In this insightful interview with Bold Journey, Matt Lunalover, co-founder of Rebel Raw, shares his journey in overcoming Imposter Syndrome and the core principles that have shaped the success of his pet food business. He emphasizes the significance of small and big wins at Rebel Raw in boosting his confidence and gradually dispelling his self-doubt.
Matt highlights three key factors that have been instrumental in his journey: resilience, a customer-centric mindset, and a commitment to continuous learning. He advises budding entrepreneurs to cultivate resilience, actively seek customer feedback, and remain informed about industry trends and advancements. These principles, he believes, are vital for personal growth and business success.
Reflecting on his development, Matt credits the book “Rework” by Jason Fried for its unconventional wisdom and influence on his business approach, emphasizing starting small, fostering a culture of execution, and maintaining simplicity in business operations.
Throughout the interview, Matt underscores the importance of listening to customers, adapting to their needs, and maintaining a balance between innovation and customer preferences. This approach has not only helped Rebel Raw in refining its products but also in building a strong, loyal customer base.
Read the full interview below—
We recently connected with Matt Lunalover and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, thank you so much for opening up with us about some important, but sometimes personal topics. One that really matters to us is overcoming Imposter Syndrome because we’ve seen how so many people are held back in life because of this and so we’d really appreciate hearing about how you overcame Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is a fairly common but seldom discussed phenomenon among entrepreneurs, and I too wasn’t immune to it, especially in the early days of co-running Rebel Raw. The responsibility of steering a company that’s so close to my heart sometimes made me question my own capabilities. However, overcoming imposter syndrome was a gradual process filled with introspection and external support.
Initially, I sought guidance from mentors and connected with other business owners who had walked the path before me. Their experiences and assurance were invaluable. It was comforting to know that what I was feeling was normal and surmountable. I also enrolled in a few leadership workshops which provided me with tools to manage self-doubt.
A significant boost to my confidence came from the small and big wins we started to see at Rebel Raw. Every positive customer review, every milestone reached, was a testament to our hard work and dedication. It was proof that we were on the right track, and it chipped away at the self-doubt that forms the crux of imposter syndrome.
Reflection has been a crucial part of my journey. I made it a practice to reflect on our accomplishments, and learn from the mistakes. This helped in fostering a growth mindset which is a powerful antidote to imposter syndrome. Continuous learning, being open to feedback, and striving for improvement have become the cornerstone of my professional life.
I also believe in the power of giving back. Now, I make it a point to share my experiences with other budding entrepreneurs, hoping to ease their journey a bit. It’s a cathartic experience and a reminder of how far we’ve come.
On a practical level, adopting mindfulness practices and celebrating every achievement, however small, have been instrumental. They help in keeping the negative thoughts at bay and foster a positive outlook which is essential for anyone in a leadership role.
The journey of overcoming imposter syndrome has not only made me a better leader but also enriched our company culture, making Rebel Raw a nurturing and empowering place for everyone involved.
Thanks for sharing that. So, before we get any further into our conversation, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you’re working on?
We’re dedicated to making premium quality, real food for cats and dogs so they can live healthier and happier lives.
Our small and mighty team works very hard to make Rebel Raw the best we can. Every step of the process takes place in-house, from handcrafting our food to individually filling and weighing each bag. We make everything fresh in our Atlanta human food, commercial kitchen each week.
We procure our ingredients from local farms and restaurant purveyors, always sourcing the highest quality and most local that we can. For instance, we use Springer Mountain Farms chicken in our recipes (above organic and local).
Looking back, what do you think were the three qualities, skills, or areas of knowledge that were most impactful in your journey? What advice do you have for folks who are early in their journey in terms of how they can best develop or improve on these?
Reflecting on my journey with Rebel Raw, I can pinpoint three core elements that were crucial: resilience, customer-centric mindset, and continuous learning.
Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Resilience has been the bedrock that kept me going through challenging times. It’s about facing setbacks head-on and bouncing back with even more determination.
Advice: My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to cultivate resilience by surrounding themselves with a supportive network of mentors and peers, and by viewing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.
Understanding and prioritizing the needs of our customers has been a cornerstone of our success at Rebel Raw. A customer-centric approach helped us in creating products that resonate and in building meaningful relationships with our community.
Advice: Keep the lines of communication with your customers wide open. Their feedback is invaluable. Also, invest time in understanding their needs and preferences, and let that knowledge guide your decisions.
The pet food industry, like any other, is constantly evolving. Staying updated with the latest research, industry trends, and business strategies has been pivotal. This culture of continuous learning has not only benefited me personally but has also propelled Rebel Raw forward.
Advice: Embrace a lifelong learning attitude. Read extensively, attend workshops, and engage with experts in your field. Also, foster a culture of learning and innovation within your organization, encouraging everyone to stay curious and open to new ideas. Each of these aspects contributed significantly to my journey, and honing them from an early stage can provide a solid foundation for anyone embarking on their entrepreneurial path.
As we end our chat, is there a book you can leave people with that’s been meaningful to you and your development?
“Rework” by Jason Fried has been a seminal book in my entrepreneurial journey. Its unconventional wisdom resonated with me and significantly influenced how I approach running Rebel Raw. Here are a few impactful takeaways:
Start Small: “Rework” emphasizes the idea of starting small and growing organically, which resonated deeply with me. It empowered us to launch Rebel Raw with a clear focus, refining our offerings based on real customer feedback rather than assumptions.
Build a Culture of Getting Things Done: The book advocates for a culture of immediacy and execution over endless planning. This has instilled a proactive, ‘get-things-done’ mentality within our team, which has been invaluable in navigating the fast-paced world of a small business.
Simplicity is Key: Fried promotes simplicity in business operations, which has encouraged us to constantly refine our processes to be more efficient and user-friendly. This simplicity has also translated to how we communicate with our customers, ensuring clarity and transparency.