How one NFL Pro-Bowl player went from inventing a product in a locker room to serving people in the community, and how a simple body wipe became a brand on a mission.
“Good things come to those who wait, but only the things left over by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln
Justin Forsett’s journey to successful entrepreneur reads like a movie script, complete with the charismatic leader forging a career after nine years as a professional NFL player.
Justin always viewed himself as an underdog. As a seventh-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the 5-8, 195 pound-running back was working out multiple times a day just to be able to sustain his career.
With so many periods of the day allotted to training, he didn’t always have time to shower before team meetings. Just as Gatorade helps with hydration and Muscle Milk helps with recovery, he sought something that would quickly treat hygiene.
“I wanted to come up with a solution,” said Forsett, the CEO and founder of Hustle Clean. “There was nothing in the personal care industry that speaks to the athlete.”
While still playing with the Seattle Seahawks, he conceptualized a body wipe — a disposable, anti-bacterial wash cloth that removed sweat and body odor. And he then commercially marketed it in 2014.
What started as a quick alternative to showers, ShowerPill, which Forsett, a graduate of Harvard business school’s executive training program, founded with his Cal-Berkeley football teammates Wendell Hunter and Wale Forrester, has been rebranded as Hustle Clean to meet the larger demands of the personal care industry rather than just face and body wipes.
The company landed on Shark Tank in 2018, and although the team didn’t secure an investment, the exposure helped accelerate sales. Last year, Hustle Clean brought in more than $1 million in revenue. Justin inspires the resilient and relentless to keep grinding. The thick skin he developed playing football has helped prepare him to venture into a world where just 1% of venture-funded startup founders are Black.
When you push past your comfort zone, despite the unknown; when you go for greatness, giving it all you’ve got…that’s hustling.
“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”
Set yourself up for success. Investing in your dream starts with investing in yourself.
Bet on yourself. Develop a lifelong determination to achieve, lead and continue in trying times. Surround yourself with the right people and unleash the full potential of your greatest resource: relationships.
Invest in “social capital”. Be kind to people, find ways to serve others and make others better around you. When the going gets tough, the tough keep hustling. You simply can’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Focus on leaving a legacy, invest in things that matter, and set bigger goals ie: building generational wealth and closing racial wealth gaps.