A fourth-generation entrepreneur in the grocery industry, Darren Rude was trying to figure out the direction his career was going and looking for a different opportunity when he came across the book called The Greatest Salesman in the World, which directed him to his next vehicle of success – Youtheory, one of the original collagen supplement brands. He joins Dan McCormick on the show today to talk about his transition from the grocery business into the supplement space. Emphasizing servant leadership, he takes us through the principles he learned from Og Mandino and how they shaped him.
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The Mindset Of A Servant Leader with Darren Rude
This episode is going to be unlike any interview I’ve ever done on any setting. My friend, Darren Rude and I have not seen each other in many years. That is a shame because we don’t live too far, but a mutual friend of ours reminded me of the journey that he’s on. He is an entrepreneur dejure. This is going to be very special. We’re going to see comments and questions throughout. If you want to share this on Facebook, you’ll be able to see it on Facebook and YouTube. It’ll be on podcast sites around the world. I’m with my good friend and entrepreneur, Darren Rude. Welcome to the show. How are you?
Are you home in San Clemente, California?
Absolutely. I’m staying in my lake house, checking out the waves.
I got the waves in the back of me at Lake Coeur d’Alene. Darren, I want to open our show up and tell everybody that when this book was first written many years ago, one of the dedication comments was simply saying that it blended a unique approach of salesmanship into a living philosophy for success, which motivates and guides thousands of individuals each year to discover greater happiness, good mental and physical health, peace of mind, power and wealth. Every day I pick up The Greatest Salesman and I think about its principles, things come to mind. Before we get to your story, I love to ask from a value proposition for our audience right at the top of every show, what are the three things that an entrepreneur like you, somebody I know that’s a principled person, that shapes your day? What shapes your philosophies? What are the three things you could share with our audience right out of the gate?
When I wake up, I want to make sure that I’m a server. I know that the servers are the leader. I want to make sure that everybody I touched that day and everybody that I’m working with, I’m serving. I hope that my team as well are serving.
Nobody has said that on our show. It’s a brilliant word. It’s something that gives us incredible feelings to make other people’s lives better. If you have three things, is that one or three in one?
That’s one. Another one is who you hang around, you become. I try to make sure that every day as I go into the office and who I go out to lunch with are the people that I want to be around and we’re both growing. It’s not somebody that’s going to take me or my team down. We’re always looking for people that are like-minded and willing to support and break success in life. That’s two. The other one would be that every day I calendar my days, my weeks, my months. I’ve always been a great fan of Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrants. I’ve lived it all my life to make sure that my weeks are fulfilled with the proper things that you need, and not a bunch of fluff or things that are going to steer you the wrong way.
It’s interesting that you bring that up because servant leadership is a popular thing to talk about in this day and age, but we learned those back in biblical times. When you said number two, somebody struck my mind and that is in The Guinness Book of World Records, a lot of us know the single greatest salesperson ever being Joe Girard. He’s the guy that sold more cars, more automobiles to anybody. I remember in one of his interviews, he said that he wouldn’t even go to lunch with a fellow car salesman because he couldn’t sell him a car.You become who you hang around with. Click To Tweet
I liked how you talked about that with respect to who you go to lunch with and how that can move your day forward. It can help you make somebody else’s day better. That’s fantastic. Servant leadership or serving others is number one, hanging out with others because who you hang out with, you become, the average of the five best friends concept, and then calendaring. Those are the three things that right out of the gate shape you as an entrepreneur each and every day. When I first reached out to you, I asked you if you were hitting the waves. You’ve got a heck of a view there. You get to look at the beautiful wave of San Clemente. I wonder if we could now go backwards in our dialogue a little bit for those that are reading. I remember when we talked a few weeks ago, I said, “How did your company, Youtheory, happened?” We’ll talk about that in more detail. Do you remember the words that you answered that question with?
I don’t think I did, not a word. What did I say?
You said, “We’ll start with Og Mandino.” Talk to us about that journey.
It was a deciding time in my life where I was looking for a different opportunity than the grocery business as a fourth generation. I needed another vehicle. I started trying to figure out where that next direction of my career was going or where I was going. You were the one that handed me the book. I still have it. The pages are pretty shredded. I got ahold of it. I remember you telling me that most people don’t finish this book. They get into it a couple of months, maybe one month, and they cannot develop a ritual of the morning, noon and night.
You asked me, “Are you willing to do it?” I said, “Yes, I’m doing it,” and I did it. It was in 1994 when I first pick up this book and we’ve known each other that long. When I go and read the comments and the scores, it’s interesting how it did change the direction from being more in the grocery and going into supplements through that time. The book directed me into that next vehicle of success.
When I reached out to you, we hadn’t talked yet. Our mutual friend tells me how your new company is doing. I said, “I’ve been in Costco. I’ve bought those products.” Talk to us about how you transitioned from the grocery business to the supplement business? It’s safe to say that your supplement company only sold on retail shelves and/or your website, Youtheory.com.
You can get it at any iHerb, Amazon.com, and Youtheory.com. It’s all in the retailers and of course, the most famous retailer and the one that’s growing the fastest is Costco. We are one of the biggest brands in Costco. It’s exciting to be the biggest brand, but we’re also in Sam’s, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and all your natural retailers like Sprouts, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World. What happened was I was selling in the pickle aisle peppers, jalapenos, relish. When I was in Sprouts they started showing me how the supplement aisle has taken over the pickle aisle.
I said, “What’s in that?” They said, “Food.” I said, “I can make food.” They then took a bottle of my pickles and they put it up next to a bottle of supplements. I said, “It’s the same size, but I make about $10 more a bottle in my retail store.” I went, “I got to check into this.” At the time, the only supplements that were on the market were MLM, network marketing. I started looking into where they were manufactured and what was the success? Success in 1994 was network marketing. It was hard to get any manufacturer to sell to retailers because all the manufacturers said, “No, the money’s in MLM,” which is still true now. It’s the biggest sector of supplements. With COVID, I believe the easiest way to get somebody on a supplement is by word of mouth.
We meet in the direct sales industry. In 1994, I give you this book. You go ahead and you figure out how are you going to get a product. If I recall our conversation, you’re saying Wayne Gretzky’s “Where the puck is going,” It’s not, “Where is the puck?” You see this opening. “I’ve got the supplement opportunity. If I’m XYZ retailer that wants to carry supplements, I can make more money in the supplement space.” You had the idea of making a product that targets inflammation.
One true statement in supplement selling in retail is the person has got to feel the difference with one model with their first purchase. I knew that collagen was a product that your nails got stronger and your hair got thicker. You could see a difference. I started with collagen and what I had to do was go door to door, store to store. I had all the relationships. I started telling them, “Put three bottles on your shelf and get three of your customers to try it. If they don’t like it, give it back and I’ll give you a refund.” That’s how it started. Collagen took off and it became a staple ingredient in the retail side.
I had a long-standing relationship in India with Dr. Muhammed Majeed. I wanted to go after turmeric because I knew that turmeric was an amazing anti-inflammation supplement. You could feel the difference and it works. Dr. Majeed is the number one farmer in India. I contacted him from way back. You and I have known him for many years. I said, “How would you like to go in business with each other and team up and sell more bottles than anybody in the world?” He said, “I trust you could do that. Let’s do it together.” We signed an agreement and did it. We are the number one manufacturer and farmer. I’m the number one bottler and he’s the number one farmer of turmeric in the world.
You started with three bottles on a shelf at Sprouts market. What would be an incredible day of sales for your bottles of product for you now?
Our manufacturing manufactures over 100,000 bottles a day in one building. We’re increasing and we’re working on equipment by the end of 2020. The manufacturing facility in Irvine, California will manufacture 350,000 bottles every 24-hour shift. We’re also building a manufacturing facility and we’re looking at plants in Utah up North of Provo. We’ll be able to manufacture right out of the gate 400,000 bottles there. We know within the next few years, we’ll be manufacturing about 800,000 bottles of Youtheory every 24 hours.
For our audience, I want to see if you can open that book for me and find some nuggets for our audience. When you’re selling three bottles, you’re not driving up in your favorite car or flying in your favorite plane. You and I both know as an entrepreneur that there are a lot of expenses. There are a lot of what-ifs. Somehow you had a vision. We can always go back to that great saying that ideas can be life-changing and you only need one, but you had to execute on that idea. What are some of those thoughts that were created in your mind? How did you program yourself? Og says you have a 75 to 1 odds of finishing the book and you did it. I told you those odds and you did it. Take us through some of those things when you think about Og Mandino and how it shaped you.
One of them is to love your enemies and I think about every day as my last. I work every day like it’s my last and make sure that I fulfill it with everything I can. When you love your enemies, they don’t know what’s going on. They are taken back. I don’t focus on my enemy. My enemies are my competitors. We’re known as an innovative brand. Usually, the products that we come up with, nobody else has. People are shocked and they wonder what it is. One of the products that we put into a lot of retailers is called Ashwagandha. We have a video just because nobody knows what it is, but it’s selling. It’s for stress.
You’re going to see it on the Angels baseball team coming up in the outfield. We’re filling up the chairs that there’s no audience. We’ll have a banner that’s enormous out in the outfield of Ashwagandha helps you smile through your bad games. A lot of the team has taken it. It’s a great product when we’re dealing with all this stress that’s going on in our world to be able to help it out and people feel the difference. It’s things like that and being innovative and creative every day. It all came from just picking up a book constantly by Og Mandino.
My wife said that she remembered on one of our dates, I don’t know if anybody on your audience remembers, but all we had was cassettes from 1994 to 2000. We didn’t even have CDs or DVDs, so you would have to buy Og Mandino on cassette. I was playing cassettes for one where he talks about him being a bum and living on a park bench. It changed my wife’s thought and she decided that she needed to get ahold of all of Og Mandino’s books as well. She’s the president of my company and we’re partners. People always ask us, “How do you guys stay married and be in business for many years, and still love each other?” We’re just a good team and we’re focused on the same outcome.
There are a couple of people here putting quotes up. People can relate to what you’re saying. One thing that I want to bring out for anyone who might be reading this episode, this show is sponsored by Habit Finder. What we do at the Og Mandino Company is we’re able to give people an assessment. They can measure their thoughts and see how they’re aligned with those scrolls. We aren’t just trying to coach people. We’re not trying to sell a book. We’re trying to give you a free assessment. Go to HabitFinder.com/ActNow, and anyone that’s reading this at any time can assess their own mental makeup. It’s not what you’re thinking but how you’re thinking.You can build a company without capital. It doesn't take as much as people believe. Click To Tweet
When you talked about loving your enemies, I think of what Og says in scroll number two, “I will greet this day with love in my heart. Muscle can split a shield and even destroy life, but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of men and women. Until I master this art, I remain no more than a peddler in the marketplace.” You applied the principles and you became the greatest salesman in the world for what you do. Your numbers back it up. What are some other thoughts you have when you open the book, when you see the dog year, the highlights, the scrolls? Do you have a favorite scroll that you think about?
The first scroll is probably the one that I remember the most.
“Today, I begin a new life” is what you’re saying. It’s when Og was reliving his own story and being an alcoholic, living on the bench, going through those tough times, and turning on a chapter. “Today, I begin a new life” is a big deal.
“I will greet this day with love in my heart,” I say that constantly. I’ve been saying it for many years. What’s interesting is now it doesn’t seem like it came from the book. It’s just something in my head. Back then, it’s interesting the first paragraph, “I will greet this day with love in my heart.” I highlighted it, I circled it, and then it says, “I will greet this day with love and I will succeed.” There were times in my life where you have trials or you’re going through trials. I’m a man of faith and I pray a lot. I believe this is what God was directing me to do.
We had some big hurdles in our business career. When you’re in business these days, especially in California, you’re up against lawsuits constantly. It’s sad, but people like to attack companies that are doing well. Through all that, I believed that God has a hand in this and we’ll get through it. We’ve gotten through all of them and never lost one of them. We went through a few with Costco and there were battles. You could be very stressed and you’re either in a trial, going through a trial, or coming out of a trial. If you’re in happy days, get ready because the trial starts. We get through them as a team. My full staff has seen some major trials happen within our company and they watched as a leader, what you do and how you go through it. We don’t go through it with much agony and stress. We go through it and get to the other side. We know success is around the corner.
I love it when you bring that up because, in scroll number ten, he has the salesman’s prayer. He opens up the chapter by saying, “Who is of so little faith that in a moment of great disaster or heartbreak has not called to his God?” We’ve all said, “Help me. How did this happen? I didn’t do that. How could they see that in this?” That is why the principles of this book are so timeless and why we can always turn to it in any scenario.
Let’s take the attention off of the book concepts for a minute. Let’s ask you as an entrepreneur. Every time I’ve tried to reach out to you, you said, “I’m just slammed.” We all have a relationship. We might have kids. In my case, it’s kids and grandkids. Everybody’s got their stuff and their schedule. One of the popular phrases now is biohacking. How does Darren Rude biohack his day so he gets it all done in a day? You want to serve and you want to be with your wife and kids. You want to serve all the people that you have on your team. You have 250 employees. Either you got people reporting to you or people reporting to people that are reporting. How do you structure that day? We talked about serving and calendaring, but how do you afford it all in?
I have an assistant that keeps the calendar for me. She books my appointments most on the business side, and some personal appointments I’ll do on my own. I make sure that my calendar is blocked. We do a lot of traveling but because of COVID, we would have been around the world three times now. We usually start here in Orange County and up to New York, to London and Dubai, where we have an office, and then we’ll end up in India where I met the farmers, then to Taiwan, China, Japan and back home. We do that three times a year. Patty and I do it together so we’re not apart. We don’t have kids living at home. We’re empty nesters and we have seven grandchildren. Lately, our grandchildren have started popping into our lives, which has taken up more time.
What I do on a normal day is I wake up. I do devotionals with my wife and I focus on learning for the first hour, exercise and then get into my emails a lot of times. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will wake up earlier and start working with the London office. I have a full day in the Orange County, California office, and then start working on the orient. We have an office in Japan and a distribution center. I’ll be working out of that office from 6:30 at night until about 8:00, 8:30. We do have full days most of the day. We learned in the last few years that if my wife and I don’t escape from time to time, it’s overwhelming. We have another house in Arizona and we will get there. We turn everything off usually on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We come back to work Monday noon. We’re able to escape and not have the issues. If there’s a big issue, we’ll get called through but usually, we’re not bothered.
From 2010, we asked our kids for seven years to focus where we went all out as a couple. The kids went to college. While they’re in college, we said, “Give us seven years. We’re going to build a company and then we’ll have time for you.” We did that and they gave us that. It’s interesting, after seven years, we have one left to get married and we have seven grandchildren. We’re into that stage in life now where our company is where we want it. We have great leadership that’s running a lot of the marketing, the sales, and production. We don’t have to be there every day. We just tackle the giants.
I wrote down a couple of things. I love how you focus on learning. Whether it’s Ben Franklin going through those thirteen virtues one at a time for a week for 64 years or whatever it was. Exercise the mind and heart, get up and move, do your surfing, whatever your exercise is, and then your mind is at a higher key and you’re ready for work. Og tried to remind us of that three times a day. You said it at the outset of the show that who’s going to take the time to invest in their own mind, their habits, their principles, three times a day for 10, 12 minutes to look at the scroll or study the scroll to reset the mind after every few hours.
You give me your three things at the top. You gave us a bit about your day. What would you say to aspiring entrepreneurs? There are going to be people in direct sales reading this. There are going to be homemakers. There are going to be people from every walk of life that have gone through every challenge that you’ve gone through. Maybe they didn’t have enough money to start. Maybe they don’t think they have enough contacts on their phone to make it all happen. It’s interesting how you went door to door one at a time, three bottles at a time. What would you say to that aspiring entrepreneur?
What I want to say first is that I was molded into leadership by my grandfather. He helped create Progressive Foods, Giuliano’s Foods and Giuliano’s Delis. I was coachable from a young age. I wanted to suck it all in and to learn. He kept handing me books and sales books. They’re boring to me. In the summer when I was growing up, I love to surf. I did whatever I could to get surfing in. At the same time, I was in the factory. I was dumping jars on the bottling line. I was learning how to label. I was learning what the paper was in a label. I’ve got a lot of cousins who didn’t want to learn. They weren’t coachable. When I got to Og Mandino, I knew you could be successful in learning. When I picked up the book, I went, “I’m going to give this a shot.”
It paid off to the point where it refocused my mind and gave me a direction to go into. When it comes to money, you look at venture capitalist groups and all these investment companies that tell people they cannot build a company anymore in the United States without capital. You can build a company without capital. It doesn’t take as much as people believe you to believe. We’ve built our company to where we didn’t have a lot of money when we started building in the supplement industry. Look at where we went.
We brought on a couple of friends and investors at the very beginning and then paid them off. We didn’t borrow money from banks to build our company. It was all self-funded. We have a line of credit from our bank in case of an emergency. We built it all ourselves with our own money and slowly built it. We didn’t explode out of the door with growth even though we’re pretty big for a few years old company. Anybody who puts their mind to it and gets rid of the cobwebs can come out and do it and succeed.
I love the value that you gave our readers at any time. The point of history is even though we’re sitting in 2020 through difficult times, you can still build it without a lot of money. You gave people great wisdom there. Darren, I want to thank you. I know how busy you are. Do you have any other thoughts?
Think about this, Dan. I was telling a friend who has a foundation that takes care of cancer kids. They bring toys to cancer kids that are in the hospital. I said, “We need to put on our thinking cap. We need to come up with another idea because the kids aren’t going to be the focus. It’s going to be the nurses. How can we change our direction to where the foundation is earning money because that’s the focus of the people?” I said, “Let’s do this. I think masks are going to be huge. Everybody in the world is going to end up wearing a mask, whether we like it or not. Why don’t we come out with masks, start putting them into jars with everything a nurse needs, walk into the hospital for the nurses, but then back in the kids and be able to still support the kids? The foundation will raise money because everybody wants to help nurses. They’re not thinking about the poor children that have cancer every day. We need to still focus on the kids. Let’s start doing nurse jars instead of kids jars as our focus, but still bring on the kids.”
It took him at least a month to hear this. What I did was I went and made masks for him and had them stockpiled in my building. Once he said, “I want to do this. Now we need to make masks.” I said, “Done. Here are the masks.” We started making jars the next day. People can think of ways to build a business in a crisis. This is not a crisis for all. This is a crisis for who wants the crisis. You can go after it like for instance, with Youtheory, we created Immune+. It is exploding because it’s everything I feel and people feel they need to help with their immune system. We need that now. On January 5th, we created Immune+ and we launched it. We can’t keep up with it, to tell you the truth. Everybody wants it, needs it and is consuming it. Anybody can start a business if they think what people need now in a crisis.
You said it there, it’s not a crisis unless you choose for it to be a crisis. It is a time of opportunity. Certainly, our hearts are full, but what you struck with me there is why I have the greatest salesman every week. It’s because every one of my guests is always aligned with the first three things that they talk about. What you just said has 100% harmony and alignment with your attitude of being a servant leader and being of service to others. It is fantastic to have you. I’m thrilled that we could hook up and I’m happy that people could join us. It’s awesome to have our readers. Please share and like our page on Facebook, YouTube, and all the other locations on the show coming up soon.
He is the greatest salesman in the world. The founder of Youtheory. You’ll find his products at many great stores including Costco, Amazon, etc. Darren, thank you so much. I wish your continued success with The Greatest Salesman in the World. HabitFinder.com/ActNow. You can watch my short video. It’s free to take the assessment. I hope you too can measure your thoughts and decide that you’re going to go out and make this the greatest day of your life. Bye for now.