Million Dollar Monday

Be Iconic. Live Iconic. Go Iconic.

March 07, 2022 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
Be Iconic. Live Iconic. Go Iconic.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 Show Notes & Resources 
Billy Bosch turned his vision for the perfect snack into reality through starting his own company, Iconic Protein. His products are now sold in over 8,000 retail stores and he has raised over $14 million in capital. Tune in to hear valuable advice on starting and scaling a company along with tips on working with business partners. 

Chapter Summaries


Key Takeaways: 

  •  One of our pain points traveling around a lot for work was this nutrition on the go. And so thought it would be nice if there was a drink that filled you up without any sugar. So essentially a protein drink without sugar.
  •  If you're going to go into business with someone, plan for failure or at least plan for it to end because all business partnerships and all relationships end; people are going to die, businesses go under, or it just it's just the end of our time. 
  • If I'm going to produce something, I'll always stand behind it.
  •  And the failed pitches helped me a lot about how to pitch and win.
  • So we really want to empower people through convenient, tasty, nutritious products to be the best version of themselves. 
  • There’s a huge lesson in that. And the lesson is get out and get involved in your industry, go to those trade shows, join those trade associations. That’s where the networking happens and you can learn things and meet people that can do things that you could have never dreamed possible. 
  • Don’t be afraid to make the leap. 


Resource Links

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Greg Muzzillo:

Hello and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand and big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. Today I have an interesting guest who translates his vision for the perfect snack and meal solution into reality, is founder of a company called Iconic Protein, leading his team in product testing and design he's even with us today in their test kitchen , uh, they have products that are sold in over 8,000 retail stores. And in building iconic, he's raised over 14 million dollars in capital . Please join me in welcoming Billy Bosch, chief visionary officer CVO of Iconic Protein, Billy. Thanks for joining.

Billy Bosch:

Okay , great . Thanks for having me, man. I'm happy to have a conversation with you today.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. Happy to see your kitchen there. And , uh, talk a little bit more about your products, but let's back up, let's start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your growing up years, your education years, and what were those things that led you to eventually want, two things what eventually led you to wanting to own your own business? Because I know you've owned a few and we're gonna talk about those and then eventually getting into the perfect snack and meal solutions business.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. Great question. Uh , I often ask that as well. I want to know what , what somebody's background story is and how they got where they are . And I'm just a guy from Louisiana, you know, guy from middle class family. And uh, I wasn't, I wasn't the best student. I wasn't the best athlete but I have great parents and my parents both worked really hard to put me through good schools. And the big online for me was realizing around the age or I don't know , I would say nine or 10 that I was an okay athlete, but I was never gonna fulfill my dream of being like, you know , an NFL star or something like this. Right? Uh , undersized, not fast enough, all this stuff, but my dad is a CPA and he said, well, look, if you're not doing anything in the summer, why don't you go help out this guy, Mr. Don , he's got a story . He's a contractor, does a few other things as apartment . You can go help him make a little bit of money rather than sit inside all summer and OK . Okay . And I got my first taste of making money and , and learning about people's businesses and helping people , uh , run their business. And I was hooked. I said , this is great. And he had a ton of different clients. So it was like a choose your own adventure. So one summer is working for a restaurant , owner. Another s ummer summer i s working a t a furniture store. Another summer i s working with my uncles, one of ' em, w hich was a mechanic and the other guy works on industrial scales. And so it was like a mix of dirty jobs meets like undercover boss, you know? And you're like behind the s cenes a nd s eeing how things w ork a nd t hrough,

Greg Muzzillo:

That's really rich to have that breadth of experience and even, you know, understand really what is business. Okay. Good for you. Okay. All right . Continue on.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. So those were the early years , uh , just enjoying that and then , went to LSU, go tigers , uh, and graduate there in 05,

Greg Muzzillo:

I have to , I have to stop you, but I'll let you get by with it because you're a good guy.

Billy Bosch:

My one trip to Gainesville, I know you're a Gator. And my trip to Gainesville was when, when LSU finally came back and won after a series of losses when Ron look was the head coach, we won big. And, and that was , that was a fun time, but it was a great town. I had a really good time.

Greg Muzzillo:

Okay . Enough about enough about football.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah . No . So sorry for the interrupt . Went to school. Yeah. No , all good went , went to school down there. And when I was in school, I worked for a company called Lifestyles Productions and these guys would actually organize ski trips for college kids. And I went on the ski trip, had a great time and I thought, well, if I can organize it, then I can probably help my friends come on the trip and go for free. Because if you round up X number of people, you get to go on the trip for free. Well, that led into me running the trip , with a couple of friends for the school in subsequent years, putting together a couple thousand students ski trip , which was an absolute blast, more taste of sales, even though it wasn't sales, but enjoyed what the product itself, which is an experience. And then when I got outta school, I actually got a job with Homeland security , for an agency that trains first responders on how to respond to biological terrorism incidents. So I was feeling, I now was feeling Patriot after nine 11 and wanted to work in government. And that was an option. So I did that for a year and then I got chained to a desk , which I didn't love. Um , no, no , I know . I like you can't put me in a desk . I'm standing right now .

Greg Muzzillo:

Oh , that's a cage. Just , yeah , I get it .

Billy Bosch:

It was bad. It was , but it was a cool, cool job for a year. And then I got a job , a job in oil and gas and thought, okay, like this is the path I should go on. This is success. You know, a kid coming to Louisiana. If you go work in oil and gas and you get a job and you're making more than your parents do like you're success, you did great kid. Right? Right. So I , I took that job, moved to Houston and immediately the first day I knew it wasn't for me. Cause I kind of raised my hand in the meeting and oh, I got , what about this? And what about this idea? And how about we do this? And you know , I'm working in the , the , the car care segment of the business and the manager pulled me and said, Hey, Billy, come here, come here. Hey, listen , you , you got a lot of ideas kid. That's great. This company's a dinosaur we're not an idea factory . So if you wanna do that, you should go start your own company otherwise.

Greg Muzzillo:

Oh , he said that. Yeah . He said that to you, you know , go ahead .

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. No . Okay , great . I will ,

Greg Muzzillo:

When I was, when I was a kid, I dropped outta college for a year and I worked for my dad eating maggots out of trucks and uh , other terrible jobs and the night shift and one, one morning my dad came in and he was the , uh, manager of this particular location and uh , meat distribution. And, and I said, dad, I got some ideas. I got some ideas. And he said, Greg , and he was in a really foul mood. He said, Greg , I just need you to clean the trucks and think like a broom,

Billy Bosch:

Think like a broom, think

Greg Muzzillo:

Like a broom. Yes.

Billy Bosch:

I love that. I'm gonna use that.

Greg Muzzillo:

Oh my goodness. Gracious that you just know you gotta do something on your own.

Billy Bosch:

All right . It's a gift though, right? Oh

Greg Muzzillo:

Yes . Oh yeah, yeah , yeah , yeah. It's it's the kick in the butt, the pat on the back that just says you gotta do it. And right now there are a lot of people listening that are in situations. They don't love maybe the , a chain to that desk. Maybe then nobody wants to hear their ideas and maybe they don't have the flexibility of the freedom and the voice. And so , uh we're gonna talk about now. How did you start the couple of businesses that you started talk about that. Where did the idea come from? Where did the bravery come from? Where did the money come from? How did it happen?

Billy Bosch:

Well, great questions. Uh, and I'll start by segueing from my job in oil and gas, where they said, go start your company. If you, if you have all these great ideas , I said, okay , I will . And I'll work hard while I'm here for you. And I'm talking to myself when I'm saying this, right. And I'll just save as much money as I can. So I had friends get jobs o utta school, buy a new car, buy a TV, buy a house, buy this buy that everything's spent, R ight. I l ived in a small apartment, well below my means didn't buy a new car. U h, just didn't buy a new TV, just like saved money a nd b ought books. So when I was in a car, I was always doing an audible book on business. I was constantly reading the inc magazine, k ind o f like getting the wheels, turning on ideas a nd h ow reading the founder stories and things like that. And the first business was actually one where I started buying rental property. And , uh , I had a friend from, from high school that was in real estate finance and worked in development. And he had already bought a house. And this was in, you know, pre 2008 and everybody's buying houses for 0% down and all this crazy stuff. Yeah . Uh , and, and we decided, I decided I wanted to buy a fourplex or duplex something of that type in my college town in Baton Rouge. And he was on board . He was looking as well. And my background in that was when I worked for one of my dad's , uh , clients and friends , uh , who owns a bunch of multi-family stuff in Baton Rouge as a kid. That's when I got experience working for a landlord and okay , I get it. That was just a reality of like, what people do is they own apartments and make money and give people a good place to live. And , uh, and so , okay. Let me do that. And that's a , that's a big thing for people, a lot of people . Oh , how would you do that? Well, when you work for someone who does that, that as a kid, it , it opens that it's to unlock, you know , that's one of my big proponent of mentorship and giving kids this exposure,

Greg Muzzillo:

Right? Yeah .

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. So we bought a me and this , this buddy, mine, Tim, we buy a couple of fourplexes near LSU. And it was, it was a bit of a wild ride because it's like every kind of like bad thing that can happen in real estate. All the , all the stuff people are worried about happening, it happened. Okay . We've had , we we've since grown the portfolio to a number of buildings and Baton Rouge , and about , uh , just over 60 units. And , uh, and , but we've had fires , uh, we've had floods. We've had buildings cracked in half from once in a 500 years . Yeah. We've had tornadoes, hurricanes , uh, evictions, you know, drug raid , like everything you can imagine happening.

Greg Muzzillo:

Is the key to that business in part to get big, to get a lot of units so that you're not the one taking the call when the hot water heater isn't working at night.

Billy Bosch:

Exactly. It's systems and processes. So if you can , the big unlock was when we bought one building, that's 35 units. We buy this building. And all of a sudden, we say , okay, we need a full-time manager to live on site . And we , all the units are in the same spot. So we don't have to have a plumber go to six different locations. It's all there. It's like the parts make sense for each unit. Cause all units have the same layout, that's the big unlock is if you can scale and do a larger unit mix, it makes a ton of sense.

Greg Muzzillo:

Okay . So that business you started, you still have it and it's, it sounds like it's doing very well . Well , yeah ,

Billy Bosch:

We still have my partner . My partner runs it as the manager full time . And , um, you know, for, at that point we were , you know, in the early years and we just had a couple of fourplexes. We were pretty hands on in my free time. And then the other business that I started , was actually as a result of being frustrated on new year's Eve and not having somewhere to go with friends. And I said, you know, me and a buddy mine thought, why don't we just throw our own new year's party? And so we threw a new year's party in new Orleans where I was living at the time and okay , we'll make it part from philanthropy. And maybe some friends will show up, you know , we'll donate some money to charity and like have some fun and 400 people show up

Greg Muzzillo:

For how much, what was the downstroke?

Billy Bosch:

Uh , it , it was about 150 ahead.

Greg Muzzillo:

Nice.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah . That's a hit. So

Billy Bosch:

It is , I was okay . We got something going on here, everybody that was the best party . You gotta do it again. And I said , okay , well I guess we need an LLC or something. So , uh , that, that was a start of go entertainment, LLC , uh , G aUX Louisiana version of go,

Greg Muzzillo:

Right? Yeah. For those that are not familiar with that G E A U X spelling, but it's very common in Louisiana. Right?

Billy Bosch:

Cajun French.

Greg Muzzillo:

You got it . There you go.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. And so that company went about eight years, grew to about a 2000 person, new year's party every year. And , uh, one thing I, I to , and this is all while I was at shell, right. Because you could do a lot of this stuff in your free time, put it together a new's party that you didn't have a year to plan. And , um, but, but that company, in order to really scale, it needed to have its own venue. Cause you realize half the revenue out the door goes to a venue and they're paying, you're paying them for the, the actual building plus the alcohol and catering or whatever else. So, you know, three fours of the money at the end of the day is not yours. And then you have to pay to put on other stuff and entertainers and all that stuff.

Greg Muzzillo:

Right, right, right. So what happened then?

Billy Bosch:

So at the end of that , uh , towards the end of that, I had the idea for Iconic and that was with the same partner from the entertainment company .

Greg Muzzillo:

Oh really? Yeah . I didn't know. I didn't know that I thought , I thought that , uh , I thought, why did I , why did the entertainment company come to an end?

Billy Bosch:

So around the time, about seven, eight years in to the entertainment company, two of us had the idea for what is now Iconic. And we said, Hey, one of our pain point as guys traveling around a lot for work is nutrition on the go. And so it'd be nice if there was a drink that filled you up without any sugar. So essentially a protein drink without sugar, because a lot of these things, my go-to would be like a naked juice with protein at Starbucks or something, but it's got 60 grams of sugar in it and these things are gonna give you diabetes, you know? So it's not good. And so w e, okay, let's work on this product. And we pitched the idea to a local business incubator program in New Orleans called the Idea Village, got accepted into a n accelerator program and we both had a handshake deal. We'll go 50 50 on this. And after about a year, we'll b oth quit and do this full t ime. And I was in a position where I had already quit my job because I wanted to pursue this and these other side ventures. And he was still working his day job and then when it came time to quit and he said, you know what, I'm just not in a position where I w ant t o quit. I said, uh o h, that's not what we agreed on. So that

Greg Muzzillo:

That's a problem

Billy Bosch:

And that's a problem, right? Like we're gonna hold hands and jump off this ledge. And then he didn't jump and I did. Yeah. Uh , so you know, in these situations with partners, I always encourage people if you're gonna go into business with someone plan for failure or at least plan for it to end because all business partnerships and all relationships end people are gonna die businesses go under, or it's just the end of our time.

Greg Muzzillo:

Are you saying plan for the partnership to fail? Not necessarily the business.

Billy Bosch:

Well, I would , let me rephrase that. Okay . Plan for the partnership to end because it will. There's a hundred percent chance it would end. Yeah .

Greg Muzzillo:

Darn near a hundred percent chance. I know I went through it.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah . Yeah. Well, I mean, you're gonna die at some point. So that's, that's the end of the partnership. Someone dies because they're of old age or something. Right. Uh and so anyway, you plan for these things and say , okay, handle all the awkward, what ifs, get that outta the way. Cause what if someone decides they want to go take another job in a year? What if they decide this isn't for them? What if, who knows what?

Greg Muzzillo:

Well, I think probably the biggest risk is, is if two partners are 50 50, cuz that's usually how it starts out. But then eventually, maybe one of the partners feels like they're contributing way more than the other. And then that happens that just tears things to shred because eventually people don't wanna continue to do a lot more of the work, but not necessarily get a lot more of the revenue. I think that's or not sharing the same vision. Uh, but none, but nonetheless you're an EO. I was in Y P O I mean, I know so many entrepreneurial partnerships that just failed. And I think that's wise advice to make sure that when an entrepreneur enters into a partnership, they better have a solid agreement from the beginning. Who's gonna do what and what if this thing succeeds, but what if this thing fails, right? Is, is that partner still with you or not?

Billy Bosch:

No, no. We, we kind of parted ways and that was the end of the entertainment company because we had a difference in vision on the , um, amount of time that was needed for each business and where to take things. So, you know, it was probably time, you know, you get to the age of, you know, I think I was 32 or 33 at the time. And then you say , okay, like I don't really wanna go to these parties anymore. Uh , even though other people do that , that new year's party is really an early twenties type of thing , um, at that scale and for that type of an event. And so we parted ways on that and eventually semi of parted ways on the Iconic, the nutrition business. It was unfortunate because ultimately people just have different views of from where their seat is, right. This view it's one way. And from my view, it's the other way. So it took a while to, to sort that out probably about two years. So it was costly and kind of getting the business off the ground and you know, it's a life lesson and I hope that other people learn from that when they go into business with a friend or partner, just outline expectations, get things in writing that way there's no uncertainty.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah . Yeah. And have a buy , sell agreement from the very beginning because the honeymoon, the honeymoon ain't gonna last forever. All right . So anyhow, talk to us a little bit about you . You have this idea to make the great snack and meal solution and low, no sugar, protein drinks, et cetera . How does that idea go from getting some money, making the first couple of drinks and getting some sales?

Billy Bosch:

Well, sales were never the challenge for me because my background was sales. And so whether it was selling ski trips, tickets to a new year's party or working in the oil and gas industry, I could sell anything. And I was just comfortable having those conversations. And I always approached it from like a conversational standpoint. So it's prescriptive selling. So I'll ask you, Hey, what's happening in your store? And what's going well, and what's not going well. And I ask you so many questions say, well , Billy, what's your product. I wanna hear about this. You haven't told me about it yet. Oh , okay . You know, and then you lead it to the conversation and talk about it, but I know what's happening there. And I did the same thing with friends and I said, Hey, like what's missing in your life. And, and a lot of them said from a nutrition standpoint, they want something that's gonna fill them up during the day , and not provide a bunch of extra calories and sugar, you know? So whether they wanted to manage their weight or cut a little bit of weight , what it came out to be as a protein drink, that's high, you know, 20 grams of protein, protein actually increases your metabolism and fills you up. Uh, and then no sugar at all. So you don't have any of the bad stuff and all the good stuff. Uh, and we've since transitioned into coffee products , you know, that have protein plus coffee and some other functionalities. Um, but initially the hardest part was figuring out where to make it. So we have powders, right? And so to get a pallet of powder in a canister is easy, easy peasy, take the powder, put it in the canister seal. It it's good for like two years done. There's a ton of these though, and not as many of the drink formats. So to get the powder into the drink form, you basically have to mix all the ingredients at an FDA approved facility , heat them to the level of steam rapidly. Cool them , uh , put them in a sterile container. And then it's good for about a year and a half. That whole process takes an enormous machine that costs , I don't know , we'll call it 10 million for the whole oh , my

Greg Muzzillo:

Facility .

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. Yeah. So that, wasn't something I was gonna get into and the production lines are generally all full. They're not like, Hey, we're looking for new customers. Come on over now. And they're not looking for some guy with a startup drink idea. So it was really hard to get line time as they say, with a production facility.

Greg Muzzillo:

So how'd you do it? How did you, how were you able to actually produce those first drink, get them into a bottle affordably and get them out into retail.

Billy Bosch:

Great question. I originally , we were in these drink box boxes called Tero packs , and I have a facility. Uh, it was , it was just nightmares start. The first facility had a production recall before we even ran production. So we shipped our ingredients to another facility that facility , had a break in their production line equipment. And we had one of our ,

Greg Muzzillo:

My gosh ,

Billy Bosch:

larger brands in the space, come in and push us out of the way and said, we're bigger. We're gonna take their line time. So then I had to go to another production facility in California. So the ingredients went from Georgia to California, and eventually we got the drink made in California, but that was a year and a half of just transporting stuff around and ordering new materials and it was a whole thing. But eventually, eventually we have this drink made and I go, everything goes, well, I learned about the production process and all this. And then it was time to go sell it, you know? So I went , uh , and knocked on doors where I was at at the time in new Orleans and called on all the big grocery stores there and gyms and every store you can imagine had product in my trunk and would literally just like write a PO , sell it to people on the spot and take cash or check or whatever,

Greg Muzzillo:

Whatever it takes.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah . Whatever it takes. Right. So there was a lot of hand deliveries in the early days,

Greg Muzzillo:

Did the people buy the product and they were committed to it, or if it didn't sell, did you have to take it back? Was it on consignment or was it,

Billy Bosch:

Yeah, also a good question. And for me, if I'm gonna produce something I'll always stand behind it. Like, if you can't sell my product, then either I shouldn't have sold it to you or it , people just don't want it. And there's some gray areas there, but I'm oversimplifying, right? Yeah ,

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah . Yeah. So it sounds like it was almost a year and a half, or maybe longer from idea and concept to getting some of the product out into the retail market. Uh , is that right?

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. It , that was the longest piece of it. And I thought this thing would happen overnight, but it took about a year and a half just to get something into the market. If not,

Greg Muzzillo:

We all think it's gonna happen overnight.

Billy Bosch:

You think it's gonna happen so fast, but

Greg Muzzillo:

That optimism, that optimism is the optimism that led you to think, okay, that plant can't do it, but I'm gonna find a plant because I believe in this, I'm so optimistic that it'll work. Right. A lot of people might quit. They find that first plant . It breaks, it explodes it, whatever. And, oh my God, this is impossible. So you went through a lot of failures to find the right path forward. Now you talked raising money. At what point did you approach them? How did you approach them? And can you talk about approximately how much you raised in that? Yeah . Raise and then what, how the others followed.

Billy Bosch:

Certainly. Yeah. And, and what I realized is early on in the beverage business, each production runs gonna cost you about $300,000, if not more . Yeah. So these are, these are large production runs. And I said, okay, it's gonna take money to run this business. Uh , got it. And the first money came from some business plan competitions. I won new Orleans. So I won some one was $50,000 business plan competition. I won a couple other ones around town and I've lost a lot more than I won . I'll say that. And the failed pitch has taught me a lot about how to pitch and win. And when you're pitching a drink and people can actually taste it, you have a competitive advantage over a thing, like an app or some kind of like tech company. Right. That

Greg Muzzillo:

Makes , okay . All

Billy Bosch:

Right . I was , I was sweeping these competitions, Greg. It was great

Greg Muzzillo:

Because you gave people a taste.

Billy Bosch:

Gave 'em a taste and I , I talked to 'em about it and told them the story and they bought into it. And, and New Orleans is still one of our strongest markets in the country. It's crazy. It's our best whole food store. Cause people know the story there. Uh, but I, that initial couple hundred thousand dollars came out of new Orleans. Uh , and then I took a low interest loan from an SBA style Institute , for 250 K that I personally guaranteed. So let's round that, all that money up plus personal contributions to 500 K. Okay. That got me somewhere. And then I realized as the business is growing, I need more money. I need more a and I went the route of, we'll call it, you know, I wouldn't say family cause I'm not family involved, but you know, friends and connections to do a seed round. Okay . So I did a convert couple convertible notes, which is a structure for those aren't that aren't familiar that you say to oversimplify it , I'm gonna give you a hundred , the thousand dollars and you either pay this back in a year with interest or you convert it to equity in a year. Right. Okay . Yeah. And so I was okay . So I took some money from a couple . I remember the shortest one I got was from a lawyer in new Orleans who writes, if you don't pay this back in a year or converted to equity, there will be a problem. That was the one pager . Yeah, it was great. And when you're in new Orleans, you're like, I could , I could end up in the Bayou by the Gators. There

Greg Muzzillo:

You go. Exactly.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. So anyway, so I did that and then I said , okay , continue to need more money. And I actually got connected , uh, to some larger local investors in town, in New Orleans. And uh , on top of that, Pepsi, their mergers and acquisition arm, you know, some of these guys try to be helpful and I'm thinking they're gonna buy me. Right. Pepsi. I'm talking to the guys at Pepsi, Hey , they're gonna buy me . This is great. My plan is working. And they're like, no , no , man , we're not buying you're way too small, but we'll help you. Okay . To help with , I need help with money, give some money. And they said , or invested me, right. Gimme distribution, give me something, help me out here. And they say , no, but we'll introduce you to someone. And they introduced me to a guy that they had just bought his kombucha company for 240, some odd million dollars . Okay . And they introduced me to this guy and he was instrumental in helping raise , some money from private equity to really bring in cash behind the business. So that was like the big series, a 8 million raise where most of that money to, to run production and grow the business came from. And that was very helpful in really getting some growth.

Greg Muzzillo:

So a couple things that you mentioned, first of all, was that the loan, you personally guaranteed. A lot of people maybe don't understand that, but in the early days of growing a business, the bank wants to know that you've got your skin in the game and you could lose a lot. Some people can lose everything they own with that personal guarantee. And there's actually a department in a bank. I got to meet them when I was growing my company and got put into what's called workout . Not the department, the friendly people that are on your friendly banker side, the workout department's the department that comes and says, you know, something, this isn't working out for us and we want our money back. And when you have your personal guarantee on it , those things can get ugly. And , so that's a huge thing that you mentioned on the convertible notes that you were able to sell or place did. Did, were you able to pay them back or did anybody did anybody convert?

Billy Bosch:

No. We wound up converting everyone and oh , you did. We were , yeah. We wound up, we were in a position to pay them back at the time, but, but people wanted to convert, you know, cause they're raising money and I'm putting money in , let's get some equity in this business and you know , a lot of people you realize you can pitch them on the product. And ultimately they're investing in the humans and the human happened to be me . So that was very flatter that they were to .

Greg Muzzillo:

Did you find Pepsi or how did Pepsi find you?

Billy Bosch:

I wanna say it was just networking at one of these trade shows. There was a big natural food show called expo west on the west coast. And just kind of at one of these events, people said , oh, you should meet this person and meet this person. And, and I've always, you know, prided myself on really kind of making it around the room and talking to people and learning about them and asking a lot of questions. And at one of these events, I meet these guy from the mergers and acquisition side of Pepsi and they said , oh, we love your name, Iconic. This is great. I could , we could see, this is one of our brands one day and let us know if you ever need help. Okay . I will .

Greg Muzzillo:

I will . And I did. I love it . And you know, that there's a huge lesson in that. And the lesson is, get out, get involved in your industry, go to those trade shows, join those trade associations. If there are some, because that's where the networking happens and you can learn things and meet people that can do things that you could have never dreamed possible. Right.

Billy Bosch:

That's so accurate. And I would encourage all entrepreneurs to get out there and do that because I don't think enough people do. And I even have friends in the industry that , oh, I don't get it. Like, why do you go to these events? Or why do you do all these things? And look, you can totally be successful without doing this stuff. But I think it's additive to the stack of things and is gonna lead you to success.

Greg Muzzillo:

Humongously, humongously. All right . So lots of ups, lots of downs. I'm very impressed that you survived so many of them. I think that the somewhere along the way , a lot of people would've been wiped out by the impossibilities of what you made possible. But here you are today, 2022, 8,000 locations, you've raised $14 million . What's the future. Uh , you're the chief visionary officer. What's the vision.

Billy Bosch:

Yeah. The vision. And that's a fun title. I just decided to make for myself, hire to CEO last year. And the vision is really for Iconic to be a household brand name that allows humans to become the iconic version of themselves. And it doesn't necessarily mean you're, you know, like a famous athlete or something like that, but you could be an iconic dad, right. Which is your vision of what the dad that you always want it to be is, but it starts with health. And if you can't, you know, if you of putting the right nutrition in your body , in a convenient and tasty way, then like you're just not gonna do it. And you're not gonna be the best dad because yeah .

Greg Muzzillo:

Wow .

Billy Bosch:

You know, your health is gonna be lagging. You'll have other things to worry about. So we really want to empower people , through, you know, convenient, tasty, nutritious products to be the best version of themselves.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. Yeah. I , I love it. Be iconic, live iconic, go iconic. I mean, there's a lot of, there's a lot of marketing in there that I can easily see. Right. It sounds like a lot of fun. All right . It's been great spending time with you. Your stories actually are very impressive. As we part here today. What last pieces of advice might you have for our listeners that are thinking about starting their own company?

Billy Bosch:

I would say ask a lot of questions, meet a lot of people. I've got people all the time that say, well I don't know where to start. Just, just start making phone calls. There's someone has, has done something like this. Yes . Reach out to them. Yes. And take 'em out to coffee, take 'em out to lunch , offer to , you know , pay 'em to hop on a zoom or whatever you need to do to get these people on the phone and quiz them and get going with some questions and, and value their time. And then don't be afraid to make the leap. You know, a lot of people think, oh, I need to quit my job to ever start something else. No, I did three different things on the side. Right. You can, you can take that job. You can still put in your full-time hours. There is 24 hours in a day and work out something on the side so that when you make that leap, it's a smooth, soft landing. And you're already making money over here. Versus I did this where I have a job, you know, making money and then I'm gonna go do something, making hardly any money. And I probably could have , you know, done a little, both a little bit longer. Yeah .

Greg Muzzillo:

When we were, were talking before we got started, you used the words side hustle, and there's just a lot of wisdom in those two words, it might be on the side, but it's full-time hustle. And, and clearly , I'd have to say that you embody those key words and clearly , spending some time with you , uh , helps me understand that you truly are an iconic business success, Billy . Thanks for spending some time with me today,

Billy Bosch:

Greg. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah , me too. Thanks .

Introducing Billy Bosch
Entrepreneurship at a Young Age
How it all Started
Starting Iconic Protein
First Sales and Production
Approaching Investors
Recognized by Pepsi
The Vision