You’re either a health and wellness entrepreneur or wanting to become one – or maybe you just have an appreciation for supporting small businesses.
We’re here to expose the behind-the-scenes world of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur – from vulnerabilities to victories, and everything else in between.
This time we’re featuring Tim Schley, owner of Green Theory – a natural deodorant company – out of the green and lush part of the U.S. Northwest in Eugene, Oregon.
First of all, Tim, what products do you make and what is your brand all about?
I make natural deodorant! Green Theory is a natural deodorant with a little bit of an attitude.
My objective is to transform the hyper-hippie perception of natural deodorant to more of a mainstream conception.
Who is your target audience?
Right now, health conscious active outdoor-lovin’ individuals who have an interest in the products they put on or in their bodies – but who aren’t full-blown “hippies.”
What makes your brand stand out?
- Green Theory’s product design doesn’t get lost with all of the other natural deodorants.
It’s more in your face – especially in the sense of marketing to men. We exhibit more color and an “active” appeal, while other companies tend to present their labels as clean, white, and proper.
- Green Theory’s market is geared toward a different audience (than most natural deodorant companies):
Think: Men (and women) who endure the active outdoor lifestyle – from hiking fanatic to hunting fanatic.
- Green Theory’s natural deodorant formula is unique.
We harness odor fighting power with probiotics and detoxifying agents, like bentonite clay. Just by wearing it, you’ll get fresh pits, have peace of mind, and feel healthier.
Where can customers find Green Theory natural deodorant?
Green Theory natural deodorant is always available through www.GoGreenTheory.com.
We’re offering a 15% OFF DISCOUNT on your first purchase: Use code: GTKISSMYWELLNESS15 at checkout.
We also have low shipping rates.
We’re also working on expanding our market to physical locations. We’re currently creating local partnerships in the Eugene, Oregon area – and hopefully expanding out from there! We’re slowly growing!
We’d love for you to folow us @GreenTheoryDeodorant on Instagram and Facebook so you can be the first to know about our giveaways, upcoming discounts, and updates!
Let’s go behind the scenes, Tim:
Where and how did you learn the skills to build your business?
I’m a self-made entrepreneur and, thus, have taught myself most of the skills I’ve acquired (I don’t know if they’re worth anything yet).
Honestly, every day is something new and an opportunity to learn something new.
I’ve had some intelligent business mentors come along who have given me advice, but I think that ultimately all business decisions come down to you (if you’re working by yourself).
You have to make decisions and see what happens. Good or bad, you’ll always learn.
Was there a life-changing event that led you to become a full-time business owner?
Out of the significant events that led me to becoming a business owner, the defining moment was when I read an article about making natural deodorant.
I’m self-reliant and never even thought of making my own deodorant before – so just the thought of it was super exciting!
The first natural deodorant I made worked well, but it was nothing close to what I could take to market at the time.
What brands influence or motivate you?
I don’t know that I’m really influenced by any brands at this point. I’m still in the process of finding my message and voice.
As far as motivation, there are a few natural deodorant companies that have sold out to large corporations. So, I think that’s pretty good motivation right there. If they can do it, so can I.
Any good books, websites, or podcasts?
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
- Laptop Millionaire by Mark Anastasi
- And, the podcast I’m currently listening to is called Made For Profit.
When you were first starting, how did you prioritize your goals?
When I first started, I don’t think I really had any way to prioritize my goals. In fact, I still don’t think I do.
The things I once thought were pressing needs and goals – like having business cards developed and printed – were a waste of my time. That’s not to say that business cards are a waste of time; it’s just that I thought they were absolutely necessary before launching my business.
How are they different now?
A lot of things changed – between that point and launching – which made my cards somewhat irrelevant.
Imagine standing in the forest and seeing nothing but trees and no way out. But, once you have the opportunity to just pick a path and explore, you start to look back on things – the decisions you should have made. Hindsight is 20/20, right?
I’ve been in business for a year now (started in 2018) and have a much better idea of how my decisions have impacted my bottom line.
What have been your major accomplishments from when you first started?
I think the accomplishment that I’m most proud of thus far is just simply launching a business.
By no means was everything perfect, but I put in enough work and kept at it to the point where it could function and make sales.
Starting a business is a huge exercise in practicing vulnerability. I think that sense of vulnerability crushes a lot of individuals’ spirits – and they never make it.
Before I launched, I fought negative thoughts every day – I still do, but I push beyond them and keep going.
The process made me learn a lot about myself.
Making that first sale is something I wish everyone can experience. It’s incredible.
Now that each sale no longer feels like the first, I now think about the opportunities for growth that fuel a sense of accomplishment.
How do/did you celebrate your progress?
I’m pretty bad at celebrating progress. Many of my friends would agree. I haven’t paid myself anything yet and don’t have plans to do so at this point.
It’s hard to feel good about progress when there’s so much more to go.
I tend to only focus on the next step.
What are some challenges you’ve faced that you didn’t anticipate, and how did you manage them?
I didn’t anticipate much. I thought I could get my business off the ground for $2,000. In actuality, it was more like $5,000.
Every day, something would pop up that I had to address – which were things I did not anticipate.
I manage challenges by just taking a step back and assessing the situation.
People and situations inject themselves into your business – everything becomes pressing and necessary. But, after thinking and not reacting, you’re able to make better decisions for you and your business.
We live in a world full of instant gratification. Sometimes giving into your own need of instant gratification becomes damaging. I try not to do that.
What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
In the last 10 years, I have survived some tough life circumstances. This has given me the reassurance that I’ll be able to push through any troubles that may come my way.
How do you create a healthy balance between running a small business and your personal life?
I look at self-care as the most important thing. If I’m not at my best, if I’m not healthy – physically or mentally.
I can’t make good decisions and put in the work I need to in order to grow my business.
I set aside what are basically non-negotiable times with myself for exercise, friends, and sleep. This allows me to be at my best in work.
What have you let go of – or need to let go of – that isn’t working in your business?
It was fairly difficult to give up the belief that “variety is the spice of life.” I created 22 deodorant scents! I wanted something for everyone!
Sadly, many scents aren’t sustainable, or they’re too expensive. I devoted monetary resources to additional containers, labels, and ingredients. I was spread too thin.
I gradually phased out slower-selling scents. This made things easier and more feasible.
It was just one of those things I needed to figure out and come to on my own.
Describe a time where you’ve exhibited vulnerability in your business.
Just owning a business opens you up to vulnerability. You sell a product or service; you fully invest yourself in it; you believe in it, and you ask people to spend their money on it – and hopefully they feel the same way as you do about your product or service.
Inevitably, some people aren’t going to feel great about it – and they’re definitely going to let you know.
This can hurt.
Do you consider this good or bad?
The good side is that there are people who absolutely love your products; they tell all their friends and become customers for life.
I think being able to take from the “good” and the “bad” is where growth resides.
Weeding through the emotions and getting to what the issue is affords the opportunity for improvement – while at the same time you know there’s a reason to keep going because you know you have customers who love your product!
Vulnerability is always a good thing – it’s genuine.
People buy from people who are genuine – even if they know you aren’t perfect. And, even if they aren’t yet customers, you can at least win them over.
How do you define success?
To me, success is wholeheartedly feeling good about what you’ve done and the work you put into it.
If you feel good about it and gave it your best, that’s all that matters.
What would be the top 3 pieces of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur that would help his/her business grow?
1. Figure out how you’re going to fit into the existing market (if there is one).
Just having a good idea doesn’t automatically mean you have a business. And, even if there already are people buying products like yours doesn’t mean that they’re going to buy from YOU.
Develop a plan on how to differentiate yourself in the market in order to beat out your competition.
2. Don’t be too desperate for sales right out of the gate.
I made this mistake, and it cost me a lot of money with nowhere near enough of a return.
When I first started, I offered 40% off coupons through Facebook ads – when my margins could only support a 15% discount.
Basically, I paid Facebook to run poorly put-together ads, and I lost money on each sale.
Build yourself a little tribe – organically – and be patient.
3. Don’t jump at every opportunity that comes along.
You’ll get a lot of people who want to help you “make sales”: Social media influencers, marketing agencies, even friends – but often, their offerings can’t be backed up.
I had a marketing agency tell me they’d take me from 20 sales a month to 100 sales per month within 2 weeks. I paid for the ads and got virtually no increase in sales – and the company even ghosted me.
What I lost was a month and a half of time. I could have, instead, spent the time learning how to market myself.
Even if you don’t know how to do something, you still can take the time to learn how to do it. It just takes a little commitment – and don’t forget to allow yourself to make some mistakes along the way.
Tell us something quirky about yourself.
I’m this huge rock music guy but have a total crush on Taylor Swift’s music. She can be bitter and raw, but her personal experiences and emotions are evident in her music. I think she’s super talented.
Thanks so much, Tim! It sounds like you’re really making an impact in the natural product world! And, we really appreciate hearing about your success journey and helping other entrepreneurs out!