In the middle of a cold Chicago night in November 2013, brothers Joe and Luke Simonds sat awake in their hotel room, talking animatedly and tossing around ideas for a new business.
“You wake up one day and you just think, ‘This is not what I want to do for the rest of my life,’” Joe says.
The two had, by that point, founded a successful adviser marketing company and fulfilled a lifelong dream of working together. And yet they wanted out.
“We were debt free and had a company we could sell,” Joe continues. “We said, ‘Let’s just freaking do it!’”
The “it” was launching a company built around a shared passion dating back to their childhoods: saltwater fishing.
The duo, originally from Florida, ignored the early-morning meeting they’d flown into town for and bought a domain name that very night.
They sat on it for a year, waiting until they were able to sell their marketing company, and then put the money from the sale toward their new venture.
They dubbed the business–a subscription-based instructional saltwater fishing website heavy on video content–Salt Strong. They officially launched on January 1st of this year, with older brother Joe and his family relocating from Atlanta to Tampa for the business.
“I look at my memories and experiences growing up,” Joe says. “And whether it was spending summers in Daytona Beach and bass fishing or being out on the water with my grandparents, fishing tied our family together. It had a huge impact on our lives.”
The brothers want to bring those same experiences to kids and adults, and hope that by living their mantra (“teaching the world how to fish”) they can create bonds and memories for other families.
They also want to help remedy everything from childhood obesity to depression by getting people outside. They have taken disabled veterans, as well as children with cancer and cerebral palsy (Joe and Luke’s youngest brother has the disorder), out on complimentary fishing trips.
Joe and Luke create all the video content for Salt Strong themselves, filming one- to five-minute-long segments in Tampa, Boca Grande, and Marco Island, Fla., among other locations. Many of their videos have been viewed thousands of times since launch, and one, “The Best Fishing Knot for Braided Line Ever,” was watched over 125,000 times in just over three months.
The brothers are quick to clarify that despite the instructional nature of some of their videos, and their desire to connect fishing guides with clients, they’re not looking to teach people to be professional fishers–or to themselves be fishing guides.
“It’s more just about getting the world to fish, getting families and kids excited about fishing, sharing cool experiences and cool videos,” Joe says. “Ever since I quit my 9-to-5 job, I’m a happier person, living the dream. I want to change other people’s lives, too.”
Originally published by America Within.