They say inspiration strikes when you least expect it. I don’t know who the ‘they’ is in this case, but I certainly agree with the notion. And that’s exactly what happened for Daniel Goetz, Founder and CEO of GoodPop, which are the all natural frozen popsicles I’m sure you’re all familiar with. He was 22 years old and on a trip in Mexico when he stumbled upon something he thought was lacking back where he lived. Daniel saw that void in the market, and things started to click (of course, with lots of hard work, too). The cherry on top of it all (or at least the part that makes me the most excited) is the company’s values when it comes to giving back. And what I love most about Daniel’s story is that he didn’t grow up necessarily thinking he’d start his own company (in fact, you’ll see he says below that he can’t even recall hearing the word entrepreneur growing up), and it shows you can do whatever you want to do, as long as you have the passion and drive to do it. Keep on reading to see how Daniel started GoodPop and why, what he loves most about his job, the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment he’s had of his career, thus far, advice for someone wanting to start their own business, and much more.
When did you launch GoodPop and what were you doing prior?
GoodPop was initially launched in 2009, while I was a senior advertising student at the University of Texas. While a student and prior to launching GoodPop, I worked for an advertising agency and as an intern in the state capitol and in sustainable housing. So I was kind of all over the place until I found an industry I was excited about – popsicles.
What inspired you to want to launch GoodPop?
The inspiration for launching GoodPop was a culmination of a few different events/experiences over the course of a couple months. It started after a visit to Mexico City, when I fell in love with the unique flavors of the local paletas, which are fruit and dairy popsicles made from fresh, locally grown fruits. Seeing the local kids and adults enjoying these paletas as much as I was, and how it brought a smile to people’s faces left a positive impression on me. I had always been interested in the natural food space and when I got back to Austin and checked my local Whole Foods, I couldn’t find anything quite like these fresh, local paletas I enjoyed so much.
At the time, people were lining up at food trucks to snack on unhealthy, sugary items like cupcakes, sno-cones, etc in Austin and it was then I felt like there was an opportunity to create a natural, clean update to the popsicle, married with a fun brand positioned to doing good and giving back. The rest is popsicle history.
Did you always have dreams of being an entrepreneur and running your own company? If not, when did you decide this was the path for you?
I can’t really recall hearing the word entrepreneur too much growing up and really hadn’t known that was a viable option as a career. With that said, ever since I can remember, I have always been doing my own thing. It sort of clicked when I was about 20 that hey, I keep starting these little ventures (doing little entrepreneurial type projects since I was 12) and I can’t picture myself in a regular job at a regular company; I guess I’ve been an entrepreneur all along.
What’s your favorite part about your job? Most rewarding? Most challenging?
Best part of the job is getting up every day and working with great people who are passionate about what we’re doing. It is heartwarming to see that we’ve been able to create a work environment where people are happy with what they’re doing each day and feel that they’re involved and making a difference with their work lives. Beyond that, the most rewarding part is having a social impact, doing good in the community and globally, and seeing how no matter how big or small, our efforts are making a difference.
What does a day in your life look like?
5-6am: Drink coffee. Wake up, drink coffee.
6-8am: Finish any outstanding projects from the previous day, be proactive via email
8am-6pm: This is where the fun begins. Mainly reactive to incoming email. Couple coffees mixed in there. Remember I haven’t had lunch around 3pm, find tacos. Take hourly 3-5 min puppy play breaks with the office pups.
6-10pm: Sports. Cooking. Fun. More emails.
What’s been the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment since starting GoodPop?
I’d say spending time and getting to know Jerry Greenfield (THE Ben) from Ben & Jerry’s. They created the model for values/mission based business before it was a thing. They wanted to change the world and use their delicious ice cream as a platform to do it. I have always looked up to them as how you do things as a company and to him as an individual. Jerry showing me around his factory at night was a super “cool” moment too.
What’s your favorite GoodPop flavor?
Depends on the time of day, mood, weather conditions and a handful of additional random factors. Our new Orange N’ Cream is awesome. I’ve been eating those multiple times daily lately.
What inspires you?
People and companies that do the right thing when nobody is watching and not expecting anything in return. People who are passionate and focused about making a positive impact. My friends and family.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own company?
Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing, the industry or the problem you’re trying to solve, and can see yourself passionate about the same thing in 2, 5 or 7 years. Many entrepreneurs start up just wanting to start something and the passion fizzles. You need to be intrinsically self motivated to get up and do what you’re doing every day, and the best motivator for motivation is your own passion.
What’s next for GoodPop? Anything in the pipeline? Anything you can share with us?!
We’ve got some fun projects in the works, including a shelf-stable organic, no sugar added kids item (the first of its kind) and some new flaves coming out. It’s gonna be goooood!
Thanks so much, Daniel!
See past interviews here.