five or ten years. This creates confusion and chaos for the entire team. I like to visualize where we’ll be five years from now and what the business will look like. I find this extremely helpful in my personal life as well.
2 - Have written goals and a written strategy.
A lot of people set goals, but don’t write them down or the strategy for achieving those goals. Unwritten goals tend to never materialize or hold anyone accountable.
3 - You must know your statistics.
We always have a “scoreboard” so that everyone on the team knows how we’re performing each quarter and for the year.
4 - I believe it’s true that you become who you surround yourself with.
Or the popular saying, that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. I personally choose to spend time with those who have character or who are positive and uplifting, whether it’s friends or co-workers.
5 - Hiring the right people is so crucial.
Many times, we have noticed the difference it makes by hiring people who are committed to excellence and think of their work as a calling instead of just a job.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Jeff Bezos with Amazon would be at the top of my list. I really respect everything he’s accomplished as far as creating such an amazing digital empire.
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Jean: This was really inspiring! Thank you so much for your time.
— Published on June 27, 2018