From Golden Gloves Champ To Pro Boxer… How My Brother Has Made Me A Better Entrepreneur

by | Mar 10, 2019 | Pixelayn Adventures

Being a professional boxer didn’t (and still doesn’t) define my oldest brother Jeremy, yet it has been a big part of his life.

He was also a successful entrepreneur, building a web design, web hosting, and consulting company from the ground up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He ran this business for many years, first in Des Moines and then later in Chicago.

But today, we’re going to focus on how his eight year journey as a boxer positively impacted my life.

It all started when Jeremy was 16 years old (I was 10 at the time). He was good with his fists, and boxing was the perfect outlet for him. We lived in a smaller town, so the closest boxing club was in Des Moines. And, that’s where he ended up, at the Westside Boxing Club.

I’ve always looked up to Jeremy, and needless to say, I thought him being a boxer was the coolest thing in the world.

At the very least, nobody at school was going to mess with me. Having a tough older brother eliminated all worries of being bullied from middle school through high school.

But, that’s another topic for another time.

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Dedication

The process of training to be a boxer is grueling, and I witnessed this first hand.

I’d watch my brother work out for many hours each day. Running outside in the cold, spending countless hours hitting the speed bag, and shaking our entire house for 12 rounds on the heavy bag.

Plus, I can’t even count how many hours I threw a heavy medicine ball at his stomach. 

This dedication to his craft inspired me. It motivated me to be a better person, and this all started when I was in middle school.

I made many positive health decisions starting at a young age. Outside of normal school sports practices, I would put in extra time running and lifting weights.

My brother once told me how unhealthy pop was, and I heard him loud and clear. From that moment, I decided I would never drink pop again (which was super tough considering it was everywhere). I made it many years without drinking pop. Even today, I’m not a pop drinker—and this stems from a single discussion I had with my brother more than 25 years ago. 

Witnessing his dedication to be the best he could be as a boxer is something that still drives me to this day in life and as a business owner.

Courage

Can you imagine stepping into a ring with someone else who wants to knock you out?

I can imagine it, and it’s not something I’d sign-up for. Yet, this is the courage it took for my brother.

He didn’t have a team of other boxers ready to help him in a time of need—it was just him. This taught me a lot of things that I’ve carried throughout life.

Most importantly, it has taught me that I have to be willing to step outside of my comfort zone at times to grow. It’s okay to be nervous or unsure, yet it can’t stop me from trying and taking action.

Entrepreneurship

My brother received many boxing catalogs in the mail from the company Ringside. And there were all sorts of cool things in them.

Every time my brother ordered something, Ringside would send him these sweet mini boxing glove key rings for free. He gave one to me, and I did what any middle schooler would do—I took it to school to show my friends. It was a huge hit, and everybody wanted one (or two or ten).

This started my first entrepreneurial venture.

I took orders from many of my classmates for these boxing glove key rings, and I turned a nice little profit. Sure, these key rings were a fad, but this experience taught me (without me realizing it at the time) about many important steps that lead to a successful product launch.

From idea validation using product samples to determining real demand by requiring payment up front, it was a great lesson in business.

After I graduated from the University of Iowa back in 2004, I went to work for my brother at his web design and information technology business. I managed the Des Moines office, and then worked with him at his Chicago office for a period of time. That’s Jeremy in the picture below standing in front of the Chicago Office entrance. 

I learned so much from this experience working with my brother.     

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Boxing Career 

Jeremy won the Iowa Golden Gloves at the 156-pound division in 1993. Then, after continuing to box as an amateur for a few years, he switched his focus to boxing professionally—winning his first bout by TKO on October 9, 1997.

After amassing a 3-1 record, Jeremy decided to “hang up his gloves” to focus on his business and health.

It was super cool being a part of Jeremy’s journey. So much of how I operate today can be traced back to my early experiences learning from my big brother.

Let’s connect on Twitter (@TeamPixelayn) or you can connect with me directly (@rdglick).

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations