Chris Gronkowski - Football to Business, Shark Tank Success and Family
In this episode, Host Jamie Allison talked with Chris Gronkowski, Inventor of the Ice Shaker and Professional Football Player, about his transition from being an elite athlete to an entrepreneur. They also discuss his experience and preparation for his Shark Tank appearance and how his family contributed to his competitive nature and continues to support him through his business journey.
From Athlete to Entrepreneur
Chris was a professional football player while his wife devoted her time building a business hand-painting wine glasses. She found it practical since the couple found themselves moving to different cities all the time. Fortunately, the business was booming and it started generated additional income for them.
After five years in the NFL, Chris invented the Ice Shaker. He got the idea one hot afternoon while he was in a gym at Dallas.
“There are all kinds of insulated bottles, but there was really nothing out there that was just easy - easy to clean that I could use all day, every day. Bring it to the gym, but also bring it to work, put it on the airplane, and bring it to the pool. You'll use it at home. I just want one bottle instead of having five in my sink at the end of the day. At that point, the goal was, ‘let's just make the best bottle for the gym and for everything else.’ That's where the idea came from.” - Chris Gronkowski
Importance of Teamwork
In sports, every member of the team has a specific position and skills and they have to work together to win. This applies in creating a business as well. Aside from getting more work done, the team will learn from each other, improving their strengths and mending their weaknesses.
Chris said that it’s good to get someone else’s opinion as well, to get a perspective on the product, and what can be done to make it better.
“There's a ceiling on how much you can do. I was working 80 hours a week and it finally clicked like, ‘Hey, in sports you win because it's a team. Why am I trying to do this all by myself? Why am I trying to be the superstar of my company? I need to build a team.’ Once I started doing that, that's when we really started to take off to another level.” - Chris Gronkowski
Choosing the People to Work With
In the beginning, Chris did everything himself, he had to learn advertising, building websites, fixing computers, and more. With the help of YouTube and Google, he taught himself different processes as an entrepreneur. It is this drive that he likes to see in his employees and partners.
“When I find someone that comes in and just wants to get it done, and instead of immediately asking me when there's an issue, they go and figure it out first. Then they come back and say, ‘Hey, we had this issue. This is how I could fix it. Here are a couple of ways I could fix it, what do you think is the best way?’ That's the person that I want on my team because they're go-getters. They're just going to get it done instead of just sitting there and waiting, doing nothing.” - Chris Gronkowski
To learn more about Chris Gronkowski, professional football player and inventor of the Ice Shaker, and his journey from being an athlete to an entrepreneur, download and listen to this episode.
Chris Gronkowski is an entrepreneur and inventor of the Ice Shaker - an insulated protein shaker bottle that alleviated many of the problems Chris noticed as an elite athlete.
Before this venture, Chris built a career for himself as a professional football player. He played for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. He comes from a high performing family dating back to his Olympian grandfather and now his own brothers, all high level professional athletes.
Vanity Fair called the Gronkowski family the "First Family of Jocks"
Chris was on ABC's Shark Tank and secured a $150,000 investment from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former baseball star Alex Rodriguez.