Your business will become your life: I never understood how much a business can completely consume your life. This constant sense of dedication and stress completely encapsulates your entire being. Often times, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to do something that may have slipped my mind during the day. You’re always on call, and the thought of the business and its potential never escapes your thoughts- ever.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders,I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Laverty, Co-Founder and CEO of Vide Beverages, Inc.
Ryan Laverty, 25, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vide Beverages, Inc., a company focused on creating premium canned cocktails. He co-founded the company in 2019 with a vision to deliver convenience and clean ingredients to the modern drinker with a great tasting product. Previously, Ryan worked in the financial services industry, with roles ranging from sales to equity research. He has a B.S in Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University and currently resides in Manhattan, New York.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I never really envisioned myself working in the beverage space. I was a finance guy who always dreamed one day of doing something entrepreneurial. As most early-to-mid twenty-year-olds are, I was a recreational drinker. I appreciated craft products that conveyed quality and simplicity. It just so happened that we started paying attention to the products we were drinking (call it, for ’health reasons’). I was a bit confused and thrown off with some of the seltzer products I was consuming. Alcohol derived from fermented cane sugar wasn’t something I was necessarily familiar with at the time. After doing some research in an attempt to understand the space, we realized there was a lack of transparency with these mass-market beverages. VIDE was created to cater to those who wanted a convenient offering made with real spirits (vodka & tequila) and wasn’t laden with carbs or sugar. We made a product for people like us.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I’d say facing a global pandemic has certainly been interesting, to say the least. Never in my life did I think our business or ourselves would be facing something like this. Especially for a company like ours and being so new, it’s taught us a lot. We had to adjust from a strategic direction and make improvements every day; go-to-market strategies, marketing, supply chain- you name it. I know when we look back in a few years and think about this time, we’ll be shocked we made it out the other side- tighter, more efficient and positioned for growth amidst all this chaos.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Communicating and following up. Never think for a second other people are thinking about you and your problems. It is every entrepreneur’s responsibility to make sure you have constant communication with all those who are involved in your company’s operations. Whether it’s supply chain partners, or retail store owners, always make sure you have a pulse on them. Don’t count on them reaching out to you. Be proactive.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
During our first production run, we made the mistake of ordering the wrong sized cardboard trays to put our finished 4-packs in. At the time, we thought it was the end of the world. We almost went as far as to drive from New York to Missouri in an attempt to fix the situation. We always laugh about it now. But, in hindsight, it taught us an important lesson- measure twice, cut once.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’re working on a network right now within our own social circle to help inspire peers and friends to be entrepreneurs. I’m fascinated with how many friends ask me questions about starting a business or launching a product. Going forward, I’d like to be a resource for anyone looking to start their own gig. I’ll always make time for that.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
1) Your business will become your life: I never understood how much a business can completely consume your life. This constant sense of dedication and stress completely encapsulates your entire being. Often times, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to do something that may have slipped my mind during the day. You’re always on call, and the thought of the business and its potential never escapes your thoughts- ever.
2) Relationships are everything: Network. Interact with people in your industry. You never know who you are going to meet. Even before you start your business, network like crazy.
3) Always have a business card on you: This one is self-explanatory, but always make sure to have your credentials on you.
4) Interview 3–5 people in your industry before launching: Know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Know your space and all its facets like the back of your hand. Although we had a pretty good grasp on the space through our own interviews pre-launch, there’s still a ton we are learning every day.
5) Prepare to be stressed: Unless you are a co-founder or entrepreneur, very few people can relate or understand the daily pressures a founder faces. Having worked in corporate jobs, the pressures of that environment don’t even come close to the pressures of owning and operating your own business. As a founder or co-founder, you have a pulse on every single little part of your business- investors, investments, products, supply chain, distribution and everything in between. It’s not easy, and anyone who says is lying. But, over time, you get used to. You learn how to live with it. You learn how to take that pressure and it forces you to make self-improvements and business improvements- which, in my opinion, are invaluable.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Make time for yourself. Remember- you are your business. The business can’t function if you are not at the top of your game. Picking an hour during the day to ‘decompress’ or taking a day on the weekend to detach for a bit really goes a long way- don’t underestimate it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Find people who not only will help you, but people that can relate to what you’re doing. If you find that person(s) that wants to help and watch you succeed, you are golden. Luckily, we have a few of those, shoutout to two lovely ladies who helped us from day one- you know who you are!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Inspire more people to take career risks. Follow your dreams. Start that business you always wanted to start. You only go around once- so make it count.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow our journey @drinkvide on Instagram!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.