A Million Dollar Idea: How I Decided to Create My First Product

One question I am constantly asked is: “How did you go from being a marketing director for Harley-Davidson to formulating herbal supplements?”

It’s a long story, but here’s a little look into how passionate, tenacious research can hit you with an entrepreneurial idea out of nowhere…

It first began when both myself and my boyfriend at the time became obsessed with healing our bodies naturally and embarked on a mission to attain the best health ever. He had been diagnosed with MS, and I suffered from severe gastrointestinal issues. We became obsessed with healthy eating, juicing, fasting, and supplementing with high quality vitamins and herbs.

One of the first things we decided to do together was to remove the mercury fillings in our teeth. We were both children of the ’80s, back when most dentists were still using amalgram fillings. Amalgram was an alloy made from mercury and other metals to fill cavities in teeth. 

We were both wanting to do a heavy metal cleanse to remove any excessive amounts of metals that might be looming in our bodies, but it felt counterproductive to embark on a grueling heavy metal cleanse while we still had it embedded in our mouths! 

The craziest thing about amalgram fillings is that mercury is continuously emitted from the fillings and absorbed and retained in the body. The output of mercury is intensified the more fillings you have, and also by chewing, grinding your teeth, and the consumption of hot foods and beverages.

Think about that for a moment: mercury, a known (and now proven)* neurotoxin, slowly being emitted into your mouth and gums, the area right in front of your brain, the mothership of your entire nervous system! 

We both found a specialist to remove our fillings and replace them with safer composite fillings. This is not an easy procedure to do since you could actually get more dangerous exposure to mercury if your fillings aren’t removed properly. The vapor emitted from drilling into the mercury to remove it is highly toxic and can cause more damage than leaving the fillings intact, which is why it is imperative to find a holistic dentist who specializes in mercury removal. He or she will use a secured dental dam and remove fillings in a hyper-controlled environment keeping the vapor and fumes from being exposed to the patient and the doctor as well.

After having our fillings removed, we decided it was time to do a heavy metal cleanse together. It involved a rigorous 12-day regimen filled with organic green juice (romaine, spinach, parsley, green apple, and cilantro), chlorella tablets, dandelion root, and activated charcoal. We kept our food intake light and drank tons of water.

We also received colonic irrigation, mainly after researching how mercury and other heavy metals like to sit in your gut. By visiting a colonic specialist, we were able to cleanse out our entire intestinal system. I highly recommend organic coffee colonics if you can find someone in your area to perform one since the coffee helps to purge the liver of any excess toxins as well. A really good colonic practitioner will also do a probiotic infusion after performing the colonic.

Even so, it is still very important to make sure you supplement with high doses of probiotics after having a colonic since it will also clear out all the good gut bacteria that you have living inside of your intestines. Having a large amount of this “good” bacteria is vital for digestion, assimilation, and also supporting your immune system.  

Many years later I learned about the importance of glutathione in heavy metal detoxification, so I feel the need to mention it here. Glutathione is a blend of amino acids and is an incredibly potent antioxidant and detoxifier. Glutathione is present in every human cell, but most people are deficient in this essential nutrient due to increased exposure to harmful toxins.

Glutathione is best administered intravenously since most oral glutathione supplements do not work. Unless it’s nanoliposomal, it will simply break down during the digestion process. If you can find a nanoliposomal glutathione supplement that can be absorbed under the tongue, it should work well and will be a lot less expensive than an IV glutathione.

After removing our fillings and performing a series of heavy metal detoxification protocols, we both felt like our health had hit an all-time high. We had boundless energy and seemed to have mental clarity like never before.

This ignited within us even more zealous passion to continue our quest for natural ways to heal and support our bodies. I became obsessed with reading books about herbs and nutrients and would spend hours preparing herbal formulas and superfood recipes. I also made sure that the ingredients we used were super high-quality, organic, and pure. After all, we hadn’t gone through all the above to simply add those harmful toxins back into our diet!

My favorite concoction ever was a very special superfood shake we would regularly prepare in the blender. It consisted of several powerful superfoods such as cacao, maca, ginseng powder, Epimedium extract (aka “horny goat weed”), cinnamon, raw honey, and more. We would also top it off with a generous pinch of cayenne powder.

Cayenne has an overall stimulant effect on the body. It supports circulation, enhances digestion, and improves absorption of any herbs taken along with it, therefore increasing efficacy of virtually any herbal combination. After learning this, I started adding organic cayenne powder to our daily superfood shakes and noticed a powerful increase in the benefits of our formulations.  

Outside of simply being a catalyst to other herbs, I soon learned that cayenne has a magnitude of health benefits on its own. It has the powerful ability to increase circulation and dilate blood vessels to stimulate and energize the nervous system. It has a warming effect in the body and can actually lower blood pressure. Cayenne is also known to be a powerful antioxidant and helps protect cells against free radical damage. It also has a chemical effect on the brain and upon consumption, helps to release endorphins, and can create an effect similar to “runner’s high.”**

I started to wonder why more natural supplements didn’t contain cayenne since it would increase the effects of other herbs so significantly. I also wondered why there weren’t any mainstream companies at that time selling herbal formulas that were certified organic and free from heavy metals. I got to where I started making all of my own formulas since I didn’t trust many pre-packaged herbal products after all the research I had done.

Back to my favorite superfood concoction mentioned above, whenever we added this particular formulation to our regimen, we would both notice an almost instantaneous increase in sexual desire. It was a truly phenomenal side effect that I remember vividly happening to my body.

When I told my friends about this, they were insistent on trying this concoction out themselves and every single one of them, (men and women), experienced similar potent effects.

“Hey, Julie, can you make me one of your Horny Shakes?” my friends would jokingly ask me.

“Sure, come on over!” I would laughingly respond and proceed to whip up another magical concoction.

This entire process of researching and creating amazing herbal formulations then notating the significant changes in our bodies became quite addicting. I also loved getting feedback from friends and family.

One morning on my way to work, my boyfriend called me on my cell phone.

“Hey,” I answered.

“Hey, I just wanted to tell you that your cousin called and wants me to bring her and her entire staff some of our ‘infamous horny shakes’, and she offered to pay me $15 for each of them!” he laughed.

“How many would that be?”

“Well it’s her and her business partner, and 3 other girls. That’s 5 shakes I’d have to make. We don’t have enough to-go cups with lids for that!”

“So are you going to be a superfood shake delivery boy now?” I giggled at the thought.

“I wouldn’t mind if it were easier to transport these damn things,” he said, “if one of them spills in my truck it’s game over.”

“Too bad we can’t just put the ingredients in a pill and sell them in a bottle!” I laughed.

Then came the silence. I’m not sure exactly how long we remained quiet, but it felt like neither one of us said a word for at least a minute. We were thinking the exact same thing.

“Why don’t we?” he finally broke the silence.

“How would we even go about doing that?” I said.

“I don’t know, but we have something pretty powerful here!”

“I gotta go, I’m pulling into work,” I said.

I parked my car and ran into the Harley-Davidson dealership where I worked as a Marketing Director. I unlocked my office, turned on my computer, and immediately did an online search for “raw, organic herbal libido enhancement pills.” I found nothing significant. Then I searched for “how to make your own custom herbal supplement.”

I was officially down the rabbit hole, and for the next several months all I did was research and collect information on how this could be done. There was a lot to learn about manufacturing this type of product for mass consumption, from the steps to organic certification to the extensive testing for heavy metals and the like, but I was having so much fun researching that it didn’t feel burdensome at all.

I think that’s one of the most valuable pieces of advice that I can give anyone asking me how to turn their idea into a reality. If you have relentless passion and are willing and eager to learn every single thing about a specific industry prior to launching a new business/product/brand, then you know you’re on the right track.

If someone says: “I heard there’s a lot of money selling widgets, so I want to make a widget,” then I know they are probably going to have a difficult time launching a successful idea. Sure, it’s possible, but they are going to be at a disadvantage among competitors who have invested passion and grit into creating their widgets. You can see just from my personal story the amount of time and effort that went into research before an idea was ever born. In my opinion, passion and enthusiasm are essential for manifesting a million-dollar idea. It’s the only way you will have the tenacity to survive the endless hurdles you will face along the way. And endless hurdles you will most definitely face. Trust me. But that’s another story for another time…

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334728/) *https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22438029

**Colpaert, FC, et al., Life Sciences, vol.32, p. 1827, 1983
Surh, YJ, et al., Food Chemical Toxicology, vol.34, p.313, 1996
Visudhiphan, S., et al., American Journal Clinical Nutriton, vol.35, p.1452, June 1982
Chen, H, et al., Free Radical Biology Medicine, vol.16, p.437, 1994
Rubino, A., et al., Cardiovascular Research, vol.31, p.467, 1996
Unnikrishnan, MC, et al., Cancer Letters, vol.51, p.85, 1990
O’Neil, TP, Respiratory Medicine, vol.85, suppl.A, p.35, 1991
Roquebert, J., et al., Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises, vol.36, p.361, 1978
Bell, D., et al., Pharmacological Reviews, vol.48, no.2, p.253, 1996
Fusco, BM, et al., Pain, vol.59, p.321, 1994
Virag, R., et al., Lancet, p. 183, Jan.26, 1985
Yoshida, T., Journal Nutrition Science Vitaminology, vol.34, p.587, 1988
Bernstein, JE, Clinics in Dermatology, vol.9, p.497, 1992
Lee, TS, Journal of Physiology, vol.124, p.528, 1954

**Special Thanks to Dr. Patrick Quillin and his book, “The Healing Power of Cayenne Pepper”, copyright 1998 Leader Co., Inc.

How My Biggest Failures Helped Me Find True Success

My entire life I’ve always dreamt about becoming a self-made millionaire. I’ve read so many books by Donald Trump, Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, and Barbara Corcoran. When I was a kid, I would line my stuffed animals up against the wall and practice motivational seminars in front of them. I never really knew what I was going to do in the long run, but I always knew it was going to be something sensational, something spectacular…something that would help a ton of people and make me rich and famous in the process.

Becoming a single mom at the age of 21 put somewhat of a halt on those dreams. My son’s father refused to pay child support and I suddenly found myself worried more about putting food on the table and less about getting rich and saving the world.

When my son was about 9-years-old, I finally flexed my entrepreneurial spirit and started my very own business. I had developed a truly spectacular herbal supplement and it was helping tons of people. Business took off relatively fast and before I knew it, I was flying around the world promoting my company. I was featured on national television, satellite radio, and suddenly rubbing shoulders with celebrities and the uber rich. I was making more money than I ever had before, and it looked as if it was only going to get better. My dreams were finally coming true.

Just as I started achieve the success I had only ever dreamt about, I got into a nasty lawsuit with my business partners. I also got hit with a class-action lawsuit from a lawyer who was famous for suing supplement companies to get a pay-off. Then I ran into a huge supply-and-demand issue, and since I had to spend so much money on legal bills, it eventually drained me of my resources and I could barely keep the company afloat. The stress was killing me, so I decided to sell the company and walk away before I lost everything, including my health and happiness.

Starting over wasn’t easy, and eventually I decided to move to Los Angeles to marry the man of my dreams and give myself, and my son, a fresh start.

It wasn’t long after we moved to California that I was introduced to some people who wanted me to use my experience to help develop CBD/hemp products. I had access to more funding and a larger team, resources I did not have when I started my last business, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and dive into the world of entrepreneurship once again.

As successful as we were in the beginning, we barely survived the legal issues that saturated the entire CBD industry. We also were victims of a huge stock scam that left us virtually penniless and struggling to survive. Then, just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, we were fraudulently sued by someone who turned out to be a con-artist (we were actually warned about this person due to a multitude of other scams he conducted on others). The market then started to really halt CBD companies everywhere, and the devastation continued to tear us apart. After spending every penny of our savings to keep the company afloat, we finally decided to accept our losses and close the company down.

So there I was, walking away from yet another business that I had poured my heart into. For three long years I had devoted all of my energy and resources into helping make the best products ever, and even had published clinical trials that proved these products were unprecedented in their ability to help people. Yet here I stood, watching it all go down in flames.

This was when the depression kicked in. My dreams had been crushed yet again, due to my own inability to navigate through the roughest of waters. I had failed again, only this time it was ten times worse as I wasn’t able to sell the company and walk away with a chunk of money to ease the transition.

I made a knee-jerk reaction and decided it was time for me to start over and prove to myself that I could succeed at something big. At 42 years of age, I decided I was going to to get accepted into law school and become an attorney! That way I could use my experience to help other people avoid all the mistakes that I made, and I could embrace the shark that was brewing inside of me.

I spent the next 8 months studying relentlessly to finish college and get my Bachelor’s degree, then gathered letters of recommendation, wrote a gut-wrenching personal statement, signed up for the LSAT, and started working for a law firm during the day to learn everything about the law and be mentored. I was only making minimum wage, so I went back to bartending at night to supplement my income like I did in my 20’s. I met with several local law schools and applied for student loans. I was working 2 jobs and only getting about 4-5 hours of sleep every night, but still studying 3-4 hours every day and managed to increase my score from a 158 to a 170 on my practice LSAT tests, (the highest score one can get is a 180).

Then something incredible happened.

I was driving back from my 2-hour commute to the law office where I was working during the day and I suddenly started to cry. Tears poured out of my eyes uncontrollably and soaked the front of my blouse. I continued sobbing hysterically and I didn’t know why. I felt compelled to call my son (he’s now 21) and told him I needed to see him right away. I drove straight to his house and he came running out to make sure I was okay.

I hugged him and sobbed into his big, broad shoulders. He squeezed me tight.

“What’s wrong, mom? You’re scaring me,” he said.

“I’m so sorry,” I sobbed.

“Sorry for what? What are you talking about?”

“I’m so sorry for failing. I really tried so hard to create something big for us, something that I could give to you when I retired. I had two incredible opportunities to do just that, and I blew it. I chose bad partners, I made bad decisions. Now here I am, killing myself to get into law school and I don’t even know why. I think I’m so used to running on the hamster wheel, I just don’t know how to stop. I feel like I worked so hard your whole childhood to build something for us…for you…and it was all a waste. I failed us, and I lost myself in the process. I’m so exhausted from it all….and I’m so sorry!” the words just poured out of my heart and the tears continued to flow uncontrollably.

“Mom, what are you talking about? You didn’t fail. You never failed! You always did your best. You are the strongest woman I know and you are my inspiration. You’re my rock until the end of time and YOU are more than I’ll ever need!” he hugged me tight and I melted into his arms.

It was at that moment I decided it was time to get off the hamster wheel. I quit working at the law firm and I stopped studying for the LSAT. I took a break from social media and sat in stillness as much as I possibly could.

Then, as if the universe had ordered it, this crazy pandemic halted the rest of the world around me. Everyone is practicing social distancing, but somehow feeling spiritually connected. We are all staying home and spending time with our beautiful families and neighbors. For the first time in years, I feel at peace on the inside. I know that once all of this Coronavirus madness is over, we will all be okay…and maybe even a little closer than we were before.

Life is flying by, and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of trying to “succeed.” But what is success, anyway? How does one measure it? For me, I have realized that true success is having people who will be there for you no matter how much money or notoriety you have. Success is about letting go of the stress of attaining it and appreciating the things you already have. It’s about spending less time trying to prove yourself to people who don’t matter, and spending more time with people who do.

I have experienced making products that generated millions of dollars in sales and helped lots of people. I’ve experienced traveling the world first class, 5-star hotels and fancy parties full of celebrities…and I’ve also experienced losing it all…twice. I’ve been through fraud, frivolous lawsuits, manipulation, deception, betrayal, and defeat. And while I’ve persevered beyond what I ever thought imaginable, I still lost the companies that I sacrificed so much to create.

But in light of the current events going on all around the world, I feel blessed that I still have my health, a husband who adores me, a home that I feel safe in, and family and friends who are loyal and dear to me. I have a passion for life and a newfound appreciation for NOT working so hard, and that feels pretty damn good…

Oh, and it turns out that my greatest creation ever, the actual human being that I brought into this world, is now a grown man who is inspired by me.

I haven’t failed at all.

Women Supporting Women (At Any Age)

I found an old gem of a picture and felt compelled to share a little background behind the friendship captured in it….

I was bullied really bad in 8th grade. It was so bad that almost the entire school was against me, and it all stemmed from me borrowing the jacket of a boy in my history class because it was so cold I was shivering, so he kindly lent me his jacket. His “popular” girlfriend was walking through the hall and looked into the classroom and she saw me wearing her boyfriend’s jacket. That was the beginning of what became the worst year of my teenage life, and my first real encounter with female animosity.

As an adult this all sounds so silly and insignificant (it is), but from a 15-year-old perspective, it was pure hell…she stalked me, prank called my house, spit on me, threatened me, called me a whore (I was a virgin), tried to beat me up, and even left my picture out of the school yearbook since she was on the yearbook committee. Because of her popularity, almost everyone followed her. I was totally alienated except for my ONE best friend, who stuck by my side even though it alienated her too.

Of course by 9th grade the drama was over and most everyone “accepted” me again, but the damage had already been done. I was insecure.

It wasn’t until later in life that I realized how lucky I actually was in 8th grade! Instead of having a bunch of fake friends, I had ONE best friend who sacrificed the approval of peers at such a sensitive age just to stand by my side and have my back!

That one friendship molded the way I viewed friends for the rest of my life, and ever since then I’ve only allowed positive, supportive, real and amazing women in my life!

As mothers we have to teach our daughters to heal each other, love each other, and support each other! We have to celebrate each other and never allow jealousy to make us hate another woman, especially over a man! (If your man would leave you for another woman then you don’t need to be jealous of other women, you need to find another man).

I am so thankful to my childhood best friend, Minke, for having my back during that dark time in my teenage life and setting the bar so high for future friendships!