Brian Underwood
Brian Underwood Brian Underwood

“Entrepreneur” is an overused title these days, leveraged by people from all walks of life and levels of success. It’s a glamourized, catchy descriptor that’s often meant to instill a certain amount of prestige and business savvy. The majority are people who claim to have generated “immense results'' in their specific field, regardless of actual track record or expertise. But then there are the minority. The precious few that can be considered the “entrepreneurship elite,” and it’s difficult to not count Brian Underwood as a member of that class. On the headline of his resume, you’ll find an accomplishment that demands your attention: in just 5 years, he has scaled Prüvit from an unheard-of startup to a worldwide leader in the exogenous ketone space with over $1 billion in total sales. The Kentucky native shared a few key insights into what factors played a role in his rise to notoriety, lessons that any aspiring entrepreneur should find incredibly valuable.

As a teenager, Brian already knew that a typical 9-to-5 wasn’t for him. After attending the University of Kentucky, he set out on his first endeavors, an experience that would be full of both valuable lessons and inevitable failures. His first few companies experienced intermittent success but ultimately didn’t reach the heights that he had hoped for. However, Brian’s attitude and outlook kept him focused on his goal. Especially during his setbacks, he leaned on the belief that the successful remain undeterred, and he approached each venture with the same optimism and relentless work ethic until he found a winning formula. Speaking of his years of grit and determination, Brian says, “Mindset and attitude have so much to do with where you’re going and how you get there. One of my favorite quotes is ‘your attitude determines your altitude,’ and I can tell you that is absolutely true.” A little over 20 years after starting his journey, he’d launch Prüvit with co-founders Terry Lacore and Chris Harding. With such rapid growth, at a glance, it’s easy to describe the wellness giant and Underwood as “overnight success,” but the preceding decades of trial, error, and adjustment show a much more complete picture.

When reflecting on other watershed moments of his career, Brian stressed the importance of true independence. The son of middle-class, supportive parents, he counts himself lucky to have grown up in a very loving, comfortable household, an advantage that molded many of the key characteristics and principles that make him the person he is today. But he admits that that upbringing comes at a cost, especially for those who want to walk their own path in business. “For much of my life, my family, and particularly my dad, was my fallback plan. He always was there to bail me out,” Brian says, ”And I didn’t become who I wanted to be until that was gone.”

As he pursued his dreams, the coming years saw Brian temporarily fracture his relationship with his father due to their disagreement about his future. Along with his proverbial safety net, this decision saw Brian lose his car and nearly all of his money, but this part of his journey molded him into who he is today. “Sometimes you need to go out there and get a bloody nose and a black eye.” Brian says, “You have to stumble and fall because that’s where you gain all your strength.”

Clearly, these years of struggles and learning experiences, something that would cause others to rethink the direction of their life, had the best possible effect on Brian, shaping him into a powerhouse CEO in the process. Having just celebrated his 48th birthday, he’s at the helm of a 10-figure company, which directly employs a large internal team and provides income to thousands more through Prüvit’s sales model. Equally important in his eyes is the platform he’s established to educate, inspire and connect with other entrepreneurs on a daily basis via social media. Additionally, Brian’s podcast, “ Be You with BU ,” which debuted in the top 10 in “Entrepreneurship” and top 50 in “Business” in ten countries on Apple Podcasts, shares a similar goal.

While his lessons and actionable advice are varied, there is one thing that he preaches constantly. “If you plan to become successful, you need to raise your standards and operate at a different level. Be around people who lift you up, who make you better, who always find opportunity in every challenge.”

Connect with Brian Underwood on Instagram (@BrianUndy), Facebook (/BrianUnderwoodOnline), or via his podcast “Be You with BU.”