Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Ruden, Founder of Chris Ruden LLC. and Co-Founder of NRG Foods LLC., located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a professional keynote speaker, author, and business owner. I get hired to speak on overcoming adversity, diversity and inclusion, and change management. My book is titled "The Upper Hand" and was a best seller in Barnes And Noble. I am also the co-founder and CMO of NRG Foods, where we create protein snack bars that don’t sacrifice taste for health.
Tell us about yourself
I was born with a physical disability to fingers on my left hand and a shorter left arm, and at 19 years old, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. My entire life, I felt like I was broken, and it took 20 years of hiding my disability to accept myself and realize that people struggle with being authentic and finding their own path, so I made it my mission to be the person I never had growing up.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’ve been featured on a TV show called Titan Games with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, as well as many different outlets like People magazine, Good Morning America, the Today show, and more. I’ve broken world records as a disabled diabetic powerlifter, but I think the biggest accomplishment is learning to accept my disability and stop hiding myself from the world.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think the hardest thing is just understanding resilience and practicing it daily. Success is not linear; you'll have good months and days, and you’ll have not-so-good months and days, and that’s OK.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Figure out why you want to do what you want to do. If your why isn’t strong enough, the road to owning a business is almost unbearable.
- Hire a mentor in that specific space. What you will learn from them is invaluable as smart people learn from their mistakes, but business owners should learn from other people's mistakes.
- Just stay in the race. A lot of success can be attributed to winning by default because everyone else quit— don’t be everyone else.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We all have our struggles. I was born with a physical disability and have type one diabetes. More than likely, your struggles are different than mine, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we all need to adapt around our specific individuality so that we can create value for the rest of the world.
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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