Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joey Firestone, Founder of BYLT, located in Miami, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
BYLT is an advanced electrolyte sports drink that uses patented SmartCarb® technology to help athletes hydrate faster, increase endurance and improve recovery and performance. It combines electrolytes, plant-based BCAAs, and antioxidants together in an all-in-one ready-to-drink beverage that will help take your training beyond your limits. It's designed to help you REFUEL. REPAIR. RECOVER. REHYDRATE. I launched the company in November 2018 with the goal of providing a drink that helps people go beyond their limits during training with a healthier sports drink alternative compared to Gatorade, Powerade, and BodyArmor and to offer superior hydration, performance, energy, endurance, and muscle recovery.
Our customer base is designed for athletes of any age and sport, from kids at soccer camps on weekends to professional athletes. Anyone who engages in any physical exercise can benefit from this drink to help them have more energy and replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost through sweat.
Tell us about yourself
I created BYLT as I saw a void for a healthy sports drink in the market that worked. Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade had outdated formulas from the 90s and were designed to be cheap, not effective. I had the idea back in 2014 when I would see professional athletes like LeBron and DWade cramping and fatigued during the games. I'm like, 'Why are these guys, at this level, with access to any products or any training staff they want? Why aren't they able to perform at 100 percent? Something's missing.'
Originally, this was a powdered supplement you would add to your water bottle to drink while you worked out, and it helped you train longer and harder, but it was very focused on the fitness and bodybuilding gym goer and I wanted to take it more mainstream. "You wouldn't get as fatigued and could get those extra reps." After several years of ingredient research, testing, and flavor sampling, I made this into a ready-to-drink single-serve bottle. BYLT responds to the human body's very basic need to rehydrate, refuel, repair, and recover. BYLT sports drinks have no caffeine or artificial colors, or flavors. Instead, this electrolyte sports drink relies on its patented Smartcarb technology. This natural carbohydrate is derived from sugar beets and releases energy over time, so there is neither an energy spike nor a crash. This allows the performance athlete or the weekend warrior to perform longer and harder—"Beyond Your Limit," if you will.
BYLT also has plant-based aminos for recovery and antioxidants to help blood flow. One hundred percent plant-based amino acids support the repair and recovery of muscle tissue that typically breaks down during strenuous activity. In addition, a unique blend of fruits and vegetables makes up a potent antioxidant blend that supports cellular activity and inhibits free radical production. We also added an ingredient called Hydromax, which pushes fluid into the body at a cellular level, resulting in "hyper-hydration." Proper fluid balance is needed for any kind of activity, from a professional athlete to a kid playing after-school soccer or even parents on the go driving their kids from after-school activity to after-school activity. Watching that game with pro athletes cramping inspired me to develop a sports drink that could help not only professional athletes like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade but weekend fitness enthusiasts, kids playing soccer, cross-fitters, marathon runners, and any other athletes from all levels.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being able to take an idea and concept you have to reality. A lot of people don't see the same vision as you and think you are crazy when you have the idea or bring up the concept that you are going to try to compete against Gatorade. But being able to block out the noise, keep moving forward, and take your idea to reality is the most satisfying.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner, you have to learn to have thick skin and expect things not to go as planned. If you think the path to success is going to be a straight line uphill till you get to the top, you will be disappointed really fast. You actually have to learn to fail, and the more you fail, the more you grow and learn. Let adversity be the building blocks of your success.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Think big, and don't sell yourself short. Believe in yourself.
- Expect failures but learn to pivot, adapt and keep moving forward.
- The big difference between successful people and people that aren't is that they don't give up.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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