Some people go the whole nine yards for their company, and that’s what I did. I bled for my company.
founding my first business
When I was 26 years old, I founded a nutritional supplements company, Formulated Sciences Inc., with my brother. The business began to take off, and I had opportunities to work with some of the most famous and accomplished professional athletes in the world.
One such athlete was Terrell Owens. The former wide receiver for the National Football League’s (NFL) San Francisco 49ers signed an endorsement deal with Formulated Sciences Inc. in 1999. Owens promoting our brand would have been a huge turning point for the company. At that point, I felt like there were no limits to the successes we could achieve.
However, shortly after the endorsement, the NFL published a “banned list” of substances and supplements that forbid players from consuming. Although Formulated Sciences products did not contain any steroid-like substances banned by the NFL, we were mistakenly included on the banned list. Due to the strict penalties enforced by the NFL, Owens was forced to withdraw his endorsement from Formulated Sciences Inc., and our sales immediately began to drop.
Shortly after the company started to struggle due to being on the banned list, my brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. While fighting to keep our company afloat, I also fought to keep my brother alive. Just months prior, I had felt like I was on top of the world, and suddenly everything was crashing down around me.
No one could talk me out of it
One day, I walked down the street in Laguna Beach, California, to try and clear my head, and I came across a tattoo shop. Although I had never had a tattoo before, I knew that I wanted to get one at that moment. I walked into the shop and asked the artist to tattoo the Formulated Sciences logo on my arm. The tattoo artist laughed and questioned why I would do that. If the company went under, wouldn’t I regret being constantly reminded of this failure?
No one could talk me out of it; I had my mindset! I knew then in my heart that even if my company closed, it wouldn’t be a failure. That’s because my mind doesn’t process failure. Every experience is a learning opportunity.
So many people never follow their dreams, and I could never regret opening a company with my brother. My arm began to bleed as the tattoo artist was working, and he joked, “At least you can tell people you bled for your company.” I smiled, acknowledging the truth of this sentiment.
sticking to what i believe
A four-year battle took place with the NFL. Formulated Sciences always held the position that we were mistakenly put on that list. My advisors and colleagues often warned me not to take on the NFL, as they were the big guys. However, I knew I had to stick to what I believed. In the end, the NFL settled with Formulated Sciences. Our name was taken off the banned list, and the NFL publicly apologized.
Although I continued my career in the health and wellness industry for many more years, my priorities shifted after my brother’s passing in 2006. I soon began devoting my time to developing innovative technologies that could help better patient care in the pharmaceutical industry. Although Formulated Sciences Inc. is no more, I look back fondly on my memories with the company.
It taught me that a company’s success is not judged on dollar amounts or profit margins. Success comes from how much a company allows you to grow and evolve professionally. I gave everything I had to my company, and I was proud to bleed for it and carry it with me forever. Although times change and new opportunities have arisen, I am grateful for all of my endeavors.