The Idea for This Coffee Brand Came to Him in an Instant. A Do-or-Die Moment Made It the Midwest’s No. 1 Private Company

I am not a believer in accidents; those are reserved for those who are unaware of their surroundings. I believe in the power of actions.

I founded Lifeboost Coffee in March 2015 after receiving a bag of beans from one of my customers, a coffee farmer in Nicaragua. He expressed an interest in incorporating a herbal liver supplement that we prepared into his coffee. I didn’t even attempt to add the herbs, knowing full well that it would be revolting. The best way to consume such a concentrated mixture is via capsule—and that is it. However, I did sample his beans. They brewed some of the most delicious coffee I’d ever had.

I explained to him that I could create a brand around his beans. Lifeboost began with a trial run; I was working with a single family farm, so scalability was limited. However, with the assistance of affiliate marketing—paying blogs and websites to promote our products—we grew over time. Then, in 2017, the farm’s family had a disagreement—about what I’m not sure—and cut off our bean supply.

Our operations came to a halt abruptly. I had no strategy; I considered closing, but my customers would not allow it. I needed to come up with a solution.

I jotted down every requirement for my beans and, in collaboration with a friend who was also in the coffee business, discovered another farm that met every one of them. It evolved into a supplier. And when the original farm resumed production, I continued to operate it as well.

That moment paved the way for Lifeboost’s expansion; I was able to tap additional suppliers to meet demand. I also reinforced my company’s value proposition: each bag contains beans from a single origin that are shade-grown without the use of pesticides, third-party tested for toxins and mould, and pH-tested to be low acid. Additionally, they are sustainably farmed, and a portion of profits benefit the Rainforest Trust and the construction of schools near the farms.

Today, we collaborate with small farms worldwide. We were able to scale by utilising multiple suppliers and increasing our paid advertising. You could argue that this was all coincidental, but I would not. Everything worked because I was determined not to let it fail—and this is no accident.

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