Audio

283: How To Segment Your Email List The Right Way With Alexandra Edelstein

283: How To Segment Your Email List The Right Way With Alexandra Edelstein

Today, I’m thrilled to have Alexandra Edelstein on the show. Alexandra is a senior product manager at Klaviyo and she was also a speaker at my annual ecommerce conference The Sellers Summit.

At Klaviyo, she’s known as the resident expert when it comes to email list segmentation. So today we’re going to talk about the right way to segment your email list to maximize revenue for your ecommerce store.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why blasting your entire list is bad
  • Basic ways to segment your list
  • How to maximize repeat purchases
  • The main parameters used for segmentation

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Today, I have Alexandra Edelstein of Klaviyo on the show. And Alexandra spoke at the 2019 Seller Summit and her talk was very well received. And today we’re going to talk about the right way to segment your email list for maximum Revenue growth.

But before we begin I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact, last year, it was close to 50% of my overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife.

Also want to give a shout-out to 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 131%. 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

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 and focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host, Steve Chou.

Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. I’m thrilled to have Alexandra Edelstein on the show. Now, Alexander is a senior product manager over at Klaviyo. And she was also a speaker at my annual e-commerce conference the Seller Summit and no surprise she is an expert when it comes to email marketing. And today what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about the right way to segment your email list to maximize revenue for your eCommerce store and with that, welcome to the show, Alexandra. How are you doing today?

Alexandra: I’m doing well. Thanks. It’s great to be on.

Steve: You know what’s funny is we spent three days together. We didn’t actually get a chance to hang out all that much. For the people that are just kind of listening and don’t know who you are. Just give us a quick background and how you actually got into email marketing.

Alexandra: Yeah. Sure. So as you’ve mentioned I’m a senior product manager here at Klaviyo. I’ve actually been with Klaviyo for about four years. So quite some time and from the very early days. I spent a lot of time working with our customers learning about their needs their pain points so we can Could help build Klaviyo into what it is today. Prior to Klaviyo, I was actually working on a national entrepreneurship program with Goldman Sachs. And again working with entrepreneurs helping invest in their growth build five-year growth plans. And in order to reach those businesses nationally, which is a program. I launched and scaled. There was a lot of email and a lot of marketing. So I learned firsthand the pain points of needing to personalize communication at scale from that job.

When I transitioned over to Klaviyo being able to work with the same group of people businesses entrepreneurs, like everyone listening looking to scale and grow their companies. I could deeply relate to the challenges with really driving that targeted personalized communication with Technology Solutions that were really clunky and hard to use and it felt like if you really wanted to do anything cool you had to be a massive Enterprise company with developers all that and so when I joined Klaviyo, iy was fun to be part of the solution and since then I’ve grown into different product areas. And as of the last couple years, I’ve been focused on Automation and flows to help marketers automate and scale their communication.

Steve: Cool. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about email segmentation. Now, what’s funny is I actually got a chance to watch the recording for your presentation because I didn’t get to watch it live. So this is like the perfect chance for me to talk to you about in person.

Alexandra: Oh okay.

Steve: So So just a couple basic questions in case the audience isn’t really even familiar with email segmentation. So first of all, what is it and why wouldn’t I just want to send an email blast to my entire list whenever I run a promotion?

Alexandra: That’s a really great question. What is segmentation? And why should you care? Ultimately, It really gets down to the one-on-one personalized communication that we use every day and honestly take for granted every day and our personal relationships and the relationships were building with our friends, with our family, with our colleagues, with new people we meet on the street. As human beings we’re constantly listening and learning about others that we talked to either in the same conversation or over time and we use that data that we accumulate to build relationships to have more relevant conversations. It may seem really transactional when you when you spell it out, but ultimately as humans were really good at listening, analyzing and then communicating to be relevant and to not sound tone deaf and to Built trust and all the things that come along with actually having a personal relationship.

The challenge when it comes to marketing and especially marketing to a large customer audiences is that we aren’t able to get to know each one of our customers individually all of our subscribers and the sheer scale of it makes it really hard to do that same type of thing. You know, work so well in our personal lives, it’s really hard to learn about individuals that pot buy from us, that subscribe. It’s hard to analyze that data and then it’s really hard to personalize what we put in front of them and how we communicate with them. So segmentation is really a way to do that at scale by starting to think about the things that do make your customers and subscribers unique, it means using your data in order to analyze and figure out these audiences, group them with common characteristics and you want to think about things that will motivate people and that will really make them feel like you’re reaching out to them.

So for example, if you have a mom, let’s say you’re selling children’s clothes and you ask your audience you talk to your mom’s and you say hey, what are the age of your children? And they tell you that would you want to send them Communications and marketing content about clothing that is age appropriate for their children or would you want to send them emails or a promotional content about things that have nothing to do with the data you just collected? I think any marketer would pick the former, so that’s that’s segmentation in a nutshell. It’s basically finding ways to learn about your customers and subscribers and use that data to have more relevant conversations and to be more personal every time you reach out.

Steve: So here’s one of the points I kind of want to hammer home. So let’s say I have a promotion for something that might not necessarily be within that example that you use like the kids age group. What is the harm in sending that promotion anyway? Like the person won’t be interested. They won’t open the email whatnot. Who cares? What, Is there a, does it do any harm?

Alexandra: It does do harm and so that’s the that’s where we get into the great ease of of email marketing and kind of the deliverability side. I find typically when people hear the word email deliverability, they think of Spam folders, but they’re not really sure exactly what it means and how it can impact them. The real meat of it here is that ultimately if you think of Gmail and Hotmail and Yahoo, your recipients are their customers and it’s their job to ensure that individuals have clean inboxes and have an inbox that they’re able to sort through and and really work with and so Gmail and others look at engagement from a sender. So as a sender if you are sending out volumes of emails and getting really low open and engagement rates. That’s Gmail signal that you’re likely sending spam and that’s when you’ll slowly see your open rates drop even more because Gmail will start to put your emails in the spam folder.

Since that’s their reaction to seeing those low engagement rates. And so we have this saying here at Klaviyo that those that do nothing do harm for exactly that reason if you’re not sending relevant personalized emails and you’re seeing low open rates and low engagement rates because of that ultimately you’re going to see your open rates drop even more as you start to see that funnel effect into the spam folder. And so while you may be sending relevant communication to some and some are opening, those that aren’t are actually going to they’re going to ruin it for everyone else and you’re going to see yourself really struggle to dig out of that since it can be a lot more challenging to regain a positive sender reputation then to damage in the first place.

Steve: So does that imply then that if you keep sending and people don’t open that some real good customers of yours may not get your future emails?

Alexandra: Exactly exactly over time. The more the more you send these unengaged audiences the more likely you are to see all of your emails go to spam and so even those that do want to receive your content aren’t going to get it because it’s going to land in their spam folder too

Steve: So just curious what are some decent metrics for open rates to just kind of indicate that you’re in decent shape.

Alexandra: Sure. Yeah, we find that typically around 20 percent and above is what we call a good healthy open rate. If you’re in the 15 or so percent area we say, you know, look at how you’re trending go back and Klaviyo. We have ways to analyze this in any email tool you’re using you’ll Look at your Trends to your main lists, and if you’ve gone down to 15% from the healthy 20% area, it’s likely you’re trending potentially into that spam territory. So you want to do some list cleaning start to segment your engaged audience and only send to them or exclude unengaged audiences to start to boost those open rates. If you’re in the 15% range and you’re trending upwards and that’s a really good signal that you’re starting to be more personal and targeted. So so I’d say if you’re dropping below 15 and you’re especially if you’re in the 10 or below that’s where you may want to take some more proactive measures to get back on track.

Steve: So I hear a lot of people talk about segmenting your list, but I’m pretty sure it’s confusing to a lot of people. So what I was hoping to do to in today’s interview was to talk about some just very basic ways to segment your list that apply to pretty much any e-commerce company that is manageable with a very small team for example.

Alexandra: Yeah sure

Steve: So how would you do that. Like what is the best way to maximize repeat purchases and increase your open rates and engagement rates?

Alexandra: Yeah. So we find that ultimately if you think of the more robust models around recency frequency and value that you may sometimes hear when you think of segmentation the key thing to generally focus on is that recency factor so..

Steve: so can we Define those three terms first before we move on?

Alexandra: Yeah, of course and so we talk about when we talk about recency or talking about people that have Opened or clicked an email from you recently and have purchased from you recently. So those that have purchased from you most recently probably no surprise they’re engaged but they’re more likely to purchase from you again because they haven’t gone too long. They haven’t dropped off. So that’s recency. You can think of things that happened most recently.

Steve: Okay.

Alexandra: When you get into frequency. That’s when you’re thinking about how often does something happened. And so how regularly does someone purchased from you how regularly do they open. The last category here is a value. When someone purchases, how large is that purchase? What is their total lifetime value? What’s the revenue potential or the revenue earn over all time? And so you’re typically trying to drive up all three of these you want to drive up recency. So you want to keep your audience engaged and active and real-time. You want to keep the frequency High you want to encourage repeat purchases on a regular Cadence and of course you want to drive up the customer lifetime value and try to not only increase the average order value for any given purchase. But of course drive up. Like I said that the lifetime value over time.

Steve: Okay, and so based on these three parameters is that like the foundation for your segmentation strategy?

Alexandra: Yes, exactly. So if you think of these different categories you can think that your core marketing audience. So that’s about 75% of your marketing is generally going to go towards those that fall into this recency category, the people that are most recent. Once you get into the laps and not frequent not recent. So we talked about those damaging unengaged folks that you don’t want to email that’s where they have neither of the three. They are not recent and they’re not frequent and their value has seriously tapered off. That’s where you get into the danger zone if you email them because it’s very likely you’re Landing in spam. If you start to creep back from that where maybe they are high value, but they just haven’t bought super recently. They’re medium laps.

That’s where you start to creep back towards the wind back category, which is people that used to purchase frequently or only very early very recently elapsed and have those different value categories. So you can think of the different buckets across these three different core principles as a foundation for segmentation.

Steve: Can we tell some numbers in there. What would you consider a lapsed email subscriber?

Alexandra: Typically if someone has an open an email in three to four months we consider them elapsed and that’s also a tip. That’s what Gmail also considers getting into the laps territory. If someone has an open in three to four months and you keep emailing them and they keep not opening. That’s when they’ll start to filter those emails to spam.

Steve: What if they made a purchase in that time. They’re just not opening their emails. Is that still count as a lapsed email subscriber?

Alexandra: So it depends a little bit about whether you’re focusing on deliverability and and hitting the inbox or if you’re focused on engaging repeat purchases. So the tricky thing is that Gmail doesn’t care whether or not someone’s buying from you. You can have a really great product and you could get a lot of purchases. But if your email games not strong and you’re not if you’re batching and Blasting everyone, you’re not going to see engagement on that side of things. So you do want to segment, you know, pun intended here you want you want to segment your strategy and you want to think about how you’re able to target folks that are engaged keep them engaged via email but also keep them buying and the strategies are slightly different for both.

Steve: All right, so you talked about a number of things here. So your core marketing audience. It sounds like it’s people who have opened an email within the last three or four months. Is this is correct? Just tell me correct me if I’m wrong, and then for win backs, it sounds like these people might not have they probably haven’t purchased in a while and they haven’t opened a while and you’re just trying to get them back and then there’s this set of people that haven’t done either that you just don’t want to email.

Alexandra: Yeah exactly. Exactly and it’s a bit of a sliding scale. So when you’re thinking about recency, you do want to think about recency of purchases as well as recency of email opening. So the more engaged your content is and the more strategic and targeted you are from the segmentation perspective. Hopefully folks are opening your emails. And so that’s kind of a constant. That’s a constant in terms of something you want to be tailoring and and playing around with it to keep your open rates high. In terms of recency of purchasing, that’s where you Get into segmentation around when backs and trying to understand your buyer cycle and ensure that you’re sending targeted Communications to encourage purchases reach out after someone hasn’t purchase when you thought that they should have and things like that.

Steve: So can we just throw some numbers again out there for win backs? Like what are some just general guidelines for parameters that you would said for a win back?

Steve: Yeah. So this is actually it’s a great question. We get asked it a lot. I would say there’s no magic number. I’m in the world of email and the world of marketing because it really depends on your product and your buyer cycle. So the first question I typically ask a brand or someone I’m talking with is if I bought your product today, when do you think I needed it again? And then we have a conversation about what a normal buying cycle would look like based on your product. So if it’s a replenishable product, you probably have serving sizes. You might be able to gasps. Hey, you know if someone buys X within 30 days, they’re going to need it again. And so if that’s the case, you know think about 15 days past that it’s a 30-day replenishment cycle think about 15 days or so about two weeks past that and that’s when you’re going to want to send a wooden back about a week before you’re going to want to send a reminder.

And so you can think about that date that replenishment cycle and a little bit before it. You might want to send a reminder or send some content maybe even a promotion but a week or two after it you want to follow up again with with some wind back type content if you don’t have a replenishment cycle, that’s that’s known or well understood. There’s a couple things you can do. You can think generally about the occasions with which someone would buy your product. Is it a yearly purchase? Is it something that they only buy as a gift during the holidays? Things like that and and think about your buyer cycle that way you can also use tools like Klaviyo to export and really Stand the time between orders I get a little bit more technical with it as well. But I would say there’s no generally guidelines.

We say 30 to 45 days, but a really really varies based on a brand and a market and a product so I wouldn’t take that at face value and I do some experimentation to figure it out.

Steve: Sure. So based on what you said, the wind backs are based on purchase, purchases and not necessarily opens, right? So you wouldn’t send out a win back if someone had purchased before but hadn’t opened an email within like 30 days or 35 days.

Alexandra: Yeah, exactly. That’s where the two are separate but need to be thought of in concert. So the wind back is definitely around purchases in terms of the more traditional marketing segmentation. That being said if you are trying to increase your deliverability and you’re trying to increase engagement, you want to think strategically about every single email you sent. And so that’s why you don’t want to get beyond that three to four month range and keep sending someone win back. So right if you know with your even with your win back audience, you may want to segment those that further segment. Hey, I have my wind back audience people that haven’t bought in 45 days, but they really should have bought in about a month ago or 15 days ago. Let me further segment those that have opened an email since then, since their last purchase the people that have opened an email since their last purchase are going to be way more likely to open a win back email and likely buy versus someone that has not even opened a single email since they last bought and so you can segment those two groups and you can think hey what’s going to get the not opener to open?

Maybe it’s a ten percent off in the subject line. Maybe it’s you know, a really convincing promotion and paired preview tax. That’s going to catch someone’s eye right? For the for the win back folks that have never opened. You really got to focus on that inbox appeal and figure out how you’re going to get them to hopefully open the email first. Those that are win back audience and typically do open or have recently opened an email. You may not need to offer something in the subject line. Maybe you will use the same subject line, maybe not but when you get to the content, here’s this group, right? Here’s this group that bought from you and then has engaged they’ve been opening but they haven’t bought what in your content is going to get them to pull the trigger. So this is where segmentation is really about tapping into the motivations of the people you’re trying to target.

And teasing them apart based on what you know about your business and what you can assume about your audience based on that. So I’d say generally win back time frame you want to think about the last purchase but then you want to further segment based on email and open engagement to help you tailor the communication even further.

Steve: Right. Whether you want to give some sort of promotion or whether you think they’re going to buy anyways

Alexandra: Exactly.

Steve: This interview is only 50 minutes long. So and when backs are just kind of like a small portion of Revenue, So let’s try to focus on just like the core people that you’re going to be emailing very often. How would you segment those folks and I guess these are just people that are classified as people have opened within the last four months.

Alexandra: Yeah, so if you have your you’re engaged audience people that have opened in the last four months and you’re sending it regularly to them or you want to start sending more regularly to them. This is where there’s a couple things you can do to learn more about them and segment further. First, is they’re buying history. So we talked a little bit about that high value versus low value a really great way to start to build customer loyalty and segment further based on the data you already of your purchase data from your eCommerce platform if your Ecommerce is to separate out a VIP group. So set a figure out your average order value go up about you know, 15 20 dollars or think of what Revenue tear you would consider to be a VIP group. It could be the number of purchases. So maybe you don’t want to set a dollar sign value, but you’d rather look at everyone that’s bought three to four times start to segment out your VIPs.

This is a really awesome group that instead of sending your regular emails to start to use the word exclusive or just for you or you know, a thank you to our loyal customers. So segmentation can just take the form of treating people a little bit differently when you know a bit more about them. So a VIP audience really great way to start segmenting and build loyalty with a group of people that you are going to drive the bulk of your lifetime value from.

Steve: Can you give me some an example so your segmenting out these high rollers and Language like exclusive but given that these are the high rollers. Do you need to be sending them offers and that sort of thing or you just kind of sending them products at this point?

Alexandra: It can be either or and so sometimes maybe you want to have a single promotional event a year. That only goes towards your VIPs. You can do something like that. But if you aren’t necessarily interested in discounting and there’s other approaches such as you know free gifts on birthdays, there’s different ways. You can set a VIP the program apart, but it can also just be about access so early access to a new product a product launch. So anyway, you can create exclusivity that tends to drive engagement and so aspect for your VIPs. You want to keep them feeling special and again, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a high bar to be a VIP. You can start to build these loyalty audiences and tears. But ultimately these are going to be your promoters your Advocates and so Keeping them feeling special whether or not it’s around any discounts or just the content in the Early Access can really help.

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So I guess high rollers. That sounds pretty straightforward. Right? These are the guys who buy from you often. They open all your emails and their lifetime value is very high. I guess it gets a little bit more gray with some Other folks right? So can we talk a little bit about the less obvious segments?

Alexandra: Yeah, and I think that there’s the different segments you can create around those frequency, value, recency but there’s also things you can learn about what people click on what they browse. Do you want to talk about the segments around those three core principles or more about how you can learn about your audience from what they look at what they click?

Steve: Let’s finish like all the three main principles first. And maybe after that we can talk about some of the other segments that you want to talk about. But at some point like everyone’s going to be getting a whole bunch of the, whole bunch of emails, right that kind of cross these segments. Well, let’s finish three principles first. So what are the other segments that you want to have based on recency, frequency and lifetime value?

Alexandra: Yeah, so you got your high rollers. These are the people that you want to give perks to you want to help them advocate. So again follow us on social media. There’s lots of ways you can leverage your high rollers to help them be better Advocates and keep them kind of right there along with you as your as you keep marketing and as your brand grows and then you start to separate out the people that are either frequently purchasing, but it’s at a lower value and so again this maybe lumped in with your high rollers. If you’re not looking necessarily at Value, but more how often someone buys that three or four time purchases, but you can imagine if somebody is purchasing frequently, but not at a high value. You want to drive up their average order value. And so there are a couple different ways. You can try to drive up your average order value.

There’s lots of apps you can use at checkout to suggest, but ultimately related and recommended products is by far one of the best ways to increase order size and if someone gets used to always purchasing a couple items together or in bulk, they’re going to keep doing that. So if you look at your high rollers and you look at what the makeup of their orders are and why they’re purchasing more think about what can drive your brand enthusiasts. So people that are purchasing from you but not in high value. How can you encourage them to look more like your high rollers? How can you start to bundle things? Encouraged volume discounts constantly recommend related or complementary products to try to boost that average order value. That’s another segment. You can Target to ultimately have people that love you they buy a lot but start to drive up the value that you get from them.

Steve: It sounds like you need to further segment down your brand enthusiasts as well. Right? Based on what they bought so you can show them complementary products.

Alexandra: Exactly. Yeah, and that’s where we get into the more topical segmentation. So regardless Of how recently or frequently someone’s bought as well as the value. You want to you want to think about what they’re interested in and you can track what they look at on your website. You can track the type of email they engage with and what they purchased in the past what they’ve abandoned in their carts. So again, you always want to get down to the more granular level at some point so that you can recommend items complimentary items things like that exactly.

Steve: So for someone who doesn’t have a large team To do email marketing for them. It seems like you know, by the time you get down to segmenting based on recency, frequency and value in addition to individual products that you can cross sell and that sort of thing. It sounds like there’s going to be a lot of segments is that it almost becomes exponential.

Alexandra: It can and so there’s a couple things that I typically recommend starting with.

Steve: Okay.

Alexandra: First is kind of thinking about your business goals. There’s a lot of different segments and you really do want to start to segment your audience. But you want to think a little bit about what you’re struggling with and what you could and what your goals are in terms of a boost. And so if you don’t have any high rollers, and that’s a really small group. You can bundle them right? You can bundle the high rollers with a brand Enthusiast and don’t necessarily look at Value, but think of people that have bought for me recently and buy frequently and treat them special together when you go down a tier. And people that have bought from you recently you can again just segment them out and try to increase their frequency. So focus on replenishment for people that have bought recently but not frequently and then when you get down to the lowest tier people that bought recently or semi recently and the frequency is or isn’t there again, you can kind of start to bundle those and really try more promotional content.

So I would say, you know start with just one group or one level and the nice thing is that once you create these spaces segments, you can use them for absolutely everything. So there might be a little bit of an upfront investment our customers, typically, when we chat with them. They say hey two hours a month is all we actually really need in order to tune these segments build a couple more and use that for the rest of the month for our strategy. So if you’re thinking the sounds like a lot of time, can you give two hours out of the whole month towards this and if the answer is yes, then there’s a way for you to start and see value from this type of model.

Steve: Okay before we go into more depth on that, let’s just quickly Define the other segments based on three. So there’s three parameters which means there’s eight segments. Right? So we covered the high rollers. We cover the brand enthusiasts which are essentially high rollers with a lower order value. And then I guess moving on down the tier. There are also people who are recent but they don’t purchase very often and then there’s high and low values for those. For those people who don’t purchase that frequently. What are some prootions that you might send them to get them to buy again. Are we sending them coupons at this point. What are we sending them?

Alexandra: Yeah, so I was on them two things. I would send them best-selling related products as well as limited time urgency deals. So the key here is that if someone is not buying recently or too frequently you really need to drive them to see value. And so that’s where you have to get more personal but you want to put your best foot forward with them. So best-selling items related products from what they might have already bought and then create some type of urgency with either a discount or free gift something along those lines a bundle offer to really push them over the Finish Line.

Steve: It sounds like a related product cross-sells kind of Encompass all of these, is that accurate?

Alexandra: Yeah, it really is and this is where the content itself is a little bit more ubiquitous. So cross sells generally this you think about life cycle marketing are critically important in order to be able to introduce customers to a wider range of products and they might already have seen before and drive up the both average order value as well as the frequency which is why it really crosses over segments because you can imagine if someone only buys one product from you being able to cross sell will not only probably get them to buy again sooner than they might have already because now there’s a new item that they want, but then there’s two items which is more value, two items that could replenish and it really expands from there.

Steve: And then finally there’s this segment that might not even have bought from you at all. And you’re just trying to get them to make a purchase, right? So for these people would you suggest much larger discounts just to get them to kind of pull the trigger?

Alexandra: Yeah, when you’re in your we call them that nearly there’s or the waiting for Wows. These are people that have engaged with you. But they really need to be nudged over the Finish Line there and they’re clearly waiting for something. And so ideally you reflect a little bit on you know, what are they waiting for is it they don’t actually understand your product and they need education on it? Is it that they think it’s too expensive. So you need to really sell the value I would think about those different motivations when you think of the best content, but this is where social proof product reviews testimonials as well as some light discounting or some urgency deals can really be kind of the one-two punch.

Typically if people are hanging on and they haven’t purchased yet. They really need to be sold on the value that fear of missing out fomo the more that they see others enjoying the product and Trust building, you know, social proof and product reviews can also help nudge people over the finish line. So if you if you have that combination of content as well as a discount or promotion, you’re very likely to Target those more effectively and start to get them closer to purchasing and then finally got them to purchase in which point your then focusing on encouraging the frequency and the value.

Steve: How often are we emailing these people? Or what would you recommend or what have you seen?

Alexandra: Yeah, I would recommend for those kind of nearly there’s you certainly do not want to over email and so it, you want to go back to that recency factor. And so how recently did they last purchase if they have or how recently did they last open an email, if you have someone opening emails. I say, typically two emails per week is a really safe spot. So you can start to measure engagement. If you’re seeing good engagement from the two emails per week. You can ramp up potentially the three if you’re really being targeted, if you’re not seeing open rates, then I would drop back to maybe one and have it be a more impactful discount something like that. You really want to, the two things I don’t recommend. Don’t email multiple times per day. If you’re really trying to nudge people over to be mindful of your deliverability, but you can start sending multiple times per week. If your open rates are safely over 15%.

Steve: over 15% Okay, and I would imagine like the high rollers in the brand enthusiasts. You can probably email, you can probably get away with emailing them more often

Alexandra: Exactly. And that’s where four people that again. I would segment them based on openers or not openers just because people are purchasing from you at a high value doesn’t mean you’re there in love with your email strategy. So look closely at your open and click rates. But yes for folks that are opening their engaged you definitely have more latitude with emailing them more frequently, but really quality is always better than quantity when it comes to email. We have a great case study with Taylor Stitch and a couple other brands that really started to drop back the number of emails that they sent and focused on segmentation and quality and they’re now full Believers and the less is more approach and so you find that when you Segment you will ultimately end up sending less emails, but you will make more money from them.

Steve: So let’s talk a little bit about implementation now, so number one can all of this be automated and two, you mentioned two hours per month what exactly encompasses that two hours to get everything set up?

Alexandra: So for that two hour setup, I would focus on creating to base segments to start one is you’re engaged segment. So that’s everyone that has open an email and is opted-in opened an email in the last three to four months just so you have it. That type of Engagement Audience is great for your big promotions for Black Friday Cyber Monday sending for holidays. And that’s one segment that you can safely send to its you’re engaged audience. And then you similarly want to create your unengaged audience. And these are folks that have not opened an email and three to four months and you typically want to add a little bit more to that you want to look at people that have opted in or they joined your list over 30 days ago ideally since its if they’re very New they might not have had a chance to open yet. Based on how often you send. You also want to look at in terms of your unengaged make sure that they haven’t opened or clicked since open rates.

Sometimes people don’t have images loading open rates aren’t precise. You want to look at both of those but generally for most of your regular sending you want to exclude that group so that your as you focus on all of these nearly. There’s you’re waiting for Wow’s you’re not harming your deliverability in the process. So those are two starting points from there I would again pick out your high rollers and your brand enthusiasts feel free to Clump them together. If you don’t want to create that distinction based on value, but the two hours is spent just building some of these foundational segments because you’re going to use them for every single campaign that you’re thinking about you want to think about your goals your strategies for every campaign and then you want to consider. Can I Target my content differently for these different segments? So again the two hours you spent building some of these foundations and from there, they are automated because the segment’s will update in real-time hopefully. If you’re using a tool that provides that automated segmentation like pages

Steve: The one that rhymes with ABO?

Alexandra: That rhymes with ABO, there are others out there. But Klaviyo definitely provides this automated strategy approach things update real time. They’re there waiting for you every time you’re about to send you can consider. Hey, what should my high-rollers receive here or for people that have never bought? What’s the best way to get them to buy with this campaign? So your content isn’t have to be dramatically different but and your subject lines are not to be dramatically different, but if you pause for just a moment and think about how you can better tailor your content towards folks that either love you a lot and I thought all the time, from people in the middle or for people that actually have never bought yet. Those are the types of pauses you can have before every campaign once you already have these bass line segments.

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.

All right. So let’s just kind of break down everything that you just said with an example and I’m going to start putting words in your mouth. Tell me if I’m saying anything wrong. So we talked about three parameters, but it sounds like if you have a small team and you just want to do like the bare minimum you just kind of Lop off the value that leaves just recency and frequency. So, in fact, you can just lump everything if you want in the simplest case to three groups your high rollers your people that don’t bias frequently and the people who haven’t bought yet and you’re just kind of close but they’re kind of engaged right? And within these three categories you want to put together sequences that cater to each group distinctly.

Alexandra: Yeah, that’s a great way of summarizing it chop off the value just look at recency and frequency all the way up to the people that have bought recently by all the time and at the bottom people that have never bought from you and start to consider those.

Steve: So in terms of automating this with autoresponder sequences, I can see, so would you want three separate sequences for each I would imagine and I’m just coming up with this right now on the fly. For the high rollers and the potential high rollers. I suspect that you would want to just put them on an autoresponder sequence did does cross sells primarily and maybe some content that kind of boost your brand?

Alexandra: Yeah. So yeah, the nice part about automation is that it tends to be targeted. Regardless of anything else because it’s Behavior triggered. And so when you’re thinking about segmentation you want to think about it in terms of the campaign’s that you send proactively but your auto responders are really what are going to be the undercurrent of what pushes everyone along and so you want to think they’re about every single interaction that a given subscriber customers going to have with your brand and instead of being more based off these segments. You want to think about the life cycle touch points and so on. When someone first subscribes you want to introduce them to your brand right? They’re, they have that recency in terms of that. They just did something they just subscribed or opted-in but they haven’t yet purchased and so you want to think about how to motivate them along you have your auto responders around abandoned carts, which again you want to Target you can absolutely start splitting out the paths are based on these segments.

If someone abandon a cart and they’ve never bought from you before what are you going to need to say or do to help get them to buy? Versus someone that abandons a cart that buys all the time from you, you know, maybe they just forgot their wallet. Maybe they are trying to cut back and they do kind of need a discount. Maybe it’s just around sending them a friendly reminder because they’re loyal customer. Right? So for all of the life cycle touch points and times people can engage with your brand definitely start thinking about these segments and how they can start splitting out these more personalized communication. Touch points so that you can automate a lot of this.

Steve: So it sounds like then that the initial breakdown of the segment’s primarily the way we’ve been talking has been for just individual broadcast. Right?

Alexandra: Yes.

Steve: But even within that within the autoresponder sequences, you used abandoned car as an example someone who has abandoned but never have purchased before you might want to just give them a coupon code within your abandoned cart to get them to buy whereas for a high roller they’re probably gonna buy anyways, and maybe they just need a reminder.

Alexandra: Exactly. Exactly. And that’s the Part about these segments is that once you build them they really are for the more broadcast for the campaign sense. But these Concepts can absolutely be applied to your everyday automations for welcome series as well not everyone considers that someone can subscribe via pop-up or a footer form at any point. So you could have loyal customers that are just joining your list for the first time. And so maybe you don’t want to send them a discount towards their first purchase, right?

Steve: Right.

Alexandra: That might sound a little weird if someone is Actually bought before so it’s another great way and a great time to split out your audience’s. Something as simple as a welcome series abandoned cart again loyal customer don’t give them a coupon code just send them a reminder. All the way through towards browse abandonment win backs as well. And that’s where you can start to think for a win back. If somebody has only bought once from you before and you’re trying to encourage a second purchase versus if someone bought three or more times before and Trying to get that fourth purchase. How the content different there. So the segments can be applied to automations as well.

Steve: So my final question is if you’ve been broadcasting to your entire list for a very long time, what is the road to recovery look like?

Alexandra: Yeah. So it’s a great question that we typically recommend starting out by creating that engaged group or the unengaged group and exclude them. Let’s say you create your engaged group of people that have opened an email and have engaged with you in the last three to four months and just start sending to that segment. Don’t worry about any of the other high rollers the recency the frequency the value if you just been sending blast campaigns and your open rates have suffered to get back on track just start with an Engaged group focus on that recency of email engagement so that your open rates start to climb since ultimately your segmenting and you’re like great but you’re a recovering Blaster and your open rates are low. It can be tough to do both at once.

So I’d start out by just focusing on your engaged audience started to get your open rates up observe that you’re not actually going to lose money. I think that’s one of the first big eye openers for a lot of folks when they start segmenting they realize they’re sending less email to less people but they’re starting to make more and more money. So..

Steve: Is that, is that common?

Alexandra: It’s very very common. Yeah.

Steve: Okay.

Alexandra: It’s very very common. It can take a little bit of time. I’ll send her reputation is something that can take a couple weeks to really build back and even beyond that so it can take some time to, when I say send a reputation, I mean it’s what the Gmail’s of the world think of you as a sender based on your engagement. And so if you have seen emails go to spam it can take you know, a bit of really good engage sending to build that back up. But once your open rates are starting to climb and you’re in the fifteen percent or above that’s where I would start to kind of split things out and go from there.

Steve: Okay, and so just kind of summarize what you just said, like for example your high rollers. You might want to just focus on those guys because it’s like guaranteed income so to speak so sending more often to them. Not only do you have high engagement rates, but you also are making a lot more money off those people. So how long would you recommend doing that before you start introducing the other groups back in?

Alexandra: I would stick with the engaged groups until it’s really about your open rates until you start getting closer to that 15% and Then I would start layering in some of the others but think a lot about how often you’re sending and play around with that if you start sending too often, and the number of emails sent is way way higher than the number of emails opened. That’s where you start to get into the danger zone. So I would say you can start to layer in these other segments rather quickly as long as you’re thinking a lot about how often you send and you’re keeping your open rates.

Steve: okay.

Alexandra: Yeah. The last thing I’ll say there is that one of the Best ways to really start to support and build a cushion around your deliverability is to get at least five autoresponders sending around those lifecycle touch points. The reason being is that we see almost you know 3x the number of Revenue per recipient for highly segmented emails, but when it comes to flows and autoresponders, its exponential the open rates that you get because they are so timely and Targeted. So if you’re going to start ramping up make sure you have a foundation of a welcome series and abandoned cart sequence, a win back browse abandonment, start to a thank-you post-purchase follow-up get. These autoresponders sending they tend to get really high 30 percent average open rates in and of itself and that can provide a really good cushion as you start to ramp up your campaign Sunday.

And they also help you maximize Revenue if you send a campaign, but then there’s no abandoned cart full on the other side. Help you really maximize that Revenue you’re not going to see the ROI there. So think of those start getting your autoresponders up and running as part of that initial investment as well.

Steve: Right. They kind of act like as the foundation for kind of

Alexandra: exactly.

Steve: These groups even and then you can use the broadcast to, for the special offers to get them to buy.

Alexandra: exactly.

Steve: Cool. Alexandra, I really appreciate your time. I know you have an appointment right now. Where can people find you, what’s coming up? What’s new in Klaviyo and yeah, where can people contact you if they have any other questions.

Alexandra: Yeah, so you can reach out to Klaviyo at any time. If you have questions, thoughts and you can email product@Klayiyo.com. If you have any ideas or questions for anyone on the product team here at Klaviyo. We also have a pretty cool conference coming up next month September 25th here in Boston. It’s Klaviyo Bos and it’s going to be amazing. We have tons of great speakers from across the industry. Lots of folks from Klaviyo talking about our product, but also just best practices and tips and things like this. So definitely come by, and if you have any questions about the conference, definitely reach out, and you can get in contact with me or anyone else on the product team at product@klaviyo

Steve: cool, and I will be at that event as well, and I hope to see you there too.

Alexandra: Sounds great.

Steve: Thanks a lot for coming on the show. Take care.

Alexandra: All right. Thanks.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now most email marketers simply blast their entire list, which is suboptimal from both a conversion and a deliverability standpoint. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode283.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

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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Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?


If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

282: Michelle Schroeder Gardner On How To Make 7 Figures With Affiliate Marketing

282: Michelle Schroeder Gardner On How To Make 7 Figures With Affiliate Marketing

Today, I’m thrilled to have my friend Michelle Schroeder Gardner on the show. Michelle started out with over $40K in debt and hustled her way to becoming a millionaire by starting her blog MakingSenseOfCents.com at the age of 22.

Today, she earns over 100K per month from blogging through affiliate marketing and teaches a popular affiliate marketing course.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Michelle makes money through her blog
  • How much time she spends blogging every week
  • The challenges of running a blog
  • The best places to find affiliate offers
  • How to track affiliate sales and the top affiliate platforms

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now, today I have my friend Michelle Schroeder Gardner on the show and Michelle is someone who I met at Fincon many years ago and she’s a seven-figure blogger over at making sense of sense. Now, she’s an expert when it comes to affiliate marketing. And today, we’re going to learn how she makes over a hundred thousand dollars per month blogging.

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

Steve also want to give a quick shout-out Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Code Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of My overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife.

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. I’m thrilled to have my friend Michelle Schroeder Gardner on the show. Now, Michelle is someone who I met a while back at Fincon and I’ve always been impressed with what she’s managed to accomplish at such a young age. Now Michelle started out with over 40,000 dollars in debt and hustled her way to becoming a millionaire by starting her blog making sense of sense at the age of 22 and today, she earns over a hundred K per month from blogging. Now, specifically Michelle specializes in affiliate marketing and teaches a very popular affiliate marketing course called making sense of affiliate marketing and today we’re going to learn more about her story and how she managed to grow such a profitable blog. And with that, welcome to show Michelle, how are you doing today?

Michelle: I’m good. Thanks so much for having me today.

Steve: So Michelle, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to have you on the show. So for the people who are listening that do not know your background. Give us the quick story about how you got the idea for starting making sense of sense.

Michelle: Yeah. So I started making sense of sense in August of 2011. This month is actually my eight months bloggerversary. And I started my blog just

Steve: Eight years.

Michelle: Eight years, Yeah, it started all just like on a whim like I didn’t start it to make money or to like be featured anywhere or anything like that. I literally had no idea what a Blog was or anything like that. I was reading Cosmopolitan magazine one day and in it, they feature the personal finance website daily worth and I started reading that and eventually I started reading the comments to see what like how people were doing with their financial journey and like comparing myself to them and stuff like that. And I learned that a lot of them actually had personal finance blogs and it all just quickly started from there. I started my own blog. It was Anonymous. Like I said, I had no plans to make money or anything like that. It was entirely for me just like a new writing Hobby and it all just quickly grew from there.

It’s really funny to think about because like when I was in high school or middle school or whatever, College, I had no interest in writing if my English teachers knew that I was writing for a living now. I’m sure they would find it just like odd, so it’s really funny to think that I’m blogging full time now. I actually went full-time in October of 2013 and have been blogging ever since.

Steve: I think we have a similar story. I used to really hate writing when I was younger. And so it was a complete shock to my parents when I told him that I started blogging also and they’re like you don’t even write.

Michelle: Yeah

Steve: Well, it’s a means to an end, right?

Michelle: Yeah, exactly.

Steve: Just curious. Do you still write all of your posts or?

Michelle: Yeah, I still write all of it. I have an editor who helps like make it flow better and corrects things and stuff like that, but I right 99% of what’s in a blog post.

Steve: And I’m just curious, what made your blog initially take off. Do you know?

Michelle: So I’ve always been told that I write in a slightly different way than most Financial blogs. I write like I’m talking to a friend. So I feel like that has really helped me over the years because I have a lot of readers who say like, it’s more relatable. It’s more personable. It’s easier to understand and stuff like that. And I think that has really helped my blog post take off.

Steve: So in the beginning, were you collecting emails and that sort of thing or were you just, just kind of writing and people were just, how are people finding you in the very beginning actually?

Michelle Oh, yeah, so I wasn’t really doing much to earn traffic. Back when I first started my blog. It was mainly just me interacting with other bloggers and readers mainly through like comments and emails and stuff like that, but I didn’t have like an actual email list until, I didn’t really start to focus on it until like creating making sense of affiliate marketing and that’s when I switched to convert kit and stuff like that. So that was around like 2016. So I went a good five years without really doing anything for my email list.

Steve: So you mentioned that you went full time. I think was it like two years after you got started was it or two or three years?

Michelle: It was like 2 years and 2 months.

Steve: 2 years and 2 months. Okay, so you just mentioned that you didn’t start email until much later. So was it making money in the beginning within those first couple of years?

Michelle: Yeah. So the first couple of years I was earning money in a slightly different way on my blog than I am right now. So I back then I was earning money like through so many different ways social media management for other websites, staff writing. I did a lot of like sponsored posts a tiny bit and affiliate marketing. Lots of display advertising and stuff like that. So it was like what really well-rounded but I quickly realize that like for me I didn’t really find joy in social media management or staff writing for other blogs and stuff like that.

So in 2015, I actually fired all of my clients every single one and I started like purely focusing on making sense of sense and that included like finding ways to grow my traffic through Pinterest, Facebook, Facebook group stuff like that Twitter and my income, I think it like tripled like a month after I fired everyone and actually just started focusing just on making sense of sense.

Steve: Were people finding you through the blog though for those Consulting gigs, I guess?

Michelle: Yeah. That’s actually how will everyone found me. I had like a higher me tab on making sense of sense.

Steve: Okay, and then you just kind of hustling it on social media. I guess where your ranking in search at the time?

Michelle: Not a ton just a little bit. But..

Steve: Okay, and I would imagine firing all of your clients was kind of stressful. Right? Was that a hundred percent of your income at the time?

Michelle: No, but it was like a good chunk for me to feel comfortable with working at home. It was definitely stressful to fire all of them. But I think I like did it all in like one to two days. I gave them all of course a little bit of notice and I continue to work for them until like they were comfortable or until they found a replacement. But for the most part it was really really nice. Just getting rid of all those clients and having a much more flexible schedule.

Steve: Just curious. Where you working full time when you started your blog or?

Michelle: yep. I was working full-time as a financial analyst.

Steve: Okay. All right. So this is all coming together now and when did you actually quit your job?

Michelle: I quit my job in September of 2013 or maybe October.

Steve: Okay. So when you fired all your clients, you actually quit your job as well.

Michelle: No, I fired all my clients in 2015.

Steve: Oh 2015. Okay

Michelle: Yeah, it was about like a year and a half later.

Steve: Got it. Got it to on 13 is when you actually went full-time with it got it.

Michelle: Yep.

Steve: And so what are all the different ways that you make money currently?

Michelle: So now the main ways I make money is mainly making sense of sense and making sense of affiliate marketing. I earn a good chunk through my blogging course that I started in July of 2016. And then of course the other good chunk is through making sense of sense and that’s through affiliate marketing sponsored Partnerships and display ads.

Steve: Okay, and then so making sense of sense is like an Finance blog. So what can you just give us an idea of who your affiliate partners are? And actually if you wouldn’t mind just kind of Define Affiliate marketing for some of the listeners who might not know what that is and then just kind of how you get these affiliate Partnerships established?

Michelle: Yeah, definitely. So affiliate marketing for me on making sense of sense. I will promote something on my blog. So something I really like to promote is like, something easy to be like the instapod like I use it every single day. So it makes sense that I would promote it to my readers and I might include a link in a recipe Roundup post or something right to talk about the instapod and then if a reader buys something from Amazon or the instapod specifically through me I will earn a commission. The commission rates really depend on the company and the product Amazon is usually super low but other products such as like an online course could be as high as like 40 60 percent.

So affiliate marketing is really great because since I do Trouble full time, I am able to earn an income when I don’t have internet what I’m sleeping when I’m not stealing or something like that. So it makes it more possible for me to travel full-time because I’m earning more of a passive income.

Steve: So you can’t do it for late marketing effectively, unless you have traffic right? So what would be some of your advice for someone just kind of starting out in this blogging game? Like what is the order that you should be doing things in?

Michelle: So I’ve talked to people who have had success In all different types of orders. So I mean some people they might start with affiliate marketing right away and they’ll say success others might have to wait six eight months or whatever. I always tell people to First focus on like first start your blog and you can learn about affiliate marketing. The same time so that you don’t have to like go back and change everything of course because once you learn like the fundamentals of affiliate marketing, it’s like super easy. You just like apply it really quick and it doesn’t have to be like a huge like strenuous task.

Steve: Can we talk about some of those fundamentals if you wouldn’t mind?

Michelle: Yeah for sure. So number one. I always tell people like affiliate marketing is not as easy as just like slapping a bunch of affiliate links on like your social media page or on your blog or whatever. Like I see that all the time people will just be like hey by thence depart and Like literally the whole blog post. That’s all it says, but no you actually have to like think more about your readers something that I talk about on making sense of sense won’t always work on your own blog. So I get that a lot like people say like, oh, I’m promoting all the same things as you but it’s not working on my blog and I go read their blog and their Blog has like nothing to do about money Finance or anything like that.

So first you want to think about your readers. What do your readers want to read about? What are you an expert in? What do you like to talk about? What do you actually use? So I’m I mean what I promote won’t always work for everyone else you want to do like your own survey your own research and see what actually works for you and your blog.

Steve: So you mentioned some people start out with an affiliate marketing first and then worry about traffic. What do you recommend? Do you recommend figure out what you want to promote first and then writing the content around that or just writing the content first and then just naturally looking for affiliate partners for products to promote.

Michelle: so that really depends. Usually there’s like an affiliate product or something related. It or something kind of similar for almost anything. So it’s usually pretty easy to find something. So it really just depends on what you want to do for me that all of my blog posts are affiliate related. So I might write and then a year later I might realize oh, there’s like something I could easily place in here. So for me, usually I about I want to say two-thirds of my content is like not affiliate related at all. And then the other third is like easily. I can easily place an affiliate Link in it.

Steve: And how do you decide whether when you write a post? Is it for the intention of making money with affiliate marketing for that 1/3, I guess that you mentioned.

Michelle: No, not really. It just kind of naturally happens because when you’re writing about something there’s almost always something that you’re probably talking about that you can easily promote that someone’s probably interested in because when you’re writing a blog post, you’re probably answering some kind of question. So I mean like what’s the best budgeting app or something like that? And you’re just naturally talking about budgeting or whatever and so just should easily align and that’s why I always recommend for a writer like when you’re writing an affiliate blog post.

It shouldn’t be like a pure advertisement a hundred percent of the time unless that’s like your kind of blog or whatever like you have a review blog, but for the most part it should be a helpful blog post that actually helps your reader and makes a want to come back for more.

Steve: So, can you give us an example of a post on your blog that you didn’t really have any intention of making an affiliate post or not? And then how did you find an offer that went along with that post?

Michelle: Yeah, so like for one blog post I just talked about like, let me think.. like I talked about like work from home stuffing a lot. So I remember what a blog post I talked about like work from home scams and it’s like what can you really promote in there? And one of my Affiliates actually had a, like a freebie principle that talked about that went more in-depth on work from home scams and through that I was able to promote that and I was able to get leads into her product and that helps me to promote. Product and sell it easily year. Once my readers understood who I was selling and stuff like that because you want to introduce your readers to your affiliates as well.

Steve: How did you find that affiliate? That one sounds a little bit random. It’s not like a company right sounds like an individual?

Michelle: It’s individual. It’s an online course.

Steve: Okay, and it how did you find this person? Is there like a central database to find, find people like this?

Michelle: So for smaller companies like that? I don’t really know of anything but there’s a definitely a lot of affiliate marketing networks out there. Where you can find like just tons of different affiliate offers, of course, and that’s a great way for a new blogger to start another way to start is I always recommend if you think that there’s an affiliate product or something just go to Google and type in product name, plus affiliate product or affiliate program or something like that and there’s almost something that pops up.

Steve: What are your favorite affiliate networks where you can easily just find lots of companies?

Michelle: So I don’t use affiliate networks as much as I used to to find companies. I usually just do the google thing, but some of my favorite ones are definitely like CJ.com I use impact radius a ton. I would probably say oh and shareasale. Those are the top three that I use.

Steve: Are there any differences between the three that you can comment on?

Michelle: They’re all pretty similar. I would say the most like user-friendly would be impact radius.

Steve: Okay, and so in general, I guess you don’t really care as long as they have the company that that you want to promote.

Michelle: Yeah, and I of course I’m not going to name like the affiliate networks that I don’t like so I don’t want to like get in trouble or anything like that. But I mean you definitely want to make sure that your affiliate managers are great that you can trust the tracking system because sometimes like the tracking might be bad. It may not track any clicks or anything like that the system may go down a lot. So you definitely want to make sure that you can trust the affiliate Network that you’re a part of. Those three that I mentioned. I have I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with any of them.

Steve: How do you know whether your clicks aren’t getting tracked?

Michelle: So the other day I actually logged in to one of the, one of the affiliate networks on my part of it. It’s not any of those three and it was a new product that is just started promoting and I was receiving about I want to say it was like $400 $500 a day through these leaves that I was generating for him and I like just started promoting them. So I was regularly going in and checking every few days to see if it was working since it was brand new and so for the first 12 to 13 days, it was working perfectly. Everything was normal, too. Seemed like a good amount of clicks and then I went like 10 days without checking because I had no internet and those exact 10 days there were exactly zero clicks.

So I mean if I wouldn’t have checked, I don’t know how long that would have lasted but I emailed my filling manager and he said yeah, something’s definitely broken. I’m glad you checked it. So, I mean you definitely want to check something like that too. So if you notice like there’s a steady stream of clicks, then all of a sudden it goes down to like zero or half or something. It’s a good chance that it’s technical related.

Steve: So I would imagine you work with a lot of companies in their affiliate programs. Is there like some sort of methodology that used to keep track of everything because I would imagine like if there were certain offers where the traffic wasn’t getting counter what not be hard to keep track if you were if you had like 40 or 50 offers outstanding for example.

Michelle: Yeah, definitely so I’m kind of old-school. I just like an Excel sheet and I just go in like once a month usually or once every few months and I just go in and check and whenever there is an issue. Which isn’t very often usually you can just reach out to your affiliate manager and pointed out to them and almost every single time. They’ve just taken an average from what it was working and use that average or if I think it’s been higher such as like if that blog post went viral or something and I realized it wasn’t working. I usually just pointed out and we just come up with like some kind of calculation to make it like more equal for me.

Steve: Okay, and then do you ever run ads to your affiliate Pages or is it just purely organic?

Michelle: So I’ve done some Facebook ads. Ads to like my freebie courses, but I haven’t really done a ton of anything. I’m actually in the process of learning more about improving my Facebook advertising strategy. And then I also want to take like a Pinterest advertising class too.

Steve: Okay, so it sounds like it’s mostly organic and you’re running Facebook ads, but that sounds like it’s a lead gen for your course. Is that correct?

Michelle: Yep. Exactly.

Steve: Okay. So if we were to break down your traffic like, where are you getting most? Like, what are your top three traffic sources?

Michelle: Facebook Pinterest and organic SEO. Yo, but I also I guess direct referral would probably be number one. So I guess that would be the top four.

Steve: Okay, and so when you say Facebook, it’s Facebook organic, right?

Michelle: Yeah, like face my Facebook page or my Facebook groups?

Steve: So given that Facebook’s reach has just drastically decreased over the years. I found a little surprising that you get most you try from Facebook. What are you doing? To gather that traffic.

Michelle: So I’m pretty active on my Facebook page. I post I actually just lowered it the other day from like 5 posts a day to about 2 to 3, but I’m usually pretty active on their, ask a lot of questions not everything is a link. So I think that really helps with my engagement on there. And then I also have one Facebook group for making sense of sense. That’s like a free community group and I post a link to something. I’m making sense of sense pretty much every single day. So with those two things, it’s actually not too. Hard to get traffic the Facebook group definitely generates a lot more traffic these days than it used to

Steve: So you mentioned two things like a page and a group which one actually works better. Like why not make, making sense of sense a group instead of a page?

Michelle: So the group lately has been a lot better than the page the pages traffic has kind of died down and I think that’s because groups are just more popular these days and you’re kind of fight, when it comes to a page your kind of fighting with Facebook ads and stuff but with my group all my readers can like join in talk to each other and stuff like that. So, of course, there’s going to be more engagement since people are actually engaging in creating their own threads and stuff like that.

Steve: Okay, and can you give us an example of some of the posts that you might post on your page in or group to generate engagement?

Michelle: Yeah. So I mean, I post pretty similar things but in the group people tend to comment more so on either, it’s usually just like a link to a recent blog post or might be a link to like a really old blog post. So I mean that’s Easy and then the caption is usually just like a question. So if we like the other day really popular guest post on my blog was why me and my husband have separate finances and it wasn’t something I wrote or something a reader wrote. So the question on that was would you have separate finances with your spouse and that generated a ton of Engagement either people who are pro or against it. So that really helped generate like more traffic more engagement stuff like that, but then there’s also a lot of days where I just post simple questions with no links and that’s simply to like increase discussion in the group and around the page.

So like I might just ask like would you have separate finances with your spouse or whatever but no link at all. So and I find that those really help without a link.

Steve: Yeah, that makes sense and everyone has an opinion on that also, so it generates lots of discussion.

Michelle: Yeah. It’s definitely a debatable topic.

Steve: Do you schedule all these out or do you just kind of do it on the Fly?

Michelle: I almost always schedule them out. But if I think it’s like a really good question on the spot usually adds. Just like to ask it right away to see what people think because it also helps me like think of new blog posts and new things to talk about.

Steve: Do you use any of those social media Auto posting software?

Michelle: Yes, so for my Facebook page, it’s just I just schedule right on Facebook locked in my virtual assistant does

Steve: Okay

Michelle: But my Facebook group, I guess that’s just scheduled right in there as well. But for Twitter that’s on HootSuite and then by making sense of affiliate marketing Facebook group that’s on HootSuite as well.

Steve: Okay. Is there a reason why you would use HootSuite versus the Facebook scheduler?

Michelle: No, not really. I really don’t know why I went that way I just did.

Steve: Okay, no worries. And then you mentioned Pinterest as another source. So what are some things now that you’re doing to generate Pinterest traffic?

Michelle: Yeah, so I actually have simple pen media managing most of the scheduling for Pinterest for me, but I do have like me you’re my virtual assistant going in and pinning more organically.

Steve: I’m sorry, What something what is simple pin media?

Michelle: Pinterest management company?

Steve: Okay. Okay.

Michelle: But she’s really awesome. I don’t how many employees she has but the whole group is really awesome and they helped me improve my Pinterest page. And so the main thing I’m doing right now on Pinterest is I’m having my virtual assistant go through and updating all the graphics and I found that that has really helped to keep fresh content on Pinterest. So I definitely recommend that more people start doing that.

Steve: So outside of the tall and skinny format. What does it mean exactly to update an image?

Michelle: Might just have my virtual assistant go in and create a brand new image. That might be like new wording a new question a new caption or something on it. But mainly it’s the picture should be different so that it’s completely different from the other one and then Pinterest can kind of recognize that there’s a new updated image and lately that has been really been helping and I’ve noticed that more people have been saying the same thing as well. So usually when I publish a blog post in the past, I would only create one image and that would be like my one image forever. But lately I’ve been having my assistant go in and once a week she goes in and updates like five to ten images or five to ten blog post eachweek and that has like really really helped.

Steve: Interesting. So by update you mean remove the old one and add a new one.

Michelle: Yes, Yep. Some people will leave them both and like kind of A/B test them, but for me, I’m just kind of removing the old one and improving it because of course things change over time. Some of my Pinterest images are like 5 years old, so..

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So is Pinterest like very consistent like you’re getting a lot of traffic to one post? Does that traffic tend to linger like Google?

Michelle: It’s actually pretty consistent for me. So like I have a blog post 75 ways to make extra money and I can remember when I publish it was probably five years ago or something for years ago. And that is still one of my top Pinterest referrals and I found that usually that it’s the same things like month after month edit generate traffic for me through Pinterest.

Steve: And then the post at you Taking the images on those I would imagine get less traffic and you’re just trying to jump start it?

Michelle: Yeah, definitely. So usually I have her my virtual assistant like update the blog post that aren’t doing as well to see if maybe a new image will help it perform better.

Steve: Yeah. So, you know, I’ve actually tried Pinterest for my Niche which is e-commerce and it does okay, but it seems like there’s limits. There’s certain posts that you focus more on for Pinterest or do you just put Pinterest images for every single post at you, That you post?

Michelle: So I have a Pinterest image for probably 99.9% of the blog post I had. When I first started on Pinterest I was probably one of the First Financial bloggers on there and I had a ton of people tell me like, oh that’s a huge waste of money people on their only care about like clothes and food and stuff like that. So but I was using Pinterest at the time and I was a really regular user and I figured why not just try it and I think that actually like really helps give me a leg in the game because I was one of the only financial bloggers at On there. And yeah, that’s just really helps me over the time and people always tell me another thing that I want to mention is like, oh like men aren’t on Pinterest and stuff like that.

But I recently read a stat where it’s like 35 or 40 percent of Pinterest users are actually men. So I made a few think like, oh like my niece doesn’t fit or whatever. I definitely recommend still trying it especially since of Pinterest image doesn’t really take a ton of time to make.

Steve: if there is like a couple tips that you might share for someone just starting out with Pinterest. What would you suggest?

Michelle: The number one tip is to create a Pinterest image for every single blog post.

Steve: Okay.

Michelle: Definitely. It’s doesn’t take very much time. Just one make take, if you just create like one image. It may take like 5 to 10 minutes max. So, I mean, it doesn’t take it doesn’t have to take a ton of time to definitely make sure your images are always long horizontal images do not do well on Pinterest at all. I’ve always heard never to use faces on Pinterest unless you’re like a fashion brand or something that like that a clothing brand usually faces or stock photo images don’t really work as well.

So, I mean you want it to like blend in but kind of stand out on Pinterest. So I always recommend like looking to see what is doing. Well like on your home popular feed that’s always a good tip or see like what other people like in your industry or doing as well. So if you see another personal finance while you’re doing really well on Pinterest definitely see like what they’re doing what’s working for them.

Steve: Interesting so you don’t use any stock images?

Michelle: I do use stock photo, stock images, but I don’t like use like the normal cheesy ones that people tend to use

Steve: Okay, this is going on..

Michelle: Yeah.

Steve: We’re like Jeff Rose is a couple of him holding like Lumber is right.

Michelle: I seen this.

Steve: Okay, and then what about pinning strategy?
Michelle: So for me like mainly simple pin media managers my pinning strategy, but it’s pretty similar to what I’ve always done in the past. It’s nothing crazy, they pin for me like 20 to 30 times a day. It’s usually I think it’s like 60% my blog post 40% other people’s blog post. So I mean you don’t just want to pin your own content and you don’t just want to pin the same blog post over and over again because that comes across as spammy and that I mean that doesn’t look normal. So I mean you’re pinning strategy really depends on you. I know people who pinned 200 times a day and generate a ton of traffic. I know people who pinned like two times a day and generate a ton of traffic, so it really just depends on like finding your own little strategy.

Steve: So I know for me and I know blogs is going to be different but the traffic that I do get from Pinterest is amongst the lowest converting at least the way I measuring that is by email subscribers. Is that similar for you or in terms of just traffic value or is Pinterest like a really high traffic value source for you?

Michelle: I think that’s pretty normal. I think Pinterest is more like about the numbers like hopefully you can generate more people coming to your blog and hopefully like that will help you. Even with a lower percentage. Hopefully that’ll help you like turn them into subscribers and stuff like that. But I think in general Pinterest is like a high bounce rate group, but I still have found that I found like soup like a ton of really loyal readers through Pinterest.

Steve: Okay, and then I think you said that third prong is SEO and it sound like when you first started out you were just writing whatever has that changed over the years?

Michelle: So I’ve never really written for SEO. That’s just not really something I’ve ever done in life, but recently I started taking a a new SEO course my I’m hoping to dedicate more time towards that area right now SEO actually generates like a lot of traffic for making sense of sense. And that’s with like almost no effort towards it. So I think if I start spending time on it, I can definitely start generating more traffic with it.

Steve: Okay. So you’ve never done any link building guest posting that sort of thing. It’s just all been kind of organic?

Michelle: I’ve never done any purposeful link building or anything like that. No.

Steve: Okay. Cool. Now let’s talk a little about your course. So if someone’s like brand-new and they want to make well first of all, what do you think is realistic in terms of what you can make in a year. Let’s say..

Michelle: With affiliate marketing?

Steve: Yeah.

Michelle: So it really depends what the person I’ve had people take my course and they tell me oh two days later. I made a hundred dollars and that was like five days into my blogging career or whatever. Then I’ve also had people say like oh six months and I haven’t really made anything yet. Like what am I doing wrong? So I mean, I think it really depends on the person. Whether they’re really getting blogging and the amount of hard work that they’re putting towards it.

Steve: Sure.

Michelle: So I always tell people like if you’re a brand new blogger the average blogger quits like six months in and so it’s always like getting past that hump figuring out what’s wrong, taking the courses that you need, asking for feedback. So one of the things in my making sense of affiliate marketing group is I have people come in and you can start a new thread and ask like, oh what’s wrong with this affiliate marketing post. So I always recommend that people do that because there’s almost always like some crazy like obvious mistake that people are making but in the end the amount of money that you can make like really varies for me. I’ve earned around 50,000 to 60,000 a month like pretty consistently over the past three four years, I think.

So, but I mean, it really just depends on the person how much traffic they’re generating if they’re taking their email list seriously and stuff like that. I don’t think there’s like any perfect number that I would want to give out because it just depends on so many variables.

Steve: So for someone just starting out obviously, the first step is to write really good content right?

Michelle: Your content definitely matters. Yeah.

Steve: So what are just some pieces of advice that you give someone just starting out with with even how to write?

Michelle: Yeah. So like I said earlier like my English teachers would laugh at me if they found out like I was a full-time writer. So I mean, even if you think you’re a really bad writer, but you like want to give a Blog a try. I definitely recommend trying one you just never know where it will lead to but the top tips for like a really good blog post. One, would probably be make sure it’s long. So some people who start a new blog including me. I wrote a lot of blog posts are like 200 to 300 words at a

Steve: Yeah I wrote a bunch too.

Michelle: Yeah those do nothing like for the most part. I can’t think of very many blogs where I rate of 200 blog, 200 word blog post. I’m like, oh, wow, I really learned a lot from that. So you definitely want to make sure it’s long the average blog post a mine is anywhere from around 1500 words to around 5,000. So just this past week I wrote Two blog posts that were 5,000 words long so you definitely want to, you don’t they don’t all need to be five thousand words, but I mean try to make it at least around 750,000 words to really make it meaningful.

So you can actually help your readers and then that goes into to make sure you’re actually helping your readers with your blog post. That’s a definitely a big thing with your article. You should be helping them answer their questions helping them answer their issues problem solving. And just being like really engaging you want your content to be fun as well. But it really just depends on what kind of blog you have. That depends on how you write.

Steve: How long did it take you to write that 5,000 word post?

Michelle: Lately, I’ve been a lot faster than usual. It really just depends. So I have a real in Life or only work when I want to and that really helps with my writing. So I do enjoy writing but I don’t do well when I force it if I force writing a blog post, I mean it might take me like weeks to write one. But if I’m like really in the mood, I mean I could write it definitely and just a couple of hours.

Steve: Wow. Okay, if I told my kids that they could just work whenever they felt like it they would never work but so in terms of this writing so does that imply that you don’t post every week? Do you post like twice a month or?

Michelle: so I always try to work in advance because of what I just said since I’m not always in the writing mood. I mean I might go a month or two where I don’t write it all and then I might go a month write like 30 blog post. I mean it really just depends and that’s the number one thing. I always recommend for people when it comes to you like creating a schedule having a lot of blog posts and stuff like that. When I first started making sense of sense, I would literally write my blog post the night before I would publish it and I did that for probably I don’t know, two three years maybe but lately I like to be around two to three months in advance and that’s not just because it’s for multiple reasons because I’m not always in the mood to write or sometimes like I write a ton.

But also because of lack of Internet issues. I don’t always have internet So if I’m two to three months in advance, I don’t have to like frantically run around and try to find internet.

Steve: So two to three months in advance. How many posts does that equal?

Michelle: Yeah, I so I usually right around two to three times a week. So what does that probably like 10 a month? So about 20 blog posts.

Steve: Oh my goodness. Okay. So you put out two to three posts a week. You said

Michelle: Yep

Steve: My goodness and each one of those are at least 1,500 words?

Michelle: almost, always. So I actually came up with that idea. I can’t remember what blog post I was reading but it was when I first became a full-time blogger and she said that she had a one year full of blog posts ready like an scheduled.

Steve: Wow.

Michelle: And I just thought that was insane but I was like that’s a really good idea.

Steve: It sounds crazy to me. But can we talk about the writing process? So you pump something out and then you have an editor just kind of make it presentable or?

Michelle: yeah, so I just write the blog post and then I handed over to my editor and I usually give her like a few like requests like hey, can you fix the intro a little bit. It doesn’t seem to like make a ton of sense to me or can you make sure this flows better or stuff like that. And usually she spends like an hour or two fixing a blog post and it’s actually quite affordable. So I recommend that more people get editors or proofreaders or something like that. If you find that you’re struggling making your post better.

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Interesting. May I ask like what the ballpark would be for an editor?

Michelle: Yeah, so I actually at one point had a proofreader. I started with a perforator and I can’t remember exactly how much it was. But I think it was like $10 a blog post and that was actually the going rate for proofreading back then and then but then when I hired my editor she charged dollars an hour and that was for like more like grammar and stuff like smaller things like that. But now as an editor, she’s mainly making things flow better. She like add sentences sometimes paragraph stuff and stuff like that and it takes about sometimes it only takes like 20 minutes to do a blog post for her and sometimes it takes one to two hours. So I made it really varies on how much it actually costs.

Steve: Sure and how long the post is I would imagine.

Michelle: Yeah, definitely

Steve: So I know a couple people what they do is when they write a blog post they’ll just talk and then they’ll have someone turn that into a post. Are you at your laptop or whatever just typing, haha that’s a weird question. I know. so you write all of your posts out, when you’re first writing in the blank screen are you just trying to get all of your ideas out and then you turn that over to your editor or do you actually do a good amount of proofreading first?

Michelle: I usually do a good amount of proofreading and make sure it makes sense and see if I have to really add anything. So it’s usually pretty easy. So I usually start off with I have a notepad on my computer and I have a ton of different blog post of blog post ideas. And I usually have like bullet points right next to it that talks about the things I want to talk about. So it’s usually really easy to transfer onto a blog post because it’s all like there’s Good template for me to follow already.

Steve: what percentage of the post that you write since you are quite prolific what percentage of these posts actually generate traffic significant amount in your..

Michelle: Okay, that really depends. So for the first week, they almost always do well so I pump them all out to like my email list.

Steve: Okay.

Michelle: And but after that I would say, I don’t know. I’ve never really done that math, but my top blog post are usually like my top 10 and they’re usually pretty consistent. So I would say like, I don’t know I probably have 2,000 blog post and tent and 10 to 20 like generate almost all of my traffic.

Steve: Okay. Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna say

Michelle: very slow. Yeah.

Steve: So do you ever do any I’m just thinking about this in the SEO context here where you know, Google kind of likes a nice tight site where like, actually it sounds like all your posts are high-quality. So there isn’t a quality issue there I guess but do you ever go back and Purge some of your older posts?

Michelle: So I’ve never gone back and Purge like nothing really serious. Like I might delete like an old ad or something that I wrote like five years ago that doesn’t really make any sense or isn’t relevant to today. But for the most part I keep everything and I do hear that a lot because I’m making sense of sense. I talked about so many different topics. I talk about money, travel or being, boating like life confidence building and stuff like that or sometimes my pets. So I mean I talked about pretty much everything I making sense of sense and I don’t know if I ever really plan on changing that.

Steve: okay, and then in terms of your fans, are they mostly following you on email or social? What do they get from being on your email list, like what extra value you’re providing there?

Michelle: Yeah. So my email list. I always prided myself on the fact that I reply back to pretty much every single email I received. So if you’re on my email list, you can reply back to any of my newsletter. So I send out and I will personally reply back to you help you with any issues that you have or anything like that. So I have a really good relationship with all of my readers do that since it’s actually me that they’re responding to and not like an assistant or anything like that.

Steve: Okay. Yeah. No that’s tremendous value. Are there any other ways that you are gathering subscribers whether it be Facebook Messenger anything else?

Michelle: And another thing would probably be Instagram. So I like I don’t generate like a ton of traffic through Instagram, but I do like get a lot of really good loyal readers who like to see like my behind the scenes life because on Instagram, I don’t talk about money like at all. It’s almost purely like my life traveling and stuff like that. So Instagram is really good for building like behind the scenes.

Steve: Okay, so I guess the final question that I I want to ask you is if you are a blogger, brand new blogger, how would you personally rate the traffic sources to focus on?

Michelle: I were a brand new blogger. How would I personally rate..

Steve: I mean, it’d be on all these platforms well..

Michelle: Okay. No, so I mean, I do recommend like starting like the actual platform and like getting that getting that username so that no one else can take it from you, but I always recommend starting with that and then just like working your way through each one almost each one can be scheduled or automated in some way. So I mean they all are pretty easy due to that like you don’t have to go crazy and post or pin each pin on Pinterest 30 times a day like individually like that would take forever. So I always recommend that people schedule but some things don’t work on. I definitely say like start an Instagram page start a Pinterest page probably started Twitter because that’s great for networking. Lately, Facebook hasn’t been the greatest. But if you are thinking about Facebook, I definitely think a Facebook group is great.

Steve: Okay, and then would you You recommend someone just kind of focus on SEO, Pinterest, Social when they’re first starting out or I know the answer probably depends. But what would you recommend someone brand new focus?

Michelle: Brand new? SEO is definitely great. I’ve learned a lot about that recently. So I would definitely say SEO is great same with Pinterest. Pinterest can be really great for a brand new bloggers because they don’t really care if you have like a hundred thousand followers or if you’re brand new. It’s all about the pain. So I would definitely say Pinterest is great for a brand new blogger.

Steve: Okay, so from what from what I’m hearing you say Pinterest everyone’s on a Level Playing Field. It really is just on the Merit of your image or your PIN. So to speak.

Michelle: Yeah, definitely.

Steve: Well Michelle, I also want to give you a chance to just talk about your offerings and where people can find you online.

Michelle: Yeah, so you can find me on making sense of sense.com. And that’s like all of my blog posts. I talked about pretty much everything on there. And then if you are interested in affiliate marketing I definitely recommend looking at makingsenseofaffiliatemarketing.com in there. I’ve had over 5,000 students take it and I have so many rave reviews. Everyone seems to really really love it and it’s still definitely my baby to this day. If you’re interested in following my travel Adventures that would definitely be Instagram and that’s instagram.com/michelleshroed and I just pretty much just post travel pictures all the time and it’s definitely my favorite platform right now.

Steve: Cool. Well Michelle. Hey, thanks a lot for coming on the show. Really appreciate it.

Michelle: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode like myself Michelle and I have been blogging for a very long time and there are a whole bunch of different ways to monetize your blog. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequitherjobs.com/episode282.

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.

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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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

281: Scott Voelker On How To Get Out Of Your Own Head And Take Action

281: Scott Voelker On How To Get Out Of Your Head And Take Action


Today I’m thrilled to have my buddy Scott Voelker back on the show. Scott was my partner in crime for the 5 Minute Pitch and I recently spoke at his conference at Brand Accelerator Live.

As entrepreneurs, our biggest problem often lies in our own heads. In this episode, Scott and I break down the Take Action Effect, how to overcome your excuses and make progress with your business. Be sure to check out his new book!

What You’ll Learn

  • Key takeaways from Brand Accelerator Live
  • Why Scott decided to write a book about the Take Action Effect
  • How to get out of your head
  • The mindset and process required to make progress with your business

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Today., I have my buddy Scott Voelker from The Amazing seller back on the show and this time we’re going to talk about the biggest hurdle that most business owners face the mental aspects of Entrepreneurship and getting out of your own head.

But before we begin I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact, last year, it was close to 50% of my overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife.

Also want to give a shout-out to 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 131%. 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

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 and 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 thrilled to have my buddy Scott Voelker back on the show. Now, I’ve had Scott on the show many times in the past talk Amazon and online business in general. He was also a partner in crime for the 5 minute pitch our Shark Tank like show where we give away $50,000 to one lucky winner. But you know Scott he is always taking action on something and recently he held his first ever conference brand accelerator live, which was a huge success and at this event. He released his first Book that teaches others how to take action with their businesses. Now, even though his pickle ball game is lacking. I’m happy to have him back and welcome to show Scott how you doing today man?

Scott: I had to hold back to laugh on that, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be listening in to that intro.

Steve: You are agreeing right if you didn’t say anything, I mean you agreed your pickleball game is hurting.

Scott: Yeah. No, I’m practicing I’m practicing, we are gonna have a showdown and that might have to be aired as well. We might get some some good viral video out of that.

Steve: Yeah that’ll make a good Instagram story, I think.

Scott: Definitely definitely it will. Hey man, thanks for having me back on. No, this is exciting me back on and yes a lots happened since the last time I was on and like you said the event and everything and I’m just back from the event and I’m just starting to kind of take it all in its kind of crazy.

Steve: I was gonna say I just literally saw you a couple weeks ago. How is the post-conference wind down doing? Are you still pumped up?

Scott: I’m actually more fired up now than ever and going into the conference. I mean, I picked your brain a lot because you guys you and Tony Anderson have done a tremendous job at your event and I’ve really just picked your brain and I was nervous all the way up to and I told you that I’m like man. This is like crazy. Like there’s just so much to be done. And your you feel like you’re you know, people are depending on you and all this stuff and now that it’s done and I seen the results from it and the community and it was just amazing. I’m like so excited for like the next one. Right? Like I’m just like super super excited and then the book like the book launch that was like part of it was like the secret reveal. I didn’t know how that was going to be, you know. Received and that was a smashing success. So yeah, I’m feeling really really good.

Steve: Well it was so well received that the line was like three hours long so I didn’t have the patience to wait in it.

Scott: Well, that’s because you’re not a true fan ha ha ha.

Steve: I figured I’d hit you up later, but ended up not getting my books sign. So I guess the next time rock you in pickleball. I will get my book signed.

Scott: Yeah, bring it right up a little sweaty. But yeah, go ahead and bring it.

Steve: What were some of your key takeaways from the event. What did you like about writing the event and what didn’t you like?

Scott: That’s a great question. Well, I think what I really liked about it was Community like the community. I didn’t realize how strong of a community I know you’d, you kind of thought that I did have a pretty good Community because the first event, you know, there’s a couple girls that wanted to get into that event because they thought I was supposed to be there and who is and they were going to take down some of your..

Steve: well, let’s tell the story because I don’t think a lot of people know about it. So this is what happened. So Scott had a meet up at the Seller Summit and the people there thought that Seller Summit attend this meet up with the same thing and we were of course having free alcohol that night. And so we didn’t want Outsiders coming in and spending our you know, our bar tab essentially.

Scott: Sure.

Steve: But these these fans of Scott were so fanatical that I think they got into a fight with Tony you’re trying to get in and eventually I think you had to step in right and you say hey this is not part of my event and you ended up separating out. And so after that point you were banned from having meetups during

Scott: Yes

Steve: Seller Summit parties.

Scott: That is true. True actually, there was a text message that came from you while we were at another location because I had it off location. And that’s when you said Scott you got to get over here and handle this and so I don’t know if I did I think Chris Shaffer actually went over and kind of figured that out. But yeah, then we move the party back over. But yeah, I was banned from having it during sellers Summit any activity. So we had to do it like late at night when all the parties were over.

Steve: So I’m kind of curious. If Tony could have taken those two women, maybe not two-on-one, but maybe one on one it would have been a fair fight.

Scott: Maybe her and Liz

Steve: Oh yeah her and Liz, that’s true.

Scott: So but yeah, so to be there in person and I think you agree right like we’re on a mic right now. We’re in our office were like talking to a mic and whenever you’re in your office or by yourself, you don’t really realize the people that you’re connecting with on the other side until you meet him in person and they tell you their stories and they tell you how much you know, they know about you and how much they resonate with your story and all this stuff and when you get those people in a room, it’s just it’s magical to me. It’s like there’s so much energy and that’s really what I feed off of like that brings me back to the mic with even more energy that I had before if that’s possible and it is possible by the way. But yeah, so I mean just the people and my wife to be there and be part of that and she really got involved in the community, which I wasn’t expecting because a lot of people know my wife doesn’t like the spotlight.

She actually, she took a zero in public speaking back in high school, but she’s like, I don’t want to be up in front of the class. So she’s not the First and she doesn’t like that but she felt just such a connection here with the people and yeah, so I mean to have her be part of it and everyone that was there just it really just was a magical moment just in that. Now, the content was awesome. I got I mean, I got a ton of great positive feedback from your presentation and so many others and just everyone said that they had just an amazing time the community had people from Australia from Germany come in. It was just absolutely amazing. So that’s what I took away. I just love the people.

Steve: Absolutely, I actually chatted with your wife for like a good 45 minutes, I want to say and she did not come across as an introvert at all

Scott: Yeah. Well, yeah well and it’s funny because she had said like she made a thing in her head like and I don’t know if you have you ever heard of Mel Robbins the five-minute rule or the five second rule– five second rule. It’s great. Great book. She’s she’s awesome. It’s she’s got this thing where it’s like five three two one go do it like kind of like take action right like go do that. Don’t overthink it and my wife was reading her book and she said you know what if something makes you uncomfortable just go ahead and just say to yourself. I’m going to go ahead and try to talk to five people just randomly and just see what happens and just do it and when you do that you start to get yourself in that Rhythm kind of like the book that I wrote the take action packed like once you get that action is set in motion you start to see that wait a minute here.

This is actually going pretty good, you know, like good things are happening in and when she did that she started to build more confidence and then, you know kind of just take it from there. So yeah, I’m just Again, like so proud of her for doing that and then at the conference at the end, I was surprised at the very very last session that I was coming up on stage. You kind of closing down the event. I was getting ready to come out. I had my music that was going to come out to and all that stuff and then all of a sudden they said Scott come on out and then I come out and it’s not what I thought. It was my my wife on stage my son Scotty on stage and then my father on stage and that was just a huge milestone for my wife to actually be on Stage in front of a couple hundred people insane and through me so

Steve: They just spoke for a couple minutes.

Scott: Yeah.

Steve: Well words to say too..

Scott: I was yeah. Yeah, it was really good and everyone’s like I would have never known that she was like nervous to be speaking in front of people. And so yeah, so that was a big thing. I mean that was a big shift for her and a confidence Builder. So I mean she’s now in our brand accelerator like we’ve got a group in there like a private group and she’s in there talking to people everyday and communicating and so really I think it changed even the way that this event is going to be moving forward having her involved in all which wasn’t something I was planning on so It’s not exactly..

Steve: I think you should have her give a session

Scott: I do too. But hey, let’s not let’s not get crazy. Now, let’s not get crazy because she already said she goes to I don’t want to feel like I got to be Forced. You’re not forced not you don’t have to do it. But yeah, I’ve already taught maybe even doing an interview or something like that. It would be pretty cool. Pretty cool.

Steve: Absolutely.

Scott: You know, so that that’s all the good. Now, What’s something that that didn’t go? Well or that I wasn’t expecting was that the second part of your question?

Steve: That was yes.

Scott: Okay, I would say we wanted to do some beach balls stuff here Steve. I think I told you the story right? We had these giant beach balls that we thought would be fun for the crowd to kind of, you know be able to kind of hit and stuff in between sessions and it was just a fun. I’ve seen them in events. I thought it’d be fun. Well, we did that and then we didn’t realize that at our event we’ve got tables so people can actually write down notes and put their drinks up. Well started knocking over drinks.

Steve: I guess I missed that part.

Scott: Yeah, so people started leaving the room and everything so we’re like, oh wait a minute. Okay, we just learned something. We’re not going to throw beach balls unless we don’t have tables which we are so the beach balls that was that was a fail. Yeah. That was a complete fail. But I think the only other thing is is I think it was a little too short. We have to add half a day. I think we might do like a kickoff party next time and then that way there we can have solid two days. Maybe do maybe a little bit of a break out. We’re not sure but like I don’t think I think it’s funny because I was expecting something to go wrong and everything really really went well. I mean again like Tony does it such a great job organizing Kevin Sanderson, my planner did a phenomenal job. So I can’t say that there was anything that didn’t go really well. I went it exceeded my expectations.

Steve: I did not notice anything go wrong at all everything started on time. Yeah, you did jostle me a little bit. I think it was like 8:00 in the morning. I was I think I was checking my phone and you were blessed and heavy metal the eight in the morning and you ran around you shook me. Scared the crap out of me.

Scott: Oh, that’s funny. Yes, I was getting you going man. Come on. I gotta go. You’re in the Scott Voelker event. Yeah

Steve: So dude, so you recently released a book called The Take Action Effect, which I actually completed last night great read time passes quickly and think it finished in just like a couple of hours. It was a really good read. So first off, I want the audience to buy it, but can you You tell the audience what this book is about and kind of what inspired you to even write a book in the first place?

Scott: Yeah, it’s a great question. Well, here’s the deal when I would say probably a couple years ago. I started thinking myself. Like there’s probably something in there that I can share. I mean, I’ve done a lot through my years you’ve done a lot through years like we’ve all done a lot and we don’t give ourselves a lot of credit as we’re building up these skill sets and really kind of being, I think Like agile and being willing to Pivot and taking risks and all of this through our life. And so, you know, I started thinking myself like there’s got to be something that I can share and I had already done this in multiple Industries. I did it in photography space and then I did it in the Amazon space but then switched it over to e-commerce and now more into the brand building stuff and I’m just like, you know, there’s something there that I want to leave behind for my kids.

I want to really document my story, but I want to I don’t want to be just a story about Scott. I want it to be something that can apply to people and then I started thinking like Why aren’t people doing it? Why aren’t people actually taking action. A lot of times it’s fear itself sabotage. It’s I’m not smart enough and I went through all of all of these things. And so I started thinking myself. I’m like, how can I bridge this to where it’s going to be a mindset piece that people can really understand and see that they they can do it. Right? Like we both know we’ve done it your wife has done it. You’ve done it like we’ve all done it but why is it different for you than other people they they start they get stuck and they stop. Right? So I said I got to figure out this this piece. So I wanted to turn it into a book about taking action, which I didn’t know it was gonna be called take action and told a 3

Steve: I knew, It was going to be called in before you wrote it dude.

Scott: Really? Okay. Take a yeah. Yeah, I and I and at first I’m like, I don’t know if I want to name it that I don’t know if it makes sense. But then as I started going through it, I started to identify like in my own path, you know my own Journey. There’s been these moments these moments in time that we’ve made a decision, right? We made this decision to do something and then from there our life changed forever. Like there’s something there that just clicked or that a circumstance came up and we had to do it and then all of a sudden it changed and if that didn’t happen you wouldn’t be where you are today. And so I started to kind of like unpack everything and saying like Okay, if someone was going to do it from scratch, what would that look like if I get a lot of people and you do too like what would you do today if you were to start over again.

So I wanted to create a book that would allow people to get through their own self sabotage their own like sticking points and then to get them built up enough inside that to really think that they can do it. Like there’s a confidence in all of us, but we don’t know how to identify some time. So I wanted to really unpack themselves through some of my own stories, but then from there turn it over to them. And then once we get that mindset piece done now, let’s figure out what you can actually do or the business that you’re currently in. How can you take that to the next level with core principles that aren’t going to go away. That’s why it’s really How To build a future proof business but really a future prove you in building that skill set.

Steve: So let’s do this. Let’s apply some of the concepts of your new book and helping the audience take action with their businesses and let’s start with mindset because it’s actually something that I typically don’t cover on the podcast because as an Asian, I was just kind of brought up to just kind of suck it up and do it the way things work. So let’s talk a little bit about just kind of breaking the routine. I know you and I we probably both get emails all the time. People who are just kind of stuck in this rut this routine of going to work coming back eating dinner my wife and I we were stuck in this rut first. So how can you first convince yourself how to get unstuck? And how did you get unstuck?

Scott: Well, the one thing that I think people that are feeling stuck they need to really see exactly what they want. And I know this has been something that people have talked about, you know for years, right? Like what is your why but it’s, it’s even deeper than that. So for me going back and I remember exactly when it happened for me. I lost my mother when she was 50 years old. So that was a real eye-opening experience and a life-changing thing for me. I was 23 years old 24 years old somewhere in there and I had a three year old daughter and a two-month-old son. So I got married young had kids young, but then my mother passed away suddenly and so that shook me and I thought I was going to own my father’s company at the time that I was working for a construction company. And then found out that his you know him and his partner. No just that partnership was not good. We had people in the business that were stealing. It was just a nightmare. So I seen that my future was kind of limited there. So when when I started to identify this myself I started to say like what can I do and I didn’t have confidence in myself back then because I didn’t go to college.

So because of that I’m thinking like well in order to get a really good job, make six figures you got to go to college. And so then that’s when my wife came to me with an idea of starting a photography business. And I mean the rest is history from There but at that point we established the what we wanted we wanted lifestyle and freedom. We didn’t care that it was like, oh I got to make, you know, a hundred fifty thousand two hundred thousand we needed to make whatever $4,000 a month back then in order to pay the bills. So that was the goal so I could be home with the kids more and we can live a life together. Right like so, you know to me with the wake-up call was my mother passing away and then me realizing how short life can be and having kids and then seeing them grow up and then Being able to see them take their first step or maybe my son if I didn’t do again that take action moment. If I didn’t do that, I would have missed my son’s baseball but his little league career because I would have been working because I knew I was working 12 hours a day if I was still working in my father’s company, but because I did this that that one moment I call them take action moments in the book that moment that I decided to make the leap allowed me now to watch my son.

You know at you know, every baseball game and actually coached him all the way up till he was 16 years old and we travel all over all over the country playing Baseball so I would have missed out on that. So I think for people it’s that it’s that what is it that’s going to drive you and I get people say well, yeah, I want that too, but then you don’t put in the hour at night or the hour before you go to work, right? I built that Steve; I built a house while I was working construction. I built a house from the ground up myself with a few buddies my dad on the weekends or at night while I was working a full-time job 60 plus hours a week and I did that because I wanted a house that Built that I could say that I built that I raised my family and that was just important to me back then that was my goal. That’s what I did. So for people right now, they’re like, well, I want that freedom, but I don’t want to put in the time you have to put in the time in order to get the result and when you get frustrated, you gotta push through if you really want the thing that you’re going for like the you know that goal of yours, whatever it is. The why.

So, to me people just don’t have a strong enough why in order to drive them that no matter what it takes, you’re going to do it. You’re going to show up and just you’re going to make it happen no matter what and learn through that process.

Steve: You know, it’s funny is we have similar whys and I met your entire family and I think you guys have a super tight family and I can understand the way you were brought up your super close to your dad and your mom that you don’t want that for your kids. I was kind of the same way when I was brought up. I actually didn’t see my parents all that much because they were working all the time. And so I wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with my kids because of my childhood and that became my why And that is when things got bad that is kind of what pushed us over the top. We just keep plodding through the muck so to speak when things aren’t going that well.

Scott: Yeah it well and again, so let me ask you so okay, you had this and I mean obviously your you know your brand my wife quit her job, right? Like that was all because you wanted to get your wife to be able to stay home and she wanted it you wanted it because it was important you guys that you had a parent, you know with you know, your children.

Steve: Yeah.

Scott: Like that was important. Portent so in the beginning was it wasn’t easy like that was her struggles along the way. Yeah. I’m sure there were I mean you can answer that better than I can but I know we did like we had I mean I look at businesses Seasons, you have all these different seasons you have seasons that are you know, you have winter. Oh man. It seems like it’s never going to end and then all of a sudden spring comes and then summer and then it’s great, you know, so it’s all about understanding that it is going to take some struggles. But if you really want it you’ll push through so that way there you can have it and work at the other side.

Steve: So I think it requires more than just wanting it right? I don’t know there’s some people who want it but I don’t at least in my audience, but they’re just not putting forth the effort like what is something that you can do just push them to make that extra effort?

Scott: Well, I think first off a lot of times by people don’t start. They I think gathering information is easy, right? We all can do that. Right? Let’s just keep Gathering. Let’s just keep Gathering. Let’s keep Gathering. Look at all the different things we can do and then all of a sudden Seems like you have to do so much and then it becomes overwhelming you do nothing. Okay, or you go you know, what if I never start if I just keep learning if I never start I can’t fail. So there’s a lot of different things. It could be as you were a kid your parents made you feel as a failure because you would start something in you wouldn’t finish or you quit. Maybe you quit your little league because you felt like, you know, the kids didn’t treat you the same or maybe you’re coached batted you 9th or whatever right?

There’s we have we all have our own little internal struggles. Right? but I think that people are afraid of failing and to me you’re never failing you don’t fail unless you give up period, right? so every single thing that you do every action that you take will give you knowledge that you will always have but if you just keep consuming, you’re never going to get there, you know, the questions or you know, the answers that you’re looking for because you’re not actually putting something into action. So I think people struggle with starting because they don’t want to fail or you know could be their wife. They don’t want to fail in front of their wife their kids, you know, maybe their parents because they’ve said I’m going to be a doctor and their parents want them to be a doctor or they want them to be a lawyer or whatever, right? So there’s all everyone is a little bit different but I think a lot of times it’s like if I don’t start I can’t fail.

Steve: If you sell an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show.

I know for me. I have problems starting things if I think it’s one gigantic problem that I need to solve.

Scott: Hmm.

Steve: So for the blog for the longest time, like I hate writing I started hating writing.

Scott: I can’t believe that too because you get some long posts.

Steve: I do I write them now but back in the day, I used to hate writing. I used to dread every minute of it. I just sucked it up and did it but the reason why it took me so long. I wanted to start a blog for probably two years and the reason why I could not do it was just because I didn’t want to learn how to install WordPress and get that whole infrastructure in place.

Scott: That’s crazy.

Steve: But once I had that down which turned out not to be that bad at all once I had the website up just adding the post was was a no-brainer, right? All I had to do is just log in and start writing but because I had include that first hurdle. I just had a lot of problems getting started.

Scott: Well, yeah, and I think people overcomplicate it so like in my book like I break it down. So all you have to do is just focus on like these or principles right like figure out your market like figure out how to get attention in the market, you know, then from there learn how to build some relationship with the audience so that way they know like and trust you and then figure out how to monetize after the fact now that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do in the research stages. You’re not going to make sure that there’s ways that you can monetize like we want to make sure that we do this work but really it’s that simple like you don’t have to go out there and think you have to you know, know every single part of the business and I think that’s where people get hung up. Because then we start hearing about all these all these new things we can do all of these different platforms that we can use social media this that and the other thing when in the beginning you just really need to start and I like to start with a home base.

Like like you said like the blog the website like that’s kind of where you kind of you build the foundation there and then you can start building things off of that that will bring things back to the home base. It’s really that simple but so many people get overwhelmed I think also because they’re comparing to other people right there comparing to other screen shots that are being posted in In their you know, their Facebook group that they’re following a hundred different Facebook groups with a hundred different gurus showing all of these different things. I think if you just if you put the blinders on and you just follow a system and a process then I don’t know how you can fail. You just you just continually push through obviously, you got to understand how to validate a market, you know, see if there is potential there for that market whether that’s traffic, you know monetization ways like all that stuff, but it’s pretty simple if you break it down.

Steve: So before we get into that, which is what I’m going to transition to, A little bit. I just wanted to talk about this one quote that I really liked. I think it was Pat’s quote actually not “instead of trying to learn everything there is to learn about getting started with the business. For example, all you got to know is what you’re working on right now.”

Scott: Yeah, that’s it.

Steve: That’s all the knowledge. You need it ignore everything else just work on learning about what you’re trying to accomplish like right this second.

Scott: Yeah a hundred percent. I I mean again, I mean Pat has said it to I think he learned it from someone else or heard it from someone else just-in-time learning. It’s like just Learn what you have to learn right now, like shelf all that other stuff. And I said that at our event I said, you’re going to learn a lot of stuff here. You’re gonna have a lot of different ideas, but there’s things that you can apply today or maybe six months from now. You can always go back to the Shell from for later. You can come back to them.

Steve: Absolutely, Yeah, so Scott, let’s let’s talk about starting a future-proof business. What is the first step from someone who is just getting started?

Scott: I think the first step is and I think this is where people struggle though. They’re like what Niche do I go into do I just look at numbers do I just you know, and there’s like probably a ton of different responses or replies that we could we could go, you know into that direction. Like I think people get stuck because sometimes they’re like, I want it to be my passion and you know, I would love for it to be your passion. But if you’re struggling for six months to figure out what your passion is, then I think you just need to move. I think you need to You need to..

Steve: But that means it’s not your passion. If you’re struggling to figure out what it is right?

Scott: True. And but I think you know passions can kind of come from starting something as well and I’ll get em, I’ll give you the example. So my wife and I started our photography business when I was leaving the construction World. Well, I was we wanted to leave the construction business, but we were building the photographer’s I was not passionate about photography. Okay. I was not my wife was in a sense, but she still wasn’t like every day looking at like photography magazines and like all of that stuff, she just enjoyed good photography like that was it and we had we had went to photography studios and she seen that there was a there was really a I think a hole in the market where we were because no one was really giving a good experience. So she came to me with this idea.

Now, I my passion at the time was getting the hell out of my job. Right? Like that was my pet. I want to get out like get show me a different way and I’ll get out. So once we did that, that opened me up to number one Photoshop, which I have My my Photoshop six journal on my bookshelf as a reminder bought it for $64.95 back in 2002 2003 something like that. And so that book right there bought it and I started learning about it. I started becoming really passionate about that and then I started also figuring out how I could get more people in the door for my wife to be able to photograph. Then I started to develop a passion for marketing, right? So those passions weren’t there before I started but I started because I wanted to get out of the thing.

And then that built up skill sets that I now have I mean that one Photoshop book has made me millions of dollars just that one book, right because of all the I built businesses on it. I’ve taught people on Photoshop. Like I’ve had CDs that I’ve sold around Photoshop templates, you know photography clients that came in and I’ve done you know personal work for, for five hundred dollars for photo Restorations, like all of that stuff. I’ve made Millions on that book, but it’s a skill set that I built that was a passion of mine and you know, so is the Marketing, so I just think that people need to get out of their own way sometimes and say listen Okay, this one might not be my passion. But someone else that I know it’s their passion, then you can go ahead and plug into that and then start to learn the process and then when the passion arises in you, you’ll kind of identify and then you can act on it.

Steve: I mean that’s very similar to my story. I am not passionate about handkerchiefs or linens.

Scott: No?

Steve: Not at all but I was passionate about getting my wife out of a rut of going to work every day to a job that she did not like and I was very passionate about having a parent stay at home with the kids and as we started the e-commerce business, I became interested in the nuts and bolts of how to run the business how to market the business all the customers psychology aspects of getting someone to buy was very interesting to me and I became very passionate about that.

Scott: Yeah and see so you didn’t have that before you didn’t start that but you started it for the one thing but then it opened up something else for you and this skill set that you have you’re going to have forever, right?

Steve: Absolutely and it can be Applied to any business actually.

Scott: Any business. Yeah.

Steve: Yeah.

Scott: Yeah, No, I absolutely love it another short story. Let me just because this happened at seller Summit. Actually, we were at a meet up after hours, by the way. It wasn’t during the event. It was it was all

Steve: I know is off hours because there’s no one fighting trying to pick a fight with Tony. So.

Scott: yeah, so and I met a guy there and he this it was his first time at like an event like this and he was a little confused. He was struggling with his with his with his passion. Well, like what he was going to build his business on and I got to I can do it and he’s like, you know, I just wish that I could hire someone that could do all the marketing things, but I’m like but you don’t know your passion yet. He goes. Yeah. I know I’m struggling with that. But I’m just kind of confused and I go well, you know tell me a little bit about like what you do and he goes, well, I were corporate he goes my wife. She runs a speech therapy business, you know, brick and mortar and I go wait a minute stop time out for a minute and I started digging into that welcomes the find come to find out he’s really passionate and so is his wife about speech therapy for kids that she’s been doing for 15 years.

Why don’t you help your wife get that online to help more kids not just locally and he’s like, wow, I didn’t even think of that and I’m like see that could help you learn the process of building a business online and then you have all of the content that you’ll ever need because she’s doing client work every day, right? She could show up on video on blog posts and then he started to tell me because you have then there’s these products that were buying on Amazon and they never come how we wanted. There’s always little flaws were always tweaking them or telling people to use this rubber band for this for that I go well that’s a perfect, perfect way for you to create your own customized product because now you’re going to be able to refer products and so his mind was blown after we got done but he didn’t see the opportunity in front of him because he was looking for his passion not just an opportunity.

Steve: Interesting

Scott: It was pretty crazy.

Steve: I had a similar story with my wife quit her job like I was running the business and people’s just started asking me questions about e-commerce and I was like okay I kind of know this stuff I mean I’m not an expert but I’m you know I can just talk about what I’m doing with it, and that turned out to build a pretty big following.

Scott: Yeah not exactly exactly so it doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be your passion to start with I think you just have to move you got to do something and start learning and then once you do you’ll plug that into whichever business adventure is going to be coming your way you know in the future.

Steve: Here’s the thing about passion this is kind of why I brought it up earlier like when you’re passionate about something Things that you just read about and do all the time like when I was a kid, I used to play Nintendo games and I used to like create my own little strategy guides and everything and I spent like all of my time doing this stuff and no one was paying me. I didn’t have any idea. I didn’t have any intentions of making money on it but kind of by accident little kids started paying me for these little strategy guides that I was making and I haven’t it’s great when things just kind of happened by accident. It’s just all about identifying what it is that you can do with the skill set that you have because Everyone has a skill set.

Scott: Absolutely. I think you’re building skill sets as you as you take action, right? Like as you do things you’re learning things and to me, that’s how I’ve you know been like I said, like I think we all have a safety net to fall back on with whatever leap were making next. Like if I go all the way back like I can still right now probably go out there and start my own company building houses. Like I’ve done it. I know the process. I know how to manage subcontractors. I know the nuts and bolts right? I know it. Photography same thing like I know That stuff but I’m not using it today, but I might be using some of the marketing stuff because that kind of that stuff is interchangeable. So I just think that people need to understand that you just got to start if you have if you’ve been listening to Steve, you know for the past year and you’ve been wanting to do something but you haven’t you need to just give yourself a deadline and do something right? Like just get something started simple as that.

Steve: So I know for you that when you were trying to figure things out after the photography business, so first of all, why did you To show that and what led you to create podcasts?

Scott: Yeah. Okay, it’s great great question. So when we were running a photography business was a brick and mortar in my home actually built the studio separate access to that to our house in our basement. So was a full, you know full studio. And so we were doing that we had that we had the two kids at the time we had Alexis and Scotty and then we were pregnant with Kayla who now is 11 and we just started saying ourselves. It’s going to be really hard with a new born and taking all these clients. And also when in the beginning it was great because we’re like, oh we can make our own schedule. But our own schedule was a lot of times in the evenings or on the weekends because that’s when people are off of work or the lighting was best at night. So we started to get a little bit burn out with client work.

So we’re like, how can we create like a side, you know Revenue stream. So this way here we can work less with the clients that we had and then I started to dabble in eBay to be honest with you and the way that we did that it was we had some props that we used to buy. For the studio we were buying these little wooden bridges these little four foot Bridges. And so my wife seen that they were also selling at a store locally for like 30 bucks, but they were selling on eBay for a hundred and thirty bucks. So we said let’s try to sell them and we did and we ended up buying like 25-30 Bridges and we sold them all on eBay and that’s what opened my eyes to online selling. And then from there. I started building these projectors that I was transferring film for for my video the video side of the business because we were doing some video transfer work too and I started some of those sold over $100,000 in these projectors that I was modifying.

And sold them on eBay. So that’s what opened it up there. And then I started hearing about private labeling just because when you’re in this, you know, entrepreneurial space you start hearing about other channels and you know, what’s coming up and so I started to think maybe I should just throw five grand at something and see what see what happens well back then it was easy, you know, you can just throw them almost anything up and you know, because you could put up a stainless steel garlic press and probably hit number one and sell 50 units a day and then it got harder but I started to ask myself the same thing. I had people asking me. Like, how are you doing it? Like how did you start your own online business? How are you selling e-commerce, like all this stuff and I said, well, maybe I’ll just document the journey and I’ll just start a podcast because I like talking I don’t like writing like you said, so that’s what I did.

I started it in almost four and a half years now and so I just wanted to be able to show up on a medium that I didn’t mind jumping on and that was podcasting and then it’s totally like pivoted since I started right before it was like Amazon focus now, it’s more brand-building focus that that’s kind of how.

Steve: I know. Had a couple of podcast before the amazing seller. Why

Scott: yes

Steve: Those not do well.

Scott: Well, the one I had was on well, I was 40. I was 39 and I started to go through that. Oh my gosh, I’m you know, I’m going to be 40. I’m not in good shape and stuff. So I started getting into Beachbody products. I went in I did Insanity for 60 days and I got totally ripped. It was like awesome was in the best shape of my life and I’m like, you know, there’s probably a lot of guys that are 40-ish and you know, they feel like they want to get back in shape. They want to be healthy. And so I started really getting into it. I mean, I was really really dialed in almost obsessively and so I had a buddy of mine you met him Jimmy and him and I was said, you know what let’s just jump on and do a podcast will talk about what we’re doing and we did it and after about six episodes we were like, it’s just too much work. We just don’t feel like doing it and we just stopped and that was it was like literally just because we just

Steve: Why did that happened though. Why did you just decide to stop?

Scott: I think it was hard for him and I to get on at the same time. I might have been doing a lot of Publishing so I felt like you know, a lot of the work was coming down on me. So it was him and I just kind of like riffing as friends.

Steve: Okay

Scott: And there wasn’t really so it kind of got to be like a little bit of a hassle even though it was like it was six weeks worth of stuff. Maybe it was a six or eight whatever it was. And so I just started to lose a little bit of interest in it still had the passion for helping people. Actually. I hope the few of my buddies lose over a hundred pounds just by setting up there, you know simple diet and simple exercise routine. So I still have a passion for That I still have a passion for just living just a healthy life and staying active and all that stuff. So I think I just I didn’t see the reason in doing it when I was doing my other stuff. I was still doing photography stuff. I was I mean, I built an online photography tutorial based membership site. Like I was running that for six and seven are almost seven years, which did really really well, but I was doing that and I was trying to do the podcasting thing and so it just it took up too much time at you know, at the time that I was doing.

It so I think I just got kind of a little bit burnt out and he wasn’t as into it as I was so I felt like you know, I’m gonna have to kind of I’m gonna have to kind of try to keep him enticed. So just got a little bit old quick. Yeah, but then the second one was on a marketing it was marketing but it was more broad. So it wasn’t like Niche down. It was like really broad like just how to Market your small business, right? So it’s just too broad and I didn’t realize at the time and it was fun because I was helping photographers get more clients, but it Wasn’t around just photography. I probably should have narrowed it down to just photography. But at the time I wanted to kind of get out of the photography Spotlight and be more than just business not just photography.

And then that’s where I said. Well, let me just, you know Target Amazon sellers because that’s kind of like up-and-coming and there was no one else doing it at the time. And so then when I started doing that it was great, right like had a great following and I still do but that all of a sudden I started being coined as the Amazon guy and I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m right back where I started. I was the photography guy now. I’m the Amazon guy. I don’t want to just be the Is on guy I want to be the guy that helps people build businesses and that’s kind of where we are now. Like I’ve done that pivot over the past four and a half years.

Steve: So how do you know when you need to Niche down?

Scott: I think in the beginning you have to I really do I think if you’re not you’re going up against like just everyone I think if you can Niche down in the very beginning, I think it’s going to make your life in the process easier. I think the only thing I would say though is you definitely want to allow yourself room for growth meaning if I was going to Niche it down. In like let’s say fishing, right? Like if I went fishing, that’d be too broad. I’d go bass fishing or I’d go kayak Bass Fishing. I would try to drill down but I wouldn’t name my site the ultimate bass fishing whatever right? I would name it something like, you know, something fishing more broad or even just Outdoors sports or something that would allow me to be able to be in fly fishing bass fishing deep sea fishing like anything that I could have other verticals under I wouldn’t just Target myself. That Niche down I would allow myself to come out of that if I wanted to.

Steve: And how do you find the people who are to listen to your podcast? I guess in this example. I got it. I don’t even know the story. How did you get your first listeners on the amazing seller?

Scott: Yeah. So what I did was I went into a Facebook group and I was there for probably over eight months just being a contributor just going in there answering questions. Guys, I’m not an expert, you know at the time I might have been making $10,000 a month or something, you know revenue and it wasn’t You know crazy and I was just kind of answering questions Fielding questions. And so then as I did that people would start at asking me questions and then I said, you know what? Maybe I’ll maybe I should just start a podcast and answer some of these questions on a podcast that way there.

I can build a community. I had no idea how I would monetize it didn’t care because I’ve built audiences before and like if I just build the audience the rest will figure itself out. And so then I just I asked the group I said, hey, I’m thinking about starting a podcast that’s going to talk about the things that I’ve talked about here. But I can go a little bit deeper. Would you be interested if I did it and I had about a hundred people say yes, and that was it and I started my but I almost didn’t start Steve almost didn’t start. I almost did not hit record on that episode.

Steve: So what pushed you over the edge.

Scott: Actually my wife my wife said to me because I was telling her what I was doing and everything and she said, you know, I really think you should do it and I’m like, well, yeah, but you know who’s going to listen to me, you know, like I’m just you know, Dabbling over here. You know, I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know. I’m still kind of learning things and she’s like, yeah, but you just whenever we’re at a party or any everyone’s always huddled around asking what you’re doing, you know, like what how are you doing this like because people don’t understand like we are, you know kind of on the same mindset as far as like we understand the online space or if you’re coming into the world, you’re starting to hear us all talk about it.

But when you’re at a party with people that are just in corporate or whatever they don’t they don’t really understand it. They don’t know landing pages and you know, like Optimization like all of this. They don’t know these terms and so she was like, you know, I really just think that you should do it, but she goes you’re just really good talking to people you’re really energetic you get people excited about things. Why don’t you just give it a shot and I’m like, I don’t know and then she’s like just record like 15 20 episodes and I’m like, all right, I’ll do it. And then I did it and then here we are, you know, so if I never did it if I didn’t have my wife also pushing me. I probably never would there’s another take action moment to by the way, he’s going to highlight that.

Steve: I mean, they’re gonna take away I got from that is you need a really good support system and spouse to get you to take action.

Scott: A hundred percent man. I mean like going to an event like your event our event now any event that’s like like-minded people. There’s so much power in that like when you make a few connections just a few that could be like game-changing stuff because from there it can push you or it can make you believe in yourself when you don’t believe in yourself, right? Because you’re not giving yourself enough credit.

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.

Here’s a good story. There’s this one seller summit attendee that that you know of and he was talking to Mike Jackness and you said I’m thinking about selling this blah blah blah and then Mike told him like I’m not going to talk to you again until you’ve actually launched your product love it. And then after that he actually launched a product and today he runs a seven-figure business.

Scott: It’s ya see that there

Steve: you have one conversation with Mike

Scott: once that’s what I talk about the book as far as a take action moment. Like that was a moment that you made. Decision, right? Because Mike gave him like Hey, listen, if you don’t do this don’t talk to me until you do it, right like and I think we need people like that in our lives that can help us see a little bit clearer, but also believe in ourselves and then from there once you take the action you’re and I’m sure that him getting there from that conversation to the seven figures wasn’t easy, right? There’s been struggles. There’s been you know, probably inventory issues. There’s been maybe hijackers there’s been all kinds of stuff. But the thing is is he got momentum and the problem he had then isn’t the problem he has now get different problems now, right? It’s just at a different, you know at a different level. But yeah, I love that. I absolutely love that.

Steve: So Scott, who is this book for man?

Scott: this book? Really when I was writing it was like it was kind of strange because I was like this. I wanted to serve two different people. I want to serve someone that’s feeling stuck in their in their nine to five or there JOB, and they’re thinking themselves. I’m stuck right I put all this time and energy into a degree. I can’t give up. On this career because if I do I’m going to waste all that right and I’m miserable, you know, and I want to be home more or I want to be able to take more Vacations or I want to be able to just live the life that that I deserve right? That’s it’s for that person that doesn’t believe in themselves because they don’t see the big picture and I want to use myself and my story as an example and then give them the roadmap the other person it’s for is if you’re building a business right now and you’re feeling stuck in that business, whether it’s either growth or if you’re feeling like I’ve built this thing and I’m not really sure that I even want to build this business.

I might want to build something else. Well, I want to give you the opportunity to grow that business. So this way here you can sell it for more when you decide to or you can also take the same principles and then start a business from scratch and then lay the the, you know, really the foundation and you know create that that roadmap that will allow you to build something that is Diversified and that will give you that freedom that you want and that you deserve And also you can repeat this process. So it’s really for two different camps either if you’re feeling stuck or if you’re feeling like I’m stuck in my business that I built. I’m not sure if I want to be here or I want to grow that business outside of just one channel.

Steve: My key takeaways were basically the book will help you get out of your own head. Yeah, basically, yeah Scott. I know you have a snazzy URL for it to work and they find the book?

Scott: Yeah. It’s very simple takeactioneffect.com will take you over to the book and you can grab it over on Amazon and paperback hardcover and it’s on Kendall.

Steve: And it’s coming out in audible to right?

Scott: Yes. We are going to be recording that depending on when you’re listening to this. So if you are listening to this before December 2019, because I’m hoping to have it released by then. If you do grab a copy of the physical book, all you have to do is send me a copy of that receipt at Scottattheamazingseller.com and just send me that and I will send you the audio book for free.

Steve: Cool. Yes Scott, man. Thanks a lot for coming back on the show. Really appreciate it.

Scott: Yeah, I appreciate you having me and I want people to look out for some footage of me beating up on you in pickleball.

Steve: Ha ha ha just sign the book first dude sign the book first.

Scott: Okay, I’ll do that. Thanks Steve. I appreciate it, brother.

Steve: Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode now Scotty V is the man and if you haven’t picked up his book yet head on over to amazon.com right now and buy it now it is a quick and interesting read and you’ll be super motivated when you’re done for more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode281.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

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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Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?


If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

280: How To Prepare Your Business For Sale And What Multiples To Expect With Thomas Smale

280: How To Prepare Your Business For Sale And What Multiples To Expect

Today, I’m thrilled to have my friend Thomas Smale on the show. Thomas is the founder of FEInternational, one of the largest and most prolific website business brokers on the internet.

Thomas has completed hundreds of millions in SaaS, ECommerce and content business acquisitions since 2010 and he’s got a huge network of pre-qualified investors.

In this episode, we break down what multiples businesses are selling for today and how to prepare your business for sale.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Thomas founded FEInternational
  • Why and how Thomas got into the business of buying and selling businesses
  • The online business models that carry the largest multiples
  • How to prepare your business for sale
  • The criteria to look for when buying a business

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I have my friend Thomas Smale on the show and Thomas is the founder of Fe International one of the leading business brokers in the world. And in this episode we are going to break down what multiples businesses are selling for today and how to prepare your business for sale.

But before we begin I want to give a quick shout-out to 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.

I also want to give a shout out to Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Code Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of My overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife. Now on to the show.

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 excited to have Thomas Smale on the show. Now Thomas is someone who I’ve known for quite some time now and he’s actually sponsored the seller Summit for the past four years. He is the founder of Fe International one of the largest and most prolific website business brokers on the internet and they’ve completed hundreds of millions in sas Commerce and content business Acquisitions since 2010 and they’ve got a huge network of pre-qualified investors. And today what we’re going to do is we are going to talk about Takes to sell a business and which business types have the biggest multiples today. And with that welcome to show Thomas. How you doing today, man?

Thomas: Yeah. Thanks. Steve, I’m really good.

Steve: Hey Thomas. So for the people who don’t know who you are. What is your background story? And when did you kind of get into this business of buying and selling online businesses?

Thomas: Yes. So if you gave up to 2010 when I founded the company, I was still at College, I think like many college students. I was trying to make some extra cash. So I got into I met someone who’s buying and selling domains. I started doing that as well and to others did not do very well until why I realize is that what I thought was a domestic really have any intrinsic value to have any consistent process selling them. I thought like more luck than anything else. So I then stumbled upon the idea of websites. And at the time I was studying I see a business degree at University or college. So that made a lot more sense to me resonated so I didn’t really have any money so there’s a case of Investing $100 usual my credit card at the beginning of month buying a website finding ways to improve it. So she’s just finding ways to make a little bit of extra money with it.

And then reselling it before the end of the month paying off my credit card and redoing that cycle so that quite successfully for a while and was making less nice little bit of extra side income. So in the year I graduated with his 2010. I decided to write a book and a course about how to buy and sell. That’s kind of profit. So I wrote that launch that at the time I thought that I would or if that’s what I thought the business or F in SAS as it is now, I thought it was going to be a business where I made all of my money teaching people how to buy and sell and also buying selling myself. What happened is that the course did well it got it was successful is very popular. People who bought the course it turned out. They actually didn’t want to sell businesses themselves. They wanted to hire someone to do it for them. So I started having people coming to me with established businesses.

They had already either bought or built themselves and saying well, hey, you know how to buy and sell something for a $1,000. What about if you help me sell my business for twenty thousand. So the first day I ever did as a broker so to speak the $20,000 deal didn’t get paid anything into it. It’s sold and then from that really just compounded from Word of Mouth what we do now didn’t really exist back then. I was one of the only people only companies helping people with online businesses seldom the water like business brokerage been around for many many years. So if you have a restaurant or bar those kind of businesses have been bought and sold for Long Time online businesses lesser. So that’s how I started out and then it really just compounding from there as a lot of Word of Mouth.

Steve: Yeah

Thomas: It started. A doubling down and focusing something like many businesses. It was a very early pivot what we do now is not what we did at the start but the concept of buying selling is still really the same. It’s just now we do much bigger deals than what we started out.

Steve: So just for the benefit of the listeners out there. What Thomas did is actually a pretty good way to get Legion you put out some education about a particular topic and people might not be necessarily interested in the education. They want to just hire you out right? So I guess you kind of accidentally stumbled upon that and that’s really allowed your business to kind of get jump-started through that method.

Thomas: Yeah. I think that’s a pretty good way of describing it.

Steve: So Thomas, I think I’ve seen you at every single event that I’ve ever been to does Fe kind of specialize in certain types of companies or do you kind of just do them all?

Thomas: The same many as you can used to be that if it’s an online business, we would we would take it on and try and sell it as years have gone by we’ve become a little bit more focused and specialized in what we do and that’s partly because we’re a success The only business we only get paid if we sell the company and we don’t want to waste anyone’s time if we’re not going to be of any help or assistance. So we primarily focus on e-commerce and within e-commerce that includes Amazon FBA examples of merch all sorts of different businesses within that. We also do SAS and software companies and then content based businesses, which we would usually seems like blocks that monetize with affiliate programs or advertising then occasion. We have some other businesses in so we quite often cell service businesses, which also have a kind of subscription or or product element as well for usually those those three main business models of SAS Ecommerce content are what we specialize in the most.

Steve: So I’m just curious myself what business models what online business models carry the largest multiples right now on average?

Thomas: So if you look across those three business models SAS is generally the highest. I mean, there’s hundreds of factors that go into

Steve: I’m sure there are.

Thomas: Valuation. Yeah, so the reason I guess I’m high level. The reason why SAS valuations are generally higher than e-commerce in content is the fact you almost always have recurring Revenue. So if you have a e-commerce business, for example that has recurring Revenue. So let’s say a subscription box or maybe you have like a membership or or something like that or subscribe and save that kind of business model. Then you would expect to see a similar valuation to her SAS business, but they do tend to be the highest. Because of the fact you’ve got that recurring Revenue.

Steve: Can you just give us an idea of like the low and high end over multiple for I know it’s hard to generalize here, but I’m just trying to get an idea in comparison.

Thomas: Yes. So, the e-commerce businesses. We’ve seen recently anywhere in the two to four times. Net income range SAS businesses three times to 4.7 five times and then we’ve had some local on much higher than that lower than that, but that’s a fair average range so that’s really the top range of e-commerce is a middle range of SAS if you want to look at it that way.

Steve: And what about content sites? Like blogs?

Thomas: Yeah content in the 2.25 to 3.25 range the slightly.

Steve: Interesting. So, it’s a lot?

Thomas: Yeah slightly tighter range than e-commerce. I’d say that’s generally because in e-commerce you’re selling usually well more valuable businesses. You’re selling an actual product. I think feels like it has a lot of value to buyers and investors. Whereas for the content business, you’re usually not selling anything. You are, I mean by definition just the value is in the content. You’ve created some multiples do tend to be a little bit lower. But we have seen some go much higher I mean; we completed a 12 million-dollar deal a couple of weeks ago and that multiple was much higher than anything. I’ve quoted there that does depend a little bit on the business that size of it and the business model itself.

Steve: So, going through each one of those business models what allows it to have a higher multiple. So, like in the let’s do e-commerce since the majority of the listeners are on the e-commerce space. What would cause an e-commerce… You mentioned subscription models, but outside of that, what would cause an e-commerce store to have a much higher multiple in general?

Thomas: Yes. One thing with e-commerce and say that comes up a lot which really does affect the multiple is the growth rate. One thing we see in e-commerce more than any other business model is businesses that grow a lot and then decline particularly businesses on Amazon; It’s quite difficult. At least from what I’ve observed to consistently grow a business on the Amazon platform. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a profitable business, but it might mean one year you do a million in sales. Next you do 950 then you do 1.2 million. The margin center fluctuates as well.

Steve: Hmm.

Thomas: So if you have an e-commerce business, which is consistently growing top Line and bottom line so revenue and profit then those multiples are going much higher than a business which is which is not live reasonably uncommon to see one that’s growing top and bottom line just because in e-commerce unlike a Content or SAS business, it’s much more likely to have margins that fluctuate if the platform fees go up or fulfillment fees go up or the cost of your product goes up or even down if it goes down then your multiples going to increase as your net margin creases.

Steve: And so, when you’re looking at that for an e-commerce business, are you looking at top and bottom line increase for an existing product? Because a lot of times people on Amazon the way they grow as a just start releasing new products.

Thomas: Yes. I mean that is a good point. So, another kind of value driver is the number of skis you have orb-like for that lines. So, if you just have one product line, then the multiple in general is going to be lower if we have multiple then it’s generally going to be higher. The way they look at it. If you’re constantly launching new products to keep the net profit high is how sustainable and how easy is it to take over that? But like business model. So if it’s, I don’t know, you’re selling Steve products and every product you sell as a new product with your face on it that’s going to be a little bit harder for someone who buys your business take over.

Steve: I don’t think anyone would buy that product in the first place. But, go on yeah.

Thomas: Well…

Steve: Hahaha

Thomas: But if they were that would be quite difficult for someone to take over. So if you have a really good process for launching new products on a consistent basis, then buyers would be happy of that. If you do not and you’re somewhat reliant on maybe you’re a designer or a product developer or you are the one who is, I guess somewhat unique to your launch strategy, then that’s going to be a little bit harder to sell.

So, it does we I guess the short of it is we look at lots of different factors and variables and buyers really looking at ultimately do they think the business will continue to perform at its current level or better after they required the business. If so, they’re going to pay a higher multiple. If not, they going to pay a lower multiple or not buy the business at all.

Steve: Can we talk a little bit about an Amazon e-commerce business versus one like where you own your own website and you have email subscribers and that sort of thing.

Thomas: Yeah say from a multiple perspective and I mean, just because it’s Amazon or just because it’s your own website doesn’t change the multiple detectors at all to say.

Steve: Oh okay.

Thomas: But there are things we would then look at to establish the value. So, for example, a lot of people who on their own stores that sets on Shopify they might get all of their traffic from running Facebook ads. That’s definitely been a more common level. We’ve seen in the last few years that tends to rely on what the effectiveness of the Facebook campaign itself or the campaign’s you’re running and usually the skill of the operator. So, the person who’s running the ads maybe you’re using an agency most businesses. We see a people doing themselves those businesses are going to be generally difficult to sell or attract smaller multiples because they’re relying on that one source traffic. Now, if you’ve got that second type of business you mentioned which is an email list man. You have maybe had a business where you launch a new product every month and the majority people that buy that product from your existing email list that’s going to be a significantly more valuable business. So back to what was done earlier. It’s not quite recurring revenue and such. But if you have the Same people buying on a consistent basis then from a buy perspective. That’s basically the same as recurring revenue. So, this is like that is going to be quite valuable. And then in the Amazon space, the great thing about the Amazon platform. This is how big it is and how many potential customers you can reach probably the worst thing about it is you never really truly own the…

Steve: Right.

Thomas: Customer so you can email them and say hey, I’ve just launched a new product. At least, It’s very difficult to do that and stay compliant with their kind of rules.

Steve: So, it’s going to say that at least for our business about 36% of it is repeat business and it seems like in Amazon, there’s no guarantee for that. So, would you say in general like an e-commerce store that you own with a list is generally going to sell for higher multiples than just an Amazon business that sells equivalent products.

Thomas: Say generally speaking. Yes, particularly, if you have that email list and particularly if you can prove that actual bias and that’s the important bit because a lot of people build an email list then say, “Hey, I’ve got 10,000 emails” and its people that signed up to I don’t know say, e-book. I like a free book as a lead magnet but they’ve never actually bought a product that’s not as valuable as say a thousand people the much smaller list of which all of those are past customers and you segmented it’s you know, each of them are spent at least $100 or $1,000 or over or whatever it might be.

Steve: Like if I showed you my Klaviyo account for example, and I separated It out the people who have bought multiple times and have a high lifetime value there be a lot more valuable.

Thomas: Precisely and I say a lot of people I mean, it’s probably just a really good lesson to everyone. A lot of people don’t have that set up of tool. So the fact you even have that setup and you probably think about it on a day to day or week by week basis puts you ahead of a lot of e-commerce business owners who may have an email list, but if they have it, there’s no level of very rarely any level of thought in it beyond, “Hey, when we launched a new product, we’ll email people”. Well, they might have a newsletter. So, your sounds like you’re a step ahead or two steps ahead.

Steve: So it sounds like then when you’re saying that an Amazon business will roughly self the same multiple as an e-commerce business, you’re referring to those e-commerce businesses that just primarily rely on other platforms to get their traffic and sales like Facebook ads for example or Google ads and those will tend not to or self-work with the multiples as an Amazon business because really you’re just relying on a different platform right?

Thomas: Generally, yes. I mean, that’s exactly the way to look at it and the reason, the business with emails were so high is because you’ve got that reliable income stream from repeat customers.

Steve: So, what are some other factors that increase the valuation? Do patents are those, are those a big deal?

Thomas: Not really to be perfectly honest. To say, I mean, we do sell businesses that have patents people do care about things like trademarks. I’d say people care more about the fact “Is it a unique product?” but because you have a patent doesn’t mean the product itself is good, but anyone can get a patent does it mean anyone actually wants to buy the product itself. So, say generally speaking. If you do have a unique product or unique products and the buyers are going to look at how defensible that is. So, do you have like a unique deal or like an exclusive deal with the supplier? Do you have brand protection? So that might be a patent that might be a trademark lots of different ways you can protect it and in that respect. So, buyer will look at those kinds of things, but I say in general, having a patent versus not having a patent doesn’t increase or decrease the value of such. People really care about is the product unique if it’s not and you’re reseller, that’s not necessarily a bad thing in general those businesses are going to sell for less just because a margins tend to be a little bit lower.

It’s not just the fact that you’re a reseller which the problem that the margin center be lower. They tend to fluctuate more regularly because you’re more like to have competition that comes up. If you’re selling some more like Amazon or Facebook, for example, then you’re much more likely to fluctuate because there’ll be new competitors all the time. If you have your own email list, then it could be completely different because that email list might not care that you’re reselling a product that they could buy elsewhere because they’re not looking elsewhere there on your list looking to buy what you’re selling. So, this is kind of my point. There are so many different factors that go into it.

Steve: Yeah.

Thomas: I guess the Wade our valuation. One process works is it’s not like you start at Baseline multiple and then add 10% or take away 10% Depending on checking boxes. It’s a combination of the factors that is important.

Steve: Sure, what I’m trying to get out actually is what you might want to focus on if you were to just plan ahead for evaluation. Like what about social media? Like if you have a big Facebook group that’s active. I mean or an Instagram account, how do all those factors factor into the valuation as well?

Thomas: So, any sort of active market you have of your either existing or potential customers. So that’s the email list or social media following is important and by his death. He like to see that from a brand perspective. But again, that the most important thing is proving that having those people is actually beneficial to the business ideally in the form of sales. They can prove that they’re buying or in the form of interaction. So, if for example, in my business the way we look at the we have might have a lot of people who follow us on social media who aren’t necessarily customers or potential customers, but they might like our content share or content with people who could be a potential customer. So, doesn’t mean they’re worth nothing.

So, from that perspective a buyer will care about the type of engagement you have. To buyers engaging, that’s great. If it’s just a guess like fans or super fans that’s good as well. And then also how you’ve built that following. I think I’ve seen it less in recent years. But if you go back over the years, it was very prevalent people building up kind of fake fans and viewers see would regularly see Facebook fan pages with a million fans. And then that the average post would get 3 likes. So, there’s definitely a more of an emphasis now buyers are getting more intelligent and they realize that it’s the interaction that’s important. Not just the number of fans or the number of followers you have so that again it’s not like you get 10 cents per follower as your evaluation. It’s really just how are they interacting? Are they buying if they are your perfect target audience and they’re not buying what does that tell you about the business? That might be a hard to catch in the evaluation, but from the way I want to buy this business or not? They’re the kind of things they might think about.

Steve: If you sell an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So, before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other IP protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers’ button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show.

Steve: I Imagine for something like Instagram. It’s really hard to attribute like a post to sales right because it’s hard to directly link from Instagram to a product. So, I to kind of put words in your mouth. I guess the higher traffic sources of the ones we can actually directly attribute it to a sale.

Thomas: Yeah over there is a reasonable degree of confidence. So yes, you’re right Instagram is difficult to track but if you have no Google analytics set up for example, and you know that I don’t every day at 12 p.m eastern. You post a new offer and you can see the traffic and sales spike of that time in Google analytics. Yes, you might not be able to prove its from exactly that post but it’s reasonable to assume that it was so it’s often very difficult win in any business to get an exact answer of what’s caused what but you can usually it’s our job to affect you build a story and say well.

Steve: Sure.

Thomas: We know that regular on Instagram. We know there’s a spike in sales at this time. Therefore, it’s fair to assume. It’s from Instagram or it might not even be from Instagram. It might be that the Instagram post prompts you to tell a friend about them. It might be that the Instagram post prompts you to Google them. It might be that the Instagram post pumps you to read your e-mails and see if they sent you an offer that week. So, try to look at them individually is difficult you really have to look at its kind of all together and how they co-relate.

Steve: So, it seems to me then that out of all these traffic sources organic Google traffic for example might be the most valuable.

Thomas: Assuming it is sustainable. I would definitely say there’s a high degree of value on it. If you can prove it’s coming in consistently now much like Facebook ads and equal. No sorry, e-commerce like Amazon. It’s definitely still you’re still relying on Google that traffic can fluctuate get a penalty there all sorts different things that can happen to increase or decrease your traffic. So again, I mean another fact that comes into valuations how old to business is. If you’ve been getting traffic from Google for five years and that’s been increasing year-on-year then apply as much more likely to pay a higher multiple thinking that’s quite reliable if your traffic is… I know you’ve been getting traffic for two years and you’ve seen a bit of an increase in a bit of a decrease. Then that’s not really going to be worth as much sort of it depends on the predictability and age is an important factor of that. Generally speaking, has been around for longer, it’s more likely to continue at least in the eyes of buyer.

Steve: Sure. What about the revenue of the company? Like I’ve heard that higher revenue companies will have higher multiples than smaller companies, right? Can you just kind of talk about what the breakdowns are?

Thomas: Yeah, I’d say that’s a fair observation again. There’s no like, “Oh! As soon as you hit this level, you’ll suddenly worth X”. But there’s definitely a correlation between the size and the multiple, although at the lower end often multiples can still be quite high because there’s so much competition from buyers. So, if you have a $500,000 e-commerce business, there are a lot of buyers at that level looking to buy these businesses. You might end up achieving quite a high multiple just from the fact there’s so much demand in general. I think a reasonable rule of thumb would be once you go above 10 million revenue. The multiples will start to increase.

So that’s where you might start to see multiples above say four times. For example, we’re working on Amazon development that does around 15 million in revenue and if profitable and the multiple on that is can’t tell you the exact number but it’s above 4. So, multiples definitely do increase. But again, there are so many different factors that go into it just because you’re doing 10 million a year doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good business and by goodness as I mean in terms of valuable from a buyer’s perspective and just because you’re doing say only a million dollars in revenue doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad business as such it would get a low multiple, but you are right. Generally speaking the larger the businesses revenue and profit wise but more it’s going to be worth but there are lots of things that go into that.

Steve: Let’s switch gears a little bit. Let’s say someone listening wants to sell their business. What are some steps that you should take to kind of prepare your company for sale?

Thomas: So, I think the most fundamental level the very best thing. I think you should do. It’s nothing really to do with your company itself. It’s you personally it’s figure out what you would like to achieve and that’s thing you need to establish its both personally and also so personally might mean with your husband with your wife with significant other whoever that might be in your personal life and then for business perspective, maybe have a business partner or business partners. Maybe you have investors. It’s very important to be on the same page with what you’re trying to achieve because if you want one thing and your spouse wants something completely different or you are one thing and your business partner want something completely different. Then even if your business is like let’s say it’s checking all the boxes high valuation ready to sell then nothing’s going to happen. You’re not going to have a successful process because there’s probably going to be one person blocking it.

So, once you have an idea of what you’re trying to achieve that’s probably the most important thing so know what you’re trying to achieve and then from there you can start establishing what that’s going to going to look like in terms of either timing or value. Most people from now will either established they want to make a certain amount of money. So, it might be a million dollars, 10 million dollars, 100 million dollars. Again, it doesn’t matter what that number is. You can’t tell them other number should be I can’t tell them that’s very much a personal decision with yes personal and professional stakeholders. So, once you’ve established that I always say that. And this is kind of might sound a bit too much your pitch, but I think the best thing to do from there is going to a free valuation

Steve: Sure.

Thomas: All lemonade firms and brokers will or any good ones at least will offer a free valuation and generally from our perspective, we’ll put together evaluation knowing that the vast majority of people are not ready to sell now. But it allows you to ascertain where you are in comparison to your goal. So, if you get evaluation today in your business is worth 5 million dollars and the number you have you want to sell for that you and your wife are going to be happy to sell for is 6 million dollars then probably in your business, you’re not going to have to do a huge number of things to get to that level. You probably just gonna have to run the business a little bit longer. Now, if you get a valuation today of 500,000 and you want to sell for 20 million, then it’s probably a lot of work you’re going to have to do to get there. So, from that perspective your plan and what needs to be done to increase the value does tie in a lot with where you like right now versus where you need to get to value-wise.

Steve: I guess specifically what I was getting at, there was, let’s say I just want to maximize my evaluation. Would I focus more on revenue growth or profit growth? Let’s say my time frame is like 2 years

Thomas: Yeah. So, say if you are any intention is to increase the value and it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to achieve then a combination of the two. What a lot of people do is they make the mistake of doing one and not the other so say, “Hey look like I tripled my Revenue” but their net worth is still the same what you might find is that you can increase your revenue and your margins will slightly decrease but you’re because you’re I don’t buy more traffic for example, but your net number as a dollar value or whatever currency are using is higher. That is fine. But don’t just increase revenue and not worry about bottom line at all. I have seen that a lot where people will particularly, it comes to buying traffic. They’ll buy traffic they’ll double their revenue, but they were actually increase their net at all. So, a combination of the two is important so if the two metrics you’re always going to be getting a multiple of your net when it comes to selling. So that’s the important number to worry about.

Steve: Earlier you mentioned like the growth rate matters also, right? So how do you kind of balance the two?

Thomas: If every day, it’s a tricky one. So, you have to be growing your revenue consistently because that proves there are people that want to buy your product people are real doing a product or products or whatever you might be selling. So that’s important. But at the same time, you need to prove that it’s profitable to do. So, there’s no point growing a business if it’s not going to become more profitable in the process but I think the important thing to think about is not doing anything that could affect the long-term of the business. So, what a lot of people do is they’ll focus on revenue growth because they’ll hear that revenue growth is an important part of evaluation and then they’re also hear that they’re going to get a multiple of net like we’re talking about. So, they’ll start to do things that may jeopardize the long-term future of the business but doesn’t necessarily affect the business short-term. So quite a common one is they’ll start cutting head count. So, I’ll be all we don’t actually need this support rep we don’t need to do we don’t need to publish any blog content anymore.

Steve: Right. Okay, I mean, it seems like growth contributes to the multiple. Whereas your profits, you know kind of contribute to that base right? For that multiplier?

Thomas: Exactly. Yes, but I mean in an Ideal world. For example, the double your revenue, the double your profit. I guess the reality of business and from what I’ve seen over the years. It’s very rarely that simple.

Steve: Yeah and nothing is ever black and white, but if I were to like double my revenue and then increase my net by like 5 or 10%, is that better than not increasing my revenue so much? Maybe 10 or 15% on revenue, but my profits have increased by 2x?

Thomas: Generally speaking, either of those scenarios is fine. Growth is always good. That’s a combination of the two is healthy, but as I’d say combination because no one wants to say a business. There’s no potential to improve it. So, if you’ve done absolutely everything to improve the net margins and there’s no way that can be improved then the business might be great, but that could be a difficult one to sell from a buyer’s perspective. So, I guess just look at them all together. Yes, ideally everything would increase together. But either works.

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: How does the process work? And what is what is a brokerage charge for example?

Thomas: Yeah. So generally speaking, like said first thing with us is, yeah evaluation. Get a free evaluation. At that stage, you’re not committed to anything other than we just ask you to send the information we need to put together evaluation. Assuming you get the evaluation. Let’s say you want to get 5 million dollars in this business and we tell you it’s worth $500. Just keep it super simple right from there. We would sign an engagement agree with you then gave her an agreement would tell you what the fees are these very, it depends on size of business. Generally speaking, we are 15% on the first million dollars of value or sale price specifically and then that tears down beyond that. So, if you have a 20-million-dollar business, you’d expect to pay less than 15% together $500,000 business, its 15%.

Steve: Got it. Okay.

Thomas: But you don’t pay anything until the business sells or have sold and if it doesn’t sell you don’t pay anything. From there, we then go through a discovery process with you where vets we asked a bunch of questions about your business. So, use you will send you a questionnaire of about a hundred different questions will go through your financials. Effectively trying to learn as much about the business as we possibly can and any day to you have any information about your business, we will use I guess to the advantage of the sell. So, for example, like you mentioned earlier Klaviyo account, we might go through that and be able to prove some useful metrics. So, you might be to say well of the 10,000 subscribers on Steve’s email list. We know that 5,000 have bought at least three times and they spent at least $1,000. So those kinds of metrics are important we will get them out. The effect he then put together a sales document which we call a prospectus which is usually are 30- or 40-page document depending on the size and the complexity the business once we’ve put that together and that process generally takes a couple of weeks.

We spend a lot of time up front making sure we understand your business making sure we learn everything there is to learn about your business and making sure that we’re aware of the good things and also the bad things and we can kind of present that in a in a fair and honest way because no one wants to know buyers want to see a business where there are issues that have kind of been covered up because they’ll always get discovered at some point in the process. Our mentality is it’s better to be transparent up front versus hiding things and then being discovered a couple of months into the process. So, once we prepared that we then send that to you and say hey Steve got the sales materials ready read through it and make sure you’re happy you effectively sign off on our materials to make sure you’re happy with the factual accuracy.

We then go out to our investor Network in three stages. So, we start off by reaching out to a very segmented list of buyers will put together who we think will be specifically interested in your business based on what they’ve told us before. So, might be they said, “Hey, I really want to buy an e-commerce business that sells this type of product my budget is 2 – 10 million dollars. So, if you have a 5-million-dollar e-commerce business, we will send it to them”. So generally, we start with a relatively small group. So small percentage of our overall network, but they’re the ones who are most likely to buy so we send out to them. We also will simultaneously be depending on your business on what you think could be the ideal buyer. We’ll also reach out to potential strategic buyers. So, we’ll build a list of those we reach out to those at the same time from there. We then also go out to use your battle week later go out to our whole buy network which at the moment is about 41,000 active investors and they have over not given us any criteria or just have high level criteria.

So, we’ll send them. Very much like an overview of your business. They can then request information. If they request information, they have to sign a nondisclosure agreement. So, we don’t just send out Steve’s businesses sale to 41,000 people with your like domain and all the information all the financials. We have a vetting process. So, once your request information will then get confidentiality agreement ask other questions so that from there, there’s a back and forth negotiation with the different parties. So that’s something that we’ll do on your behalf. You’re paying us to negotiate the deal effectively. So, buyers will have asked questions. Some buyers will want to get on cools of you as a seller. So, we will navigate that process and will establish who we think is serious and who is not. Often, you’ll find there’s lots of people who are just curious and fishing for information.

They would love to have a chat with a successful business owner. So, they’re going to 10 they have money and trying out a cool. So, it’s our job to filter those people out and we do a good job of doing that. So, we want to make sure that your anyone on the phone with people who weren’t necessarily definitely going to buy a business but could buy a business if they like it and happy with it. So, from there, there’s a negotiation process. Hopefully we get multiple offers. So, for example on an eight-figure Amazon business with work on the moment, we had 11 of offers that came in and then from there we work to narrow that down so we’ll say okay. Well, we don’t like these 3 offers at all. We’re just gonna kick my process. We don’t like these for…

Steve: How are these deals typically structured and then what affects whether you like an offer or not? Is it because it’s financed, all cash or I mean, what are some factors in there?

Thomas: Yes, generally speaking in the e-commerce space you would expect an amount of cash upfront as to how much that is. It can really vary anywhere between say 50 and 80% of the deal value upfront and then usually a performance element beyond that awesome set financing. And then also you generallly going to get paid separately for your inventory at cost and then the amount of cash you get down upfront really does depend on a lot of the other factors we’ve spoken about so if you have a business, which is very reliant on a single channel, so let’s Amazon or Let’s say it’s Facebook ads or let says it’s single product. You would generally expect to get less shot less upfront and more of a performance element. If you have a much older business, which has been around for a long time has multiple channels, multiple products and is very consistently growing then first, you would expect to get a higher multiple, but you would also expect to get more cash up front and less of a performance structure.

This is no reason why I bought it. Simple form and structure for such an established business. Whereas if you just have one product, one platform that’s generally going to be high risk. So, buyers are going to want to kind of adjust for that. So, you generally expect to get anywhere between like I said 50 to 80% upfront cash deals do happen and that really depends on your business and the different kind of factors and reliance’s that go into it.

Steve: How long should someone expect this entire process to take?

Thomas: So depends a little bit on the size of the deal say as a general rule of thumb if you have and we’ll use this use three different levels of business and Million Dollar business $100,000 business and a 10 million dollar business. If you have a hundred thousand-dollar business you’d usually expect to sell within a month together.

Steve: Really? Wow. Okay.

Thomas: Million Dollar business generally two months than 10-million-dollar business generally three months. It can take longer than that, it can take less time than that. That’s a reasonable average to expect and then if you hire an M&A firm like us with an average success rate of 94.1% So the vast majority of deals, we take on will close part of the reason. I think you were surprised that the speed of smaller deals at that level firstly there are a lot of buyers. There’s a lot of demand businesses of that size at generally simpler. And also, they’re just less complex that it’s less often like Judeans. It’s required because there’s going to be less transactions less complexity and the financials probably less products. The contracts for sale itself is going to be quite simple. There’s not going to be a huge number of contingencies and that’s gonna be hey, I’m buying a business at that. Well, it’s probably going to be all cash to be $100,000 cash. We’re going to close in a week.

You’re going to send me $10,000 worth of Entry. It’s not going to be particularly complex as deals get bigger part of the reason, they take more time. Is there more complex and they have more moving parts. So, you just expect accountants’ lawyers will the different third parties to take more time at that level.

Steve: Does that 15% fee? Like are they using your lawyers and your accountants or is that all separate also?

Thomas: So, we cannot legally advise you throughout the process, but we can we will draft documents on your behalf. So, a lot of people at the lower end will choose to effectively represent themselves if they’re comfortable with contracts. So, we will prepare the sale agreement for example, but will again depend on the complexity deal get depending on how comfortable you are legalized you would then maybe bring in your own attorney, but essentially our fees are separate. So, if you are bringing in your accountant or attorney or lawyer beyond what we’re providing in our service then you would pay for that separately. But say most people do not do that until the deal gets larger and more complex to the stage where they probably already have both of those kind of professionals on retainer already
Steve: Right. Cool. Well Thomas we’ve been chatting for quite a while and I think we got through a pretty good overview of the process and I really appreciate it.

Thomas: Yeah. Well, thanks for having me.

Steve: If anyone is interested in buying or selling a business, where can they find you?

Thomas: Yes, the best thing to do is go to the F International website on there. We have a bunch of content about valuing businesses. For example, like we’ve I know we’ve gone through a bunch of stuff but there’s so many different variables that go into evaluation. It’s worth going on our blog reading through some of the content. We have various eBooks and like short courses you can go through that will teach you about the different things that we’ve spoken about today. If you’re interested in buying a business you can inquire on the different business. We have a sale going on. Sell a business get free evaluation. You can go there as well and we’ve spoken quite a bit about social media today.

But our team were pretty active on social media so you can always follow us on your preferred platform or platforms all of us that easy to get a hold of if you have any questions reach out for those of you who don’t really know where you want to get to or where you’re at right now. Feel free to reach out why he’s happy to have a chat. You don’t have to. Calling us as not a commitment to hire us or anything like that. So, we always like to chat.

Steve: And there’s no fee for buying a business, right? It’s only on the sell side.

Thomas: No, we do have a small admin fee throughout the process, but effectually no fee.

Steve: Okay. Well Thomas so really appreciate your time.

Thomas: Yeah. Thanks, Steve.

Steve: Thanks.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode now eventually every business owner will want to sell their company and it’s important to understand where to focus your efforts when the time comes for more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode280.

And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo 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.

And 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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Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?


If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

279: Ezra Firestone On Overcoming Adversity And How To Stay Sane Running Your Business

279: Ezra Firestone On Overcoming Adversity At Boom And How To Stay Sane Running Your Business

Today, I’m thrilled to have my buddy Ezra Firestone back on the show. Ezra runs a number of 7 and 8 figure e-commerce stores, a Shopify SaaS company called Zipify and an e-commerce education company over at SmartMarketer.

Ezra also recently spoke at my conference over at SellerSummit.com about Facebook Chatbots and as expected, his talk was very well received.

Today, Ezra and I are going to discuss the challenges he has faced this past year with Boom and how he overcame them.

What You’ll Learn

  • What recently happened at Boom that caused Ezra a lot of stress
  • How to stay sane running your business
  • What’s working in ecommerce today
  • Boom’s primary source of growth

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now, today I’m with my buddy Ezra Firestone from Smart marketers, Zipify and Boom, back on the show. And this time we’re going to talk about some of the struggles he’s recently had with his e-commerce brand and how he is overcome them. It is a great episode that you should listen straight to the end.

But before we begin I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Code Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of My overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife.

I also want to give a shout-out to 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

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 excited to have Ezra Firestone back on the show and in case you don’t know who he is Ezra runs a number of 7 and 8-figure e-commerce stores a Shopify SAS company called Zipify and an e-commerce education company over at Smartmarketer. Now, Ezra actually recently spoke in my conferences seller Summit about Facebook Chat Bots and as expected his talk was very well received but what’s funny is that Ezra and I have known each other for many years, but we’ve never really had an extended conversation. Until the speaker’s Mastermind for my event and after spending eight straight hours in a closed room with the guy. I started liking me even more and he is a wise man. Well beyond his years and he’s very personable as well. So today Ezra and I are going to talk about some of the challenges that he’s faced this past year with boom his e-commerce business and whatever else we plan on talking about today and with that welcome to show Ezra. How you doing today, man.

Ezra: My wife quit her job podcast. Hey man, super happy to be here and I just want to add to that that Hadn’t done one of those, you know speaker masterminds where you kind of get in you get together with a group of folks and you sit down for like you said, you know eight hours and you really just each person kind of goes through like what they’re struggling with and what’s going on and what they could use help with and it was like such a cool format. I’m really sold on that, you know going forward. I really liked it.

Steve: Yeah. I mean everyone was really open which I really loved and you know, one of the attendees there like she was tearing up and I think I feel like you know who I’m talking about, but I think we really helped her out a lot.

Ezra: Yeah. Yeah, we had a couple breakdowns man, there Was You know, I think when people get the space to actually kind of open up about what’s really going on. It can be cathartic and healing and it’s you know, there’s not a lot of safe spaces, especially in the business world where there’s so much sort of posturing was a cool thing you set up. So thanks for doing that.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, even I found that that you have problems too. It’s amazing.

Ezra: 99 problems. Yeah, no probs we all I mean listen, I think that what’s interesting about like the struggles is in general when you’re experiencing sort of pain or struggle or discomfort. I mean at the very same time usually some things are going well too and it seems to be this sort of like being able to hold at the same time. Both things that are going well and things that aren’t and and how you navigate that intensity over time seems to be how well you do at business because I could tell you for sure. There’s always something that’s like not doing that great in one of my Brands, you know or something that’s scary or shopify’s gonna you know kick out the replacement checkouts or whatever the catastrophe or chaos is at the moment. It seems to be constant, you know, and so I really do think it’s about how you react to it.

Steve: Absolutely. It’s actually comforting to know that other entrepreneurs are facing similar issues. It just makes you feel better.

Ezra: Yeah, totally totally

Steve: Ezra, last time you’re on the podcast was four years ago

Ezra: What? 4 years what four years ago?

Steve: You’re one of my first guess. I was just kind of looking back at the lisitngs.

Ezra: Wow. I’d like to go back and see what we talked about then that’s kind of fun.

Steve: When I have no I didn’t listen to it. I just looked it up, but I know during our Mastermind we covered a number of different things. But can you just quickly catch the audience of about all your various businesses real quick. It’s really hard to keep track because you got so many.

Ezra: Yeah, you know, well, I think one of my most fun and sort of most popular success stories is really happened in the last four years, you know, 2010 to 2014. I was attempting to launch this brand Boom by Cindy Joseph and using content marketing and all kinds of stuff and 2014 was our real like first multi six-figure year and then 2015. We did 10x went from 300,000 to three million and then 2016. We went from 3 million to 17 million and then 17 18 19 are have now all been in that, you know, 20 million-ish range. And so that’s been a really big ride and also is kind of like my team over the last four years has gone from when I would have done that podcast with you. I probably had 16 members and now I have a hundred and three so there’s been like a lot Of expansion and my journey as an entrepreneur in that time has been going from the driver to the Navigator and I think that a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in this sort of driver roll and It ultimately is what limits their growth where you know, if you’re on the road taking the turns you can’t be above the road looking at the mountains that are coming in the distance.

It’s very hard to both navigate and drive and where a lot of people get stuck. There’s a number of kind of sticking points that I’ve identified on my journey of growth in my company’s but one of them is technology right a lot of us do it yourself entrepreneurs who started from the ground with no money doing ourselves. We’re doing the Facebook in the klaviyo in the analytics and the Shopify like we’re really bogged down in the technological infrastructure of the business. So that’s one area that people get stuck and then one of the other lessons, I mean, I know this doesn’t directly answer your question, but now I’m off on a tangent is I think that so yeah a lot of stuffs been going on a lot of growth. I’ve got three main companies smart marketer. I do, you know blogging, educational courses on how to grow e-commerce businesses Zipify apps I build add-ons to Shopify stores that you know support you in your growth as a Shopify Merchant and then boom is a cosmetic retailer for women over 50, but what I was going to say was that one of the actually I totally lost my train of thought now, I’m sorry.

Steve: Ha ha ha ha

Ezra: I’ve no idea what

Steve: I was waiting for like the Revelation here.

Ezra: It was it was gonna be really good. Oh, I do remember now, which is you know, one of the things that everyone is so focused on is growth. Everybody wants to get bigger and grow and be it’s like there’s this sort of obsession with growth and I understand it on one level. But I also think that it’s a bit misguided and ultimately leads often to the demise of very good companies because you know with growth comes a whole lot of problems, you know, you have to fund more inventory. You’ve got more overhead. There’s more stress and pressure and intensity on you as the entrepreneur who’s the one who’s responsible for the whole operation and you know what I am trying to do. Is first and foremost enjoy my life and have fun and I want my team to enjoy their lives and have fun doing what they’re doing doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, but I want it to be enjoyable and you know, you don’t know how long you have which could lead into I know something you want to talk about a big traumatic experience. I had over the last 12 months, but you don’t know how long you have.

So if you’re not enjoying yourself making time for your hobbies making time for your social life making time for your relationships and intimate connections and you know, really enjoying and putting energy into your business in a sustainable way not 16 hours a day, then what’s the point and then I want to make really really good things that serve the world that are truly great products. And then third I want to be profitable and I frankly don’t care how big it gets and I don’t care how profitable I am. If I’m having a good time making good stuff and it’s making money and paying my team and paying my bills. I’m happy and I think that this fascination with growth is actually somewhat misguided and what you really should be looking at is how can I have a lot of fun make things that are truly good and then have that be profitable at any level is you’ve won the game, you know, a lot of people get really big and they’re Shackled to these operations that are slaving away at that make them miserable that took them away from their you know, it’s just like it can get out of hand.

Steve: I just came to this Revelation probably two years ago because trying to grow your company fast actually ruins marriages also. So my wife we were we’re setting these goals and we were stressing out over it because we weren’t hitting them and then we will get into fights over and over again. And so yeah, we kind of came to an agreement that we were just grow the company. Whatever happens happens grow gradually because fast growth really is painful. You’re right

Ezra: it is and it is.

Steve: And it’s much better since.

Ezra: like, sorry go ahead..

Steve: No, I was going to say the just our relations have been much better since we kind of came to that agreement regarding our e-commerce business.

Ezra: Yeah smart. I mean and it’s you know, it’s like there is this I call it Eternal vigilance, which is the skill set that I think is needed in order to run a business yourself that’s on the internet while where you are the entrepreneur who’s responsible for it. And also maintain a healthy balance between your outside life and your work because it’s available to you at all times. I like you go to the office and you leave the office and okay now that’s gone. Like no you’re the opportunity to continue the mental game of what can I do to improve my business is available to you at all times and if you’re not careful and you don’t actually set boundaries real clear boundaries and then show up to those on a daily basis the same way you have to show up to a diet or a workout program or a relationship then you’re gonna it’s just going to fill it’s going to be the backdrop of your entire life.

It’s going to fill every waking moment and a lot of people get caught in that trap and ultimately burn out or find themselves no longer interested because they just they treated it as a Sprint rather than a marathon. I think the ability to set work-life boundaries where it’s like okay from you know, 7:30 a.m. Or whenever I wake up to 10 a.m. I’m moving my body doing a meditation having breakfast with my family enjoying myself, whatever and then 10 a.m. I start work and then 5 p.m. I’m done and then at 5 p.m. I go on I engage in my social life and I do my hobbies. I spend time with my family. I set it down if you can’t pick it up and set it down deliberately and I’m not saying that there’s not times where you’re in launch mode and you’re just working for weeks at a time sure, but I just mean in general as a rule of thumb if you don’t have the ability to pick up and set down the operation in that way. It’s going to be very very hard for you over time is what I’ve learned.

Steve: But you can’t really do that effectively without a team. So when did you actually make that transition?

Ezra: Yeah, and I think I think you can set your energetic boundaries where you are creating space in your life for your personal life your social life your physical body things of that nature. I think you can do that. Even when you’re a solopreneur and my journey was I was basically a solopreneur where I was me doing it everything myself. I mean the whole thing and you know when you and I got started the game was American drop shippers and search engine optimization and like Yahoo stores, you know, there’s a little bit simpler of a game but That’s what it was, you know, and I played that myself from roundabout 2005 until I hired my first team member in 2009 to do customer support and then I basically still did everything myself and just had one team member all the way through 2012 when I sold that my Drop Shipping businesses

Steve: Was the wig bit company or something else?

Ezra: That was the wig bit Yeah. But yeah, then basically after in 2012 when I started blogging. And also selling services. I hired my cousin I said, hey man. Listen, I will pay you twelve bucks an hour to learn how to code and then once you know how to code I’ll pay you 20 bucks an hour and you can be a coder for me. And so as of 2012, I basically, you know from 2012 to 2014. I probably hired two or three people a year and then 2014 now, I’ve just kind of gone Buck Wild.

Steve: Yeah because you got your hands in a lot of pots so to speak so it would be impossible if you were doing the implementation right here.

Ezra: Yeah. I’m doing a lot of the Sort of ideation of reading the market and figuring out what’s going to be well-received of checking what people do and giving feedback. I don’t do a lot of actual and it’s are sometimes like what am I even doing around here? You know, but it’s just, you know, it’s important for someone to hold the container in the vision and you know be Crossing all the t’s and dotting the I sort of checking everything.

Steve: Yeah. So Switching gears a little bit. Can we talk about some of the challenges that you faced recently with boom in the last year’s of?

Ezra: Yeah. Yeah, I mean I Can get into that if you want so I could just go on a run unless you have a specific question.

Steve: Well, I’ll interrupt you. Why don’t you tell everyone what happened first in case they don’t know and then..

Ezra: Okay. Well the ultimate sort of hex that everyone has laid on them and Society is that you’re going to die one day and that sort of awareness of your impending death is, you know, something that causes midlife crisis. It’s something that is used to sell you every for everything under the sun, you know what I mean? Anti-age and health stuff and like it’s something that we all have to confront us human beings that one day. This ride is going to be over if we’re like everyone else or who knows what happens but but existence as we know it now may not be around and what I had happened to me just introducing that topic the idea of death and how scary that is my business partner who was also the Ambassador / face of my company on every product page every male was coming from her. I mean that whole thing sort of suddenly passed away. Really, abruptly on like, you know, we knew she was sick and then basically seven days later she was gone. And so..

Steve: I didn’t realize it was that quick.

Ezra: Yeah. Well what happened was she’d had one bout with cancer two years prior. So three years ago and she’d gotten really close to the door, you know, she’d gotten really close and then she made a full recovery and she was a hundred percent back. I mean fully and then generally when these things come back they don’t come back better. So we thought it was like totally Clear all good, and then boom we found out about a year ago to the day almost hey, this thing is back and then within 7 days, she had passed. So, you know, that was really traumatic for me on a mental emotional spiritual level in that. Cindy was very close friend of mine. She was like a groomsman in my wedding. You know, I moved to New York went or Grooms person Grooms woman. I moved to New York when I was 17 to play poker for a living after getting out of high school and I moved in with her and she kind of I lived with her for a few years before kind of going on my own in the city.

So she kind of like was a jumping step between teenage years too young adult years for me. And yeah, so we were like really really close friends. And so, you know, that was tough. She was a much like a second mother figure in a lot of ways for me and then also, you know just from the Practical side of it like sort of setting that down the Practical side of the business operations were rough to in that. I mean, she wasn’t very involved from an operational perspective I had been running the company forever and she actually hadn’t been on a video or audio for two years because when she first got sick we realized hey, you know, maybe it’s a bit be good to diversify the representation of our brand rather than it just being from one person’s voice make it about the experience of all women.

So we had actually started that process but there were things like the community of women who were our customers were very used to hearing from her or given that all of our emails were coming from her. She was doing all of the product demonstrations. All of our Facebook front-end ads were leading with her story and her doing product demos our team, which is 30 people or something at boom was very worried that we were going to go under or fire them. I mean it was just chaos. We had two very quick we had to announce her death, you know publicly because she was a public figure and it was starting to get picked up by news outlets and that proved to be an issue with you know, her family was just like it was an it was mad. It was the most intense period in my business career by pretty far long shot. And yeah.

Steve: Is that why you came to this revelation of having more fun with your business and not just focusing

Ezra: Yeah. I’ve always been in the you know, one of my mantras in life is fun as the goal and love is the way like, I think that that I’ve always been I think that success is a very popular but less fulfilling game than having fun, and I’m really into success and wealth creation and all this stuff that Society will tell you is the way to go but I’m not in it to the detriment of my pleasure in my life because you know, I have I was raised by a bunch of hippies. And so I kind of had that I grew up on a commune mindset that you know that we that you can only give from your own Surplus. And so if you want to be, you know, my tag line in business, it’s serve the world unselfishly and profit and if you want to be of service, which is my goal. I really do then you must first and foremost take care of yourself because you cannot pour from an empty cup.

So I’ve always had this goal of enjoying myself taking care of myself making That I am energetically sound that I can show up and give and so I’ve always kind of been on that path. And yeah, I mean that you know, when someone Close to You dies, it is very intense and you reassess everything like what am I doing? Why am I doing it? What is the point of all this like, you know, you really go through that intense sort of introspection about your behaviors and actions and what is motivating them. Are they motivated by ego. Are they motivated by the desire to please people are that like what am I? What am I? I actually doing here. So yeah, I went through all that man and and on the Practical side of it, you know the announcement of her death to our community the rewriting of all the email sequences the modifying of all of our front-end Facebook ads that the removing Cindy from all of our product.

I mean, it was like the reassuring my team that we weren’t going to go under you don’t mean the whole thing was was very emotionally draining and I felt that like, it’s now August she passed in July of last year and I feel like from July to like January was brioche and then the first three months of this year was like okay things are kind of like getting back to normal and then now like the last three months. I feel like I’ve fully like sort of digested as much as you can I mean morning is a whole thing and traumas of thing and who knows I’m not educated enough in the area of you know trauma to understand. I don’t know what lingering effects that stuff causes, but I feel pretty pretty sound, you know from it and we’re having our best year ever from

Steve: That’s what I’m going to say you had your best year ever and it continues to grow and I kind of I follow you and I know you’ve used Facebook ads Google ads email marketing all that stuff over the years and I was just kind of curious what has been your primary source of growth in the past year despite all this trauma.

Ezra: Well, I think the diversification of having our front-end lead sort of lead and customer generating strategies not being a hundred percent focused around Cindy has opened us up to be well received by perhaps women that maybe Weren’t resonating with her because now we lead with a variety of women. We’ve also discovered that there’s some reverse ageism in our Market where you know women in their 60s don’t want to have a woman in her 40s or 50s telling them about aging so we’ve kind of been able to mix up who is presenting on behalf of our company and that seems to have worked and also, you know through the process of reassessing every area of the company a product cost of goods advertising email strategy and you know, repeat so just we kind of went through every and one thing that I don’t know that I ever told you was you know before Cindy with the first time she got sick I went to her and I said Hey, listen, you know, like do you really want to be doing this? Like how you know, you got sick and you really almost died.

And so I just want to you know have the conversation of I mean, I know I do all the operations in the business, but like I want to have the conversation of like are you interested in continuing this ride or should we sell this company now because it’s worth a lot and you know, you could Be set for life and take care of your kids and all that and maybe it’s time to end this ride. Like, you know a death scare. As I said has you evaluate everything and she said, you know what so we got on board about that and we got really close. We got all the way through the process of due diligence a buyer the whole thing and the deal was about to happen and she passed away and then those people backed out and then I wasn’t thinking about selling the company after she passed. I was just trying to maintain stasis, but I also think that the process of going through and I would recommend the Quiet Light brokerage podcast your podcast e-commerce fuel podcast to listen to folks who’ve almost sold their businesses and hear the things that you do when you go through a due diligence process and sort of kick every Tire.

I think having done that exercise of hey, we’re going to sell this thing understanding all the things that affect valuation profitability things of that nature that I didn’t have a lot of attention on before even though I had sold the business and then having a year of operating after that. I think that also was a big factor in in why we’re growing but yeah, I mean our Facebook ads worked Extremely well, January February March, you know our we’ve introduced a bunch of new products, which has been really great. I think one of the keys to scale once you have a company that’s been around a while is to introduce three or four new products a year that you can cross sell to your past customers buyers and subscribers. So we feel like we’ve done a lot of stuff right.

Steve: Can we talk about like more specifically what your process of kind of re-evaluating all the different aspects of the business were?

Ezra: yeah, I mean, so when you’re looking at selling okay a company there’s a Number of factors that go into the valuation that you’ll receive one of them is repeat business, right? So what’s your return rate? So if your return rate is, you know fifty percent instead of thirty percent or 20 percent you’ll end up with a higher valuation. One of them is profitability. So how much profit do you actually generate your multiple will usually be a percentage of profit and you know, one of them is diversification of visibility and customer Source like we did a bunch of things. We renegotiated with all of our suppliers we switch suppliers. Fires in certain cases, we changed out our packaging like we did things to ensure to increased our margins on the products that we were selling. We raised our prices and we ran a price raise sale, which was the best thing we’ve ever done made half a million dollars in two days just by telling our community.

Hey, our prices are going up by 10% in a week and you combine at the current prices now with a 10% discount, but we got you know, we haven’t Ever Raised our prices and as the company gets bigger things like, you know inventory and salary and our costs rise, and so we have to raise our prices. So we raised our prices and We did things to increase our margins.

Steve: How did you know how much to raise the price and how did you know that you weren’t at like some limit in terms of just pricing.

Ezra: So we split so on are two front and offers. So I only have two things that people buy from me when they find me for the first time. Then those are my cosmetic sticks. They come to me for that a lot easier to sell than it is to sell like skincare for example, because everyone has skin care but the skincare is the back end right the what we sell the people already know as so the two items that are the front end offers. We split tested the changes in pricing from a low change immediately. I am changed to a very drastic High change and ultimately raising the front end price of our products by $10 would have ended up increasing the profit the most significantly but it was cutting down too much on customers that were coming in the door and we have a goal of not only profitability but also a big footprint because one of the other things that affects your valuation is literally how big your audience is and how much revenue you generate.

Not just how much profit you make so all three price tests one against are control and we went with the medium raised on the front end the back end products, which is are all 14 other of our skin care products. We just raised by a flat ten percent across the board and we didn’t even test it and it’s been fine because those people already know us like us engage with our content and our going to buy from us because they like us not because their price sensitive and so we kind of were in the medium end of the market in terms of what we were charging and now we’re more at the higher end of the market and so front end products that are for customer acquisition. I would recommend that you split test that but your back end cross sells you can usually get away with 5 or 10% without much of a problem.

Steve: interesting. I actually didn’t even know that about your business. So you have this like one lead in product that just opened

Ezra: we have to lead in products and it’s like my whole shtick is simplify your makeup routine, you know color Cosmetics. It’s like it’s make Cosmetics or what gets people’s attention and then everything else I sell is basically a back-end upsell cross-sell and a lot of businesses are that way where they’ve kind of got like one flat especially businesses that are driven by Response and if you’re an Amazon brand sure you got a million products you sell but and if you’re a Google if you’re if you’re driven by direct response, but it’s search traffic. You generally have a whole bunch of products you sell because you got a bunch of different queries. But if you’re driven by story-based direct response where you’re telling a story engaging a subscriber in a conversation and then offering them something you usually have one or two products that are the real like 85 90 percent of what you sell on the front end and then everything else tends to be a back-end upsell cross-sell the people who came in from one of those funnels and heard about you and You know pretty much every business that I’ve evaluated that is the same kind of business has a similar story to that.

Steve: So in terms of increasing your repeat business, what did that involve specifically?

Ezra: It involved running more sale event. So we now do six a year it involved introducing more products. So we’ve kind of ramped up the product launches work. I mean there’s a reason Apple does them there’s a reason Amazon does that there’s a reason that people do them? We started building anticipation rather than just we used to just say hey, we got a new product here. It is now we spend two weeks saying Hey, this product is coming building up excitement for it do an ads and emails talking about what it’s going to be and then we release it and we’ve literally doubled the effectiveness of our product launches just by adding a two-week anticipation funnel on the front end of the product launch, which I share that on the Zipify blog in the smart marketer blog how we do that but I mean excitement works if someone’s paying attention to you and there’s an opportunity for them to follow along and get excited about something and sign up for it and then get a few emails saying it’s coming.

I mean, they’re much more likely to convert. Then he we introduced a new you know, moisturizer that helps for after you’ve been in the sun. I mean that’s nowhere near as compelling as giving the opportunity for someone to be excited.

Steve: So in terms of getting people excited in terms of just running Facebook ads are these just awareness ads or are they are you trying to get an email add or something?

Ezra: Yes, it’s for product launches their 95% people who have either been on our email list or bought for us from us in the past. We still we do run lead gen on our product launches to build anticipation for them to cold as well. But But it doesn’t really convert that. Well, so really our product launches are about monetizing the community that we have and then for Facebook lead gen. We’re still leading with our Flagship products and our customer acquisition Facebook customer acquisition and you know, we’re constantly changing up our video formulas and testing different articles and doing everything we can to, you know, reduce our customer acquisition costs for sure, but you asked specifically about you know, repeat business and one of the main things done for that in addition to you know, improving our And marketing significantly.

I mean we release for posts a week. We’ve got two writers on staff. We’ve really invest about a million dollars a year in non branded content marketing that’s designed to engage my community and I think once you get bigger and you have a front end customer acquisition funnel that is bringing you customers the game of keeping those folks engaged through content that they’re enjoying and being entertained by is a big part of scale.

Steve: If you sell an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show.

Let’s talk about content marketing a little bit. Are you writing primarily to tell a story or you writing for the intention of ranking in search?

Ezra: we do know nothing is with the goal of search engine optimization. Not a single thing is with the goal of ranking. I mean, yes, we Rank and we get organic traffic and we do put you know meta title tags and meta descriptions and maybe an H1 but there’s no key word for thought before we create our content or content is all you know eight skin care tips for aging skin. Or how I overcame perfectionism or my battle with anorexia and what I did about it experiences that the women in our community are having we’re talking about them, you know, women are going through their hair graying their skin wrinkling their hormones changing through menopause their skin changing all this kind of stuff dating after a divorce is a big one for women who are in their 50s. I mean, there’s a lot of experiences that they’re having that we can talk about and we’re doing that in a number of ways.

We’re writing articles. We’ve got a new ambassador program where we’re allowing our customers to create videos about our products and also about their makeup routines and so we’ve got a bunch of different pillars that we talk about sustainability is a big one. You know, how we are sustainable why we’re sustainable what we do in that direction. We have these sort of content pillars that we create regular content within a given sort of framework, you know tips lifestyle stuff Ambassador stuff sustainability stuff. You can go to the Boom by Cindy Joseph blog and which will which will about next week be on zip if I Pages might landing page builder for shop We just released blogging and we’re switching it over. We currently have a WordPress implementation for our blog but managing both WordPress and Shopify in the cross-domain tracking and lack of S It’s just a nightmare.

So we built this really sweet blog integration on Zipify pages and we’ve moved the boom blog over there. It’s about to go live and pray excited about it. But yeah, so that’s kind of like what we do for Content.

Steve: So what’s funny about that is when you writing articles, I guess that without the intention of ranking in search a lot of times those articles kind of get buried deep within the blog. Ali right. So are you doing a lot of things you do that content back to people or?

Ezra: we do re-mail on it? We re-mail, you know, any article we track what articles and videos perform the best in terms of click-through rate engagement and purchase rate because people buy from these things to even though they don’t aren’t going to content or aren’t going to products you can get to the our products once you get to our blog. So it’s a big part of how we monetize is keeping this content coming and anything that works any good article if it’s a really good one will turn it into a front-end pre-sell article and run it to to Nuke new subscribers and Prospects. So we will use our current list to determine what is the best content and then we’ll take that and we’ll run that top of funnel. We will re mail on our best post will put them our best ones in our email automation sequences. But a lot of our stuff just gets buried on the blog and is never used again that does happen a lot.

Steve: interesting. So a lot of this really is just building a community word of mouth and social is probably your primary strategy mainly because you’re in the cosmetics Business, I would say right?

Ezra: Yeah, I mean we amplify that content. So any content at our blogs and videos and articles our Facebook fans will see it our subscribers will see it will amplify it on Google. So we’re paying to push that content out once it’s out there running ads to it. We’re also emailing our list and the idea is, you know, people get 150 emails a day. So we send we send three or four content emails a week and that generates 40 Grand a week in revenue for us. Those aren’t sale emails and then every four to six weeks will either introduce a product or run our side. We will introduce product four times a year three or four times a year, but every six weeks or so, there’s either a product launch or a sale or something like that where we have a big monetization of our community. So the content is responsible for it.

Definitely ROIs at a very very solid number based on how much money we spend to produce it and amplify it and how well it has our see what happens is your sales work better, right? If you’re keeping your community engage if they’re seeing content from your and in their news feeds and on Facebook and on Google and on YouTube on the Display Network, then when you run a sale and they see sale ads, they’re much more likely to engage with them. So our sales work way better because we have this content strategy.

Steve: I’ve heard you and Mollie Pittman give a number of webinars about Facebook ads and how advertising is just getting a lot more expensive. What are some of the trends that you’ve been seeing and have you countered them some of the negative Trends I should say.

Ezra: I mean since we’ve been online Steve, I think advertising costs have gone up on average 15% year over year.

Steve: Oh yeah actually more than that for me in some cases. Yeah.

Ezra: Yeah. Yeah, me too. You know, I don’t think it’s going to change and you know, I think that there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do and I think one of the biggest opportunities is short form video content. So sub 15-second video ads on Instagram stories Facebook mid-roll videos Facebook. I think if you’re not doing short form in addition to whatever normal video ads you might be running then you are definitely missing out on the cheap inventory at the moment because that’s where all the cheap inventory is. Of course you also have Have the longer form videos and what most people aren’t doing is also mixing an image ads GIF animation ads and Carousel ads because you know Facebook is only going to show a user a video ad a few times. It’ll show it but it’ll show that same user if you’re targeting. Let’s say a look-alike of your buyers or something or even just you know, people who are fans of Ezra Firestone digital marketer, whatever, you know.

I mean, if you’re targeting any group of people and you have multiple types of Creative Images videos GIFs short form Inform carousels that Prospect in that targeting group will see more ads from you because you have more diverse sort of AD creative that Facebook is willing to show them in addition to that. Most people only run conversion focused ads designed to generate either add to cart events purchase events or even email leads. If you’re only ever running conversion ads again, Facebook’s only going to show a certain amount of conversion adds to every Prospect if you also have 10 percent of your budget in brand awareness in you know, dynamic product ad or Catalog sales in messenger where you’re clicking the messenger, like if you were using different objectives within the platform even at a small percentage of your budget, you’ll reach way more people in your audience because those objectives have a much lower cost per thousand people (CPM) cost per impression.

So even though you’re spending less of your budget on these other objectives, you’re actually reaching way more people than you would if you were just using only conversion focused ads.

Steve: Let me ask you this. I mean your team is like over a hundred people now and this

Ezra: across Three different companies and fair. Yeah, so, you know, it sounds really fancy, but I want to just give transparency into that which is 40 of those hundred people are on the development team for Zipify So that’s a big chunk of folks and we rather developed, you know whole and that is my only physical location all developers are in one place and then you know, let’s say 20 on boom and then you know two essential it’s almost like 20 boom 30 Zipify 10 or 15 smart marketers kind of like, you know, Mixed up in that way.

Steve: I was just going to say to create the number of creatives necessary to do all this testing on Facebook Instagram short stories and what not. It kind of requires a lot of effort on your part. So if you don’t have a large team, what would you what would be recommendations for kind of like a more bare-bones approach?

Ezra: Yeah, and I don’t I mean I think that’s another kind of limiting belief, you know with Boom. For example, we have like five videos that we’ve been running for the last like two years. I mean, yes, we mix them up and edit them in different ways. You don’t actually need a lot of creative. You just need good creative. And so one video editor or one graphic designer is actually plenty and you can freelance that you know, you can hire a freelance video editor and you can shoot videos on your iPhone or you can hire a freelance designer and make GIFs and images and basically you can run the same thing for months and months and months until it stops working or if you’re spending a lot of money. Yeah, then you got to refresh your ads quite often, but if you’re spending less than Or 500 bucks a day. You don’t need to refresh your ads that often. I mean Zipify for example, you’re probably seeing the same Zipify ads that were running for months ago running now because I’m only spending see, you know, 50 bucks a day or something amplifying Zipify.

So you don’t need actually that much creative. It’s more about quality creative that’s going to engage the particular audience. And yeah, you got a test that so when you’re first launching you might need to try three or four different videos by different videos a couple different images, but but you only need one. Team member in that role to support that so for Zipify only have one designer for boom. I only have one designer. Although I also have a video editor at smart marketer. I also have a designer and a video editor. So I have two but you could freelance those roles. You could buy you could buy that on an as-needed basis through you know service providers.

Steve: This is actually a question. This is kind of a different type of question. But I’ve always wondered how Zipify kind of falls into your overall strategy. Is it just because you were doing all these these things with Zipify with boom like the function out the equivalent functionality that you decide to create this SAS company?

Ezra: So I yeah, I believe in permaculture as a business model and permaculture is a farming term and it what it means essentially is to reuse all of your resources to their greatest benefit capture the rainwater water the garden take the chicken shit use it for the compost like take all your food scraps and use those for the composite use use everything that you can to further your goal and a lot of people think that they need stuff outside of what they already have but they just haven’t taken inventory of the assets that are actually around them. And so this is a rule that I live my life by instead of looking outside of what I already have access to let me look at what I have access to and how I can better utilize that and if you look at my business model, it’s very permaculture. Take a look at this. It’s like, okay, I innovate in the direction of e-commerce first and foremost with boom and any other e-commerce business I’ve had over the years then I take whatever works.

And I document that and I share that on my blog with smart marketer and I offer that to business owners and I create courses that are in depth and I sell that and then I take the money from those courses and I put it back into the e-commerce business and then I was also back since I mean 2011-2012 doing development services. I was building websites for people on Magento OS Commerce x-cart prestashop. I understand the e-commerce customer journey and also the technology that powers the From the early days of before Shopify Bigcommerce and Volusion where the big three from, you know, the Magento days the Yahoo store days, the xcaret days the prestashop days the you know, I’ve been in this industry and I’ve also had a mind for development now granted. I’m not the greatest developer myself, but I know how everything talks to. I know how every piece of technology talks to every other piece of technology to create the customer buying journey, and I’ve always sold Services I had An AdWords Services Agency from 2008 to 2012.

I had a Shopify and sort of every other platform development agency from 2011 to 2015 and with Services I failed miserably I mean it may be my worst ever business venture. I had a real hard time in my life setting boundaries in general and at that spilled over into my Services Agency and I think I sold three or four million dollars in services and made like 30 Grand in profit, maybe because like what would is I’d sell someone a website and then and then I they’d come back and say hey, can you do this and I’d be like sure and I go back to my developers. Hey, man, we need to do this, you know, and and basically I just never figured out how to really set a container around a sale. So I was just like doing stuff for people like forever because I didn’t yeah, I didn’t quite have a command of boundaries which is something I had to learn and that’s something that served me well since I have picked up on how to do that in a way that feels good to the person.

I’m setting the boundary with but so I’ve always done development and sold development and I only stopped because I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. But I always thought it was a good business and thought I could do well in it, but I didn’t love so much talking to people or being the person. Yeah, I’m a comic. I’m a charismatic hermit man. I want to be like in my cave making stuff and then come out to your event for two days and then go back to the top of the mountain where I get to be alone and make things. I mean does I’m not like the best service provider because I don’t want to talk to the client but what I discovered so I was take a look at the By ecosystem and I actually in 2014. I created a WordPress plugin for Amazon business owners maybe it was 2013 that allowed you to do the one-time giveaway coupons where you could give a product away for a dollar and give them a coupon.

And this and that that was kind of the strategy for ranking on Amazon back then and so this this WordPress plugin allowed you to collect an email address give them a one-time Amazon coupon follow up with them build a landing page is pretty sweet little plug-in called booster page and I think I spent like 30 grand to make it and about 380,000 in revenue on it. So it was extremely profitable and it was a monthly subscription. Of course. I had to keep it up to date but the update of the development, you know was not that much and so basically I was like, oh, so the way that you make development work is you don’t sell a one-time fee you sell a subscription you software-as-a-service and so once I figured out the software as a service model, I’d always had the goal of when it you know, I want to get back in the development game and I want to do it as a product rather than you are buying me.

My time in my Consulting you are buying this product that I’ve created that is essentially thousands of lines of code that create an experience for you when you log into it and do things to help you but you’re not buying Ezra you’re buying this individual product that you pay for on a monthly basis. So I like the idea of recurring revenue of selling development. And yeah, I mean, I am developing things for my sight all the time and anything that works. I roll into my landing page builder. I roll into my upsell Builder. So essentially it’s a permaculture all over again. Because I’m taking what’s working for me and my students in my Mastermind and I’m developing that into the application and open sourcing that for my customers who can buy that on a monthly subscription. But what I underestimated was how difficult that business model is as Far and Away the most difficult business. I have ever been involved in by a factor of 15 or something

Steve: It’s very resource-intensive too, right?

Ezra: It’s so hard. It’s like so so hard, but it’s really fun. It’s kind of a never-ending spy role of Integrations and Madness and Shopify changes something and just like it’s crazy and the product is amorphous. It’s like with boom. I’m selling a tub with goo in it. And when I when I scale, it’s like more tubs more goop more labels and ship them. I mean, it’s really great goo and it’s amazingly well made and all its really wonderful product, but it’s very simple Zipify is like a code base that’s always changing and so like I don’t need just a manufacturer and then someone to ship it but I need and Engineers, back-end Engineers QAs project manager. I mean, it’s crazy the product side of it is very very difficult

Steve: How do you actually allocate your time between your three businesses?

Ezra:You know I kind of do what is needed when it’s needed. I mean, it doesn’t give you a good answer but each business has a project manager who is responsible for all ongoing operations who you could label essentially a COO and then I have a president who kind of swings across all companies and is sort of like dipping in to the key projects when needed and he’s really great. And so, you know, I might spend a week or two working only on Boom than a week or two and working only on Smart marketer. I might have a week where I You you know all of them in the same day. So it’s just kind of like as needed. But each of the companies at this point has very strong leadership and a very clear and cohesive Direction and ongoing operations. And so we’re no longer.

None of them are any longer in the startup phase where it’s like, we don’t really know what we’re doing. It’s all chaos. It’s like every one of them has consistent ongoing clear operations and objectives and team members and you know with smart marketer. I had a big change because I was both with the lead educator and also the lead kind of person who was doing strategy and content and all this stuff and I found that as boom scaled and a Zipify scaled. I was no longer having time and energy to keep the courses up-to-date and so with smart marketer, I’ve kind of transitioned to the main thing that we sell are the main thing people want to buy from us is training on paid advertising and I’m really good at teaching that because I’ve been doing it for a long time.

But Mollie Pittman is also really good if not, better at teaching that and so she’s now come on board to be the lead advertising educator which is kind of freed me up and I’ve got Colleen Taylor teaching a course for me Brett Curry teaching a course for me. So now with smart marketer, I’m no longer the one responsible for the courses, even though here and there I will do a course and I really like it but it’s more like I am the guy who’s out there speaking on stages and generating awareness because I can do that better than anyone else getting people to know about us and then the monetization or the product side of it is done by other folks, which is kind of cool.

Steve: Okay. Yeah that makes total sense man. Ez, I want to be respectful of your time here. We’ve been chatting for like 45 minutes where can people find you where can people check out your products and see for themselves what you’ve been up to.

Ezra: I got a little sidetracked there because I was going to go on another tangent about something but

Steve: Yeah go on the tangent go for it, man.

Ezra: Well, just you know was going to say that I think what you do is super cool, you know, you do this podcast and you also run a bit like we have very similar businesses and I think that this that in today’s world anyone who wants to do something and then talk about what they’re doing and share that and share tips has this opportunity to be an influencer. I mean maybe a micro influencer, but an influencer to a group of people who are sharing a collective experience who are interested in getting better at that experience over time. And I think that there’s a lot of rewarding things that are available when you build a community around a given topic like not only can you monetize that Community by selling products, but like then you make friends with people in that community and like it’s just A super cool thing to do and I just wanted to like anyone who’s listening to this who maybe has considered the potential of putting themselves out there and starting an Instagram handle or a YouTube channel.

Like I could not recommend it more highly and and you know, you’re talking from someone who’s pretty much introverted even though that is not my public Persona and I’m really good at turning it on on stage and being my authentic self and sharing that but like in general in my life. I’m not like if I get into a big room of people at a party like I don’t I don’t know how to handle that situation super well and I like Smaller groups. So I just think you know that this opportunity is available to anyone.

Steve: I can definitely agree with that. Nothing ever bad has ever happened from creating content.

Ezra: Yeah

Steve: only good things can happen.

Ezra: Totally

Steve: as long as you do it on a consistent basis.

Ezra: Yeah, consistency is the key so you can reach me @EzraFirestone on Instagram. That seems to be the hottest place right now I can tell because it used to be when I spoke at events. I would get Facebook likes, you know a couple hundred Facebook likes. I don’t mention my I don’t say go follow me, but I would just watch. Watch and then like couple years ago. It was like all of a sudden I was getting followers on Twitter and now every event I literally get no Facebook followers. No Twitter followers, but I’ll get hundreds of Instagram followers. So it seems an Instagram is like coming to go to platform at the moment. So you can find me at @EzraFirestone on Instagram, or you can go to my blog smartmarketer.com or if you’re a Shopify person. You can go to the Shopify App Store and type in Zipify, Z-I-P-I-F-Y

Steve: you know, it’s funny Ezra, we are very similar and what we Do and SAS is missing from my portfolio and actually was thinking about doing SAS company for a long time. But just after talking with you and a bunch of other people like my kids are my primary priority and it seems like it’s all consuming.

Ezra: It’s in the first year year to 18 months. It’s a very big cycle but I will tell you, you know, one of the ways to look at this Steve from one of the things I’m looking at and I think this is the last run I will go on but I think it’s really important. I think the game that we are playing is a resource generation, and I think that You know, a lot of people will say what are we doing? Well, we’re optimizing our businesses so that they’re more profitable and perform better over time, but it’s like yeah, but for what to generate as much resources we can in the time that we have to work and then to use that resource towards causes that we find Noble taking care of our family supporting our community serving the world and taking care of the world. And when we look at what are the most effective ways to generate resource, I’m looking at most people look only 3 to 6 to 9 months ahead. I’m looking at I think you need to look further. I’ve got 20 years left at this pace. 32 I’ll be 33 in a couple months.

I’m not going to be working at this pace much later than my early 50s and I’m going to be slowing way down. I think so. Okay. I got 20 years, right and I have some high Revenue goals and profitability goals and wealth creation goals because I have a lot of you know direct people in my family of where I was raised. I got 60 hippies to support, you know, I got a lot of people I’d like to take care of a lot of things I want to do in the world that require large amounts of resource, so As I understand it and have looked at the game of wealth creation its you know, cash flow businesses do not will not get you there. If the goal is massive amounts of wealth creation, which is a fun goal to have if you’re going to play the game why not have that goal. So what gets you there is asset liquidation. So the monetization of assets that you own and have equity in and then the deployment of that Capital into the market to acquire other assets.

Let them appreciate and then That was in the most common way to do this in the you know 70s through today has been through real estate right take your money by an asset level appreciate sell it but I think that you know, the way that I am playing this game is to either purchase operate and grow businesses and then liquidate them or build operate and grow businesses and then liquidate them and then use that money to deploy in the marketplace. And when I looked at smart marketer, smart marketer is a cash flow business, you could never sell it. It’s built around my Persona. So what was a way that I could create an Asset from this community that I have gathered around my Persona who I am serving. Well Zipify could be sold one day Zipify is an asset in the beauty of a SAS business is the multiple that you will receive on the SAS business is even higher than the multiple you receive on an e-commerce business because SAS businesses are generally valued for a multiple of Revenue.

Whereas e-commerce business are generally valued for multiple profit. So I do think at some point if you have the community and the desire and the skill set and the you know, It’s not a bad experiment because it would result in a very valuable asset. Even if it’s very small. I mean, let’s say you built up a small little app that wasn’t super complex. You only needed a couple Developers for and it only made a hundred grand a year. I mean that could end up being worth between 500,000 and a million dollars free and clear liquid in your pocket. If you ever were to monetize that asset which is a huge sum of money in liquid cash. So especially considering even if you have a million dollars in liquid cash you can put a hundred or two hundred of that thousand down towards the acquisition of an asset and take a loan. I mean affords you opportunity that not having large sums of money doesn’t afford you. I know you already know all this but I’m just saying it for the audience.

Steve: and this is just something like our mutual buddy Drew Senaki does all the time

Ezra: exactly, exactly. So anyways, I think you should do it. Maybe someday.

Steve: Thanks. We’ll catch up at the many check conference you go do a hangout with you.

Ezra: Yeah looking forward to it. Hey, man, thanks for having me on the show. I really appreciate it.

Steve: Thanks a lot for coming on. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, even though Ezra is super successful. We all go through rough patches with our business and the key to success is to just buckle down and find a way to move on. For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode279.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

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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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

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278: Pat Flynn On How To Create Superfans For Your Ecommerce Brand

278: Pat Flynn On How To Create Superfans For Your Brand

Today I have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show. And this particular interview is special to me because it’s about a topic that I’ve been personally working on in the past year and it’s one of the reasons why I’m opening my life up more on Instagram. If you aren’t following me yet on IG, I can be found at @mywifequit

In this episode, we’ll talk about how to apply some of the concepts of Pat’s new book in helping you build superfans for your physical products business.

What You’ll Learn

  • What is a super fan?
  • The key elements to creating super fans
  • How to build super fans for your physical product
  • The exact strategies Pat is using to build super fans for the Switchpod

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show and this particular interview is special to me because it is about a topic that I’ve been personally working on in the past year and it’s actually one of the reasons why I’m opening my life up more on Instagram. So if you aren’t following me yet on IG, I can be found on instagram.com/mywifequit.

But before we begin I want to give a shout-out to 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.

I also want to give a quick shout-out to Klaviyo who’s also a sponsor the show Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce. Your email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of my sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for bumblebee Linens now klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner Klaviyo created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics. More personalized marketing especially in time for the holiday season. So visit Klaviyo.com/mywife to get Klaviyo holiday planning guard. Remember that Klaviyo.com/mywife. Now on to the show.

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 am thrilled to have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show. Now, I’ve had Pat on the show twice before we talked about different ways to make money online and how to validate a business idea before you begin. Now, if you know Pat he is always has something Cookin and recently he held his first ever conference FlynnCon, which I heard was a huge success and he just released a brand new book that teaches others what he does better than most people I know. And that is to create superfans. Welcome back to show Pat. How you doing today, man?

Pat: I’m doing excellent man excited to chat and be back in front of your audience. Thank you for having me.

Steve: Yeah. So the last time we caught up was at the Warriors Finals game was

Pat: was

Steve: Was, it was fun. Unfortunately the outcome is..

Pat: It was fun and disappointing.

Steve: Yes, yes. But that was your first Finals game, right?

Pat: It was my first NBA game bro.

Steve: Wow. Okay.

Pat: Dude, Thank you for that. That was super fun. Just and it took me back to college when I into every game for Cal and I probably even saw you on the other side and didn’t even know it when we’re playing Stanford. But yeah, it took me back to those days and was it was super fun. It was like kind of cool that Cal grad and a Stanford grad where they’re together.

Steve: Yeah. We were like rooting for the same team and everything.

Pat: Yeah. That was very weird.

Steve: So Pat knowing you you’ve started a bunch of new products since then, but specifically I want to know how the switch pod is doing. I can’t wait to get my hands on mine.

Pat: Yes. It’s going to be shipped out very soon. And so for those of you who might remember me from days. When I was on the show and you know, I was only doing internet marketing related things online entrepreneurship and this past year my videographer and I we went to an event called vid Summit. And actually this was in 2017 when my videographer and I were there because we wanted to learn more about YouTube and how to do video better and it was funny because we were standing in the foyer and everybody had those gorillas pods. They’re like these bendable tripods. They all had their cameras on them and they were like doing selfie videos with them and walking around with them and then we would just notice that they were like struggling a lot to pack them away in their bag and open them and close them and put it down on the table and pick it back up and I was just like whoa, this is so funny how everybody’s using this thing that wasn’t made to do that.

It was made to wrap around trees and do videography at home not to like walk around with just videographers turned it into that and we’re just like there’s got to be a better solution for this and we did some research and found out that there was none which is why nobody had anything else and so right at that moment a good friend of ours Richie Norton who has a company called Prouduct came by and we’re just like hey Richie and Richie and his company he is a great team there. They take these physical product ideas that entrepreneurs have and will help you create them and we’re just like dude. What do you think of this idea for like a tripod that was built specifically for vloggers and people who walk around with their cameras and just need to make it easier and quicker. What do you think and he was like, let’s do it and we’re like like actually do it do it.

And you know, how many times how many times do we walk around were like? Oh I have this great idea and then we just kind of Let It Go and we’re just like, oh we’re you know part of me was like a like, okay, but we’ve never done a physical product before I wouldn’t even know where to begin or we’re not Qualified to do this or who are we to create something like this and compete against, you know, Joe being the gorilla pod, which is sold like 10 million of them since it came out. And Richie was just like dude will help you with that. We know manufacturers. We have an engineer and a designer. And as long as you tell us what you want to happen, we can make it happen. And so we were like, okay. Well, we’re here we’re in front of our target audience. Like what should we do? And he’s like just talk to people talk to people about what they like and dislike about that thing and just share your ideas and just get feedback and we’re like no we kind of want to want to hold us this ideas secret, right?

But then I remembered what we talked about the last time we were together in when we were talking about my book. Will it Fly which is like no, you gotta tell people your idea because you can get immediate validation or just understand whether or not this is even something you should continue moving forward with. And every single person we started talking to who we saw holding those things. We were just like hey, what do you think of that and like, yeah, it’s okay. It’s a little bit. It’s not really meant for this and we’re like What if there was a product I did this which was idea to have like the tripod legs fold together to create a really nice comfortable grip and then it immediately just kind of switches and opens up again and they’re like, oh man, if you created that I’d buy like 10 of them right now and everybody said that we’re just like, okay green light. Let’s move to the next space.

The next phase was to literally cut out like the shape and cardboard and just to kind of have that shape and hold it up and experiment with it and we cut out I know dozens of different shapes that we thought would fit and we measured what people were using with the gorilla pod. And eventually we came to a product design that we then sent to the product team and they gave us back a 3D printed version. And that was the that was the first coolest thing and Like whoa, this this physical product space, which I know you’re involved with a lot of your audiences like you don’t get this kind of feeling with creating an online course or even coaching people. It’s like a physical thing you’re holding and this thing was like breaking and it but it was the right shape and it kind of opened and closed like we wanted it to and immediately we saw okay, it’s, you know, we need to change it a little bit and this wasn’t working. Let’s change this, but that’s how we started and eventually fast forward two years later.

Eventually, we launched this product in February of 2019 after 14 different prototypes eventually a metal aluminum one and a lot of conversations. We went to a lot of conferences with our prototypes to have people break it tell us what they like what they didn’t like what they would pay for etcetera. We launched it on Kickstarter in February of 2019 and we raised about a half million dollars.

Steve: I think I got funded in like a day or something, right?

Pat: Yeah. I mean we are funny goal as a hundred thousand

Steve: Okay.

Pat: Which was like the minimum we needed to get the molds made and do all this stuff because this is a brand new product. We weren’t white labeling or getting anything wholesale and putting our brand on it. This was from scratch. And hundred thousand was what we needed and it was funded in 11 hours and 26 minutes.

Steve: Yup, Crazy crazy. Yeah, I’ve I was one of those backers.

Pat: Thank you.

Steve: I can’t wait because I’m actually going to be starting a YouTube channel pretty soon and I’m looking forward to having this in my hands.

Pat: Thanks, man. Thank you. Yeah, it’s been a wild ride. I mean, there’s number one the physical product space. Everything takes so much longer.

Steve: Yeah. Tell me about it.

Pat: Like you need patience and that’s something that I don’t have being in the online space and being used to just Netflix on demand and a Google searches under point zero zero zero zero five seconds, like I need everything quickly. So that was one thing I had to learn secondly, like every little change takes weeks off the production schedule like any little thing. So you have to be very very purposeful with any changes that you make to your physical product. You really have to understand that is that something you really want to do? Because if we do everything sort of ahead of this has to change our CAD drawings have to change our we need to get a 3D printed prototype and then we need to send that to the to the manufacturing plant to You know create a metal version. I mean, there’s just so much stuff in so much money involved and Caleb and I my partner and I we invested about 22,000 dollars of her own money Before we had

Steve: That’s not bad actually.

Pat: It wasn’t terrible and you know, we got we’re very happy to work with a company who was also supporting us proudact big shout-out to Richie and Jason T at that at that team, but that was all of our own money and then Kickstarter campaign happen and you know, it was just an incredible wild ride and Currently just the backers have been waiting patiently. I know you’ve been waiting and we are hopeful to get it in your hands by September October this year, which we promised it august-september, but there’s been already some things in the manufacturing plant changes Caleb was over there actually to see them come off the line and make sure they’re great and he made some changes while there and then of course now we also have the tariffs that were working with

Steve: Uh yes. That’s the bummer.

Pat: We build this things in China. So we have to pay an additional 25% to get the things shipped over and that’s coming from our own money. And the backers who helped us, but we’re moving forward it and it’s been really neat to see it also progressed into retail stores. It’s already available pre-order at B&H.

Steve: Oh sweet. I didn’t know that. Awesome

Pat: And it’s Adorama and that those I mean, we went to New York to do a little bit of press for this because it was getting it was gaining some momentum during the kickstarter campaign and we did some interviews there which was really fun. But then we also stopped at B&H to build a relationship with them and hopefully get it in the stores and it was just I don’t know if you know about B&H, know them very very much but they’re just a very eclectic company.

Steve: Hmm, okay.

Pat: They do things very differently and like we went into the boardroom and we had a meeting there just like asking us like what what’s your MAP? We’re like, what does that even mean like that? It was just like weird conversation and eventually we’re just like guys we’re just two entrepreneurs who created this from scratch. It’s on Kickstarter right now. Please help us help you and then they were like, okay educating us along the way but still it was just like wow we’re in A Whole New World here. It’s just been kind of incredible, but it’s exciting what this products has created in the community that it’s building around it and we’re using a lot of what we know from the online space specific for this physical product as we move forward.

Steve: And that incidentally is a great lead into what I want to focus today is talk on today. So you recently released a book called superfans, which I read last night great read time passed very quickly. And before you know it I was actually done with the book but you know first off just to give the audience some context. What is the book about and what inspired you to write it?

Pat: Yeah, well Superfans is about where I feel business should be I headed now and it’s funny because the book is not new quote, quote unquote new in terms of like brand new strategies. It’s actually bringing back old strategies the way old business used to be done. But back in today’s world and it was really inspired by Kevin Kelly a man who wrote an essay in 2007 called a thousand true fans, and he said if you have if you’re trying to build something or if you are an artist or creator of any kind, you don’t need a blockbuster hit to live an amazing life and have an amazing business. You just need a thousand true fans. A true fan is defined. Our SuperFan is defined as you know, if you’re musician, this is somebody who’s going to drive 10 hours to see your set. If you’re a product Creator. I mean, they’re they’re in line to buy that product before they even know what it is. Exactly.

If you’re throwing an event like like I did you’re having people come to San Diego without any knowledge of what even is going to go down there and I had 400 people come to San Diego literally with no information other than hey, I’m just holding an event like those are those are superfans are also the going to be the people who are ambassadors for your brand who are going to wave that flag super high and they’re going to defend you from trolls if needed and and these are just like the top level most important customers. There were customers those are true fans and he said Kevin Kelly said if you have a thousand of those and they’re paying you a hundred dollars a year for your craft your creative your product whatever and that’s on the low end a hundred dollars a year that’s less than $10 a month a hundred times a thousand a hundred thousand.

That’s your six-figure business right there. So if you focus on those true fans, you can build something amazing and the cool byproduct of that is if you build those thousand true fans your business will grow, too much even bigger than that because you have this team who’s sort of supports you who roots for you who feels like they belong to something. And I remember my first business some of you might remember was related to an architecture exam that I was helping people with and my first fan was related to that. Her name was Jackie. She sent me an email after a lot of communication helping her pass this exam and her buying my study guide. She at the end of her email after some just amazing words.

She said your biggest fan Jackie and I was like your biggest fan like I don’t understand like, how are you a fan of somebody who’s just on the internet who helped you pass an exam like that doesn’t make any sense to me. You’re a fan of like an athlete or an actor musician or something like that, but not a person who helps you pass an exam and I kind of just brush that aside, but I noticed that two months later that there were 25 customers that came from the same company as her because they all had the same email address at the end and what she had done. I apparently found this out later was apparently she had gone around and convinced every single person in the office to buy my guide and take the exam using my material and now she could have just shared her stuff with them.

But she convinced everybody to buy because she wanted to support me to that one person turned into that many sales and so in my business, I teach people to build for those Super Fan moments and the truth is a fan has not created the moment they find you you’re not a fan of the band and are buying VIP tickets and getting backstage. If you just hear a song for the first time. The song is the entry but then it’s the album and then the concert and then the VIP tickets and then all of a sudden you’re traveling hours just to see this band play. That’s what you can do with your business, too. And in the physical product space, I think there’s a lot of opportunities. I mean I buy a lot of products on Amazon specifically a lot and usually it’s just a transactional relationship and that’s it.

And I think we all have the capability to create super fans who will just continue to buy from us and beg us for more and that’s what I teach people how to do in super fans. Kevin Kelly was the more Theory this is the how to literally like a list of recipes and strategies that you can use and pick and choose from to build those fans and create that A community.

Steve: So first off I just want to say that getting 400 people to fly to San Diego for an event is no joke, especially if they don’t know what the agenda is because it’s not like buying a digital course. They actually have to book a hotel. They have to book their flight and all told they’re probably spending thousands of dollars just to come to your event. So that’s just a testament to the super fans that you have who are willing to do that. But what I want to do today is apply some of the concepts that you just described in helping the audience build super fans for switch pod. So your release switch pod from complete scratch. I consider you brand-new in the physical product space?

And if you didn’t have your spy audience, I kind of want to talk about you know, what would be your superfan strategy for switch pod or your physical product in general. Where would you start?

Pat: Yeah so yeah, where would I start? We’ll really we’ve already started right because the product itself addresses a very big problem that these specific people have. Vloggers people who are on YouTube and not the professional YouTuber YouTubers either it’s the ones who are on the go and they’re traveling and they’re always bringing their camera with them and they have a lot of these little pains and so we’ve already done a lot of the work in the research leading up to this product to understand number one the language that they use in the book. I have a chapter called

Steve: Know The Lyrics?

Pat: Know The Lyrics, right exactly and the story I had tell there is about my wife April who’s a huge Backstreet Boys fan and I did a lot of research on her history with them because she literally has a box in her closet with all this crap from the Backstreet Boys, like literally bobbleheads and frame pictures is just like kind of

Steve: I’m sure she doesn’t call em crap but yeah, go on

Pat: No no, but I do because I’m an NSYNC fan. So anyway, she talked about the first time. She was really triggered by this band was be it was because a song that she heard related directly to a big breakup that she had just gone through and the song that she heard was called Quit Playing Games With My Heart and every lyric in that song. Song was describing everything she was going through and that was like hurt her trigger moment with them. And so what I also recommend people to do and superfans is to really get in tune with who your audience is who your target market is and what their needs are but more than that like the language in the lyrics that they would use. And so we’ve already done that research in all the conversations we’ve had.

So what I would recommend for product owners out there is if you haven’t done this already, even if you already have a product and have done a little bit of research continue to have conversations with your people. Your customers and your soon-to-be customers, hopefully because then you can And empathize with them you can understand the specific words that they’re using related to those problems and all those words should end up in front of your potential customers in emails on subject lines of emails headlines on your website product sales Pages those kinds of things and for us what really happened was we took a lot of that language and we put it into our Kickstarter video in our Kickstarter campaign.

Steve: Can you give us examples?

Pat: Yeah, so some examples are easy to pack, right?

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And that counters what the other product didn’t do which is just terrible to pack so easy to packs so that you can go you can film quickly and like those kinds of things where words that came directly from the audience and for us it was like no this this tripod opens and closes really fast and that’s why it’s called The Switch pod, but we didn’t I mean we say that but we go deeper into how this will help you with your craft of filming YouTube videos so that you can create faster so that you can Capture Moments quicker those kinds of things.

Steve: Right

Pat: Just have a lighter mechanism to film with. So those are just some examples of lyrics that we use and if that’s not on your Amazon page if that’s not on your Shopify page those lyrics. Well, then you’re already losing money a great further read to kind of explore this would be Donald Miller Story brand building a story brand. That will help you even go further down into the language in the story that you’re creating because really what and what I love about what Don Miller says is he says that like your customer or your audience is the character in a story and they have a problem which is the villain and you are there as the guide you are not the hero your product is not the hero your product is the tool the person the customer is the hero and so one thing that relates that is a little bit further in the book is putting a spotlight on your customers and making them become the hero thus encouraging others to want to be that it like live that story too.

So what I love about podcasting for examples podcasting is a perfect platform to highlight stories and succcess case studies in your audience. And so I encourage everybody who has a platform to invite their customers on to invite their students on to talk about where they were, struggles that they went through but then how they got through that and of course through that you’re going to have the most natural authentic testimonials for your product because they’ve used your thing to help them to help them through that. So one thing that we’re going to plan to do once people finally get the switch pod in their hands is we’re going to run contest we’re going to encourage people to film with them and share with us and we’re going to do like monthly drawings.

Steve: Nice.

Pat: Or something for people who submitted videos using switch pod and highlight them. Hey, here’s Todd from Minnesota who took the switch pod on a fishing trip. Here’s some of the footage he had Todd well done. Here’s a shout out to him. And then you know switch pod tribe you guys are amazing or the switchers or whatever. That’s something that means that this goes to another strategy building a community and making people feel like they belong to something and it’s so funny because you’re like, oh it’s a physical product. Like how can you really make people feel like they belong to something but there’s classic examples in the online space of physical products who do this very well. One company I know is called Chubby’s, Chubby’s is a men’s clothing line, but their target market are like the weekend barbecuers, they go to the lake and they’re just having fun. So they have a lot of like short shorts for men and a lot of these fun little, you know, American Flag t-shirts with fun sayings and it’s just like it’s just clothes but they have the most raving fans. I’ve seen for a clothing line.

Steve: Interesting.

Pat: And one thing that they do is on their Instagram for example all their models. It’s customers. Like all the models they hire for their photo shoots and that they feature on Instagram are their customers they often will you know the courage people to use a hashtag and they I can’t remember the name, but they have like a hashtag. That’s like they’re that kind of describes their culture and and you know, they just kind of community and they will feature certain members of that Community whose use that hashtag. They’ll just repost that article or that excuse me picture on their own Instagram and give a shout out to that Community member and what is this do it encourages others to do the same thing you, see me? Mini Cooper do the same thing Mini Cooper does these contests where they do, you know how much stuff can you put in your Mini Cooper and then they use a hashtag.

And they have these contests where people are submitting videos of them using their Mini Cooper and stuffing like surfboards and all this other stuff in there to see who can stuff the most stuff. So this does a couple things it gets the community all excited together, but it also shows the all the people in the outside. Oh my gosh, like I didn’t know that we could fit all those things in there, which is really cool. So highlighting your customers and making them the hero of the story and using your platforms to do that. Is something we definitely recommend and that’s something that we’re definitely going to do with the switch pod. We’re already talking about that because what’s going to happen is people going to see this little device.

That’s a cool thing. That’s the advantage you have about a physical product people can see it and if they have the same problems and we’ve seen this already when we’ve gone to events and we’ve just showed it to people like there’s an immediate. Oh my gosh, like number one. Why didn’t I think of that and number two I need I need this now, right?

Steve: I think your product is actually very similar to GoPro right? GoPro actually had Bunch of people submit their crazy crazy videos of them doing like crazy stunts and that actually added to the Mystique of the of the brand over all

Pat: Right, and and you know, the advantage GoPro has is they are a huge company and they were they were creating some amazing Hardware to film with and it like you can’t get that anywhere else. I mean a person can have any kind of tripod and you wouldn’t even know so we would we would ask people to kind of showcase the switch pod and how they use it and it’s really cool when we get into people’s hands. They immediately know how to use it which is really nice. And then on top of that we would want to make people feel like they belong in a way where they can also get rewarded. So we’re going to have an affiliate program for our product as well or a lot of these creators who we know are also sharing their camera equipment. What’s in their bag, you know, that’s a very popular video on YouTube.

Hey, what’s in your bag? We would we would encourage people to become an affiliate and share the product to their audience of other videographers and just Their audience in general to hopefully encourage people to share this with each other. We’ve also reached out to of influencers to help them feel like they, you know are one of the first to get access to this and share it and be an affiliate as well and get rewarded to but yeah, I mean we’re basically ripping out every strategy and super fans and using it for this physical product. Another one is to you know, give the community a name, you know, it’s like when you hear Taylor Swift, right who’s huge right now, she just came out with a new album lover. I think it was called her swifties are just like like I saw one video of one of her Swifty’s which is the name of her tribe, like literally take the stand at Target that has the whole like the whole all all her albums in literally just take that whole stand and roll it into a checkout stand.

There’s like 50 albums on there and she just rolled the whole thing because she’s just a Super Fan. So what we would do is give our audience a name just like how you know Trekkies.

Steve: Peter’s is what team Flynn?

Pat: Team Flynn is for my community at SPI, but I think you know, we would call it the switchers or something like that people who use the switch by we’re also creating new products as well that have a similar sort of like quick switching kind of aspect to it. But giving our community a name would just be like hey, are you a switcher too? And it would make people feel like they can connect with each other. And the fun thing about this is a lot of videographers go to different conferences together and they see each other all the time. So this product would likely be seen everywhere and people who are both using it would likely have something to connect with because it’s just a very unique product in the space and something that people can immediately connect with and if we say like hey, here’s what’s up connect with each other switchers, you know Etc. to be kind of cool, you know, getting merch and stuff like that to have people help support the company too.

And it’s Funny because somebody who is in the video space came up to us at a conference and was like, Dude, I don’t know how you guys did it. But somehow you made a tripod cool and you made us like root for you and the addition to that is and this is something I talk about in the book is like opening your factory doors really showing people a process of how you do what you do and I think this is very important for all physical products and I know some physical products maybe you don’t want to share the secret sauce and how you do that but a lot of times and even Apple who has been known to keep things hidden in close as it has kind of came onboard with this to now you see in there Keynotes they take you inside the factory and show you all the little robots that put everything together people. We humans we just love to know how things work. Right?

This is why shows on Science Channel Discovery are you know decades running like how it’s made where you cut you it’s like this is how a tire is made.

Steve: I’ve noticed you posted those pictures on Instagram about like the factory floor all the boxes the switch pods and I think there’s a picture of Caleb like looking at one or packing one himself or something?

Pat: Yeah, actually he was putting one together at the factory and what this does is it makes you come along on the ride. So it makes you feel like you’re part of something. It makes you feel like you understand not just the quality that in the time that put into this product, but you’re getting inside look just like how we all go and Brewery tours or chocolate factory tours. It gives us a really cool memory and something that then we can share when we have that product in her hand. Oh my gosh. I remember seeing the factory and just like when we, you know, I remember in college at Berkeley there was a there was a chocolate factory called a Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory and now every time I’m at like a Whole Foods or something and I see Scharffen Berger there.

I’m just reminded of going behind the scenes and meeting the people there and you know taking people behind the scenes is something that’s really fun. It gives it gives like a special moment to people that just your normal users aren’t going to get and I’m just ties them to your brand more and makes them want to support it even more.

Steve: If you sell an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show.

Question I have for you is you’ve come out with a very Innovative product. But what if you sell something that’s kind of more mundane. Like let’s say you sell mops or I don’t know garbage cans or something. I don’t know.

Pat: Sure.

Steve: How would that how would you create some a product that isn’t particularly Innovative and turn that into something that people might want to become super fans of?

Pat: Yeah it again, they’re not becoming a product that the not becoming a fan of the product the becoming the fan of what the product means right? And that’s the big distinction here. So for us it’s creators, and we even put right inside our packaging. You’ll see it when you get it Steve is made for creators by creators. Like Hey, we’re in this with you and we understand and we created this tool to help make things easier for you for your filming for your videos for capturing your life. And that’s the kind of vibe that we’re getting versus. Hey, this is a tripod like become a fan of the tripod here and you often see that with physical products like follow our product here and it’s like right you don’t want to follow a product.

Steve: Right, yeah you don’t care.

Pat: You want to follow like what the product does? Does and so if you have like a garbage can for example, I would really focus on not just the can itself but like the movement to keep things clean and and tidy in the house. So like I don’t know what the company name might be. But you might call it the the Tidy Uppers or something like that. And hey, if you want to be a tidy upper too we have garbage cans we have these mops and other things to keep your house clean if we believe in keeping a clean house because when you have a clean house, you’re more productive. So here we are. We are the we are the cleaning crew that helps you become more productive, you see what I did there?

So it’s like now you can follow us because we’re going to help you stay more productive and all of our videos. All of our all of our language is going to be about being productive the so our solution for being productive is cleaning stuff up, but where the productive cleanup crew for you for you and your life and already you can go I can get behind that right? Like I want to be productive. I don’t want to be a lazy person, but I want to I want to have things clean and now in your language and your in your subject lines, you can have fun with that productivity element and you can even showcase people who are finding innovative ways to be more productive at home and keep things clean and tidy and maybe you then invite Marie Kondo to come on and be sort of a brand ambassador because she’s also keeping things clean and tidy.

She wouldn’t want to connect with a garbage can but she could possibly want to connect with a company who’s helping in this movement of keeping things tidy and clean for the sake of our mental health. So just I don’t know off-the-cuff examples that..

Steve: No, I mean that’s a that’s a great example and I actually like what you’ve done in the switch pod because it’s in fact actually your brand name is the product itself, but it seems like you’re just creating products that help people help content creators, right?

Pat: Yeah.

Steve: And so the product actually doesn’t even matter in your case and that opened yourself up to releasing a whole bunch of other products along the same vein

Pat: Exactly. We have some other ideas that I can’t share with you right now because they’re still in development, but we have some it’s all about making creating easier. Literally, that’s it. And so like we know if we have a product idea does it make creating easier or would it actually make it harder if it makes it harder than okay move on to the next product and we can get excited and have conversations with other creators. And go alright of these different ideas. Which one would make your life the easiest right now. Boom. That’s our product. We don’t have to guess anymore. We can use the validation strategy alongside this too

Steve: So from what you’re saying that it’s almost it’s more important number one to figure out who your customer is and it’s even more important to figure out the messaging even before you even talk about product. So..

Pat: Yeah, I mean it has to fit into something that’s really important for people because that you know, it’s just like with online courses people don’t want to buy an online course, they don’t Want the outcome that the online course can provide them. So same thing with the product. They don’t want to buy this product. They want what the product can then offer them. Sometimes it’s higher Social Status. Sometimes it is convenience. Sometimes it is it is literally just have this problem. I need it solved that’s it. So I mean and then I won’t have that problem anymore. And so whatever that that is and whatever and however you want to sort of Define that is up to you, but it should largely be based off of what your audience really wants.

They don’t Don’t want a tripod. They want something to make it easy for themselves to film and right now the solutions that were out there just we’re not doing that very well. So here we are. We’re making it easier for you. It just happens to have the shape. It just happens to be called The Switch Pod

Steve: So a lot of the strategies that we’ve talked about so far in the interview involve building a community of people. How do you actually take that community and actually extract out or create the super fans who are willing to buy anything that you’re willing to put out?

Pat: Yeah great question. So this this this goes into Or the later chapters in the book where you know, you’ve built that community and it’s cool because they’re relating to each other. They might so for example with a switch pod you get you see two people with a switch pod and they meet each other go you switch pot to what do you think? Oh, yeah. This is cool. This is fun whatever and they connect and that’s cool. But the super fans really come from a few other things and really what I feel like in this is this is what’s definitely lacking in the physical product space of a lot of people who are doing online stuff get it is giving your community a little bit of individualized personal attention.

Just a little bit and so there’s huge opportunities out there with the tools that we have available to us. Even the free tools like Instagram Twitter Facebook our social media channels. If you have people following you in their customers and they give you a big shout out and say hey, thank you for the product. It’s really helped me awesome. Imagine that happening to the switch pod. Somebody messaging us publicly and going I love my new Switch pod. Thank you so much. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to turn on Instagram if they’ve if they’ve shared that on Instagram. I’m going to go to their profile. I’m going to send them a direct message.

And I’m going to hit the video and I’m going to send them a direct message like this: “Jim, Thank you for picking up a switch pod. Super cool. Hey, send us your next video using the switch pod, I’d love to check it out. Just thank you so much for being a part of the community. You’re officially a switcher now and let us know what other ideas you have for products to help make creating easier for you. Thank you. Again. Jim you’re amazing.” Boom done private one-on-one not scalable, but definitely something that’s going to take that person take Jim from a point of just customer to whoa, like there’s actual people on the other end of this company and they’re paying attention to me and they’re supporting me with my Creations. Like this is amazing and that’s something that nobody’s getting from anybody right now.

And the opportunity to do that is so easy. And then there’s these there’s these other tools that I talk about in the book like one called bonjouro, BONJOURO that make that happen much easier. So for example, let’s say Jim buys a switch pod bonjouro connected to my Shopify and account my shopping cart. I get a notification from bonjouro on my app that says Jim just bought a switch pod. I swipe the notification and it immediately opens up a video screen and I record the same message. “Hey Jim, I just saw you bought a switch but oh my gosh, I am so stoked. We’re going to get into your hands within a week. We’re like the shipping team is going to take care of it for you right now. Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Pat. One of the co-creators are just want to say thank you for creating for putting stuff out there. Hopefully you’ll see that the switch pod can make your life easier. If you have any questions for us or any problems, let us know”.

Imagine getting a message like that from a physical product that you just bought and literally hit the purchase button on, you know a minute ago or two minutes ago. It’s going to be mind-blowing. It’s going to be one of those things are good. Whoa, like, how did, number one, how did you do that? Number two, like you took time out of your day to just send me a message. Thank you. How much more excited number one is that person going to be to receive that product number two, how much more likely is that person to thank you for receiving that product and reply to you and have an interaction and when you get people to interact then they’re going To start investing with you. That’s another thing that I encourage people to do in the book is just encourage these interactions and number three.

What’s the likelihood that a person is going to then share that they have this especially now that they’re on social media and sharing these cool things that they have with people physical products the benefit that you have of a physical product is people can take pictures of it and see it and use it and show their friends how to use it online. It’s very very difficult to have a person share their experience in an online course with anything other than just words. So this is the advantage that a physical product has and these are the kinds of things. You can do to give people those little special numbers. You don’t have to you don’t send them brownies. You don’t have to spend even any more money. You just have to invest a little bit of time.

And so what I’d recommend doing even even just to make it easier, maybe you don’t want it to happen. Every time you sell a product maybe sell hundreds of products today. That would be kind of crazy. But maybe you just for 30 minutes on a Friday. You just go down the list and as many as you can get send a video message to 40 customers in 30 minutes, and that’s it. Even though some will be left behind those 40 customers. Ears are going to get that interaction that they’re not getting anywhere else. They’re going to be blown away surprise, especially because they just bought a garbage can who does that? But wow now I know what this company is about and I feel supportive and when I have a decision to either make a purchase again or buy another product that has many companies to choose from you kind of know where they’re going to choose.

Steve: So we kind of do something similar to that but it’s more selective. So if any one place has a large order that we think is going to be like an event planner will get them on the phone and we’ll just talk to them or thank them for their participation

Pat: That’s cool.

Steve: And we give Special treatment I guess in that way. It’s less overwhelming if you’re a little bit more selective about how you do that with but I have a question for you Pat, so now you probably get tons of emails and whatnot. How do you deal with the load? And how do you make people feel special today now?

Pat: Yeah, I mean, you’re right. I mean in the beginning when I first started out in this is advice for those of you who are beginning. Your advantage is the fact that you don’t have a lot of people reaching out to you right now. So everybody who does you can give them extra special attention. This is how you can get ahead of those who are much bigger and have more there’s more competition out there and that’s how you get ahead of them. But eventually you grow to the point where there’s just so much attention. Your attention is divided and you have so many people emailing you and reaching out to you messaging you in my SPI business. Definitely that’s been the case. I got to the point once a number of years back where I had 10,000 unread emails and it just every email that came through. I was just like I felt so bad because I knew I’m not going to get back to you. I am so sorry.

So what I ended up having to do was hire somebody so the first thing we did I hired a woman her name is Jess. She’s now grown. A much larger role in my company and is still my top executive assistant but back then she number one. We declared email bankruptcy. So just started fresh because there was no way I was going to catch up to 10,000 unread emails, but we developed a system together and we now are able to answer 99% of our emails and I’m not answering them. I’m not answering them. I’m answering the ones that only I need to see just as answering and other team members who know how to answer certain things are answering for them. We found that when people have a question, they just want the answer. They don’t really care who it’s from often and when they can get that answer quicker, they’d much rather have that versus having the sort of face of the brand be the one who answers that question.

They feel very good about the fact that I’ve stepped up and hired a team to help them even further and that’s that’s the positioning. Hey, I can’t possibly and I say this on my contact page, I can’t possibly reply to everybody but somebody will and we’re going to help you out because that’s what’s most important and people have been really gravitating toward and had been loving that.

Steve: Okay interesting. That’s good to know actually.

Pat: Yeah, and another email tip that’s been really helpful is Jess and I get on a call once a week and she goes okay Pat, we got 50 things to go through that. I need your help with me answering back. Here we go. Number one, Jim wants to have you fly to Orlando in October to speak at his event. Can you do it? Yes or no? No, okay next and we were able to get through like the 50 important emails that I that I need input on but just done over the phone and then she answers for me and that way I’m not needing to spend four hours, you know handwriting these emails or typing these emails. She’s doing it for me. But it’s from my voice. It’s from my brain. And then another way to make people feel special is again, it goes back to a thing. I talked about earlier that’s spotlighting your customers.

When you spotlight a customer or user or an audience member and you make them look like the hero it makes everybody else feel like the hero too because they’re a representation of that entire Community. It really needs to be about them and you can pick one or two people to highlight in it addresses everybody because they are just like everybody else. Right, so when they tell their story of struggles people are going to go. Oh, yeah, I have that same struggle to and then when they tell their story of how they broke through that and how your product help them or whatever or how great your product was or how great the customer experience was then people are going to go my gosh. Like I want that customer experience to I want I want that problem solved as well. Like this must be the place to be and so that makes everybody feel good. When you when you make that audience member with a customer the curioso

Steve: It can also be automated. I just wanted to add like if you have an email autoresponder sequence when someone buys from you can give away stuff in return for feedback or pictures or use cases of your product

Pat: Oh, yeah.

Steve: And then highlight and other emails and social media.

Pat: Definitely. So I would have for example an email that is fired out two to three weeks after purchase just to go. Hey name use a real name. Just checking on you making sure you’re all good with the product in case you haven’t gotten started with it yet or haven’t used it. I wanted to highlight a couple members of our switch pod Community or the switcher Community. Here is Jim. I always use Jim for some reason Jim is very popular high audience. Here’s Jim who was at a Lake in Minnesota filming with the switch pod. Here is Karen who found out this cool thing that we didn’t even come up with on how to use the switch pot upside down in case that would be helpful for you too. By the way, if you come up with some innovative ways to use a switch pod or have brought it to a trip. We’d love to hear about it hit reply to this email and or send us a video here and we might feature it in an upcoming newsletter. So kind of like that right?

Steve: Cool. Yeah. No absolutely. Did you just do that off the cuff?

Pat: Off the cuff.

Steve: Hey, actually, there’s just one chapter in your book that I did want to talk about a little bit. And it had to do with providing like a VIP access to certain things like I know for your event you had like a VIP tear and for me, like I always felt uncomfortable doing something like that because it’s kind of segregating a specific set of the audience right? I just want to know your thoughts on that and kind of what the rationale is for that.

Pat: Yeah, I mean when you go to a concert and you see the roped-off area in the front row or even see the people backstage and but you’re in the general audience, like how does that make you feel it makes you feel a little bit..

Steve: Jealous

Pat: Jealous.

Steve: Yep

Pat: And it makes you feel like whoa, like I could maybe do that next year. And so I think that you know, I wouldn’t consider it as potentially jealousy. I would consider it as oh, I’m just not there yet or that’s something I can get to next time or you know it. Just it’s not as bad as you think segregating is not bad all the time this in kind of way.

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And so there are people who will want to go deeper with you and there are people in the general audience who would never even dream of spending more money than what they’ve spent because that’s just not for them. But I don’t think that as long as you’re not taking a way from the general experience that that a person would expect and giving that only to the VIPs as long as the VIP stuff is additional stuff that just adds to the experience. It’s that doesn’t take away from the others then then it’s okay. That’s the thing. It’s like so at my event, for example, the VIPs had a special access to me for a photo shoot and also special lunches that were provided to them at that extra cost.

So there was actual cost involved in having VIPs have lunch and special access where they can get a VIP photo with me, but it wasn’t like people would never see me at the pool party at the end of the event. I was there for everybody and we took pictures with my book and signed a book and everybody got a book. It’s Like so if for example, I gave the VIPs a copy of superfans, but then I required everybody else to pay for it. That’s when it can get a little you know, I don’t know like this is kind of like I’m here already, right? So it’s kind of you kind of have to weigh those things back and forth. I think the most important thing about about the VIP thing is number one that there are going to be people in your audience who are going to want to pay you to have those special moments in special access.

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And so for a product, I mean it could be like and you see this on Kickstarter right when people are launching certain products. There’s different pledge levels and you can do the pledge level where you just get the product you can get the product in the t-shirt and a keychain and at the like five thousand ten thousand dollar level you get the products and you can come to Florida to visit the crew and have lunch with us and talk about the product and you get to walk through the factory with us and that doesn’t make people feel like oh, I wish I wish everybody had access to that. It’s just like hey, you know, I got the higher level if you want and if you’re that kind of person you can come and join us for that.

Steve: So not everyone will be a super fan. And so is there a way that you kind of somehow filter out who has the potential to become a super fan or do you just kind of treat everyone equally and the superfans just naturally emerge.

Pat: I mean you treat everybody equally in the community, but then through that naturally some people are just going to emerge as superfans just without you even having to do any extra work. They just love what you’re doing and you just resonate with them so much, but you can encourage people and by highlighting People like I talked about and by having these personal interactions, it increases the likelihood that a person will become a super fan, but the truth is not everybody will and most people won’t but the byproduct of this is even if they don’t you’re providing a much better experience for everybody and that’s the big thing here is if you shoot for super fans, you’re going to make everybody else’s experience better. Right?

And this is opposite of what a lot of us are familiar with in the online space, which is a funnel right a funnel is you know, flipped. So in the book, you’ll see a pyramid And the pyramid at the top is the super fans the smallest part, right? Like I said, but that’s where most of the activity happens most of the repeat customers where people are spending the most money Etc and then below that is your community much bigger much bigger than that below that is your subscribers and your active community in the biggest chunk is your casual audience. They just found you randomly through a search or a link on another website or they heard about you or that they just need a solution to the problem. They don’t even know who you are or your community exist yet.

That’s the largest part in the funny thing is if you flip that upside down the largest part is at the top the smallest is at the bottom. It looks like a funnel now right where the top is like the traffic and this is where everybody’s so focused on Facebook ads Google ads keyword research search engine optimization, like that’s get more people more people and that’s good and that’s exciting and there’s numbers there and there’s conversion rates and that’s all fun to track. But the problem is when you have a funnel you imagine that you just kind of pour people like water through the top and then everything else happens automatically, right? And then just oh, A customer and that the end that funnels like okay customer. I got money.

But the truth is That it that’s where most people are stopping in and when you build for superfans, you’re going the opposite direction, you’re moving up. It takes work and it takes you know anti-gravity to do that. But when you do that your business will grow and have much bigger better fans because you’re not just stopping at customer you’re starting almost with customer and moving them up to even bigger parts of that experience smaller percentage of people, but often times you’ll get that 80/20 where you might have 20% of your audience who In the most money to make up 80% of your revenue and that’s going to come.

Steve: What you just said I just want I was going to share about my e-commerce store in 10% of our top customers generate almost 50 percent of our overall Revenue, whereas 45 percent of the customers that spend not so much only generate 12 percent of our Revenue. So we focus on the top 10% I think the top twenty percent of our customers make 67 percent of our Revenue. So everything that you are saying is correct. You need to be focusing on your best customers because they’re the ones who will buy from you in large quantities and very often and I guess an e-commerce land those can be called the super fans.

Pat: Yeah treat them like gold because they are you know, and it’s about those unexpected surprises. That’s why those videos work really well or especially if a person spending a lot of money with you and this has happened with me. I’ll get a nice little package in the mail with a handwritten note and just an additional item or maybe a soon-to-be-released item. That isn’t even out yet. That just is making me feel like wow like you care about me. As a customer, that’s awesome. And I’m not getting that from many places that you would think would step up and do that. So..

Steve: Yep and you gotta tease them with perks special things that are exclusive to them and quite honestly, we could run our entire e-commerce store based on these ten percent of customers in just be fine.

Pat: Yeah, and I would imagine that often the large percentage of people who are providing the least amount of income are giving you the most problems in terms of..

Steve: That’s correct. Yes they asks for discounts. Complain. Absolutely. Absolutely so Pat that was awesome. Actually there was actually a couple of nuggets that you said that I wasn’t doing in my store that I’m probably going to go back and do now in my email autoresponder sequence, but where can people find more about your book and more about the switch pod. Where can they find you online?

Pat: Yeah. Thank you. So Superfans is available on Amazon. Of course think I don’t know when this is coming out by the time this comes out. The audio version will come out as well on Audible. So that might be of good use to your audience is listening to the podcast. You can also find it at Barnes & Noble, which is really cool. Even though it’s self-published. We work with a company to help us distribute it and I think At some point in time it may be available in airports. So if you see it in an airport, let me know because you might be the first to tell me and I want you to show me if it is because I’m not traveling that much that the end of the year here. But anyway, that’s where you check out the book and thank you for allowing me to share it here Steve and I hope everybody enjoyed this conversation and then the switch pot if you want to check that out just to kind of see what we’re doing there switchpod.co is where you can go and hopefully you’ll become a switcher with us too.

Steve: And if you do see pads book in the airport send them a picture because he met feaure you in his social media.

Pat: Yeah, there you go. I practice what I preach, baby

Steve: Cool, man. Pat, Thanks a lot for coming on man.

Pat: Thank you so much.

Steve: All right. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode now oftentimes all it takes to support a successful business is a small tribe of super fans for more information about this episode or Pat’s new book go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode278.

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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277: An Interview With MMA Bobblehead Founder Dave Manley

277: An Interview With MMA Bobblehead Founder Dave Manley

Today I’m thrilled to have Dave Manley on the show. Dave was a finalist for the 5 Minute Pitch, my Shark Tank like show with Mike Jackness, Greg Mercer and Scott Voelker where we gave away 50,000 in cold hard cash.

Dave runs MMA Bobblehead which is an ecommerce business selling bobbleheads of UFC fighters.

Dave was one of my favorite contestants on the 5 Minute Pitch and I wanted to a deep dive into his story today and how he makes sales. Enjoy!

What You’ll Learn

  • Dave’s motivations for starting his business
  • How Dave validated his niche
  • The bold moves Dave made to meet UFC fighters
  • The keys to Dave’s success
  • The challenges of working with celebrities

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
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SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. And today, I have my buddy, Dave Manley on the show and if you listen to the 5 Minute Pitch, Dave was one of the finalist and he runs MMA Bubblehead where he sells bubble heads for UFC fighters. Now, in this episode we break down how Dave attracted the attention of famous writers as a nobody who’s been able to generate his sales.

But before we begin I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Code Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of My overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife.

also want to give a shout-out to 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

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 thrilled to have Dave Manley on the show. Now, Dave was a finalist for the five minute pitch. My Shark Tank like show with Mike Jackness, Gregg Mercer and Scott Walker where we gave away $50,000 in Cold Hard Cash. Now, Dave runs MMA bubblehead, which is an e-commerce business selling. Well, you guessed it bubble heads of MMA fighters, but Dave’s bubble heads are not the cheap kind you can buy in stores or get for free at ball games. His bobbleheads are the best quality that I’ve ever seen. And he signed on top fighters like Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson as well and Dave was actually one of my favorite contestants on the 5 minute pitch. And what I want to do today is I really wanted to delve deeply into his story and how he makes sales how he got started because there’s a lot of things that we obviously couldn’t cover in 5 minutes on the 5 minute pitch show and with that welcome to show Dave. How are you doing today?

Dave: Hey Steve. Thanks for having me man. Listen, it is it’s a great honor to be on your podcast. I’m going to tell you why. Three years ago this month in July. I came up with this idea about making bobbleheads for MMA athletes and I had no idea what I was doing not only on the bobblehead side, but more importantly on the e-commerce side. I had no clue Steve, So the first podcast that I attached myself to of the sea of podcasts out there was yours and I’m not just saying that and I Hooked onto your podcast and I ended up just binge listening to all of your episodes back-to-back to back I couldn’t get enough and it’s just so great to be on your show after the five minute pitch and it’s just kind of coincidental that it’s three years later after I come up with this idea and discover you that now I’m on your show. So it’s a great honor for me.

Steve: Well, thanks a lot for the kind words Dave and happy anniversary. I didn’t realize it’s been three years now.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you know what Steve I came up with this idea, you know. Not to get really philosophical, but I’ll dive a little bit deeper and like how I came up with this idea and what happened because I kind of tell the story and people who follow me kind of know the story on how it happened. But a lot of people don’t know that about a week before I came up with the idea. I was in Las Vegas and I was at a UFC fight and I have great tickets great seats. I was literally maybe three rows from the cage, right and I was about 40 41 years old at the time and I was enjoying myself. So much I was over until I didn’t want to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want to go get a soda. I wanted to stay in my seat and just take everything in well about an hour into the fight. I started really having like some deeper thoughts, right? and I started thinking man Dave, you know, you’re 40 years old whatever if I was ten years younger, I would just dedicate my life to this sport dedicate my life to this organization the UFC or these athletes martial arts and do whatever it took to be part of this community and make a living because I love that. I love martial arts.

I’d love this sport so much. It’s it’s not even right how much I’ll I mean a lot of people love baseball basketball football or whatever. But I mean, I just feel like the sport is part of my fiber and so I was having these like self talks with myself like it. Yeah, man, I’m a little bit too old to start thinking about that right now, but man if I was just 30 again, and I came home and about 1 week later I cleared of the shelf in my office and I thought I told myself I’m going to start purchasing MMA memorabilia and it was then that I wanted to buy a bobblehead of my favorite fighter and they didn’t make them and then I went on to another fighter who’s just equal he’s famous. They didn’t make him either. So then I went on the most famous fighter that they got name’s Conor McGregor didn’t make him either and it was just right there, right then. I knew that you know, I’m not this. I’m not one of these guys Steve that put it out in the universe.

I don’t know if I believe in that whatever but I knew right then and there. There that maybe something was being answered because I knew boom that I am going to make these bobbleheads. I didn’t know that I was going to make them so well, but I knew that I was going to start taking that step towards, you know, those thoughts that I had just a couple weeks previous.

Steve: So I can understand wanting a bobblehead for yourself, but turning into a business and scaling is a completely different thing. So did you have any exterior motivations for starting it as a business?

Dave: Well, you know, yes, okay. Yes. And no first of all, I thought well they make bobbleheads for every other Sport and they’ve made bobbleheads for every other sport for decades for 50 years. And I thought you know you the UFC MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. Literally, I mean is it is growing faster at a bigger trajectory than any sport at any time ever and I thought, you know, there’s some serious athletes in the sports that are very very popular. So if I want one Why wouldn’t other people want one as well? So, you know, yes, I thought this could be a business for sure and I just needed to come up with how to make him. See by new I own one bobble head is a Babe Ruth bobblehead that I kept on my desk. Someone gave it to me. I paid no attention to it. Everyone loves bobbleheads including me. I mean, how could you not they’re kind of part of an inner woven and who we are sports fans and Society, but I just thought you know if I want one and these Have millions of fans out there and literally why would another people want one? So I thought you know, yes first learn how to make them learn how to do it. Right and then maybe I can turn around and sell them.

Steve: So, okay. So you knew at this time that you wanted to make them. How did you actually get started? Like for example, I mean, I know someone who makes bobbleheads, but if I didn’t know that guy I would have no idea how to get started. So, where did you find someone to make them for you?

Dave: Yeah. Okay. So first of all, I needed to know how to make them myself. Okay, so I did research when you’re clueless about something Steve and you have no idea how it’s made but you want to make you want to learn you don’t want to just hire someone to do it for you right? unless you got a ton of money and a ton of you know resources to do that, but I’m bootstrapping this thing and you know, my my fiancée wasn’t totally on board with this past my other my friends and family members, I swear to God, Steve some of them laughed at me. And here I am. 41 year old Dave asking my friends. Hey guys. What do you think about me making Bobbleheads you know, it’s a gut reaction just to kind of like chuckle and laugh like dude. What are you an idiot? You’re a financial planner dude, you wear a suit and tie to work you and by the way, you handle my money, so don’t be going up again doing some us something else.

So, you know, I didn’t get the strongest reaction from people, but then when I start from my clothes in a circle, but then when I started branching out and started asking MMA fans about it. Everyone was like hell yes, dude, dude, what how do they not make him and me bobbleheads already? That was my biggest feedback for sure. So what I did and I guess what most people do nowadays is I turn to YouTube and I just really engulfed myself with YouTube videos. Videos about figurines about model painting about about bobbleheads them out clay, paint, spraying.

Steve: Wait a second. Did you make your first bobblehead yourself?

Dave: No, I just I designed every one of them but I wanted to know the ins and outs of making them. So so did I make it myself with my own two hands? No, but did I design it and was I there every step of the way? Yes. It was like I was shoulder to shoulder with the first guy who made My Bobblehead and it was after I made my very first bobblehead and I and I wish I can show you what it looks like because I keep it on my desk to remind myself how far comes because it looks absolutely like crap. It really really does I’m staring at it right now when I have like when I’m down and out and I feel like I’m really struggling right now. I look at that first bobblehead that I make and and I really I really know that I’ve come a long way from making that but anyway, so well..

Steve: This guy that you that that makes them for you is in the US.

Dave: Yeah. He was in the US

Steve: And how did you find him?

Dave: I just found him by just doing research and calling and emailing there’s a lot of model makers out there. There’s a lot of figurine makers out there. It’s a very Niche Community.

Steve: Okay.

Dave: There’s a lot of professional model painters out there that paint for like say the Studio’s, you know for big for movies, you know, a lot of those scenes where they blow up a big city or car or building whatever those are all just models and there’s guys that paint those and so I had a really do a lot of research to find guys who Made this type of stuff.

Steve: How did you convince them to work with you? I mean if some random dude came to me and wanted to make a bobblehead and I was a designer. I’d be a little hesitant.

Dave: Money.

Steve: Okay, ha ha ha. So how much did you have to invest to get that first batch?

Dave: Oh my God. That’s a great question, Steve. Well wasn’t the first batch I made two with this guy and two cost me. Whoo to cost me about $1000.

Steve: Oh my goodness. Okay.

Dave: Yeah to cost me about $1,000. A, I Didn’t Know Better and B I was desperate to learn how to make it and I wanted to make it I mean and you know by far by far it’s the worst bobblehead I have but it’s the most meaningful one that I have too I’m never going to get rid of it and I ended up making about four different versions of this fighter and the fighters name was Nate Diaz and it’s a very famous pose that I made out of him and I wanted to practice because the pose was very unique. And and not to keep kind of strain off topic but one thing that is very unique about my bobbleheads. And for anyone who’s into sports at all knows that when you go to the game and you get a bobblehead for free not only is it really really cheap but it’s very generic all the poses of the same the guys holding a basketball, baseball, football whatever in the same kind of motion and they all look very cartoony.

Like you would never ever know who this guy was unless the name was on the base lets you saw that it was like LeBron James or Clayton Kershaw, you would never know. So one thing I wanted to do was I wanted to take poses from these fighters in their moments of Glory. I mean these they close the cage door on these guys Steve and Magic happens, right? I mean, it’s martial arts. They fly, they kick. They need the elbow and sometimes they get caught in a moment of Glory in a photo which becomes iconic in the sport. So I wanted to take those iconic moments and make it into a bobblehead where people look at that bobblehead and they say oh, yeah, that is that guy from that fight on that day. Like I recognize it just like that.

Steve: Are you still working with that? First guy? Like I’m trying to get that for you.

Dave: Oh no no

Steve: Okay so you paid two for $1,000 and those were no good. So did you move on to a different person?

Dave: Oh absolutely dude. I moved on to a different person and I was desperate to find better and better and better people the what I was learning as I was going. Was that bobbleheads need to be better period. I mean, there’s been no advancement in bobblehead technology and it’s not right as sports fan. So those of you guys who are listening especially hardcore Sportsman think about the best bobblehead you’ve ever had the think about the best bobblehead that you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s not good right? and it’s not good because it doesn’t have to be the Lakers don’t have to make a good LeBron James or the dodges don’t have to make a great Clayton Kershaw because all they want to do is get butts in the seats early so they can sell more beer and better parking more tickets or whatever. So they put the minimum amount of money and making these bobbleheads but it’s a shame because there’s only one LeBron James that comes around in a lifetime. There’s only one Clayton Kershaw that comes running Lifetime. And so when you memorialize these guys in a bobblehead do it right do it right do it.

Steve: Okay, So how many how many guys did you have to go through till you found your final one?

Dave: Probably, like three the yeah the way I found my final one is I just got on a plane to Hong Kong and I just looked at I my fiance thought I was I was on

Steve: Wait, let’s back up a little bit. How did you find this guy from Hong Kong?

Dave: I went to a trade show.

Steve: Okay.

Dave: Yeah art, you know toy trade show.

Steve: Okay, and that was in Hong Kong?

Dave: yeah

Steve: okay, and then you found him there and then obviously the cost were a lot cheaper than the u.s. I would presume.

Dave: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it made it made it doable and the dream started becoming more and more of a reality because if I made them the way I was going either way. It was it’s an impossibility, you know, so..

Steve: So how do you work with someone in Hong Kong? What is the design look like you said you design all of these. Are you sending him photos or how does it work?

Dave: No, you know what? These guys are just they I just send them a blueprint a template all the artwork is done all over the world. So I have artists in the states. I have artists in Europe. I have artists in Asia. It really depends on what I’m looking for in designing the particular fighter, my budget, you know the detail that I want and things like that and then I’ll choose my and then I’ll choose the artist but I put my main artist is in Europe and you know, we design it together and then you know, I get I get the I don’t really want to talk about all the secret sauce.

Steve: Yeah, that’s okay. Well, what is the what is the template look like? Is it like a solid like, is it 3D modeling or?

Dave: yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we make a fine. A prototype that’s not a 3D modeling and my lead painter is in Orange County and we paint it and sometimes we paint two sometimes we pay three until I’m happy with exactly how it looks making sure it looks perfect. And then once I get that 100% correct, and then you know, I send it off and and you know, they do the rest.

Steve: So what are your cost to just design one?

Dave: It all depends Steve on the artwork, you know. Some bobbleheads are very very expensive because for the for the design because I want as much detail as possible in these things and then some are you know, some just some art that that detail-oriented, you know, and so it’s a little less expensive like

Steve: are we talking tens of thousands or?

Dave: No, no what you know all in I’m in a few thousand.

Steve: Few thousand, Mm. Okay, and then it costs you. I remember vaguely from the shows like 20 bucks or something to make.

Dave: Yeah, that’s 20 bucks to make okay. Okay about 20 bucks to make and and you know, it’s a great process and you know, what I pride myself on the process too is I work with these athletes and that’s something that is I don’t think it’s been done before.

Steve: So let’s talk about that. How did you how do you work with an athlete? Like, how do you get a hold of me? Just email them or?

Dave: yeah. I wish it was that easy. Yeah, man, you know that that question is hardly ever asked of me and I would have to say that that that is one of the hardest part of my business and it definitely was the number-one artist part when I was starting out because you know, how do you how do you call LeBron James and tell him that you wanted to have project with them. You know, you just don’t and then people say well, how do you.. and what people say, Well David you call his agent. Well, you know how many how many people call that agen, you know for a phone call. So it’s tough. So I had to do a lot of grimy things to get in front of these guys when I say grimy, I mean I just I just..

Steve: We need more example.

Dave: Yeah, I just hold up my sleeves dude and did whatever it took to get in front of these dudes. So like for an example like I would go to a place in which I knew the fighter was gonna be whether it was a nightclub or a fight or wherever and I would it’s embarrassing Steve but I it’s I would I would I would check out the situation see who he’s hanging out with and when one of his friends I’d have the bobblehead on me and then one of it when one of his friends Peeled off or I’d have a picture of the bobblehead whatever when one of his friends peeled off to go to the bathroom or just you know, walk away. I would hit up the friend and I’d go hey friend. I know you’re hanging out with Joe Blow the fight over there. Do I see you guys hanging out. I can’t get to him and I don’t want to be that creepy guy. So I just want to show you what I’m up to Harry, look at this picture or look at his bobblehead. I would love to make one out of Joe Blow. We let him know and you know, the friend would usually be look at me. Like I was absolutely crazy.

And you know, I would do things like that and then sometimes that work and then one of my biggest breakthroughs was I was waiting in a three-hour line in Las Vegas and was actually two years ago three years ago. It came up with the idea two years ago, I started hitting up Fighters because I was done with my final prototype. I would wait in like these lines three hour lines and I would walk up to the fighter. Now mind you it’s a massive cattle call. So everyone’s there with their photos they want Fighter to sign the photo and here I am a 41 year old guy holding a bobblehead. I don’t have a photo. I don’t have a pen and it’s my turn and I get up to him and I’d say as fast as I could and say, hey man, I’m a big fan. I’m making bobbleheads right now. Would you like a bobblehead made out of you? I can review a really great job. What do you think? and then put the bobblehead right in front of them, And the fighter would look at me. Like are you out of your mind?

Like who is this crazy guy? It’s a security would be like, no. No, you can’t do that. You can’t talk to. Um, but you got your autograph and you move on and then so they you know, you kind of move on to the next file and say okay. No, you know, sorry about that and then the next Fighter the next big fighter would be like two fighters away and I’d go up to the fighter and say hey, my name is Dave, I’m making bubbles and then security get to me..

Steve: Do you have a prototype of each one of those Fighters you were pitching before him?

Dave: Yeah, as I was getting better at making them because mind you I was a year into it. So as I was getting better at making them I felt more comfortable about showing these Fighters not there Prototype, but of Make Diaz because.

Steve: Oh, Gotcha. Okay

Dave: I can’t keep making Nate over and over again.

Steve: Did you have rights for Nate before you get it?

Dave: No, I still don’t have rights for Nate. I don’t know Nate, Nate knows about it. I don’t think he wants it and and that’s not unusual Steve. So, you know, some of these guys just don’t want something really really cool made out of them and I don’t know why and I would love it myself but you know it is it is what it is.

Steve: So you’re not selling the Nate Diaz?

Dave: No

Steve: okay.

Dave: No, I’m selling the Nate Diaz bobblehead. It would probably be my biggest seller because he’s such an iconic figure and the bobblehead that I made is such an iconic pose and it’s and it’s like really really nice but you know it is it is what it is man.

Steve: Actually, So you took a huge risk in the beginning just making a bobblehead when you’re not allowed to sell them yet. And then you use that as a prototype to get other fighters to sign on

Dave: Correct that that was my exact blueprint. I would just I was hoping that other Fighters would see what a good job I was doing with this Nate Diaz Bobble and I never I never was you know, playing smoke and mirrors and saying I had Nate. I’m just I was just saying here’s what I have made so far. When can let me make one out of you. So..

Steve: Who’s your first big fighter that you signed and had the conversation go?

Dave: Yeah, so I was getting nose left and right no no, no, no. No, I did not understand it. My chin was in my chest. I was kicking the can down the road. I was wondering what the hell did I just do with a year of my life and all this money and time and I was I was getting, you know, the thoughts of you know, the self talk. And the self-doubt was starting to creep in my mind Steve like you know, what am I doing, man? And I got a phone call from a friend who said they had a I swear to God who had a friend who had a friend who knew Dan Henderson and Dan Henderson was the guy that I originally wanted to buy the bobblehead of he’s my favorite fighter of all time. So when I heard that there was like four degrees of separation that Dan was interested in the artwork that I was doing for the Bobblehead, I just absolutely lost my mind. I was I couldn’t believe it. So then it got real real real fast, and they said Dan wants to talk to you in an hour.

And I said, okay and you know, I’m at this point. I’m just a total complete Fanboy. I’m just you know a nut for this do Dan Henderson and I am about to talk to him an hour. I couldn’t I was pacing, you know sweating and then the phone rang. It was Dan Henderson and the conversation couldn’t have gone better. It was just like we knew each other and it was great and he’s like, yeah, I’m interest I saw it looks really cool. I think it’s awesome. And then he’s like, you know, we are both in Vegas at the same time and he’s like, well, what are you doing tomorrow? And I said, yeah nothing. All right. Well, it’s meet. So I ended up meeting Dan Henderson at the MGM and I showed him. You know, what I was working on and the hardwork..

Steve: Is this the Diaz one, that you showed him?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah, I showed him everything.

Steve: Okay.

Dave: I still remember it and he was like, yeah, let’s do it and it was like, okay, let’s do it and it so I just went straight to work on Dan Henderson and about some about I would say six months later. I released my first one my first bobblehead to the public that I have the rights to that I could sell and it was Dan Henderson sales for that bobblehead Steve, were garbage.

Steve: How many did you make?

Dave: I made 1500, I thought

Steve: oh my goodness, okay

Dave: you know what, Dan Henderson’s got Dan Henderson’s got millions of fans. I think 1500 might even be too low. I think I sold about 50 in the first month.

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Steve: Okay, so you invested what is that like 30 grand?

Dave: Hmm.

Steve: Wow. Okay. How did you sell those 50?

Dave: you know, I just built an e-commerce site and I had Dan promote it on his social media and I promote it. I promoted it to all 200 of my followers on Instagram. And you know, I just I paid for some Instagram ads and Facebook ads. I just really thought Steve, I thought that you know, because because the Dan Henderson says it’s insane. It’s To fly spent a lot of time on it. It’s a very famous image of one of his really famous moves and I really thought I was going to hold it up to the sky and MMA fans were just going to come flocking because this has never been done before it is awesome looking I was very proud of how the final product came out and I couldn’t be more wrong. I hide I was so wrong, Steve. Nobody came nobody. I just couldn’t believe it and I thought to myself. Oh my God, Dave. I spent all this time learning how to make the perfect bobblehead that I spent zero time on e-commerce and learning how to sell them and it’s still kind of my problem today Steve to be honest with you. You know, I don’t know a lot about e-commerce marketing, you know, Steve. I got a full-time career. I got a serious job. I manage a lot of Money, I have it’s you know, my pulse on the my finger on the pulse of a lot of family’s Estates, right?

So I can’t I can’t just like sleep on that job. So so every extra time that I have I dedicate to the bobbleheads, it’s late at night. It’s early in the morning. So, you know finding the time to learn about e-commerce, it’s difficult. That’s a really difficult task for me, but I’m taking small steps towards that you know, so when people were out there listening, Right now and and they don’t know if they can do it and and they’re having you know doubts you got to keep going man. You got to keep going and and you know, the way I met you through the five minute pitch if you know, it was an awesome. Awesome thing for me. I didn’t win you know, and that’s why I’m still a little bit hurt from that. You’re human, right? and you make it to the finals and you start thinking about winning and you start thinking about what this can do for you and your company

If you were to win and you start it starts getting real and then closer and closer gets it starts getting more and more real and then when it doesn’t happen, how man you get you get, you know, at least I get depressed and sad and you know, I have to keep my you know, there’s this old saying Steve, that Mike Tyson used to say about fighting and it was it goes like this. It says everybody’s got a good game plan until they get punched in the face. And I felt like man, I really got punched in the face hard.

Steve: Dave, dave, let’s be realistic here. You’re doing pretty well. You want to share how much you’ve made this year so far in the first half year.

Dave: Yeah. I mean, you know, dude, I’m not throwing a poo poo party on myself. I’m so proud of myself. You know for sure. No, I’m doing really well Steve in the first month of my business and my Bobblehead business I made I swear to God, I think I made maybe like 1,500 2,000 dollars by month 7. I was up to making 25 grand in a month and you know my last release my last fighter, I broke my old record and I think I made about 17 18 Grand in the first few days.

Steve Yeah. So, how are you marketing? How you improve your marketing since then? So what how do you get your sales? Is it just the fighter promoting? Its own bobblehead or your own email list? How are you doing it?

Dave: Yeah, so, you know, I’ve been very conscious of my social media and social media has been driving my business for sure. So when I wasn’t getting any Sales with the Dan and you know, very little sales with my next, you know fighter. I thought you know, I got to take the bull by the horns and I got to maybe be more out there and be the face of the company and show, show MMA fans that this isn’t just a business or a conglomerate trying to do a money grab that I’m a huge martial arts fan just like they are and I’m just like they are as far as being a fan first so once I started doing that and..

Steve: so what is that Instagram and Facebook?

Dave: Yeah, Instagram and Facebook and for anyone out there listening, I don’t care if you’re selling yarn or red worm composting bins. You gotta get out there and let people know who you are because that is where you build community and it could be Community for anything. For me, It just happens to be martial arts. And once you do that, and once people see that you’re passionate about what you do then you start getting trusted and hopefully people like you and then they’ll buy your next product recurring sales is a big part of my business. I always have felt like once people by one, they’re gonna buy two and once they buy two they’re going to be a collector and once there a collector Steve I can count on them for buying my next one. No matter who the fighter is and that’s and that has surely been the case so far and it’s been, you know, wonderful to get involved in the community. And have people you know, as you know, quote-unquote fans of that of the bobbleheads that I make and I’m really appreciative of that and I’m grateful for that.

Steve: How do you built the community? Do you do Facebook lives or what? Are your post like?

Steve: Yeah. Yeah. I do Facebook lives. I do Instagram lives. I do giveaways. I’ll let people know like today for example is the first week of the first day of international fight week tomorrow, I’m taking off for Vegas. I got three big signings for with three different fighter of my Fighters. And I want to let people know about it and I have a huge announcement to make with one of these Fighters a massive announcement. And this fighter is giving away something like incredible Steve. So as soon as we’re done here, I’m going to make a post saying in two hours join me on Instagram live. I have a huge announcement to make and I’m going to give away a bobblehead and people hop on their interactive. I ask them to ask me questions and you know, a lot of people have really great interesting questions, and I you know, I answer them and give them the time let them know what’s going on and I feel like it’s I’m building a little Community. I feel like that’s really what everyone should do in any Niche that they have where people, where other people are involved.

Steve: How did you start out when you had zero social media following what were you posting about? Like, obviously, you don’t have these announcements all the time. Right?

Dave: Yeah. No, I was just posting cool pictures just photos. I love photography. So I post pictures of Fighters and my comments, you know about the fighter and then I’d post and then when I had my first bobblehead I post pictures of you know, the painting of the first one or you know photos of just the mold or photos of me and Dan or me and Chuck or the signing of them. You know, I was just real Grassroots just taking little baby steps posting whatever I could before I started getting like really cool content where people would tune in and or set their timer to tune in and listen or watch.

Steve: How often do you post as often as I can?

Dave: I don’t want to be one of these guys to just post to post So sometimes I won’t post I well. Well, let me take that. Let me take a step backwards. I post every day on Instagram every single day is you know, as you have to you have to be out there you have to be relevant you have to be engaged. So whether I’m posting something that has to do with my bobble heads or something that’s going on in the MMA world with a particular bike. There’s fights almost every week. So there’s always content to be posted. There’s always cool photography to be posted but as Far as be posting about the bobbleheads or a video about what I’m doing maybe every couple weeks. I’ll hop on I don’t want to over saturate. I don’t want to seem like I’m out there. You’re always trying to sell there’s that Gary vaynerchuk book that I just recently heard about it jab jab jab right hook if that’s I didn’t know about that concept, but that’s the concept that I’ve been living for the past, you know few year or a couple of years, you know, I want to give give give and I love Giving these things away for free.

I love it. You know it’s going to drive me into the Poorhouse but I love for people to have these so I’ll give give and so then when it comes time to ask for something, I don’t feel bad. I feel like I have a community. I feel like people want to support and it’s been successful so far

Steve: and are you running ads also or is it just Strictly Organic?

Dave: Organic dude, I mean bare minimal, I gotta tell you Steven in 2019. I think my ad budget or the ad money spent so far on Facebook and Instagram combined is about a hundred and fifty dollars

Steve: Nice. Okay. So all this is organic and are you getting more from Instagram or Facebook?

Dave: Definitely more from Instagram. I feel like that’s you know, the more optimal place to be I feel like that’s where everyone’s trending to I have about 2,000 followers on Facebook and I have about maybe 11,000 followers on Instagram. I’ve gotten those followers and all in one year and I feel like I touch all my social media platforms, but I really concentrate on Instagram. I want people to know that that’s where they’re going to be able to meet me or see me or hear the news or message me and then the other places are just kind of ancillary.

Steve: So in terms of getting them to your website, is it just your link in the bio?

Dave: Yeah Link in the bio and you know, it’s pretty it’s pretty self-explanatory to MMA bobblehead.

Steve: That’s true.

Dave: But I try to get these fighters to link me up to to tag me. I asked people to tag. Me when when they get their bobblehead, I repost when they tag me, I’m really interactive with anyone that wants to be interactive with me. I answer every single question that comes in. It’s always me. I don’t have a social media manager and I really want to treat every single person who buys My Bobblehead like they’re the only person that is buying My Bobblehead and I do I have that that Concept in mind that it’s it’s one person at a time Steve and and that’s you’re going to build a strong business. I see I see these other MMA businesses or just other businesses out there in general that they have 30,000 followers on Instagram. They posted a video and they get 200 likes. It’s like what the hell is that? What kind of followers do you have there that mean it’s obvious that you you’re buying or you’re not doing something right? And I hear all these people, you know touting and teaching how to get more followers, but that’s not the way it works man.

The way it works is organically you can’t just buy followers it Don’t you know unless you just want the swipe up feature. So when I have 11,000 followers, I know for sure that these people want to be there and I know for sure that these people are real people. They’re not Bots at least, you know most of them because they’re all interacting with me. I post a picture I get a ton of likes and a ton of views and I like that.

Steve: So Dave, we’re kind of running out of time here and I wanted to fire off these questions just for the people on the sidelines who have yet to start their business. What would you say is the biggest challenge in starting your store? And how did you overcome it?

Dave: Steve, there are so many challenges when it comes to you know, what Steve that Mike Tyson saying everyone. Everyone’s got a great plant game plan until their punch of it. It couldn’t be more true for e-commerce Steve you turn the corner when you’re starting your business in e-commerce. You don’t know if someone’s gonna punch you in the face or hand you a pot of gold you have no clue what’s around the corner when you don’t know anything about e-commerce, at least this is my story, okay? and it is very very Cold and when people are out there and they want to make a quick Buck or they want to you know, just they think that it’s going to be simple you better prepare yourself because it is challenging so you have to mentally get prepared. So the biggest challenge on opening your Ecommerce store. Anyone who’s out there who wants to start don’t give up. You gotta keep fighting guys no matter what don’t give up.

You gotta when when when life punches you right? The nose you gotta punch back. You got to keep fighting and I know it sounds cliche. I know what does Steve and I know you know, it sounds cliché when I say it’s easy to stay down and it’s hard to get back up. But you gotta remember why you’re doing it. You got to muster every bit of energy in your body to stand back up to clench your fist and punch back because you can get knocked out and e-commerce really easy if you’re if you’re not mentally ready.

Steve: So for the beginners also, how much money did you invest to get started?

Dave: Oh gosh. I probably you know, it was it was like in tear Steve so I probably had about seven grand Seven Grand or so to get started and then, you know, my next round of funding was five grand and then it went to you know, another five and so it just went in layers and you know, I built safety nets for myself because in my particular business I felt like if there It was no interest. I could have probably pull the ripcord at any time and just thrown in the towel. I mean, I’m not an idiot. I would see that there’s no interest at all.

But as I saw that there was interest I would you know, I’d feed the machine some more but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing Steve and you especially if you have a private label thing and you really think that people could use what you’re making or doing. You got to keep going you got to keep funding and it probably won’t stop, you know for a while. So just be prepared.

Steve: If you were to start over again. You do differently this time around?

Dave: I’d have more money Stephen to begin with

Steve: Ha ha ha

Dave: Because really, you know, and I mean it’s kind of a joke, but it’s kind of not a joke. I would a lot more I would a lot more money for allocate more money for different things and when I’m saying more money, I’m not saying like unreasonable amount of money. I wouldn’t say. Oh I get, you know tap into my 401k or you know, go borrow tens of thousands, but I’d probably just spend wiser and I’d probably have more in the gas tank to do things. Things that I think needed to be done.

Steve: Where are some places where you spent your money unwisely?

Dave: Well for me personally, it was experimentation with different ways on making bobbleheads. So I

Steve: That sounds like a necessary expense to me though.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it could be but you know, but I’m kind of a creative dude. So sometimes I’m you know, thinking outside the box a little bit too much one thing that I think I can tell the listeners who are just starting out about ad spending do it wisely. Don’t just throw it into the abyss. That’s one thing. Definitely Steve. I would I would start over I You know, I thought okay. Well, here’s a Let’s do an ad for $200 for the next 10 days and I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing Man II didn’t know if the results are great. I didn’t have like a pixel return. I still don’t I still don’t even know what I’m doing to talk about it that much but I do know that I just felt like I threw the money into the abyss without having data that could be measurable on if I’m spending my money wisely and I think that if you’re going to spend money on ads be as prepared as possible and maybe even bring in a consultant to help you out. Just don’t do it on your own because you don’t want to just throw money into the into the social media abyss.

Steve: I mean ultimately I think the way you did is the right way you start out organically you figure out who your audience is what they like and then you buy ads so yeah probably had a good point now where if you were to run ads today would they would do a lot better than when you didn’t know anything

Dave: Steve, one of the biggest takeaways. Is that I had from the five-minute picth was a line that Scott Volcker said and Scott said man Dave’s got a really cool product, but nobody knows about it. And that is a problem. That’s a problem. That’s a problem for anybody that that has a really cool product. You have to let people know about it. So what you do is you do anything Steve to let people know about it you go on Facebook live you go on Instagram live. If and if you’re camera shy get over it.

Steve: ha ha ha

Dave: Period and and there’s just no other way about it, you know it because people don’t want to read blogs Steve people. I mean sure maybe people are people are out there that read blogs on certain things whatever. It’s just the easier the easiest way to spoon feed people and getting to know your product is video and if you’re out there often and people see that you really care about what you’re doing. And they like what you do they will like you they will trust you and they will buy from you and they’re going to be a fan of yours. So I would say that’s the biggest thing that I would probably even do more if I were to start all over again.

Steve: So Dave I wanted to give you an opportunity to tell the audience about where they can find you and what’s going on. What’s the latest, man?

Dave: Oh Steve. Listen, three years ago this month. I came up with this idea of the bobbleheads. This week is international fight. Week, it’s my three-year anniversary. I’m having signings with cowboy Cerrone with Brian Ortego, Guillana Gingecheck, Bruce Buffer. It’s unbelievable. I went from being a guy a fan with an idea to now working with these athletes hand-in-hand and doing business with them and having autograph signings with them. I’m in I’m totally involved in the community now and it’s all due to hard work Steve. It’s I’m really proud of where I’ve come I’m really proud of the work that I’ve put in. I hope that your listeners out there can resonate with my story and know that if he just roll up your sleeves and you go to work and you take every day like it’s your last day and you kick the covers off your body when the sun peeks into your bedroom and you just work and work as hard as you can there will be results for sure.

I guarantee it. So where I’m at today Steve I couldn’t be happier. I’m dealing with the biggest Fighters. That have ever lived in mixed martial arts icons of the sport. Literally. I mean at the tippy tippy top the one percenters. I’m working with right now. I could I I pinch myself. It’s so surreal. I am so happy and you know, I’m going to keep going I treat every day like it’s a new day and I want to keep working harder and harder and harder and I’m so excited and I hope that people that are listening, you know, really hear my story and work hard. And don’t give up.

Steve: His websites MMAbobblehead.com By the way, if anyone wants to go check it out.

Dave: out go go go to the website. You can see how how they’re made how they’re painted my story go see the bobbleheads for yourself because you’re I know you’re thinking bobbleheads. What the hell Bobbleheads have been the same for go. Check out my bobbleheads. You won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not a mixed martial arts venue just an e-commerce company starting up your own Journey. Go check out the site,

Steve: you know one thing I forgot to ask you this Dave is the UFC noticing this and are they going to start licensing their the athletes themselves?

Dave: The UFC is definitely noticed. I have spoken in bye-bye text to Dana White a couple times who’s the owner of the UFC and I’ve had a couple meetings with the UFC. Yeah, they’re notice it but to exceed the UFC is not in the merchandising business. They pretty much make the same merchandise year after year after year and you know, no disrespect to the UFC but it’s not that great, you know, it’s the same kind of stuff hats t-shirts keychains things like that. No, they’re not making high-end stuff because their business is making the best fights possible. That’s their business not merchandise, and I don’t know if they have a big interest in that so, you know, I have dreams and I have aspirations of you know, maybe partnering up with the UFC one day and maybe that dream will come true and I can come back on your show and tell you how that all went down, but they are taking notice.

Steve: Okay, cool. Well Dave. Hey man. Thanks a lot for coming on the show. Your story is truly inspirational. I love your passionate it always oozes whenever I talk to you and I’m sure the audience noticed that too and I hope a lot of the MMA fans out there. We’ll go and check out your site.

Dave: Thanks for having me Steve. I mean, I really really appreciate you inviting me on your show. It means more than anything to me. I go on a bunch of MMA shows all the time. And you know, I’m not saying to take it for granted, but you know, there’s sometimes in life where you really sit back and go. Wow. Wow, man, like for me. Wow Dave that this is really an accomplishment dude and for me Steve, this is one of those moments.

Steve: Cool. Hey, Dave that that means a lot to me, man, and I really appreciate you coming on.

Dave: Thanks Steve.

Steve: Alright man, take care.

Dave: Take care.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, Dave took me to my first UFC event a few months ago. And since then I’ve been hooked and there are a whole bunch of deals that we didn’t talk about during this episode because it happened after it was recorded. MMA bobblehead is going to be big for more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode277.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

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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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

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276: How To Get Roasted On Your Own Podcast At Klaviyo Boston Day 2

276: I Got Roasted On My Own Podcast At Klaviyo Boston Day 2

I have an all star ecommerce cast for today’s episode. I’m with my partner Toni Anderson, Kurt Elster of the Unofficial Shopify Podcast, Andrew Youderian of Ecommerce Fuel and Padriac Ryan. And we’re reporting live at day 2 of the Klaviyo conference in Boston.

In this episode, we share our key takeaways from Klaviyo Boston Day 2 and I get roasted on my own podcast.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why you shouldn’t go to the restroom prior to recording a podcast with friends you can’t trust
  • Key takeaways from Klaviyo con day 2
  • How Chubbies sends emails
  • New email features that you must use now

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today is a very unusual episode that is not like all the others and as an experiment. I decided to have Andrew Youdarien of e-commerce fuel, Patrick Ryan Andrew’s brand new employee, Kurt Elster of The Unofficial Shopify podcast and my partner Toni Anderson all on the show at the same time to cover day two of the klaviyo conference, but here’s what happened. I had to go to the bathroom really badly prior to this recording and while I was away Andrew, Tony, Kurt and Patrick all plotted against me to roast me on my own podcast. Now I debated for a while whether to release this episode but in the end I was like what the heck what is the worst thing that can happen? Anyway in this episode we go over key takeaways of day 2 of klaviyo Con and I get roasted in the process, enjoy.

But before we begin, I want to give quick shout out to 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.

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. I’m Steve and we are here at day 2 of Klaviyo Con. I got an All-Star cast with me today. I got my partner, Tony Anderson. I got Kurt Elster of The Unofficial Shopify podcast not to be mistaken with the official shopify is there an official Shopify podcast?

Kurt: I think Shopify Masters would be the official.

Steve: That’s correct. It’s correct. And we got Andrew Youdarien here from e-commerce Fuel and we got his very he’s funny. We got Patrick here, but he’s holding up his name tag because he’s working for Andrew and I tried to hire him away, but he’s quite expensive actually.

Andrew: that’s true. And I’d like to know this is the multiple or multiple team members. You’ve tried to stay away from me. And none of them have wanted to come work for you given your reputation, which actually leads in before before we get started. See there was something that we were all hoping to chat with you about actually on the show.

Kurt: Well, we’re concerned that you’re under appreciating all Toni does

Steve: were you responsible for this Toni?

Andrew: And of course, she’s not getting paid nearly enough. I mean, we just we just see a lot. I mean she I think it’s safe to say I think everyone here would agree. You’re mostly just a figurehead at this point and Toni does all the work and we think for how you treat her especially she’s under compensate and we would like to publicly negotiate warm out of..

Steve: Toni is actually very well compensated. Let’s not even discuss how much she’s compensated

Andrew & Kurt: clearly she’s clearly your d-roc and we’ve heard your difficult can’t please guys, of course you can you can’t polish this this is this is this is an issue that if it’s not publicly

Steve: and I go to the bathroom.

Kurt: All right happens when you gallons of coffee and..

Steve: Well, we are here to talk about klaviyo. Toni is very well compensated.

Andrew: So we are not going to talk about this very real issues at okay. I guess we’ll just don’t you and your dad you’re going to get your phone number in case anyone is interested in partnering up with you? Okay, excellent.

Steve: And we did discover that Toni. Loves hugs. So if you ever see her out in the hall or at a conference, just give her a hug. It’s a term in verb. It’s one of her five love languages when of hugging

Andrew: yes, so she has all five love languages like hugs. What else we discuss my acts of service, which I think you could you know, maybe working on the

Steve: tons of access service.

Kurt: Yep. I don’t think compensation is one of those five love languages. Yeah

Toni: compensation is my love language.

Steve: Alright. Anyways, we’re here to talk about klaviyo Con and key takeaways. We did spend a lot of time on that tangent. I apologize for all the listeners out there. What’d you guys think of also day two first thing that happened was Jake Cohen came out and he talked about all the new klaviyo features the the features that I was very impressed at were all the new data Gathering features right now when I need numbers, I actually have to contact my wife who then has to run through all these equations on the Excel spreadsheet. And it gets a little bit cumbersome now. I can just pull all my own data. So I’m very happy.

Kurt: I think the thing I like most about klaviyo con is that all the talks or majority of the talks are Merchants their customers. So it’s not like Shopify staff or klaviyo staff saying, hey drink the Kool-Aid. It’s real people saying look, we’re going to pull back the curtain. This is how we’re using this. So just from like actionable tactical advice. There’s a lot of great stuff but to your point about Jake Cohen keynote this morning. I mean the the features coming down the pipe not necessarily surprising but still seeing the implementation seeing how easy to use these new tools are it’s really phenomenal. Of course like the big one. The one that they the big takeaway is SMS is now SMS. You can now approach in The Identical fashion do email as far as implementation goes.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely and he gave a little demo on stage. It’s it was like two clicks to get that implemented.

Kurt: It was like it’s a checkbox in the preferences panel is the craziest thing.

Steve: Absolutely not Actually refer a lot of beginners over to Klaviyo and what’s nice is and I know they were doing this but they’re actually like scraping your site now so that they’ll grab your logo the grab any sort of graphics and then you instantly have some templates that are customized with your colors right off the bat.

Kurt: I didn’t even know that

Steve: I didn’t even know that either because it’s been so long since I’ve been using it. So

Andrew: I thought the there’s a session he touched on a little bit but I thought the email deliverability where they’re automatically testing and trying to to send over the course of 24 hours and figure out what time is best. I think that’s quite I don’t know you guys would like we do. We don’t do where you just pick a time that we think works well and blast it out the ability to just automatically have that happen and optimize around send times for maximizing open and click-through is pretty cool. Like I

Steve: You know it’s funny Toni. I we had lunch with one of the data scientists that klaviyo because I wanted some clarification on how that works and they released this paper where they were trying to figure out. So what they were originally going to implement was optimal times on a per individual basis. So for example, like you might open your email at 11 I might open at 9 a.m. And that would be the most optimal but they did all these studies and it turns out that I don’t remember what she said was something like you would need like 3,000 emails sent for that individual to gather enough data to do that. And if you don’t have enough data, it’s not going to be accurate. So they’re smart sending feature. What it does. All you have to do is send one broadcast to train when approximately everyone has the highest percentage of open rates and for subsequent campaigns it optimizes and sent at that time in a particular persons time zone and it works a lot better

Toni: and what I want at we talked about this a little bit on the first podcast that we did for day one, but what was really cool is that we sat in the keynote learned about all the new features. We actually had a couple questions about one of the things was the personalized time because it didn’t it wasn’t fully explained in the keynote because there wasn’t time but we had a whole lunch to sit there with the klaviyo data scientists and like ask the hard questions and you know then have her basically say what are you looking at? What do you need? Send me an email? So it’s cool because you learn things in the sessions, but then you have the opportunity to In dive deeper with all the Klaviyo staff that’s here at the conference.

Steve: Absolutely. And I don’t know if I excluded some of you guys from the conversation but me and the data scientist. Her name is Christina. We were kind of geeking out because she went to MIT. I’m gonna look so engineer. She was a material science major and so I just it was just nice to and she was getting really excited to talking about all the stuff. So people out klaviyo are very happy and with their jobs and she was just ecstatic to be talking about these numbers. She even took some notes Down based on what we said, so they’re constantly gathering information. Patrick any key takeaways?

Patrick: Yeah, I think the analytics portion is it seems like everyone had to jump through hoops to get analytics Data before and now it’s going to be right there a couple clicks and you get the data you need and it looks like they’re probably going to get the eventually get the graph data and crunching right on screen as well. So I think it’s going to save a lot of people a lot of time.

Steve: Yeah, so I had a couple things to say just about like the customer analytics because klaviyo has all of your data across your entire store. You can basically get your Revenue numbers based on any segment. So anyone who has spent over $100 and bought red handkerchiefs in the last week. I can easily get a nice graph year over year to see how we’re doing in that in that respect and just to have all that data which is completely accurate since you’re sending all your data to klaviyo is just really powerful. You don’t need to contact your wife for example to get the numbers. I think I already said that right? I probably I’m sorry Jen. I’m really sorry.

Andrew: We love you Jen

Steve: what’s sessions you guys go to I know Toni I went to the chubby session. I don’t think we saw you there which sessions you guys go to

Patrick: try to go to Chubby’s boot was full they will ya what was it was a good

Steve: it was those guys are a riot. I found it hilarious. They what they do is they have they test all these subject lines and they also send emails five times a week, which I thought was pretty insane, but they’re open rates weren’t bad given how much they send. I think they’re average open way was 16% given all their sins. I think you’re the data was not actually 9 percent is what their year-to-date numbers were which I thought were a little low. Because we Toni and I we sat in on a deliverability session once and I think they were telling us that if the deliverability drops below 15% you should be worried about it.

Toni: Yes, one of the things I was actually curious that they didn’t talk about in the session. Although I’m a huge Chubby’s fan. Like I think their marketing is amazing and the two guys that were speaking like were totally brand appropriate but I’m curious if their conversion rates on those emails, right? Because I did, you know, we’ve had this conversation afterwards like nine percent seemed a little low but because like some of their emails are not sale emails at all, right, they’re just random content and so I’m wondering like their conversion rates because they send I think three or four different emails out to right like they have one that’s very specific and then I think they’re Friday one. They said was like the Weekender which is sort of nonsensical a little bit. So I was curious if they didn’t discuss because it wasn’t that wasn’t the topic.

Steve: Well, I’d be more curious what their deliverability rate is right? Because when it drops below 15% that means maybe yahoo, or Microsoft emails as a whole are getting blocked all together.

Toni: Yeah, that’s true.

Steve: Actually, one of the Klaviyo representatives offered to introduce me to the Chubby’s founder. So I’ll have them on the podcast at some point. And if I had the courage I will ask them those hard questions and see what they say.

Kurt: They’re a lot of fun. Let me ask you a question German. What are what are some of the common themes that you’re seeing among Merchants presenting talking whatever it is.

Steve: I think the higher degree of personalization across the emails. I really like what they’ve done with the flow Builder the ability to just Branch depending on the type of customer. I think we Toni and I we touched on this on yesterday’s episode already just you know higher lifetime value customers, you might want to treat a little bit differently versus the ones who might not spend that much or haven’t become customers yet might want to heavily discount just to get them in the door. I think that has been the general theme of the event. I know what do you guys think?

Andrew: It’s a the the own marketing is probably what I would say the biggest thing that they’re pushing. I think it I think it resonates you want to Define what that is for the people who don’t know what that is. So any any marketing channel where you have total control over it? So right Google Facebook Amazon do not count because you’re hitchhiking off. Someone else’s platform some in some way podcasting email direct mail. Those will all be own channels SMS things like that. So I think that’s a huge one that’s been talked about a lot the other one. I’ve seen a lot. I think this is true is like people like if you’re gonna if you’re gonna start a business and run it and sell people stuff like you got to have a better reason than just selling people random stuff and because otherwise it’s hard to stand out. It’s hard to like higher motivated smart people and it’s hard to it’s hard to there’s a lot of noise in the world today, you know, so like having a good why I’m seeing that a lot more with with with companies and Brands.

Steve: Sorry Andrew. What do you sell again?

Andrew: I sell I sell relationships and Community.

Steve: Okay. Yeah.

Andrew: What do you sell digital products IC. Yes digital products longtime member here long time on the beginning. I’ve been to all the e-commerce fuel lives

Andrew: and not so I’m not sure if the 10-year will continue. But yeah

Steve: you know if funny thing we talked about own marketing even with email with Gmail introducing all the different inboxes arguably email is not quite owned either right because you got to stay out of the promotional inbox and Google technically has control over that

Kurt: I like the idea of own marketing, you know, like it’s you know, Amazon, you’re just renting a table at their Marketplace Facebook Google ads you’re renting the traffic from the traffic store, right? And then these other channels really it’s ostensibly you create the content and in talking to the a lot of these Brands and seeing the brands were speaking the common theme was we’re creating entertaining content first. So a lot of people just like really producing lots and lots of content and it’s not necessarily sales content. It’s entertaining content to build a one-on-one relationship and like what a the one of the mantras for Success that I’ve held for years is people buy from people not Brands and to see like an entire conference built around that idea my gosh. So excited but also just thrilled to see actionable ways to do that and people saying like hey the way you make money with these channels is create compelling engaging content and people like and some of the stuff feels like going back to basics.

That we’ve started to overlook in favor of all the shiny toys that are out there like so many people have said we have what flow what’s the one you can’t live without they got welcome series like well, what do you do in the welcome series like, oh, we just trying to introduce people to the brand to us to the team to Ry and like oh, but what about you know products and sales their got that comes later and that like in these are huge Brands big like seven eight figure Brands. So really it’s been been very compelling and inspiring to see that

Steve: absolutely and actually the poster child. I would probably be Chubbies they spent a lot of time on their content and I actually want to just kind of touch on a couple of things one of their men they do an insane number of subject lines. I think I can’t remember who was speaking, Toni?

Kurt: Eric?

Steve: was it was it Eric? But I think they go through like 30 subject lines at least maybe more and they spent a lot of time on that stuff

Toni: they do and but then I think they said they sent they send for

Steve: yes.

Toni: Usually they A/B test with for subject lines, but more importantly in do we talked? I can’t remember we talked about this in our round one, but the preview in the email.

Steve: Yes

Toni: and I know you and I talked about that offline. I can remember if we put that

Steve: No, we put that in there because I wasn’t doing it.

Toni: Yes

Steve: and then you were

Toni: yes, but to see right there. Yeah well to see their preview, you know, what what shows up in the right after and what I thought was interesting we didn’t talk about is the who it’s from where they’re making up those email addresses, which was really cool.

Steve: Yeah. So just to kind of expand upon that they make up funny user names for their emails depending on whatever theme they have. I don’t know if I can replicate them because just the style their emails are really irreverent. Their email subject lines are just so off the wall. And I probably couldn’t do that for like my store, or example. it’d be a lot of fun to do that to be able to put irreverence subject lines. Like what was one of their funny ones? They’re like just off the wall.

Toni: Yeah, very random has nothing really to do with the product. But so I guess I just mind auto-populates, right? So it’s from the actual brand email right? But then like you can also put like someone’s name like I usually put Toni at the oil collection or whatever but they do they create that where you can actually customize enough to be a true email like one of them was like, hello darkness my old friend at Chubbies.com. Right? Like they because it had to do with whatever subject line was or like, is it the weekend yet at Chubbies.com like they change in it’s like really clever and I think it’s just another way to get like be top of mind like look when you get in your inbox, right you’re fighting to get notice and he also said that they try to keep their like actual subject like one a couple words, right?

Steve: Yeah two words, their subject lines are always super short. Yeah. So what they do, I’m just looking at my notes right now. They do a three-hour test when they do there. With test for the highest open rate and then whatever wins they press out to the rest of their list.

Andrew: So this is a little this may be a little niche when you’re not spend too much time on it. But a lot of us here put on events. Like would you guys appreciate about the event or would you have fun with here from an event like an event standpoint as opposed to contest that point because I think that’s fun to geek out on to

Toni: I mean, it’s definitely not as cool as ECF live or seller Summit right? But no actually I will say Adama stickler for events and things running on time like everything’s on time here, you know if session starts at 10 a.m. It is starting at 10:00 a.m. They end on time which is great because sometimes when sessions run along then you’re forced to not get to the next session that you want to go to. Yes just drives me insane when the speaker just keeps talking and you know, you got to shut the mic off whatever but they’ve been running on time. It’s a great venue very walkable area, which I always think is good. They feed you all day long, which is a big deal. Lots of water, coffee. All the standards have that a lot of people don’t necessarily think is important.

It actually is really important to us like a customer to the event and I think what what sets its event apart from other brand events, although I haven’t been to a ton is the amount of like klaviyo people that I can actually solve your problem which we talked a little bit yesterday are the other day on the podcast, but I think that’s a huge benefit to coming here. If you’re a klaviyo user if you want to use klaviyo to its fullest potential like coming here is a good place to be able to figure that out and find like the gaps in your own business.

Kurt: So the swag is a big deal to a lot of conferences. You have the cool swag and it’s like so easy the T-shirt now it sucks. And klaviyo really went next level with swag. So I wore just out of practicality a fanny bag Fanny. Yeah fanny pack to this event only to discover the swag you get when you show up is a fanny pack from a Shopify Merchant. And then as you in the fanny pack is a poker chip that’s has Klaviyo on it. And then as you do different things like get support go to the after-party you get more of these poker chips, and then you can take those to the the swag boo. Which is a Plinko board and you drop the chips into the Plinko board and it spells out. Klaviyo at the bottom and each letter corresponds to a different kind of Swag and the there were like, it was like socks t-shirts. I forgot my sunglasses. So I got some klaviyo blenders, I wear sunglasses which was convenient, but the big hit was like a they’re giving away backpacks that people were really into but it’s always fun to see like, okay not only did they put thought into valuable swag that you’ll actually like use and enjoy later but they made it they gamified it made it this very fun process.

Andrew: This is maybe less exciting but more practical like two things. I thought were cool. It was the paper schedule. We use a nap. Everything’s digital. I hate paper most people hate paper, but I loves this thing. Like I just play time. It’s so much easier. I we’re going to do that at our next event yet. You got one too. That’s great the bells like I think you guys know to like trying to get heard people into sessions at an event is people have great discussions and you don’t want to break those up at the same time like you got to get the the Rolling and the little magic Tinkerbell fellows that Steve you look really you look very beautiful walking around like I don’t know how they got you to do that. But doing the bells,

Toni: like first of all..

Andrew: have a you have a talent for that my friend..

Toni: He had piano lessons for many years as a child.

Andrew: He did?

Toni: So I think that’s part of it but

Andrew: So Graceful wasn’t it?

Toni: but yeah, I’m beautiful and with the to to in Tights as well. Like I feel like that just added

Andrew: I didn’t see that again. He did it again with to to tights?

Toni: On day 2, it was day one. Day two he was wearing regular clothes. Yeah

Andrew: we will post some pictures in the show notes here if you want to see those, so

Toni: I actually asked Steve about getting the bells because I do I agree with you. It’s hard to get people back in session and then it’s annoying when they’re coming in and out and the door and he said, you know Toni we don’t have the budget for that right but I have but I have a megaphone.

Andrew: To tos are very expensive

Toni: he has a megaphone at home. So we’re good. I’m just going to walk through blast and people with a megaphone at seller Summit, you know, and I feel like that’s that’s in line with the type of event. We like to run.

Andrew: Yeah see thank you for inviting us to come on your body.

Steve: Yes. I’ve been like you can’t see me but Been fighting to grab the mic backs as we have two mics. We got five people here and we’re passing around. So would you say you just you didn’t mention like you like the paper schedules would you say it’s more valuable than a nap Andrew?

Andrew: more valuable than a nap? This is a trick question. I think both are very important and I think

Steve: Course you do, Kiss Ass haha

Andrew: I think they are like we are..

Steve: have vendors already afraid of Tony that’s even better long. She’s already terrified.

Andrew: Yes. I know. So will you guys we have an app for our conference? And they’re great. They’re good for messaging and stuff. But like it’s also the schedules the best part about the paper.

Steve: So I want to switch gears a little bit from not making fun of me. Do some key takeaways for the event It’s the final day here. We’re almost done with the event. You want to start Kurt? What are your key takeaways from the event

Kurt: when I get back to my office. I think the the thing I want to do is pick a couple retainer clients and just start going through their flows and trying to reconcile what they’re doing and all of the phenomenal advice I got here like so many people is what’s the one flow and like browse abandonment welcome series and all with this customer service Focus. So I really wanted like with a critical eye go back and look and make sure that we’re doing a good job of engaging and entertaining and delivering that like personal content that Brands like Chubbies are doing so well that I think everybody and you don’t have to do it like the irreverent funny way the Chubbies does but you can certainly make things like they don’t have to be so stuffy and business and corporate that we can leave to the Enterprise, Organizations and instead it approach things in a much more human way. So I think that’s

Steve: I didn’t realize you could copy writing is part of your services. Do you?

Kurt: I have a little bit everything.

Steve: Okay.

Kurt: Now when we do specifically like email setups and email management and as part of that I just I let my inner copywriter out.

Steve: Let me ask you this. What is what is one feature that was announced that you plan on thoroughly integrating with your clients.

Kurt: So number one the smarts end times that’s just like in a single checkbox immediate win. So they said it soon as I say something. It’s gonna do it again. It was with the smart. Sometimes they said on average. It was a 10 percent lift and open rates. That’s a single option that will make that work better. So all right easy win. Everybody makes more money if I enable that feature

Steve: absolutely

Kurt: and yeah that one number one and I think that’s all I got, now go back.

Steve: I’m not editing this

Kurt: not like I gotta go back go back through it. Everybody’s doing welcome series of browse abandonment like everybody asks, what’s the one thing you can’t live without it was browser Bandit welcome series over and over. So I think I need to re review and make sure everybody you’re running both of those and I think the way to supercharge that is to do because personalization was a common theme.

Steve: Yep

Kurt: like a browser abandonment. It works. It’s nice to make a customer service focused but it could be a little generic. I think the magic is in let’s take this idea of personalization apply it to browse abandonment where we do different browser abandonment flows and you could do like split flows and klaviyo now where it’s depending on what category they viewed

Steve: right

Kurt: That’s a very easy flow filter to apply you could filter by collection. So it’s like oh they viewed wallets. All right, then the browse abandonment email is actually an email about which wallets right for me like that kind of thing. So it’s rough start repurposing that content making it very you focused on the customer and just help them by engaging them in this customer service oriented way. I think that’s how we’re going to start selling and really Separating these the small business brands from the the big news cpg Procter & Gamble direct to Consumer brands that are cropping up

Steve: cool, Youdarien, what do you got?

Andrew: I think takeaways are get better about sending email email sound like you mentioned testing that more because I we’re horrible at it. Really? I am Patrick maybe..

Patrick: Don’t blame me I’ve only been there for four months haha

Steve: so just for the record you guys can’t see this, but Andrew said he sucks at and then he looked over at Patrick

Andrew: and said maybe You’re better at this

Steve: I never blame anyone but myself. When..

Andrew: is that true Toni?

Toni: Yes that’s so true

Steve: just a testament to my character

Toni: I’m not sure about that Steve

Andrew: and thrown a lot of rocks from living in a glass room. Literally. So yeah, I think I mean that’s a big one. I think the one to is thinking about just like nurturing. There’s a couple good campaigns on nurturing and nourishing people throughout your throne. Like I got I won’t I’m not blaming Patrick showed up Steve’s got me all defensive but like our nurture series is pretty bad and the opt-ins are horrible on her blog like we just I think we really I need to really redesign it. We’re going to work on this together. But so that was one thing and I think another one was also like SMS is there are some SMS companies floating around it’s not hugely widely used thing for a lot of merchants right now. And I think it is of all of the marketing mediums that have the potential to backfire. I think this one’s pretty as a lot of potential to do that because maybe people are different.

I am very sensitive to the marketing messages I go with text. Text from you like every personal Channel, you know, and like I if I get some messages from Brand, I really love for product really am interested in and it stays like much money. Okay, maybe that’s fine. But if I start getting spammed by text, it will create an emotional it has in the past create an emotional backlash with me and I think Brands should be really careful how they I can be super powerful, but I think you’ll be really careful. Otherwise, you’re going to alienate a lot of customers.

Steve: I know for SMS for me. I think I will probably only use it like as a last resort if people aren’t opening emails may be just as Of like a last ditch effort to give him some sort of discount or some sort of piece of content that I know they want to click over or have them re– opt into some other series. I’ll probably also use it. Maybe this is an e-commerce related but for webinars just to kind of remind people that the webinar starting soon. That’s probably something that might not be that intrusive. But but I agree if it’s just for to announce the latest sale that can get annoying real quick. All right, Patrick. What do you got man?

Patrick: I think data points. We have a lot of data points and I think we use them effectively enough to personalize the email Series. So I think playing with those and the sin x might help our deliverability and open rates, but also but also playing around with the subject lines make a little more fun with that and changing all of our from addresses to see wears a pink tutu at e-commercefuel.com would be perfect. So definitely a great takeaway from this conference. I can Implement that tomorrow.

Andrew: Steve do you know anyone that can do really good Photoshop work for us totally unrelated totally relate, but do you know anyone?

Steve: anyway next question so my key takeaway was I like Kurt I actually haven’t been using a whole lot of the personalization features in my flows and I actually created all my flows back when they didn’t have that whole new flow bloat Builder. So I actually have multiple flows that kind of overlap and I exclude the people on the other flows when I do it. So right now it’s a complete mess and I just need to kind of redo all of them and you can you can consolidate a bunch of flows because you can do conditional stuff within the flow builder now to really simplify things. So that’s kind of next on my objective

Toni: what I love about events. Like this is that you tend to get an aha moment sometimes based on multiple things you heard so yesterday they talked about gender predictive feature, which I was like cool. I don’t know how I’d use that most of my customers are female. But then as I started thinking about it today and having other conversations, I realized that actually I do have Male purchases and it’s always a gift right and then I started thinking well, it’s always a gift. They always come organically and they never use a coupon. So I never want to send them a coupon right because they’re going to buy without a coupon. So I said we were at lunch and we were talking to the data scientist and I was like, oh, I got it. Like I need to make sure that I’m segmenting my people so that they’re not getting a coupon because they’ll never they don’t need to use one and I think a lot of times guys when they’re looking for gifts aren’t likely to use a coupon anyway, so that was my big aha moment.

Steve: Clearly. Those guys are not Asian because yeah,

Toni: yeah

Steve: I use a coupon whenever I can

Toni: I yeah, I and I don’t pull the I don’t use the data like I should but I know just from like especially early on

Steve: noticed there wasn’t like a racial setting on on the klaviyo thing.

Toni: I’m not even gonna respond to that

Steve: I think I’m gonna cut that one out.

Andrew: steve, when you’re shopping for presents for Jen you go and find like half a dozen coupons and then pick from those for the present?

Steve: They don’t have coupons for Cartier, Tiffany’s and all those high-end high-end retailers and

Toni: Walmart’s already discounted enough so you don’t need a coupon right, Steve?

Steve: So I’m going to end this podcast a little bit earlier than I typically do. We’re in a soundproof booth right now, but the ceiling is wide open and we’re sitting right outside of the main hall and people are sent to exit right now. But I hope you guys appreciate this little recap and in the roasting I guess

Toni: this is going to be your most popular podcast ever

Steve: just show me your support by leaving some in the comments in defensive me, please and

Andrew: and just for the record if you didn’t hear at the beginning our defensive Toni and her support, it was edited out by Steve write to him at Steve@mywifequitherjob.com and ask him to include that back into the podcast because it’s an important piece and I mean, I just I think it’s important

Steve: what’s funny is This is all plotted while I went to the bathroom. I had to go to the bathroom before we started recording and then they plotted this whole thing. They know I can’t really edit it out. And then Toni was probably the Mastermind. I’m guessing

Toni: in all seriousness this in all seriousness. This is why you should attend these events because you get together with people that you usually only see online and you’re able to share ideas you joke around you can rip on each other. It’s pretty cool side benefit of being here. So thank you Steve for being a good sport.

Steve: I don’t know if I call this people my friends but we do but we do see each other once or twice a year and it’s a lot of fun.

Andrew: I know Toni and Kurt, I consider you a good friends.

Steve: So, all right. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode as it was a departure from one of my typical episodes. And as you can probably tell going to events with your friends and fellow podcasters can be a lot of fun. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode276.

And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode and inviting me to the event now. Klaviyo 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.

Oh, I also want 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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Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?


If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

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275: Email Marketing Takeaways From Klaviyo Boston Day 1 With Toni Anderson

275: Key Takeaways From Klaviyo Boston Day 1 With Toni Anderson

Today, I’m with my partner Toni Anderson and we’re reporting live at the Klaviyo conference in Boston. Unlike other company sponsored events, what sets Klaviyo-con apart from the rest is the insane employee to attendee ratio.

At Klaviyo-con, there’s literally 1 employee to answer questions for every 2 attendees which is crazy. In this episode, Toni and I share our key email marketing takeaways from Klaviyo Boston Day 1.

What You’ll Learn

  • An overview of Klaviyo Boston
  • New flow features that you have to use now to improve your email conversions
  • Small tweaks you can make to drastically improve your open rate
  • How to use data science to improve your email marketing revenue

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Klaviyo

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Privy

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now, I just got back from Klaviyo annual conference in Boston and I came back with a bunch of email marketing takeaways that I’m going to share with you in this episode along with my partner, Toni Anderson. Now, I thought that I was doing everything possible with my email marketing but there are some new features that I now have to implement with my e-commerce store.

But before we begin, I want to give quick shout out to 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.

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. My partner, Toni Anderson and I are live in Boston at Klaviyo Con number 2. Now, what’s funny is Toni and I we were at this event last year and it was only 300 people, right?

Toni: Yeah way bigger this year.

Steve: Way bigger, I would say it’s more than double the size.

Toni: Absolutely. But what I think is amazing in Klaviyo Con and if you haven’t been you have to go is that they have one Klaviyo person for every two attendees at the event.

Steve: That is correct. Every single person at the company comes. I think what they’re 300 people there. And so yeah two to one ratio. So what’s great about this event, which is unlike any other company based event that I’ve been to is that they offer like free consulting services for Klaviyo. So they have dedicated time where you can just pull any Klaviyo person side and get personalized help on your email marketing campaigns.

Toni: And everywhere you go in the convention center. There are tables with people with their Klaviyo jackets on with open laptop. To ready to help you like I don’t think there was one point the entire day when you and I walked around where there wasn’t opportunity to talk to somebody from Klaviyo.

Steve: What’s funny is we run an event together and this is not a low-budget Affair.

Toni: No.

Steve: I was walking down they offer breakfast coffee all day the stage looked amazing.

Toni: It did, beautiful

Steve: And I was like Toni, you know, what do we get that stage for Seller Summit? And then you told me you gave me a number and I was shocked by how much they are spending on this event. I’m pretty sure they’re not making a profit on the event.

Toni: No, I mean it’s all the money that I think your ticket goes to is to create an atmosphere where you can learn as much as possible about all the amazing tools and features that Klaviyo has.

Steve: Yes, it is all about the community and the fact that every single employee is there. I’m just wondering who’s running the company

Toni: the actually was wondering that we were sitting in the session this morning. I thought well, what if there’s like a problem?

Steve: Yeah.

Toni: Who are you talking to?

Steve: Maybe the engineers stayed behind?

Toni: No, there were there were some engineer looking dude. I saw the Asians.

Steve: Engineer looking dudes, please clarify when engineering looking Dude Looks Like please Man

Toni: I, we don’t have to do that.

Steve: Get you on the podcast and insult me. So what was also amazing about Klaviyo was last year when we were here. They said they had like ten thousand brand signed on and this year, they said they had 20,000 Brands.

Toni: Yeah

Steve: 2x increase and 2x increase in the number of employees and they also decided this one statistic which was about Black Friday and I think what was it like five billion dollars were made over Black Friday weekend and they went through their statistics in Klaviyo and Klaviyo was responsible for 40 million of that which is almost a percent.

Toni: Yeah, that’s phenomenal

Steve: Which is crazy. I didn’t even realize so many people were so many larger companies were using Klaviyo. So the event was packed. We actually had some problems getting in some sessions, but the few that we did go to work good.

Toni: Yeah

Steve: So what I thought we would do is kind of do a little breakdown of the sessions that we went to. Do you have any comments about the keynote per se?

Toni: I always think it’s interesting to listen to a brand keynote just to hear about their growth and their strategies for growing their business what I like about what they’re doing is it feels like all their growth is centered around helping the consumer being the users of Klaviyo grow their businesses. So I just think that that all the statistics they shared this morning, were pretty I don’t know if we can get a copy that they had the slide where it showed all their users. So klaviyo customers connected to those customer’s customers.

Steve: Yes and of just covering the entire world.

Toni: Yes, like the entire Globe had like these connections, which I thought was if you could I’m sure they’ll give that to you could add it to the show notes, but that was pretty phenomenal think about like how many people are touched on a daily basis just by email marketing

Steve: What I actually liked was instead of making people come to an event. They actually went around and put events all across the country for their customers.

Toni: Yeah, right.

Steve: I don’t know of any other company that does that but I guess the fact that they’re doing really well they can do this and it just shows that they’re the care that they have for the customer makes them loyal customers in the more people just sign on.

Toni: I think there was even a comment. One of the Keynotes this afternoon where it said everything is so integrated into the date of the klaviyo provides that you can’t switch email service providers.

Steve: Oh, yeah. Yeah, like I’m on klaviyo you’re on klaviyo and once you once you’re pregnant, I want to say pregnant with their service like you can’t you can’t get out of there because all of your data is just in there and all the data is necessary to create all these segments that you can use to to increase revenue for like your best sellers.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: All right. So let’s switch gears and talk about the first session that we went to it was from Alexandra Edelstein who spoke at seller Summit at the seller Summit. She was talking about segmentation, but this time around she was talking about flows and just to be clear flows and klaviyo land are autoresponder sequences that pretty much generate revenue for your store on autopilot. And if you followed my blog for quite some time, I have an article in there. About all the email autoresponders that I use but klaviyo over the years have introduced additional features into their flow Builder that allow you to dig a lot deeper into these flows. And I know after listening to Alex’s talk. I’m going to be making some significant changes to my flows to take advantage of these features and let’s go over some of these features you want to start?

So the first feature that’s been in there for quite some time is and this is really hard. You’re not actually using the tool but it’s the ability to Branch your autoresponder sequences based on customer data. So for example, let’s say someone abandons the cart right? Right now, the way I have it is I send out a generic abandoned cart email after 4 hours and if they still haven’t made a purchase I send them another abandoned cart email after day and then finally another one after two days, but what you can do in klaviyo now is you can Branch based on new and old customers. So let’s say I have a customer who is never purchased from us and we want them to just spend money and we want them to make a purchase because we know that someone who has purchased as 60% more likely to make another purchase.

You just want to get them to spend any amount of money in that abandoned cart sequence. I’m not giving out a coupon but what I might want to do is for a brand new customer give them a coupon just so they become a customer whereas if it’s an old customer has already purchased before chances are those people might not need a coupon and I wouldn’t want to present a coupon to them because I know they’re going to buy no matter what.

Toni: Yeah, and I thought it was interesting to she talked about basing doing a split based on the product like that was in the band and cart hmm where you can change the subject line based on product, which I thought was pretty cool.

Steve: Yes, actually I think one of her examples was based on the value of the items in the cart.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: So someone only has like 5 bucks in their cart, you’re not going to offer them a coupon right? They’re low value customer but let’s say there were way old, let’s say they’re spending like $500 in their cart you want to do like you have more wiggle room to provide a discount in that case since you might want to Discount 10 or 20% in there.

Toni: Right. So the fact that you can like completely customize the customer experience based on the value of the items in the cart what’s in the cart likes pretty amazing because it’s true like the $5 customer or the $20 customer you’re going to treat very differently than the customer that’s going to spend $500. And then the other thing that I thought was interesting is they talked about you can send automations based on the expected date of the next order.

Steve: Yes.

Toni: Which first of all just like mind-blowing.

Steve: So that opens a whole can of worms, right? So klaviyo, I think last year they introduced all these data science features. So there’s lifetime value. Acted date of next order they even have a predicted gender.

Toni: Yes.

Steve: Feature where I think based on the name of the customer they can infer whether it’s a male or female and you can dynamically change your emails imagery. So for example, let’s say we know it’s a female we’d want to show them pictures of women’s clothes as opposed to men’s clothes. Whereas if it was Steve they’d want to show me like guys clothing right so you can customize dynamically on that level.

Toni: I think you can even I think for me like just thinking about how I would use that in my own business is just changing even the verbiage like in the subject line of an email or in the email body and

Steve: To make it more girly.

Toni: Yeah or to make it more like direct and to-the-point. I mean hate to be stereotypical here, but..

Steve: Well no, for a guy be direct to the point.

Toni: Exactly.

Steve: Okay, what’s an example of like a female subject like?

Toni: Like more emojis in the subject line, like over-the-top verbiage, you know, lots of, lots of punctuation. I think I would be testing that if I was dividing it by gender.

Steve: Which brings me to the next feature that everyone should be using which is AB testing. What’s cool about klaviyo is like I’ve used five email marketing tools over the years and typically the way you set up an a/b test is you literally write two different emails. Then you send it out twice and you figure out who wins within Klaviyo, you can do it within a flow and this is if you’re not using the tool it’s really hard to visualize this but they have this email autoresponder Builder. That’s like drag and drop and what you can do is you can actually drag this A/B test lock in there and then write two emails and then instantly it just automatically A/B test within the flow and as soon as you pick a winner, you literally just delete the email that lost and that way you have the most optimal email autoresponder in there.

Toni: That’s actually one of my favorite features that they have. That makes it so much

Steve: Yeah, it makes it more convenient like other tools have this feature, but it’s much easier to use with klaviyo.

Toni: And then I like the fact that they talk about and this is something that I’m not doing but that you can tag profiles inflows to update them in the flow. Once you talked about. So once someone does it creates a certain action at tags them so then it it changes where they are in the flow. And remember when she was talking with that is towards the end.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah, I have that right?

Toni: I think it’s newer. It’s a newer feature. She said I think they rolled out in the past couple months.

Steve: That’s right. If someone is made their first order, what you do is you can tag them and time stamp that so that maybe after one year, for example, we sell wedding handkerchiefs. We’d want to stamp them in after a year. Wish them a happy anniversary and maybe after the second anniversary, which is the Cotton anniversary entice them to get hankies again.

Toni: And in seven years they get

Steve: Seven years to get well, yeah, seven years the running joke between Toni and I is that after seven years, that’s like the typical divorce period so after seven years send them another email automatically see, hey, sorry it didn’t work out. But

Toni: Here’s a hankie to dry your tears.

Steve: Here’s a hankie to dry your tears.

Toni: One thing I was going to actually ask you about I was just curious because we heard this several times today. Do you use emojis in any of your email? So

Steve: I do not.

Toni: Okay, I’ve started testing it and it’s actually works really well, but I wonder if it’s because my audience is primarily female. Although yours is probably to for

Steve: It actually is.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Well, no actually for the blog too the readers are mostly women over the age of 35. So

Toni: We love emojis

Steve: I was just going to say as a woman over the age of

Toni: 27

Steve: 27

Toni: right

Steve: You like emojis or

Toni: I’ve noticed in my open rates have increased since I’ve started adding them.

Steve: That’s not what I was asking you. Are you more likely to open and email

Toni: Yeah

Steve: Because of an emoji?

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Are there any specific emojis that work better than others?

Toni: The ones that I the ones that I personally relate to the laughing, crying one, big eye. You know, what the heck’s going on, but I think it also can correlate to your email subject. Right? Like I sent an email out the other day and I said something about something being on life support,.

Steve: Friyay?

Toni: Friyay, that’s, I love Friyay, I sent out about being on life support and I added a little ambulance and then like the shocked face and the open rate was pretty good. And I feel like is it correlated to my topic but I’ve been testing it for probably six weeks now and my open rates are increasing and that’s really the only thing I’ve changed in the email so

Steve: I know for me emojis are a big turn-off.

Toni: Yes. I know that’s why I was curious about you using them.

Steve: I probably I mean if I don’t like them, I probably won’t use them

Toni: Right

Steve: Although like because you can do gender-based split.

Toni: That’s what I was thinking.

Steve: Right. Perhaps I would do Emojis for women over the age of 27 like yourself.

Toni: Yes. Absolutely.

Steve: And for guys to be like yo

Toni: you could do like the fist bump emoji.

Steve: Oh Yeah the fist bump I might open a fist bump Emoji actually. Yeah.

Toni: but I noticed that like two of the speaker’s today mentioned it in their talks

Steve: Emojis?

Toni: I feel like this is it’s clearly a trend but I’ve been getting emails from like big Brands like Macy’s type size brands with emojis in them now.

Steve: Really?

Toni: Yeah

Steve: Macy’s.

Toni: I don’t know if it’s Macy’s but like brands on that

Steve: What if you’re like bank send you emails with Emojis? I probably wouldn’t fly right

Toni: the bags of money.

Steve: I don’t want Bank of America sending me like fist-bump emojis or whatnot. So it depends on the business folks one thing that I also I found kind of neat was they have location-based also. So let’s say your shipping worldwide. You might only want to offer free shipping if they are located geographically in the United States as opposed. We actually ran into this problem the other day, we offer free shipping over the orders over the over 75 bucks, but then we had an international customer as their shopping. We had this like countdown right countdown to free shipping and she obtained free shipping. We don’t actually know where she’s located until after she starts checking out and she was she thought she was getting free shipping, but she didn’t. But anyway bottom line here is you can easily do that in your email to just make it clear that free shipping is only for U.S People and the international people won’t see that, you know.

Toni: Something they talked about later today that I thought was really interesting. And I wanted to chat with you about it is the cross selling and advertising versus email your when she discussed that it was the skincare lady this afternoon where she talked about taking the email addresses and instead of like using them to instead of marketing to them via email. They actually use them for like custom audiences and Facebook to cross-sell.

Steve: Yeah, that’s actually something we do but only with emails who have not opened with a certain period so essentially people who just have an open for a while and instead of just deleting them or just sunsetting them you want to do something with them and sometimes they’re not opening emails, but they’re on Facebook or Instagram and they can see those ads. So one thing that we do in that respect is we take some of our people who have bought before but haven’t bought in a long time have an open an email a long time and we try to get them back on with some sort of give away or some sort of like free plus shipping offer and that sort of thing or like a free hanky with any purchase and that usually gets them back on once they make a purchase again for some reason after they make a Purchase, they’re more likely to open the emails after.

All right. So one other thing that I thought was pretty cool and this is something that I personally am not doing is doing testing based on the weight periods for win back campaigns in abandoned cart. So when you do an abandoned cart, like I think I don’t know why I chose four hours perhaps I was just a default example.

Toni: I think it’s the default.

Steve: Yeah

Toni: In the system. Yeah.

Steve: But you can test that dynamically split test. I guess it’s not considered a split test, but you can dynamically test different wait times to see which one converts the best for the first email second and third email for win back campaigns, which is when someone buys something but hasn’t bought in a long time. You can kind of test this and figure out the approximate period when someone is going to purchase again, and then use that number.

Toni: Well another thing that she talked about in her session this morning was when you’re hitting them with the expected purchase again flow and she said she talked about a company that had 13 emails in the flow and everyone was in the room sort of had the appearance. That was too many and she said the open rate was over 30% on the final email and the conversion rate was 13% So I think the message in that was like tested length of your flows. So as opposed to like thinking well, this is like a four email flow like try different amounts of emails because the one who emailed people the longest was actually the best one remember her talking about that this morning

Steve: I do in my opinion there is.

Toni: Do you agree with that?

Steve: No well. No, it’s not that agree with it. There’s no flow that is too long.

Toni: Okay

Steve: In my opinion.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Like the more times you contact the customer the more sales you going to make so like our flows. We just continuously add to them because we know that every email is going to lead to some money

Toni: But do you think because I notice that my own flows that like, I feel like the farther out they get the lower the open rate unless

Steve: Absolutely

Toni: Very specific like sometimes I’ll shift the emails around because I know an email just performs better because it’s just a catchy or topic. So I’ll move it farther in the flow, but I noticed like a sort of seems like a decline. I was actually surprised by that statistic.

Steve: Yeah, actually, I didn’t know I’d have to see the nature that email. I wonder why that one last email did so well.

Toni: Yeah, I wonder if it was like a last chance or

Steve: maybe it was just like free merchandise.

Toni: Yeah, everything’s free in the store

Steve: Yeah right

Toni: Just pay shipping.

Steve: Yeah. So one thing that they did talk about was your implementing all these automated flows and they can clash with each other and Klaviyo has this feature where you can make sure that you’re not sending more than one email per day so that they’re not getting like four emails and an autoresponder sequence having the same time. And what you can do is you can prioritize the autoresponder over the broadcast because one thing that I can’t remember who, was it Alex said this? That the flow emails tend to always perform better than your broadcast campaigns.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: So you want to prioritize the flows over the campaign’s

Toni: so you would set the black

Steve: there’s a button. I can’t remember what it’s called

Toni: Yes, smarts endings.

Steve: smarts endings. that’s correct. That’s what it is.

Toni: So you set that for your broadcast. You keep your flow going.

Steve: That’s correct.

Toni: But you’d make it work.

Steve: Yes, that’s correct. That’s correct. We’ve been jumping around here. I have in my notes here. Just more on the tagging different uses of the ability to tag a specific user. If someone shops in a certain category or opens email in a certain category, you can tag them and say let’s say they’re interested in oil necklaces, right and that way later on you can just Branch saying I only want to send people interested in oil necklaces this particular email and all other categories it different in your flow

Toni: I think that’s really valuable if you have like if your SKUs are wildly different. So let’s just say you’re selling like for you.

Steve: Well, we have a whole bunch of categories, right?

Toni: Yeah, right. So you have your napkins

Steve: Napkins, hankies, towels, aprons, pocket squares

Toni: But your apron purchasers are probably never a pocket purchaser.

Steve: They’ll never going to buy a hankie.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: That’s correct.

Toni: So to be able to I think if it in any business where you like have these different some businesses just don’t have that. They saw a couple of Using they’re all very similar, but I think really closely what you’re doing. Like I think for me with the jewelry, I would probably tag it by like either type of jewelry. Like are they getting the higher value of the higher price jewelry the lower-priced jewelry. Like are they sort of a bargain customer?

Steve: Yeah.

Toni: Because there is two different Shoppers, which I know or based on like style and design

Steve: right

Toni: So I would tag them that way because my SKUs are all very similar like you’re buying jewelry. You’re buying jewelry, but I think for you, you know, anyone who’s got in a store that they have multiple categories. It’s huge right because you don’t ever have to send your apron people.

Steve: Yeah. I mean just to be clear this functionality was already in Klaviyo. Like you can create a segment of everyone who’s purchased aprons and do a broadcast their what this what these new features that they released allow you to do a dynamically within an autoresponder sequence. That’s the distinction there. You mentioned high and low value customers, right?

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: You can branch dynamically based like if you have a high value customer, you know, they purchase from you multiple times and they purchase a high value. You should be treating those people differently. Offering them perhaps Loyalty Rewards or something like that. Whereas someone who might not have purchased before or they have something really low in their cart. Maybe you just, them purchased for you definitely want to just try to get them to purchase but let’s say they purchase from you before and they are a low value customer. Maybe you might be less inclined to give them a discount or whatever. I don’t know you it’s important to treat them differently because with our store I think 10 percent of our customers generate over 50 percent of revenues like our largest customers.

If you sell on Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com. Now back to the show.

Toni: So I was actually curious about that because they talked about that a little bit this afternoon with the Loyalty program actually haven’t done anything like that.

Steve: I haven’t either

Toni: Have you had any students with success?

Steve: With a loyalty program? The reason why we haven’t done it first of all is because we’re weddings, right? I mean if they’re loyal and that means it has a lot of weddings, right?

Toni: They need to get a reality TV show exactly.

Steve: Yeah, in terms of loyalty. I guess you’d be more for people who have items

Toni: consumables.

Steve: Consumables. Yeah. Yeah, maybe like pet products or something like that.

Toni: Yeah and the beauty space right? all those product.

Steve: Correct. Correct. I mean, did you see any reason for your products to do that?

Toni: I mean ours are more. You just want more different styles, right? So there’s not a lot of you don’t buy something again the same exact product. Right?

Steve: Right. So for you be more like cross-sells. Yes on what they bought right? So if they bought a bracelet you might show them more bracelets or oils.

Toni: I’d actually show them a necklace that they bought a bracelet

Steve: A necklace. Okay.

Toni: they’re probably not going to buy a second bracelet.

Steve: that makes sense. Yeah. Well they have two wrists

Toni: just go all out.

Steve: Yeah.

Toni: I was just curious about that because that’s not something that I’ve even really looked into initially when I got started. It was something I was interested in and I didn’t feel like a good fit but I didn’t know if you had any students with.

Steve: not that I know of

Toni: because I feel like with a loyalty program to you might be able to get your recurring what you could get people in a flow or even not you know.

Steve: yeah, actually one thing that was mentioned in Alex’s talk. What did Alex’s talk was? You know for your best customers you can offer like double loyalty point base.

Toni: Yes right

Steve: to get them to buy it’s kind of like the way we do with credit card points, right? There are certain purchases that will give you 5x and almost always fall for that.

Toni: Yeah, like it use it at the gas pump and

Steve: yeah, you get 5x.

Toni: Yeah

Steve: at the grocery store or buy a plane ticket today, you’ll get three extra points for that plane ticket.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah.

Toni: It definitely works I just I want to see it in e-commerce.

Steve: Yeah, for sure. What was the I think it was smiled at I/O, right? What’s the service that? As well, that’s correct. So one other thing that I thought was cool that I did not know was a feature in Klaviyo was they actually provide benchmarks for what your open rates click-through rates and conversion rates are across different Industries. And the the slide went by really quick, but I noticed there was like arts and crafts, beauty, furniture all these different categories. So you can kind of Compare the numbers that you’re getting and your sequences what other people who are running similar businesses as you. Do you notice that?

Toni: I tried to get. Well there’s a lady in front of me. They kept moving her head. So I was trying to snag pictures of some of the slides just so we’d have them to refer back to you but I didn’t get

Steve: yeah, I’m going to ask Klaviyo for those slides actually because maybe I’ll post in the show notes because it’s pretty interesting.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: I think I was doing worse than I was looking in the arts and crafts. That was just the first one. Yes, we’re technically that arts and crafts. But..

Toni: yeah, it’s actually I think that’s pretty interesting though because I feel like right now the only Baseline I have is talking to other Sellers and you know kind of getting an idea of what their open rate is. I mean you and I have this conversation a lot with blogs emails.

Steve: Yes.

Toni: So but you know, we’re not even the same industry.

Steve: That’s correct. Yeah, the table was pretty big for what I remember. So

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: It’s just interesting. I like the open rates for really high. I remember thinking they’re all 32 percent plus.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: So I’m just wondering like if the data is just kind of SKUs towards like the most active customers that people are sending to I don’t know.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: I didn’t get to see the fine print on the graph. But if I can get a chance to get that information, I’ll post in the show notes

Toni: random side note nothing to do with this conference, but I did I started testing putting not a video in my email but a link to a video and adding video in my subject line and my open rates went up about 10%

Steve: Really?

Toni: My click through rates went up from about 2 percent to about 7 percent.

Steve: By just saying you had a video? Where do we just get that from

Toni: Fincon.

Steve: Fincon that’s where

Toni: Yeah, so I thought well, I’ll just try it like I’ll do it and I had videos that I could use like or very organically it wasn’t forced. I think if you could do quick product videos showcasing products, if you have especially if you’re doing an email about a new product and you can do it, you know those videos where it’s like lots of images in short bursts. So the video itself is only like 20 seconds

Steve: You know, what’s ironic about that is if I see video in the subject line, I’m not gonna open the emails I got no time to watch a video. I’m like a text-based person, but maybe it’s just our generation. Are you a video person or?

Toni: I never thought about the fact that if I was more or less inclined to open an email that said video in the title, but I do watch a lot of video.

Steve: Oh you do?

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Okay for like an e-commerce store.

Toni: Yeah. I’ll watch yeah, I’d rather watch a video than read an article.

Steve: Really?

Toni: Yeah. Okay, maybe like we’ve had this conversation, I’d Rather Go on YouTube to learn how to do something.

Steve: Well, that’s if you’re learning how to do something but

Toni: but even gaining information I’d say

Steve: So you’d rather watch like a 10 minute video than read an article that you can just kind of refer back to.

Toni: I guess it depends on the topic. So let’s say

Steve: let’s say it’s yeah, let’s say it’s the autoresponder sequences how to implement autoresponder sequences. Would you rather watch a video on that or would you rather watch like a nice poet look at a nice post with examples and images that show exactly what’s in each email and how to set everything up step by step.

Toni: I’d want some static images, but then I probably watching video.

Steve: Really?

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Okay. Actually I knew that about you. Yeah.

Toni: Yeah, but I know that like I, my SKU older right? So like so my generation is actually less inclined to want to video but like what is the stats that I think we found that out last year you’d like 25 to 40. It’s like 22 like that age group is way more likely to watch a video

Steve: 25 to 40

Toni: is it? I don’t know what it is. Like it’s bit of there’s there’s a chunk of age that I’m not in so 10 to 20

Steve: just for the record Toni is now within the band she just specified.

Toni: But the younger generation is way more likely to watch a video than they are to read an article. So to me, if you have a product and you want to demonstrate like how to use the product how the product integrates in your lifestyle even talking about the product like I would probably do a video and add that in my email

Steve: Oh since we’re on this topic. I heard that gifts or do you say gifts or GIFs?

Toni: GIFs that lady said it wrong today.

Steve: No, I thought it was GIFs, GIFs work. Well for email for click-through rate?

Toni: Yes.

Steve: Yes. Absolutely, which is also something that I’m not doing.

Toni: Yeah

Steve: Right now.

Toni: You know those part of it is like does it fit the brand?

Steve: I think anything can be made to fit the brand right a GIF doesn’t mean it has to be cheesy like someone dancing or whatever. It can just be like different different angles of the image animated. So I will get you looking at GIFs yes.

Toni: Yes. Can we take a poll? Can you take a poll in this podcast?

Steve: Okay, fine. Yeah, we can I guess if you think it’s GIFs, you agree with Toni then leave a comment. But if you agree with me do not leave a comment.

Toni: Oh ha ha. That’s unfair.

Steve: Ha ha All right. So that’s I think that sums up everything for Alex’s talk. Did you have any comments about the Keynotes?

Toni: I actually wrapped some of the keynote stuff in

Steve: You did. Okay.

Toni: Yeah, so I was going through my slide pictures. You know one thing I thought was interesting the first lady. I’m trying to get the brand

Steve: Co Paris

Toni: Co Paris?

Steve: I think was Co Paris

Toni: Co Paris is a beauty product.

Steve: Yes. Coconut. Coconut Beauty.

Toni: Yeah. One thing I thought was interesting is when she was talking about starting out with the company and I think she said she was there first employee and the very first big promotion they had they had an email list of what under 300, 300 people are so and she sent out a launch email, but they didn’t have the product or website. So it was a major blunder.

Steve: Yes.

Toni: Because she sent us out and actually was surprised. She didn’t lose her job to be honest, but maybe she was there weren’t a lot of people in the company but I think what I learned from that is, you know, you can make mistakes when you’re testing things out like when you’re getting started. I think there’s a lot of people that won’t try something because they’re afraid it doesn’t work. But I think she was proof that like they made a lot of mistakes early on in the company with email marketing and they still have grown to be a substantial company. They’re in what Sephora couple other stores I think pretty big brand

Steve: a snapshot of her klaviyo account is like a million bucks.

Toni: So I mean, I think when you’re listening to some of these tools are these features and Klaviyo, sometimes they’re a little overwhelming to implement but I think it’s important to start experimenting with them because even if you don’t hit it out of the park the first time you’re probably there’s a lot of forgiveness there from your audience and especially only have an email list of 300 people.

Steve: Yeah, what’s funny about her is she signed up for Klaviyo because it was free.

Toni: I know

Steve: that’s the only reason she signed up for it up to 250 which proves that the freemium Model works.

Toni: Yes

Steve: It’s alive and well

Toni: because they’re not they’re not free now. No.

Steve: Yeah. No, they’re not. Well they still have that free tier up to 250.

Toni: No. No, but that companies definitely.

Steve: Oh, yeah. Yeah, they have tons of emails Subs now. Some to Tactical things that I got out of that talk with Co Paris Beauty was emojis in the subject line, right which is why are you talked about and pre headers.

Toni: Yes.

Steve: So this is something that I’m not doing either but you know, like when you’re looking at an email on mobile, you see the subject line underneath usually it just takes the first sentence of your email, but you can actually change it. It’s kind of like a meta description in SEO. You can change that to make the email much more clickable.

Toni: So I do that all the time

Steve: You do?

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: You’re just better than I am.

Toni: No, it’s probably cuz I heard it at a conference but I actually have tested having it and not having it and it likes he was right. It is significantly better.

Steve: Yeah, like if you use promotional language or something just to get them to click. Yeah people actually read that

Toni: or I ask a question in it. You know, I try to just it’s something you try to come up with something very engaging in that second line or the pre header line but I’ve noticed a big difference.

Steve: Yeah, so use pre headers that something I’m going to definitely start using

Toni: The other thing. She was talking about doing like some testing with with a/b testing and klaviyo is professional images versus user generated content.

Steve: Hmm.

Toni: I know they said for them it was about 50/50 but I think that’s definitely something you need to test out because I know there are a lot of companies out there that the user generated content actually will perform better. But we’ve seen that too with video right like sometimes the videos that are less.

Steve: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah

Toni: Perform. So I think that’s something you should be testing in your emails is everyone’s has the professional images that they have done other products, but then grabbing and grabbing images from people out of Instagram or Facebook or something like that definitely worth testing.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. And then the final key note of the day was from Kara gold. Is it Goldie? Anyways the founder of hint water and I’m actually a huge fan of hint water my wife drinks it and it’s basically just it’s like Lacroix, but just not carbonated.

Toni: Yeah

Steve: and they use real fruit and it’s just a great alternative to like diet sodas and that’s the thing which is really bad for you. And what I liked about I like hearing her story because she started with nothing.

Toni: Yeah.

Steve: Absolutely, nothing. No one was just kind of on a whim. She was pregnant. She was like nine months pregnant. She’s like, yeah, I’m just gonna launch a water company.

Toni: Yeah. Well, she went into Whole Foods the day. She had her baby and said, I need you to take 12 cases and put it on your shelf.

Steve: Exactly.

Toni: Like totally pulled the I’m having a baby today card. Which good good for her.

Steve: Yeah. I’ve never think about using pregnancy as a tool.

Toni: This is a whole new marketing.

Steve: All right, is that why you had so many kids?

Toni: It is but it is like think about how many products I’ve sold. I loved her. I thought her story was very cool and inspiring and I think what I liked about her is that she grew by putting her products in other people’s stores, right? She was in Whole Foods. She’s in Starbucks for a bit

Steve: When she was in companies like Google.

Toni: Yes, she got into Google

Steve: you go to Google and then Amazon and she just became a staple of these companies in just kept ordering more

Toni: but what I thought was really cool about her, is that when even when To that point where she’s I mean like that seems to me like you’re kind of at the Pinnacle right? You’re in Google. They’re selling you on Amazon. You’re in Whole Foods like these are like huge opportunities for people but she was like, that’s not good enough. I want to own my customer.

Steve: Yes, and then she had a story about being in Starbucks where she was selling really well and then all of a sudden Starbucks pulled the plug took her Products off the shelf and that’s when she realized that she needed to own the customer. Are they in Starbucks now?

Toni: I don’t know I wasn’t there in that but like to me it didn’t even make sense why Starbucks pulled them because she said they were doing 3x what

Steve: Well even today she said. She’s the largest independent drink company that’s not associate with Coke and Pepsi right, which means that maybe Starbucks pulled them because people were buying that instead of coffee, right? That would make sense. Right?

Toni: I’m the only person I ever know that goes into Starbucks. It doesn’t buy coffee.

Steve: No I get I go and get tea.

Toni: Well, I’m not drinking

Steve: Just chai tea

Toni: But outside of like a drink on the menu. Like I’m the one percent of that goes in there and buys out of the display case.

Steve: What do you get in the display case?

Toni: It’s bottled water.

Steve: Oh

Toni: I don’t drink coffee or tea.

Steve: So do they have Hint water? I don’t think I just went to Starbucks the other day

Toni: I don’t think they do because I’m there almost every week

Steve: Yeah, exactly. So that doesn’t make sense. They sell other people’s water.

Toni: I’m wondering if there was some sort of an agreement. Maybe they were coming up with an agreement because whatever water they sell they sell SmartWater now or

Steve: I think so, but that’s not flavored water.

Toni: No, but it might be owned by a distributor that has a non-compete. That’s what made me think that that’s probably what happened which is a good reason to own your own your platform. Right? Because it might not even be that you’re not doing the volume or the sales that you need to do to maintain that relationship. It could be that some other companies in there and the relationship was accomplished.

Steve: Hmm. What’s cool about how she concluded the talk was she had skin cancer on her nose and she was like, oh my God skin cancer. I’m going to start using all this sun block and then she noticed that on her sunblock. There was all these chemicals which parabens or what I don’t know what the chemicals are, but she was like, okay, I’m gonna create sunscreen free those chemicals and she just went and did it and she’s using the same fruit extracts from the drink. I know and I actually have a can of it right now gonna fire it up. Maybe

Toni: I’m excited. I’m going to get it when I get home

Steve: Yeah, but then you end up smelling like fruit instead of chemicals.

Toni: Yeah. Well, I think it’s safer too right? because there’s some stuff in some block that I don’t think it’s very good for you.

Steve: Correct. Those are the chemicals I was talking about which I don’t know what they are.

Toni: Yeah, whatever they’re called.

Steve: Very inspiring story. She was pretty bad ass onstage.

Toni: Oh, I loved her. the second she walked on.

Steve: Well Toni just like her outfit

Toni: she looked amazing. No, I just I like stories of people that just say like I’m going to do this. I mean to me it’s like she has four kids, right? She has a busy life and that doesn’t let like circumstances life stop her from like getting her goal like changing people’s lives. That’s what she did this SmartWater. The hint water was because she was kicking her own Diet Coke addiction and she had some health problems. So she created the water and then she Realize that it was changing other people’s lives. So I love people that have like a passion behind what they do

Steve: absolutely there’s a passion between every product that she releases. I think specifically what was happening is when she started drinking water over Diet Coke, which I think was her drink of choice. She had acne before it all got cleared up and I think she had some stomach issues. They cleared up. So evidently those chemicals aren’t good for you

Toni: Yeah. We, neither of us are Diet Coke drinkers.

Steve: Yeah. I’m not a diet coke. I don’t drink Coke either you drink Coke occasionally right?

Toni: In very very very occasionally. No, not anymore not that I got hint water.

Steve: That’s correct.

Toni: I’m not sure if it’s on the east coast like in Florida. I don’t think I’ve seen it.

Steve: Hmm. It’s all over the place where I live.

Toni: Well, yeah, but she’s from where you are, right?

Steve: yeah, I actually first had it at Google ironically when I went to visit

Toni: very cool. So they gave and they gave it out at the end of the event today.

Steve: They did, bags along with the sunscreen. Yeah, but that was actually the last keynote of the event and then after the keynote there is actually the opportunity to get some one-on-one time with the klaviyo rep if you wanted them to look over your autoresponder sequences in your campaigns. I thought that’s fantastic. Right? I think that in itself is worth it

Toni: Absolutely

Steve: Company to come in and get someone from klaviyo to look at your sequences and and point out what you’re not doing.

Toni: Yeah, and the caliber of people that are here in attendance to are pretty phenomenal.

Steve: We got a bunch of friends here. You got Andrew Youdarien from e-commerce fuel. We got Eric Bandholz. We got Kevin these are all people that have been on the podcast and it’s kind of been like one big party. It’s been fun.

Toni: Yeah, you get to hang out with him tonight. And then more tomorrow we got Eric. Eric has a keynote tomorrow night.

Steve: That’s true. Yeah, Eric’s doing the keynote. So we will be back in the next episode to talk about day 2 of klaviyo and I’m not sure exactly what they’re coming tomorrow. But I think they’re going over all the new product features. There’s some super big announcement. They’re making in the next episode

Toni: Then we’ll have it in the podcast.

Steve: And we will have it on the podcast. That’s correct. I already know what it is. I think it’s going to be a game changer

Toni: I gotta wait till tomorrow though. I don’t

Steve: well, I won’t tell you then.

Toni: I’ll be genuinely surprised tomorrow then.

Steve: Absolutely. Yep. So join us again for the next episode and we’ll continue with day 2 product notes and more breakout sessions and the closing keynote from Eric.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Klaviyo Boston was a lot of fun and next week, I’m doing a recap of day two of the event but next time I’m going to have Andrew Youdarien of e-commerce fuel and Kurt Elster of The Unofficial Shopify podcast on the show with me. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequarterjob.com/episode275.

And once again, I 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.

I also want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Klaviyo 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.

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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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

274: Joel Runyon On How To Monetize A Blog With Subscription Services

274: Joel Runyon On How To Monetize A Blog With Subscription Services

Today, I’m thrilled to have my buddy Joel Runyon on the show. Joel is an athlete, entrepreneur and the founder of ImpossibleHQ.com, a company dedicated to helping people push their limits and do impossible things.

From this blog, Joel has spawned many other businesses which include a paleo meal plan subscription service at UltimateMealPlans.com and an iPhone app called Move Well which helps you move better, get stronger and prevent injuries.

He also became the youngest person in the world to run 7 ultra marathons on 7 continents in 2017. In this episode, we discuss how to leverage content to create subscription-based services.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Joel grew his audience for ImpossibleHQ.com
  • How Joel drives traffic to his site
  • How to build a community through challenges
  • How to create a subscription based service

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. And today, I’m thrilled to have Joel Runyon on the podcast and Joel is the founder of impossiblehq.com where he helps people push their limits and in this episode we are going to discuss how he leveraged his content to create multiple subscription based services.

But before we begin, I want to give quick shout out to 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.

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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 thrilled to have my buddy, Joel Runyon on the show and Joel is someone who I met at Billy Murphy’s Mastermind a while back and we have kept in touch ever since. Now, Joel is an athlete and entrepreneur and the founder of impossible, a company dedicated to helping people push their limits and do impossible things. And for example in 2017, he became the youngest person in the world to run seven Ultra marathons in seven continents that Joe calls it impossible. I call it crazy but along the way he raised almost 200k for pencils of promise and built seven schools and from his podcast and blog over impossiblehq.com. He has spawned a few other businesses which include a Paleo meal plan subscription service at ultimate meal plans.com and an iPhone app called Movewell which helps you move better get stronger and prevent injuries.

And overall, I’ve known Joel for a little bit now and he is terrible at saying no to challenges’ and all you got to do is dare him to do something and he will usually take you up on it. And with that welcome to show Joel. How you doing today, man?

Joel: I’m doing pretty good. So that’s scary accurate.

Steve: So Joel give us a quick background for the people who don’t know who you are how you got the idea for impossible and frankly. Why the heck would you subject yourself to all that pain?

Joel: Yeah. Yeah, so I’ll try to do a quick because it’s been doing it possible for eight plus years now.

Steve: Yup

Joel: But yeah, so I started in possible after graduating from college back in 2009. Did everything you’re supposed to do got good grades learn another language travel the world did a semester abroad played Sports got out, you know done with the college path and went to you know, go get a job in the real world and there were no jobs available. So instead of going it going to getting a job at a marketing firm or doing something else. I started applying two places at Starbucks and Target and they weren’t even know that okay. Yeah, it’s so they weren’t even calling me back.

Steve: I didn’t know that, okay

Joel: So I was like living in my parents basement, you know, trying to like get any sort of job I could get and just getting rejected by literally. Like I can’t make coffee for people at Starbucks. And so I finally got a UPS delivery packages in the freezing cold Chicago winner for about six weeks that added like additional drivers, driver helpers. And so I was basically, you know, trying not to slip on ice carry these really heavy Christmas packages and not get chased by dogs. And then right after Christmas they laid us off because it was six weeks of seasonal work. And so I’m sitting my parents basement did everything I was supposed to do, you know, follow this path and I just kinda had this realization like this everything that there’s there is for me right here and don’t really bad for myself and I saw a bunch of people doing interesting cool things around the world. One of my friends is traveling to every country in the world another just quit his job and got to Thailand and I saw all these people doing all these cool crazy things and I wanted to do them, but I could even get a job at Starbucks.

And so I wrote all these things down that I wanted to do, but they all just seemed impossible to me basically watch Netflix instead. I felt I felt bad for myself. For a while and so just watch Netflix and you know felt horrible to think of Italy and out of Netflix shows the they weren’t stocked up that well. I looked at my list again, and I had a bunch of things on it that I knew I couldn’t do travel the world didn’t have any money start a business. I didn’t have a job or any sort of skills to even do that. But one of the things on my list was run a triathlon and that was kind of the gut check because I realized you know, I had all these excuses for why I couldn’t do all these other things but I had no excuse for why couldn’t just go outside and run around the block or get on my beat up mounted bike and ride around the block and so I decided I was going to sign up for the wimpiest Triathlon in the world. It was like a one-hour indoor Triathlon In Lifetime Fitness. It was indoors because I didn’t want to drown in the Open Water Swim and I just decided I was going to see if I could do it and I would basically went through this whole thing train for a month and a half went to this indoor Triathlon a Lifetime Fitness, and I didn’t know if I could do it.

I think my mom Came with me at the time like it was bad, but I was depressed and I finished it and I remember saying to myself, you spend so much time telling myself that this was impossible. What are the things are out there right now that seem like they’re impossible that if you just went for and train for you’d actually be able to do and so that kind of kicked off the idea of me taking on a list of things that I thought were impossible and seeing if I go out and do them and so that was kind of the beginning of the blog and since then it’s you know, it’s it’s evolved from just running indoor triathlons to getting into a basically tricked myself into becoming a runner got into endurance running got into ultra running ended up doing the seven seven seven project and basically taking the mindset that I forged through physical activities at took them to other areas of my life.

So I took that same mindset into applying for jobs got like an entry-level job at a marketing firm where I knew nothing got to interface with the owner of the business and work my way up to Mark and director in about a year and a half and it up working for a couple different other marketing firms for another year plus or so it before quitting. Yeah quitting job and going often start my own stuff. And so the overall through line has been, you know, just kind of continually trying to push her limits and see if the things that you think are impossible really are.

Steve: So let’s talk about the blog here. So you started doing all these physical activities. And will you just documenting them on the blog was it just kind of haphazard. Did you have a strategy in place? It was it like a personal Journal?

Joel: Yeah. So a little bit of both. I remember thinking at the time like a lot of bogs were boring to me and I was like, I think I can write a more interesting blog. Like, I don’t know if I could write a good blog but I can probably be more interesting. It was also a personal Journal because like, you know, some people go back and they call through their old blog post all of mine are still up there. Even the really bad embarrassing one so you can go back and like 2009-2010 and find my beginner blogs and part of it is just like I’m just signed up for this race. I think I’m going to die. Hopefully I don’t die and like literally some of my early blog posts are like that and so it was part partially that and it took me a while. For me to just get like used to writing, you know, some people like your mom will tune in for some of the stories.

But if you want to make it actionable for other people you need to like actually, you know, extract some lessons or you need to you need to make it useful to other people and not just this is what Joel’s, you know, personal Journal looks like and so I think the shift where I went from being like hey, this is something that I’m doing to like. Hey, here’s kind of some Concepts and Frameworks that I’m thinking about, you know how to push myself and here’s how you can start doing them too. That’s when the blog really turned from something that I was just personally writing to something that you know started to really gain traction as an audience.

Steve: So, how did you how did you get traffic early on I mean, it sounds like you were just it wasn’t none of the posts were like really planned right there were journalistic post which typically don’t rank in search for example.

Joel: Yeah, no, none of that it was back in this is 2010. So I was doing a lot of like just following people’s blogs I liked and commenting on their blogs and is like old-school like Yeah, kind of old-school American. Would you check something out over here or just like reaching out to a lot of other people that were starting off around the same time? I remember I got a couple different guest posts on other people’s sites that I kind of started to build that initial traffic off of and doing a lot of that just kind of like, you know, I can’t imagine it working now, you know back in the day. I was just like manually reaching out to people like Chris Gilabow and JD Ross they get rich slowly. I remember I did a bike. I was that was maybe my first big guest post and I wrote about like how I like rehab day like a garage sale bike for one of my triathlons or something like that.

So that was like a little that was when I was starting like, oh, maybe I can make this information a little bit more usable for other people basically just doing old-school networking where it’s like, you know, now you do it on Twitter and Instagram and you know back then it was just going to comment on someone’s blog and after I comment on their blog 10 times and like, you know a month or something like that, you know, based on how many times they’re posting.

Steve: So let me ask you this you said these strategies might not work as well today. So how do you continue to grow that blog today?

Joel: Yeah, so it’s it’s evolved. Right?

Steve: Right.

Joel: So, you know now instead of having to build a lot of those relationships a lot of them are already built. A lot of that actual relationship building has kind of formed into other networks, whether it’s Twitter, whether it’s Instagram and then I got a lot more intentional about SEO. So SEO is you know, when I said, I took an internship or like a low level entry job at a marketing company basically use that opportunity. I think it was blogging for two, two and a half years while I was still like working a real job and I took that opportunity to basically teach myself PPC SEO like email marketing all that type all that type of stuff while I was still at my day job. And so I took a lot of things that I learned from the SEO world and use that to continue to grow a possible. And so those are kind of like the core strategies that it shifted into but I still find that the you know search is really good for bringing in top level funnel traffic.

And the relationship stuff though, sometimes it’s almost like, you know Finding Your strategic partners for you via different relationships is like a pseudo version of Facebook’s custom audience where you’re just basically saying like hey, these people are already kind of vetted by, you know, these other similar sites and bring it in those types of traffic is sometimes easier to bring into your funnel then, you know, whittling down just search traffic.

Steve: So you keep talking about relationships. Can you be more specific like for example me knowing you how does how does that benefit me? For example..

Joel: I don’t know. I mean, that’s the question. You got to answer you keep hanging.

Steve: Well, you keep mentioning this, you know, relationships were pivotal and growing your blog like how?

Joel: Yeah, so I mean early on it was like a little bit Joel mission-focused like this is what Joe’s trying to do it, even seven seven seven at one point was like Mission Focus. So it’s like the the taglines push your limits to something impossible and when we were doing like nonprofit specific initiative, so when we talk about like the non-profit initiative that we were doing. Well, basically we’re just calling people to join something bigger than themselves and so there’s not like a there’s not like a product or buying but there is like a feeling that they’re buying into and they’re saying Hey, I want to be a part of doing something impactful that’s more than just me. And also when you do that, you’re also taking a look at the you’re giving yourself perspective from a Global Perspective. And so when you scale that down to your personal life and you saying hey, why aren’t you in the gym today? You know, there’s other people that could be like basically what I was doing was like we were raising money for like schools around the world.

So when you’re saying hey, yeah, I really want to work out today. It’s hard you’re like, you know, it’s really hard, you know, trying to grow up and not knowing how to read or something like that. It’s put your excuses and check and it boosts the fitness aspect of our brand because it gives people from a motivational standpoint like a clear understanding of like a your excuses a crap get over yourself moves on.

Steve: So it sounds like you put together these challenges and you worked with your buddies to kind of promote it together and then you know, the combined audience kind of spilled over to all of your Publications.

Joel: Yeah, so I mean especially at first it was literally just getting out because at the beginning I probably first year and a half. I was ready. I didn’t know what I was writing about. I was just getting used to writing. I didn’t actually have a business focus at the beginning. It was just trying to get traffic to the blog.

Steve: Right

Joel: And then over time as my voice refined. I was able to better clarify the mission of the blog the mission that I was on and how we can help people which does fall into like it’s a lot of like I me but I thought through physical activity and so a lot of that stuff comes through different physical fitness training programs that we do and then pulling out mental lessons from that and then the additional pieces like we have an impossible list. We have people we have like thousands of people that have built their impossible list and use that as a structure for taking on goals challenges and difficult things that they want to do in their life.

Steve: So let me ask you this then so the stuff that you did in the past may not necessarily apply. But today what are some of the best strategies that you’ve had to build traffic? Actually, Let’s position had this way. Let’s say you were starting all over from scratch today, what would be some of your initial strategies to grow your blog?

Joel: That’s a good question. So right now one of the main focuses that we’re doing is we’re doubling tripling down on SEO.

Steve: Okay.

Joel: There’s a lot of opportunities for the site because this is this is a little different because the blog where it is versus starting out right now where we’re at. We’ve gotten a lot of lot of publicity a lot of legitimate, press a lot of different things both for seven seven seven. If you’ve done for our projects that we’ve done and the state from a theoretical standpoint is actually a pretty good asset to go ahead and rank but I hadn’t had focused specifically on a possible to do a lot of SEO stuff with but as we started like just even just playing around with a little thing, you know, a few of the things that we’ve learned from the other businesses and applying it within a possible. It takes off pretty quickly because the domain is strong the notoriety is pretty well done. And so that makes it a lot easier for us to say like Hey, we’re going to go double triple down on content from an SEO standpoint and have it work much faster. Then if we were starting from scratch and saying okay now we have to build up a link profile. We have to build up some you know, press code will all this other stuff.

And so that is one of the benefits that I have with impossible. We’re standing now if I was starting from scratch, it really depends on the type of business. I’ve said before like I wouldn’t necessarily recommend people to start a business like I started impossible. I think the Paleo business is probably a better way to get initial traction, but what I like about what we’ve done with impossible is that you know, it’s not it’s not even my biggest business, but I think it’s going to be the one that has the most longevity and so the fact that I’ve been able to build it continually while doing other stuff. Let’s just be a little bit more flexible in the methods that we go about doing that.

Steve: So let’s talk about impossible. If you were to start all over would you you’ve mentioned relationships and you’ve mentioned SEO so far and you’ve mentioned just challenges if you were to start impossible all over again, what would you pursue first or what would be your primary focus?

Joel: So this is actually something we’re going to be launching your pretty soon. But one of the things that I found people respond really well to are these challenges whether their 30-day whether they’re one week whether they’re like, you know, even like three times a week or something like that. One of the things that I found is just giving people these, even 30-day challenges. I feel like sometimes are a little bit too long for people’s attention span. And so one of the things that were going to be launching on a regular basis is different physical challenges and giving people a way to test themselves in very specific ways because it aligns with the message of the brand push your limits do something impossible and and then we can kind of, you know, bring them in from there on to something bigger which is like the next level of either our fitness programs the nutritional stuff that we have or we’re going to be coming out with some more physical products in the apparel and supplement space. So those are the things that I think from a traction standpoint. They get people excited about really quickly. It’s easy to do stuff with other people to challenge other people and there’s a way to make physical challenges accessible but still very difficult.

And that’s one of the things that I think we’ve done we’ve done intermittently, but we haven’t done like a consistent and I have an app called cold shower therapy. I did a tedx talk on this and this is basically the idea that people everybody talks about, you know growth become begins at the end of your comfort zone. They always say, you know, get comfortable being uncomfortable but nobody actually ever wants to be uncomfortable and so a lot of times from a you know from a personal standpoint, I’ll talk about running an ultramarathon and getting super uncomfortable while doing it. Unfortunately, A lot of people are not ready, you know, if they come across your site from like, you know, Instagram link or you know, just from Google they’re not ready to run an ultramarathon off the bat but one of the ways that we can train people to start getting comfortable with actually being physically uncomfortable is through culture of our therapy and that’s like a 30 day challenge instead of taking a warm shower take a cold shower take a freezing cold shower.

And that alone, makes actually getting uncomfortable super accessible to someone even if they’re not ready to run an ultramarathon and what’s that that is done for the brand is like we have we have an app and we have people that have taken 2,000 old showers in a row and these people are crazy like they get into it and they get crazy into it. It’s not necessarily like a like a money maker for us. Like I’m making bank off this app. But what it does is allow people to kind of buy into that mindset that we’re selling begin to practice it on a daily basis and then be able to like, you know, how they have these pseudos competitions between themselves on the app to see who’s you know, too because like, you know, keep their streak of cold showers going and so we have someone that’s been doing it for like four or five years. And so..

Steve: Can you walk that through how you structure a challenge? Like just walk me through how you set it up and everything and pretend like I was going through it right now.

Joel: Yeah, so I mean the culture of our challenge originally started as a 30-day email sequence.

Steve: Okay.

Joel: Just like you sign up like you sign up. I think it was paid. It was like 29 bucks or something like that

Steve: I have to pay you to take cold showers?

Joel: Yeah. Well, you got to pay, you get to pay me for the emails.

Steve: Okay? All right.

Joel: And, but it’s like a 29th day like email motivational series and it was just basically like do this five minutes in the morning and you know set yourself on the warpath

Steve: Where is the accountability or what was there any personal accountability or is it just email?

Joel: The MVP version of this was like a PayPal button to an email sequence and that was it. So that was super super straightforward. Now it’s an app. There’s email series that you can join. I think we made it free and you can go through it and you can restart it if you want to get more of it, but that’s the 30 day one. What we’re going to be doing coming up is going to be more of a seven-day Series where it’s like, okay, we’re going to have one challenge this week like you need to have four or five check-ins and it’s going to be through this app called Spar.

Steve: Okay.

Joel: I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this but it’s basically I think Ryan Holiday has done a couple things with this and think Lance Armstrong recently did one but the idea is you have people sign up for a challenge. You have a metric they need a hit. So right now I have a like a rowing challenge like a 500-meter road time type challenge. I have a, You know personal bet with a friend that I’m going to beat his his time over the next month. And so we’re going to be doing a group challenge basically, you know.

Steve: Do you have to enter in your name does the app like collate everyone in the challenge? And so you can compare times is that?

Joel: That won’t do that but it’s like a video check in afterwards. So you can either do like a video or you might be able to do a photo and then what happens if you sign up for the challenge and you miss a day so you have to do you know, four out of seven days. You can actually get charged money for not showing up or not checking In.

Steve: Interesting. Okay.

Joel: And so we want to do more stuff like that because I am big on even the informational products that we’ve done in the past have been good. But the number one thing that drives me to insanity is people who will consume information or who buy information like literally pay me for information, but don’t do anything about it. And so I’m like the underlying like drive and impossible is like like remove everybody’s excuses for not doing something and just like get them to do it however they have to and if that means like, you know penalizing the money for not showing up to the challenge like that’s an interesting thing. If we might do some that don’t involve like the monetary penalty, but the goal is to continually do these on a regular basis get people to take on these challenges that are hard but not impossible, get engaged the community aspect and then also, you know remind them that they can do much much more than they think they can.

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Steve: So this Spar App is what facilitates this and anyone can sign up for this app and create their own challenges.

Joel: Yeah.

Steve: Okay. So can we go back to your email sequence? I’m just kind of curious how it all works. So, let’s see I sign up for it and I pay you 30 bucks. How are you motivating me to take cold showers and is there any accountability and what’s motivating me to continue because it sounds kind of miserable.

Joel: No, it is is miserable but it’s sort of a self motivating challenge. So part of the problem is are not part of the problem part of the goal, Is that like I’ll send you an email every single morning and sometimes you might read it. Sometimes you might not. But the goal is basically take 30 days of cold showers. And that is that is like that’s the thrust of the challenge. You know, the first time we did it we got people first cohort that went through it was like a bunch of crazy people and they loved it and they paid the 30 bucks and they said like the emails came in at just like, you know day 14 when you’re like, this is stupid. I hate Joel. This is the worst thing in the world. I’d write them an email. That was like, I know you’re probably thinking this is stupid. And you hate Joel and there’s no point to this and then I just like break down their excuses and like a motivational email and they kept doing it and we’ve had people basically take the challenge and take that you know the idea of like, hey, this is miserable to be like, hey, this is just uncomfortable and I can do uncomfortable things. I can do hard things and then they’re able to take it to one of our fitness programs and they’re able to lose a hundred pounds. Or they able to lose 50 pounds because they’ve changed the way their mindset works.

And so part of the goal is like, you know, if you’re not self motivated enough to like do 30 days of cold showers. Like you may you may not be a good fit for the brand like you may not be a good fit for some of our challenges and part of that is like, you know, it’s a filtering process. So it’s kind of like open initiation if you will where it’s like, okay, we’ll get a lot of people, you know from SEO that rank for a specific thing. But we you know impossible, you know, it’s a challenging brand. It’s it’s something that’s calling you to be more than who you are. You have to be a certain type of person that’s ready for that message and cold showers is one of those things and these other challenges are one of those things that they’re going to filter out people who you know want to stay comfortable and they want to stay you know, where they are. And so that’s kind of one of the mechanisms. Is that like, yeah, we can motivate you but you you’ve got to do it and

Steve: Yeah, I’m Asian if I pay you 30 bucks. I’m going through the challenge. So is there a video component to this?

Joel: I’ve got a couple videos we’ve done on it, but there’s not a video addition to it.

Steve: Okay. And is there a community where everyone can just like is there like a Facebook group or something attached to this also?

Joel: No.

Steve: No, okay, interesting. Okay.

Joel: So one of the goals of the challenge is that we’re going to be launching is to be much more intentional about that. Right now, the cold showers are like the initiation fee, not Initiation fee, but the initiation aspect of it and then we’ve had other fitness programs. They’ve kind of come organically out of that through various autoresponders and everything, but I want to be much more intentional about like continually having physical challenges on a regular basis that people can you know join no matter what that if they you know, they fell off the wagon they’re able to get back on and then you know, hop in.

Steve: So look at this kind of summarize where we’re at so far. So you you’ve done a whole bunch of these crazy things like running marathons on different continents and then people follow you and then you put out these challenges because people respect what you’ve done and they want to start tackling the impossible as well. And so they sign up for these challenges and then change their mindset and then through building this list of people who are your people you then, you know present them with other challenges and Courses in mini courses and mini challenges that you have on your site.

Joel: Yep.

Steve: Okay, and SEO was not really much of a factor early on and it was just basically, you know people following you for these challenges right? It’s almost like a fanatical crowd, right?

Joel: Yeah, like we’re trying to like plan around with using them to join the cult. I don’t I don’t want to be a cult, but I like aspects of Cults – like the you know, the mass suicides at the end of all of them. I like the fact that like, you know, when you get people who you know, they buy into something and they’re all about it. It’s like the message we keep coming back to it impossible. It’s like that. I keep coming back to impossible, it was like people can do so much more than they think they can and what you have to be bought in to really go after it and you know, when when stuff gets hard, you’re not going to keep going because Joel told you to or that like you read a really good motivational email you have to have a switch flipped like in you that makes you go after that you have to have something in you that tells you you’re not going to quit either you’re not giving up and going home.

And so Little bit of like the self-selection where you know people can you know that fanatical group, you know the because I want that I want you and we can do other things from a marketing standpoint to reach, you know, get that message to more people but there’s always going to be like that filtration mechanism where it’s like, you know, some people say like, you know, our target market is, you know, mom’s over 35 or something like that and it’s like our target market is people who have that switch flipped and are you know committing themselves to like doing those hard things no matter what they are. And so we try to meet them where they are at and then create programs and tools and resources to help people stair step up from or so, but you know, we can’t switch that flips we can’t.

Steve: Yeah. No, of course. I mean, I think your blog just became really popular because you were doing things and writing about things that other people were not and then people were just naturally gravitating towards you because of what you were doing physically. Right?

Joel: Now I would agree with that.

Steve: Did you run any ads and and how that lead to the podcast I imagine the podcast came much later, right?

Joel: Yeah. So the podcast is kind of been intermittent, but it was basically an excuse for me to interview people that were like way bad ass than me. And so when I was in San Diego, I started interviewing quite a few people I’m out there. There’s a bunch of Navy SEALs that are based out of there and just a bunch of athletes in general that I was like man you guys you guys have something let’s like let’s dig into that and that’s you know, that’s basically where the podcast drove out of is just like me finding these awesome interesting people that have done really hard physical things but also have like inspiring stories from other areas of their life and just bringing that in and and and again reminding people that a lot of times people think they’re special or they’re like their problems are unique or that, you know, they’ve got it real hard and when you get these perspectives of like my buddy Kyle Maynard who you know, it was born A congenital amputee and climbs mountains around and is a Nike athlete.

He literally bear crawls up mountains, you know or Rob Jones who ran 50, 50 marathons and 50 states and he’s a former Marine who got blown up by an IED and doesn’t have either of those legs. So he’s he ran 50 marathons in 50 states with no legs, on Prosthetics. And when you get those types of stories out of people it makes you kind of confront your own excuses and say yeah, you know, I don’t wanna go to the gym because I’m tired today. It doesn’t it doesn’t it doesn’t ring the same right as as otherwise and so it’s just an extension of the brand telling those stories telling people giving them reasons not to give up and not to quit.

Steve: What is it more impact on your overall brand the blog of the podcast you think?

Joel: I would say the blog. I’ve been probably too intermittent with the podcast people really really like the podcast but I basically started it in the midst of like a big move and so like half It was like before I moved to Austin half of it was like after I moved to Austin and so I’ve been really focused on just getting like operations that have been off so we can get back off but I would say the podcast has more potential reach when I’m consistent with it, but the bog I’ve been doing much much longer and I think that’s how most of the people that got to the site know me from.

Steve: Okay. All right. And so you have all this traffic and you have this fanatical following on possible. How did you actually start making money from that?

Joel: So I mentioned before that when I was blogging on myself, that’s really cool and like there’s like people that will follow you for that. They only care about you so much like nobody cares that much about you like if you’re trying to make yourself like the thing like it’s not that it’s not that useful and eventually people want to know how they can become that person. So with impossible, it’s like how does someone become impossible how do they do something impossible? And so kind of the Breakthrough for me was when I started not just taking these challenges on but also kind of Breaking them down and then building them into programs. So one of the first ones that I did was one of the things I my impossible list was get a six-pack of those kind of ridiculous that and so I ended up doing it and writing about it. I got a bunch of people asking me about. Okay. How did you do that? Like that’s actually really impressive like you got down to like 5% body fat like photos came out really awesome all this other stuff.

And so we ended up putting together like a fitness program based around like getting six pack abs, so maybe a little bit cliche in the online business world, but like a lot of people, you know had been following me for a while and they were literally asking like, how did you how did you do that? Put together a program on that. Launched it and it did really well since then we’ve done a couple other different like Fitness specific programs a couple different like intermittent fasting and like eating protocol programs and then another one that’s just like a bodyweight workout regimen. We’re in the process of releasing two more here in the fall. And so the goal is to basically build out, you know, we’ve had several thousand people build out there and impossible list at this point and one of the things that I’m working on for like a technical standpoint is to figure out what are the most common possible goals people have then how do we build program specifically for those and so

Steve: But programs, these are just like digital courses?

Joel: Yeah digital training program.

Steve: Okay.

Joel: So typically like some are PDFs summer courses some have video components. I’d like to like up level the tack across the board and make it more of like a membership site where you can access stuff in like 12 week increments as far as like, what are you doing? You know, what’s your training protocol for the next 12 weeks? I found that when I get too fancy with technical stuff, sometimes it slows down like actual

Steve: Sure.

Joel: Actual business. And so I have my high in the sky what I actually want to build and then you know, like actually it’s just easier for just to sell 12 week or so sometimes and so we have two more courses that were going to be coming out with from like a more fundamentals like aimed at like the newbies that are just coming in and wanting to get started but aren’t ready for like a full beat down and then like a shrink. Yeah. Yeah, like

Steve: Haha like me?

Joel: Yeah. Well, you know the goal Is like, you know, we don’t want to just you know, we don’t want to just have people that are I was going to say crazy people but we want to help them become a little bit more days. And even if they don’t necessarily feel like they are right now we want to be able to like help them get there. And so we want to be able to bring in people and everybody thinks like the audience of impossible is like, you know, just like Joel like late 20s early 30s, dude, like very like, you know..

Steve: hardcore

Joel: I’m not bro-y, but people think I’m bro apparently but yeah, but hardcore and you know, we got we got a lot of people we have like Grandma’s right in. I had a guy that was like a 65 year old diabetic in England and he lost a hundred and twenty pounds following our ABS course. He’s like, I don’t want to get abs but I need to change my life and like basically reversed his diabetes using our program and we get people from all all sorts of walks of life. And so it’s much more of a mindset fit than it is, you know a specific person even so we’re building out a couple different more training programs for that and then the goal this fall is to want a supplement line and also expand first of all we want to do inspire people to push the limits we want to train them to actually push their limits into something impossible and then we want to like want to fuel them while they’re actually doing those hard things and then also gear them up because people go out and say like hey, I’ve been wanting to go skydiving, you know my entire life, but I never had the courage to do it.

I went and did it I did it in my impossible shirt. I like we have people skydiving and all of our impossible gear or bungee jumping or running the marathon or you know doing a 5k or anything that’s on there list than putting off. We have people, you know send in photos of them doing stuff in there impossible gear and it fuels other people to keep pushing their limits. So that’s kind of the cycle that we want to go out.

Steve: It seems like the programs were kind of a logical progression of your content. Can you kind of talk about what influence you to want to start an iPhone app and do that paleo meal plan and what interested you in those two side offshoots, I guess of impossible?

Joel: Yeah, so the interesting thing about impossible especially early on was I didn’t necessarily think about it as a business like I mentioned it was a program. So we did this we did that the second ABS program and in it, I mentioned just offhand. Yeah. It was like a Paleo intermittent fasting protocol and actually go into details on the specific ones that I did in the program, but I mentioned the word paleo like offhand and I got so many inquiries on the word paleo. I was actually really annoyed. I was getting all these customer service inquiries about like, what’s the specifics of paleo? How does it work? All these other things and I was like, I just don’t want to deal with all these questions and so I built a one-pager website like an FAQ section of all the questions I was getting because I don’t want to write like 1500 word email responses to people are asking about paleo just be like, hey, here’s the link check it out.

That was right before paleo blew up this site ended up starting to get in traffic. And so that’s why I talk about that business was there’s like an accidental business. It just started just started kind of growing on its own and all of a sudden it’s like, okay we should Probably put ads up to cover hosting costs and all these other things and then all of a sudden, you know,

Steve: Okay. So this is kind of organic like you just..

Joel: Yeah, okay it just like we are able to spot an opportunity with impossible and then it’s like, you know, I had this thing and it just started growing or like okay, I guess that’s a business, huh?

Steve: Okay

Joel: With movement and Mobility app called move. Well that was a little bit, you know, I was in the middle of seven seven seven the ultramarathon project and I got hurt my first race in and I got hurt really bad. I had to take six months and do physical therapy rehab and you know going into physical therapy session. I’m really good at doing the work when I’m paying them sixty or a hundred bucks an hour and like in their one-on-one with a person then I would go home and they’d be like you need a foam roll and I’d be like, yeah, that sounds cool and then I wouldn’t do it. And so we built movewell as basically like a personal Mobility coach partially, you know to help other people, but is also like partially to help me recover

Steve: That make sense. Yeah, you’re scratching your own Itch. Yeah.

Joel: Yeah, and that was a different type of business because I had a partner in it for a minute and I end up item out at the end of this year. We’re kind of rolled that into impossible and the kind of the goal with that now is people to push themselves and to go you know

Steve: And recover obviously.

Joel: Yeah. So the idea is like you can do much more than you think you can but you have to recover more than you think you can as well

Steve: Let me ask you this Joel we started out this interview talking about relationships and you mentioned a couple big names like Chris Guillebeau. How do you meet these people? Like what is your strategy for building new relationships?

Joel: My strategy, I think at the beginning literally I just showed up at his meetups. Like he had a couple meetups that he was launching. I’ve got a I did a talk I opened for his last book meet up in Boston or whatever and I have a photo of him at his most recent be up at then at the first he denied he ever did how is their am I looking very wide eyed eager to meet him the first time he wrote a book and came through Chicago a lot of these guys. I literally started off. You know, this is 2009-2010. So and they knew me from my gravatar image commenting on a lot of their blogs and being like, you know, not kissing ass or anything like that, but Just like hey, that was a super impactful blog because I was literally living in my parents basement watching Netflix shows and reading these guys walks and that’s what you know, that’s where my time was. So I was I was really grateful and inspired by them in the first place. And so that’s how I did it at first. I think at one point I figured out how to get their emails email a bunch of random people out of the blue people like Sean Ogle. I remember emailing Steve Cam and then just, you know, kind of going back and forth Just Like A lot of them were awesome newish at the time.

So some of us grew together someone like Chris was you know, he was quite a ways ahead of a lot of people, you know, just try to treat him like, you know, I do friend that was trying to make and so, you know, that looks a lot different nowadays than it did back then but I think a lot of the principles are really the same it’s like hey, you know be appreciative people’s work every time I get an email from someone who’s like this specific thing that you wrote was really impactful and help me in this way. I take notice. I’m super busy I get a million emails. But when someone sends you a genuine compliment, like I think people people pay attention to that and then trying to take it offline and meet them in person. Whether that’s a meet-up that they’re doing whether that’s a you know, Chris hosted world domination Summit like a conference a bunch of times for meeting people at another place. I find those in-person relationships go way farther than just, you know, tweets or retweets or if it’s instagram tags or anything like that.

So those are the things that I would say as far as meeting people at building relationships, you know, treat them like you would you know, they weren’t someone that was online like, you know, you’re just meeting a friend at a bar or something like that. Like what are you gonna what do you say or what do you talk to him about.

Steve: Yeah Yeah. So basically Joel you stalk them and you wear them down over time until..

Joel: friends were being friend and you have to deal with it.

Steve: Cool. That’s actually really good advice and I just been listening to everything that you’ve been saying and my blog actually didn’t start taking off until I started attending events and making friends with other bloggers and we’d help each other promote each other stuff. And that’s really how my blog ended up taking off early on.

Joel: Yeah, I found that stuff is again. I’ll talk about SEO because as soon as my background, but you have to do so much more qualifying on SEO traffic unless you’re selling like a widget I find with blog specifically if you can find other people that are already like minded that like maybe you’re taking like a different angle on a subject then you know other existing bloggers are like those are sometimes maybe we’ll send you a less traffic but I find those are way better fit sometimes then like, you know, you know chasing chasing the SEO God’s, you know for blog specific stuff, you know, if we’re selling like a six pack AB course, you know, SEO is going to be really helpful, you know, and in conversion Focus for that, but I found I found some of the biggest growth has been those similar blogger opportunities similar, you know, personalities or podcasts or you know across cross-posting guest posting interviews Etc.

Steve: So Joel we’ve been chatting for almost 50 minutes. Now, where can people find you and what is your next thing? What’s your next event? Whatnot. Where can people get a hold of you?

Joel: Yeah, so you can check everything out at impossiblehq.com. I’ll have links to I think you could throw the links to like the meal plans in the and movewell as well..

Steve: Yeah.

Joel: But everything’s at impossiblehq.com. Right now, we’re in the midst of like clarifying some of the messaging. We just shot this big old this big trailer for impossible that I’m really excited about and planning my next big Ultra event. So I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do before the end of the year, but we’re coming out with we’re coming out with new programs for more people to pushing your limits more accessible to more people and then we’re also working on some more physical products this year, which I’m really really excited about so that’s coming up this fall.

Steve: I challenge you to do an Ironman on every continent neck

Joel: That’s actually awesome but I don’t know how you swim in Antarctica unless you’re off the edge and then you run into Antarctica people being very litigious about what water is technically count as Antarctica. So this is a whole. This is a whole area of the world that gets very little not litigious. But yeah kind of litigious record breakers that are trying to do crazy stuff so I got to do one Ironman. I think I’m gonna do one Iron Man in the next 12 months. I actually wrote that down to two days ago.

Steve: Okay, it sounds like an excuse to me. But what will leave it like that.

Joel: Hey you you come out with me. We’ll do it together.

Steve: Oh, yeah. Well, I gotta go without this podcast has been gone quite some time now, so..

Joel: Haha

Steve: Hey man, really appreciate you coming on the show and I’m sure I’m gonna see you probably next month or something like that.

Joel: Awesome looking forward to it.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, I’ve known Joel for quite some time now and he’s the type of guy that always motivates me to do better. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode274.

And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Klaviyo 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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273: How Nuun Life Grew To An 8 Figure Business With CEO Kevin Rutherford

273: How Nuun Life Grew To An 8 Figure Business With CEO Kevin Rutherford

Today I’m thrilled to have Kevin Rutherford on the show. Kevin is the CEO of Nuun life, a company that sells hydration tablets that turn water into a Gatorade like drink with very few carbs.

Nuun is a product that I personally use every single day to stay hydrated and feel productive. And today, we’ll learn how Kevin has grown Nuun into a behemoth of a company.

Enjoy the show!

What You’ll Learn

  • How Nuun got started
  • How Nuun grew to an 8 figure company
  • What were the primary strategies to grow the business
  • How does Nuun generate its sales

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrap business owners, and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I am happy to have the CEO of Nuun life on the show. Now, Nuun spelled N U U N– is a product that I personally use every single day to stay hydrated and feel productive. So I’m really excited to talk to you Kevin Rutherford about how they’ve grown their company over the years.

But before we begin, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or looking for new ways to scale, Klaviyo offers fast, simple, and repeatable ways to grow. And with Klaviyo you can personalize your marketing, build your customer relationships, and automate your online sales. And it is now easier than ever to create amazing email and advertising experiences. Now I want to talk about Klaviyo’s new entrepreneur growth guide, packed with must read blog post, case studies, and getting started content. This guide will help you prioritize what to do next for maximum revenue growth. Now moving to a new marketing platform can be intimidating, but Klaviyo helps you get up and growing fast with proven technology and countless support resources. Now I encourage you to check out this free content now over at klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again that is K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.com/my wife.

I also want to give a shout-out to Privy who is also 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. Now, what is Privy do, well Privy is an email list growth platform and they manage all my email capture forms. And I use Privy hand in hand with my email marketing provider. Now, there are a bunch of companies out there that will manage your email capture forms, but I like Privy because they specialize in e-commerce. And right now, I’m using privy to 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 I implemented this form, email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. I’m also using their new cart saver pop-up feature as well to recover abandoned carts. So bottom line, privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers, which I then feed to my email provider to close the sale. So, head on over to preview.com/steve and try it for free. And if you decide you need some of the more advanced features, use coupon code MWQHJ for 15% off. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve. Now on to the show.

Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and 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 thrilled to have Kevin Rutherford on the show Now Kevin is the CEO of Nuun life a company that sells hydration tablets that turn water into a Gatorade like drink with very few carbs, and I’m actually addicted to these tablets actually take them twice per day and I can’t really describe the feeling that I get but after drinking Nuun for some reason that I instantly feel better and perhaps it’s because I am dehydrated for most of the day and I don’t even realize it but the stuff works amazing. I always take it before I start my day. Now in any case Kevin has grown noon into a behemoth of a company and I’m excited to hear his story and how he’s grown it and with that welcome to show Kevin. How you doing today?

Kevin: it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Steve: So Kevin. I’d like to start with kind of the origin story. I know you kind of took over the company after it was established, but I was wondering how Nuun got started to begin with and how did the name happen to be like Nuun as a pretty unique name.

Kevin: Yeah, well, there’s a few parts that question. Let me break it down and tell you a little bit how it started and then I’ll finally get back to the brand names here point. So Nuun was started roughly 15 years ago and it was formed by a couple of triathletes that were in training and they were they were really looking for a better solution. So if you go back 15 years just think about this for a moment there were really not very many Alternatives when it came to hydration and sports drinks really the most known still to this day of course is Gatorade. And so what they did is they were there trying to find an optimal solution oddly enough. They’re also going to school like it was Dartmouth if I’m not mistaken. I apologize if I’m off on that data point,

Steve: It’s okay.

Kevin: but I’m it’s a certain and it was actually a business case meets personal need and they came up with this idea of creating this noon tablet. It was based on some research that suggested the optimal way to hydrate and fuel yourself for training long Distance races is you need to separate your hydration from their fuel. And so if you think about that for just a moment the way that you if you’re taking in a sports drink a traditional sports drink like a Gatorade, It’s a combination. There’s a lot of carbs and sugars in there which is meant to be fuel to go with your hydration. So let me let me just kind of give the give the audience a little more detail on this time in its then you go will hold on so that seems to make sense because that’s easier to take in it is easier to take in but it’s harder for your body to work with it.

This is what the research suggested and so if you think about if you actually go back to I think it’s 1964 when you actually Gatorade was invented at the University of Florida in Gainesville, from what I understand back then the product was actually closer and composition to what Nuun is terms of electrolytes and carbohydrates than what the traditional Gatorade product is today. And so yeah, so it’s evolved over time and I think it’s evolved over time both for taste palate because it’s much sweeter with the sugars. There is a book written on it also suggests that there was an artificial sweetener in it back in the time to keep the calorie count down and then when that was banned by the FDA, then I think that’s when they put in different heights, you know, basically some high sugar content.

Steve: So basically, it’s very high fructose corn syrup

Kevin: Right. Yeah, exactly. So that’s the challenge now so enter in Founders at the time and when they were looking at this and they’re going okay. Well, there’s got to be a better way in the science says, oh by the way, I didn’t finish on the physiology. I meant to do that. So in the physiology of your body when you’re consuming liquid some over simplifying this but when you’re consuming liquids, it goes eventually down to your stomach like to your small intestine and that’s what it wants to go and in Balance of 95 percent water. So if you take concentrated sugars and put that there over time that’s going to cause intestinal distress plus when you think about when you’re working out you’re putting stress on your intestine and just like just bodily functions. And so you would want to use a different pathway for fuel. That’s what you want when you want to use food potentially poles and other methods that people use for when they’re working out and hydration is all about electrolytes.

You do need a little bit of sugar to help you absorb the electrolytes but not a lot and when again when you combine the two it wreaks Havoc so long story short these guys basically said this is a better way. Let’s just develop this on our own obviously did very well in the business case to the way. They said let’s just launched. Once this product the name Nuun. So, the truth be told it’s defined as nutrition uncompromised. It’s a made-up word N U U N will tell you I have talked with the founder of the past on this and I think he actually likes to leave it up to mystery. And so what’s funny is there’s stories that have shown up on this one woman on our team that to me Kevin, do you know what Nuun means in Nepal and I’m like what? Yeah, then the Polly’s translation for it. She goes it means salt and I go and so sure enough I’m Diggin I’m Diggin. I find it even Wikipedia you can you do have to kind of dig to find it, but I found it and it’s actually spelled Nun but pronounced noon and it is the translation for salt in Nepal

Steve: I can’t be a coincidence.

Kevin: I wonder if exactly right because the most essential electrolyte that you need to replenish is salt. So I found that quite humorous. I don’t know if that’s how it started. So I’m love to be transparent and honest about it. Okay, I will tell you that we think of it as nutrition and compromise but you know, there’s all kinds of stories out there about what the brand means. I also think that the founder just really love the symmetry of the N the U of U and the N all lower case. I think he just kind of like symmetry. But again, I don’t know for certain. I wish I had a better answer for you guys and I want..

Steve: A couple more questions about the founding story and then we’ll move on but I was just kind of curious if these guys know they the product at all before they just start making and selling it in bulk.

Kevin: Oh well, the validation absolutely validation was really among the fund themselves because they were triathletes but also among their peers and friends. So small-scale testing, yes. And then actually to that point they did consult with a physician and a sports scientist who was living in Australia. I don’t know where that connection came from, but I do know that because it’s oddly enough this position. I introduced with some introduced himself to me at a bike show. He’s like Hey Kevin, you know, I forgot his name. It’s so bad. He was super nice and he goes I’m so and so one night. I was actually part of the science in terms of understanding the composition of the product and worked with him in the folks that started the company. So there was some validation there and there was also real world testing in terms of training for adventure races and training for for Iron Man and a long distance Triathlon races.

So that was the validation then it was hey we’ve got something here and like what you said at the opening you really can feel the difference when you try this product, that’s the cool part and our whole Mantra when it comes to Innovation and how we improve our products is hydration that you can feel we kind of work at the science. And then we validate it just like the US and still to this day.

Steve: You know, I notice I don’t feel that way when I drink Gatorade is it because of the sugar component?

Kevin: Well, I think there might be two reasons. I don’t you know, obviously everyone’s body is different.

Steve: Sure

Kevin: The sugar you would actually would think you would feel a difference pretty quickly because we just think about the injection of a sugar high. However, that being said the electrolyte level in noon is higher.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: Than a Gatorade and that could be why and I think the reason why when you’re doing this at rest while you’re feeling the difference of Nuun right away is realize that but we’re just not putting enough liquid in our body and so Nuun will replenish that much quicker and the composition of the electrolytes is designed for basically what your body needs and where you’re going to be most efficient. So I think that’s why, so it’s a bit of the composition the electrolyte levels higher and Nuun the sugar may or may not be a reason out of the gates why you don’t Difference because I think over time that you would notice the sugar drop rate falling off the cliff.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah.

Kevin: But I would think it’s actually I would think would actually help you feel better.

Steve: Okay, I’m just kind of curious. What does it take to make one of these tablets? Like if someone out there were to just make a product along the same lines. Does it require any sort of FDA approval or anything like that certifications in order to sell some of these things?

Kevin: My hesitation on that one is you know in today’s world. I guess if you were to sell products online, I think you can you wouldn’t really need an FDA approval. You could probably get around that system. But I guess long story short, We do go through FDA approval. We also work with different retailers and get approval for them in terms of agreement as to what ingredients we use. So I you could do it you could do it in probably skirt around a lot of Regulation pretty easily.

Steve: because I do know that people who make those protein powders. I don’t think there’s any regulation on those it seems.

Kevin: yeah. I know I think you’re right. I think that’s the chat one of the challenges with the you know, supplements in general. So one of the things that we did to counteract that one and actually it’s great that you’re aware of that. I wish more people were aware of that. So one of the things that we’ve done is we said don’t just trust us, right? take these validations. So we actually go through the effort to make sure that you know that it’s non-GMO project certified we go through the effort to make sure it’s gluten-free certified. It’s vegan certified its kosher and certification and last we have another certification that’s around safer sport which basically means we have every single batch has tested so that you know that there is no contamination that could have a banned substance in it.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: But again, the certifications are to give you confidence to say and which cost a lot of money and time but sure that way you look at and go what they say is what they’re doing.

Steve: Okay so they’re not required but you guys do it as an extra confidence level for consumers.

Kevin: That’s true. Now when you start to go internationally, right, so maybe that’s every Canadian like some people know their Canadians except me but as we as we ship our product across the border to Canada Health Canada is much more strict. And so we do ship there. We do ship to the UK and Australia New Zealand and all of those countries do require much more regulation to be passed which obviously we do.

Steve: Okay and then once you have the manufacturing down or at least of the founders, like how did they generate the first sales? Like, what does the overall marketing strategy to get a product like this? Because there’s just tons of these maybe not tablets per se but there’s a ton of hydration products out there.

Kevin: When you think of a tablet, they didn’t really exist roughly 15 years ago when the company started. So in this case the like consumers like what the heck is this? Right? And how does it work? And is it safe? So there’s a lot of Education when you think of when you first start how you have to do this?

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: So I think that the recommendation that I would say on this one and how to approach it and it’s probably pretty consistent, you know feedback that you’ve had in this is exactly what the founding team did is they started small I think of who is this product relevant for who are we targeting and it was the athlete so it’s the adventure Racers of the triathletes. I believe the first store that ever carried Nuun is called First Ascent in the on the north side of Seattle and which is where I’m located in Seattle right now. You go to that store and you convinced basically kind of persuade them to give it a shot likely you give it to them Free and just kind of prove it out and then get in store in Sample and I think starting store by solar one by one you start expanding and you start to get momentum. You also hear the consumer feedback over time and in the store feed back and then that’s where you start building from.

I think truthfully I think the big mistake that people have is they want to go big so fast and I think that you really want to start small and focus and learn and adapt and accordingly and this case you’re not really probably going to die that much on the product that you’re going to adapt on how you communicate it.

Steve: You know, it’s interesting you said so they went to the retail channels first, I guess online wasn’t really huge back then would you have done the same strategy today?

Kevin: I would have done a combo. What I would do is I would I would try to find curated distribution meaning Nuun today. If I were to start I would go and work with some of the hot trendy like in the sport for run for Triathlon for bike. I would work with them. I would probably work with you know, the local natural stores as well because we use all clean ingredients and then I would also take the same strategy targeting that same consumer online. The reality is a lot of businesses are being built through online first, but I think you can do both one of the things that will happen is discovery in the store then kind of relay over to conversion fairly quickly and then that can build your online sales. I think I can go both ways. I think a lot of us think of online is the the way but I think a combination of the two is actually more more powerful most consumers today still treat most of their shopping in store.

Steve: Yeah

Kevin: And I’m not seeing the trend isn’t changing. I agree it is but the data would say, hey most people still The store.

Steve: I think I would agree with you. Like if I just saw some random supplement in a Facebook ad for example, even if it was a free sample, I’d be reluctantly to try it unless that kind of happened to glance over and see it in a retail shop. So I think they do work together for sure.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely.

Steve: So, okay. So back in the being they start out in small retail shops and then Target a small community presumably the triathlete community.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely that in adventure racing was a bit of a component / for the brand as well adventure racing. If you’re not familiar with that is because you’re basically doing a race that has orienteering involved in it to get two different touch points and you’re racing somewhere like could be 24 48 72 hours over some pretty rough terrain. So the torture test is if this thing works for that or an Ironman athlete then guess what this has got to work for me and that’s kind of the approach they took go for the torture test. Yeah. That was that was actually the approach.

Steve: It kind of spread via word of mouth and write these athletes were using them and then they were recommending them and then soon other athletes were using the product as well.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. And here’s the other interesting thing is there’s two there’s two components. There’s word other the word of mouth is the overarching which I agree with you. That’s that’s absolutely what happened to spread word amount. There’s through the athletes. Then there’s the influencers at the time that it wasn’t influencers. Like we think of Instagram today that didn’t exist. But it’s the same concept in this case. It was the influencers were the store managers or the store owners of these kind of leading independent stores that lead in Triathlon or cycling or run. And if they’re recommending this Nuun hydration, it’s got to be good. Right? It’s that kind of concept and so that’s what that word about what happened and then of course, they’re sampling and sore and being a races in sampling. They’re introducing its people.

Steve: So by the time you took over the company, we were there getting most of their sales from and what was the marketing strategy at the point where you took over?

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely. So I took over, you know, it’ll be coming up to six years and the primary source of where we were selling the product was at least the predominant Channel. I was starting to expand from there. But the predominant channel was really the sport specialty side of things is what we call it or sports stores. So think about again as I mentioned the trap on shops on child’s bike shops, but also really good customer for us. It’s been around to this day phenomenal customer for us is REI.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: Which is an outdoor retailer and they’ve been a really good partner. Which not only is it a good partner for Revenue but these retail stores are in many ways distribution is marketing and so they’ve really helped really help give us credibility because of who they are and through Association we did have some distribution in grocery as well. But was growing the time obviously it’s much more significant today than what it was. So I would say that and then even the online sales were starting to build through Amazon at the as well we were real early adopter again. Those were obviously much much smaller at the time but the predominant volume first coming from the sport side of things and then the grocery was starting to build the digital was starting to build and gain momentum, but that was kind of where the volume was.

Steve: How do you get into REI? What does it take to get into REI?

Kevin: I don’t know how we got in originally truthfully. I actually don’t know how that happened. I do get that question a lot by the way, REI in particular. And I think to get an REI today, what you want to do is you’re going to want to prove your brand and other places first because REI is not going to likely take the risk on a start-up not likely but they will take it on a small new and emerging brand. So Noon would still call it an emerging brand. It’s not the billions of dollars that Gatorade is today. So I think today REI probably a lot more sophisticated on their choices of nutrition than what they were, you know, 10 years ago is actually when I think we wanted to REI so it’s pretty long time and like I said still like a critical customer to this very day and the future for our plans. So I think you gotta prove it out likely in some of these sports stores.

I would even I don’t know if you can do this, but the one of the ways to get into some of these chains, you have to be really Scrappy about it, but can you build relationships at a store level and it’s kind of going around the rules so hopefully REI doesn’t get mad at me for saying it. I don’t know if we did this REI, if you’re listening. I say this because I think of at Whole Foods and how the team kind of works that is at store level and starting to get some proof points and you’re basically talking almost like a an independent store owner in this case. It’s a store manager and can you get that relationship to just get a shot to see if this thing works does it sell and I think you could do that REI which then could filter back up to the headquarters where you can have a shot to get in there.

I think it’s REI is no different than any other retailers long story short, is kind of find your proof points start small and then yeah then how do you how do you if you can’t even if you can sneak it into a store and show that actually moved their store that I think that kind of bodes well.

Steve: So what you just said is in line with a lot of the other people who are in retail you start at the small boutique shops, you demonstrate sales and you take that data and try to get into a couple of tests stores and like Whole Foods or whatnot and then hopefully the sales are good and that’s how you get in. I was just kind of curious what your perspective was. But yeah, it sounds like it’s in line.

Kevin: Yeah, well and again it comes back to you actually want to curate the distribution anyway, because you’re finding these Boutique shops as you called it and so, you know use it on one of the brands that have recently got acquired as I’m a big fan of this brand is Sun balm, which is think it is like sunscreen suntan lotion rights on care and these this group built this brand their Boutique equivalent was surf shop and how do they build it there? And then it kind of went to hospitality but they get those proof points, right and they build the brands together with this so they it’s a win-win that helps the boutique shops. If you will the surf shops and helps the brand and then you build it together and then you go. Okay. It’s time for us to expand the picture. We’re more available in the proof points are critical for those bigger stores.

The data is what ultimately is the proof point. You can only go so much on gut. So if the consumers picking it up and that’s why you want that data point then there were more likely to lean in the further removed you are from a business. The more you need data is kind of My Philosophy with the team.

Steve: Okay.

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Interesting. So does that imply then that starting a company like this purely online is would be extremely challenging.

Kevin: Well, I think I think nothing is easy. I don’t think there’s any shortcuts. I think that’s a misnomer so I don’t think it’s easy at all. But I do think it can be done and there are a lot of examples of brands that are building through digital and building from the ground up so it can be done but it’s also very you know, and it’s very accessible because anyone can do it sure but that also means the barrier for entry is very low. So the Clutter is really high.

Steve: The competition is high. Yeah

Kevin: Yeah. So so I think it can be done long story short, you know, it’s Interesting as well that you know, I grew up in a more traditional CPG, you know consumer packaged Goods environment SC Johnson and I worked at Miller Brewing. It was a cauchy which is owned by Kellogg. And and what’s interesting about that is when you look at marketing skill set of what you needed then is is very different with the emergence of happening of the digital world. And so when you think about Talent those that work in it could be multi-level marketing to direct consumer marketing brands in the past where you go that’s not and I’m paraphrasing and kind of making this up but it’s almost like I was aren’t real marketers, but it turns out it turns out that that’s probably a better skill set than a traditional CPG today when it comes to the digital side of things sure. It’s just interesting how it’s changed a lot and pretty quickly in the last like even just like takes five years.

Steve: It’s changed a lot. Oh, yeah for sure. And actually that was kind of a Lead into my next question. So you got this company you take over it’s already got sales in a bunch of different channels. What was your strategy to grow it as much as you did in the past five or six years?

Kevin: The key Point here is I didn’t grow it. We did and I say that truthfully here’s the deal. There was a lot working for news. So something changed, but I will tell you that the foundation of what the product is what the philosophy was behind. It was really great team that was in place was also a really interesting because I thought it was really strong. So my Approach was this when I came in I actually first started not to try to change anything. I really just wanted to get in here and understand what was going on. And first what’s working. Where can we put a megaphone on it? How do we amplify that and then secondly then what do we need to stop doing? And then what do we need to start doing? Like what do we need to do differently?

Steve: Okay

Kevin: So that that’s kind of creepy. So when it comes to what’s working, I’ll tell you why I’m saying this is not going to be rocket science for the listeners out there, but I’m such a big believer that Biggest Difference Maker in every business, it comes back to the people. It just comes back to the team. And so I think what I helped bring to the table was a belief in what we were doing as a company to the team because they worked the team would like the business was growing when I came in but it was the growth rate was slowing if that makes sense

Steve: sure

Kevin: And admitting not declining but it wasn’t growing nearly as fast and yet the business is still not that big so it shouldn’t have been slowing and growth which is part of the reason for a change. And so I think the number one thing that I hope I helped get a different lens for the team was to believe in what were we trying to accomplish as like kind of a mission for the company but secondly to believe in each other and ourselves and I think that’s where the self-doubt might start to happen. And that’s a vicious cycle which is why I think culture is the ultimate competitive Advantage not very exciting when people are looking for what’s the business strategy it truly is like that that’s Ultimately will sustain winning or not winning.

Steve: Interesting. Okay.

Kevin: Absolute conviction on it from my perspective. So that was that was one too. So then it was saying well, what do we need to put a megaphone on? What do we need to do? And so we were doing some really great things on the support side of things and what happens with a lot of businesses is some teams start to think about well, where can we take this where we go next and they think broad versus depth, right our breath forces death and I really wanted them to make sure that we were keeping focused. Like let’s all keep focus and not lose what we’re really good at. Let’s amplify that so let’s amplify the relationship with REI. Let’s amplify the relationship that we have with bleep feeds or any see in Canada. Like what can we do more with that? Not necessarily. Where do we need to go next? I’m not saying we don’t go other places, but that you start first with where your strengths are.

Steve: Can you give me an example of like amplification with REI? For example, like what does that mean? Exactly?

Kevin: Yeah, you know, so what we did on the REI friend is we came back to them and talk about doing unique items. We started to plan with them and give them a preview as to the future of what we were doing with Innovation. And how can we partner together? We weren’t doing that with that system before right? Once we launch with them. We were doing really good things, but we weren’t thinking of them as a strategic partner may be in part because we didn’t think maybe we didn’t believe that we had the right to do that because we were little tiny noon instead we came in and saying no, we’re like a leader in hydration growing clearly the number one tablet at the time and still up by far the number one tablet now and Cohen with a leadership position say Hey, how do we grow together?

And so then we started to develop plans together and then we started doing things with rei.com that we were never doing before terms of sampling. We increase the number of demos we did in store. So again to drive more velocity

Steve: I see.

Kevin: So we just did a lot deeper on Partnerships. We were doing some of it. We just went deeper and double down and put more Investment there.

Steve: Okay, that makes sense. And then the volume is naturally grew and the partnership’s grew deeper and presumably they would Market your products more too, okay.

Kevin: Absolutely, you know, one of the things we’re really proud of the teams just done such a phenomenal job you if we use REI as the example. Last year, we were we were runner-up for vendor of the year at REI, which is pretty wild knowing there’s a lot of different brands in our category and our category by the way was bigger than just nutrition. It’s like think of it as like water bottles and that whole kind of segment over there in the store and we were put up for vendor of the Year. And that was basically it came back to how we work with them how we treat them how we interact with them how we invest time energy and resources with them. So yeah, we went deeper and works for and I think for both of us.

Steve: Cool. What were some of the other aspects of the business that you Amplified?

Kevin: Yeah. So like I said that the idea of believing in ourselves really drives even better and faster. Execution in store. So it’s really the quality of execution. So that’s why I started with culture for you. One of the other things though that we did is that was to get momentum back. There isn’t massive change their here’s where the change really have and where the magnifying effect happen for the team is like, okay, We got her groove back. We got our stride back. I’m a big believer that momentum builds momentum is a Mojo builds Mojo. And so we got this momentum going great. While that was happening, We re-trenched ourselves and said what’s our nutritional philosophy in and basically the mission that we have is we Inspire everyone to move more our nutritional philosophy is to basically give you what you need and nothing that you don’t which is hydrant. You can feel this wasn’t formalized before and so what I did with the team was we step back into what does that look like?

That led us to having this whole live clean clean product claims Planet Clean Sport, and so we realized then I go. Okay. What ingredients Again in the current Nuun tablet that we launched with 15 years ago. Now what is in here that is inconsistent that we need to do better with our product because no one ever wanted to change the product. This was an interesting one, a lot of resistance to change a lot because people loved what we had and the reality was is we had when it launched originally an artificial sweetener, which because that kept the calorie count down in that capacity to keep the calorie count down that made it’s consistent with the science. We had a preservative in there for longer shelf life. We just had some ingredients in there that made sense of why it was developed but then we need to develop a nutritional philosophy and if it’s all about clean ingredients, I’m like, okay, we can’t have this anymore.

Truthfully, nothing’s easy as I told you before when we went to go develop this and we had our Kuroko manufacturer. They basically said you can’t develop a tablet with the philosophy that you’re doing. Are you I kid you not I believe the words were it is impossible and I’m like no we’ve got to do it. Otherwise, we’re gonna have to go find somewhere else to do this. We’ve got to figure it out and we did it,the team did it. With them. We did we completely broke down the Paradigm and said well, how would we do it and worked out it worked at it? And the reason I bring that up is you when you start with the strategy of the philosophy the mission and you go. Okay, what is consistent and what is inconsistent? Because good strategies not only what you will do, but it should be what you want do and so when we took those ingredients out change that we had a whole new platform meaning now, we’ve got a product fit has the performance and you’re not compromising on any ingredients, sweet. So then we go at that opened up a whole new market for us.

Steve: I see.

Kevin: From a business sense and the way I would position this when I’m talking to our board in our investors. Is this going to open a whole new market what really drove it honestly is what’s the right thing to do? What do we want to do? And if we make this for ourselves, this is how we do it. This is our mission that actually, what drove it. When you communicate your audience’s you need to make sure you talk in a language that’s relevant and matters to them. So when I talk for investors here’s the market that is going to open up to which was true. And that’s what happened. And so then after we went to an all natural all cleaning product, we ended up taking that momentum that we had proof points at the REI in the sport especially and went to all Whole Foods Across the Nation all Sports stores, and it was a whole new market for us.

And now we’ve completely changed the game. That was that was probably the game changer right there where it went to a whole different level and then and then we just keep on putting the gas down even harder because we’ve got to think we’re so confident in who we are and what we’re producing and why we believe it’s the best thing for you that it’s just it just keeps on it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Steve: So since we’re on this topic of product since I’ve been a Nuun consumer for quite some time now, I noticed relatively recently You guys started introducing an a lot of varieties whereas in the past. There’s only two and it was easy for me to find that right. I just want the hydration after one. I’m going to have and then I remember when all these different varieties came. I was a little bit confused as to which one I should get. What was the philosophy behind that decision?

Kevin: Yeah. So that’s a really good point. Right arguably. You could say why even add any other products just so more of what you have which is the optimal hydration product that you’re talking about which was designed with the torture test of Adventure athletes an Ironman athletes in mind. Right like the people that are basically sweating and it works when you’re not sweating too which is what you’re talking about first thing in the morning. You’re like, you know, as you were talking about you’re saying I just take this first thing in the morning cuz it makes me feel really good and it’s because you’ve been dehydrating overnight to set also probably makes a lot of sense. The idea here is we said well is this product designed optimally for kind of daily Health occasions? And that’s where we were starting to think through hydration is needed. We need to hydrate throughout the day. How can we help that and what are different needs states that we can address through hydration?

And when we looked at what we’re now calling sport but original product is now cleaned by ingredients obviously, which we did many years ago now. That product is designed for if you will sweat preparing to sweat recovering from sweat, but it’s all around that sweat occasion. And so the other product we launched we said, okay, so we introduced we actually introduced if you’re called as a caffeinated version called Energy.

Steve: Yep. Yep.

Kevin: It’s the same product as just what caffeine and some B vitamins in there that was kind of an introduction. It’s like okay that makes sense the problem with that from a communication perspective which consumers didn’t totally understand. They thought they didn’t know it was the same product just with copying. So with one of the things that you’ve seen is we’ve had to simplify our communication, but I’ll talk to you through the portfolio really quickly and then I’ll say here’s the communication then we did a vitamin product. It was basically about daily health and it’s like the electrolytes are in their same complete electrolyte profile, but we lowered it because you don’t need as high as sodium levels. You don’t need 300 milligrams of sodium when you’re not sweating you do need it if you’re preparing for during or after the split, but if it’s just like I’m working away at my desk or if you you and I are talking to podcast, you know, I’d probably I’d love some electrolytes because it will make the water work harder for me get at the same time. I don’t need it as high.

So that’s when we came up with that and we added in 11 different vitamins and minerals that the research suggested that most people were deficient in so that way you’re constantly getting in vitamins and electrolytes while you’re hydrated throughout the day so that was the idea but it’s causing confusion back to your point. In fact since then, we’ve also launched an immunity product which is, you know, we looked at air born in emergency and we said well, what about these situations and we felt like what was happening with the current competition? And we have this philosophy of we had to start all over again. How would we do it? When you looked at the immunity side of things these products were basically getting an a vitamin C arms race. I’ve got 1,000 milligrams. I’ve got 2,000 milligrams. The problem with that is you can’t actually absorb all that.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: So that’s when we developed some pretty, so long story short. We have all these different products and it was causing confusion. So what we’ve done since then and just like in the last two months is flowing through it shelf and that’s what you’re saying is we have a Nuun sport that’s fpr sweat occasion, we have Nuun vitamins daily health and it calls it out on there. We have immunity to boost your immune system and even most recently just launched a rest product to help you get a more restful sleep. So there’s just different ways to hydrate throughout the day you need to hydrate throughout the day. Maybe we can encourage people to hydrate more for more Optimal Health and we can address different need states at the same time. That’s kind of the philosophy. We just have to be really clear on when to use it. Like which one do I use and when.

Steve: Yeah, so I guess what confuses me and this is kind of outside the scope of the interview but like if I’m taking a hydration do I need to take a vitamin one then or should I take both if I take the restful or the immunity that’s like four tablets, I guess right there which seems a little..

Kevin: Yeah.

Steve: And so that’s where the confusion, I’d rather just take one and cover, you know, 3/5 of that

Kevin: Yeah, so if I was if you were to just pick one product, I think you would work with what you’ve been always drinking the Nuun hydration Court product a high electrolytes because it’s really good for any occasion. Is it excess electrolytes? Yes, because its water soluble you’ll just pee it out whatever you don’t absorb, but you don’t always need that high. So for those that want to dial in for that’s what we find is our consumers very involved. It’s like what do I need for what occasion and how do we deliver on that? Again, did you only what you need versus what you don’t and that’s why we have two different products for different occasions. So it’s a very fair comment though. Like I completely understand here because here’s the flipside the downside is so vitamins is a phenomenal product, but it’s not designed optimally if you are about to go out for a century ride bike ride because the electrolytes are going to be high enough.

Steve: Right

Kevin: But it’s perfectly designed for you know again you and I having a podcast discussion right now. I’m just kind of relaxing and chatting because the electrolyte levels are optimal and I’m getting vitamins. I don’t need you don’t need even more electrolytes at this point.

Steve: Okay

Kevin: So I realized maybe a small confusion but..

Steve: I was just kind of curious what the business decision was. But I mean the business decision really is so you can move into new markets essentially, right?

Kevin: Yeah, kind of exempting from a personal perspective. You’re right. So from a business perspective what it would tell you this is when we launched vitamins and when we’ve launched immunity and then now rest they’ve all been highly incremental in terms of business volume to the current sport product the sport product continues to grow and then these additions have been incremental but also Nuun Markets new need States is what we’re addressing.

Steve: I mean now we’re essentially tackling multivitamins as well as Airborne, correct, right?

Kevin: Yeah.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: That’s true. Yep. So it’s a new way to enter into the brand.

Steve: Exactly. Yeah and basically piggyback on what you have that’s already successful. Because I know for a fact that time are you taking Nuun every day instead of taking Centrum. For example, I might just take a vitamin, Nuun.

Kevin: Yeah, I think that’s fair. I think that’s fair.

Steve: So, okay. So back to the original thing we were talking about. So what were the things that you decide to cut out? So you we talked about what you Amplified? What did you not amplifier but decrease essentially?

Kevin: yeah what do you stop doing? Right? And so one of the things that I mentioned to you as we made the change in the product that was one of the things that we we really stopped doing was we said, how do we change the product and and turn this a different way the other thing that we did was we stopped looking for fast channel extension at the time. Now, we’re doing more Channel expansion because we’re ready for it, but we weren’t ready for it. So whether that’s the club channel the drug Channel we were going down those paths and behind the scenes and actually entered into stores and we weren’t doing great in those and so how do we pull back from that and that’s that’s kind of where we collectively said we need to Stop doing that and let’s go deeper where we are and really retrench to get stronger growth rates and then start to expand but don’t go too far out.

It’s those closer and adjacencies, you know, the reality is as our consumer tends to be highly involved. They want to read the ingredients. They want to know what it’s for which is why we can do different need States. If you go too far down the path of a conventional General market, we may not be relevant for them yet at this point and that’s what we are finding. So that’s one of the things that we did differently stop going after drug. Stop going after Club.

Steve: I guess that makes sense. I mean when you go after too many things you don’t do any of them well, and so I guess your philosophy was to just go deep and then once you’ve saturated that particular Avenue then look to expand.

Kevin: Yep, exactly. And by the way, you won’t really ever know a few saturated it because there’s always likely a bit more room to grow. So, I think it’s I think it’s when you feel like you’ve got and somewhat of an over index and now you’ve built up in a without a lot of data being smaller companies, you’re going on a little bit of intuition to say, I think I think we’ve got pretty good awareness now. :et’s go to the next adjacency of consumer and reach and then that’s when you go to the next channel.

Steve: I guess you can measure diminishing returns though, right?

Kevin: True. You’re right.

Steve: Absolutely. Maybe that’s it. Okay, cool. I feel like I caught you kind of like an inflection point right You released all those new varieties relatively recently. I want to say so what is the next growth face that you see for Nuun?

Kevin: Yeah, I believe there’s still a few more needs dates that we believe that we can extend to for hydration, like taking the tablets hydration plus so think it as electrolytes but lower level than the sport electrolytes plus this so electrolytes plus immunity electrolytes plus to deliver on a more restful sleep. So there’s a few more indeed states that we have in mind that we want to do on that. There’s also some different platforms that we think we can build from and reinvent a few different categories out there. So I can’t talk too much about that. But if you think about nutrition uncompromised and take it from a supplement perspective, but that probably should be a good indicator of okay. So what are some sleepy categories kind of stale and stagnant that that really need to be reinvented and so we’ve got our eyes on a couple of different categories where we’ll build a platform to reinvent.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: I’ll give you an example for that. That’s not that’s not Nuun, but it will give you a chance to give you context, you know. Kudosuour friends over at Justin so whichever one probably those that know it and most people do now as an almond butter. If you go back in time when they went into the category, it was a stale peanut butter category selling for a buck .99, $2.99 a jar. Now people are buying anywhere from $7.99 to $11.99, $14.99 for almond butter because it’s a better quality and it changed the whole category from peanut butter to nut butter and I think we can go into a few different sleepy categories and get you to rethink the approach in terms of better nutrition higher quality and but just more efficacious.

Steve: Okay one last question for you that I was just kind of curious about in terms of your online versus brick and mortar strategy, which do you put more emphasis on which is doing better for you and just kind of what is your outlook on that?

Kevin: Well, there’s no question in my mind. That digital is where the fastest growing Market is period out there in terms of consumables and beyond that. In fact, I have a fundamental belief that two things here, passes. The world is moving today will never it’ll never be too slow again. So if you haven’t got your digital capabilities up you’re already behind and you better get caught up pretty quickly. So that should let you know that I think digital is definitely work emphasis needs to go that being said, there’s still a lot of room in grocery and traditional channels where people are shopping and and it’s it is the bigger part of our business still to this day. I believe the bigger growth area of our company over time is definitely digital.

However, I think there’s still a ton of growth in the more traditional bricks-and-mortar area. So it’s the answer is it’s a little bit bag. It’s yes, it’s yes on both but I would lean digital because I do think that digital did not see other philosophy is digital is changing everything. In life, period. So we really need to make sure we capitalize on that. We’re seeing growth happens pretty close on both. It’s a little faster on digital but it’s also a little bit smaller base granted It’s over time that the gap closing.

Steve: was going to ask you was on the digital side. What is there left for you to do in terms of growth? Is it just doing more which you already have or are there additional avenues that you have to try?

Kevin: Well, I think one of the things that we’re learning that we need to get better at is our own direct to Consumer website. I think that less is revenue but more about learning whether that’s data science Performance Marketing. We are all those terms out there. We’re OK at it. We’re absolutely focused on how do we get better at it? And the idea here is how do we learn more about our consumer? How do we offer more toward loyal consumers which will drive higher retention and loyalty and I think that’s a really big area for us to get better at and get better at quickly on the digital side of things.

Steve: Okay.

Kevin: Yeah, you know, there’s obviously Amazon and online stores or out there and we’re growing really well that’s not going to change but I think the area that’s very different for us is through our own website because at that point you have you own all the data and then now we can really build a deeper relationship and understand what we’re doing well and what we’re not and in their consumers need.

Steve: You know one thing I just noticed because I was shopping on your site earlier. I‘d buy Nuun and I consumed it consistently, but I’m not on a subscription and that was actually looking on the site for a way to save money on a subscription but it wasn’t maybe already have one but I could not find it at least for me as an avid consumer. Like I think if I was incentivized to get on a subscription basis, then I would join instantly. But anyways..

Kevin: We’ll make, I agree with you. I agree with you. It’s definitely in the center part.

Steve: Okay, so can kind of conclude this interview where can people find more about your product and if they have any questions for you or want to contact the company directly. Where can they get a hold of you guys?

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we’re really fortunate you can find us in a lot of stores online. We already mentioned we talked a lot about REI. The fleet Feats of the worlds are also at Whole Foods and Target, Kroger stores. So we’re basically going to find us a most of most of the grocery stores and stores where you shop today most and then obviously online look us up on any social media handle. So Nuun hydration is the handle for I think all of them being Instagram, Twitter, and well Facebook just look up your hydration. If you want to find me personally, my name is Kevin Rutherford in my Instagram and Twitter handles a little bit different. It’s the clean_lantern that’s clean underscore lantern and the team the team called me that one and it was all about Beacon of light for her planet the planet and humans and all the earthlings that share it with us. So that’s the idea. So but yeah, you can find us there and really appreciate the time. It’s been really fun chatting.

Steve: Yeah. Cool. Thanks a lot of come the show Kevin really appreciate it.

Kevin: Thank you.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, I personally love getting an inside look at how my favorite hydration tablet company has managed to grow to an eight-figure business. For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitjob.com/episode273.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

Now. I talked about how I use all these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store head on over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six a 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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272: How To Get Free Press To Sell Your Products With Dawn LaFontaine

272: How To Get Free Press To Sell Your Products With Dawn LaFontaine

Today I’m thrilled to have Dawn LaFontaine on the show. Dawn was a finalist on the 5 Minute Pitch, my Shark Tank like show with Mike Jackness, Greg Mercer and Scott Voelker where we gave away 50,000 in cold hard cash.

Dawn runs an ecommerce business selling card board boxes for cats. Her products have been featured in Parade, Product Hunt and the Boston Globe. And in this interview, we’re going to talk about Dawn’s triumphs and obstacles in launching her business.

What You’ll Learn

  • Dawn’s motivations for starting her business
  • How Dawn validated her niche before she began
  • How Dawn found manufacturers to produce her products
  • How Dawn generates sales
  • How to get free press for your products

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
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SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the my wife quit her job podcast the place where I bring on successful bootstrap business owners and dig deep into what strategies they used to grow their businesses. Now today, I am thrilled to have Dawn LaFontaine on the podcast and if her name sounds familiar it is because she was a finalist on the 5 minute pitch. And in this interview today we’re going to do a deep dive into her cat products business.

But before we begin I want to give a shout-out to Privy who’s also sponsored the show. previous a tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store. Now, what is Privy do, well Privy’s an email list growth platform and they manage all my email capture forms and I use Privy hand-in-hand with my email marketing provider. Now, there are a bunch of companies out there that are managing email capture forms, but I like Privy because they specialize in e-commerce. 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.

I also want to give a quick shout-out to Klaviyo for sponsoring the show whether you are just getting your business off the ground or looking for new ways to scale Klaviyo offers fast simple and repeatable ways to grow now with Klaviyo you can personalize your marketing build your customer relationships and automate your online sales and it is now easier than ever to create amazing email and advertising experiences. Now I want to talk about Klaviyo’s new entrepreneurial growth guide packed with must read blog post case studies and getting started content this guide will help you prioritize what to do next for maximum revenue growth that moving to a new marking problem can be intimidating but Klaviyo helps you get up and going fast with proven technology and countless support resources. Now, you can check out this free content now over at Klaviyo.com/mywife once again that is Klaviyo.com/mywife. Now on to the show.

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 thrilled to have Dawn LaFontaine on the show. Now, Dawn was a finalist of the five minute pitch by Shark Tank like show with Mike Jackness, Greg Mercer and Scott Voelker where we gave away $50,000 in Cold Hard Cash. Now, Dawn runs an e-commerce business selling cardboard boxes for cats. This is called Cat In The Box and her products have been featured in Parade, Product Hunt and the Boston Globe and in this interview, we’re going to talk about Dawn’s triumphs, her obstacles and getting started with their business and with that welcome to show Dawn. How you doing today?

Dawn: Oh very good. Thank you so much for having me Steve and it’s truly a thrill in a pleasure.

Steve: So Dawn, How do you feel now that the I’m in a pitch is all over?

Dawn: Oh my goodness. I’m just so utterly relieved. I just I’m just glad I didn’t, you know, didn’t screw it up and I did a good job, and I’m just you know glad to have had the experience.

Steve: Yeah, and I was telling Dawn right before this interview that I thought, you know for the finals at least Dawn’s preparation for her final five minute pitch was amazing. She clearly came prepared. She did a great job and I was very impressed.

Dawn : Well, thank you for saying that that actually means a lot coming from you.

Steve: So Dawn, what’s nice about the podcast is we get a chance to dig deeper into your backstory. Unlike five minute pitch when you only have five minutes, so please tell the audience about your product and how you got started with it.

Dawn: Sure. So I make Whimsical cardboard box toys for cats to think inside the box. If you have a cat or if you know someone who has a cat you probably already know that cats are just weirdly attracted to cardboard boxes. I mean you could leave a box that earrings came in on the counter and a cat will definitely try and squeeze into it. So if you have a cat you probably already keep like an old Amazon box around for Cat to sleep in or hide in or play in and that’s great because you’re meeting your cat’s needs for a cardboard box, but you don’t know where that box has been it’s dirty. It’s ugly and it might be imprinted with toxic inks and my boxes they’re kind of unique. They’re clean. They’re safer cats. I am print them with human grade soy-based inks. They’re environmentally friendly all recycled cardboard their fun attractive their bit of a conversation piece and most importantly, you know cats really do love them.

Stwvw: So, how did you get the idea? I mean, it seems kind of random to me. At least when I first heard your pitch. I was like, wow, I never would have thought of yet.

Dawn: You are not a cat owner.

Steve: Yes, that’s correct.

Dawn: I actually got the idea on a trip with my mother to drop her cats off at the cat sitter. This woman had a really beautifully appointed home. She obviously cared a lot about her Decor but her living room was filled with old shipping cartons, and I know she saw me looking around which is kind of embarrassing now, but she said, you know to be quite sheepishly, you know the for the cats. So I’ve owned cats. I knew they’d like boxes, but it did get me thinking. Why do their owners put up with dirty ugly Amazon boxes In their homes? Why not something, you know, that’s, clean attractive, cat safe, maybe something even a little bit stylish and that’s how the idea for this business came about.

And let me just back up here a minute and say that I often think of quote-unquote great product ideas all the time. And now that I’ve you know involved in this I know it’s not about the product idea but the implementation, you know, that’s the hard part but as I walk through life thinking about better ways of doing normally walk through life thinking about better ways of doing things and when I thought of this particular one I said to myself for a couple of reasons that this is the idea that I should pursue.

Steve: So when you thought of the idea, first of all have you started any sort of business before this one?

Dawn: I just did a little service-related business while I was raising my kids. I’m a professional writer editor. So I didn’t, you know, just a little bit of freelance writing and editing on the side as a way to contribute to the family, bottom line. So I’m not it wasn’t a business in the sense. I didn’t have a website. I didn’t mark it. I mean people came to me so I don’t think it’s really comparable to this kind of business.

Speaker 2: Okay, and are you working full time right now, or?

Dawn: No, I am, this is a perfect job for me.

Steve: Okay. So what kind of full-time job

Steve: I’m sorry so, Cat In The Box is a full-time job for you.

Dawn: Yes. Yes.

Steve: Okay. So when you started this were you working or?

Dawn: No. And in fact as my kids have gotten older I was still home full time with them. I’ve been home with them for 21/22 years or so and they were you know, my son had just had you know gone off to college and actually was graduating college. My daughter was just going into college. So I had sort of even weaned myself off of the freelance work that I’ve been doing as I’m trying to mole what you know mall over what should I do with the rest of my life. I mean, it’s really my age is really a Crossroads in a person’s life. And this is the path I decided to take.

Steve: Yeah. So what were some of your motivations I imagine the freelance work was going well with the writing. Yeah why business?

Dawn: Couple of reasons, one is when my husband and I were first married before we had children. I was really the big Breadwinner in the family. I made you know, as a percentage anyway of our family income a lot bigger piece of the pie than he did and while I stayed home with the kids, it’s just not something you think about at the beginning of the road when there You know newborns or kindergartners even. He’s you know worked for the 25 years moved up through his career. And now he has a really interesting strategic job and I don’t have all that time left in my working life to start over where I was in my 20s and you know work my way up to the point where he is, so it was hard after I devoted so much of my life to somebody else to think of starting all over so, you know to my two kids which I’m happy I did but to start all over.

And then interestingly it’s sort of the same Crossroads here. He actually got laid off from a job that he’d had for 15 years and at that moment I said, well, I mean, I, you know, I got to get back in the workforce. I we got to have an income and I actually just applied to two part-time jobs that I was overqualified for and I was the kind of person in my twenties if I went on an interview, I got a large percentage of job offers that I went after and here I applied to you know, really kind of Modest part time jobs, and I didn’t get either one of them. Snd it started to make me think about you know, what do I really want? Rest of my life and that the idea that I needed to control my own destiny. And interestingly, my husband actually never really ended up having a gap in his work history. He got one from one job to another he got a severance check from the old job and we use that to start this business.

Steve: Okay, and in terms of this business how did you know is going to sell like, how’d you go about validating you before you got started?

Dawn: Had I taken your course from day one. I’m going to do that. This was just like hmm, you know, I’ve owned cats they would like this and that that’s really not a great idea, especially since my product really doesn’t exist. I mean if seen since a few sort of similar kind of things nothing that’s exactly the same but I couldn’t say well oh there you know, so and so is selling a million dollars worth of these things a year. I should be able to grab a tiny piece of that market. I the really wasn’t anything that existed on the market like this and I really didn’t do my due diligence and testing it to start out. Unfortunately.

Steve: I mean, but it was a hit clearly because all this And all this press and a decent Instagram following from it.

Dawn: Right. I mean, I think the bottom line is I cats absolutely love it. That’s not question. I’ve got a million videos and photos showing that they love it. They do love it and the the cat owners really like it too because they are clever and they’re fun and they love to take pictures of their cats in them. The problem that I face is a completely different one had maybe this category existed before I started this wouldn’t have been this issue. But this is this is not an SEO play. I have to convince people that they might be interested in something like this and they’re not looking for me. I have to go out and look for them.

Steve: Yeah. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case, but we can talk about that a little bit better kind of curious about is presumably you’ve never manufactured a product before how did you even know how to get started making this thing?

Dawn: Well, I didn’t and but I am the kind of person who researches something to death anything whatever it is, so that I’m actually that’s the part of the this thing. I think I’m good at so it was you know, I knew what I wanted to make. I’m not a designer. So I had to find somebody to design it for me. But in terms of finding the manufacturer, I just started cold calling and cold emailing box manufacturers cardboard manufacturers in the US and the problem wasn’t finding a manufacturer. It was finding somebody who was willing to work with me was a kind of a Goldilocks problem the big manufacturers who had the capability to do complex designs.

Like what I was asking for we’re not interested in a little business like mine and the smaller companies that would have been thrilled to have me as a customer simply just didn’t have the capabilities. So it was a matter of finding, you know, just that right manufacturer who is willing to work with me and had the ability to make what I was looking for.

Steve: Can you talk about this process though? Is it, was it just literally trial and error to find the right manufacturer or did you use any language or negotiation tactics to get them like a larger guy to work with you?

Dawn: The larger ones really wouldn’t so..

Steve: Okay.

Dawn: No, they and you know often you know, you contact A salesperson through email or through or by phone and they’re generally willing to help and they’re willing to say well I had one guy who told me you’re never going to find somebody to manufacture this in cardboard. You need to do it in paper board, which is the stuff that like game boards are made of or or cereal boxes. And I know that that doesn’t meet the cats biological needs that corrugated cardboard meets so that.

Steve: I’m sorry. Why is that actually I don’t I’m not a cat on her so I don’t know but what’s the difference between paperboard and the cardboard for a box?

Dawn: I mean a cat will probably go into a paperboard box to I mean, they will go into a paperboard box too but it doesn’t quite meet their needs. So I think I mentioned in the five minute pitch presentation that one of the key reasons that cats are so attracted to cardboard boxes and this is something that has been shown scientifically is that cats do not like to live in the temperature of that. We humans like to In the house, I mean, they like it 86 to 97 degrees in our house. None of us are keeping our house at 97 degrees. So they’re basically freezing all the time and one of the really cool things about cardboard about corrugated cardboard are those little corrugations the as you probably know are is very insulating. And so those crates create little air pockets and it makes the inside of a cardboard box very very warm a corrugated cardboard box very warm. And so that’s one of the reasons that keeps, you know, trying to find its way back into a box.

Steve: Okay, and then so you ended up finding someone small to work with you.

Dawn: It’s there. I would say they’re more of a medium sized manufacturer now the disadvantage of and they’re just if they’re great. I mean they do a great job. They’re a wonderful manufacturer, but because I am not a big customer of theirs for example, but right now I’m in the process as you are well aware of readers of Designing a new a new product. And so, you know, they sent me a prototype which is was not what I asked for and you know make my changes send them back I get stuck down to the bottom of the pile. And I got to wait till they get back to me for another iteration. So it’s just a very very long process. It can take months, especially, you know, I would love it if I just gave them my dimensions and they would just make something that shape and size with those size holes and that placement of things but they just they do things their way. They think it’s a better way of doing it and then I got to keep going through various iterations.

Steve: What’s the design process like so first of all, where did you find your designer? And what is the like how do you even design a box? Is there like CAD software for that or?

Dawn: Yeah, well, yeah, they have actually specialized software there. The Box Company actually has employees who are box Engineers. These are people who went to college and two major and packaging engineering which I did not know was a field that either right and I guess to varying degrees they’re good at the designer or the not you know, you know, not just the assembling or the creation of the box, but also the creativity behind the box and I don’t have any design background or ability at all, but I knew what I wanted it to look like. I just could see it in my mind. I just you know, maybe not that great at expressing it exactly how I wanted it. I mean even things like for the milk carton, for example, I have a for folks who are listening. I have a design that’s shaped like a traditional milk carton like a half gallon of milk the little top where the date stamp is

I mean, they couldn’t get the size of that right? I know it doesn’t seem like much but when it’s too small, it doesn’t look like a milk carton and when it’s too big, it doesn’t look like a milk carton. So I kept having to say bigger or smaller bigger smaller, whatever.

Steve: Interesting. So that’s not conveyed digitally in the file in the design file?

Dawn: They have to actually create the design file.

Steve: Got it. Okay.

Dawn: They’re actually like a creative room where they’re actually hand cutting everything to create a prototype. So they’ll create a you know, cut it all out and then I’ll say no and you know, it has to be like this. It has to be like this and so it came back to me and until I got what I thought was the right shape that would fold properly that look like I want what I wanted it to look like and that a cat would be willing to go into and then in terms of the appearance of the box. I worked with a designer that I worked with. I think I mentioned I just I did had a freelance writing and editing background. I worked on a bridal magazine for some years and this was the woman who I added the magazine and she was the designer.

Steve: I see so the process was the designer doesn’t actually design the box. It designs the design then you handed over the Box manufacturer and they turned into like this box file.

Dawn: It was actually just the opposite we started with the shape of the Box first and then she has a design to that shape. So they actually provided her with the outline of what the box would look like and then she had to go and design the design for that.

Steve: I gotcha. Gotcha. Okay in terms of like all the lettering everything they later convert her design back into the box side or they Incorporated together.

Dawn: Right. And that was extremely complex process because publication Printing and other words printing on documents is nothing like printing on a box. There are very very different. And there’s a lot of error when you’re printing on a box. So you have to create a design that allows for for the design to move at least a quarter of an inch in any direction. So it’s really so I mean, for example the cheese box, they really just wanted me to do solid yellow box. I had gone through so many versions to make the little what looks like the Swiss cheese holes. I various different three-dimensional looks but none of those met the needs of their printing press so that we ended up with something that you know that satisfies me, but we went through multiple different completely different looks for that that one that worked for me and for them.

Steve: I never would have thought manufacturing a printed box would be so complicated.

Dawn: Me neither.

Steve: So how much money did it cost you to get started with this?

Dawn: Yeah. I was actually before our conversation. I was looking back through my files. I’m not even sure what to count but I’m going to say somewhere in the order of around 14 thousand dollars that included the printing plates and the cutting dies which were at least half the price up front. That also included the manufacture of the actual boxes and you know some photography and of course the work of the designer

Steve: So interesting. So these are plates that print them. It’s not like a printer that prints on the boxes.

Dawn: Right there. There is a natural like an old-fashioned kind of plate and if you saw the cutting die, I mean you wouldn’t even know that that was going to make a box you would it’s so antiquated looking. It doesn’t even it doesn’t look like something that should be in the modern era but it’s an unusual process.

Steve: Okay. So I guess that provides you with some barriers to entry right? So now that you own this place like the plate is yours, right?

Dawn: Right.

Steve: Okay, and then no one else it’s it makes it much harder to copy this box basically.

Dawn: I think it does and I know there’s a lot of talk and there was even during the five minute pitch process about patents and so on and so forth, but there are other things that that may even be a higher barrier to entry and this this whole process. I mean you really have to be dedicated to do it and you have to have some money up front to spend on these kind of things.

Steve: Okay, and in terms of getting that first prototype and all that it was that expensive? Just working with them like digit to pay them upfront.

Dawn: No, they’re actually pretty generous about that. They wanted my insurance is that I plan to buy something which I I said, yes, of course, but and I guess they would have probably charge me for their time had I not purchased but my intention was to do it and when they got it right then I just had to pay for the printing plates and the and the kind of guys up front.

Steve: Okay, and did you start with just a single design?

Dawn: I started with you. Actually my first thought was oh I’ll do five and I’ll make it climbed all I’m like, what was I thinking I mean, I barely got to out it took me like eight months or

Steve: Oh my goodness. Okay.

Dawn: Between going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over the sing it took forever. So yeah five was not going to happen and they weren’t going to be bundled.

Steve: All right, so you launched with to and how did you launch that? Did you start a website at first or..

Dawn: I did that was actually the first thing that I did was just start a website. I’ve actually listen to some of your free material and I understood the whole, you know, potential conflicts with Amazon and some of the problems I thought oh, well, I’ll start my own website that all you know, that eliminate all those problems. Well creates all kinds of new problems instead, but that’s what I did. So, you know..

Steve: Which platform did you choose and are you a technical person?

Dawn: I would say I’m not a technical person in the sense that I don’t have a technical background, but I’m definitely not afraid of Technology. I enjoy digging into that kind of stuff and I’m willing to learn. That being said I didn’t think it was a good use of my time to you know, do some of the open cart things that you had also talked about and I really liked the look and feel of some of the Shopify options. So I chose that to start with

Steve: Awesome. And then in terms of the design did you do it yourself or did you get a developer?

Dawn: I’m really a do it myself or kind of person all the way around I’m Frugal I like to save money. I like to see what I can do. And then later on if I have a need I will hire somebody if they can provide a service that I can’t render myself. So the design of the website so far as me and the redesign of the website or at least the front page will be me.

Steve: I actually think it looks pretty nice and I’m looking forward to seeing you redesign as well.

Dawn: As I said it was based on something that you said on your lecture and it really really struck me how it could be improved.

Steve: All right, let’s talk about sales. How did you get your first sale?

Dawn: The first sale was actually through product hunt. So I think the day I launched my website. Site actually wrote a note to somebody at product hunt and first they said thanks, but no, thanks and then immediately sent me another email back and said okay and so..

Steve: For the listeners, can you kind of describe what product Hunt is first? Right?

Dawn: It’s actually a platform for people who are interested in what’s new in mostly in technology and it’s a platform for them for for new products to get exposure to this very interested community and oddly. They also have a slight interested in cat products. I don’t understand..

Steve: I was going to say for product. I didn’t think that your product was a fit. Right?

Dawn: Right and I would say generally know and if it was a dog product it probably would have been a no but oddly they just seem to have some some cat products on there. So that’s sort of struck me and I did find one of the product Hunters who had actually promoted a cat product before I reached out to her directly and So eventually she did hunt the product for me and which means that it got up on their platform and I got some, you know views it didn’t didn’t explode on that platform like some technology products do but I got my first couple of I don’t remember how many was maybe one or two or three? And that was it sales from for product type

Steve: I’ve actually never used product type before so what is the process like of getting on there? And what is the actual listing look like I voted before but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to list anything on there before

Dawn: Right. Well what you see is what it is. So getting onto products, I guess they say that you have just as much chance hunting the product yourself in other words just you know, sort of applying and getting on there. But the backstory or what I’ve read is that it actually pays to have an experienced product Hunter another words somebody who already has a relationship with product hunt and they have a history of promoting successful products and they’re kind of ranked on proud. You can find the ranking of these hunters and maybe there’s you know, there’s a top hundred or so and the hunter that I ended up using was in the top hundred. So for me, I thought it was important to reach out to somebody who had Variants and interest in pet related products.

And the person that I chose so they actually post it for you and they have their own set of followers and that the idea is that you have an established audience already eyeballs that are already on a product looking for what this product Hunter is posting.

Steve: How did you convince this woman to to do that for you?

Dawn: My, I think my writing history does help. I’m good at writing convincing letters with the right tone and the right length. I mean the right there, you know, just..

Steve: I mean, what did you say? I’m just kind of curious if you remember

Dawn: I wrote something a little bit clever something about you know, however many YouTube videos can’t be wrong castle of boxes. There’s like a million YouTube videos about cats and boxes and then just wrote something that was just warm and and hopefully a little bit clever and it caught her attention. And as I said, I think she said no first and then immediately wrote me another note said I changed my mind. Yeah..

Steve: She’s a cat person?

Dawn: She has hunted other pet products. I did not end up establishing a personal relationship with her where I found out whether she indeed is a a pet or a cat owner, but she has hunted other pet products before and I thought that was important because that meant that her audience was interested in pet products.

Steve: And how did you find her in the first place? Is there like a list of the top 100?

Dawn: Yeah, there’s a list of so it’s just her name and she has an unusual name and I just you know kind of did a Google Search and she’s actually in the UK and she has a Consulting business there and I was able to track her down through her either through her LinkedIn page or through a contact form on her on her web page.

Steve: If you sell on Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge counsel because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecounsel.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com. Now back to the show.

And so you get your first couple sales on product hunt. How did you get all the Press?

Dawn: I have a writing background.

Steve: Okay.

Dawn: I just..

Steve: That comes in real Handy. Apparently.

Dawn: Yeah. I’m glad I have at least one or two skills that I can apply not that’s it. That’s where it ends. By the way. I’ve no desire. No marketing skills. I have no I’ve never sold the thing in my life, Girl Scout cookies, that was probably the last thing I want so right so I’m I know how to write a press release and the traditional media. It’s a little bit about, you know, darts on the dartboard, you know, send out a whole bunch of them and maybe you’re lucky to get one or two people to respond to you and and the thing about also knowing about how to write a press release is that I know what Looking for and so I know what to write in my letter.

Steve: So can you talk about this process? So by pressure release you don’t mean like using like PR web or one of those services. Do you?

Dawn: No, no. You can either write a press release and then sends it along with a personal letter to an editor that you’re targeting. The first thing to do is to decide who you’re going to Target don’t go for the Wall Street Journal first,

Steve: Boston Globe is pretty big

Dawn: Right but I’m a Boston residents. So I went through the the Metro West Section, which is where I live. So I live in the little bit West of Boston and so they’re always looking at the bottom line is journals are always looking to fill a newspaper. They got a lot of newspapers and I gotta fill them. So what you want to do is you got a busy journalist who doesn’t have a ton of time to do a lot of research. So if you can provide everything that they need in your letter for an article links to your actual photographs links to you know to your website all the who, what, when, where, and how of your business in the letter you’re saving them. Kind of work and they might be inclined to publish just for that reason and if they have an interest in your topic in this particular case getting through the Boston Globe door through the Metro West Section door is a great way to get into the Boston Globe because they’re interested in more local business news. So.

Steve: So a couple things I just want to ask you about. So how did you get ahold of the editor or the contact information? And then what’s in this letter exactly just in case someone who’s listening wants to try to do this method.

Dawn: Right, So actually they make it really easy to find their contact information because they want you to contact them. So usually there’s a byline or something like that at the end of the similar article. So look for somebody who’s written an article like one you’d like to be written about your business. So that’s the other thing too. The story has to have a hook. So in my case was really important to do it at the beginning for this particular section of the newspaper for this particular Editor to, so the hook was I just opened this new business. I think I sent it to So it was Saunders and she may have sent it to you. Like I got a little blurb about five minute pitch in one of my other local papers.

Steve: Nice.

Dawn: Same thing, because five minute pitch was you know, that’s that’s an event. That’s a hook. So you have to have a hook. So if you’re you have some news about your business, you have a new product you started a new business and it depends on what your particular local media outlet is is looking for and keep read it and and see what they’re looking for. Then it’s easy enough to identify who writes those stories and usually the newspaper website has all those all the contact information right up there and they’re looking for your email send them an email that contains everything that they need for a story. Wite it clearly make it so

Steve: So what is everything they need for story. They need the story. They need photos. What else?

Dawn: it’s always the who was, that’s that’s a journalist thing. Who, what, when, where, why, and how so whatever your story is try and answer those questions completely for them. Give them every single thing that they would need. Look at a similar story. What’s there? Well, it’s located in such-and-such town. You know, the business does X Y & Z. This is why it’s Unique provide them with great photographs. And in fact, I think I provided a beautiful high color, full color, high quality photos and that section of paper was color that day and I think it was because of my photos. So I got really really beautiful photos in it and I provided that to them and they didn’t have to go doing the work of digging around for it. Provide them with quotes in your note. You can say, you know, whatever whatever you want to say. They published my quotes exactly as I put them in my letters.

So think about what you want to convey about your business first and foremost have write it clearly, right it succinctly and then provide that also in the letter. So you’re almost writing the story for them and it saves them a lot of work and they may be inclined to publish just because they have space to fill and you’ve provided them with everything that they need.

Steve: This sounds like a pretty long email.

Dawn: You know if you looked at my articles on actually can click on them through my website. They’re not that long. I mean newspaper articles aren’t that long? Okay. So we’re doing a big huge feature splashed way that would be different and and they may be interviewing other people and so on and so forth for this there, you know, pretty short little blurbs.

Steve: Okay

Dawn: A couple had you know sections of a column.

Steve: and once you get in one of these Publications do they lead to sales was my next question.

Dawn: They did actually so the Boston Globe is actually I’m sorry. That was it was another local paper called the Metro West Daily News, which is the really big local paper around here and they have a lot of small little Publications that have different names but they feed all the information into these small Publications that actually gave my that actually had a lot longer shelf life than the Boston Globe even though the Boston Globe had has a bigger readership the small local paper is really what everybody reads and because they have all these little additional papers under different names, but with the same content, I got to go out into all these different communities. So my Story had a lot more longevity that way and I actually got more sales trickling in overtime through the smaller paper than I did through the you know, the one day Splash from the Boston Globe.

And the Boston Globe thing, basically that got all my friends to call me and say hey I saw you in the Boston Globe really led to more sales was my little what MetroWest Daily News are big local paper which has, you know, feeds these smaller papers.

Steve: So interesting going forward. Are you now targeting some of the smaller publications then?

Dawn: I need to have a hook. So the five minute pitch was one had I won I would have probably done more with that

Steve: I see.

Dawn: But it’s in the interim maybe when I release a new product or if you know something else, you know different happens, then I’ll have the hook and I’ll be able to go back to the to the media outlets and do it. But right now there’s nothing to say yet.

Steve: I see okay interesting. It’s interesting how that works. So what else has worked for you in terms of marketing your products.

Dawn: Hmm

Steve: Had Instagram had an effect?

Dawn: I’m getting visitors from Instagram and I have definitely had some sales Instagram and I’ve only recently sort of started to crack the nut about Pinterest to and I notice Shopify has a lot of statistics and data that come through which is really helpful about where people are coming from. And so I can see now that now that I’ve sort of started to figure it out that more people are coming from Pinterest now, too. So, yeah, the problem is also one of the advantages of sap of eyes you could see where people are and because Instagram and Pinterest is a worldwide audience and right now I really can’t ship worldwide. I can see, “h that person’s looking at me from Africa. They’re looking at me from the UK and I really just can’t I can’t ship there. So even though I’m driving traffic to my website from these social media outlets, they’re not necessarily driving sales.

Steve: Okay, actually for people who haven’t watched your episode. What are some of the struggles that you have actually?

Dawn: Right. So I big struggle the one that I’m addressing now is that my products are while they’re light. They are far too large to ship efficiently. So and so shipping is ridiculously expensive even in the US but prohibitive shipping internationally and I have a lot of anecdotal demand in other words people reaching out to me personally through direct Messenger on Instagram and so forth. Could you ship this to me tonight? I’m in such country and I have to say no you’ll have to wait for the you know, the next product project. I mean it costs about 60 bucks to ship it to the UK, which is really outrageous. So that’s so the size is prohibitive from the point of view of shipping and it’s also prohibited from the point of view of being able to get retail space and really I can’t do FBA on Amazon. So..

Steve: Okay. So actually how much do you charge for a box and how much does it cost you?

Dawn: Right. So I charge $29.99 right now and that includes free shipping in the US and the shipping cost anywhere between seven and sixteen dollars per box to ship depending on how many zones I’m shipping a And then that’s another negative thing. Also. I wanted to mention about shipping out. I’ll finish your answer your question a minute.

Steve: Sure.

Dawn: But I can only ship to to the further zones through parcel select shipping which is an utter disaster and it’s not something I want to subject my future customers to so in order to. So Priority Mail. I need to get the box onto a certain size. So back to the the margin question the boxes cost. What did I say..

Steve: 99 oh, it’s cost you by 16?

Dawn: right. And so the shipping boxes themselves costs a dollar fifty to two dollars and then to make the boxes I think. Oh, I can’t remember the exact number but something around between 4.50 and five and a quarter. I can remember the exact amount but somewhere around there and it was 90 cents or something for the velcro that’s on them.

Steve: Right? So just curious how price-sensitive these cat lovers are. Like I know pet lovers are willing to spend lots of money for for products that will make their pets happy. I’m just curious how you arrived at $29.99 ?

Dawn: Really it was add up all of the costs and add a little of profit and let’s see if people buy it. And I do think I think I have had comments from people who are not pet owners I about the price of the boxes and I’m not sure if that’s a factor or it isn’t and I won’t know unless I’m able to get the price down a little bit.

Steve: You know, what’s funny is we have international customers and the ones in Australia seem to be willing to pay egregious shipping prices often times much more than the product itself. I think they’re just used to it. I guess..

Dawn: I’m part and I’m not sure if you’ve ever visited Australia, but their minimum wage is about twenty six dollars an hour there. I took that she was a barista at McDonald’s believe it or not loved her job as a true professional and she said twenty six dollars an hour to work in McDonald’s and you know, she can afford a house and a family and all I minimum wage in Australia. So I think that’s how come they can afford to have something shipped to them from the US.

Steve: Interesting, I did not know that

Dawn: me neither until I visited.

Steve: so okay. What were some of your other struggles and what are you struggling with right now? What’s going to happen going forward? Like what are your plans?

Dawn: Well my initial plan. So the very very near term would be to get some additional box designs. I think I don’t have enough to call it really a storefront. It’s really almost it’s almost a one product business, but it it’s a to product business and it’s I don’t think there’s enough choices for different people. So so my first challenge is I’ve got to redesign the Box in a way that it fits in to certain Dimensions that will allow me to ship not only nine zones in the US By Priority Mail at a reasonable price, but also to you know, especially to Europe and maybe even Japan and elsewhere where people are really cat crazy. So right now, I’m in the process of Designing. I think I shared with you at five minute pitch my new design and I’m working with the Box the packaging engineer at this moment to create a design that will be collapsible or packable nice within certain dimensions and within a certain weight.

Steve: Cool, I remember you telling me you actually shipped one of your boxes to Japan, right?

Dawn: I didn’t actually there was a customer that wanted one so badly and I told him it’s just too expensive to ship to Japan. He actually went and used a buyer’s agent someone who purchased from me in the US and shipped it to him. I think I know who it was. So I he was Japanese as well and his job is to do these kind of unusual things. And so this particular guy, he just owns a couple cats in Japan and he posts pictures all the time of my product. He really, you know, his cats really loved it and he really loves it.

Steve: Okay. Yeah. So clearly that guy would have been willing to pay lots of money to ship it. I would guess?

Dawn: he would be yes. I’m not sure how you know if he’s unusual or not.

Steve: So what are some other marketing methods that you’ve tried or in the process of implementing actually?

Dawn: Well in anticipation of offering a new product I am trying to just see if I can get one of my boxes up on Amazon. It’s there now. I gotta watch some more of your videos, Steve. I’m not doing something right. So I searched for it. I can’t find it. That being said I sold a couple through Amazon and one person bought one through Amazon and then went and bought three or four more through my website after that.

Steve: nice.

Dawn: So I don’t know somehow somebody else found it. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong either in my search or the creation of my listing. So it’s a work in progress, but it but it because I’m really not going to make a profit selling on Amazon. That’s not a priority for me at the moment. It’s just something I’m going to fiddle with as I go along in anticipation of being able to put this other product on Amazon.

Steve: Gotcha. Gotcha. So looking back with your business. Do you have any advice for the listeners who are kind of on the sidelines? Just thinking about starting their own.

Dawn: I would say well first of all, I would say take your course. I’m truly I’m not and I’m not just plug in next. I’m talking to her really I wish now and I said to you at the beginning of this that I’m really really frugal. And I want to see if I can do things myself and you do offer a lot of free materials which are helpful, but not the whole story. So I highly recommend if you have the money to invest in your class to truly start that from the beginning. So maybe you don’t make some of the mistakes that I made right from the beginning like in terms of having a product. That’s too large. That’s something I may have learned a little sooner from you if I’d started it and you know done the process in the right order here, but I would say the other thing is that I know that you devote a lot of your course to choosing the right Niche on the right product and I would say maybe you disagree with me.

It’s not so much about the product. It’s about the implementation and what you learn the starting a business like this is that’s what stays with you if the particular product that you’re trying to sell doesn’t work out that doesn’t matter because the bigger part is all the other stuff that you learn and you could apply that to anything so I would say just jump in and give it a try and don’t blow the bank on the first thing that you try and do I think there was somebody on Five Minute Pitch who had said something about starting with an $80,000 mold for his product?

Steve: Oh yeah yeah

Dawn: And that’s that was one of my criteria right from the beginning one of the reasons I chose cardboard because I have all these crazy ideas about things. Well, it’s got to be cheap. I can’t you know, first order of business is not to bankrupt the family.

Steve: Yeah.

Dawn: So don’t bankrupt or family, but just jump in and give it a try and everything that you learn can apply to something else. If in fact the one thing doesn’t work out.

Steve: Yeah, I would actually agree with everything you said I think one of the problems with when people just get started and they have no idea how to get started, sometimes on Amazon you can get away with just a good product right? Because Amazon is not really good from a branding perspective. And then once you get that confidence that you can get some sales and then you start your own website, then you know, it’s all about implementation marketing and that sort of thing and in fact, you know, I think I revealed this at seller Summit. I started an e-commerce store with my kids selling T-shirts. T-shirts completely saturated. It’s going to be all about marketing. So if you know what you’re doing on that front, you’re right the product Almost Doesn’t Matter. Long as you’re really good at getting the word out about your business. And as long as you have some sort of hook and some sort of story to get people to buy.

So Dawn, Thanks a lot for coming on. I really appreciate you being a contestant. I’m really glad we connected through the contest. I’m glad to have met you in person at seller Summit and I thought you’ve just done a great job and I wish you all the best with your business.

Dawn: Oh, thank you so much and thank you for saying that was a complete pleasure talking to you today.

Steve: Oh and on forgot if anyone wants to see your boxes, I where can I find you online?

Dawn: Oh, they can look at the cat is in the Box.com.

Steve: Okay, so The Cat Is In The Box and then everything related to purchasing and all that information is on that site.

Dawn: Absolutely

Steve: Cool. So if you’re a cat lover, I’ve actually seen her products in person. I’m not a cat lover, but just the design of the boxes. I thought was very impressive.

Dawn: Well, thanks for saying that to that’s that’s very nice to hear.

Steve: All right. Well, thanks a lot for coming The Showdown really appreciate your time.

Dawn: Thank you very much.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, If you cut Dawn’s Five Minute Pitch finals presentation, you know that she’s a hard worker and I have no doubt that her business is going to totally blow up. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode272.

And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo. Klaviyo 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.

Oh, 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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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

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271: The Top 5 Best Entrepreneurship Books Of All Time With Mani Vaya

271: The Top 5 Best Entrepreneurship Books Of All Time With Mani Vaya

Today I’m thrilled to have my buddy Mani Vaya on the show. Mani is someone who I met at the Menfluential conference formerly known as StyleCon and we hit it off right away.

Mani is the founder of 2000books.com and like myself, he’s a former electrical engineer who worked in tech for over a decade before starting his business selling courses and entrepreneurship book summaries.

Today we’re going to discuss Mani’s business and his top favorite entrepreneurship books of all time.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Mani built traffic for his site
  • How Mani created an engaging YouTube channel to generate sales
  • Mani’s email marketing strategies
  • Mani’s all time favorite business books

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
Emerge Counsel

SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

Sellers Summit

Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrap business owners, and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Today, I’m happy to have Mani Vaya on the show. And Mani is the founder of 2000books.com where he makes a living selling courses and Entrepreneurship book summaries and you’ll learn his secrets for getting customers and his favorite business books of all time.

But before we begin, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or looking for new ways to scale, Klaviyo offers fast, simple, and repeatable ways to grow. And with Klaviyo you can personalize your marketing, build your customer relationships, and automate your online sales. And it is now easier than ever to create amazing email and advertising experiences. Now I want to talk about Klaviyo’s new entrepreneur growth guide, packed with must read blog post, case studies, and getting started content. This guide will help you prioritize what to do next for maximum revenue growth. Now moving to a new marketing platform can be intimidating, but Klaviyo helps you get up and growing fast with proven technology and countless support resources. Now I encourage you to check out this free content now over at klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again that is K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.com/my wife.

I also want to give a shout-out to Privy who is also 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. Now, what is Privy do, well Privy is an email list growth platform and they manage all my email capture forms. And I use Privy hand in hand with my email marketing provider. Now, there are a bunch of companies out there that will manage your email capture forms, but I like Privy because they specialize in e-commerce. And right now, I’m using privy to 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 I implemented this form, email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. I’m also using their new cart saver pop-up feature as well to recover abandoned carts. So bottom line, privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers, which I then feed to my email provider to close the sale. So, head on over to preview.com/steve and try it for free. And if you decide you need some of the more advanced features, use coupon code MWQHJ for 15% off. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve. Now on to the show.

Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and 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 thrilled to have my buddy Mani Vaya on the show now Mani is someone who I met at the Menfluential conference formerly known as StyleCon and we hit it off right away. Now Mani is the founder of 2000books.com and like myself. He is a former electrical engineer who worked in tech for over a decade before starting his business selling courses and Entrepreneurship book summaries. Now when it comes to reading books Mani is probably one of the most prolific reader that I know and he actually averages one book per day believe it or not and as entrepreneurs the best way to grow is to feed your mind. And today what we’re going to do is we’re going to discuss Manny’s business and his top favorite entrepreneurship books of all time. And with that welcome to show me. How you doing today man?

Mani: Great man. Thanks for having me and thanks for the warm introduction. It was yeah. It was fun getting to know you at Menfluential.

Steve: Are you still reading a book a day? Is that accurate? I pulled that on your website.

Mani: But so that’s more like seven books a week is what I do. So it’s never a book a day as you would think it it’s more like okay, some books are going on on audio. Some books are going on on Kindle. Some books are going on on paperback and hardcover, whatever. And on the average in the week, I’ll go through seven books. Some days, It might be half a book some days It might be two books and a lot of the times I’m listening to books in the car or while I’m running or I’m just trying to relax in between some tense work.

Steve: Okay. Well, hey. Mani, we got a chance to hang out for what three straight days at Menfluential but I actually don’t know how you got started with 2000books. How did you get the idea? How do you make money and how hard was it to leave a cushy engineering job?

Mani: Yeah. So for those of you who don’t know I came to the us back in 2000. I’m originally from India. I came to the US In 2000 got my graduate degree in electrical and computer engineering at Rice University. And then I started my Tech Career around 2003 and I was in The Tech Career high-tech career 2003 to 2015 worked out a lot of big big tech companies like Nokia and Texas Instruments Qualcomm, all of the biggest names you can imagine in high tech in the electrical engineering or engineering a computer engineering fields. And I was in the wireless engineering space for the longest time, but one thing that was a common theme amongst my in my career was there I got laid off quite often.

I got laid off like three the, first time I had a job at Cirrus logic I was writing Software firmware for DVD players and in 2004, I got laid off from my job and back then when you had an H-1B visa and you get laid off from your job. You have 30 days to find a new job or leave the country. So that was a very sobering experience for me like 30 days to find a job or take the country. I hustled I did whatever I could to find another engineering job well-being engineering job because that’s what you need. You can’t just get a job at McDonald’s. You need a high-paying engineering job, which is just as good or better than what you previously had. And in that 30-day period I ended up getting three job offers, but at the same time I saw something very interesting the how we’re able to create or we’re able to do things when we were put under pressure when we are able to when we are required to do stuff we come up with really great things in life.

And only that I also started to begin to question this whole job thing. What was in our parents are I was supposed to be a job for life. And here we are. Are getting laid off within a year or two of you starting a job. So I was starting to question and getting dissolution by this whole Tech thing and the sense like what the hell I just started and I got laid off and that happened again. And again like three different times in my career when I got laid off from Ti from Nokia and um, I was I was like, okay. Well, maybe I should start a tech startup. So in my mind, I was thinking of starting a technology company for a while, but then partly I was skeptical of doing a tech company because I knew that if I did another tech company or if I’ve started a tech any kind of tech startup I would have to be again tied to the location tied to wherever I was maybe mostly in Bay Area and I would be there for a very long time. Partly, my parents are getting older.

So I was like, I don’t want to just do that either. So I was stuck. I don’t really know. I don’t really have an answer. I didn’t really know what to do until A girlfriend of mine back in the day around 2009. I think 2009-10 she, around Christmas time she gave a book to me but changed my life. That book was the 4-Hour workweek.

Steve: Of course.

Mani: Yeah, and I read the book and I was just like I knew he was speaking to me. That’s exactly like everything he was talking about was me. Like, are you going to delay your life for the next 40 years to enjoy your retirement years? I was like no hell, no. Are you going to be the guy in red Ferrari, you know the bald guy in red Ferrari hoping you know after you sell your startup and you enjoying your life and that’s all life is about now and I was like, no I don’t want to do that either. I want to enjoy my life as I go. I want to like what he’s telling is exactly what I want to build. So I kind of started to think along those lines after I read the book I cuz he literally says that most people you, you I don’t know if you’ve read the book but most people are.

Steve: yeah, I will yes

Mani: It’s the Bible for those of us who get into the online marketing space or become online entrepreneurs even crazy Engineers like us to believe that crazy amazing career to do this, but the book kind of starts that process in your head and you start to question everything and he’s like you can have freedom. You can have you can work on your own time at your own Leisure. You don’t like in many ways. He defines life. He explains life. What is possible in a way that you’ve never seen before or at least I had never even dreamt of before and the fact that I could have location Independence and time and about that was very very very appealing to me. Like would you rather take hundred million dollars 10 years from now and slog away for ten years. I would I rather take a couple of million dollars every year for the next 10 years and have the freedom of location and time and all those things.

Well, you know my answer because I don’t I want to be able to spend time with my like I want to be able to go travel. I want to go see my parents they are in India. They’re getting old I want to be able to take care of them. And that was one of the biggest motivators for me. I didn’t want to be stuck in a job or even in a start-up job where I would be answering to people to VC’s two angels or whoever else and I’ll be stuck in that thing for 10 20 years before I saw any returns on their investment.

Steve: So for starting 2000books?

Mani: So I started 2000books back in 2015 and it happened just around when Qualcomm was laying off a bunch of people and I said, hey, please let me off too because I think I’m going to do my own thing. And the reason why it took me so long was because I was waiting for my green card.

Steve: Ah, Okay, so..

Mani: I could not leave until I had my green card. So as soon as I got my green card, it was already planted in my head there was time to go and then when the layoffs were happening, I was like okay time to go. So I started 2,000 books back in 2015. And the reason why I did this business 2,000 books is because I always enjoyed learning from books as I said four hour work week change my life, but there were a lot of books that have been instrumental in changing my life in different ways. So I always enjoyed learning and reading from them. And so I would subscribe to these book summary businesses that were out there so I could absorb like ten books instead of one book and I found that most of some resource are drab very dull very boring not as engaging. I couldn’t write it wasn’t like I wasn’t learning anything new from those summaries, but I was just spending time listening to them so I was like, I don’t like this. I’m going to create my own and that’s how it started.

Steve: How did you know people willing to pay for that?

Mani: Because they were existing book summaries out there.

Steve: I see.

Mani: There are existing businesses that were doing book summaries, like there were three or four existing businesses that we’re doing book summaries. I just don’t like the way they did them.

Steve: I see. Okay, so you decide you want to do book summaries. How do you get the word out about that? How do people find you?

Mani: Yeah, so it’s a long haul like that’s probably the biggest haul of this whole part of the journey in building an audience and initially what had happened was I had put up a couple of my summaries on YouTube my mind map summary. So I I like to make things very visual. I’m a very visual learner as an engineer. I think very logical. I like to break down things and I want to still conceptualize them in a very visual fashion. So I would create these mind maps of books and Put them on YouTube, these summaries on YouTube. And that was I just put them maybe in 2014 just to see what people like or don’t like it was just an experiment. It was nothing more than that. I wasn’t even thinking so much about businesses. Oh, this would be a fun thing to do and 2015 whenever

Steve: So you’re using the webcam or?

Mani: I was a mind map. So it wasn’t even me with a webcam. It was just a screen recording of the book broken down visually.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: So if we think of books they’re very linearly like you have to go through all three hundred pages to get the ideas from the book. Instead, what I did was I would take the big ideas and I would create a web or a tree hierarchy of information in some ways rather than just a linear page one after the other after the other on that one mind map. You can go through all the different ideas the Big Ideas in the book very quickly rather than linearly try to figure out where the ideas are and what and how they fit into the grand scheme of whole thing.

Steve: Okay, and then the

Mani: yeah

Steve: video do really well or?

Mani: well Bell for my standards of the time I come back a year later in 2015 when I was leaving my job and I’m like, oh look at this YouTube because before then I was thinking I’m going to do a podcast but then I saw this YouTube thing and I’m like, oh look at this. It’s already got a few thousand views. I wonder if what if I made a more of these so I started doing YouTube videos and I started creating more YouTube videos and I started seeing some innovation videos pop up. So I started doing animation summaries of books and that initially start to pick up momentum.

Steve: So animation, you mean like someone like hand drawing like a narrative.

Mani: Yeah where I it’s a software that we used to do that to do the animation part of it, but it looks like a hand-drawn thing where people are you know, someone’s hand drawing while I’m narrating.

Steve: Nice! What is the name of the software?

Mani: It’s called videoscribe.

Steve: videoscribe. Okay, cool.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great software for that. So, yeah initially I started doing those and like some of the popular books like getting things done and how to win friends and influence people and millionaire Fastlane and all those things. And you know it started to kind of show promise and show hundreds and thousands of views coming in and I was like, okay. Well this kind of makes sense. This is working just to get the audience building but at that time, you know in the early phases, I don’t really know much about audience creation or monetization. So I was like, well, let’s just keep doing whatever is working.

Steve: How did you steer those YouTube folks over to your products?

Mani: So initially there was no product.

Steve: Oh, okay.

Mani: Yeah for the first seven eight months there was no product because I was still searching for an audience to sell the product to.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: Yeah. So for first six seven months, it was just me building audience on YouTube and what I think till date I think that was probably one of the biggest mistakes in my entrepreneurial career was I started YouTube seriously around October November of 2015 time frame and in June, I launched a podcast. Where I was interviewing authors and the biggest mistake I think in the space and a lot of entrepreneurs make this mistake again and again and this is something I’ve become very very off now, is splitting your energy your focus very quickly early on when you still haven’t figured out one thing that’s working well and you suddenly move on to the next time.

Steve: right was the podcast. I mean actually looking back now you have these two properties. You have a podcast and YouTube channel, which one would you have started with in retrospect?

Mani: My answer keeps changing. So at this point I would say podcast.

Steve: interesting and okay.

Mani: Yeah, the reason why I say that is because it’s a much quicker medium to get the word out compared to YouTube and video which takes a lot more consuming time-consuming effort for in terms of telecommunication.

Steve: The production time.

Mani: Yeah, the production time the efforts in getting a YouTube video is way bigger than the effort in getting a podcast out there. And also what I don’t like about YouTube is that you’re beholden to one company, which is Google or YouTube

Steve: But on a flip side the podcast Discovery mechanisms, aren’t that great. Whereas YouTube is this like the second largest search engine in the world.

Mani: That’s exactly why YouTube is so good. And that’s why I have a tough time answering this question and the more I think about it. It’s I think I would have done well either ways. I should have just stuck with that. One thing rather than started the second thing.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: Yeah, you know, whichever one I think podcast would do just amazingly well as much as YouTube would do it just so happens that both have different Discovery mechanisms that you just pointed out YouTube search is amazing. Like I was just looking at some Trends on my YouTube search on a book called Good to Great which is one of the greatest business books of all time. And I had done a summary of it and I was looking at how YouTube search was initially YouTube search was really big for that and now outside like Google search is taking over Google is serving up more of that video. Then YouTube is serving that video right now in search in terms of volume.

Steve: Just by referrals or recommended or suggested?

Mani: No, so early on what was happening back in 2015-2016 for the video was that when people searched good to great and YouTube they would find that video and it would rank. So it’s really SEO like it’s called a lot of SEO juice. So it ranks fairly. Well when you search for good to great and people would view it on YouTube. Now what’s happening is the trend has reversed in the sense. The Google search results. Google is sending me more traffic than YouTube for that video.

Steve: Okay, just results.

Mani: Make sense?

Steve: Yeah. Yeah.

Mani: So it’s showing more in Google search results than an even YouTube search results because YouTube is the second largest and Google is the first largest. Google is still way bigger than YouTube search and but now it’s getting integrated to the point where Google’s search volume is taken over the YouTube search volume.

Steve: Interesting. So back in the day, you mentioned using YouTube to build an audience that usually involves steering them away from YouTube, right? So just what are some of the tactics that you use to do that?

Mani: So I did it all wrong.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: You guys are learning from all the mistakes I made which is part of the journey. Initially on YouTube, You are absolutely right. You don’t want to steer them away from the channel and from that from that medium and that’s exactly why one of the reasons why I would go with podcast rather than YouTube because podcast allows you to do it podcast doesn’t have any of these challenges with YouTube ordered it was with even with early videos. I had put links in there to let people download the Mind map or get access to those things the freebies that I was offering and that’s something in the early phases. I would say till you get to your first 10,000 subscribers. You don’t even want to mess around with that because it’s just not worth it. Everyone’s situation is different. Everyone’s specific. Like everyone has a different requirement for how you want to do this.

If you have the runway you want to delay it as much as possible, but you don’t have enough to run by you need to make money. Well, then you do it. So this is very subjective.

Steve: Can you put all this things after fact, I mean let that let the video get popular and then put the links in?

Mani: Yeah, but the problem is its marketing so Steve as we know that if you don’t really build a case for that link in the video, you’re not going to get as much juice from it.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: right. You’re not going to get as much traffic from it. You’re not going to get as much traction from those links because if the link is just hanging somewhere in the video people are not going to link click on it. But if throughout the video I’ve made the case for that specific thing and then I say click here you get way higher people with a lot more people to actually click on it. So if you can’t sell the click it’s not going to get quite is the way to think about it.

Steve: right. Okay.

Mani: so you don’t and if you don’t sell the click in the video, you can’t really go back retroactively and try to put that in there. So that’s part of the challenge of YouTube in the sense that yeah, you can have those links in the description you can have those links. In the video inside the video itself, but unless you’re selling those links they’re not going to be as effective.

Steve: All right, and then what do you do in podcast land then?

Mani: in terms of getting people away from it?

Steve: Yeah.

Mani: Well podcast is much easier in the sense. You can build that case and let people go and download your free these download your action guides download your free summaries or download for your E chord. So whatever else of course the challenge with podcast is the conversions are not as good as Youtube’s conversions are.

Steve: Yeah, I was gonna say because most people aren’t by computer or whatever when they’re listening to a podcast where thing. Just click on a link, right?

Mani: Yeah. I agree. I think podcast is a longer-term play and I would love to get your opinion on this as well. What are your typical click-through rates on a podcast link that you guys have a call to action that you have in the podcast?

Steve: I’ve actually looked recently but it’s very low and

Mani: 1%

Steve: I don’t know. I don’t know off the top of my head. Maybe I’ll put that in the show notes. It was so low that I stopped tracking it basically.

Mani: mmm. I started yeah, I know what you’re saying and I think one to two percent is what you get from podcast at best with podcast you get I think very high engagement.

Steve: Yes. So if here’s what usually happens on a podcast, you give them a special link they’re not going to remember that link. They’re just going to do a search for you, right and click on it. And yes, the people that listen to your podcast for 40 minutes or an hour or however long it is they become like real fans of your product. I don’t know if that happens on YouTube. I’m still a beginner when it comes to YouTube. So yeah.

Mani: Yeah YouTube has a different YouTube and podcasts are such different mediums and such different challenges because podcast has engagement through the root. In the sense, If I looked when you look at some podcast addicts on statistics on iTunes, you see that you literally get people listening 80 to 90% of Episodes on YouTube you’d be lucky to get even four to five minutes average view duration on your videos. Hmm average like most the Youtube average overall is like around 4 minutes or something. YouTube is very like you’re constantly people’s attention spans are so limited. They are constantly switching constant searching. So the same episode I do on YouTube. So let’s let’s take the book Contoured Me. It’s a mental toughness book that came out recently by David Coggins was a former Navy SEAL. So I did a mindmap video summary of it. It’s on my YouTube channel and it’s on my podcast on the YouTube channel, we have around what twenty nine thousand views on it in the last five six months. On the podcast, It’s gotten probably just around that much downloads, but the duration on YouTube it’s around like 6 minutes average Bosch time on the podcast, It’s around 80%.

Steve: Yeah. I mean the thing that you can measure someone’s attention span, right usually when someone listens to a Podcast in the car or whatnot and it just kind of runs in the background a lot of times. Yeah YouTube like you got to pay attention the entire time. So yeah people’s attention spans are short.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah, but and that’s in some ways. That’s a good thing. I think because with podcast you’re almost subconsciously constantly in their world.

Steve: Yes, I agree.

Mani: like when they’re listening to you for so many hours they get used to you. They buy into you and that’s why they allow you to be there in their world for so long.

Steve: Yep, and then like slowly your voice gets into their head.

Mani: Yeah, and they feel like you they know you.

Steve: Exactly, would you say that’s more the case then YouTube video like when people recognize you.

Mani: That’s a good question because we I don’t do as many on camera videos. I do have some but I have a lot of like mind maps and animation video so that way it’s difficult to assess how that

Steve: I see, your faces isn’t actually in the video.

Mani: it is maybe in in 20% 30% of our videos, but the remaining most of them are mind map or animations.

Steve: I can tell you for me almost everyone recognizes me through the podcast and not through I have I have a few YouTube videos, but not definitely not to the blog which gets way more traffic.

Mani: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing right people feel like they know you after they have heard use for so long.

Steve: So, okay. So let’s say you’re getting traffic on YouTube and and your podcast. What was your tactic for getting them over to your product?

Mani: So the first time I launch my product was a mental toughness course where I summarized mental toughness books, but I didn’t have all of those book summaries ready to go. So I did was I did a very scrappy launch that was like six months into the business seven months into the business. I said, hey guys, I’m launching this mental toughness course where every day you get one new video on building mental toughness. It will be summaries of 60 of the greatest books or 40 at that time. I was 40 of the greatest books ever written on building mental toughness self-confidence self-esteem all those things and if you buy right now and I just did this on YouTube what I did was I Put a sample video on YouTube of from the membership area. And at the end I said, by the way, if you want more of these for the next six months every day, I’ll send you one new video which will come from one book from all of these books. You can sign up for it here and the price goes up next week.

Steve: nice

Mani: or in three days time or something like that. And that was like my bare bones Lean Startup test to see if people actually would buy this stuff.

Steve: So you didn’t have an email list. You just literally just posted a YouTube video.

Mani: I had an email list. I was building on the side, but I wanted to test it on YouTube for some strange reason even I don’t know. Why.

Steve: how did you do?

Mani: It did pretty well like I got I got quite a few takers for the number of views I was getting. I think I got like a couple hundred views and I got like 40 people signing up for that product I was like hey, that’s really interesting seems like the I just was pretty lucky. But partly lucky also partly also it was me being able to convey what was being sold and selling at a ridiculously low price.

Steve: So just to be clear you talked about what you were selling you gave a link and you put a link in the description.

Mani: Okay. So let’s let’s go back even further before I even did that. I actually, so instead of selling instead of the video title had nothing to do with the course.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: The video title was six pillars of self-esteem number one way to build self-esteem or the most powerful way to build self-esteem and and it was from the book six pillars of self-esteem. And for the first seven minutes of the video. I just talked about the first pillar of self-esteem. This is what it is. And then I said by the way if you like this video I have I’ll be talking about all the six pillars of self-esteem and a bunch of other ideas on building mental toughness. I’ll be deconstructing all these great books on mental toughness. So if you are interested in more ideas like this every day, you’ll get one new video and I have put it all in the membership area into the in 2000books.com/tough. And that’s how I got people to sign up for that. So educate first and then seven minutes of Education, maybe one minute pitch and then saying click right here or the link is also in the description below.

Steve: Cool, so it’s like a mini webinar kind of

Mani: yeah, extremely mini webinar I’m talking seven minutes five minutes six minutes, but the key that’s like interesting sales mechanism because what I’m doing is I’m really educating the customer and then saying by the way, if you’re interested in more, hey, go by go buy the stuff and I did it again two days later and then I did it again two days later and I did it again two days later again. And again, it was new vide, new Idea, new education and said, by the way, I have 200 of these. I’m just giving you examples of these right here. I have 200 of these ideas and then it became 300 of these ideas. So over time it kept on increasing and I was able to educate and then make a quick pitch educate and make a quick pitch.

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Steve: Nice, I actually see a lot of YouTubers use this exact method. There’s just like basketball site where he like breaks down NBA games and you know, every time he gives a great break down. He said hey, by the way, you can get a more in-depth breakdown by joining this membership. So it’s really cheap. What now, he does that for every video. I’ve been tempted.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah, and that’s it’s really good. Like what what you said was it’s a mini webinar. In fact, it is true. Right? It’s it’s a very very simple sales strategy, but I bet you do the same on podcast as well because that’s what I do on podcast as well I go educate and then I’ll be like, okay, by the way, if you’re interested, here’s the link to buy.

Steve: Yeah, I’m so it’s actually funny. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately right now my podcast I have these ad slots and what I had these ad slots, I was totally promoting my stuff but less so now they that I have the ad spots and so I’m wondering whether it would make sense to remove them at some point and just go full on my own stuff.

Mani: I see I see, oh how many hotspots do you have now?

Steve: I have three ad spots.

Mani: Okay.

Steve: Yeah, so it’s really hard to, I mean, I have it in the in the end bu

Mani: Oh are they all in the end?

Steve: No, no, no the ad spots are more prominent than my stuff.

Mani: Hmm.

Steve: Yeah. So interesting do you have ads on yours, on your Youtube videos or anything?

Mani: No that I never did. I’ve been taking them down. Okay, I’ve been turning down all the ads just so I can focus people on my brand and my business and like just taking off all of that away build my list my Brands my business.

Steve: Yeah, that’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Mani: Yeah. It’s I think people do this in phases. They go through like I think I’ve seen quite a few people go through ads and then to remove them and then come back and I think it’s

Steve: For the Podcast especially I mean, you know, we were talking about the click-through rates. I don’t even remember getting one to two percent to be honest with you and it was just very hard to track right you either have to give a special URL or some sort of code. Right? And I don’t think people use those and the only reason I know and totally is all ask these people and I say, oh they found me through the podcast almost all of them found me through the podcast. So that is why it’s a little harder to justify going all in it’s not as easily measurable.

Mani: Yeah. I see what you’re saying. But here’s how here’s all I think about it. If on the podcast, let’s say I’m doing a con launch of a new course. Let’s say 50 best books on leadership or something like that. Some reason 50 greatest books on leadership. What I will do is I’ll start talking about that every single podcast episode leading up to the launch and all the way into the launch. Keep telling them. This is what’s happening. Even if they don’t click on that link all of my podcast audience know that this is happening.

Steve: Yeah.

Mani: so they are going there in some way shape or form. They may not follow that link, but they are you know

Steve: Yeah you’re right, they will searched for it for sure.

Mani: Yeah, they’ll go to the website. They will find the course whatever it is and they’ll probably on the park as they can go find the link if they need to but the podcast audience does convert is just that you cannot measure it as precisely as what you could do with search or YouTube or paid media.

Steve: Exactly. Yeah, therein lies the dilemma and I guess all the Chances are taking that leap of faith and clearly it’s working right otherwise, continue to re-up.

Mani: yeah, if it’s working for sponsors. Why wouldn’t it work for me?

Steve: Yeah, exactly.

Mani: Exactly, So so I think it is a leap of faith in the sense, assuming that it will work for us as well. But I have basically a sign that leap of faith to myself and said it let’s just **** it yeah, I’ve just said and that’s why I like I’m going to make a video at some point saying why Gary Vee is wrong because I see him I see him running a lot of ads on YouTube and I think that’s just not right given what he’s doing.

Steve: I know youtube pay outs for those ads have just decreased dramatically over the years, right?

Mani: Yeah, He doesn’t need that money. Why would you dilute your brand with ads? Yeah from random people rather than just have an ad for yourself or have a call to action to build your own brand like tell people to go sign up for your email list or Instagram or whatever the hell you want to get them too. Why would you run ads on like I don’t see any reason for running YouTube ads unless that’s your only model. That’s the worst possible model for anyone who’s in the space of building a .com business building an entrepreneurial business or building a business where they are trying to sell their own things.

Steve: Yeah, I would agree with that for sure. Did you anything on the social front?

Mani: Well

Steve: Facebook, Instagram, Or..

Mani: Not so much not so much. I have done a little bit a little bit here and there but I feel like the traction is really on the content platforms more than on the social platforms for me.

Steve: Let me ask you this. So you got YouTube in the podcast. Do you focus equally on both at this point or do you repurpose the content? What do you do?

Mani: Yeah, right. Now, I’m repurposing all of my YouTube content to podcast and now I am considering spending a few hours every week to make it a daily podcast where I just give another like one quick idea every single day for you to make it a daily podcast while YouTube repurposing goes on.

Steve: Daily podcast, wow.

Mani: I don’t know but those will be really quick. These are like three to five-minute episodes. So I’ll be like one have you heard of Newport else podcast or have you recorded.

Steve: Of course, that marketing show? Yeah.

Mani: Yeah, so that one something similar to that really quick like for five-minute episodes while the repurposing still goes on.

Steve: So when you ask people now, where do they were the most people find you of the people that actually pay you money?

Mani: Hmm, its a mix of a lot of different things. It’s YouTube podcast lot of affiliate deals as well. We do a lot of affiliate email deals where will promote products through our Affiliates or I would call them joint ventures not Affiliates because these are people who I only we actually appreciate each other and we we are promoting the product.

Steve: Okay.

Mani: So those work as well. It’s a mix. I don’t pick one or the other is doing more right now

Steve: cool. Well, let’s let’s switch gears. I know originally we were going to talk about your top five business books or online business books right of all time.

Mani: Yeah, I would quantify it as like top five books that every online entrepreneur should read and these books will be different if you’re a tech entrepreneur, but if you’re an online entrepreneur, I think these books would really help.

Steve: Which is the majority of my audience.

Mani: exactly yeah.

Steve: So I’m actually curious what is on this tough five?

Mani: Okay. So yeah, let’s get started and I’ll A bonus at the end just so people can enjoy it. By the way. I yeah, so we just talk about this book two days ago, but I think this is one of the greatest marketing books of all time. It’s called influence by Robert Cialdini. It’s all about persuasion and the key is if you are in the online world today, if you are an online entrepreneur, you have to learn to be able to sell online and influence literally gives you all the tools to be able to Market effectively. So.

Steve: Absolutely Mani and I, we literally just talked for almost an hour about this just a couple days ago on Mani’s podcast which will give a link to at the end of this episode.

Mani: All right. So yeah the hopefully that episode we’ll be out before this episode goes out. So people will be able to listen to our discussion about the six key triggers that influence people that literally persuade people to buy or to take action on whatever you want them to take. So influence.

Steve: Incidentally, It’s my all-time favorite book of all time for business.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah. It is your all-time favorite Business book. That’s why we talked about that book on the 2000books podcasts. I told you. Hey, we’re going to talk about your favorite Business book and you came up with that and I said man that is one of the greatest marketing books of all time. So definitely

Steve: Nice.

Mani: Yeah. Now the next one I want to talk about is the one page marketing plan by Alan Deb.

Steve: I have not read that book.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah. It’s again a marketing book, but it’s a very comprehensive marketing book very comprehensive in the sense. You get to understand marketing all the way from ground level all the way to 30,000 feet level as in how do you think about Marketing in general the different phases of a customer through different phases of a customer life cycle. And how do you cater to them at different parts of the journey and one of the things he said and that was really fascinating to me. He said in the book. He said if you want to become a high growth business you’ve got to Make more offers consistently.

Steve: Hmm,

Mani: And that was fascinating as you know, and you know,

Steve: It’s what we talked about right like what 20 minutes about your YouTube strategy, right?

Mani: And the more offers you can make you will make more money. If you don’t make enough offers, it’s very hard to make money, but it’s really easy to take that. Okay, that makes sense. But when you are in the nuts and bolts of building your business you forget sometimes that the simplest Act of making more offers and more consistent offers is a requirement in order to grow your business. And that is like a requirement of marketing in some ways. You need that in order to grow the business so that book one page marketing plan is all about breaking down the different stages of the customers life cycle from the lead from a prospect to a lead to a customer to repeat customer and how do you nurture them. How do you take them through all of these different places. And incidentally I interviewed Alan dip on the 2000 books podcasts just recently and I was telling him that, hey I have this list on my on my website The Top 10 marketing books of all time and one page marketing plan is on that list. And he was really happy to hear that. So that podcast is episode is coming out soon as well.

Steve: Nice.

Mani: Yeah.

Steve: So this applies to e-commerce as well. Right?

Mani: it applies to any kind of marketing you do whether you’re doing paid media, whether you’re doing online like search media, organic media, whether you’d using YouTube or Facebook ads or you’re using podcast whatever it is the the Journey of the customer the Journey of marketing to a customer doesn’t change. Okay, however, you sell to them.

Steve: Okay, I’ll have to check that one out for sure.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great marketing book. The next one. I want to talk about is Good to Great by Jim Collins. Now, this is my like this is more of a big picture business building book not just online entrepreneurship book. So I don’t know if you have you read it?

Steve: I have a long time ago. It’s not clear in my head because it was a while ago. But yeah, I remember it was a very high level book.

Mani: it’s a very high-level business building book. It’s not so much about the nuts and bolts of building an online business. It’s not at all about online business, but it tells stories of great businesses and how they became great and the fundamentals there are three key fundamentals that he talks about I think Jim Collins is at Stanford, right? He teaches at Stanford.

Steve: I’m not sure actually.

Mani: Yeah. Tim Collins is a professor of art Stanford Business School from what I remember, so he wrote the book good to great. And in the book, he talks about three key disciplines that we need to have if we’re going to grow a business no matter what kind of business the first discipline is people their discipline of people and saying get the right people on the bus wrong people off the bus what that means is you must have great people if you’re going to build a great business no matter what role you’re hiring for. You want great people if you want to bring a great business a great brand. No matter where you are like what kind of whether it’s online whether it’s e-commerce whether it’s info products. Whatever it is you want the best possible people for the role rather than just say, okay, I’m gonna spend a little less and get the second tier of the 30 or person because the best people will make all the difference in the long term in the business.

So the first discipline, is discipline of people. The second discipline, is the discipline of thought. Which is don’t go don’t try to do too many things stay focused stay in your lane. And not only that like Focus your business on a few things that will really move the dial rather than trying to do a lot of different things and he talks about quite a few key principles in business the Hedgehog principle which which basically says stay in your lane stay in your lane continuously stay on your lane. Because the fox the he kind of makes a comparison between the Hedgehog and the fox most successful businesses are like hedgehogs. We just do this one thing and keep doing it well and keep doing it well and keep on doing it again. And again again while the fox is scattered. It’s just tries to All these different things.

And the third discipline, is the discipline of action and the discipline of action and discipline of partner kind of tied together. The discipline of action kind of rolls in with the idea of the flywheel principle, which is saying whatever is working keep doing that. Don’t try to invent new things to do just keep pushing more on it and you will turn the flywheel faster and faster and you’ll build a bigger and bigger and better and better business. Businesses that fail are the ones who are constantly looking for a new way to explore the business rather than just keep doing what’s working and two more of that and do better and better and better and better. So these principles are like so fundamental to building any kind of business because these are some of the fundamental mistakes I made when I started like I start I was doing YouTube and then I started podcasting and I was like, what the hell am I doing with my life?

I’m crazy. I’m going nuts and that was you know, one of the things I kind of did not listen to from Good to Great. I did not realize I thought I was still staying in my Lane anymore, book summaries, but I had already Diversified my efforts initially in my marketing.

Steve: I tell my students this all the time because they try to run Facebook ads Google and they started do SEO all at the same time, they end up doing anything. Well, yep, so.

Mani: You’re right man. This is like the hardest letter to learn just stay on one like make one marketing channel work because that is huge all by itself.

Steve: I mean, I always tell my students just one marketing channel by itself is usually enough to make a six-figure business.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah, and it can it can even get you seven figure because once you figure out the ins and outs of that marketing channel, like how many people do we know who have literally made Millions on Facebook advertising millions and millions and tens of millions.

Steve: Absolutely, absolutely.

Mani: Like I’ve literally have friends who have retired after running ads on Facebook for a couple of years. I’ve a friend who’s made 15 million dollars cash after being in the Facebook advertising space for like four or five years. So one marketing channel can blow up your business. It’s very easy to get lulled into thinking that somehow the other marketing channel is easier or if you just did a little more somehow to take off.

Steve: Hey, by the way, that blurb you just gave about Good to Great. Is that typical of one of your book summaries? Like is this style?

Mani: Yeah.

Steve: the way to Okay cool. So we’re again like a taste of real life Mani tutorial here or summary version.

Mani: Yeah Yeah Yeah, the more the funny thing is the more I had now learn about these ideas in the more I learn about these books the more I can kind of associate them with my own experiences. And also with other books in the same domain. So it makes it more Compact and more sophisticated as an idea and in some ways more and more dense compared to just an idea standing by itself.

Steve: So I’ve read two of your first three so far, what’s next?

Mani: Nice, The next one is Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco.

Steve: I’ve been on the forums. I have actually not read the book yet.

Mani: Oh man such a good book.

Steve: It’s older. Right? This is ad older book.

Mani: Well, not that old. Well newer than good to great. Newer than influence order than one page marketing plan.

Steve: Okay, do you go to is event by any chance?

Mani: No, I think I’m scared that his event will be a bunch of newbies. So I’m kind of not..

Steve: Oh, I see. Okay.

Mani: Yeah because there will be a bunch of people who are trying to figure this out trying to do the thing. I love about this book so much is that most people and even you and I we’ve been there where we see people in our engineering career who are stuck in that mediocrity Lane who are stuck in that slowly in or meet or the not the slow lane but not the fast line either. What do you call it? Yeah the slow lane not the fast then. So the slow lane is the one who’s saying, Okay, Let me just go do my job collect my 401k make some save some money and some point I will retire and enjoy my life kind of the same thing that Tim Ferriss are you again? Argues again, Same thing like MJ DeMarco talks about it. Most people are living the slowly in life. There are of course some people who are living on the sidewalk, which is the homeless and the poor or the ones who are really living paycheck to paycheck or even worse. But then the fast lane is the where is the only way to make money fast is through business.

Birds, there are a lot of people who fall into this the fantasy of the lottery mindset that somehow if they just make the right investment in the right business at the right time. If they just invest in Facebook at the right time suddenly, they’ll become rich and I’ll be fine.

Steve: Ah, I feel for that, by joining a start-up and I thought my stock options were going to be my retirement plan.

Mani: Yep. Yep. And we do that all the time right Engineers are the worst at this because we think we’re so smart. We can outsmart the market. So I remember so many people are Qualcomm back in the day. That was they’re paying like somehow they wanted to find that one stock that would hit it and now they wouldn’t have to worry about anything so they would make all these stupid gambling moves. Trying to make it big and that’s the lottery mindset. He and MJ is like no, you can’t I don’t play the lottery mindset. You got to build a business if you’re going to go in the fast lane. That’s the only way to make fast money. Everything else is a game of Lottery. It’s a game of luck build a business and that’s going away from the lottery mindset and into the process mindset where it’s like, okay, I got to do this thing. And if I do this thing, I will make money I will grow this business. I will become richer.

So the Millionaire Fastlane and in many ways is kind of for the entrepreneur or the early stage entrepreneur who’s trying to figure out what should I do? Should I not do this? Like maybe I can just go to investing in all that stuff, dude? Building a business is the fastest lane to Building Wealth in America today or in the world today. There’s fun..

Steve: What’s funny about this is, I used to go on the forums all the time because I met one of my buddies there on that Forum. I just never thought to read the book.

Mani: Yeah. It’s such a good book man. Like he.

Steve: okay.

Mani: I think I should I did a summary of it. So it’s the summary of This Book is on my YouTube channel. So if you just search for 2,000 books millionaire Fastlane.

Steve: okay.

Mani: it’s got like 50,000 to 60,000 views. So it’s a pretty decent summary.

Steve: I’ll link up all these books and and any links had many talks about in the show notes for this episode.

Mani: Yeah, I’ll provide them to you.

Steve: All right. What’s number five?

Mani: Number five is actually number one. So number one. Is it number one greatest book of all time for me. The one book that I recommend. It’s beyond everything else and This book was written in 1906. It’s a..

Steve: I know what it is. Yeah.

Mani: it’s a 45-page classic. It’s a PDF that you can find. You can actually download it. You can download it from my website. It’s called As a Man Think It by James Allen.

Steve: I take it back. I got it wrong. I haven’t read this one.

Mani: You thought it was thinking already.

Steve: Yes. I did.

Mani: Yeah, which is great to I was kind of I would have said that if not this so they’re both great As a Man Think It is a classic man. It’s so powerful because in entrepreneurship one of the most important things is to be able to manage your mindset manage your philosophy manage your thinking is if you if you no matter what you’re doing the nuts and bolts of the business if your mindset is not right if your philosophy is not right you’re going to constantly fail you’re going to constantly challenge yourself, you’re going to constantly run into obstacles, which you will not be able to work on. So as As a Man Think It is literally training you like it’s one of the most powerful books on how to use your mind the right way. And some ways. So here’s a

Steve: Tell me more sorry in what way?

Mani: yeah, here’s a here’s a quote from the book that I think I have now memorized even though it’s so long, but it’s worth it. I literally do the whole podcast episode on just this quotes and this is the quote “To begin to think with purpose is to enter the enter the ranks of the strong ones who make all conditions serve them.” Okay, I’ve just given you the first two parts of this quote there is more to this quote. But let me just break down the first two parts quote. He say ”To begin in to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of the strong ones who make all conditions serve them.” Now for those of you who are listening on the podcast. You’ll probably have to rewind and listen a couple of times to get the hang of this quote. What he’s saying is when you are clear on your purpose when you are absolutely clear on your purpose is when you stop being a victim of circumstances. Then you become a master of your circumstances. You make every circumstance every conditions serve you when you have a goal.

When you have a purpose when you’re not clear on purpose when your purpose is not clearly defined when you’re not clear on your goal. You will be buffeted by circumstances. You will get thrown around by the winds and the vagaries of like but if you’re very clear on your goal, every circumstance is now your slave you become the master of every condition every circumstance.

Steve: Is there a second part of this quote too?

Mani: Yes, and then he goes on to say so I’ll say the whole quote again “To begin to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of the strong ones who make all conditions serve them. And who think of a failure of any failure as a pathway to attainment”

Steve: This is a common entrepreneur saying I mean just not in those words.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah, so it’s a very it’s obstacle it’s a way kind of what he’s saying

Steve: Yes.

Mani: At the end as in like whatever the obstacle there’s a actually becomes a way forward but way before the compactness of this quote is really the beauty of this quote is like the clarity of purpose actually defines your life in some ways because most people ninety nine percent of population here is a victim of the circumstance or that’s what they think.

Steve: Right.

Mani: But the 1% the entrepreneurs are the ones who are thinking for themselves. They say I don’t I’m not going to be a victim of the circumstance I take I take charge of my life, but the key to taking charge of your life is to start with purpose. If you don’t have a purpose you will not be able to take charge of your life you if you’re not clear on your vision or your outcome that you’re after be very difficult to not be swayed by the winds of live in some ways of not differently very difficult to not be thrown about in the waves of the ocean. It’s almost like if the if the ship doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s just going to get thrown around by the obstacles to all the waves of the ocean.

Steve: You know, it’s funny about your book recommendation, Mani and I just notices is that it covers the entire gamut along the journey, right? So if you are kind of on the sidelines right now and you want to get started, it sounds like this book that you just recommended plus the millionaire Fastlane are the ones to get your mind set in place right to motivate you to actually get started and then once you’ve started the other three books, I think persuasion is more tactical sort of book, a good to Great is more high level and what you need to do to get accomplished and the third one. Actually, I forgot with the third one.

Mani: One page marketing plan

Steve: One page Marketing Plan. Yeah, they’ll the one I haven’t read yet. That one also is a great summary of tactics.

Mani: Yeah. Yeah. So you’re absolutely right. Millionaire Fastlane is like one of those were before you get started. You actually need to get yourself on the journey. That’s per book you need and then influence and One Page Marketing Plan. One Place Marketing Plan is what you would need in the journey to be able to do online marketing property to be an ornament on an entrepreneur influences kind of the strategy behind marketing. So tactics or strategy of marketing in some ways. Good to Great is something that will take you along the journey no matter how big a business you want to build your going to keep coming back to those principles of building the business the right way and you’re going to keep on making the mistakes and you go back and you read the book and you’re like, ah, Yes, I need to go do their thing.

I need to be on point with my people are my thoughts are my action and As a Man Think It this kind of a comp. It’s your friend for the rest of your life along the Journey of Life along the Journey of Entrepreneurship because it’s constantly going to guide you in your thought process. Like I’m why am I doing that or I can see the mistake I’m making in this thinking or stuff like that. So yeah

Steve: cool

Mani: different stages of the journey.

Steve: Great recommendations many if people want to find more of these type of summaries or key points, where can they find you online?

Mani: Yeah. So you guys already heard find it on 2000books. So if you are listening to the podcast the best thing to do is search for 2000bucks on your podcast app 2000 books. And you will find two thousand books. And if you loved YouTube just search for 2000books on YouTube channel. Just 2 0 0 0 books or go to my website 2000books.com. And I have already created some lists for people. All to go check them out. So it’s at 10 best books dot orgy people can find all sorts of lists. I’ve created 10 best books on productivity, 10 best books on building mental toughness, that by spokes on marketing. 10 best books on sales 10 best books on leadership all of those. I’ve created a bunch of lists that people can find so then just put start orgy is the place to find those books.

Steve: and and I love how you do book summaries. Sometimes if I see like a really thick book like I started reading Ray Dalio’s the book but I couldn’t quite get through it.

Mani: Yeah.

Steve: That’s one of the types of books where I probably want a summary for.

Mani: yeah. There’s quite a few books like that that I feel like for people when they’re trying to read it and I know they’re going to give up cause it’s so damn big Steve Jobs biography is one of them. It’s humongous.

Steve: Remember, reading the intelligent investor. I think I think that’s well and that was a really dense one. I probably would have gotten to summary for it too

Mani: Oh, yeah. That one is Hardcore. So on the podcast I do a lot of some reason. I also do a lot of interviews with authors and now the new format where I actually interviewed, people like Steve to talk about their favorite books. So it’s it’s kind of a fun mix up different kinds of different elements different ways to digest books if I say, so, yeah.

Steve: Well Mani. Hey man. Thanks a lot of come on the show. Really appreciate your time.

Mani: Hey Man, Yeah. Thank you very much for having me. And if you guys have any questions, I’d love to feel them on our YouTube channel, or just send me a tweet.

Steve: Sounds good. Take care.

Mani: All right, bye-bye.

Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, I’ve read a lot of business books in the past decade and it was great getting more book recommendations from Mani because he’s read practically everything. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitjob.com/episode271.

And once again, I 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.

I also 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.

Now. I talked about how I use all these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store head on over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six a 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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270: How To Build A Facebook Messenger Bot That Sells With Natasha Takahashi

270: How To Build A Facebook Messenger Bot That Sells With Natasha Takahashi

Today I’m thrilled to have Natasha Takahashi on the show. Natasha is someone who I met at Social Media Marketing World and she’s an expert when it comes to Facebook Chatbots.

She is the chief marketing officer and founder of the School Of Bots and she’s spoken at many industry events like Social Media Marketing World and Traffic & Conversions.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about the best way to implement a chat bot on an ecommerce store that sells physical products.

What You’ll Learn

  • The best way to get new messenger subscribers
  • Some of the best chatbot implementations for ecommerce
  • The rules for sending broadcasts
  • How to send promotional broadcasts without violating Facebook’s rules
  • How to use auto responders for ecommerce

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

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Transcript

Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses Now today, I’m thrilled to have Natasha Takahashi on the podcast and Natasha runs the School of Bots and today she’s going to teach us how to create high converting Facebook Messenger Bots or e-commerce stores.

But before we begin, I want to give quick shout out to 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.

I also want to give a shout out to Klaviyo who’s also a sponsor of the show whether you are just getting your business off the ground or looking for new ways to scale Klaviyo offers fast simple and repeatable ways to grow now with Klaviyo you can personalize your marketing build your customer relationships and automate your online sales and it is now easier than ever to create amazing email and advertising experiences so want to talk about Klaviyo’s new entrepreneurial growth guide packed with must read blog post case studies and getting started content this guide will help you prioritize what to do next for maximum revenue growth that moving to a new marking problem can be intimidating but Klaviyo helps you get up and going fast with proven technology and countless support researches they can actually check out this free content now over at Klaviyo.com/mywife once again that is Klaviyo.com/mywife now on to the show.

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 thrilled to have Natasha Takahashi on the show. Now Natasha is someone who I met at Social Media Marketing world and she is an expert when it comes to Facebook Chat Bots. She is the chief marketing officer and founder of the school bots and she spoken at industry events, like social media marketing world and traffic and conversions now, I’m really happy to have Natasha on the show and with that welcome.

Natasha: Thank you so much for having me, Steve. I’m really excited for us to talk about all sorts of chatbots up today.

Steve: So Natasha, what’s funny about this is we didn’t really talk that much at Social Media Marketing world, but I listened to a couple of the other interviews that you’ve done and I heard in one that you actually dropped out of college to pursue the school of bots and the only reason I’m bringing this up is because you were Asian my parents would have flipped.

Natasha: I’m actually really excited that we are both Asian and that we get to talk about, you know online business and stuff because you’re totally right. I think that in the Asian Community, there’s still such a big stereotype and in terms of you know, starting your own thing, Or like leaving College leaving that traditional route, right? And so I’m really excited that we both kind of have that same angle so we can talk about this because I usually don’t get to really talk about this because people just don’t get it.

Steve: So did they flip or?

Natasha: So, they actually didn’t so funny story behind it is when I decided to leave school, I was enrolled in a like traveling Business program. So I was supposed to graduate with three different business degrees one from USC in Los Angeles and to from a college in Hong Kong and Italy. So I thought that I kind of had the best of you know, the college experience that I could have gotten and at that point I was like, okay if I’m gonna do college I’m just going to do this and then unfortunately experienced kind of disappointed me when I got to USC in the fall and so about Midway through my spring semester, I was like, you know what I’m just going to leave. I like a nun enrolled myself from all the classes. So I did it pretty official. I didn’t just leave I tried to kind of tie up everything.

Steve: This is your freshman year? Or, I’m sorry.

Natasha: Yes. This is my freshman year. Hmm. Yep, so Midway through my freshman year. And then I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell my parents. So I was very confident in my decision because my father actually passed away when I was seven and he was the Asian one in the family. Now, My mom is Mexican and she’s actually still pretty Asian. It was the way she acts that you know, you think of the typical Asian mom, she kind of exhibit some of those features and so I wasn’t quite sure how she was going to react obviously because both my parents are immigrants and so the whole story where my parents came here to give me a better life is definitely very prominent in my family

And so I was trying to figure out the best way to tell her and my stepfather who is also Asian, he’s Japanese and I ended up writing them. I think a five-page letter was probably five to seven pages and the letter pretty much explained all of my thoughts on the college education system how it’s broken how you know entrepreneurs can really thrive in that environment. And also what my plans were moving forward to just kind of share with them. Like hey, I’m not just going to leave and you know, just go Something random. I’m actually going to try to start my own thing, you know figure out I have a plan and a strategy in mind and so I wrote that to them.

I sat them down at our kitchen table in Irvine where I’m from and where I grew up and I was like read this letter don’t say anything back to me until you finish reading it because I think in confrontations like that and I don’t want to call the confrontation but you know conversations like that were you’re trying to share something with your parents at the probably going to be uncomfortable with most of the time you get started talking and then they’ll cut you off or you know, maybe stop you and then you lose your train of thought. So I was like, I put everything into this letter. Please read it and pretty much after they read it they were pretty calm and they were like, okay take a leave of absence and see how it goes.

So I think I’m technically still enrolled in USC system, but I’m long gone. I will not be returning but I will say my student ID has served me very well. Ha ha

Steve: Ha ha, so let me ask you this, so you presented this letter and you didn’t have any business or any income, right?

Natasha: Correct. So I did have some income because at the time pretty much from about junior year of high school on I decided that I wanted to start working with like online businesses and Tech startups. I thought I was going to go very much like the Silicon Valley Tech startup CEO route. So I did actually have some income because I was doing marketing for startup grind which is a global entrepreneurship community. And then I was also an independent contractor for a few other startups doing some marketing and sales for them entirely virtually. So I’d kind of had already a taste of the you know, online entrepreneur lifestyle if you will.

Steve: it’s a, did you already have an idea for doing school bots when you dropped out?

Natasha: So before I dropped out so this was in 2017 it’s when I left USC and the year before Facebook Messenger Bots had come out right in early 2016. So I had been looking at them. I’ve been kind of testing a few things but I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to like deep dive into them and then at the beginning of 2017 I was like What let’s just do it. And so I actually didn’t start school at Bots at that time. I started my chatbot agency with my co-founder and that was my first, you know, step into the entrepreneurship world, but also chat Bots and about a year and a half after that once we had served quite a few clients and had you know, great case studies results Etc and the Bots world. That’s when we started school at bots so that we could just be confident in you know that we were sharing the right information and and the right policies etc.

Steve: All right, so a couple questions there.

Natasha: Yeah

Steve: Yeah, pretty young. So how did you get clients? And then how did you meet your co-founder? Also? Was it someone you met at school or?

Natasha: Yeah great questions. So I met my co-founder actually two years before that. We met through a mutual friend and at that time like we obviously were just kind of friends like talking about business. That’s actually what got us to become better friends was like, you know, we had met through a friend that he had gone to college with and so at that time he was just, you know, kind of like in this party frat face right where he was, you know coming out of he had also dropped out after about two years and so because of that, you know, when we talked about business he was like, oh wow, you know, usually I don’t get a chance to talk about this stuff with people around me.

And so we didn’t talk about doing a business together until about two years later because at that time we were talking more and more about it. I was talking about how I wanted to drop out and start an agency and so in discussing that we realized we had very complementary skills. So we are complete opposites in the sense that the way that we talk about things the way that we not necessarily think about things now that we’re very aligned but the way that we approach as well as the fact, you know, he’s a white six foot tall male that is more like a sales background and then I am, you know a small Asian woman right?

Who like we portray ourselves to very different audiences and appeal to all sorts of different types of people together and then individually so it’s been a really interesting Dynamic to just kind of see the audience that we attract and why people like us or by From us but that’s how we met. And then your second question was about?

Steve: First client clerks?

Natasha: First clients. Yes, so it was really freaking tough people say that now obviously because I have some credibility. I had the chance to speak on awesome podcast like this and stages things have changed quite a bit and then people don’t really ask or you know, think about my age too much at least, you know from my observance, but at the beginning because we were actually also traveling so we decided to become digital Nomads at the same time as start our agency. So we hopped over to Asia. Of course. We went over to Hong Kong Japan Thailand Australia and a couple other places over there. And so most of our prospecting happened either like at events that we would go to in those areas as well as a lot of digital prospecting.

So we did a ton of cold email cold Outreach and also because I had started to build up a personal brand before I started my business. I was pretty active on LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram there were some people who knew what I was doing especially since I was posting a little bit about it and so they would reach out and say hey, can you you know help us with this or I think I have a client for you. And so some of those conversations eventually turned into paying clients, but the first few Bots we built were free and they ended up to be great case studies.

But it was very tough at the beginning especially because we were trying to Target big companies because we thought we were going to go all in on the beauty Niche without going too deep into this but just saying that at that point where like, okay, we’re going to talk to Revlon and L’Oreal and sexy hair and we got on sales calls with all these companies but we have no idea what we were doing. All right, so it was silly of us to even think that we could have closed them let alone if we had closed them actually deliver because it was going to be some of the first few projects that we had done. So I’m happy with the route that we took in the sense that we then focus on like digital small and midsize businesses and then ended up growing from there. But yeah, I will say it was very tough.

Steve: I really loved your story because there’s always people that email me saying hey, you know, I don’t have any skills. I can’t do anything. How am I going to get my first? Here you are ingratiating yourself into a community and then doing jobs here and just gradually building your portfolio to eventually Land one of your clients. That’s what you got to do today. Right?

Natasha: Yes, exactly is. it’s very true. It’s so interesting to me because I was actually thinking a lot about this the other day is like for you for example, you know, your kids are going to be very familiar with the business model and you know type of lifestyle that you’re able to live and work in but for me when I was growing up, I didn’t know anybody else who had parents who were running online businesses or works for around my business, right?

You know, because I’m thinking also, you know, like companies like yours like we all have employees and contractors as well and those people’s Soul jobs or one of their gigs, you know is to do all this online work and then they have kids and friends and family. So it’s just really interesting to me how that’s shifted and I guess I’m just so interested to see how it’s going to be like five ten years and then when I have my kids as well, you know, what what that perception is going to look like and.

Steve: yeah, I mean So my kids are still going to college and they’re going to finish college. But you know, my whole perspective on education is kind of flipped as a result of my experiences.

Natasha: Yeah.

Steve: I was planning on being an engineer all of my life and then this happened and then I just realize that you know, you know, you can have your time to yourself and you can make a lot more money than than working a full-time job. Yeah, but let’s get to chat Bots. What I was hoping to do today was kind of go into depth on maybe the best way to implement a chatbot on an e-commerce store that sells physical products. There’s also people my audience that sell digital products and membership sites too and what is hoping to get out of you today. Maybe is I know you have a lot of templates and you work with a lot of agencies or people who want to start agencies and that sort of thing and so walk me through what a good chat bot looks like that you’ve implemented for an e-commerce store.

Natasha: Yeah. So what I would say just at the very beginning is that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and excited about what Chat Bot I can do right and so what we one of the biggest mistakes that we made at the beginning and I see most people make is they come into the chat bot world or are a business that wants to implement a bot and they see all of these potential use cases to implement into the by right. And so then that leads to that may be testing 20 different things and then all of a sudden they have no idea what’s working because they didn’t properly test one by one, you know without overloading their system essentially.

So for an e-commerce store, it’s going to be a little bit different for each store, right depending on what their overall marketing looks like if they are creating a lot of content and that is essentially serving as a funnel for some of their products right as well as influencer marketing kind of falls under that category as well. Then there are quite a few ways for Bots to help either deliver that content or create experiences out of content that already exists and to give you an example. We were working with a e-commerce store that These like lifestyle lounger products. I think they kind of blew up a few years ago and then have still become a pretty solid product for companies online. And so these things you know, you can take them onto the water you can Lounge on…

Steve: Are these the inflatable things?

Natasha: They are. Okay, yes.

Steve: I guess they’re, yeah.

Natasha: played body, exactly. So those products of course are you know or hinted against like appeal to travel influencers and people who are going to be on the go right who want to take something with them? And so what we did was they have this great blog they had had all these ambassadors across the world create, you know, all of this content for them and put it into like a like a docu-series kind of blog thing where you take them through, you know, two days of your adventures, but no one was reading the blog and no one was really interacting with it and it wasn’t doing a lot for them. So what we did was turn those blog experiences into a three-day drip sequence inside of their Bots, and essentially what the sequence did was take them through the experience of going to Bali going to Iceland going to Mexico these three main countries that we had blog articles for.

Then at the end of it they had a very clear understanding the users of what the inflatable could actually do for them. Right? Because you see a product online. You’re like, how am I going to actually use this for myself? And so when we did that show the images let them kind of Choose Your Own Adventure within it that essentially served as a funnel for us to have one of the highest converting bought funnels and overall any marketing funnel that they’ve ever done. So that was really interesting for me to see because that kind of combined, you know, a company that makes a lot of content with Bot typical e-commerce store that maybe has been working on a blog or has some content but they’re not quite sure what to do with it because oftentimes with blogs, you know, it’s tough to kind of carve out a strategy unless you’re going to be posting very consistently. So that’s one..

Steve: was that company using email. I’m just kind of curious

Natasha: they were yeah, so they were using the email was pretty much the only thing they were doing before and of course Facebook ads as well and they sold on Amazon too so they had their Shopify eCommerce store and then their Amazon Our which honestly with Amazon it was just kind of doing its own thing. So we were just really focused on the Shopify. Yeah. So that’s one way that..

Steve: I’d like to dig a little bit deeper.

Natasha: Yeah, absolutely mine.

Steve: So we’re their email efforts failing?

Natasha: they were a little bit so I will say they weren’t very strong. They’re open and click rates were blow. I’d say like industry average so off the top of my head. I can’t remember exactly what they were, but I know that their click rates were in the single digit, right and they’re open rates were somewhere between like 10 to 30 percent sometimes less, right and their emails also weren’t crafted very well in terms of the formatting copy images kind of all that stuff was a little bit lacking like there’s a lot that we could have done to improve which we don’t do it our company so I don’t really focus on that.

Steve:Sure, sure. Of course. But how did they get chatbot subscribers or messenger subscribers? Like what was their primary method?

Natasha: Yeah, so one of the things that we did for them, which I recommend honestly for any e-commerce store is giveaways are really big part of the e-commerce ecosystem. Right? I think that every E Commerce or at some point has done some sort of give away whether it was rumored to be big or they do something monthly or whatever it is. And so for them, what we did was run. They typically do a giveaway or two every month. So for us it was a really easy way to implement the Bot into what they were already doing. They do these joint giveaways with other e-commerce stores kind of the lifestyle category. So, you know, they get hotel stays plane tickets and then we’ll get some other swag and products and things that they kind of bundle up into this giveaway.

So those were the initial subscribers that we got and I think we got about seven thousand subscribers from our first giveaway that we did and then a few weeks later we got I think another 10,000 subscribers from the giveaway and the opt-ins were, you know, on the registration page someone in signs up for the giveaway. We had, you know, your typical checkbox on that Page and then on the confirmation page usually with these giveaways. I think it was Dojo Mojo was a software that we were using and on, you know the backside when someone signs up it’s like you’ve got to do certain things, you know to increase your number of entries in the giveaway. And so messenger was one of those as well, which also helped us get more organic traffic to it.

Steve: So these are group giveaways then right?

Natasha: correct. Yeah. So that was their main kind of way to get new people into the body as well as their brand and kind of get things out

Steve: You know, what’s interesting about this is I actually run a group giveaway service called Gzobrandwin. What’s funny about this is that you know with messenger subscribers if your block rate is too high. There’s like this risk of getting banned, right? And so you’re going to get a lot of subscribers that aren’t really interested in your product or saying just went the right way. So how do you Rectify that?

Natasha: Yeah. Absolutely. This was actually something we faced initially where we realized because they had actually done some chatbot efforts on their own before we started working with them. So they had done one for a giveaway. And then what we realize just as you said, you know not all of these people were very interested in everything that we had to offer. So because of that when these new subscribers came into the chat box, we would take them through some of the lead qualification as well as then ask them what types of messages they wanted to get from us.

And this was really important for us to weed them out. And this is the best practice that we do for any type of bots regardless of you know, what the company does what they sell. Yeah, but this was the best way for us to figure out okay who actually cares about us and who’s just here for the giveaway and we kept the people who weren’t very strong leads on the bot list anyways, but we had them obviously tagged and you know, we are mainly using many chat so many chat makes it very easy to segment out your audience with Fields tags all that good stuff.

Steve: You walk me through that entire sequence of qualification?

Natasha: Totally. So when people first came into the chat bot because they there were a couple different entry points. So one someone could enter because they wanted to go to the giveaway and then we’d send them to the giveaway page. But after that when someone comes into the bot to either increase the number of entries they have or we know that they’ve entered the giveaway then we would obviously send the robot message saying, you know graduation is your entered and then from there what we would do is pretty much ask them a couple questions about their interests what you know, they thought of these loungers right if they had used one before and a couple things just about their experience overall in like Persona is the best way to kind of put it and then from there if they kind of answered you can kind of think it fit like a quiz right from the back end even though we’re positioning it like that so that you know, there’s maybe three at that point different kind of end scenarios that someone could hit.

So the first one would be that clearly they weren’t really interested in what we were offering they were very interested in maybe like a competitor’s, you know product inside of the giveaway the group giveaway, but they weren’t ultimately super interested in our product. Okay, that’s fine. Thanks for entering the giveaway a that’s pretty much the end of it. Right? And then at that point though, we also asked them if they would want to get any messages from us in the future about a few different topics. So we had our blog article content we had events because they would go to all these different events and kind of sponsor and have their products there. And then the last one was discounts which then just as a side note would mainly be sponsored messages right that we would then send if we ever had anything happening.

Steve: Yeah..

Natasha: So that was the first and scenario the second and scenario would be someone who seemed interested. Maybe we asked them why they sign up for the giveaway and they said, you know, I thought that your product is really cool. But I’m also, you know equally interested in other stuff that was happening in the giveaway. And then at that point then we would ask them a few questions about the product as well as ask them what types of messages they wanted to get from us and also then lead them into that sequence that I mentioned that three-day sequence where we took them through we called it waking up in a new country every day.

So pretty much that 3-day thing where we had Iceland Ali Mexico, you know in an experience inside of the pot so we would then lead them into that and that would also take Them through our bot onboarding. So there’s quite a few steps happening here

Steve: Yeah.

Natasha: But all of this again kind of creates this full system that you want for the user experience inside of the bot.

Steve: This is one of the huge advantages of chat Bots over email like in chat Bots. If you can make this all really interactive with email..

Natasha: right.

Steve: People aren’t opening at a high rate and then you can actually I guess you can have them click on links in an email and tag them that way but it’s just doesn’t work as well as messenger.

Natasha: Yeah, totally end. One of the biggest differences to that actually one of my clients brought up yesterday cuz I wasn’t meeting with them they were like, so what makes the conversions higher in a bot then email right? Like what are some of those factors and I think the biggest thing is that you get more highly qualified leads because people have to interact with you in order to get the content that they want right there has to be a back and forth happening in order for them to get you know, for example, a free pdf guide or a free mini course or in this case, you know, the free three-day sequence that we were taking people through.

So people have to have that conversation with you in order for it to happen and For obviously, there’s more touch points in and you feel a little bit more intimate with the company Etc. And I think that makes a huge difference compared to the fact that email is still very much a one-way Street where people might click some people May respond, but typically emails don’t encourage a response right? very much like a read and be done with it as opposed to interact.

Steve: Is it important to clean up your messenger list from time to time?

Natasha: I totally think it is and this is something that we do then our subscription system actually. So this is something that we’ve created for each of our clients, which I kind of hinted at where we ask and make sure that we’re only sending relevant messages to people who care about certain topics and that’s going to look different for every company but the examples I gave earlier events discounts and the new content that accompanies pushing out, right and those are pretty typical topics that people might send updates about via email for example, so inside of messenger, what we do is if someone has not engaged within a certain amount of time, but we’ve been sending them messages.

So usually that’s 60 to 90 days for us as well as within the subscription system. If someone wishes to unsubscribe, then we make sure to tag them as soon as they come into that flow, even if they don’t confirm their unsubscription and then we keep track of those people for the next 90 days as well because if someone at all hinted that they want to unsubscribe entirely from the bot not just from certain topics, but you know from all messages to stop them then we also want to weed them out. Even if there may be still opening the messages, but they’re not clicking on them, but they’ve hinted at it at all. So that’s usually how we automate being able to weed out people who maybe just aren’t interested to keep the list healthy and continue to have you know, good open and click rates overall.

Steve: Okay. And is there an easy way to bulk unsubscribe?

Natasha: there is inside of many chat, but at the same time what happens is many chat lets you do two things. So you can either see your audience tab. So all the people on your list that are subscribed or you can turn on the ability to see people who have unsubscribed or deleted the conversation from their inbox, which is interesting as well. However, you can’t filter by it. So what happens is you say, you’ve got a list of only a few thousand people you still gotta like go through manually and pretty much checkmark anyone who would want to see the data on so because of that what we do is add that tag that I mentioned when someone wants to unsubscribe because then that allows us to filter them through in the audience Tab and then if we need any data on them, or if we need to do some sort of bulk action, that’s why we add tags to pretty much every single interaction any time someone clicks a button says something clicks on a quick reply to kind of bring in somebody verbage as well. That’s the way that we’re able to really make sure that that we’re serving the audience that were able to complete any actions fill in any missing data that we need to at any time.

Steve: Are these included on the templates that you sell in your site?

Natasha: So we do include the subscription system as well as unsubscribe and then the tagging and whatnot. Honestly. That’s tough. Just is unique for each company. So we do have some like specific tags and Fields that we include in every single template that we build. But ultimately when we’re doing client work those tags are going to look very different depending on what campaigns were running, you know what their offers are what their email system looks like as well, but we want to track to but we do our best to kind of provide the foundation of what we typically builds for a client inside of the templates that we sell.

Steve: If you saw an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show. Now back to the show.

So this Ecommerce client that we were just talking about are they now prioritizing messenger over email

Natasha: t\They are so it’s interesting to kind of see the differences between companies that have done email really well and then get into Bots and then companies that have struggled on email but you know are still getting conversions and opens and stuff in their email, but then bring in a bot and to be a hundred percent honest. I prefer at this point to work with companies that have done really well with email really well with Facebook ads and pretty much they have at least a few core, you know marketing funnels that work really well for them. So that one it makes it a lot easier for us to implement the bot right? Because we know kind of exactly where we want to start they know their pain points very clearly and we can tell exactly you know, how the boss could play a role.

But at the same time it’s very cool to see how a messenger brought could revolutionize a business and kind of transform what their audience interaction looks like how people care about their product as well because that One of the biggest things that we noticed was because they started to then be able to interact with their audience on messenger much better than they had ever done email that we saw a lot more loyal audience members and you know customers and I think for e-commerce that’s one of the hardest parts is a lot of e-commerce stores do it really well, you know on Instagram they build their audience kind of their crowd there, but if you’re not producing content regularly or, you know even have like a go-to place for your audience to kind of talk to each other and form a community essentially then I see a lot of e-commerce stores struggling with pretty much, you know, getting their product out there and getting people to to buy it and be proud of it, right simply because there’s not that community.

So I think a messenger brought does that really well, especially for a companies that don’t really have another outlet for a community

Steve: So I was actually ready to go all in on Bots and prioritize that over email and then I actually got banned for short period actually had to reach out to some of my buddies in Facebook to get me back in and that’s that really scared me. Have you had any of those experiences?

Natasha: Yeah at this point for our clients we have not but I have talked to quite a few people and as well as consulted for companies that got their Bot band and I think we have a very clear understanding now of kind of what causes that right because there’s two main factors inside of the messenger Experience One, Someone can totally block your Bot right? Then just turn off the messages. It’s just a quick little, you know tap of the button inside of the conversation. But they can also rate the messenger experience and if there’s too many bad ratings and that can also cause you know a temporary ban or a penalty or you know a message from Facebook. All right.

So those are really the only two metrics that you have to you know, see if your body is doing well or not essentially and the biggest That I think helps that situation that we have seen especially for one of the companies we work with I will not name them but they had a 50% block rate on their Bots crazy crazy. And so we were brought in to obviously reduce that very heavily and also figure out like why that was happening what they had done because they’ve been running their own bought for about two years prior to us coming in. So so they had been you know in the bus space pretty much since the beginning running their bought for their company which produces info products. They just had no idea what they were doing in regards to the policies and kind of all that stuff. So the biggest solution that we found for them as well as any other companies that then were able to you know, get their bought back on the platform never got banned again is allowing people to subscribe to specific types of messages and also creating an onboarding within the bot that makes it very clear, you know, as to when people are going to get messages from you.

How often and what those messages are going to be about those are the two most important solutions that I think contribute to because overall the Users are making you know, they’re calling the shots. Right? So if too many users, you know block you then obviously Facebook steps in but if you can just keep that relationship really transparent from the beginning between the user and the page aka the bot then honestly there shouldn’t be any issues with blocking or Banning the Bot.

Steve: Okay, Okay, and oh one of the questions just about the giveaways that we were just talking about.

Natasha: Yes.

Steve: In a group giveaway environments. Like how does it work in terms of who gets the messenger sub or are they just different tabs for it?

Natasha: Yeah, that’s a great question. So honestly, I don’t know how they initially negotiated that with their group because I know that the other companies obviously had opt-ins and stuff on there. And at this point I have seen like after we did that initial one and you know, we obviously shared a little bit about the results and whatnot in the following group giveaways. I did see that some other people added Messengers well, but I believe for them in their agreement. I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but from my understanding they all kind of get equal share and so because of that they could all add, you know an email list the messenger list and if they needed people to do other things like I can’t remember off the top of my head but..

Steve: But I was just kind of curious.

Natasha: Yeah. No, that’s a great question though. And I think it’s it’s tougher when you have like maybe two or three companies, but I think they were like five or six companies in these group giveaways.

Steve: So in terms of sending out messages to your message subscribers, do you have any specific strategies that you use in the past in regards to that?

Natasha: Yeah, so just in terms of maybe like content or like what and..

Steve: the frequency that you send actually also.

Natasha: Yeah. So typically the rule of thumb that I’ve kind of put in place for this is you want to message your list at least once a month to make sure that people don’t forget about you. And also I don’t know if you saw that businesses tab that popped up for like two days ago messenger.

Steve: Yeah I got so scared. Okay, everyone freaked out.

Natasha: Yeah

Steve: you have to everyone was freaking out right and they’re like, oh my gosh, it’s changing and then people are like, yeah, it’s a great thing because now you can you know, categorize your business messages and then people were also upset of course and the interesting thought that this brought up for me, which also kind of helps solidify. What I’m about to share is that these business tabs that you clicked into you couldn’t see bot messages that were older than a month inside of that Tab. And so that was really interesting to me because I was like, oh my So these messages still like in my inbox and they were when I search for them, but the business is tab specifically only held messages that had been there for shorter than a month.

So if you had had any sort of interaction with a page within the last month it was in there at the top of the chat box. I’m inside a messenger. But all the other businesses were all the way down kind of mixed up, you know in Lost in your in your messenger inbox. And so that helped solidify the fact that yes, you do want at least interact with your audience once a month. If you are not producing really any new content or have anything really to share with your subscribers. Maybe you just have like a few paid products or one core product right that that you kind of cell and if someone’s not a recurring customer or if they haven’t bought from you, then you might not really have anything to share with them and update them with.

And so sending them a message at least once a month is going to be best for those types of companies and just across the board. But if you have any sort of new content, you’re creating like a podcast blog articles videos even You know combined kind of efforts with influencers since we’re talking a little bit about e-commerce then messaging your list at least once a week. I would say is the happy medium because this allows you to be in their inbox without annoying them that also lets you if you create a lot of content like daily content, then you can give your users two options. You can either send the messages every day or every other day which gets a little bit too much in our experience or you can send them kind of a digest every week that is kind of like a email newsletter except making that interactive is really key there.

Because otherwise then it does feel just like a blast out and people don’t really care but if you can create an experience at least a few back and forth interactions about that content, then that’s what is really winning.

Steve: Can you give me an example though? because I’ve always thought that like, I’m on a whole bunch of people’s chatbot lists and like when I have to click and interact just to get to the content that actually annoys me a little bit like I just want to read the content. So what is your approach?

Natasha: Totally get that. So for us what will actually do with so the best thing that I’ve seen which is a little bit more time consuming but I think it’s worth it for for companies that can do it or at least take the time to for us or you know for them if they’re doing it internally is to actually break down that content into a bot experience. So that means if you’ve got a podcast then putting some audio inside of the bot. If you have a video then breaking down that video into many videos and putting them inside of the Bots and then if it’s a Blog article then breaking down that content or a PDF breaking it down into multiple bot messages that are usually maybe 5 to 7 interactions long is usually what we see.

And so this way it’s not like hey click here to answer this question Okay, click. Ok, now go and view, you know this new blog article, right? Because I think that’s what you’re talking about is like you don’t like, you know, what’s coming after that button, right? And so for us for example is social media examiner, since we were both at Social Media Marketing world that did not work well for them and we had a hard time actually figuring out how to deliver. Their content because they create so much every single day that it was I think looking back at it now because we decided to stop sending their content in their body because it just wasn’t bringing in Roi looking back at it.

What I would have done is take the most popular piece of content from that week or something that I performed really well, you know, as soon as it came out and turn that into a bot experience instead because then most of the time if that’s their highest performing piece of content for the week most of their audiences going to be interested in it because they put out content on so many different topics that then it also becomes tedious to be like, okay. This person doesn’t want to get content on Facebook ads or Instagram ads, but they do care about messenger and YouTube for example, right? It’s so with companies like that. It’s really tough.

If you’re more Niche where you just have a couple core topics that you talk about I’d say three to five Max then that’s where the strategy can really be implemented right where it can actually be an experience. You can take the time to do that and you don’t have to worry about Doing that every single day for your Bot subscribers.

Steve: I guess ultimately the goal with a content creator is to just get people reading the content, right? So how did you know it wasn’t working with it just because people weren’t clicking on it or opening it.

Natasha: So for them, we had quite a few different metrics and things that we were looking at so because social media examiner doesn’t amazing job with like analyzing literally everything mainly through Google analytics and drip to see exactly how long people are reading their content, you know, where they coming from. They have a pretty tedious and detailed process of Automation and whatnot. So for us, what we were really looking at is the difference between the deliverability as well as the interaction so mainly open and click rates between the box versus email since they were very similar messages being sent out except they were little bit different in the bots in the bot. They were pretty much every day there was a piece of content being dropped of course was for people to a certain extent and then we turned it into every other A which was fine, but the problem also with it was exactly that experience that you mentioned earlier like you just want to see the content.

Well, we tried that as well as having people click on a button that shared a little bit about what the article was about and then they could either unsubscribe from there or click into it and then they would go to the article right after that and while it was interesting we found some pretty interesting data like for mobile, for example, people were reading or staying on the page four times longer than they were when they came in from email from desktop or mobile. So that was pretty fascinating. But after I’d say about three or four months of us sending out the message has obviously open and click rates declined very steadily because people knew what was coming it was too much and I think honestly for them ultimately they just have way too many pieces of content that we could send inside of the Bots and they didn’t really want to prioritize in a one topic.

Over the ten different topics that they talk about. So I just don’t think that a bot is a good delivery. Mechanism for a company like that. We’re obviously a website is just going to present everything in a much clearer way. You can quickly skim through and kind of find what you want to what you want to read about.

Steve: interesting. Yeah. I’m just kind of curious like so in order to be sending out that frequently you have to have a really good in flow of new Subs because at least for me, I don’t interact with a lot of people who run Bots or share these statistics, but my unsubscribe rate is easily like at least one percent every time I send something out right? I don’t think that high?

Natasha: that’s actually fair. I would say that that’s not bad and especially if you’re it depends on what you’re sending out to because we do have I guess different standards and it’s kind of different for every industry, but they’re you know a certain good unsubscribe rate and bad one for you know, for example, if you’re sending out a follow-up message about something promotional or if you are sending out a piece of content or something about a free webinar coming up, you know, and kind of those things so I would say 1% like across the board on average for any of your messages is a pretty good percentage and it’s usually going to be higher than email too

Steve: yeah, that’s what I was saying. It’s tremendously higher than email. And so what is like the best way people have for like bringing new Subs in it seems like you have to go all in on it?

Natasha: it. I’d say going all-in is not the best way to do it initially, but your goal should be to will be able to implement messenger like at every point in your funnel like at the end of you know, implementing all of this right, but again, it also depends on what’s going to work best for you for example on websites. So this also goes back to social media examiner because they have so many crazy analytics and it like really detailed information. Right?

Steve: Mike is hilarious righgt?

Natasha: Yes. He is very detailed and I know they just hired a marketing manager so luckily some of this work will be passed on but he was you have he was doing a lot of this stuff, you know himself for years pretty much the social media examiner was created. And so what we noticed with the Opt-ins for example, which I had seen quite a bit with my clients before but we don’t necessarily use websites as our number one source of traffic or messenger Bots and that was quickly confirmed as well with him, especially because we are able to segment in Split test things like so detailed, right? So what happens on mobile for example with the messenger opt-in so that means the buttons as well as the checkbox and even the customer chat, you know that lives in the bottom right corner of the site any widgets that you add if you’re using something like many chat, you know, they have a bunch of different website widgets that pretty much just use the messenger Button as well.

Any of those options on mobile are usually not a great experience because if someone does use Facebook on their phone, they’re going to be using it on the Facebook app, right? Why would you go subscribe user? And so the problem is that messenger requires you to be logged in to Facebook on the browser that you are opting in from and because people were already logged into Facebook on their app when they see that they have to log in on their browser that turned off a lot of People then we quickly saw that in the numbers where we were actually getting I think less than or about 50% of the opt-ins through Messenger than they usually sought with email. And as soon as we turned off the bot there they were back to normal.

So it was really interesting to see that that really threw off people and I think it also depends on the audience. I’ll say that this has been different for each client, but it’s about 70% of our clients end up seeing a similar result with that because a lot of their web traffic is mobile, but the messenger opt-in doesn’t provide the best experience there. So that was just kind of something I wanted to share because in terms of traffic points people think about their website, right and kind of what messenger can do their desktop is great with the messenger opt-ins because obviously people are logged into their Facebook their but with mobile, it’s just not so in terms of other entry points, I’d say that Facebook ads and running page posts with the comments as ads are probably the fastest way to get more and more subscribers, especially if you’re, you know adding the bot to it.

System marketing funnel that you typically do as like add to landing page maybe to opt in to either, you know, webinar lead magnet whatever it is, maybe with an upsell right just as an example. So that’s probably the best way honestly to get subscribers really fast and scale and grow but at the same time there’s a lot of creative ways, you know, such as giveaways or like joint kind of collaborations or sending people from other platforms as well. So like what we’ll do is test out a messenger opt-in in as many places as we can and compare head-to-head with email. So I mentioned websites, of course, you’ll want to do that within your email newsletter Footers, for example or email signature footer as well as within your emails kind of making it clear to people. Hey, if you click on this, you know, they’re going to get sent to Messenger as well as on confirmation Pages for webinars countdown Pages for webinars again.

But pretty much anywhere where someone might interact with your company, it’s always interesting to just test it and see and if it performs better than email keep it and if it doesn’t, you know, then keep the For now, but our people into messenger at some other point, you know within their customer lifecycle.

Steve: So Natasha, I know you just recently went to f8, which is Facebook’s industry conference. Last did you gleam any insights on where messenger is going in the future?

Natasha: Yeah, they shared quite a few really interesting things and actually have my list. I should have brought it up, right?

Steve: It’d okay, just highlight the main points. But yeah

Natasha: So off the top my head some of the main things that they shared specifically for Messenger is one interoperability is the word they used for it, which pretty much means that announcement that they made earlier this year where they’re going to be integrating what’s up Instagram and messenger is still happening and they’re making it a priority. So that’s really big because even though they didn’t say here’s what’s going to happen for Bots when we do that. It’s implied that Bots would also take on this ability because how they explain it is a messenger user can now not need to have an Instagram or Whatsapp account, but they could Message Instagram and WhatsApp users and so thinking of that from the but perspective while you apply that same, you know, kind of concept and now Bots can talk to users across three different channels, which are two of the highest monthly active user messaging Platforms in the world, right?

So that that gives you an instant audience of like three or four billion people, right? Yeah, and it also allows for more International conversations to happen as well because obviously messenger and WhatsApp or both almost equally huge WhatsApp has I think like point one or two more billion monthly active users but combining those two like anywhere where Messengers not being used WhatsApp is usually the head and then vice versa like in the US for example, what’s up? It’s not the biggest but everyone’s on messenger and then if you go to like Mexico, for example, people are on WhatsApp and not as much messenger, but either one they’re both owned by Facebook and they’re both going to be a part of that interoperability Circle. So that was a huge announcement because they’re just kind of confirming that This is a serious thing. We’re going to make this happen soon.

They didn’t give a deadline for it. But I know that that’s going to be coming and then they also mentioned a messenger desktop app that is going to drop this fall. And that’s really interesting because I’m curious to see kind of what that will look like for the bot opt-ins for example and see if that brings in, you know higher conversions or faster kind of conversions from places like ads and in other places where people can opt in, you know from within or outside of Facebook and that’s also a competitor to iMessage now as well, which is interesting to see so those two were pretty big.

Steve: Are they going to fix the mobile problem where you have to actually opt-in from a website?

Natasha: they didn’t mention it. So I wish they had and at the same time because obviously messenger runs off of you having a Facebook profile or phone number. I don’t know if they would even ever be able to fix that. I’m sure they’ll figure out some sort of solution, but I guess the easy fix would be to send people directly to like the Facebook app to opt-in kind of like what happens with mobile apps right where you like try to login with Facebook when you download a iPhone app, for example, and the taking Facebook App you say OK continue as you know my profile and then you jump back to the app.

So that’s one way I see it happening, but I don’t know if they have control over this because some of the other things that kind of came up for example was you know, you can’t buy and this goes a little bit off topic but at the same time contributes to this, for example, you can’t buy digital products inside of Facebook Messenger and as a business, you can’t sell them and the reason is because of Google and Apple’s app policies that they have. So it’s not a Facebook thing. It’s the fact that the device that you’re on doesn’t allow that to happen via the app.

Steve: Yeah. I had heard that some point you would be able to buy physical products on the platform. Is that still the case or?

Natasha: Yeah, I don’t know if they didn’t mention anything about that going away. But right now you can do that, you know with the buy button or sending people to a checkout page. You just have to get pre-approved but from my knowledge, I don’t think they’re going to get rid of it. But I don’t know what their stats and stuff on that look like because you know, if you think about it, it’s not the most convenient way, especially for an e-commerce store right already kind of build up your site. There’s Integrations and stuff like shop message for example is a platform that helps you do that. But yeah using that buy button and having to build that whole system yourself is in my opinion a very slow way to do it.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah for sure. I’m actually using shot message right now for myself,

Natasha: Oh nice.

Steve: I’m actually working quite well

Natasha: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, he was at f8 as well.

Steve: Oh yeah, yeah Arjun?

Natasha: He is awesome.

Steve: Yeah, so Natasha, we’ve been chatting for quite a while. I wanted to give you the opportunity to tell everyone where to find you and you know what you sell and what your business is all about.

Natasha: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you. This has been awesome and I’m really glad we got to dive into a bunch of stuff that honestly I usually don’t get a chance to talk about because most of Podcast I’m honor more like General marketing and people aren’t super familiar with Bots. And so it’s refreshing to be able to like deep dive into all this stuff. So thank you for asking great questions.

For me what I am working on right now and how you guys can reach me. So feel free to connect with me across all of my socials. I do my best to check that and I’m pretty good at getting to inbox zero every day. So if you guys want to shoot me an email, it’s just natasha@schoolofbots.co not com. and then on Instagram Facebook and Linkedin, it’s just Natashaz_official and in terms of what we do at school bots. We at this point in help quite a few different audiences. So as you mentioned in the beginning Steve, our main objective is to just teach marketers and entrepreneurs how to use messenger marketing and how to build chatbots as well as sell them.

So we have a main program that we do this through called the chappa agency accelerator and it’s best for either beginning entrepreneurs or agencies that are existing that want to add chatbots, you know to their services and so we run that main program as a core part, you know of our overall company, but at this point we also offer Consulting we still do full service agency work for companies like Mind valley Matthew Hussey social media examiner all sorts of different kind of companies in mainly the info product space right now, but we take on anyone and we have a by agency Network where we can service pretty much any Niche within that network with through our partner agencies.

And then we also sell our messenger templates as you mentioned messengertemplates.com is where you guys can check those out if you want to kind of fast track through all those best practices and things that we talked about on today’s podcast and I think I pretty much everything we’ve got a ton of free content so you don’t have to buy anything from us you can we do.

Steve: Have you launched the channel?

Natasha: Yes, we launched it about two months ago now so we do three videos a week on their on it’s a lot of work. I will say I’m like, ah, I told Michael Bedros like we should only do one or two videos a week. He’s like, no we gotta do three. So right now we’re doing three maybe will increase but we have all sorts of different chatbot tutorials chatbot sales tips and strategies agency stuff on there, and we have our Facebook group as well. So if you guys want to grab free stuff from us, those are the two best places.

Steve: Well, hey Natasha, thanks a lot for coming the show. It was great. I learned a lot and we did get a lot deeper than I have in the past with my other chatbot

Natasha: awesome

Steve: So thanks a lot.

Natasha: I’m glad to hear that. Yeah. I hope it’s super helpful for your listeners and thanks for listening to my episode guys

Steve: All right. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now right now messenger marketing is actually performing much better for me than email and I plan on expanding this platform going forward for more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode270. And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode Klaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence it post purchase flow 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 to turn visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit and sectarian tools and 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 to 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 privy.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 headed over to mywifequitjob.com and sign up for my free 6 day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.

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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