Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brendan Wang, Founder and CEO of CAPNOS, located in Detroit, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
CAPNOS has created flavored, pressurized air inhalers to address oral fixations and behavioral cravings for vaping and smoking to help people quit. CAPNOS helps youth and adult vapers or smokers solve the need for a tangible quit product that is affordable, accessible, and can be used for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
The Zero is for lung pulls, and E-Z is for mouth pulls. Replaceable cap packs contain natural extracts from peppermint to orange citrus and lavender aromas. As CAPNOS products do not have nicotine or any heating elements, our devices are not tobacco products or vape, yet they simulate a throat-hit sensation, as does a vape, using just air.
Tell us about yourself
Brendan Wang was first addicted to vaping at 14 years old and started CAPNOS at the age of 19, determined to help himself and his peers succeed with quitting attempts. Upon launching CAPNOS two years later as an undergraduate senior at Michigan State University, tens of thousands of customers across the globe have purchased CAPNOS products, with hundreds sharing their success stories as cancer patients, pregnant mothers, and everyday people who've struggled to quit for decades were able to achieve cessation success. With support from behavioral researchers, pulmonologists, school administrators, parents, and end users, Brendan and the CAPNOS team continues to find the motivation to help one million people quit nicotine by 2026 while paving the way for research to focus on sensory dependences as attributes for addiction.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
CAPNOS has been able to achieve revenues surpassing a half-million dollars in its first year of sales, nearly achieving profitability with a team spanning four countries by the end of 2022. The business continues to grow and receive endorsements from the public health industry and customers with efficacy rates nearly 12x more effective for cessation success than nicotine replacement therapies, a ground-breaking rate to be further validated with additional research. Despite the business accomplishments, Brendan's biggest accomplishment as an owner is being able to create a fulfilling life with balance. At 23 years old, Brendan strives to maintain continued growth with CAPNOS while enjoying his youth with experiences to cherish.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner often comes with an endless supply of difficulties. Often, those challenges correlate with the type of business that exists, along with the success that it has had throughout its development, so it can be different for everyone. For Brendan, it is the ability to maintain healthy relationships that can be one of the hardest things to manage as a business owner. As work is often time-intensive, attention can only be given to limited relationships, whether it be a personal relationship with one's self, with partners (romantic and business), along with family and friends. Figuring out the right amount of time to spend on nurturing the right relationships is often the hardest part of being a business owner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Comparing yourself to others can be very harmful to building self-confidence. Everyone is on different paths - it can be helpful to look up to people for inspiration, but making comparisons can lead to a negative pattern of self-doubt.
- Know what matters to you. What do you aim to achieve with starting and growing a business? Why does it matter? Having direction is key to recognizing pathways for further opportunity and knowing where not to stray away from what matters most.
- Learn to love the process. It's easy to be hyper-fixated on milestones and accomplishments, but it's the process of development that takes up the majority of a business owner's time. By finding ways to develop a healthy growth mindset (which also includes taking care of your physical and mental health), the mundane is only further appreciated as it can lead to those moments of success and accomplishment.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.