Tom Bilyeu is the co-founder of a billion dollar business. He said what gave him a lot of motivation as well as the biggest worry leading to starting a business is how to prepare lunch for his hungry wife who was about to go home from the company.
Tom was described by his parents as being “epically lazy.” His mother discretely assumed he would fail when he arrived at college.
The moment it all changed occurred when he was unemployed. His wife would go to work. Tom would stay at home and make his mother right about his future. At his lowest point, Tom would stay in bed for 3-4 hours per day. The energy and discipline were lacking for him to get out of bed. The pattern repeated.
One day Tom’s wife had a subtle request: “Honey, have my lunch ready when I come home on my lunch break.”
It’s a harmless request. A good husband couldn’t refuse this gentle request. Tom’s love for his wife made him make her lunch. Once Tom committed, his biggest fear became an angry wife arriving home with an empty stomach, and no food on the table to quiet the hungry beast. It got to the point where he only just managed to make her lunch in time, a few minutes before she walked through the door.
It was a simple ask. Yet Tom lived a 3-4 hour per day nightmare similar to the one I recently overcame (that took me three hours of procrastinating to begin blogging during designated writing days). If we tried to imagine where Tom would end up at this point in his life, I’m certain you would predict he’d become not much better than a bum.
But Tom didn’t become a bum. He started one of the biggest nutrition companies in the world that sold for $1 billion in 2015.
He says, “I didn’t get any smarter. I didn’t get any new raw ability. I didn’t get better genetics.”
The only thing Tom upgraded was his mindset.
“I chose to believe I could get better at something, not because I knew it was true because it was empowering.”
The former University of Southern California film major turned marketer started his career with Awareness Tech, a data loss company. After serving as their Chief Marketing Officer for 8 years, Tom was disenchanted with the work. And, when the company sold in 2010, Tom asked himself what he’d love to do, even if he were failing.
After losing 60 pounds, Tom wanted to help a few of his morbidly obese family members do the same. During this process, he became passionate about fitness and diet.
Quest Nutrition was a business for Tom Bilyeu because he had a passion for health and fitness. It is a business that sells healthy foods and snacks. After he had quit his job, he wasn’t really concerned with the amount of money his new enterprise was making. All he wanted to do was create an entity that reflected what he was interested in. Having grown up in an environment with relative obesity, and watching those close to him not put enough care into their health, he understood the importance of having a healthy and fit lifestyle. This was the inspiration behind Quest Nutrition. He started the company with his wife, Lisa Bilyeu, and coworkers in his former job; Ron Penna, Mike Osborne, and Shannan Pena. The company’s raison d’etre was to create protein bars, though they eventually diversified their portfolio to include other healthy snacks and foods.
Although he didn’t have a background in the food industry, Tom and his team started making protein bars out of their kitchen. And, after a few months of honing in on a repeatable recipe with no added sugar and dialing in the taste, they went looking for a manufacturer.
Problem was, not everyone was as stoked about their bars as they were. In fact, they were turned down by every manufacturer they reached out to.
So, Tom and his team decided to build the equipment on their own. Co-founder, Mike Osborn (an Iowa farm boy) had no experience in manufacturing, but he assured Tom that he could make the equipment work. They knew failure would be expensive, but they decided to give it a go. And wouldn’t ya know it, the modification worked…
With manufacturing solved, they just had to figure out how to sell the bars. Early on, Tom identified the power and potential that social media had. Thus, he used social media to push his products. It was by using social media influencers that he was able to get a devout audience for its products. By the first two years, Quest is estimated to have made over ten million produces through e-commerce. The first retailers to order their products were GNC and Vitamin Shop, and this was only after two years. To gain more exposure, Quest used thousands of brand ambassadors to push the product. From Crossfit events to local health fairs, Quest tried to get in front of as many community-minded people as possible.
What makes Quest so much different than their competitors?
From day one, Tom and his team were 100% keyed in on the “why,” which, in their case, was to end metabolic disease. That means when it comes to new product launches, the team sacrifices product margin to provide as much value as possible to the customer.
They’re also leading the pack in customer service. No joke, Tom once received a complaint that a customer chipped a tooth on a Quest bar… so he covered their dental bill.
And what have they gotten for going the extra mile? Oh, just insane growth numbers — by year 4, they hit $105 million in sales, all without any outside funding.
After the success of Quest Nutrition, Tom decided to venture out into motivational content. The ambition to do so was also based on the values he had nurtured and created in himself. Together with his wife Lisa, he created Impact Theory. The main aim of impact theory was and is to spread knowledge, simple as that. Through podcasts, speeches, YouTube videos, and blog posts, Impact Theory aims to help people develop passion and values, and thus make an impact on the world. The podcasts and YouTube videos, Tom and his wife have been able to interview some of the most influential self-made entrepreneurs on the planet. The list includes Dr. Drew, Sam Harris, Tim Ferriss, and numerous others. The company has four very popular podcasts; health theory, impact theory, relationship theory, and women of impact. Additionally, Tom is also a motivational speaker and has given life-changing speeches at a plethora of events.
Tom Bilyeu’s life is the quintessence of willingness to be the best. By changing his lifestyle and governing values, he was able to create a fortune of more than 400 million dollars.
Tom’s story is a proof to the fact that you don’t need to be a smart, talented person to be successful. What matters is your determination and efforts.