How Dan Murray-Serter Cured His Insomnia and Founded a Million Dollar Company

Sep 17, 2021
 Image edited by author (not of Dan Murray-Serter) — original from Unsplash


When you think about the ideal conditions to start a multimillion-dollar brand, you probably aren’t thinking about:

Burnout. Depression. Anxiety. Bulimia. Insomnia.

Dan Murray-Serter worshipped at the altar of Gary Vee’s hustle culture so ignored these worrying symptoms for far too long. He couldn’t make sense of why he felt so terrible when he knew he had everything other people wanted.

His insomnia became unbearable and his anxiety went bonkers. He became a shadow of the person he wanted to be and his ego had to give in. Yet even talking to therapists didn’t solve his problem. Dan became more desperate and his behavior more erratic.

I can’t handle a couple of bad nights of sleep, I can’t imagine what six months felt like.

Then after seeing a dietician, all his symptoms cleared up within weeks. It wasn’t a miracle, it was hard science. His brain wasn’t getting the key nutrients it needed and had become sick. It took a cocktail of three different supplements to undo the damage.

A man inspired, he founded Heights not long after with Joel Freeman and released his own supplement. It’s now the highest-rated supplement in the world.

If you’re struggling right now, I hope Dan’s story can inspire you.


Give away quality content

After his transformation, Dan became obsessed with the effect of nutrition on brain health and read hundreds of academic papers.

His masterstroke was converting what he read into bite-size lessons for a weekly newsletter. He wanted everyone to feel the same joy he did from his new healthier brain. He was raw and vulnerable about his struggles. His passion was infectious and attracted a loyal following.

You can’t fake love for a topic and expect people to care what you have to say.

By the time the Smart Supplement was ready, there were already 3000 newsletter subscribers who trusted Dan.

Newsletters are too underrated as a tool for customer growth. Don’t wait until you have something to sell before launching a newsletter because you’re already fighting against the tide. Build your audience slowly by providing real value where it doesn’t just look like you see them as a paycheck.

The Heights newsletter has now exploded to 65,000 people.


Disrupt an industry that needs disruption

How much confidence do you have in supplements?

I have a low opinion of the entire industry and I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen enough stories of people who had no scientific background creating a supplement and making money to put me off for life. They are often overpriced and promise too much. Most trigger my scam radar.

Dan was a skeptic like me and it means he’s done things the right way. He knew he needed to do something special to win people’s hearts. He was paying over $150 a month for three supplements that he had to take with a meal each day. There’s no way I’d ever copy his old routine no matter how much I liked him.

This is where Dan’s entrepreneur's brain kicked in. What if he could create something new and more accessible?

From the failure of his previous startup, Grabble, he learned to “hire problem solvers and give them autonomy”. So he provided the human steer whilst neuroscientist Dr. Tara Stewart and dietician Sophie Medellin formulated the perfect supplement.

The result is a three-in-one pill which costs a third of what he paid. They contain a cool innovation where there’s an inner shell with nutrients so you don’t have to take it with a meal either. From the packaging to the look of the pill itself, no detail was overlooked.


Bring in your friends

Dan started the Secret Leaders podcast before it was something everyone and their grandma did. Over five years he’s interviewed over a hundred business leaders including the founders of dozens of unicorns.

These leaders have brain-intensive roles, are hard to impress, and are often obsessed with personal growth. Dan’s success in befriending them is an achievement in itself. Yet they were the perfect trial users for the Smart Supplement. It’s impressive he managed to convince people running billion-dollar companies to test out an unproven supplement.

The trial included 100 people and a year later 79% were still using the supplement! The Heights website also featured endorsements from people with high credibility such as Stephen Fry, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, and Nir Eyal.

I discovered all this when I was deciding whether to invest in the supplements for myself. As I mentioned, I was a natural skeptic even though I had a strong respect for Dan and his podcasts. The combined reputation of all of the people involved managed to convince me to part ways with my cash.

I’ve been using the Smart Supplement for a week and so far I haven’t turned green. I need to wait for three months to truly know the effect but I’m optimistic. This isn’t a sponsored post; it’s so rare for me to be won over by a product like this that I had to dissect how Dan and Your Heights did it.

He’s something of a personal idol to me because of how he handles his mental health whilst still being ambitious. He’s the blueprint I want to follow rather than those wedded to hustle culture.

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Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.