If you know of an entrepreneur who has a story that could help inspire others, please take a minute to fill out the form below. American Underdog may choose to tell their story on our radio show, our website or possibly in the webisode.
"Wise men learn by others mistakes, fools by their own." Proverbs
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The spirit of the underdog is what brought longtime friends Bill Fowler and Chris Steele together. Although their individual paths to this point were quite different, they shared common goals: to control their own destinies, live life on their terms, and never compromise their ideals.
Having grown up, the son of an entrepreneur, Bill Fowler has spent most of his professional life helping others realize their dreams. It was his two successful businesses that brought him into close contact with brave business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Even in his early days as a consultant and business owner a sense of the special qualities of the American Underdog was forming in Bill’s mind. While Bill enjoyed helping these entrepreneurs reach their goals, what made the work special for him was being exposed to their passion and commitment. “It’s contagious,” Bill said recently: “When I meet someone building their business, I get pumped. I start giving them ideas and encouraging them and before you know it, my excitement for what they’re doing inspires and motivates them!” It’s that excitement that led to the idea for American Underdog.
Meanwhile, friend and future business partner Chris Steele seemed to be on quite a different path. Having recently left their jobs and with several thousand dollars in debt, in 1996 Chris and his new wife Kelly were questioning the direction their lives together would take. They wanted it all - family, freedom, financial success, and they weren’t ready to sacrifice any one of the three. “It happened to be an election year,” Chris remembers, “ we used our credit cards to buy $10,000 worth of tee shirts, buttons and bumper stickers. Our plan was to attend political rallies around the country and sell to eager supporters. It seemed crazy, to some, but we had faith. We loaded up the car and hit the campaign trail.” In one day they earned enough to pay off their debt and start their lives together on a positive note. That first decision to be an entrepreneurial couple led to several other successful business ventures. It not only allowed them to take control of their destiny, Chris said, “It gave us the ability to focus on the two things we love most, our sons, Keegan (12) and Collin (10).” It also gave them the opportunity to pursue another passion, traveling. In 2006, the Steele family sold their home in Florida, bought a motor home, and traveled the country for a year while home-schooling their boys. It was on the road that year – seeing and feeling the true spirit of America up close, that the idea for American Underdog began to coalesce in Chris’ mind.