Meet Brandon Adams, an “entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.” After graduating from Iowa State University in 2012, Brandon developed Arctic Stick which is a small cylindrical plastic stick that once frozen, can fit inside virtually any beverage container and has been proven to keep beverages colder, longer. As his business grew, he turned to crowd-funding to raise additional capital through multiple donors throughout the world. From his experience, Brandon authored Keys to the Crowd which has now become the definitive guide to crowd funding and Brandon has now become largely sought after to help other entrepreneurs launch successful crowd-funding campaigns of their own.
Brandon is also founder and host of University of Young Entrepreneurs, an energetic podcast geared towards any entrepreneur who is young as heart who is seeking actionable takeaways that they can incorporate into their own entrepreneurial ventures. Brandon has been featured in notable publications such as USA Today and Inventor’s Digest and has made multiple media appearances throughout the U.S.
He is launching a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo called Young Entrepreneur Convention which is geared to be the largest event of its kind and will be held in 2016 on April 22nd and 23rd in Des Moines, Iowa. The event will feature many celebrity guest speakers such as John Lee Dumas, Ken Shamrock (The World’s Most Dangerous Man), Des Woodruff and many more.
In this episode, Brandon “gets real” and shares his entrepreneurial journey in almost a one-on-one format that is loaded with valuable insights for any aspiring entrepreneur.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR CONVENTION - DES MOINES, IOWA APRIL 22ND - 23RD, 2016
WHAT DO YOU DO? [03:24]
… I help people take their business and lifestyle to the next level and no only that, if they have an idea I help them fund their idea and get the money they need through crowd funding.
WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL BACKGROUND AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? [04:02]
Brandon explains his overall background and how he grew up in the small Iowa town of Garnavillo. He grew up in the ice business and at a very young age discovered that he had a large entrepreneurial spirit. Upon graduating from Iowa State University in 2012, he developed a product called ‘The Arctic Stick’ which is a small cylindrical plastic stick that once frozen, can fit inside virtually any beverage container and has been proven to keep beverages colder, longer. It can also be used as a flavor enhancer inside any drink through its unique design and unlike regular ice, your drink won’t be diluted.
In seeking to market the Arctic Stick, Brandon quickly found success and as such made appearances on several media outlets, he authored a book entitled “Keys to the Crowd”, launched a successful podcast called The University of Young Entrepreneurs, he has appeared in numerous publications such as USA Today and Inventors Digest and has discovered that he has a unique knack in raising money through crowd funding. He now works with many entrepreneurs to raise money in a similar manner and has quickly made a name for himself.
DEVELOPMENT OF ARCTIC STICK [06:31]
Brandon explains how he developed Artic Stick from an idea in his head to a drawing to an actual product and also explains the common pitfalls that most product developers have, namely lack of knowledge and lack of funds. Brandon explains that in working through his own struggles, he wanted to help and inspire other entrepreneurs who may have similar challenges in launching a business and as such, he launched his podcast – University of Young Entrepreneurs.
DESCRIPTION OF ARCTIC STICK [08:39]
Artic Stick is the only product on the market that both cools and flavors your drink. It will fit inside your bottled beverage, any regular 16.9 fluid ounce bottled beverage. Fill it full of liquid, freeze it and if you want to cool your bottled beverage you simply drop it in the drink. It keeps it colder longer and it won’t dilute it. You want to flavor your drink? At the top you twist, there’s four holes at the center, it will flow out, filter out and flavor your drink.
HOW DID YOU PROGRESS FORWARD AFTER DEVELOPING ARCTIC STICK? [09:43]
Brandon shares how he initially borrowed money from “family, friends and fools” and also sold real estate part time on the weekends. He quickly recognized however that the business needed more money to really take off and he discovered crowd funding. Through his discovery, he shared his experience and wrote “Keys to the Crowd” which has become a definitive guide to successful crowd funding campaigns.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO GETTING ON TV? [11:48]
Brandon explains how to best position yourself to do so but fundamentally, you must be entertaining. He goes on to explain the key steps in promoting yourself directly to the newsroom producer of the station that you desire to be on and offer something of value that is relevant to current interest. He also shares that it greatly helps by being an author.
WHAT IS CROWD-FUNDING? [15:39]
Brandon explains that crowd-funding is a way to raise capital through multiple donors on the internet without giving up equity for the company. There are many crowd-funding sites that are geared towards different types of opportunities, but two larger ones are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The crowd-funding platform enables you to showcase your product/idea via text, graphics and video and ultimately, it is best if you can give your donors a discount or an exclusive offer to whatever you are raising capital for.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON PITFALLS IN CROWD-FUNDING? [17:54]
The number #1 mistake, I call it the Boy Scout mistake – Lack of Preparation.
Brandon continues to explain the importance of really preparing well for the campaign prior to its launch and adequately promoting it during the actual campaign. Its also critically important to give back tangible value (like a value meal) to those who pledge funds to your campaign.
Brandon explains that after having personally studied thousands of different campaigns, he developed the FUND formula that became the premise to his book, Keys to the Crowd. The FUND Formula stand for:
- Utilize a marketing plan
- Narrative; and
- Deliver Value.
Brandon explains each point and recommends a 45 – 60 day preparation period to be successful comprising of hundreds of hours of work to really do it well.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT CAMPAIGN NOW [25:07]
Brandon shares that he has launched, as of November 2nd, a crowd-funding campaign called: Young Entrepreneurs Convention on Kickstarter. He is pre-selling tickets to an event occurring on April 22nd and 23rd in Des Moines, IA. He is seeking for this event to be the largest movement for young entrepreneurs and inspire others to go after their dreams. He will have several famous guest speakers such as: John Lee Dumas, Ken Shamrock (The World’s Most Dangerous Man), Des Woodruff and many more.
The first 500 people who contribute to the campaign will be eligible for a highly discounted event ticket of $29.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIG AH-HAH MOMENT AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [29:57]
Whatever the mind can see and believes, the mind achieves. If you want something in life you got to believe in it and you got to want it. Anything is possible. I came from a 1.68 GPA, I had nothing, I was broke. You got to want it, you got to go after it. But the biggest thing is, anybody out there; what are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Like seriously, what is it that you love to do that drives you that keeps you up at night? Not about the money. Forget about the money. What makes you the happiest person? Whatever that is figure out a way to turn it into a business or a product and pursue it and the money will come.
HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [32:43]
Failure is a stepping stone towards your success. Failure is the best thing that could ever happen to you. Failure allows you to figure out who you are as a person. If you don’t fail then you’re not trying enough.
I fail a lot and I’m going to fail a lot more. It’s a part of the journey. If you know going into it that you are going to fail and you just take that and use it as a way to become more successful, it’s really just part of the journey. That’s why I always say: failure is a stepping stone towards your success. Go out and fail!
Brandon goes on to explain how he turned one of his biggest failures into a learning moment that launched his current entrepreneurial path. He may have never even started what he is now passionate about, had he not failed.
Brandon also shares some of the self-talk that he went through to get through his lowest point to completely pivot and pursue success.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [40:55]
The first thing is, figure out what you love the most. Figure out what you love to do the most and go after it. Two, surround yourself with people that are a lot smarter than you. Surround yourself with people that have already achieved what you want to achieve, follow in their footsteps and achieve it because you can’t do it alone.