Trophy Taggers on Target for Big Money

What do you get when you mix an outdoor gear superstore and social networking? You get Trophy Taggers, an online association of hunters and fisherman that buy their gear, share their pictures from deer camp and recruit their friends to join to do the same.

Trophy Taggers targets outdoor enthusiasts, a group that is already attuned to tight-knit social circles and boasting the hunt. Trophy Taggers provides members with an online forum to expand their network, and once they join for the social opportunity, it is also a business opportunity. Members have their own online hunting store, and when their friends buy from their store, they get paid.

Why has Trophy Taggers taken off so quickly?

For $200, outdoor enthusiasts can have their own hunting store. They get their own web site ( and they love it. They can't wait to send their friends there to check it out.

And guess what? Their friends are going to buy their hunting equipment somewhere, so why not by it through their friend's store instead of Cabela's? There are 20,000 hunting products they can make a profit on.

We have hunters, fishermen and people that just like to camp or be outside. They pay us a monthly fee to have their own hunting store and to have a private, ad-free email.

What have you done to grow this so quickly?

We started three years ago in September 2009. I hit the road and started to go from trade show to trade show telling people one on one about Trophy Taggers.

I saw that with certain key people the idea really spread quickly, and I believe that these "connecter" personalities really do make a difference. We have done very little television advertising this past year, but the people we are trying to appeal to have seen it.

So now we have our members talking to their friends about it, getting them to shop through their store and seeing video footage of their friends on our television show. It makes it contagious, and they want to be a part of it.

Members have a chance to make money and a chance to be famous. It's a great story to be able to tell.

Most entrepreneurs have mentors. Have you sought out any mentors?

I have a very informal mastermind group that includes my partners, Brian Breneman of Altus brands, and my father.

My dad was a successful businessman and has always given me great, unfiltered advice. My dad took my projections and cut them in half. Then he cut them in half again. I was a little miffed, but he is helping me be conservative and make our business planning as solid as possible.

Brian and I met because I simply wanted his advice. He has tremendous experience on the distribution side of this business and has been so valuable to this venture. The ideas we get are almost non-stop, because each of our members has a monetary incentive to grow Trophy Taggers and their own bottom lines. So they are providing feedback constantly on ways to make this business better and grow it faster.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs trying to get a business off the ground?

There will inevitably some times where people have doubt about their idea or a setback in their business. There will inevitably be setbacks, but you must fight the doubt! Eventually, with enough persistence and a solid idea, you will break through.

As you gain momentum you will naturally attract more and more people as customers or investors, and it snowballs. I've been there, and I know how it happens.

What are you going to do to take this company up another notch?

We are starting a Founder's Club, which is limited to 100 new members. These Founder's Club members are going to get one dollar for every person that signs up for Trophy Taggers, paid every year, forever.

The Founder's Club investors' money is going to be used to underwrite a series of television shows that we are already working on producing. The shows will be comprised of high-definition footage of existing members and drive new membership and revenue for these Founder's Club members.

This is going to increase the interest in our web site and business and give us huge national exposure, becoming a self-perpetuating thing. We are having our first national convention May 31 through June 2 at the Grand Traverse Resort next year, and we anticipate 400 to 500 people. We couldn't be more excited. BN