Are you sitting at your desk right now, dreaming of better days? Mushroom fiend, Tero Isokauppila used to share your frustrations. But his days of being stuck in a cubicle are far behind him. He is now the founder and President of the mushroom and superfood company Four Sigmatic. And, he gets to follow his passion every single day.
Today, Four Sigmatic has a staff of 15 and sells superfood products in 65 countries across the world. But just 5 short years ago, this was still a pipe dream for Tero. According to MindBodyGreen, Tero knew he wanted to pursue his passion, but he had no idea how.
The Finland native grew up on a farm that has been in his family for 13 generations. He learned to forage for food at an early age, and his mom taught him everything he knows about human physiology and anatomy. Later, he attended an environmental school where he learned about the earth and its plants.
Tero has always been intensely passionate about agriculture, nutrition, and optimal human performance. This lead to him to start working with pro-athletes, optimizing their diets. But, it didn’t pay the bills or satisfy his need to travel the world.
More Than Money
Tero soon realized, in his own words, that “Life is about so much more than just money.” He explains, “I didn’t feel like I was put on this Earth to sell printers…I had a dream of doing something that I love and helping people in a substantial way.”
Now, he spends all day, every day, talking about mushrooms and health. He gets to work alongside his best friends and continues to learn from the smartest people in the health food world. But on top of that, he loves to educate people on the kingdom of fungi. He’s even released a cookbook, Healing Mushrooms.
Among the company’s successes are winning an innovation award for the venture, and developing some unique and amazing products like mushroom coffee, matcha, cacao, and elixirs. The blends each contain a different mushroom – each with a unique benefit. For example, coffee made from the Cordyceps mushroom increases energy and performance. What’s more, it won’t give you the shakes and that inevitable crash you’ll get from a regular cup.
Tero’s Tips for Starting Your Business
1. Follow Your Obsession
Tero admits that starting a company is hard, and even some of the of the most successful companies out there have faced major challenges. But your passion will get you through the toughest of times.
He says, “When you work on something deeply personal, and something you love with all of your heart, you will understand your customers’ needs better, and you will be more likely to build a better product or service.”
2. Be Naïve, and Follow Your Vision
Tero says, “I had known the extent of how much I didn’t know, I might have never started.” While he’s a mushroom expert, he had to the learn the many aspects of running a business. “Even concepts like using food distributors, hiring employees, or establishing a corporation were all things I needed to learn,” he explains.
He thinks that being naïve can be great and you should follow your vision even if you don’t know what it requires. Tero says, “After passion, your vision will be your greatest asset.”
3. Remember Why You Started
It’s important to keep your vision in mind, as “people will tell you things you should do and how you should run your own business,” Tero explains. But despite the riff-raff, you’ll meet and learn from some other great entrepreneurs too.
He says, “Look, listen, and nod, but never forget why you started. Don’t try to win awards that you don’t care for. Don’t try to please investors who don’t agree with your vision.”
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