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The Adversity Advantage with Doug Bopst

Oct 19, 2020

A lot of people think that their current situation will be a lifelong one -- may it be about their struggles, financial status, and even in their career. Sometimes people think that they are imprisoned by what/where they are right now. They tend to think that there is no possible way to shift from doing what they used to do for a living, to doing what they really are passionate about.


Today’s guest will make us realize that change is okay, and how doing what we really love can change our lives for the better. We just have to embrace changes.

My guest is Chris Gronkowski -- the owner and inventor of the Ice Shaker. He first made a career for himself as a professional football player and joined the NFL in 2010 after being signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a fullback. During his years in the NFL, Gronkowski also played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. In 2016, he decided to put his entrepreneurial skills to the test when he set out to create a protein shaker bottle that would alleviate many of the issues he and other avid athletes experience with standard protein shakers.


Chris Gronkowski Backstory


Chris has 4 brothers and they all play pro-sports. His eldest brother plays baseball. They did not come from a football family. They were just athletes because their parents can’t handle them being inside the house all day, because it will be like they will take five boys, they leave them inside a house, and all they will do is fight. It will be just all brawls non-stop. So Chris and his brothers put all their energy into sports. And that's how that all came about.


His goal really wasn't to make it to the NFL, and he actually thought he had zero chance. All he gets told every single year by his teachers and by everyone is, “Hey, this is a dream. Very few people make it. It's one in a million. Get your grades because it's probably not happening for you.”


Being told that everyday, Chris’ goal was just to get to college, and get the best education possible. But he was lucky enough to get a last minute scholarship offer to the University of Maryland and he got to college for free at division one. Then along the way, he obviously put his all into athletics. And since he has his brother on his team, it became a competition between brothers. And that just led them to pushing each other harder and harder. It led to an opportunity where scouts might have been coming in to see his brother, Rob, but they were also seeing him at the same time.

What is it like to play in the NFL?


According to Chris, playing in the NFL is not just a game. It's a job. A hard and super stressful job.


In college, you could pretty much hold up a sign. If you see the signs on the sideline like, “What the hell does that mean?” And it actually tells you exactly what you’re doing. 


In the NFL, it's definitely not like college. You walk up to the line, you have a quarterback, like a Brady - Peyton Manning, he's calling out one word on the line, and in a split second, you have to know exactly what you're doing. So you have to be a pretty smart and intelligent person. And then also with that, you'll play changes as “defend changes.”


Chris’ transition from being in the NFL to becoming an entrepreneur


It was almost a blessing in disguise when Chris got hurt in his fourth year. He took an injury settlement, because once you get hurt in a camp, and you're not a superstar player, you're pretty much “damaged goods” at that time. They'll release you and they'll pay you out as long as they think you're going to be hurt. And so they paid Chris for three games.


So it was an easy, easy transition for Chris because his wife also started a business in his third year. She started hand painting wine glasses, and he saw it as if this little hobby that's going nowhere. But pretty soon they started to sell. They started selling. She had to find a way to scale up and she started scaling up and at that time, while Chris ended his first contract with the Broncos.


Chris had this little break and he started looking into the business and realized that it was a huge opportunity. It was personalized gifts and it was super expensive. It was a long turnaround time. And they had a way to do it fast most of the time, same day and do it for a lot cheaper just through our mind and through the etsy platform and their own website. So he started pouring money into it, putting the NFL money into commercial grade laser engravers and, and other machines to personalize gifts and soon enough you know it took off.

He was there for a couple months, he got hurt and he had this to fall back on so it wasn't too hard and he just poured everything into it. So Chris went from everything in football, to the blog days just right over to business and putting the long hours in which was his wife's business and did that for about five years until he thought of the idea for ice shaker which he eventually got on to to shark tank and going into four years.


What are some things that Chris did to develop an unbeatable worth work ethic?


The work ethic really was just instilled with them from their parents. His dad was an entrepreneur himself, he's worked two jobs for six years to get his business off the ground. Now, he is the second largest distributor of fitness equipment in the US. So Chris and his brothers watched their dad and their mom, who probably had more than a full time job raising the five of them. Every day, their mom had a ridiculous calendar with 10 to 12 different events that she had to drive them to get them ready for. 


Everything had to be earned. And that's what their parents instilled in them.


“If you want something awesome, find a way to get it.” - Chris Gronkowski


The Ice Shaker


It's the classic shaker bottle right that people love with easy open pop top and an easy to hold handle. They put measurement markings inside of it. It’s made of a kitchen grade insulated stainless steel, so it's not going to absorb the odor like the plastic bottle does, it's actually made of the same material that a kitchen fork would be made of. It is insulated so it will keep the drink hot or cold for an extended period of time. Whereas if you filled it with just ice, it would last over 30 hours before it all melted.

Learn more about the Ice Shaker and what separates it from the traditional blender bottle! They have put something in it that’s really interesting!

You will also hear the story behind how Chris got into the Shark Tank. It was epic and it’s another proof that everything happens for a reason, and it happens in its own time!


Chris Gronkowski as an entrepreneur


Just like the other entrepreneurs, Chris faced challenges too when he was just starting his business. He was able to get through those difficult times and in this episode, he will share with us how he handled everything. 


So listen to this episode and learn some lessons from Chris that are all based on his own experiences!









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