Do You Have What it Takes? The Story of Phil Knight, Nike, and the Brand that Almost Never Was

nike success story

Hello again my friend,

In 1964 Phil Knight launched Blue Ribbon Sports. A tiny shoe company that would later become Nike.

From the beginning the odds weren’t just against them, they were dam near impossible. For the first 5 years Blue Ribbon didn’t even make enough money to pay Phil Knight a salary.

Instead Phil worked a day job as an accountant, spending every night and all weekend building his little shoe company.

By his own admission he had no life, no friends, and loved it.

He said, “If my work was going to be my life I was fine with it, but I wanted my work to be fun.”

10 years into its existence the company was still on life support. Each month they barely had enough cash to pay their creditors.

They borrowed to the hilt. Phil poured every sent they had back into the company.

For years they emptied the bank accounts each month to pay back the banks only to borrow millions more the next month.

At one point Nike’s bank froze their accounts, accused them of fraud and notified the FBI. They were mistaken and Nike survived but can you imagine the stress?

In 1977, 13 years after the company was founded, Nike had 25 million in sales but they were still scraping by. Then, it happened. Nike received a letter from the U.S. Customs Authority demanding 25 million dollars in unpaid import tariffs.

Through it all, Phil Knight and Nike persevered, eventually winning the day. We now recognize them as the leader in sporting footwear.

There is a Price for Freedom. A Price Most Won’t Pay

There are a lot of people who complain about their station in life. I cannot count how many entrepreneurs I’ve talked to who are angry that they’re not making six figures a year within six months of launching their business.

Part of it is the steady supply of fake experts promising to show you how to earn millions without patience or hard work.

But how many of us would be willing to go through a fraction of what Phil went through.

How many of us would sleep in our office or car?

How many of my readers would work night and day for a decade earning a slaves wage while struggling to keep the lights on?

Who among us would dedicate an entire life to a dream when everyone, including family and friends, think us mad?
What would we trade for the freedom to live life on our own terms? The freedom to follow our own passions, and spend every day working for the “fun” of it?

Each of us must answer that question for ourselves. For me the answer has always been “everything”.

I’m very fond of the saying, “If one person can do it, so can many, so can I”.

It’s why I make a habit of studying great men and women. I’ve found they all poses what I believe to be the most important characteristic of success.

The ability to endure more pain, for longer, than anyone else.

If you think you’ve got what it takes. Your journey starts here:

Talk soon,


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