Jon Butts '04
Founder & President
|award:||Entrepreneur of the Year|
|company:||Muscle Up Marketing|
Butts walked away from a well-paying, stable job in the middle of a recession to start his own business. His employer tried to get him to sign a non-compete agreement that Butts considered overly restrictive “They gave me an ultimatum one day, and instead of signing something I didn’t believe in, I walked away. Everyone thought I was crazy,” he said.
Butts started Muscle Up Marketing with only $1,000 and no outside investors. Due to a prior non-compete agreement, he drove 130 miles per day roundtrip, working out of a small cubicle in the back of his wife’s cousin’s insurance office. The persistence has paid off as Muscle Up has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies. Muscle Up’s clientele primarily includes health and fitness clubs and other membership-based businesses.
Muscle Up ranked 40th among the nation’s fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 5,000 list in 2015. “Of the 39 that were ahead of us, I highly doubt there were any that started with $1,000,” Butts said.
In just four years, Butts has turned a $1,000 company into an $8 million firm.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle has recognized Muscle Up among the city’s Best Places to Work. The company has also been active in philanthropic causes, including Habitat for Humanity, the Rally Foundation (childhood cancer), and other organizations.