Formula for Success: An Interview with an Auburn Entrepreneur
Ever had a great idea? Like a really, really great one?
Maybe it woke you in the middle of the night. Maybe it was a eureka moment at 3 a.m. in RBD. Maybe you found a way to make some money from your favorite hobby.
Or maybe you’re like me and haven’t had one at all. That’s cool too.
Great ideas are hard to come by, but if you’re looking for inspiration, this Auburn success story may be just what you need.
Meet Jared Senfeld. Born to a pair of licensed psychologists, this guy won the genetic lottery and kept playing. He’s been working out since his early teens, and (judging by his Instagram following) it’s paid off. He’s not shabby outside the gym either: Jared is a senior majoring in biochemistry here at Auburn.
Together, Jared and his brother Jake have launched Ixion Nutrition, a line of performance supplements for bodybuilders and athletes. But this isn’t a story about their product or their brand. This is a story about two brothers and how they’re following their passions. Let me be clear, I haven’t tried their product, and I can’t officially endorse any of its nutritional claims. That’s not point of this article; I'm just here to tell their story.
Like many American success stories, this one starts in high school. After experiencing constant disappointment from subpar pre-workout products, the Senfelds decided to try something new: They would make their own.
“We would do the research, find out what a certain formula was missing, and then just add it in,” said Jared. “So that’s how we got started.” Eventually, they discovered which ingredients they liked most and included them.
Later, an acquaintance asked the Senfelds to develop a formula for their personal use. That person shared it with some friends, who then requested some from the Senfelds directly. Before the brothers realized it, they were creating bags of pre-workout for nearly twenty people. They quickly realized that they needed to make some changes.
They developed a master formula together, decided which ingredients needed to make the cut, and sent it off to a lab for sampling. They spent roughly six months sampling the product.
Per Jared, formula development was easy. He’s heading to graduate school to study biochemistry after all. But flavoring? Different story. They spent roughly four months perfecting the flavor. But, in the end, Jared said it was well worth the investment.
During that time, they got to work on branding. According to Jared, choosing the name was the hardest part. In a world with billions of people and millions of products, many names are already trademarked. And many elements of the process, down to the label’s design, were much more complicated than they initially expected.
As they continued to grow, even more difficulties popped up. Neither of them were business majors, and they quickly realized they didn’t know much about marketing, legalese, or other financial principles. Thankfully, their friends stepped in and offered advice and help.
This month, they’re sponsoring a fitness exhibition, and the Senfelds couldn’t be happier. So what advice does Jared have to offer someone who’s stumbled onto a great idea?
Ask for advice.
We’re surrounded by professors, successful professionals, and older, more seasoned students. Consider reaching out to them for advice. They’ve probably been there before, and they can likely give you that much-needed direction.
Don’t have shame.
On a related note, many people are embarrassed to reach out to someone for help, whether it’s a professor or friend. According to Jared, this is a must. You can’t be afraid to rely on other people. For the Senfelds, they would have been lost without their friends and family.
Know your limits
You can’t do everything. Sometimes you might have a great idea that just isn’t a great fit for you. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Push yourself to your limits, but don’t break yourself trying to make a doomed project work. Learn from it and move on, but don't forget your idea. Who knows? Maybe someday you'll be able make it happen. And until then, keep looking for the next great one.
Have a great idea? Want to share your own Auburn success story? Tell us about it on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.