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Today, I’m really happy to have my friends Pat Flynn and Caleb Wojcik on the show.
The reason why I’m having both of these 2 on today is to talk about their incredibly awesome invention, the Switchpod. In fact, I have one on my desk right now and it’s the main handheld tripod that I use for all of my videos.
In today’s episode, we’re going to break down every aspect of their invention from how they got the idea, how they manufactured it and how they managed to exceed their Kickstarter campaign in just a day.
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What You’ll Learn
- How Pat and Caleb came up with the idea behind the Switchpod
- Their motivations for selling a physical product
- How they found their suppliers
- How is the Switchpod manufactured
- The Switchpod marketing strategy
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but before we begin I want to give a quick shout-out to privy who is a sponsor of the show previous the But before I begin I want to give a quick shout-out Privy who’s a sponsor of the show. Privy is a tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store and right now I’m using Privy Display a cool Wheel of Fortune pop-up basically user gives your email for a chance to win valuable prizes in our store and customers love the gamification aspect of this and when implemented this form email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. Now, you can also use Privy to reduce car abandoned with cart saver pop-ups and abandoned cart email sequences as well one super low price that is much cheaper than using a full-blown email marketing solution. So bottom line Privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers and recover lost sales so head on over to privy.com/steve and try it for free if you decide you need to the more advanced features use coupon code MWQHJ for fifteen percent off once again that’s privy.com/steve. Now on to the show
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Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast we will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so can spend more time with your family focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today, I’m really happy to have my friends Pat Flynn and Caleb Wojcik on the show. Now Pat’s about on the podcast a number of times and I’ve known Caleb for many years. And the reason why I’m having both of these two on today is to talk about their incredibly awesome invention the switch pod, and I’m actually at my desk right now and it’s sitting right there. It’s the main handheld tripod that I’m using for all my videos today. In today’s episode, we are going to break down every aspect of their invention from how they got the idea. How they manufactured it and how they managed to exceed their Kickstarter goal in just a single day. And with that, welcome show Caleb and how you guys doing today?
Caleb: Doing great. Thanks for having me.
Pat: Dude. Awesome. It’s great to be back. And so we’re talking about a physical product now because..
Pat: It’s weird. It’s different.
Steve: That’s actually my first question. So you guys are both very successful in the digital product realm like, why physical product? It’s a lot more work?
Caleb: You kind of start with that. I so, I make videos for a living for clients and for myself and I have so much gear. I’ve so much equipment on sitting in my garage right now, which is just my studio and there’s tripods and cameras and everything everywhere. And I’m the type of person just gets annoyed by stuff. Like why doesn’t this do this thing the way that I want it to, and I think it was just kind of Pat and I in the same place at the same time having the same frustration seeing other people dealing with it the kind of led to our first physical product together.
Pat: Yeah. I mean for me, I mean I’ve been in a digital space for a decade and I would have never I never thought I would have even entered the space the piggybacking off of what Caleb was saying was just there was a very very apparent need there for both of ourselves personally. And where this idea came from is actually, we were at an event it was a video event called Vid Summit and we just noticed everybody with those bendy tripods and..
Steve: Is it called gorilla or something like that?
Pat: Yeah, GorillaPod and we noticed everybody using them in ways that they weren’t really built for. A lot of vloggers, Thanks to the inspiration from people like Casey Neistat and Peter McKinnon. They were taking these gorillas pods putting the legs together and bending them in a way to allow for the camera to be a little bit further away from you so you can get a wider angle. I mean that’s not what they were meant for and it was interesting because when we were there, we noticed everybody like when they want to put it down they would either just lay it down on the table and the camera would be touching the table which is not ever good for the camera. Or they’d struggle opening the legs and they try to put the legs back together and it’s kind of clunky in the hands and we were just like this is insane. There’s got to be a better way, and then right at that moment our good friend Richie Norton who owns a company called Prouduct they help entrepreneurs take their physical product ideas and actually turn them into real things.
He helped John Lee Dumas create the Freedom Journal for example, and we’re just like Richie. Do we have this idea? Like, what do you think? He’s like, let’s do it. And we’re like, like actually do it. And for me, I was like, I don’t want to get involved with this because this is this is going to be a load of work. I love digital stuff because I can change something overnight and then it’s shipped and you know, I don’t have to worry about you know overhead or inventory or anything like that. But again, the need was there and I saw it in person. I think that’s what inspired us and Caleb was the first one to really come up with the idea of like the legs of a tripod coming together to be a grip and like what if they just swung out and you could turn it into tripod mode super fast and like from there. We just started asking questions and talking to people and that’s really how it all started.
Steve: So you met Rich at its Summit is that where it all came together?
Caleb: Even before that Richie was on Pat’s podcast. I don’t know what happened before that. But Richie got on to Pat’s podcast talk about physical products and he and Derral Eves who is the Founder of Vid Summit, the event invited Pat to come there and since I do stuff with patterns videos I Came as well.
Steve: And have you guys ever created anything physical before or it’s just all digital up until this point?
Pat: I mean for me it was all digital except for like at a workshop. I would have a little booklet printed out and then it was only like, you know, 425 attendees, but I’d I had no idea what manufacturing was like I had no idea what the process was like in terms of prototyping and let alone how to sell this thing. Just we just knew that we could potentially come up with product. Now, I had written a book called Will It Fly and I wanted to incorporate that process with the Will It Fly process which is what I used to teach people how to create businesses, which is like Taken Iterative Approach like don’t just build the product and then just start selling it right? I think it was Seth Godin who said don’t find customers for your products find products for your customers and we want to take that approach of like okay, let’s take it in a baby steps and will only keep going if we get a green light every single time.
Steve: Yeah, let’s talk about the process because it’s one thing to just come up with something that you want to sell. Like I come up these ideas all the time and making it as a completely different ballgame. Okay, so let’s start from the beginning so you know you was I want to create something. What was the first step?
Pat: Hey Caleb, do you remember what we did first?
Caleb: You know, the first thing we did was we drew really crude drawings of what this tripod could look like not crude in like inappropriate way..
Caleb: But just like not in a talented way. I mean, Pat has an architecture background, but Pat, I think he did most of that on a computer, right? So
Caleb: Your little better drawing than me so
Steve: You mean like a CAD drawing or just a photoshop kind?
Caleb: No, it was just kind of like white boards at accursed and sketches and things like that and the very next step from there was we talked to an engineer, his name is Cole Chamberlain and he works with prouduct and he took all of our drawings as well as just our ideas of what does this thing need? What is it not need what shape is it in all that kind of stuff. And I think that was maybe a half-hour phone call and he came back with started to do CAD drawings and things like that and making 3D printed prototypes and sending them to us and that was like months long of just slow steady. Trying different things. We still had no idea where it was going to go at that point.
Pat: Yeah. I mean one of the first things we got sent back to us after talking to Cole was like just a piece of plastic or even what kind of look like cardboard a little bit but just in a specific shape and he was like, do you like the shape or like maybe it’s a little longer maybe we can make this curved Edge more straight and then he’s like, okay like and then he got that feedback from us and then he sent us a 3D printed model which actually worked like it, the legs open and close and then I remember opening and Like spring started popping out and I was like, this is ridiculous. But I mean it like I could see it now I could visualize it and we even like put our cameras on it to test what it would be like we shared it with a couple people we got feedback immediately.
And that’s really what the whole process was like it was like, you know starting point get a prototype talk about it with people get feedback make another prototype with those little changes and then talk about it with people again, and I mean I think over the course of two years, right Caleb? We came up with I don’t know how many prototypes but with each one, We got feedback from literally our customer our future customer. We went to video conferences. We went to VidCon. We went to vid Summit again the next year with whatever prototype we had and they weren’t perfect in the whole purpose was we just wanted people to tell us what they liked or didn’t like about it. And the beauty of this was even in the Prototype phase. We had people go. Oh my gosh, like I need this right now we even had other people go. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen I would never use this.
And you can you can imagine at a point where you’re offering your beautiful idea to somebody and somebody says that that that might like deter you from to keep going but no that’s that I knew from my online business years, but that’s a good sign because then you can go. Okay tell me why you don’t like it and now we can better Define who this is not for and also, who is it actually for. so we can hone in on who our Market is and all that. So we really honed in on the vlogger or the Travel Photographer that the travel videographer. Who’s on the go and this thing became over time this super lightweight minimal very easy quick open easy-to-use not bendy legs because most people who use the gorilla pod don’t need it to wrap around trees and it just you know as much as we created. This was actually created mostly by the people who offered us feedback.
Steve: How did you find these people for feedback? I mean, I can understand going to a conference but where you just kind of like holding this thing out there and just asking random people or did you already have like a community built there?
Caleb: I mean it was in private for Initial idea was October 2017. And until June 2018. We kind of kept it under wraps. We didn’t share it on social media. We didn’t tell anybody that wasn’t our friend. So it was just if someone came to the studio to film a YouTube collaboration with Pat, we’d show them we’d show it to YouTuber friends of ours. I took it to a video conference called NAB in April of 2018 showed it to my friends that are..
Steve: Is this the plastic prototype? or is this like something close to finished?
Caleb: No, these are these are plastic.
Steve: Plastic? Okay
Caleb: They’re different shapes. Yeah, the parts are breaking off of them as we’re showing them to people, you know, super early. So it was it was Private until VidCon and that’s when we started sharing it publicly to whoever we could at the event by yeah carrying it around kind of swing it out to the side opening and closing it just in the hallways and people like me. What is that? Like, I want to check it out. So that was kind of the first time we publicly shared it
Steve: giving you an idea of, how many iterations you guys had to go through to kind of get to the product that I’m actually holding on my desk right now.
Caleb: If we versioned it. Like software and each physical thing we made was a new version somewhere between 12 and 15. I would say.
Caleb: Some changes major like shape changes material changes. That’s kind of early on then we kind of honed in on the shape. And from there. It was the minor things. Like does it have magnets in it? Does it need an extra hole here that sort of thing
Pat: And it was at VidCon when we shared it publicly we were able to do that. We got some I mean again, we didn’t know what we were doing. So whenever I I want to do something that I don’t know how to do. I just go find somebody who’s done it before me and you know, see what I can do to help them so I could get some some help back to and we got a lot of great advice from people who are like, okay, like you can share this privately with friends that you trust. But until you have a patent pending, you might want to keep it under wraps just in case and so it was right before VidCon that we got our patent-pending going. Thanks to Caleb and the research that he did with that.
And then we were like, okay, let’s just share it and I knew that that was an important moment because not only were we sharing it to get even more feedback In a public forum with people that we didn’t know, That was the other part about this a lot of us create products digital or physical and we share with our friends, or like what do you think about like, this is awesome like you got this and of course, they’re just wanting to be nice versus actual feedback from real people who you don’t even know you who don’t have a relationship with you.
So that was important but I also knew that sharing the story of it being created was going to be massively important for the marketing of this and that’s something that I have always done since day one was like Hey guys, let me take you in on our process. Let’s not keep this a secret. Let’s show you where we’re at and what we’re what we’re fumbling through and how we’re messing up. But what we’re trying to do to get better and over time. We started to notice people really rooting for us. It was it was really amazing to see that, you know, even leading into the kickstarter campaign earlier, February 2019.
I mean, I personally had a number of people who say hey Pat, I just bought the switch pod. I don’t even need it. I just really enjoyed following the story and and I knew that that was going to happen because when you get people involved in the process, they will invest. They feel like they’re a part of it and they want to root for you, which was really cool.
Steve: Can I get an idea of how much you guys spent it in the design process and kind of what the cost considerations were and actually fabricating them, the materials and the process and that sort of thing?
Caleb: Leading all the way up to the kickstarter Campaign, which was probably in total about fifteen fourteen or fifteen months and that time frame you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was somewhere around 25 to 30 thousand dollars in total.
Pat: Yeah, It wasn’t all up front. It was quite iteratively
Caleb: It was like a few thousand for the, yeah a few thousand for engineer work on it a few thousand person prototypes get made 50,000 more to do more engineering. So it’s kind of like slow and steady over that year or so. And then towards the end each prototype cost about $1500 and we ended up having four of those when we launched the kickstarter campaign. So as I significant chunk of our investment was just these one-off perfectly machine pieces of aluminum so that we could have them for taking photos making videos shipping them to influencers if they wanted them that survey.
Steve: and today is it created from a mold or
Steve: Okay and how much did the mold cost to actually have that created?
Caleb: That was the initial funding goal for Kickstarter was $100,000 because that would have given us the money back. We invested okay and the mold cost so, you know about $70,000 was the mold and that doesn’t count making any of them at that point and then you have to pay for each one you make and getting it here and tariffs and all that.
Pat: Ugh tarriffs. Yeah.
Steve: We’ll get into that a little bit. So, Pat you were just talking about marking a little bit. Why did you both decide to do a Kickstarter of all things? Most people don’t know that a successful Kickstarter requires you to kind of drive your own traffic. So I just kind of curious what the thought process was there.
Pat: Yeah. I mean it was less about potentially getting a staff pick where then you know, the marketing starts to kind of propel on its own but we really like the idea of Kickstarter because we knew that Kickstarter is a great platform to not just test ideas and have people vote with their dollars. But again is allows you to becomes a trusted platform to share your story on and to get almost a community behind you at the same time because people can see that other people are pledging and they’re backing that becomes about the idea versus just like hey, I want to sell you something. It’s like the journey that got you there too. And what this could do for you.
We also knew that video equipment in particular performed very well on Kickstarter to a lot of people in the video space a very familiar with other products that have been pushed on Kickstarter and it’s done very well. Along the way, We also connected with some of those companies in the video space who did very well on Kickstarter and they provided a lot of great advice for us as well. But Kickstarter we knew would be a great place to just test this on a trusted platform. And potentially have it, you know not necessarily go viral, but get get some extra love if it was doing very well what you did if it became the number one camera, I think accessory or Camera and Video accessory for quite a while during the campaign because of the hope the velocity that it had but that that’s the primary reason.
And you know, we didn’t use Kickstarter like many other people use Kickstarter a lot of Products that come out have like 12 different pledge levels with t-shirts to give away or you know, hey if the At this larger pledge level you can you know get a flight come meet us and things like that. We just were like, you know what let’s make this simple. We’re not going to have multiple colors. We’re not going to have multiple sizes. Just one SKU one product. We’re going to make it the best product that can be over going to deliver it or going to deliver it hopefully on time and I think we did pretty good when it came down to it.
Steve: Yeah. I’m always a little worried about kickstarters because a lot of them don’t deliver in the end. I knew you guys send you were going to deliver. So I mean that added a bunch of extra credibility to it.
Pat: I still am owed things that I bought two years ago. And funny the funny thing about Kickstarters, you’re right there is a little apprehension because people have been burned before and there is no contract when you purchase something on Kickstarter that is required for the person that you bought from to give you the product. It’s almost kind of based on the honor System or trust and we wanted to make sure that we communicated with the backers and delivered for them on time and you know, we were able to after the kickstarter campaign ended at the end of February or early March get it into everybody’s Hands by early October which not having mold even created yet at that point. I think we did pretty good.
Steve: How did you guys decide on pricing for this?
Caleb: I mean you look at competitors you look at what other people are charging for similar things as well as profit Margin. You know how expensive is it going to be to make this thing and then ship it and retailers are going to want their cut it when it’s in stores and you’re selling it to them for a lower price. So a lot of different a lot of different considerations also going with where we are now, retail at $99 is kind of a sweet spot, you know, not too expensive. Still is double digits that sort of thing and then we Backed off from that for the campaign to give people a good deal if they were early backers.
Steve: So you probably had some margins in mind right? And I’m just kind of curious how that factored into kind of the design process.
Caleb: For margins factored in the design process?
Steve: Meaning like for example, like you use magnets or whatever certain components are more expensive. And so you want to keep it under a certain price point right without compromising the quality of the product.
Pat: Under a certain price point not compromising quality and also as few parts as possible, that was the other thing. We had a lot more parts and things that were involved earlier that we were just like, okay, let’s redesign this so we can make it easier to mold and easier to create and and easier to ship and support so there aren’t very Many components of it. There are some things inside the the sort of head area of the tripod that you see there that you know are kind of internal but there’s not much we removed a lot. So yeah, I think you know again piggybacking off a lot of people’s previous experience with going into Kickstarter.
We knew that if we could get the product to just the features that we really would need to solve the problem that we were we were solving then we could have higher profit margins for sure. I mean oftentimes with these kinds of products and I see this all the time in the digital spaces, especially with software. You get what’s called feature creep where you get that feedback and they go I want this. Okay. Well I had that. Oh, I want this and I’ll okay. I will add that too. And then you have like this, you know, like the remote that you get from AT&T U-verse. It has like a billion buttons on it and you only actually use 4, like we knew that we wanted to go with okay for like, analogously we want the remote that has on, off, Channel, volume, mute. Like that’s it.
Like how can we create that version of a tripod and I think we did a good job. So the They helped us with determining the price pointing and being comfortable with that as well because sometimes we go. Oh, let’s undercut everybody. But obviously the profit margins play a role in that but we also don’t want to be ridiculously expensive and go super premium. If we don’t need to, we ask questions to people who we were meeting like at VidCon like Caleb would just, I remember listening to our conversations that you would be having and you just put you would just go. Well, how much would you pay for something like this and we would literally just hear the range and the range was between eighty and a hundred fifty dollars, which was really interesting.
And we would ask why? that’s the best the most important question so that when we choose to decide to price it at that we can support it with things that our target audience actually wants versus stuff that we can just make up to make it seem like it’s worth that price. We can actually support it with real customers reactions and it was really cool to see it be in that price range. And you know again, we just have thankfully the advantage of being in a space where people often will pay for things that they don’t need. And you know,
Steve: Haha yeah.
Pat: If we could design something that people need and it’s awesome and it works and it’s durable then we knew it would be a winner.
Steve: So when you asked why I’m just kind of curious what answers you got like why would we do..
Caleb: They would say well the thing they’re holding cost that much and so is immediately comparison
Caleb: As well as, they felt the quality of it. So at VidCon we did have the first aluminum prototype and it was metal and sturdy and strong made people put their cameras on it and so they could get a feel for, Okay this isn’t some cheap plastic thing. And so that also kind of gives people the sense of quality to it.
Steve: I’m just kind of curious how much you Leverage The Spy audience or were these backers a lot of them people that you met through the video Community?
Pat: The SPI backers. I mean there were quite a few because again, I have some raving fans who will kind of buy anything I come out with which is really amazing and I’m just super thankful for that. But I do have a lot of people who follow me who are also entrepreneurs who do video and of course A lot of them. I wanted to support and they were just in the target market as well. So that that was quite, I think actually they didn’t actually, they were there but but it wasn’t the majority of the backers. It was it was Caleb’s audience for sure and Caleb has a lot of ties to people from all ranges and experiences in the video space that were very influential and definitely wanted to support because that’s his Niche. But I think the biggest pull for us Beyond just the product itself and I say that because the product is once you see it. You either go I would never buy that or you go I need this right now in my life. Right?
Pat: It’s that polarizing and I love that about it because it kind of sells itself. I remember we were at NAB earlier in 2019, and we went to this conference in Vegas and Caleb and I were walking around with our switch pods and it hadn’t come out yet. It was just about to it had just launched on Kickstarter and two guys came up to us and I like is that the switch pod? I’ve been hearing all about this and we’re like, yeah like check it out and they’re like, how did you guys get access to this? We were like, we’re the inventors and that was one of the coolest feelings you remember that Caleb? Because like they didn’t know who we were and that to me my business has always been tied to me and now I was like who the product is really doing all the work
Caleb: Yeah. I feel like that’s when you know, it’s starting to take off when other people you don’t know or aren’t in your audience are assigned to talk about it and it happened fairly quickly for a few reasons. One of them was, I had some friends that have bigger YouTube audiences that teach Production or do camera gear reviews and things like that make videos and then we had another bigger influencer make a video and so right on day one. It was already bigger than us and our audiences.
Steve: I’m just kind of curious just kind of on the physical product side also on the manufacturing side. Did you guys actually visit the factory is everything assembled overseas or?
Caleb: So, I went visited the factory in August of this year. So about a month and a half before we got our inventory in the US just kind of the last minute Quality check as they had the line all set up about to do the run of ten thousand plus switch pods, I went to the factory. But before that product of the people we’ve been working with to develop it over the last two years. They had been to the factories multiple times
Steve: Okay, and in terms of managing quality, what were some pitfalls that you guys have experienced and I imagine these are inspected on the line and at the end as well, right?
Caleb: Yes, and I also missed one of your previous questions. Yes, they’re fully assembled in a factory in China and then they’re shipped in the packaging that we ship it to people to customers through our warehouse in the US. As far as quality, I mean like Pat said there’s only so many moving Parts but some of them are so important that if you mess it up it could ruin the product. So if the screw is too long at the top of the tripod, which we learned through developing it for two years either a camera won’t fit or will fit and that sort of thing. So, It was just those last-minute things to make sure everything was good. I could hold it in my hand. Make sure it was functioning properly. And to be honest. There was one thing that if I wouldn’t have gone or if the product team would have gone and caught something it could have been a major issue.
So yeah, I think if you are making something at least have them send you them so you can like give a final sign-off before they make a lot of them because it’s easier to make a product one off from, Okay, a CAD drawing to spec when you’re paying a lot of money and they’re precisely measuring everything but once you have molds and you’re making 10,000 of them and you have a lot of people on assembly line putting together, that’s where small little changes can happen and over a lot of units that can be a major headache.
Steve: You guys have any hiccups during production. I mean 10,000 units is a pretty good-sized production run.
Caleb: I think one of the benefits of how we did this is we trusted the people we are working with we trusted prouduct to find factories that would do the different parts to paint them to package them that sort of thing. So we trusted professionals do it. Pat and I would not have been able to go to China and find factories that made tripods like you know, Honestly, there’s no way and as far as issues though. We had also been working with them for about a year. So that factory was making our prototypes for like almost a year.
Steve: Got it. Okay.
Caleb: For shipping, so They knew the product as well as we did as well as our engineer did and when I was there in China, I showed them like hey, look at this. This this might not be working. Okay, 4 engineers that I never met before that live in China and work in this Factory went to work in the next day. I came back and I like okay we fixed it. This is what we’re going to do. And so that’s I think just the benefit of being okay to hire other people to do stuff for you.
Steve: Okay, let’s shift over to marketing a little bit. We talked about the kickstarter already, but the kickstarter is over now and so how do you generate Great sales now and kind of what is the marketing plan going forward?
Pat: Yeah, I mean, so before we skip over it there was a very important moment that happened and Caleb sort of touched on it a little bit and it was one of the big influencers out there in the video space who actually created a video for us and that was a really important component because that I mean his reach and is incredible and the thing is we didn’t pay this person to do this. He did it on his own but it was a, I want to I want to say it was strategic, but it was also just organic at the same time. I don’t want to say like, oh, I’m the only reason we built this relationship was so that this could happen but it was just a natural conclusion to the relationship that we had built and we had met this guy at a conference. I spoke at vid Summit 2018. This person was also a speaker and so we met each other at the VIP party afterwards and that’s one of my favorite reasons to speak is not just the time on stage.
It’s the time outside of the stage and the people that you get access to. Anyway, I was introduced to this person is his name is Peter McKinnon, and obviously it would have just been a dream for him to even like mention our product in a tweet let alone create a video for it and we were just very very sensitive to the fact that well we didn’t want him to ever feel like he was being taken advantage of so when we shared the switch body with him, you know back at this VIP party, you know, we did film that but we never use that footage and we were just like very thankful that he really liked it. He actually wanted to take it home, but it was our only prototype that we had we needed it to get the kickstarter campaign going and we were just like Peter we’re gonna get a prototype made for you were going to send it to you and we don’t want anything in return. We just want you to know. Enjoy it and use it. And we knew that if the product it would it would it was supposed to do he would really enjoy it and you know, hopefully one day he would create a video and put it in his like what’s In My Bag videos or something that I usually does and that would that would have been awesome, but we sent him one.
We put it in a really nice package. We wrote him a handwritten note and we sent a personalized video as well and just said Thank you and didn’t expect anything in return. But we asked if he wanted to sign up for an affiliate program in case you wanted to to promote it for us and just to give back to him if he did and you know. We sent him the video on wistia or is through wistia, which is a video hosting platform. The cool thing about wistia is you can sort of see how many views there are and it was a private video and when we saw one view on it, we’re like, oh my God, he watched it. What do you think he’s gonna do and then and then we didn’t hear anything back and then, you know six hours into campaign halfway to our goal already on our own $50,000.
He came out with this video. It just blew my mind. I was literally in tears watching it because I was like an eight minute video all about how we love this even said like these guys, Caleb and Pat they came up to me at this event. They didn’t pay me to say this. I just think this is the next big thing for vloggers and we were just like, oh my gosh, and then of course the sales just went through the roof. After that. We had reached our funding goal of $100,000 in 11 hours and 26 minutes, which it was a 60-day campaign. So we were just like wow, this is like Caleb said much bigger than us at this point. But then moving forward like you said the kickstarter campaign ended. Now a couple things continue to happen people continue to talk about it and search for it even in Google and they would The kickstarter campaign page and I think you know, even after the Sale, Caleb did some very strategic things to point people from the kickstarter page even after the sale to our Shopify page.
We already had it ready by the end of the campaign and I think Caleb I don’t know what the percentage is, but a majority of our sales at least early on after the campaign were still coming from people finding that Kickstarter campaign, right?
Caleb: Yeah, we still get traffic that people type in switch pod on Google and it goes to Kickstarter and then they click to Shopify and then they buy.
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I know this has been a mention of switch pod with a bunch of other YouTubers. Have you done any manual Outreach or has been pretty much organic?
Caleb: Definitely manual Outreach.
Caleb: Yeah, I mean we had think we probably had seven or eight people make videos during the campaign that actually had their hands on the switch pod.
Steve: Are these friends of yours. Like how did you get people to actually mention them?
Caleb: Yes, and so all but one of them Peter being the one of them were friends I had before we ever did this or friends that Pat had so like Sean Cannell and Justin Brown and people we had met at conferences and Levi Allen and other people that I knew that made videos about it. So that was like the campaign strategy. And then since then we’ve made a few more prototypes before we went to Mass production sent those to some friends of ours as well. But you know now it’s organic. So we ship them all in mid-october about a month or so ago, then it’s organic. Then it’s all these people that were back the project at bought it on Shopify and out there talking about it.
Pat: Yeah. I need the unboxing video. Like there are literally multiple unboxing videos that come out every week now from People who get it, which I think is first of all, we also put a lot of effort in designing the packaging. It’s very it’s a very nice experience. We wanted to be very apple-like and you know, you open the cover. It says like for, made for creators by creators. We wanted to have people feel like they were a part of this process too. And we wanted to honor them as creators and this is a tool to help them create more and it’s you know, we’re creators as well. The other thing is just you know, like I said the unboxing videos and just showing more and more people that more and more people are using it. There’s like a social proof element to this and Caleb and his wife Jen have been doing a great job of managing the Instagram Channel. If you go to our Instagram page, I don’t know how many followers we have.
Steve: You got like 5,000 or 6,000 something.
Pat: Yeah, and that’s just been we haven’t paid for any of that. And then when we see an unboxing video or somebody share their photo of the switch pod, we grab that we give him credit, but we post it and just kind of Honor them as a user and thank them for it and people have been really creative with how they’ve been using it as well and putting different components on it and different rigs. We have some holes on the side that Allow you to put like lights and other arms and extensions on it and we’re just super super stoked. We have not yet even paid for advertising.
And we know that once we get up on Amazon, which is kind of what we’re in the middle of right now. We can benefit from some PPC campaigns and things like that to hopefully you wrap this up and take it to the next level for sure.
Steve: Let me ask you this if you didn’t have these friends on YouTube. What would have been your strategy for outreach?
Pat: I think you know for me and I’ll let Caleb speak after, but I think it would still largely be influencer based marketing for me because that’s what I know I’m good at and I know how to manage those relationships in a way where people don’t feel like I’m like I can I can serve people and have them serve me back and that’s what’s helped me get to where I am digitally and I knew that could help me with with product, you know physical product stuff. So I would still go to I would pay for the ability to go to these conferences and share it and allow people to use it and even film with it. I’d be number one. And then number two, I think a you know, more strategic Facebook ad campaign that targets videographers or perhaps even a YouTube ad campaign.
I wouldn’t have minded to put a little bit of a bit of a budget into some ads because when you see this thing, it’s like oh my gosh. Yeah, so like, you know a video ad would perform very well. And again, these are things that we have in our pipeline. But right now we’re just kind of cruising and you know, we’re looking forward to the holidays and seeing what happens now because we know things pick up around This time a year and you’re just really excited. I know Caleb what would we have done differently if we didn’t have these relationships?
Caleb: That’s I think that’s hard for me to answer because I would just go back in time and meet people like you have to you have to network. You have to have people in your industry in your customer base that you can connect to it. You can get feedback from because not only in the marketing way, but if we weren’t people that made Videos and we did know people have made videos. We wouldn’t have made a good product because we would have known what they wanted and we wouldn’t have gotten feedback. We would have just work silently and thought that they needed something and so I think it was very important that we did have connections and we had been building them over the years.
And there’s also had a really long gestational period of you know, it took us a year to get to our final prototype, our 99% prototype and then another year from that till it was in people’s hands. So we had two years and even if we had zero Network at the start you find the events to go to you figure out the people you want to meet and you try to meet them in as organic way as possible. Not in a cold email, Here, Try my product.
Steve: Yeah. Yeah. That was the point. I was trying to get to the listeners out there because a lot of people come up to me and they go. Hey, so I got this product. How am I going to get people to promote it now? It’s always a process that where you have to kind of develop those relationships ahead of time. Without asking for anything in the beginning at all.
Pat: right, so, okay.
Pat: So as I say you gotta dig dig your well before you get thirsty because if you’re digging your well, you’re already thirsty your kind of it’s not going to be a good situation.
Steve: So recording this right now Black Friday is next week to get some context. Do you guys have any plans?
Caleb: When is it coming out?
Pat: We had some plans and Amazon’s been a very interesting thing to get involved with because you know, we have our Shopify account and that’s performing very well. We also have our product in some retail stores already online including B&H Photo Adorama.
Steve: How did you get them to carry your products?
Caleb: Right now there’s five of them so I could talk through each of them individually. Number one, B&H. I’ve been at B&H affiliate for many years where they send me a product for 30 days. I can make a video. I use video links. I send it back that sort of thing. So I developed a relationship with my affiliate rep. Pat and I were in New York City just showing people switch pod and we tried to get a meeting with Buyer one thing led to another we ended up meeting, while we were there and they were interested. Adorama was organic actually, they reached out during the campaign. So someone at the team was just kind of keeping an eye on Kickstarter products and they had heard about it. What Have You, Focus Camera was similar to that just cold reach out moment, which is a company that makes smartphone lenses along with cases and other things.
They also have a shop where they sell a bunch of video photo gear. I had actually connected with them during the campaign. To get advice because I was using their Kickstarter campaign as kind of a framework to how to make the page how to show the offer pricing all that kind of stuff. And then the last one that we’re at right now is DVE store and we met them in person at Vid Summit this year and they wanted to order some and put some in stock. So kind of a case-by-case basis and yes, there are bigger stores and bigger opportunities in the future, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, What have you. And DME the other day is like how do we even do that? We don’t know. So we’ll figure it out as we go.
Steve: How does the arrangement work? Is it do you do they pre purchase a bunch of units or like what is the arrangement look like?
Caleb: Yeah, so they all buy it and then they have the inventory. So we’re not direct shipping for any retailers right now.
Caleb: So they get it at a wholesale price because they handle returns shipping holding the inventory that sort of thing and they make their margins on that.
Steve: Can we talk about cash flow for a little bit looks like you guys are selling on a bunch of different channels? So Amazon your own store and then these retail outlets presumably to make these, you know tens of thousands of units. It’s a lot of money involved up front. So I have there been any issues on the cash flow front and what’s your plans for that?
Caleb: We’ve been keeping it tight.
Pat: Very tight.
Caleb: but it but in a strategic way. So we basically, after the kickstarter campaign you get a big payout Kickstarter takes their percentage. There’s a credit card fee percentage. There’s churn, you know, people that back the campaign that didn’t back it. And so the $415,000 public number you see is not what we got as well as a large chunk of that somewhere. I think around 40 to 50,000 is just for shipping out all of these switched pods to the 4,000 backers. So we had a big chunk of cash in our bank account. And we did the math of how many switch pods. Can we make get them to the US Pay tariffs ship them out to our backers and not run out of money and that was about ten thousandths Switch Pods and so we had only sold at that point a little less than 5,000 switch pods.
So we basically double bound we took our chips from one table, we walk to the higher limit. We set them all down and we can fling and we’ve made a couple decisions like that where Pat and I haven’t taken any money out of switch pod yet and we are trying to level this up to the point where for a physical product to really succeed in to be in a lot of stores you need inventory. If you don’t have inventory, you don’t make any money. So we’re making decisions to continually make sure we have inventory as well as if you get it all made At once, it’s cheaper because I need to ship it all over at once and you get better unit cause and that sort of thing. So we haven’t made another batch yet. We’re probably going to make another batch in the next few months, but that also comes down to timing and cash flow and retailers. Retailers take their net 30 whatever to pay you as so it’s a lot of it’s a lot of timing.
Steve: So you’re going through this first holiday season with basically that initial I guess you have 5,000 units left or how many years you have left and that’s what you’re living with do these Holidays.
Caleb: correct. Yeah, so that 10,000 included the 5,000 or so Kickstarter and then what we’ve sold since then so we still a few thousand. Yeah.
Steve: I just want to let you know that tickets for the 2020 Seller Summit are on sale over at sellersummit.com. Now what is seller Summit? It is the conference that I hold every year that is specifically targeting e-commerce entrepreneurs selling physical products online and unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high-level BS. Mine is a curriculum-based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an e-commerce business. And in fact, every speaker I invite is deep in the trenches of their e-commerce business entrepreneurs who are importing large quantities of physical goods and not some high-level guys who are overseeing their companies at 50,000 feet. The other thing I can assure you is that the Seller Summit will be small and intimate every year we cut off ticket sales at just a couple hundred people. So tickets will sell out fast, and in fact, we sell out every single year many months in advance now if you’re an e-commerce entrepreneur making over 250K or 1 million dollars per year, we are also offering an exclusive mastermind experience with other top sellers. Now, the Seller Summit is going to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From May 6 to May 8. And right now, we are almost sold out of Mastermind tickets already and I will be raising the ticket price regularly starting the day after Cyber Monday for more information, go to sellerssummit.com. Once again, that’s SELLERSUMMIT.COM or just Google it. Now back to the show.
Steve: Yeah, and I’m sure it’s going to sell it over the holidays, which means I’m putting mine up on eBay baby. No, I’m just kidding.
Caleb: That was interesting. They were immediately on eBay as soon as..
Steve: Is that right? Haha
Caleb: Yeah, there was some on eBay for more than what you could buy it from our site when we were shipping from our site. So, I don’t know if people actually sold them or not, but he will do what they want to do.
Steve: So I kind of want to conclude this interview by just kind of talking about like the biggest pain points that you’ve had in getting your physical product off its feet compared to your experiences n the digital realm?
Pat: Yeah for me.
Caleb: I would say cost and patience but go ahead Pat.
Pat: Yeah for me is just patients. Like I like things to move fast. I, in the digital space can film a course and created and launched it and make money from it within a week and a half and or two weeks and and to have this take so long and every little iteration take so long. Every little change has to be very purposeful because was that means then the cad drawings have to change and then it has to get remolded or like all that stuff is to be factored in and then you know, even right now this just the patient’s of working with Amazon’s customer service team.
Pat: I just I’m just like pulling teeth and and pulling my hair out and having so much fun doing I think that’s what’s gotten me through this the fact that in this is what I do on SPI is I build new things and I share the process and and it doesn’t always go perfectly and I love that because it always becomes a lesson for other people so it has gotten me through is just the real life case study that I can then share to help others who maybe are trying to or thinking about doing something similar but that’s been the biggest challenge for me for sure is that has been the patience.
Caleb: For me. It’s been cost and profit margin because like that was saying digital course, you’re looking at what 95 percent 97 percent profit margin on that?
Pat: It’s ridiculous. Yes
Caleb: And physical product. You’re lucky you’re looking at 50 to 70 percent
Steve: Well that’s gross. I mean, yeah, that’s gross too. But yeah, yeah. so which kind of leads me back to my original question, which I asked in the very beginning so digital versus physical. What are what are the main Pros that keep you guys going for this?
Caleb: I think it’s just fun like doing something physical is very fun. It’s very different. It’s challenged me to learn a lot of different things to learn again some of the stuff I learned when I studied Supply Chain management in college. So when we just decks and packaging and all these different things as well as it is open doors for Patton eyes Network that a digital thing just simply could not do. To get to meet certain people to be in stores to continually just learn different types of business that we can now share with people and and use whatever Ventures we have in the future. That’s been that’s been the best part is the fun the connections and it can also just be bigger. I think. Because of physical product, Typically I think can help more people. So they’re just more people involved than your ebook or your course or what have you.
Pat: For me. It’s the look that a person has when they pop their camera on there and they use it like it’s like, you know when you’re in a Tesla and you somebody like just throttles it and then you have that like crazy smile. Oh my God, like that’s the moment like there’s a moment with physical things I think is very interesting. That it’s just not in existence in the digital world. Like I can’t give my online courses somebody and yes, they might be excited about it, but they’re not going to be able to use it or get value from it until they, you know, do it until they take action on it versus like I can hand somebody to switch pod and they just this is exactly what I need. They put it on there like yes, and they’re already using it like within 30 seconds.
It’s just it’s just so different and that to me is just been really special and I that’s what keeps me going and you know because any successful business online or offline, It’s about the customer and to be able to create something and to serve them quickly and to just two people throwing away their old tripods now because they got what they really wanted or what they really need is just like, so cool. It’s I love that feeling
Steve: So having done both myself. I find physical products more stable and less maintenance to a certain extent once everything’s out the door, whereas digital products. You constantly have to re-film or keep up to date with All those things whereas physical products that initial hurdle initial investment is really large. But once it’s out there it is generally easier to maintain.
Pat: so you’re saying we’re in a good spot now?
Steve: You are you guys have already met the largest hurdle or one of the largest hurdles, I would say and then you’ve got all these accessories that you can add on to it. I’m not sure if that’s in your future plans, but
Pat: Ah yeah
Steve: And sky’s the limit man.
Pat: This guys and I’m really excited and there’s definitely more upside here in the physical product space side as well. Not all digital is something that needs to always be maintained to I will fight back on that like a mind set course for example, like stuff about mindsets are going to change but if you’re creating a course about you know, social media, I mean you change that like every week so you’re right.
Steve: Yeah, and then you guys have an asset that is a lot more sellable now to than a post a digital course.
Pat: that is correct.
Steve: As well. So I’m excited for you guys. I really love the product. I saw that you stood on it at did I see you last so I tried standing on mine and it went fine and my kids actually climbed on me. As I was I was like whoa whoa whoa easy kids. I don’t know if he can handle all you guys as way but it actually did. It’s very sturdy product and it’s now my go-to tripod.
Pat: That’s awesome. Thank you, man.
Steve: I just want to close, where can people find this if they want to buy it?
Caleb: You can go to switchpod.co
Steve: Switchpod.Co and if it gets sold out in Ebay, is that where the
Pat: Find, Steve.
Steve: I’m just kidding guys, but excellent product. I’m looking forward to all the New accessory announcements and everything and best of luck to you, and if you guys ever need any help, this is my realm, so if you have any questions on Amazon what not feel free to hit me up.
Pat: Thanks, man. Appreciate that a lot.
Caleb: Thank you.
Steve: All right. Take care.
Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now if you’re in the market for a handheld tripod then go out right now and pick up the switch pod. I have one right in front of me right now. And it’s a great product I use for practically all my videos today. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode284.
And once again, I want to thank Kaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Kaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.
I also want to thank, Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use the term visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit intent and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it is so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any parameter that is closely tied your eCommerce store. Now, if you want to give it a try it is free so head on over to privy.com/steve. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve.
Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com
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