Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Springer, CEO of Avatar Nutrition, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Avatar Nutrition has worked with soccer moms, WWE wrestlers, octogenarian powerlifters, and everything in between! We help any person who is ready to take control of their weight and body composition do so through the power of tracking macros.

Macros are just a short way of saying "macronutrients," which are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The building blocks of all food. Every person has a unique requirement for each of the macros and a personal "budget" to spend on them. By staying within range of your macro targets on average throughout the week, you can expect to see measurable progress towards your goals, whether that's losing body fat, building muscle, or simply maintaining your transformation!

Avatar Nutrition is a service delivered through an easy to use app that can be downloaded on the App Store and Play Store or even used as a web application on a computer for people who prefer that we make the interface and the process of macro counting as quick, convenient, and simple as possible!

This process has been used by over 150,000 members since we launched in November of 2015, helping them to lose (and keep off) over 2.5 million pounds. We don't believe in "quick fixes" or crash diets that just result in the same weight being lost and regained over and over again; it's all about getting you where you want to be in a smart and sustainable way; that way, you get to keep the results of all your hard work and know-how to maintain it!

Tell us about yourself

My journey started as an overweight kid - nobody in my family played sports, was particularly fit, or had half a clue about what to do to help their kid who was struggling with his weight! Everything about fitness in my life was a journey of personal discovery, trial and error, and ultimately something that helped me come out of my shell and really blossom as a person.

The positive impact getting fit had on my life is immeasurable. Something I wanted to share with other people - this led me to certify as a personal trainer while I was in college, and seeing that same kind of life-changing impact on my clients really locked in my purpose in life.

I wanted to be able to replicate the process that was making such a profound difference in the lives of my clients and make it accessible and affordable to everyone who was willing to try. The process of setting and adjusting macros is something that is better done algorithmically than by hand, and the idea for what became Avatar Nutrition was hatched!

It's been a wild journey, but seeing the impact this system has had on countless lives only serves as fuel to the fire of inspiration that drives not only me but the whole company to keep building on the product and service to make an even bigger impact. We want to turn the tide on the obesity crisis in America!

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness?

Happy to share my daily rituals for each category - my wife and I just had our first baby, so there's been an adjustment period, and it has modified what my structure used to look like, but I've adapted and have some new ones:

Work: Work starts the evening before every single day - we use the OKR (objectives and key results) framework at Avatar Nutrition, and each evening, I jot down the three biggest and most impactful things I can do the following day to execute on the current key result being worked on. I'll also check my calendar to make mental notes of what meetings are coming up and ensure that I've got everything needed and in place to be prepared for them. After these tasks, I'll run our daily financial numbers and update our cash flow forecasting spreadsheet. Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, so keeping good data here is key to having a constant understanding of the bigger picture of the business's bottom line.

Mindfulness: Before going to sleep, I say a quick prayer expressing gratitude for the unbelievable amount of blessings in my life and asking God for the strength and wisdom needed to be a good steward of the business and also to be the best father and husband I can be. That same prayer is repeated in the morning, the first thing when I wake up - not only does it keep me grounded in the right frame of mind, but I believe that prayer is how we can stay connected to the source of our existence and keep spiritually attuned to our purpose in this life. Entrepreneurs often just focus on mind and body without considering the spirit - and from my own personal experience and observations, I have to say that when all three aspects of humanity are well taken care of, the results far surpass what people have previously been able to achieve. I wasn't really conscious of the role that faith played early on in my journey as a startup founder, but in hindsight, it's crystal clear. Faith really can move mountains.

Fitness/Wellness: Through every part of this journey, physical fitness has been an anchor - after all, Avatar Nutrition is a company in the fitness space, so as the CEO, you can bet that I practice what I preach. I track my macros every day and always have a specific goal that I'm running on the Avatar app, typically going through cycles of reverse dieting, maintenance, and fat loss. Since we launched in November 2015, I've put on about 20 pounds of muscle mass while maintaining roughly the same body fat percentage! I'm very happy with my physique and performance now, so maintenance is my current priority. With a new baby, it's harder to find time to exercise, but I still manage about five intense training sessions per week - they may come at odd hours, but keeping diligent with training is another way that I stay level-headed and focused on the bigger tasks.

Every two weeks, I also book a sports massage to help with recovery and longevity - you won't catch me in an ice bath, though. I had enough of those in college when I was playing football, and personally, I hate being cold, so the benefits were outweighed by the cost! All kidding aside, I also am not training at the level of intensity where it's really needed anymore.

Hope all is well and that this is helpful information and someone will glean something useful out of it!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Avatar Nutrition, as a bootstrapped company founded by a person with zero business experience, has received awards, been mentioned on major media like the Joe Rogan Experience, and generated the kind of measurable financial success that most funded start-up companies can only dream of, but all of that pales in comparison to the emails we've received from members thanking us for saving their lives.

We've worked with people who were severely anorexic to the point where their organs were beginning to fail, and helped heal their relationship with food and work with them where they are in order to bring them back from the brink - and the same goes for the other end of the spectrum with members who were so heavy that their doctors gave them only a few years left to live, and these are people in their late 30s.

It's really sad to see all the misconceptions around food and how they can create disordered eating patterns, but it's beautiful to see people abandon their fear of foods or use of foods as a coping strategy for the stresses of life once they start to understand that it's all about the macros and that what they eat isn't judging them. To be clear, we are not diagnosing or treating any medical conditions; we receive these stories from members after they've been using the app themselves and healing through the process both inside and out. Knowing that lives are literally on the line drives all of us to do our absolute best each day to make sure we're taking care of our members!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest part about being a business owner is accepting a major paradigm shift in your own life as it relates to responsibility when you are employed, you get to show up and do your job and are ultimately taking care of yourself and possibly a family if you have one. As a business owner, the results of your decisions and your own work are not just taking care of yourself but also taking care of your employees and their families. Once employees start having kids, or you've hired people with families, you feel a huge responsibility to make sure you're doing the right things because there are more and more people depending on you making wise decisions. If approached with maturity and wisdom, this can be a powerful motivating tool to drive action and make good things happen! It's a growing process to get to that point, though, because for me personally, it was extremely stressful when this shift started to happen, and I was responsible for people other than myself. If things went wrong, and it was just me that would suffer the consequences, that wasn't so bad - it was the thought that other people would suffer if I made a poor choice that really kept me up at night. Now, that's morphed from a stressor to a motivator, and for that, I am thankful!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. With time, consistency, and effort, anything is possible. I call this the "TCE" formula. You need all three parts, and if any one of those is missing, don't expect much to happen.
  2. Make sure you can actually get a customer to buy your product or service and see if they would recommend it to friends and family, you might have what you think is a good idea, but if nobody is willing to buy whatever your idea is, you don't have a business.
  3. Listen to and interact with your customers as frequently as possible
    they will help you in ways that you can't even imagine. The philosophical root of the business itself is a promise. A relationship between the business and the customer and communication is huge for the business living up to its end of the bargain and helping solve whatever problem or need the customer has. Listening to and interacting with your customers is one of the most surefire ways you can guarantee you're living up to your end of the bargain as a business and create happy customers that open doors for you that you never even knew existed.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

In the world of start-ups, there's a lot of big talk and posturing. Very few legitimate businesses are ever going to go anywhere or do anything other than lose their investor's money. Don't get intimidated by the posers into thinking that your business isn't worthy of recognition or customers because odds are the people making you feel small are actively attempting the "fake it until you make it" approach. If you've got a dozen paying customers and are cash flow positive, you're probably in a better position than the majority of companies slinging swag at business expos and events like SXSW.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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