Smokers and grillers know developing the perfect flavor is an art. The best time to throw your meat on the grill is when there's thin, blue smoke. And with this wisdom, Josh Martin launched Rollin' Blue BBQ.
As cool as it sounds, Rollin' Blue wasn't the first name Josh chose. Initially, he called the company Blue Smoke, but he ran into some issues with trademarking. In need of some inspiration, Josh turned to his audience and crowdsourced a new and improved name. Not only is Rollin' Blue BBQ way better than the previous name (it rhymes!), but it also helped Josh connect with his core audience.
Rollin' Blue BBQ serves backyard pitmasters and enthusiasts who enjoy smoking and grilling different meats. But perhaps most importantly, the brand serves those who love to host parties and entertain with great barbecue. Smoking meat isn't just a way to cook dinner. The process brings people together, builds relationships, and is an excellent stress reliever.
And Josh wants his brand to help you sit back, relax, and enjoy some mouth-watering barbecue.
A Tastier, More Innovative Way to Grill
Grilling products and accessories aren't anything new. There are tons of products out there geared towards novice grillers and smokers. But they're all alike and don't address the core issues barbecue enthusiasts face. So Josh launched Rollin' Blue BBQ to help people improve their skills around the pit by making it easier and more enjoyable.
The brand's main product is a wireless thermometer. Yep, wireless. Simply plug the thermometer into the meat to measure the ambient temperature of the grill. And since it's wireless, you can step away to mingle with friends without worrying about overcooking the meat.
Rollin' Blue BBQ also sells a better, safer grill brush. Traditional brushes have stiff bristles to clean the grill. While they do the job, they are dangerous. Every year, thousands of people—especially children—unknowingly swallow bristle remnants. The sharp pieces get lodged in their throats. A trip to the hospital isn't the ideal way to end a barbecue. So what was Josh's solution? A bristle-free grill brush that has coils instead.
Josh just released his third product, and it'll rub your butt. It's a 3-pack of rubs, specialized for big cuts of meat, like brisket and pork butt. There's one for beef, chicken, and a versatile all-purpose blend. Every pitmaster knows the bark is the hallmark of well-cooked barbecue—that's where you get the crispness and the flavor. So Josh specially designed the rubs with the bark in mind. Each blend pairs well with certain types of wood smoke and meat to enhance the flavor.
The Man Behind the Grill
Cooking has always been part of Josh's life, and he knows a thing or two about grilling great barbecue. Nowadays, he smokes meat regularly—about once a week. But launching a successful barbecue accessories brand wasn't always on his mind.
After graduating college, Josh did the responsible thing and got a job in corporate America. He landed a marketing position for one of the largest wineries in the world. But it soon became apparent that corporate life wasn't the right fit. He wanted to work for himself, and he had his eyes set on e-commerce.
Josh discovered Ryan Danial Moran while trying to figure out which path to take. At the time, he wasn't even really into smoking, although he did know his way around a grill. But after doing a bit of market research, Josh realized there was a lack of businesses catering to the smoking and grilling niche. This piece of knowledge also inspired him to buy a smoker, and he fell in love with it.
In November 2019, Josh learned about the Million Dollar Brands scholarship competition. That's when he decided to dive in headfirst. As he recalls, "It kind of jump-started everything." And actually winning one of the $5K scholarship prizes really helped get the brand rolling.
At the young age of 24, Rollin' Blue BBQ is Josh's main gig, although he still has a part-time marketing job. Both his girlfriend and family are very supportive of his endeavors. Although, as Josh jokes, "At first, they didn't really get it, and I don't know if they still fully 'get' all of it." Regardless, his family encourages him to pursue his dreams.
Josh Martin Gets a Little Help from the Capitalism Fund
After winning the MDB scholarship, Josh became very involved with Cap Inc. Since joining, he's learned so much. Networking with all the other entrepreneurs and mentors has been a valuable asset. And he loves giving back to the community whenever possible. When asked about his experience, Josh proclaimed, "It's been amazingly helpful!"
The MDB scholarship also came with the potential for an investment, which intrigued Josh. So he grew his brand at a slow and steady pace, and by January 2021, it broke $20K a month. But he ran into one major issue—inventory.
Since Josh entirely self-funded up to that point, a large inventory order could easily break the bank. But he needed to place a sizable order with at least a 90-day lead time. Otherwise, he risked a stockout and having to restart from square one. So he approached Ryan for funding to launch more products.
Entrepreneurs Risk Burnout
Another challenge Josh faced was his solopreneur mindset. This way of thinking is tiring and a surefire way to burn out quickly. Besides, Josh doesn't enjoy running every aspect of the business himself. He likes creating new projects and marketing, but he would rather not handle inventory, logistics, or reaching out to manufacturers.
Instead of tackling everything yourself, Ryan teaches acting like an owner. Finding an investor would make it easier to become the driving force. Josh took Ryan's advice and brought on an accountant and Travis Zigler's Amazon PPC agency, Profitable Pineapple. Josh hopes to outsource a project manager by the end of the year.
The Capitalism Fund isn't like other investors. They bet on the business and the entrepreneur instead of the ROI. They genuinely believe in the owner. As Ryan told Josh, "I want you to go into growth mode. I don't care about profits."
Before finalizing the deal, Josh attended the last Fund investor meet-up in April. It gave him a new perspective. "As a younger person who found some crazy guy on the internet, it doesn't feel totally real," he quips. The event made everything more tangible. He was able to meet people who have already exited or built successful e-commerce businesses.
But now, it's all finalized. Josh just signed all the paperwork with The Capitalism Fund—the ink probably hasn't had a chance to dry yet!
Advice from a Pitmaster
Josh advises entrepreneurs to move fast and break things. "If you're going to be a perfectionist about everything, it's hard to make any progress," he reiterates. No one is perfect, especially in the beginning. Instead, get those reps in and practice hard. Before you know it, something will work.
Progress also entices potential investors. You should demonstrate a passion and willingness to go all-in before you approach anyone about funding. Prove to investors that this thing is for real and not just an idea that's floating around.
A Smoking Hot Future Ahead
Once the funding goes through, Josh wants to go back into grind mode and continue scaling up the thermometer. List-building and email marketing are also high on his list. However, his primary focus is to acquire more customers while still providing excellent service and great products. And he thanks The Capitalism Fund for making these goals attainable.
Want to take your next backyard barbecue to the next level? Visit Rollin' Blue BBQ to pick up must-have products to improve your grilling or smoking game.