Josh Lee is the founder of Dalgoona, a brand that’s making healthy twist versions of tasty Asian food and snacks… starting with a lip-smacking vanilla cake-flavored instant coffee mix. It’s got none of that sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and corn syrup crap other brands have.
Just yummy, healthy, good for you stuff like coconut milk powder, allulose, monk fruit extract, and pure Arabica coffee beans.
Sure, he says he started this brand for health conscious Asian-Americans. His first product brings a healthier alternative to his family members who love their coffee like beetles love rose petals (trust me, that’s a lot).
Unfortunately, some of them have Type 2 Diabetes, which puts the typical sweetened instant coffee mix on the No-No List. Kinda puts a damper on a lovely ritual they love to indulge in multiple times a day, a wonderful way to have a quiet moment or a conversation.
But, I’m thinking this guy has got to be his own best customer.
Building a Side Hustle
Given that he’s working full-time in finance for a U.S. company, managing a team that's in the U.S. and Malaysia, and he’s building his first ecommerce brand, he’s got a wife and two little cuties at home, and is always careful to get the sleep he needs… dude’s got to go through a latte coffee. #momjokesareworsethandadjokes
There’s a bright side to that kind of crazy demanding schedule. His schedule basically grabbed him by the collar and manhandled him into following the Owner’s Model that he’s learning inside the Capitalism Incubator. He can’t do it all on his own. And that’s a good thing, because he shouldn’t even try.
After all… what a pity to start a business for more freedom in your life, and then end up working your fingers to the bone because everything rests on your shoulders. IYKYK.
Like many students in the Incubator, Josh came “this” close to falling into a trap that could have ended this business before it even got going. The trap? Leading with product. As in, “Hey, the algorithms seem to think this product has great potential. I should totally buy a crap ton of it and make some fast money! What could possibly go wrong?”
But he didn’t do that.
Josh Is Building a Real Brand
Instead, he’s building a real business, a real brand he can be ridiculously proud of because it’s serving people he loves… rather than a cash grab. He’s solving a real problem for a real audience. And that allows him to charge premium prices, which allows him to have the margin he needs to reach more customers (and to stay in business, living to serve another day).
Coffee’s the first of a long line of healthier versions of Asian food and snack favorites that Josh will recreate for the hungry crowd known as his potential customer base.
But before he starts adding more of the products his audience craves, there’s the grind. You know, the phase in which you go from idea to launch and up to 25 sales per day. Josh is right smack dab in the middle of the grind.
TBH, it can feel like nothing’s happening. Like you’ll never get this thing off the ground. Like you must be doing something wrong… or not enough of the right things. Happens all the freaking time. (Well, maybe not for those who have a 5-figure launch… they’ve gotta be riding that high for a while.)
But Josh is doing all the right things, the things Ryan tries to hammer into all of our grind-weary heads.
How to Build a Raving Fan Base
Go all in on the people who DO show up. Spoil them. Build a relationship with them. Respond when they interact with you. Then, ask them for reviews. Keep talking about your vision to anyone with ears to hear. Connect with people who are also serving your same audience. See if it would make sense to partner up with them to create an arrangement that makes magic for everyone involved. Share your vision with people you might want to join your team or serve as advisors for you.
Josh is doing all of that. And he’s getting closer and closer each time he reaches out to someone who might be a good partner for him… even (and especially) those who say no. See, Josh is an introverted guy - one who’d put these potential influencers on a pedestal before. He was, understandably, nervous to reach out to them at first. But he now counts each “no” as a win. Now? He’s not afraid of rejection; not one bit. And strengthening that muscle is going to work wonders for his trajectory.
Ryan says the grind phase is the one he misses the most. And, hand on heart, he says this is the phase every million dollar brand owner will miss when they get into the growth and gold phase… and especially after they have an 8-figure exit.
As for Josh, his plan is to grow Dalgoona up to 9 figures. Some bigger brand will come a-courtin’ and acquire it, giving his partners and investors the opportunity to cash out with a very meaningful exit. For now, he’s in the grind, building a brand he can be really proud of, one that will not only offer healthy alternatives that save lives… but also one that adds enjoyment to those lives as well. We could not be prouder of him and what he’s building.
We'll keep documenting Josh's journey on the road to $1 million.
If his story inspires you to build a brand of your own - one that creates positive change in the world - we'd love to help you.
In fact, we're on a mission to make one million millionaires by 2028.
The very first step is finding the business that's perfect for you to build. We made this video series to help you with that - and to find your million dollar business idea. Watch it right here.