What’s it take to build a side gig that becomes your million-dollar brand?

Millions of followers who become customers? Nah.

One Percent member Dominic DeMartini once thought he’d need at least 5,000 in his audience of young, health-conscious parents before he could launch. But he’s doing it with less than 500.

Sure, he’d heard of other entrepreneurs making waves with just a small audience to start. But he figured they’d probably done something super-special to make it work. Now he gets it… there are people out there who want what you’re creating and putting out into the world.

In fact, people will buy it before you even have product on-hand to ship. You want proof of concept? You want total confidence that you won’t end up with a garage full of products nobody wants - even those nice people who said they’d buy but never do?

Presales is the way.

Dominic’s a healthcare administrator by day, and the founder of Tuff Genius on nights and weekends. He built a Facebook challenge group and put 300-some people in it - people who want to better their health and increase their energy by increasing their protein intake.

He gets his people. He IS his people. They’re serious about looking and feeling good for the long haul. But they also have demanding jobs and young kids, which can make it way easier to just kick the health optimization can down the road. As in, “I’ll do it when my kids are older.” Of course, like investing, your efforts (or lack thereof) compound over time.

Dominic makes it easy for them to boost their energy, productivity, and protein intake all at the same time, doing what they already do a lot of… drinking coffee. Build muscle, burn fat, boost brain health, be productive, and don’t crash. Before Tuff Genius, you’d have to swallow a bunch of supplements to accomplish that lofty goal. Now, you can do it by drinking a cup o’ joe. That’s living the dream, folks.

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He made his own product.

After reading through tons of clinical research, Dominic came up with his own formula, featuring 13 grams of whey isolate for an excellent amino acid profile and the perfect ratio between caffeine and L-Theanine. 

He’s reached out to about 50 manufacturers and narrowed his choice down to two that were able to formulate the product for him. After getting samples, he made his final choice. He’ll be ready to make the initial inventory purchase in a month or two. 

Meanwhile, he’ll keep stacking the deck by going all-in on his audience and emailing them regularly. Those who’ve joined his protein challenge will get 20% off their first purchase when he launches. Dominic’s also talking with five micro-influencers who are trying his products.

So far, Dominic has self-funded Tuff Genius. He loves his day job - and it’s helping him get his business off the ground. Long-term, he’d consider an exit after building the business and serving his people. He’ll stay at his job until the brand is doing 25 sales a day, then he’ll look at making the leap to full-time.


We asked Dominic for his best advice to pass along to you, and it’s this:

“Just start. It’s easy to get caught up in shiny object syndrome and just keep scrolling YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, and seeing all the ads for entrepreneurs like us. It’s easy to get caught up in the next guru or strategy, but THIS is a proven path. It’s easy to do if you’re just starting. Nothing is going to be perfect, but you’ll evolve as you continue to go. You’ve just got to DO it.”

Well said, Dominic. We’ll be rooting for you!


Dominic DeMartini, a healthcare administrator and the founder of Tuff Genius, is building a seven-figure brand on the side while still loving his day job. With less than 500 followers, Dominic proves that you don't need a massive audience to launch a successful business. By focusing on presales and understanding his target audience's needs, Dominic has created a product that resonates with health-conscious individuals. His dedication and willingness to take action, along with leveraging email marketing and micro-influencers, have propelled his brand forward. Dominic's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: Just start and continue evolving along the way.

As you've seen from Dominic's incredible journey, building a side gig into a million-dollar brand is possible.

Now, if you're ready to take the next step and achieve your own entrepreneurial success, Capitalism.com is here to support you. We have a FREE playbook for ecommerce entrepreneurs that will guide you towards making 100 sales per day.

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