Brad Scudder, the founder and CEO of obstacle course company Rugged Maniac, credits billionaire Mark Cuban with teaching him a valuable lesson: Know your worth.
Scudder, a former lawyer turned CEO, appeared on season five of "Shark Tank" in 2014 with his business partner Rob Dickens. On the show, he pitched his business to the Dallas Mavericks owner who ended up investing $1.75 million into their company. The deal became one of "Shark Tank's " biggest.
Scudder founded Rugged Maniac at the end of 2010 at age 27. "I was practicing law and I hated it," he tells CNBC Make It. "I was looking for anything else to do."
The entrepreneur, 34, describes himself as an "outdoorsy guy" who grew up on a farm in the western part of Massachusetts.
Tired of the boring day-to-day of his corporate job, Scudder decided to take part in a tough mudder obstacle course, which is a series of 10 to 12-mile obstacle race events.
This inspired him to create his own shorter obstacle courses. Rugged Maniac features obstacles such as muddy water slides, tunnels, fire pits and large walls that participants must scale.
Scudder says he built out a business plan, hired someone to create a website, found a venue and built obstacles in a horse patch at night, all while working as a lawyer during the day. Four months in, he decided to leave the lucrative job to focus solely on his burgeoning business.
"People thought I was crazy," says Scudder. "I was traveling 200 days a year, coming in at 3 a.m. in the morning, working 80 to 100 hours a week."
He was also forced to live with four roommates in a rough neighborhood in Boston just to make ends meet.
"I got through with a lot of help from my friends and family," he says. But when 1,500 people signed up for his first obstacle event, he knew he was onto something.
Scudder soon brought on his friend and former Wall Street lawyer Rob Dickens to the company. Over the next three years, they built up the business, churning out about 15 events a year.
As the company grew, they caught the eye of "Shark Tank " producers who reached out to invite the two businessmen on the show. Scudder and Dickens turned them down at first, but eventually accepted the offer.
"The exposure was too good to pass up," says Scudder. He adds that he still remembers the exact moment he came face to face with Mark Cuban and the full panel of judges.
"I was like, 'oh s---. These people are going to rip me apart on national television,'" he says. "I thought I was going to pass out."
But Cuban saw their company as a major investment opportunity. The billionaire initially offered them $1.5 million. Although Rugged Maniac was barely profitable at that point, says Scudder, they rejected the offer.
They eventually settled on $1.75 million, with Cuban getting a 25 percent share of the company. From there, the business took off.
Now in its seventh year, Rugged Maniac operates over 30 events nationwide each year with more than 150,000 participants.
Scudder says the company has also had 100 percent growth year to year, which he admits has been influenced by having the Cuban name backing their business.
"He's a brilliant business mind," says Scudder. "He can reduce complicated issues to something super easy. He answers [questions] instantly and is straight to the point."
Looking back over his career, Scudder says that the best part of owning Rugged Maniac is the autonomy, adding that Cuban is pretty "hands-off."
"I'm my own boss. It excites me. I enjoy what I do," he says.
Scudder's advice for other entrepreneurs looking to emulate the same success is this: "You've gotta jump. [Rugged Maniac] must've been the 40th idea that I had. I thought I'd probably fail. You can't be paralyzed and stuck in inaction. Jump."
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This story has been updated.