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“Don’t take the easy road.” With Fotis Georgiadis & Travis Potter

The best investment you can possibly make is investing in clean farming, good food, tasty/functional beverages, and great people. Get rid of bad habits, encourage people to live longer, work hard, love everyone and create profits for others. I had the pleasure of interviewing Travis Potter. As a curious farmer and founder of Tractor Beverage […]

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The best investment you can possibly make is investing in clean farming, good food, tasty/functional beverages, and great people. Get rid of bad habits, encourage people to live longer, work hard, love everyone and create profits for others.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Travis Potter. As a curious farmer and founder of Tractor Beverage Company, Travis Potter has made it his mission to enhance the health and wellbeing of future generations with “better for you” beverages. Potter works towards achieving one goal — changing the world through simple ingredients that make a large impact. He travels around the globe seeking innovative ways to improve his products by immersing himself in various cultures and regions. Potter takes his knowledge back to the farm and continuously curates new, unique Tractor flavors that are 100% Certified Organic, non-GMO and entirely natural. Potter is also a father to eleven children who he’s raised to become successful entrepreneurs like himself. As a family, they strive to better the lives of others and create a chemical-free environment.

Thank you for joining us Travis! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Asa young farmer I wondered how my family could make a living and pass on a legacy in the current commodity-based agriculture system we live in. I searched for answers on the best way to farm and ranch by the most successful farmers I could find. What I discovered was that farmers had lots of health problems.

After watching a number of my loved ones suffer from debilitating diseases, it became clear to me that the food and beverages we consume play a huge role in our health. As a farmer myself, it was a no brainer that most of these ailments were a direct result of the chemicals used on crops. I met a few farmers that had started farming without chemicals and they seemed happier, healthier and more profitable .

When my family tapped into a nutritionist that pushed us to look at the foods we were eating and the ingredients in those processed foods, I soon started researching the good, bad and ugly of the ingredients we consume. I started to convince myself that these issues could have likely been prevented if my family was more knowledgeable about the products and ingredients they were putting into their bodies. From there on out we started paying deep attention to the food and drinks that we consumed.

Aside from within my own family, I wanted to make a difference far and wide, which had me begin thinking about how I could impact consumers around the world. As I was brainstorming ways to do so, it struck me that great meals are usually paired with chemical-ridden drinks. That’s where I came up with the concept behind Tractor Beverage Company — a drink alternative that doesn’t have artificial anything, but still manages to taste delicious and is grown by farmers that don’t use chemicals and farm organically. Today, Tractor takes pride in providing eateries with healthy drink options that do just that!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

There have been a couple of interesting times that made me really think about whether things were just a coincidence, or the cause of my real ingredients:

  • One was when we did farmers markets with our meats and a customer that bought a lot from us said, “We have only consumed your meats for the past six months and have lost 200 pounds as a family.”
  • Another was when a friend of ours had a bad yeast problem and I gave him some of our probiotic smoothies. A week later there was no longer a yeast problem
  • A diabetic customer of mine in Florida found that testing his blood sugar, then consuming our Cola light didn’t affect his blood sugar and stabilized it when he ate bakery goods.
  • A couple different customers have reached out to us and said, “I have had migraine headaches for years and use way too much over the counter medication, but after drinking Tractor’s Lemonade, my headaches go away for several hours.”
  • A pregnant woman in Missouri found that having our Cola light with meals kept her morning sickness and heartburn down, so she would make her husband drive 30 minutes away to get Tractor when she wasn’t feeling her best.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

  • Doing the right thing is always more fruitful than taking the easy road.
  • It’s better and more sustainable business to have customers live longer.
  • Making choices that will affect our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be better and healthier than we are is the only true way to make the world a better place.
  • Truly understanding the real cost of low cost is seeing the most expensive and destructive route long term.
  • Do unto others that you would like done to you. In that, growing foods that make people healthier and making foods/beverages that create health and well-being is the only option.
  • Don’t waste another person’s hour.
  • Live and promote life to its fullest.
  • Can’t is a four-letter word and isn’t allowed to be said in my household

Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World?”

My “big idea” is actually a rather simple concept that can result in a large difference — we need more products that people can consume long-term while remaining healthy. Restaurants serve amazing food, but the drink options that they offer to complement their meals just don’t add up most of the time. Here we are eating food that is made with real ingredients and we’re washing it down with beverages that are consumed with artificial flavors, chemicals and colors. Drinks should taste great, contain good ingredients and have less sugar than an apple. In return, farmers, restaurants/its employees and consumers can all benefit.

How do you think this will change the world?

If more companies follow in Tractor’s footsteps and begin making real, quality products, the outcome is going to be a very positive effect on the health and well-being of future generations. A chemical-free world is the goal, but we need a ton of passionate people on board to make that a reality.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

After watching people die a gruesome and horrible death too early, it makes you think and develop products on purpose to prevent bad consequences. Some examples:

  • My grandfather died from compulsive smoking and drinking
  • My father-in-law died of liver failure
  • My grandmother died as a young woman from over consumption of pharmaceutical drugs
  • My great grandfather is dying from Parkinson’s disease, potentially from the chemicals he worked with over time

We all have life choices, but if our life choices were different, we might have a better, happier end result. As young people, I doubt any of my family members imagined that that they would have a harder and shorter life because of their choices.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

At the time I had the “Aha moment,” one of my partners Justin had connected us with a group that wanted to open up an organic restaurant concept specifically around burgers. They asked us to help them figure out where to get the organic ingredients. After running the numbers, I thought back to my childhood when my stepdad (who worked for a beverage distributor) once said, “Without our sodas, these restaurants would not be profitable.”

That’s when I began thinking about how the food pays for the rent and employee costs, but the beverages are where all of the profits are. At that point I told the group I could no longer help them as their business model would not work without organic beverages, and there wasn’t a viable option available at the time.

It’s off brand to have high quality and pure grown ingredients, just to wash them down with chemicals. That defeats the purpose of doing the right thing. Afterwards, Justin said to me, “Why don’t you figure out how to make the drinks? You can make everything from sausage to pudding, so I’m pretty sure you can figure it out.“ So I figured it out. I realized we can have a much bigger impact on the world with drinks than anything else we were doing, and now here we are today with Tractor.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

We need more companies to actually care about the people who are consuming their products, the land that the farmers make their livelihoods on, and the next generation. Tractor is a transparent, value-driven brand, and I’d love to see more of that. Instead of cutting corners to save costs by filling foods, beverages, etc. with artificial components, people have to be proactive and take the time to educate themselves on real ingredients and the wonders they can do for the health and wellness of others .

Continually thinking, executing, innovating and improving on what we eat, drink, farm and how we live/should be living, is the best use of my time and way to make the world a better place. Each year I travel around the world with my family to experience different regions and cultural dynamics. I study what grows in various places, talk to chefs in other countries, and try new cuisines to spark inspiration for future Tractor flavors. I need more people to have that type of commitment to not only their brand, but future generations.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  • Fail forward, never give up: I grew up in a world where failure was a bad thing. It’s easier to not do something than to look bad doing it poorly. Although, I also learned that when you fall off a horse, you get back up and ride it as fast as possible before you realize how hard the fall was. It has taken a lot of failures to get Tractor to where it’s currently at. Failures are progress in the making.
  • Don’t take the easy road: We were all trained that the easy and steady road is the road to success — I see that as a traffic jam to nowhere. I’d much rather take the hardest possible road with the most upside than mediocrity just because it’s easy.
  • Don’t do what everyone else does: Going back to the traffic jam to nowhere concept, most people look for immediate satisfaction. I’d rather have a lifetime of progress than a rearview mirror of comfort.
  • Spend more time making the world better and less time entertaining yourself: While growing up in a world of gaming, TVs in every room, and constant entertainment, I’ve found that pruning as much of that out as possible gives a lot more time to studying, thinking and executing.
  • Hang out with people that are smarter, have better values, and are more able than you are — and listen to them: Growing up in the world we live in, I could of easily just hung out with the people in our community and took on their habits, values and lack of motivation. Finding a select few really sharp people to enhance my skills, values and to motivate me, has been fruitful in so many ways.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets?”

You have to truly be passionate about the work you’re doing, which means that you need to identify a purpose. Ask yourself questions like, “Is there a meaning behind the time and effort that I’m putting in?” “How can I impact the world?” and “What legacy do I want to leave behind?” Being practical is important too — my children have been starting businesses of their own from very young ages and that’s one of the first things I teach them. Lastly, don’t get discouraged. I never see any challenge as too big and I encourage others to do the same. If you’re going to put your heart and energy into something, why not go all out?

Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them ☺

The best investment you can possibly make is investing in clean farming, good food, tasty/functional beverages, and great people. Get rid of bad habits, encourage people to live longer, work hard, love everyone and create profits for others.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I don’t personally have social media, but you can follow Tractor at https://drinktractor.com/.

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