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Jul 13, 2018

For a lot of former athletes, entrepreneurship is a natural – but extremely risky alternative.

The likelihood of success in business is similar to the odds of making it to the professional level of a sport. While that would deter most, today’s guest has turned a quirky idea into a thriving online business.

A.J. Wnukowski the founder and CEO of Lumberlend Co., “The Home of the Original Bat Mug.” You may have seen his bat-derived product in the hands of professional baseball players or social media influencers.

What started with just 16 orders and little demand has become a favorite gift for baseball fans – often creating a 3-4 week delay on this U.S.-based, handcrafted product.

Athletes and entrepreneurs alike will appreciate today’s episode and A.J.’s hustle.

Listen in on A.J.’s journey from injured athlete to business owner of one of the fast growing companies in the sports industry.

A couple of things to listen for in this episode:

  • How a mug prototype sparked the fire that became (and how AJ got the company off the ground)
  • The most difficult part of making a physical product
  • How Lumberlend went from 16 mugs sold in the first month, to selling 3,000 units a month
  • Hiring friends and family. Should you do it? Or should you avoid it?
  • How Lumberlend grew as an online-only product
  • How a locker room conversation turned into a seven figure business (and what were the keys to success along the way)
  • How AJ stepped into his role as a CEO and business owner
  • Advice for those considering entrepreneurship as a life path
  • The podcasts AJ listens to
  • The biggest mistakes AJ has made (and how it has led to success)
  • Who AJ accredits to shaping his life
  • What advice AJ would give to athletes transitioning into business
  • The NUMBER 1 thing AJ accredits for his success
  • What investment has given AJ the highest ROI


  • “I don’t like playing defense, that’s not a good place to be.” – A.J. Wnukowski
  • “For somebody who wants to be an entrepreneur, There comes a point where you’ve done enough reading and you have to go out and test it.” – A.J. Wnukowski
  • “You learn a lot about yourself when the business is growing and not growing.” – A.J. Wnukowski
  • “Projections are great, goals are great, but for me, I’m more of a day-to-day, make-it-better type of guy.” – A.J. Wnukowski

Resources Mentioned:

Books AJ Mentioned (Amazon links):

Watch now:

Watch on YouTube

Listen on iTunes

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