Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ron Lev, Owner of Reclaim Labs LLC., located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I founded my business, Reclaim Labs, with the inspiration of a personal success story. Almost 30 years ago, I was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune condition - rheumatoid arthritis. This means that my immune system is constantly attacking healthy tissues within my joints, which causes debilitating pain, joint damage, and inflammation. Many of the medications given involve manipulation of the immune system. One of those medications is steroids (Prednisone), which weakens the immune system, thus lowering the intensity of those immune system attacks and inflammation. And while this medication is lifesaving, it also damages many other systems in the body, especially when taken long-term.
I was on steroids for 23 years, and every time I tried going off the medication, it ended up with a relapse of inflammation and pain. Five years ago, I learned about CBD and began researching its anti-inflammatory qualities. This opened up a whole new world of cannabinoids (not only CBD), and I set on creating my own highly potent and bioavailable formulation.
I began taking my oil and, within three weeks, was off the medication! That was a true WOW moment for me, but I also saw a real opportunity to help fellow patients with autoimmune conditions, arthritis, and those who are taking steroids. Five years later, I am proud to have been able to leverage patient-to-patient trust and help so many individuals. There's nothing that gives me more satisfaction than receiving emails thanking me for helping people achieve pain-free lives.
Tell us about yourself
I'm originally from Israel and came to the US in 2009 to pursue my MBA at MIT. After graduation, I moved to NYC and have been a part of the local startup scene. I've both founded companies, as well as helping overseas startups set foot in the US market. Later, I founded my current business - Reclaim Labs, and have been indulged with it for the past few years. The thing that motivates me each day to keep on going through this uphill struggle is the fact that I am able to make a real impact on people's lives by supporting their well-being.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Among my most significant accomplishments, I consider the fact that I've managed to position myself as a subject matter expert when it comes to autoimmune conditions and CBD. Of course, I am no doctor; however, my vast experience of many years in the field allowed me to build substantial knowledge. And that knowledge and authority translate directly into the trust of my customers in me and in my products. Those thank you letters from customers are worth everything. In general, I'd say that my overarching accomplishment is the fact that I managed to take an unfortunate personal situation and leverage it into a business that helps others. I see it as turning my own personal lemon into a delicious lemonade for all.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I would say that the hardest thing is the emotional rollercoaster and its volatility. There are days when I feel that there's literally no financial logic in doing what I'm doing, but there are other days (fortunately, most days) when I feel that I am finally on the verge of a true breakthrough and that it's all going to be just fine. I guess that what keeps me going is the impact I make on people's lives and the fact that I am obsessed with my goal. Also, obviously, financial constraints play a major role in placing obstacles along the path, where I need to make some very challenging decisions and sacrifices.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Wow. That's a tough one. And it's even harder not to fall into the obvious cliches.
- Be absolutely obsessed about the cause for which your business was founded. I believe that the most successful businesses were founded by individuals that are simply obsessed with the cause of their business. And usually, this obsession comes for a very good reason, whether it's a personal experience or some knowledge of an acute problem that needs to be resolved.
- Don't fall blindly in love with your initial idea; be flexible-minded. In other words, be honest with yourself, and if you start doubting your business case or business model, pivot. Make adaptions and tweak your business case to really answer realistic problems. Otherwise, you might find yourself with offerings that no one really wants.
- Cut your losses. If there's a doubt, there's no doubt. People tend to linger when making decisions that affect other people's lives. Meaning if you have an employee or freelancer who's not performing as you expected, end the relationship ASAP. Our most precious resource is time. Whether it's your business' runway or your hirees, if it's not fit, cut the relationship ASAP. Otherwise, you'll find yourself frustrated and wasting money that could have been used for much better causes.
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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