Sean Glasser is a living example of how dreams can evolve and lead to incredible accomplishments. Sean’s professional journey started when he earned the vice-presidential nomination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as a young adult. He would go on to receive a full scholarship from Seton Hall University for Criminal Justice with the dream of becoming an FBI agent.
However, the events of September 11, 2001, deeply impacted Sean, who resided just a short distance from the World Trade Center during his sophomore year of college. In response, he took action and raised funds for the NYPD and FDNY by selling memorial apparel on eBay. This experience introduced him to the world of online selling, inspiring him to explore new avenues for financial growth while pursuing his studies. He dabbled in selling Tireflys on eBay and eventually started selling light up products with imprinted logos for companies.
With a mere $600 in hand, Sean founded BLUETRACK, Inc. in his parent’s house and eventually joined forces with his college friend, Sage Katakura, to open their own shop in West New York, New Jersey. Despite their limited experience, they poured their hearts into the venture, working tirelessly for 80-100 hours per week and earning a mere $100 per week in the early stages. Over time, their dedication paid off as they earned the trust of prominent brands and fostered a loyal customer base of 40,000, including major players like Google, Nike, Netflix, Disney, and the NFL. Today, Sean serves as the CEO of BLUETRACK, which continues to expand its inventory and owns the Stressballs.com brand.
Born and raised in Jersey City, Sean’s unwavering work ethic and the values instilled by his parents propelled him to achieve extraordinary milestones. From his coveted nomination to West Point to navigating the challenging landscape of online selling and establishing a successful business, Sean Glasser embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and the pursuit of dreams.
How did you get started in this business?
I got started in this business through a combination of ambition, determination, and a bit of luck. It all began during my college years when I sold memorial apparel on eBay to raise funds for the NYPD and FDNY after the tragic events of September 11. This experience sparked my interest in online selling, leading me to explore different avenues to make money while studying. I started selling Tireflys on eBay and eventually partnered with my college friend, Sage Katakura, to open our own print shop. We started from scratch, learning the ins and outs of printing and business fundamentals through sheer hard work. Despite facing challenges and making sacrifices along the way, we built a loyal customer base and gained the trust of big brands. Today, I am proud to be the CEO of our successful company, BLUETRACK, and continue to expand our inventory while striving for future growth.
How do you make money?
I make money through my company BLUETRACK, which operates in the manufacturing, distribution, and e-commerce sectors of various industries like health, safety, stress, and ad specialties. Over the past 21 years, we have expanded our services and gained a large clientele, including renowned brands like Google, Nike, Netflix, Disney, government agencies, universities, hospitals, and countless other companies. We generate revenue by providing our clients with high-quality products, efficient distribution, and exceptional customer service. Through our strong market presence and valuable partnerships, we sustain our business growth and profitability.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took several years of hard work and perseverance before my business became profitable. In the early days, Sage and I were making just $100 a week, working long hours and sacrificing our social lives. However, as we gained the trust of bigger brands and built a loyal customer base of 40,000. Through continuous effort and dedication, we turned our modest beginnings with only $600 into a successful multi-million dollar venture, achieving what every entrepreneur hopes for while bootstrapping our way to success.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
When I first started out, there were definitely moments when doubt crept in, making me question if my entrepreneurial journey would actually succeed. The early stages were challenging, with long hours, meager earnings, and sacrifices in my personal life. However, in those moments of doubt, I learned to rely on my determination and resilience. I remember thinking that the only thing on my resume would be a big fat failure if I didn’t succeed and didn’t want to face that. I put the emotions and fear aside and started solving the problems we faced objectively until we gradually started becoming financially healthy.
How did you get your first customer?
I don’t really know who my first customer was. I remember after doing the fundraising for the NYPD and FDNY I started a few months later selling Tireflys on eBay. The first few auction winners would be my first real customers. Those were during college days and I remember we would gradually earn bigger and bigger clients as we started the print shop after college. I do remember the first large brand we won was Absolut Vodka. I had quoted them a job not expecting to win it and then got a call in the Indianapolis airport while on a business trip that they chose us. It was a great feeling, for sure.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Marketing is about getting people to be aware of who you are, know what you can do for them and believe that you can actually achieve it. We feel there are two components to that. One – you want to figure out what’s important to your target audience and figure out a simple and clear way to convey that you are the right source for it. Everything else is noise. Two – you want to be a reliable provider of whatever service you offer. If you are good at what you do other people will often be your best marketers.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make recently?
Firing someone who was close to me. In business, we often hire people that we get along with outside of work but that doesn’t mean they share your same work ethic or are positive addition to the team. I had a situation where I knew what the right call was for our company and for that individual but it was still incredibly hard to make. In the end, you have to do what’s right even if it’s difficult.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe my success stems from a combination of factors. My unwavering determination and resilience have allowed me to overcome challenges and stay focused on my goals. I don’t consider quitting an option and that has made a significant difference in my life, no matter how big the obstacle. I also consider myself to be very creative. I like to ask the hard questions and look at problems from fresh angles. Most times problem solving is just a matter of picking the right frame to view it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I’ve been in business longer than I’ve not been in business at this point so I’ve had a lot of satisfying moments. However, I would have to say anytime I see or hear stories of our products in use by customers it does give me extra satisfaction. Often our products are used to marketing businesses at trade shows, which is great, but sometimes their uses are even more inspiring. We’ve seen our products used to cheer up terminally ill children in hospitals, promote cutting edge and life saving technologies, and improve famous brands’ production problems. Knowing that the work you do is somehow helping other people is a satisfying feeling.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future of our business holds tremendous potential. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunities to expand our product line and forge new partnerships with renowned brands. We are investing heavily in automation that will deliver faster and more reliable results for our customers as well as our increasing our deployment of environmentally friendly practices.
What business books have inspired you?
Several business books have inspired me on my entrepreneurial journey. “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight showed me the power of perseverance and passion in building a successful brand. It is always inspiring to get an inside view of someone else’s journey and see how they overcame obstacles. “The ONE Thing” by Graham Hancock is another great business book to get you thinking. This book makes the case that there are a few actions that have significant impact on your results and of those there is always one thing you could do that will be better than anything else at any given moment.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would recommend investing early and regularly regardless of what expenses come up. Compound interest is amazing but you only come to realize it much later in life. I would also recommend focusing on finances sooner. Sage and I were amazing sellers and marketers early in the business but it took us time to get the discipline to be great at finances and accounting. Having that habit earlier on would have propelled us much further much sooner.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, I’m open to being a mentor. If you’re interested in connecting with me, you can reach out to me through my LinkedIn profile. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you on your journey.