In business, you need to be able to constantly push forward in order to get anywhere. Luke Battiloro, the founder and CEO of Vavoom Vodka, knows this very well.
Not just as a contender in the multi-billion-dollar distilling and distribution industries, but as an avid entrepreneur and a man who regularly trains his body and mind to face whatever challenge that comes his way!
Want to learn how to overcome whatever life throws your way? Stick around and learn a little from Luke Battiloro, the CEO that swims with sharks!
Hello! Please introduce yourself to our readers to start us off.
Luke Battiloro: Hello. I’m Luke Battiloro, the founder and CEO of Vavoom Vodka. Outside of that? I guess you can say I do a little bit of everything. I’ve been involved in various industries, including the CBD and supplement industries — and dozens of others, partly because of the consulting work I do for companies that need help getting leads. On a more personal level, I’m pretty serious about my health, so I do weight training pretty much every day.
What’s one thing about you that people would normally not know?
Luke Battiloro: I was deathly afraid of sharks as a kid. I’m sure you’re familiar with the JAWS Movie? Or at least heard of it? That show definitely did a number on little me. So much so that I was instinctively looking for sharks every time I went out for a swim — even going as far as to look out for them whenever I went to swimming pools.
A bit random, I know. But it’s something that has been on my mind in recent years. Or, more specifically, it’s been on my mind since I seriously started getting into “neuro-hacking” (as I like to call it anyway) to improve upon my overall outlook in life and, even, the way that I make professional and personal decisions.
What is neuro-hacking? And, how exactly has it affected your life?
Luke Battiloro: Neuro-hacking is the term that I use to describe the training I do for my mind. It’s a pretty broad term, in that sense, but earlier, I was mostly referring to ‘hacking’ into my brain’s stress-response (or the flight-or-fight response, as it’s more often called.) To put it more simply, I want to be able to tap into that reaction that happens when you get yourself into high-stress situations. The one that prompts your body to respond or move in some way — you either stop, fight, or you run away.
For me, as someone who’s deathly afraid of sharks, this stress-response is of course triggered whenever I’m around them. Forcing myself to move and get away from my fear. And, what I hope to achieve, by training this response, is a more active participation in the stress-response process. Or rather, learning how to lean into my fears so that I can do what needs to be done, no matter how hard, scary, or challenging the situation may be.
What do you do to train this newfound skill?
Luke Battiloro: As a part of my training, I’ve been making use of an underwater breathing method called the Wim Hof exercise. I originally started doing this training because I wanted to take my surfing to the next level, but I realized pretty quickly that it also had a positive effect on my stress response. By doing these exercises and moderating my breathing underwater for 4 minutes at a time, I’m able to put myself into that adrenaline-like state that allows me to face things that are scary and unknown.
Add to that a regular nootropic regimen and I’m able to, quite literally, ‘hack’ my brain to put myself into a flow-state that allows me to create a better reality, of a sort. A state that allows me to face my fears head-on. Whether it be something big and crazy like swimming with sharks (which I did just a month ago in Florida, facing my long-time fears once and for all) or making big plays towards the ‘scary’ and the ‘unknown’ that I have to contend with regularly because of my business.
And, how has it affected the way you make decisions?
Luke Battiloro: I’ve always been a risk-taker. I was the guy those big companies went to when they were looking for strong leads, after all. And to do that, I had to be able to be always innovative, always pushing boundaries, and always breaking barriers. With this training, I’ve taken control of my subconscious. I’ve pushed aside the anxiety that we’re all naturally riddled with. I’ve faced my fears head-on and developed a strong belief in myself. And with that belief, I can do just about everything. Now, I’m much closer to my ultimate state — where no fear is too scary, and no problems can’t be turned into positives.
On the subject of challenges, your vodka brand, Vavoom Vodka, is still a relatively new product, isn’t it? What has been the most challenging aspect of launching this new venture?
Luke Battiloro: Founding Vavoom Vodka, in itself, was a big issuing challenge. The alcohol industry is big, it’s old, it’s competitive, and it’s intimidating as all hell. It’s a beast, worth roughly $30 billion in the U.S. alone, and it’s made up of equity firms that own the majority of alcohol brands. So… for a completely new brand, the alcohol industry is almost impenetrable.
I say almost because we’ve managed to break through it with incredible success — coming out at least 300% in the positives in the past year! I was always optimistic, of course. That’s just the kind of person I am. So, tackling such a challenge wasn’t as much of a threat, but was more like an ‘invitation’ to succeed!
And what avenue did you end up taking to get to that level of success with Vavoom Vodka?
Luke Battiloro: To break barriers, you must face the unknown. This is really what I was trying to get at earlier with my rant about neuro-hacking. As an entrepreneur, you have to be open to new things, to innovation. It was exactly because I was willing to push this part of myself that I found my solution for getting Vavoom Vodka out there.
I knew that we had to do something new in order to break through and succeed in the industry. So, we pushed Vavoom directly to consumers and sold it exclusively online. It’s kind of wild and kind of scary, it’s definitely new and never been done before too. But it’s exactly what we needed in order to put our name out there and see the level of success that we did.
How has this decision affected the way you do your business in recent times? Have you seen any reason to change things?
Luke Battiloro: Despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 (and I mean this just in general), as a brand that sells directly to consumers online, I’ve seen no reason for us to change. In fact, it would be more apt to say that it is our competitors that are struggling to change and reach our level — to be able to ship out their alcohol to consumers. I’ve even had some of the bigger companies out there reaching out to me for advice on how we are able to keep doing what we’re doing.
What changes did you make in the past year to keep improving?
Luke Battiloro: Efficiency. We made a lot of improvements in our efficiency. Both in terms of checkout experience and actually getting our Vavoom Vodka to consumers. We were competing with the bigger retailers like Amazon in this regard — whose express shipping services have become the ‘standard’ that all other e-commerce businesses have been forced to keep up with. Hence, the effort to keep our checkout experience pleasant and stress-free, while also improving our shipping times to get our products to our customers faster.
Now, to see this interview to a close, do you have any tips for anyone who may be interested in taking the same challenge as you did and enter the alcohol industry?
Luke Battiloro: Well, like I said earlier, for the general alcohol industry, prepare yourself to face some serious competition. It’s a tough dog eat dog world out there. And if you aren’t the type to like big and risky innovative choices, then you need to either step out now or break the barriers in your mind by doing some mind-hacking of your own.The same goes for if you’re intending to do what we did with Vavoom Vodka and sell your alcohol online. Only, because this specific space is so unexplored, you need to prepare yourself to be even more open to change. For that, my advice would be to try not to get too caught up in the little everyday things. Instead, always have the big picture stuff in mind. Just try to keep your engine going while you tackle the main core issues of your business.