On June 14, 2017 the Founder of Lift N Brews, Jeremy started on a journey to visit all 50 states and meet with 2 gym owners and 2 brewery owners per state regarding entrepreneurship and lessons learned.
WHY? (be prepared, it’s a bit lengthy as it should be for such a decision!)
It was around 2012 when Jeremy helped a buddy move from Fresno, California to Charlotte, North Carolina. They left early Thursday morning and made it to Charlotte by noon on Sunday. It was a ton of driving, not much sleeping, but an incredible growth experience traveling across the country. One experience they would talk about for years to come.
Fast forward to 2017, Jeremy had been wanting to visit more of the United States and hit landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, Washington DC, Boston, New Orleans. Places that he heard were great but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to experience. As a sports fan, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and some Halls of Fame were iconic places to visit. Without any family obligations, Jeremy thought the time to do such a trip was soon.
In 2016, as he was completing his MBA, Jeremy went to work with his brother, running an Engineering and Machining business. There was a ton to learn and Jeremy started to think that inventing something would be fun.
It was a warm day after crushing some weights where Jeremy felt a sense of pride and thirst. He thought enjoying a beer and watching the game sounded like a nice plan. Whilst grabbing a beer and opening it he thought, hmm what about an opener that was like a weight! -some of these details may not have occurred specifically, but they surely happened at some point and bottom line, Jeremy had an idea to make a cool opener that looked like a bumper plate.
Jeremy talked it over with his mechanical engineer of a brother and they worked out a design. From that design, far more hours and effort than most people would think feasible went into making something that was cool and functional. Upon this great pride, creating a prototype and then dialing it in through more effort and time, more openers were made.
It was the creation of the opener, talking with friends wiser than himself, and a passion for beer and lifting weights that formed the idea of going to gyms and breweries in each state. With this idea, the passion for entrepreneurship and lessons learned meant Jeremy could create questions to ask each owner, 4 per state.
With this inspiration and idea, it then meant time for the HOW of the journey.
One may think that with a formal education and some common sense, Jeremy would have a solid and thorough plan for funding and the trip. Quite reasonable, but Jeremy was not that wise.
The plan for the route was roughly based on a search for an efficient route hitting each state. Dr. Randy Olson made an algorithm for doing just that. That algorithm served as the general route for driving, and Jeremy would fly to Alaska and Hawaii for the 49th and 50th states fittingly and respectfully. While he had a general plan, the reality meant that Jeremy would drive to a place in a state where he had a connection and somewhere to stay, or where an owner had volunteered to talk with him. Naturally, there were other issues that led to some zig zagging across the states at times, but that’s part of the fun.
Funding was a combination of multiple factors. Jeremy had a little money in savings, sold some stocks, went into debt, lived frugally (pb and honey sandwiches made in trunk), and kindness of friends, family, and new friends who were formally strangers.
It cannot be overstated how lucky and grateful Jeremy was for the people that would offer him a meal, or many. Those who would cook for him, cover the check, send him off with goodies, donate money and tell him to hit certain key spots in cities. Those kind people helped make the trip an amazing experience.
The trip was estimated to take roughly 120 days, but that was a wild guess. Jeremy stayed in each state until the meetings were completed. A couple times he stayed a bit longer to visit with friends or handle issues. The last meeting was completed October 31, 2017. 200 meetings in the books.
Some times are rough and some times are exhilarating. This was true for the journey as it is for life. Making effort to leverage the rough times into good times and appreciating the journey itself leads to a feeling of success.
Whether it was a gym or brewery, emphasis on putting care towards customers was key.
It can take twice as long and twice as much money as you think to get things up and running.
It is a good idea to be nice to people, you never know when you’ll see them again or be wanting their help. It makes it easier to ask and receive if you’ve been nice.
Sometimes it is hard to know what decision to make. Gather information and feel confident that at the time you made the best decision, regardless how reality plays out.
There is always something you can learn from someone. It may take effort on your part, but there is something special about them and you can find it if you look.
People are worse drivers and overall more annoying when you’re hungry and/or tired. (Taking care of yourself can allow for more joy around others)
Experiencing what you know, makes you more confident in what you know.
There are many more, feel free to read the blogs here and/or reach out to hear more! -at some point there will be a resource from the knowledge from all the gym owners and another from the brewery owners.
50 states covered along with Canada
200+ entrepreneurs met from across the USA
About 16 hotel stays for Jeremy
1 night spent in a gym
1 night spent in a RV type trailer at a brewery
3 Baseball stadiums -Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park
3 Halls of Fame – Baseball Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame, Golf Hall of Fame
3 Presidential Libraries and Museums -Lincoln, Wilson, Clinton
Nearly all the Monuments in Washington DC experienced
1 car broke down and needed to be submitted for VW buyback process
1 new car purchase
1 time hit by a car while walking in New Orleans (Jeremy jumped away, so it only lightly tapped him but they driver had been distracted on a cell phone)
1 time rear ended in the new car and had to get a new rear bumper
1 speeding ticket in South Dakota
1 Parking Ticket in Delaware
MANY -beers, workouts, friends, new friends, buffets, Costco free samples, pb and honey sandwiches, pub mix, good times.