Founder Focus: Motion Nutrition
Struggling to find a sports supplement that wasn’t made from artificial ingredients, Commonwealth Games swimmer Joe Welstead launched Motion Nutrition for elite athletes, part-time joggers and health-conscious parents alike.
Using all-natural and certified organic ingredients, Motion Nutrition has carved a niche for itself in the supplement industry and is leading the way in the Nootropics market by helping people to achieve laser-sharp focus, improved mental performance, deeper sleep and better recovery with Power Up and Unplug.
Read on for an insight into the life of an athlete-turned-entrepreneur at the top of his game.
WHAT WAS YOUR EUREKA MOMENT?
In 2014, I was training 25-hours per week to achieve my goal of reaching the 50m breaststroke final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I needed a lot of fuel, and three meals a day was never enough.
The following year in a small East End sports management office, my colleague and I were talking about the difficult time I was continuing to have as an athlete finding a healthy sports supplement. We decided to provide the answer ourselves and jumped right in at the deep end by developing Motion Nutrition, for better performance and improved health.
WHAT WAS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?
Our first sales pitch was to Planet Organic. We were ill-prepared, had no experience of retail and certainly no grand marketing plans up our sleeve. What we did have was a product which made sense and fortunately, the buyer knew that before we even sat down. We marketed it as a health supplement for regular people who like to feel fit, strong, powerful, and happen to work out a few times a week.
HOW DID YOU KNOW MOTION NUTRITION WOULD BE A SUCCESS?
Before the launch, we needed to test whether it was possible to create organic sports supplements with great performance benefits. With the help of our excellent nutritionists, the answer was yes.
The next question was, would this be commercially viable? We knew our supplements would be more expensive than conventional products but worked to keep the price point within reason.
Satisfied with these answers, we worked flat out on the brand, the products and backing ourselves with market research that I had undertaken over several years as an athlete.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING OF STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
It’s a life-changing decision, but it will not change who you are and how you work. If you’re the kind of person who needs to bounce ideas back and forth with others, or who needs regular support and motivation from external sources, this is unlikely to ever change. In this instance, consider looking for a co-founder.
However, if you’ve always loved working by yourself and feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction in completing tasks on your own, for yourself, head on solo.
The important thing is to be honest, because the way you achieve things today is unlikely to change tomorrow.
DID YOU HAVE A MENTOR?
I’ve been very fortunate to collect valuable advice from different people with great experience and impressive track records.
In terms of retail and routes to market, the supplements industry operates in the same world as the beauty sector. I saw this as a great way for me to reach out for advice without seeming like a threat to my mentors.
I’d recommend finding parallel industries to get free-flowing advice, whichever sector you work in. This has now come full circle, with a skincare founder recently reaching out to me for help, which I’m delighted to share.
WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE READS?
I would absolutely recommend reading Principles by Ray Dalio.
The point is not to copy Dalio’s principles, but realise the importance of creating rules for yourself. Setting simple routines, structures and rules which work for you, both personally and in your organisation, will increase your happiness, productivity and ease of communication.
WHAT IS THE MOST WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT THAT YOU HAVE MADE?
A few months ago, we decided to hire administrative staff who would relieve a significant amount of work from my schedule. The time this freed up was one benefit, but the real value came in the form of increased thinking space.
To think creatively and find new solutions, you need time. This has had a huge impact on the business and on our ability to move past certain hurdles.
Wherever you are in your journey, invest in your time. Allow yourself to think clearly and let your mind zone in on the important issues, not the trivial things that keep you fretting.
WHAT ONE FAILURE ARE YOU GLAD YOU EXPERIENCED?
Early last year, we started experimenting with a new brand identity that wasn’t quite right for us. It never took off but we spent quite a lot of time and resources experimenting with it. This was a mistake.
Later, the experience allowed us to build a stronger communication structure to avoid a repeat. People communicate in different ways and it’s important to both allow people to share their views in their own way and to be able to truly listen to each person.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN B?
I love living in London, but I sometimes miss the quiet, easy pace of the south of France, where I grew up. There’s not much time to linger on plan B, but it’s a nice thought when you’re on the Underground.
WHAT PIECE OF INDUSTRY ADVICE DO YOU OFTEN HEAR THAT YOU DISAGREE WITH?
We are an industry obsessed with content. You’ve got to have a blog. You’ve got to have a podcast. You’ve got to post to Instagram every day. You’ve got to “get out there”. Why? What are you even saying? Does anyone care?
As a founder and with limited resources, it’s important to remember your priorities. The focus should be on making the best product, delivering the best services and experience for your customers, the people who are paying your bills. This is what will bring people back, not another article on the benefits of yoga. By all means create great content, but do so when you have something to say.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
My one non-negotiable in the morning is cycling to work. The 30-minute ride clears my mind and sets me up for the day. I arrive fresh and alert, swallow two capsules of Power Up when I get to my desk, and I’m ready to roll.