It’s fair to say that Brian Underwood, co-founder and CEO of Prüvit, is not your typical entrepreneur. He’s in a class of business leaders that have successfully scaled their company to over 10 figures in revenue. And while many spend decades seeking this elusive milestone, Brian has done it in just five years. What’s equally impressive is the culture of learning, self-improvement and drive that he has instilled with his staff and sales force. What contributes to success like this? While the answers will differ for each entrepreneur that you speak to, for this Louisville native, it came down to a few defining moments, one in particular that he shared with us.
Brian was drawn to the entrepreneur, “blaze your own trail” lifestyle early in life. After attending the University of Kentucky he began by working several corporate jobs before launching his first few companies. But as many others can identify with, his first attempts would ultimately not reach the heights he had hoped for. However, in 2015 he would launch Prüvit – 5 years and over $1 billion in sales later, he reflects back on what contributed to his success.
Brian recalls being back in his 20’s and solely motivated by money, a mistake that many of us can admit to making. “During those days, all I cared about was making money.” Brian says, “But a lot of times when you chase something, it eludes you.” At that time, he was still excelling at his craft, often leading training seminars to fellow salespeople. And Brian freely admits that this was not fulfilling to him. “I was leading a meeting in Dallas, and I was going through the motions. I was completely unaware of the ability that we all have to impact, positively or negatively, people’s lives. And you never know the meaning that people give to the words that you’re speaking.” Brian would soon find out.
At the conclusion of his talk, while shaking hands and speaking with attendees, a woman in her late twenties approached him. She began speaking to Brian, who admittedly was absent-mindedly listening to her questions. That is, until she said something that shook him from his fog. “It hit me like a ton of bricks.” he said. “She grabbed my hand and she said ‘thank you so much. No one has ever talked to me like that before. No one has ever told me to dream big.’” The impact of his words on this young woman surprised Brian, and he recalls being taken aback. “I remember, it wasn’t what she was saying to me, it was how I felt when she was saying it. And a huge weight came over me.”
She went on to explain that she grew up enduring an unhappy childhood, surrounded by abusive parents who would dash her dreams at every opportunity. That negativity followed her into adulthood, essentially programming her to think that she was incapable or unworthy of achieving success. After hearing Brian, the positivity of his words jarred her out of a lifetime of self-doubt. “At the end she said ‘I just wanted to thank you because this changed my life.’” Brian said. After the event, Brian had planned to hit the town with friends, but feeling the effects from this profound moment, he instead returned to his room early to reflect on what he had just experienced. “This shocked me into an awareness of what my purpose there was.” Brian recalls. “And at that time, that was a far greater moment in my life than any amount of money I had made. It gave me a true understanding that the real value we have is what we can give to others.” Brian ends his memory with a sentiment we should all carry with us daily: “Sometimes we don’t realize the impact that we can have on a positive ripple effect in the world.”
To learn more about Brian, you can follow him on Instagram (@BrianUndy) and listen his podcast “Be You with BU”