After Scott Hogan, 35, graduated with an MBA degree during the last recession, he’s struggled to find a job. He ended up working in the logistics department of a large retailer, where he had to get up at 4 in the morning to manage a team of 40 people. “It was hard,” he recalls.
Therefore, when a position as a manager at GNC opened, he gladly accepted it. Talking to customers at the supplement store each day gave him an in-depth education on what they were looking for. “There is a human side to things when you work face to face,” he says.
This led him to work running a licensed nutrition store that he bought with his family and, later, two major online nutritional supplement retailers. He decided to go into a side business — an e-commerce store that was selling sports nutrition supplements he designed — in 2018. He was laid off from his last job during a company buyout deal when his wife was four days away from giving birth to a baby. He’s already been into e-commerce, running an Amazon store as a side business since 2015.
Hogan named his shop SaltWrap, in honor of Epsom salt, which his mother had once brought him back when he injured his elbow playing baseball. He soon discovered that being an entrepreneur was his true goal, as he built SaltWrap into a million dollar, one-person company and beyond.
“I’ve always known I was excited about this,” Hogan says. “I remember having a conversation with my brother when I was a kid. I said: I never want to get a job. I want to own my own business.”
Hogan is part of one of the most exciting trends in small business – million dollar single business growth. There are currently about 40,000 of these companies in the United States, based on the latest available census data.
With a young family and bills paid, Hogan had to make the most of his resources, starting the store with an estimated $5,000 to $10,000. His first product was a proprietary supplement he designed for nocturnal leg cramps – which he experienced while doing competitive bodybuilding. The supplement is made with ingredients like magnesium glycinate and adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola and passionflower. “I did the thing you shouldn’t do and placed an order on credit cards,” he said with a laugh.
With access to the supplement factories he knew through his work in the industry, Hogan was able to find someone who was willing to do a small batch of 300 bottles of his supplement. “They have high minimums,” he explains. He remembers that the order was so small that it caused problems for the manufacturer’s accounting department.
With the money coming in from supplements, he reinvested it in the business and was able to place larger orders. To promote his products, Hogan used the Google Keyword Planner to select the best search terms for his products and invested in online advertising. In the first two years, he saw little competition for the terminology he used, but later, as imitators entered the fray, it became more expensive.
In addition to the supplements, Hogan has also written and sold a 128-page self-published book, Painless fat loss, aimed at people with inflammation issues, via a separate website. Many pdf book buyers went to buy its supplements. “They read the book,” he says. “They got results.”
To make the most of his promotional efforts, Hogan works hard to retain clients once he wins them, drawing on what he learned from his supplement launches for his last employer. “The cost of acquiring a customer is six times the cost of retaining a customer,” he says. It uses email marketing to send relevant content to customers, and also offers subscription purchase programs to make more sales automated. “The only way I’ve been able to scale it up is to make retention the number one priority for me,” he says.
To get it all done, Hogan focuses on “one thing” for at least one hour per day, and ideally, three. He makes time each week to wear all the hats needed in his work, for example, he spends Tuesdays in the Amazon store, Wednesdays in ads, Thursdays on his quarterly goals and Fridays on his books. To stay healthy, he does weight training three times a week and takes long walks on the days in between.
Gradually, Hogan introduced more and more products he designed for joint support, collagen synthesis, muscle recovery, muscle and nerve support, and other concerns he had heard from clients or experienced as a college baseball player at Emporia State University, a second division school.
“I’ve always been obsessed with nutritional interventions and finding ways to fix problems,” he says. He spent many days looking at the book Nutritional healing When he worked in the nutritional supplement industry. “I think I have a Rolodex of ingredients in the back of my head,” he says.
Along the way, he wrote a new book, built from brokenWhich focuses on healing joint pain. He spent time running a business from Costa Rica before the pandemic, and he, his wife and two children now reside in the West Palm Beach area of Florida.
He’s been able to get a lot done in a typical work day by setting quarterly goals and not letting himself take on new projects until he’s finished with the quarter goals. Then, it will allow itself to play with new product ideas, marketing campaigns, and new features of the website.
Using this approach, Hogan gradually grew his revenue. By 2018, the company was bringing in $800,000 annually. This number increased to $1.5 million in 2019 and just over $3 million in 2020. This year it expects $5-6 million in annual revenue.
Hogan doesn’t see himself returning to a traditional job anytime soon. “They can at any moment take that away from me,” he says. “This is way more intimidating than running a business.”