Wow. It is an honor to introduce to you someone who’s become a friend of mine, Dr. Josh Axe. And we kind of live in different worlds in some regard, like we’ve built our companies and our brands in different worlds, but in some of the similar fashion and through, you know, we’ve got to share network, I got to meet, I got to really become friends with him at a dinner a few years ago with Michael Hyatt and Lewis Howes and Donald Miller, and, you know, it’s called Nashville mafia crew that came out of it and he’s extraordinary. And his team is extraordinary. So he is he’s the author of several different books, eat dirt, essential oils, a keto, diet. But he operates the number one natural health website in the world dr. Axe.Com. And I know he wouldn’t share these numbers, but I’m going to share them because it’ll give you a reference for the, the magnitude of what we’re talking about here.
And I’m pretty sure this, this hasn’t been updated in a while, but 17 million unique visitors every single month to their website, 17 million they’ve got about two and a half million people on fate followers on Facebook, over half a million on Instagram, almost 2 million on YouTube. They are a nine figure business. So Josh represents one of the few nine figure. That’s North of a hundred million personal brands that started as a personal brand that he has scaled to this amazing team they’ve got over a hundred full-time employees. And it’s just incredible. So the, you know, the company is called ancient nutrition and his whole personal brand has been built around health and strength and vitality really based on whole food and the healthiest, whole food nutrients in and bringing that to the modern world. So anyways, I wanted to brag on you brother, cause I knew you wouldn’t say it. And I think it’s like, people don’t understand. There’s very few people that have been able to build what you all have built, which is it’s inspiring. It’s awesome.
Speaker 3: (03:14)
Well, thanks, Rory. You know, I think you know, for me, it’s, it’s really great to be able to do what I love every day. And also, you know, I have a great team, you know, they say teamwork makes the dream work. So yeah. Excited to chat today. I know it was, you know, it was great connecting with you recent. Cause I know we hadn’t seen each other, we ran into each other at true food kitchen and we have probably in the best place at our homes,
I’ll find you, Oh yeah. The turf for our house. Yeah.
Speaker 3: (03:38)
Yeah. And so but man, yeah, it was so good to reconnect. And remember that dinner at Michael Hyatt’s house. That was a, that was a blast.
It’s been years. It’s been years since that 0.5 years. Yeah. Although I think pretty much every time I see you is it’s either whole foods or true food kitchen. Like those are the two places. So man, I want to start with, where do you start? How did you start? I mean, I think the, the, the concept of a hundred full-time employees and, you know, nine figures, there’s very few people. I mean, you’re talking about the Dave, Ramsey’s the Tony Robbins, the Gary Vaynerchuks of the world, but you know, going back to, how did this start? Where did you start from? Can you just like paint a picture of those early days because you know, you’re a long way from there now.
Speaker 3: (04:30)
Yeah. I think it started with number one when I feel really passionate about. And so, and that’s that’s health, you know, for myself and I’m not going to go into the whole story. Somebody, somebody could search us online if they want dr. Ax and his mom, like, but my mom had a cancer growing up was very sick and we actually use natural protocols to help her heal. And so we started, you know, we, we, when I was even young, we had her start juicing vegetables and doing supplements. People had never heard of like reishi mushroom and frankincense essential oil and doing you know, meditation and visualization and prayer and all these things. And my mom beat cancer naturally. And she overcome came a number of health conditions. She lost about 30 pounds. She beat hypothyroidism, improved her gut health and also got off anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications.
Speaker 3: (05:25)
And so, you know, that that’s, so for myself, you know, anyone that has a family member that they just love dealing like their mom, for me in seeing her heal using these natural health protocols, there’s just sort of solidified in me that, you know what, like I want to make a difference in people’s lives in this way. So I think for almost anybody, you really have to align whatever you do. Number one with your passion. And number two, I know this is basic stuff, but the number two is what can you, what are you great at? And so I looked at what I’m great at. And I was, I felt like I had a gift to be able to communicate, speak to people, move people. And so early on, I started doing nutrition workshops and teaching people how to get healthy. And then I looked at what I w and then the next thing was I started building out a strategy of, okay, if I was going to really impact the world in a big way, what do I need to do?
Speaker 3: (06:17)
Well, one, I need to educate them. Number two, I need to be able to give them what they need in order to get healthy. And so in doing that, I started saying, okay, well, supplements, help supplement people. So I’m going to teach people how to eat healthy, but then also I’m going to create super foods like collagen and probiotics and herbs, like tumeric. And I’m going to create the best in the world and then educate people on diet and then, and then offer them these supplements as well. And so I mapped out the strategy of, okay, how do I go from here to here over the period of five years, and then 10 years. And then I said, okay, I can do this part, but I’m not good at all these other things. And so then I started hiring other people and partnering with other people to help us achieve and reach those goals.
Speaker 3: (07:04)
Now that that might seem pretty simplistic. One other thing I’ll mention is I modeled other businesses that were successful. I looked at people in the nutrition industry, like a garden of life and my business partner now, Jordan Rubin, who actually founded that company. I, I looked at other companies in this space who are doing well and said, what was their recipe for success? And so a lot of it was reverse engineering and saying, okay, I want to go from here to here in 10 years, you know, number one, who do I need to partner with, or who do I need on my team in order to accomplish this? And I could go on and on, but again, that’s, I think those were some of the key pieces.
Well, I love the, I love that. I mean, I, I think no matter how many times we tell somebody that like building a personal brand, like it’s these basic fundamentals, it’s like, all of us just think there’s some secret that we’re missing. That there’s some like, you know, magic thing or some advanced Ninja trick that, that people like, you know, that, that the rest of us don’t know. And yet it’s never that story. Like, it is never that story. It is always the fundamentals. And, and one thing that you said that I really love is that basically you started with your passion and then you kind of said, how could I serve these people in a deeper way? Which wasn’t just education, but providing them the stuff to get healthy. But at some point you, you must run into the mental block of going. Yeah. But I’m not a formulator. Like, I don’t know how to create ingredients. I’ve never, I’ve never made a supplement. I don’t, I don’t know how to bottle a vitamin. I don’t know how to ship. I’ve never, I don’t run a warehouse. Like you had to have run into all that stuff.
Speaker 3: (08:46)
I did. Absolutely. And so then from that point, I said, okay, but who do I know? And that’s what I started thinking through is who do I know? And so, and honestly, if that person didn’t know, I said, do you know a person? Do you know, a person? Do you know a person? And eventually over time I found that person and you and I both see this Rory it’s like, I think a lot of times people let that keep them from succeeding, or they’ll say, Oh, I asked one person. They didn’t know, it’s time to give up. Now, now I’ve found like in order to find somebody to manufacture, and then also like we source now ingredients from all over the world. We source organic herbs from Asia. We yeah. Yeah. Like it’s not, that was not easy, you know, but we found somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody, we developed a relationship there, and now we get these certified organic herbs from Asia. We get a lot from the United States as well. And, you know, we develop these partnerships over time, but, but you know, the thing is you just gotta keep keep keep seeking and knocking and going after it, you know, it’s just you, you have to do that. And I think almost any business though, if you’re going to scale it to you know, to, to, to a certain degree.
Well, and I, I think it’s interesting because the, the nature of a personal brand, we all think of, Oh, it’s about me. And yet your whole mindset here is who do I know? Who do I know? Who do I know it’s like these other people that you, that you can pull, pull around thinking about scale. Okay. Can you just give us a rough, a rough journey of like, when did you start and like, how did the growth happen and, and how many years? And like, where were the big tipping points? Cause it’s like to go from, you know, if someone’s listening right now, like they might just literally be thinking, you know, they may not even be on social media or something going, okay. I, you know, I see the need for this and the next generation, but having millions of followers, there’s a lot between there. So map that out a bit.
Speaker 3: (10:44)
Yeah. So, you know, I started dr. Axe.Com a little over 10 years ago. And that’s the website. Now. I started off in a clinical practice. I ran it more of a functional medicine practice. We did nutrition, consult, blood work. We did some chiropractic, we did physical therapy, all that sort of stuff. And so I started there and about a year or so into practice, I started putting out a health newsletter and then I had a patient say, Hey, I’d love to send this to my, my aunt North Carolina, can you post it online? So I just started posting it online newsletter. And and that was probably about 11, a little over 11 years ago. I started doing that. And then after about five years in practice that just kept growing. Like I started a F one day, like a, a four hour work week on my website and the rest I worked, you know, my full-time business.
Speaker 3: (11:33)
So I took sort of Fridays for four hours and I would work on this dr. Axe.Com website business. And I would write an article and record a video. And I just started putting out, you know, those two pieces of content every single week. And then I got to the point where that kept growing. And then I had a friend of mine, Jordan Rubin, or a new friend who said, Hey, I’m starting a company. We are going to create the world’s healthiest food, grass, fed beef probiotic, rich foods, kale chips, kombucha. And so I said, so I actually had my associate at the time he bought my practice and I invested in this business with with Jordan Rubin. And so we started this, this company, it was called beyond organic, well, the company was not set up to succeed because our margins were too small shipping, frozen beef across the country in July and having it melt. And then the returns, like we were losing our shirts. So I did that for a couple years and ended up losing everything I invested in the company, which was pretty much everything. And so Chelsea and I were at a point, my wife and I, and I’m like, and we actually had at this point less than $10,000, like left in the bank. And like, and I just left that company because it was going under essentially. And I in dr. X.Com was actually losing money every month. And and so, yeah,
The on all fronts, like it’s just going out, it’s not coming in.
Speaker 3: (13:05)
It was, the ship was sinking. And the first thing we didn’t listen, I know everybody isn’t religious, but Chelsea and I just, we got down on our hands and knees, we just prayed. And we said, God, would you just give us wisdom and direction and what we should do? And I really felt like I remembered a meeting I had with bill Hampton, you know, bell and with him six months before, and he said, Josh, what do you really want to do? He said, cause it seems like you’ve got a couple, you know, a few different businesses going on. And he said, I think you just need to focus fully on one thing. And I said, you know, I really want to build the world’s number one, natural health website. And I want to help people heal using food as medicine. And he said, well do just that.
Speaker 3: (13:40)
And I literally had those words sort of ring back into my head. And I literally then the next day started working on putting out a health program. Six weeks later, later I launched a health program. I called it the secret detox program. And it was essentially just my way of saying, Hey, we got to cleanse our, our diet cleanse. Our bodies launched it online and it became our best-selling product. And it was just a program somebody would buy for, let’s say like a, you know, $200 online all content and launched that a year later, we launched our first supplement. And by the way, this is only like seven little over seven years ago. I had less than $10,000 in the bank. We were like, what are we going to do? So focused on that,
Launching a course here at two, you’re talking about a $200 course informational educational product. That’s what you started with.
Speaker 3: (14:32)
Right? And then I had an email list of about 30,000 people. And around this time I had a friend of mine. I do, you know, Isaac Jones. I don’t, okay. He’d be a good person. Cause he’s a great guy. And so we were doing lunch and he said, Hey, how’s your online business going? I said, well, it’s going okay. I have a cookbook out and a fitness, but I said, it’s really, I’m losing a few thousand dollars a month, not making it. And he said, I heard that. He said, I just came over from a seminar. And I heard that for every email you have, that’s what you should be making in dollars a month, a month. So he said, if you have an email list of 30,000, he said, I heard that you can maybe be making up to $30,000 a month. And I was like, man, I’m like spending 10 and making like seven.
Speaker 3: (15:19)
And I’m like, I’m must not be doing something right. And so I said, Hey, who do you? Who do, you know, who’s good at this? And so he’s like, Hey, I’m going to a seminar. In a few weeks, I went to the seminar and learned how to launch an online program. Brendan Bouchard was there and heard his whole thing. And then literally went back and I said, okay, I am launching a program as fast as I can to put all this content together. We launched it. And we ended up making more in that single launch that I had in the, in the three previous years combined. And me, you know, just doing, making up stuff as I go, you know? And so in any ways from there, I ended up partnering with my business partner now, Jordan Rubin. So we grew that business to probably, you know, just online just content to probably about 47 million and that we ended up merging comp companies and my company at the time, anyways, all that being said in emerging companies, AI was
[Inaudible] up to that. So up to 47 million was, was information products that you were doing classic, like launches. Were you doing like a V? Is this like a, like a video style, like a three video launch kind of a thing, or just,
Speaker 3: (16:27)
But Jeff Walker launch formula, like, but, but, but by that time we launched supplements as well. I only had like six supplements. But that was probably doing still about 70% of the revenue where content was about 30% at that point in time. And then we launched in retail. This was about four, four and a half years ago. And that my company now is called ancient nutrition. I’ve co-founded that with Jordan and yeah, that company, we have an over a few hundred employees over a hundred employees and you know, continuing to scale and grow and it’s it’s been a lot of fun.
Wow. Wild. So that was four years ago. So w so retail has been a big part of the growth in the revenue and the revenue numbers has been from getting your supplements distributed through retail.
Speaker 3: (17:16)
Yes, that’s correct. And I’ll say this, I mean, it’s actually almost it’s retail, but a lot of it’s online sales. I mean, our, our direct to consumer business, if you include Amazon with that, well, if you don’t include Amazon, it’s, it’s about 50% of our revenue. I mean, it’s still a significant portion.
Wow. Oh, so this is just like, from the people coming to your site, reading your blogs, watching your videos, and then clicking on the shop button and then go into your, your store, your online store and saying, I want to buy some supplements. Boom. And then, and then that, that, that’s still about half of the revenue. That’s right. Amazing. That is so freaking cool. So you, you start with this passion. So the email was a big deal, I guess. So, so that was like a big, a big turning point. Was there, was there a specific lesson that you learned there related to email that you were like, Oh, once, once I realized this, that opened it, that that helped me go from losing three grand a month to like actually making some money.
Speaker 3: (18:22)
Yeah. I think one is just having a process in place and understanding people typically don’t buy with the first offer, people buy with multiple offers. And so, you know, w and the other thing is, you know, don’t try and make it up yourself, get coaching, or, or, or read a book like Jeff Walker’s launch formula and, and follow the formula. You know, so for me, like I always try and be as coachable as possible. So when I’ve had business cultures like Dan Sullivan or those sorts of people over the years and their coaching, they like, I just, I try and be as humble and as coachable as I can be. And so we did that essentially. It was like a 10 day to two week formula of, we did three training videos where I went through the benefits of detoxification, your top detox food, your top detox supplements, people opted in then to that email list where we then offered the program over to a two week period of time, I did a webinar.
Speaker 3: (19:12)
And on that webinar webinar, we would pitch a product and I would let them know, Hey, if you buy this program today, we’re also going to give you, you know, all of these free interviews for free or something like that, you know? And so that’s really what we followed is that formula and had a lot of success with it, but it wasn’t, you know, I, I think the biggest moments were a few things. One do it with excellence, but don’t take forever, okay. Do it with excellence, but don’t take forever. So again, when you’re putting out a piece of content, don’t ramble on and on, like I knew, Hey, in video one, I’m going to hit on these three topics, video two, these three topics. And I would go and watch other people doing webinars and say, what made this webinar great. And I would break it down and say, Oh, you know what? They did pay, they did testimonials. That was one of the key ingredients. Oh, they had additional officer offices and offers and bonuses at the end. And Hey, there’s a Q and a where you’re having, you know, hitting these key questions and doing a second close, you know? So I just, my number one moment was, Hey, if you follow the formula, you’re going to get better results. And if you make it up yourself. Yeah,
Yeah. I love that. I mean, and, and it’s fun. Like, I mean, we’ve made a whole business out of just learning all these formulas. Right. And like pulling them together and testing them. And and I actually, so I wanted to ask you about data real quick because you know, I feel like one of the things that you guys do really well, that a lot of personal brands don’t do is data. Now that’s completely anecdotal and theoretical from where stand, but that’s kind of what I’ve just picked up from watching a far. Is that true? Is that something
Speaker 3: (20:54)
Game changer? Huge, huge. And so, you know, I can tell you, we’ve had sort of two times in our business where one was when we started getting into Facebook ads and doing that and email list, like I started realizing, okay, we’ve got to do beta testing and testing what works better than others. And so we started really looking a lot at data and analytics. When I moved into retail, I realized if you don’t have data, you are flying completely blind and you can not succeed, period. You won’t be able to succeed for a year, but you will eventually run out of cash at some point, if you ever have a downturn. And so if you want to succeed again, I can not overstate this. If you do not have good data in a retail business, you will not succeed. Long-Term there is no chance of it.
Speaker 3: (21:39)
You have to know, you ha you have to be able to forecast. And if you ever run into a point where, how you have a downturn, if not people just lose their shirts. And a lot of times, so for us, like we have a, we have a chief strategy officer, chief data officer, who’s one of the four like heads of our entire business, because data is so important. Her name is Kat, Katherine, and we were lying on her and she’s a wizard. She’s amazing. And like now when we go into a place like whole foods market or target, or some of our biggest, our biggest you know, clients that we, we retailers that we work with, you know, we go in there and we say, Hey, here’s the, we call it spins data. They, Hey, here’s the 52 weeks of spins or the last quarter of spins.
Speaker 3: (22:24)
And look at how our college in protein is increasing in beating these three other brands. When you go in there and you can show the retailer like, Hey, look on Amazon, online in this competitor of yours, we’re outperforming all of them. It’s kind of like, there’s PR there’s absolute proof. We’re going to bring you in now. And we’re going to, you know, w w we’re gonna work with you in this business when you have that absolute proof in data. So data. Yeah. I mean, data is a huge deal. The other thing is, if you want to scale, you asked that earlier, how do you like scaling data is crucial to scaling a business because you need to know what lever to pull, what not to pull and just being aware of, you know, all of those things. And so, yeah. Data, data is a big deal.
And did you, did you did you like, is this all stuff that’s happening on spreadsheets? Did you have like one tool? Did you mind, have you used different tools along the way? Like, as the business has grown? Yeah,
Speaker 3: (23:25)
Exactly. I mean, that’s the one thing that I can tell you too, from going from, you know, we did 2 million, one year, then we went to 12 million, the following year, then 47, then a hundred and then, you know, other numbers. But that being said, like every year in the stage of growth, like a lot of times you, you, you have to move on to a new platform. You have to, you to do data differently. You have to do the business differently. You know, I think once you, here’s, the other thing, once you get up to a certain size people by law, I mean, and this is true, even at smaller brands, but people buy the brand, not just the product, right? It’s like, there are a thousand different brands of tumeric out there. Why is someone going to buy our tumeric? Or there are over about a hundred brands of college and why is somebody going to buy our college?
Speaker 3: (24:11)
And it’s because of our brand name and people knowing they can trust us that we own our own manufacturing facilities that we source almost exclusively, like loads of organic products is that we show you photos from our farms. It’s like, you know, building that brand. That’s what I love about what you guys do, brand builders. You know, it is so crucial that you’re building a brand that’s known for excellence and being trustworthy. You know, I think those are the two key elements we really try and focus on is, are, do people see us as being the top brand, the premier brand in terms of quality? And then do they trust us? I think those are really important aspects of building the brand as well. Wow.
I mean, this has gone by fast. I knew that it would, and it’s like trying to like get this story, but it’s, it’s amazing. I mean, it’s just really, really, really cool. So dr. Axe, where, where would you tell people to go if they want to connect with you or, you know, to kind of like follow your journey? Yeah. So if you want to learn
Speaker 3: (25:11)
A lot of what I teach in business, you can go to my my leadership website, that’s leader leaders.com, L E a D E R S. So leaders.com. Also if you want to learn more about art, so nutrition, the stuff I’m doing there, you can follow me on Instagram at dr. Josh Axe or Facebook at dr. Josh Axe, or, Hey, if you’ve got a health condition, you’re looking to heal your body naturally, you can just Google search my name, dr. Axe hypothyroidism, dr. Axe, you know, low testosterone or whatever health problem you have. You can look up, I’ve got a plan for it. And I’m also, I got a new book coming out soon. It’s called ancient remedies where I go over the top remedies used throughout history to heal the body in different conditions and that sort of thing. But and then my nutritional companies, ancient nutrition, which you can find at whole foods, market and health food stores around the country. I know there’s a lot of places. Those are some of the, some of the different places.
It’s awesome, man. Well, so cool. Thank you for sharing. So transparently so much of your journey, like what the end to end and you know, really 10 years, but it’s really a short amount of time for such a dramatic growth, but there’s been some ups and downs and man, we just really appreciate you being open booking and sharing all that with us.
Speaker 3: (26:28)
Awesome. Well, thanks for having me Rory love what you do, love brand builders and yeah, always, always excited to to share