A.D. Dolphin, the grandson of the 1940’s and 50’s music mogul John Dolphin, launched his company, Dherbs Inc., in 2004. Dherbs catalyzed an evolution in the use of herbs as a clear pathway to excellent health, healing, and an improved way of life. A.D. explains, “I always knew I would be an entrepreneur. Everyone in my family owned their own businesses and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.” He pursued a career as a professional basketball and found success overseas in Australia. Upon returning home from Australia A.D. began coaching and professionally training. His reputation grew rapidly and amassed 300 private basketball students in under 2 months. “I saw how clients learned and what worked for them,” Dolphin says. “I trained each client not only according to their desires but also to their needs.” Dolphin became a trusted ally, friend, and mentee of his high profile clients.
Sideline conversations propelled A.D into real estate & music, but he found the most success with his herbal supplement business, Dherbs. A.D. road-tested what is still the company’s #1 product to date, the Full Body Cleanse. Within 7 days of the 20-day cleanse, Dolphin felt that his energy increased, his sleep was better, his thoughts were clearer, and he kicked his soda addiction. Dolphin decided to launch Dherbs as an online company. ‘I didn’t even have an email”, he laughs.
Since 2004 when A.D. and his 2 partners opened the virtual doors of Dherbs.com, they have not looked back. After over a decade of growth and success, A.D. is in the herb business to stay. “There is nothing like the feeling you get when you start helping people.” Dolphin’s philosophy is simple and clear, “The body can heal itself if it has the right fuel.” Dherbs has over 400 herbal products that can help remedy a variety of health ailments. A.D. does not rest on the laurels of financial success. He has a thirst for knowledge and information to share with clients that distinguishes him as a leader in the field of health and wellness.
A.D. Dolphin, known for being Steve Harvey’s health and wellness expert, has appeared on a variety of media platforms discussing the benefits of clean eating and healthy weight loss. He has also helped transform the waistlines of high profile clientele, including Emmy Award-Winning Actress, Niece Nash, Grammy Award-Winning Singer Brandy, WeTV’s Celebrity Hairstylist Kim Kimble, Actress Sherri Shepherd, ABC’s Blackish star Anthony Anderson, Windy City Host Val Warner and many more.
A.D. has been featured on The Doctors, Sister Circle Live, Great Day Houston, Windy City Live, MNewsOne Now, Yung Joc’s radio show on Streets 94.5 ATL, The Breakfast Club, Essence Magazine, Sheen Magazine, CentricTV.com (now BETHer) and many more. Additionally, he has appeared numerous times on the Steve Harvey Show, where he has not only helped Steve with his own weight loss but has also been involved in food demonstrations, weight loss challenges, and met face to face with people who have succeeded using his methods.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with A.D. Dolphin to discuss hIS journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
My journey started when I was playing basketball. The one thing I realized is that if you work at something every single day, the thing that happens to you is that you got better at it. And I understood that if I could learn how to shoot a ball from 30 feet out consistently and make it every single time, that I could pretty much do anything. All it takes is you know, you putting in the work every single day. And I realized if I put in the work every single day at anything that I did, I could be great at it.
I always knew that success was in my future. I always have had dreams and big goals and I was always willing to put in the work so I knew ultimately I was going to be successful.
What is your main source of income?
I don’t know if I necessarily have a main source of income. Probably some of my bigger companies are DHerbs where I’m the health coach and I’m also the health coach for the Steve Harvey TV Show and I’m the CEO of DHerbs.com but also um, real estate. We do really really well in real estate. We have rental properties throughout the nation.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I work at it every single day. We keep looking for opportunities to grow. We keep looking for opportunities on how to advertise and present our product. So, it’s just constantly looking under every single rock possible that can give us you know, that lead on everyone else out there.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
We use Instagram and Facebook. The majority of our audience is on both platforms but we do have more of a following on Instagram. These platforms help us increase our brand awareness through high-quality content, Instagram/Facebook live sessions, engaging with our customers and followers, and more. I answer every message that people DM me, it’s necessary!
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
I think it does work and I think it’s the beginning process for any business. Pay per click, I think it’s a great process. I definitely went through that, that was my first form of advertising. And it’s a good way to kind of get your name out there and its a good beginning stage of advertising and understanding advertising. You have to have a good budget for marketing and advertising in order to see results. You don’t just see people on billboards for no reason, its because they want you to see them.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
The one thing I did, was most people that are in the supplement business what they do is they always want to be in the big brand stores: The Ralphs, The GNC’s, I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to make everyone come to me oppose to go to Amazon, GNC, other grocery stores. I didn’t want to be where the competition was. I wanted to make the people who are interested in our products come to us so I used TV and radio. And what I mean by that is that, I began doing interviews on radio stations about my products which lured people to my website and I did the same thing with TV and that’s how I made that big connection and fused that connection with Steve Harvey.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
TV and Radio, without a doubt.
How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
They didn’t do what I did. It’s rare that you hear about a supplement company on the radio. It’s rare that you hear about a supplement company on a TV talk show. Supplement companies didn’t do that. They used the retail market to become popular, I used TV and Radio. It’s completely two different animals.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Well, probably the toughest decision within the last few months was to advertise during COVID-19, to get our product out there during COVID-19. So I had to make a decision whether or not we were going to advertise. What I did was for the first couple weeks, I just sat back and watched and looked at the market and what I noticed was that a lot of people were pulling away from radio, so as people are pulling away from radio that means there are opportunities there so, therefore, I went heavy on radio, instead of pulling away from it. And things that I used to pay one dollar for, I was now paying twenty cents for it so therefore I got more for my money and therefore I got my message out there even more.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
To be honest, every single mistake I’ve learned from. I think everybody has a different learning curve and what they learn from and you know, I really feel like mistakes are valuable. The question is, are you going to learn from them? I tend to do that so I don’t know if there’s a mistake out there that people don’t need to learn from. I just think everybody has a different path.
What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?
Hard work pays off, it really does. Put me into work every single day, and you know, and going into the office every single day, it pays off, putting in the work actually does pay off.
I always start my day off early. If you call me at 6 in the morning, believe it or not, I’m up. I usually get up around 5:30am every single day but the thing that’s so crazy about it is that I go to sleep really really late so, for me to go to sleep between 2 and 4 o’clock is pretty common, to be honest, and I’m constantly like I said, looking for opportunities, trying to understand my market, looking for better ways to do my business and also we have a team of people who work for us in Bulgaria. They’re in a different time zone, so I have to be up a lot of the time just to even communicate with them so we can get things done.
What new business would you love to start?
The thing that would be great for my current businesses is probably me getting into TV production and me producing my own TV show. I do so well on TV as far as pushing out products so therefore if I had a show that can show off the capability of our products I think that would be amazing and I think that would definitely be a way to get my message out there a lot easier so maybe TV production.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
One thing I would do differently is to listen to my brother more. My brother came to me with so many different advertising opportunities and because I was scared and nervous about spending certain amounts of money I didn’t lean towards them. To be honest, It was definitely the right thing to do. I can kind of give you guys an idea. Kathy Hughes owns Radio One, and Radio One is black radio and she had a syndicated show, it only reached about a million people and they came to us and they asked us if we wanted to advertise on it. My brother put together a great program for us where we would do two interviews and we would do live reads every single day on the station for a month but they wanted $12,000 thousand dollars for it. I felt like at the time, $12,000.00 was too much for us and we couldn’t afford it. We collectively were making $60,000 a month and I just thought it was too much. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But lo and behold, as they kept pressuring us and coming back to us with more of the savings on the advertisement, they got it down to about $9,500 and I told my brother prior to that, I said look if they get it under $10,000 I’ll take it and let’s just see what happens. Well, lo and behold, we did the advertisement, we did our interviews, it doubled our business inside of a month so we went from $60,000 to $120,000 in one month and then my brother started looking for bigger opportunities, bigger radio stations and we began to grow at a rapid pace. So, listening to him is probably what I would do more.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
I would probably tell myself don’t be scared to fail. SO many people are so worried about failing and they don’t understand failure. Failure actually puts you closer to success. You know for sure if you do it this way, you know it’s not gonna work out so lo and behold, that cancels out so many other ways to fail and actually puts you closer to success, so don’t be afraid to fail is probably what I’d say.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
The best book that I’ve seen out there, it’s a really really simple read is Steve Harvey’s book “Jump”. I thought that was a great first step for entrepreneurs to go after and seek and live their dream and go after whatever they desire to do. It pushes you towards that.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is that you have to have faith in your partners. Just kind of have an open mind and understand that you may not have all the answers and other people bring things of value. Being open and willing to listen to other ways to get to the top opposed to your way, your finite way of getting there. You have to be open and really listen because a lot of times people can show you a shorter or smarter way of getting there you just gotta be open to hearing that information.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Make sure you’re following your passion. Make sure you’re doing something that you would do for free. If you can find something you would love to do, that you would do for free whether you are getting paid to do it or not, you are definitely doing the thing that you are supposed to be doing in life.