Join Andrei and our guest on today’s episode, Tyler ”Sully” Sullivan, as they will be discussing how to best prepare your online store for the upcoming shopping season as well as email marketing strategies to boost revenue and profits in eCommerce. Sully is the founder of BombTechGolf, an eCommerce store with over 20 million sold online since 2012. He also runs Ecomgrowers, helping Shopify store owners ramp up their online revenue and profits. 

 

Connect with Sully: 

Website:  http://Ecomgrowers.com

Sully on LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/tyler-sullivan-494b5426

Sully on Facebook: @bombtechgolf

Sully on Twitter: BombTechGolf

 

Connect with Andrei:

Marketiu: https://marketiu.com / https://marketiu.ro  

Andrei on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreitiu/ 

Marketiu on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/marketiu 

Marketiu on Twitter: https://twitter.com/marketiuagency 

Marketiu on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marketiuagency/ 

Email at hello@marketiu.ro

 

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Episode transcript:

 

Andrei Tiu  

Hi there! This is Andrei welcoming you to our new season of The Marketing Innovation Podcast Show. Our special guest today is Tyler Sullivan, also known as Sully, who is the founder of BombTechGolf, an eCommerce store with over 20 million sold online since 2012. He also runs Ecomgrowers, helping Shopify store owners ramp up their online revenue and profits. Tyler here is hyper-focused on the customer experience and operating a lean business that doesn't just drive revenue but drives serious profit and cash flow. Today, as we are getting into the frenzy of Black Friday preparations for eCommerce in general, we'll discuss how to best prepare your online store for the upcoming shopping season as well as email marketing strategies to boost revenue and profits in eCommerce. Without further ado, Tyler, it's a pleasure to have you here on the show. How are you how's the day going?

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Good, man, living the dream. You know, drinking some coffee needs some more math to switch to whiskey in preparation for Black Friday. But life is good, we got to update that deck, we're at over 30 million sold. So we're doing you know, right around I think our trilling twelves, almost 10 million, and my own brand and the agency. I think we've got 40 clients right around that. So it's been cool to be on both sides. And both businesses, I kind of started with no real intention to start them, they kind of found me. And then kind of go into my founders store and how I got started if you like.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Perfect, yeah, I was about to pick your brains on that. And to actually, you know, help people here understand, as well as me, how you started out, and mainly, you know, running an eCommerce back in the day in 2012 - that was pretty early. So it will be interesting to hear your story and how you made a start on this.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Probably very different than if someone has started recently. I started in 2012 - I was an accidental entrepreneur. I was just obsessed with golf and trying to hit the golf ball as far as I could. And in doing so, I ended up breaking a lot of golf clubs, right? It wasn't from my pure power or muscles, which I wish it was. But this local club builder was assembling these special clubs for me. And I would go around trying to compete in what they call a world long to drive. It's like the homerun Derby of golf. And I just did it because it was fun. I had a full-time job. And then in 2012 it is much harder to make a website, let alone a website that you could sell something off. And I just for some reason really just became obsessed and want to learn more and made a really bad website. But after six months, which may seem like a long time, I had no goals of making money with it was just for fun. I finally had a sale. I was on my boat and it wasn't a yacht, but it was on this boat I had. And I got an email saying ”hey, you sold something.” And that blew my mind. That was my first epiphany like ”Oh my god, I'm not at work. I'm not in front of my computer. But I sold something.” So I said,”Well, how do I do more of that?” And really, this is 2012. So it's a very different well budget started documenting what I was doing on Facebook, just kind of saying ”Hey, guys, this is what I'm doing today, what kind of clubs you play” and really having a curiosity and asking my potential customers. And during that process, I grew the following. And I had the crazy idea to design my own golf driver, which is not an easy feat. So I worked with, I actually called one of my buddies and we were just talking about what I was doing. And I had this idea and he's like ”well, you're not that smart.” And I said,” You're right. I'm not that smart. So I can't design a golf club myself”. But I ended up applying for a programme at my local College, the University of Vermont. And I worked with four students, and we engineered a golf club for a year. So we are actually part of the UVM engineering programme. And it was kind of a big risk. But I was confident in the design. I found a manufacturer through a very painful process that took me about six months, and cashed in my 401k and made some golf clubs. And during that process, I just was telling people what I was doing inviting their feedback on Facebook. And that allowed me to build a platform. So when we did launch we didn't do a tonne of sales, but I think we did 10k in a day. And I was like ”let's just do more of that.” So really, I was just going where the traction was early days like if something worked I've just tried to do more of that. And I think our next inflexion point, and there have been many epiphanies over nine years, but the big one was for us was how to scale right. It was a side hustle, I was doing like 15-20k a month, which may sound decent, but when you're making a product yourself, it means you're broke. Because you have to pay to make more. So cash flow was nothing. And then I had a big moment. I call it the, you know, go for a moment where I was fired from my day job the week before Thanksgiving, and I just found out my wife was pregnant. So I could not explain how much stress that year was because she supported me it was like ”Hey, you know, if you think you can do it, do it.” And she pretty much said ”Hey, you make BombTech work or not” and was supporting me. And we had a newborn on the way. And it was tough because I was working 20 hours a day, seven days a week. And I did that when he was a baby. I was doing all the wrong stuff: I was building clothes, myself, shipping them myself doing everything by myself. And then I was able that year out of the pure hustle. And Brian was able to scale it up enough to pay the bills and not be totally broke. And then next year, we went from one mill to like four mills. And we were able to use paid traffic. So we were able to figure out Facebook ads, I hired someone smarter than myself and that now we do, you know, around 10 million, and I only have two employees and I work about four hours a week. But it took me nine years, getting fired from my job to kids to realise like I don't have to be in the business now. I can hire people smarter than myself. So I think a lot of my advice and my experience, depends on you where you're at, in your own business and what life events you're at and dealing with.  If you talk to me five years ago, six years ago, and said, Hey, you can only work four hours a week, could you do it? I'd say no. So it all worked out, you do a lot of things wrong for a long time, and you figure out what you really need to work on. But, yeah, that's kind of where I'm at now, you know, I've worked on a lot less than half an agency, which is dual income, and I'm living the dream, and I'm just trying to find stuff to work on.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Nice, that's a very good problem to have. So you touched on something that I think is really important that is recurring in successful entrepreneurs, and that is burning the boats, whether you intentionally do it or not. So how do you feel burning the boats at that moment when you basically got fired from the job...

 

Tyler Sullivan  

But was burned for me. My philosophy is really like if you're in the startup phase, and you need an income work a day job. There's nothing wrong with that. But for me, that was just a moment where it was so much pressure from the family side, income, or lack thereof at this point, that I just had to make it work. You know, it wasn't like an option. So really, that was, I'm glad to happen. But at the time, it seemed like the worst thing in the world. And I wouldn't advise someone like ”Hey, you have a startup idea, you're doing some revenue, just go quit.” I don't I don't necessarily believe that everyone has their own journey. But for me, it was a lot of these things that have happened were right time and right place just for my journey. I don't know, maybe the business would have never taken off if I wasn't fired. That's what probably would have happened. So yeah, but the immense amount of pressure, and then having a kid. I mean, I don't advise you to do that.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Right. Okay. So you mentioned the sort of mini lounge that you made for the brand and then discovering paid advertising a bit later down the line. How was your marketing mix when you were small? And what changes did it suffer as you looked at ways to scale it up? And when you eventually had that second inflexion point.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Yeah, so scaling was very difficult when I first started because Facebook ads really weren't a thing. So it was just Google. And I had no real budget to scale at that point. I was just paying for a product and really, every effort I did was organic. I was in different forums. This is before Facebook groups, even Facebook videos, I mean, this is old school, this is before the selfie. So a lot of my efforts were literally posting on Facebook, going into forums, having conversations with people and a lot of engagement. If I were to describe most of what I was doing was just having conversations on every platform - email, different groups or different forums and then on Facebook and Facebook was really the big one. So I would just ask questions, like on our page, and this is like when if you have 500 likes, says 500 people to actually see your stuff. Now we have 123,000 or something, but a good post, maybe 10,000 people see it so the reach was 100% back then So I will literally just talk to guys if anyone commented, and this is a good example. If anyone commented I would comment back and when the Facebook video first came out, I jumped on it. So like Facebook Live came out, we jumped on,  Facebook video camera, we jumped on, ads, we jumped so I was just quick and early on stuff. But I have a video in my backyard where I hit a ball to a net and sounds like a gun goes off, I hit it so hard, I say ”Does your driver sound like that?” And I boosted it for like 300 bucks and back in the day, that video got 300,000 views 10,000 comments. And not all the comments were great. Like we love it, we'll buy the club, but I just saw that it is okay, there's some traction here people were interested in some way. Let me comment back. And again, a lot of my decisions of what I did weren't driven by revenue and money. It was just driven by traction. Because I didn't have you know, I didn't start to say hey, I'm making million dollars here I just did it because I loved it at first and had the pressure and had to make happen. So when that video got 10,000 comments, I just comment on my Blackberry at the time, if you can imagine that until my thumbs were bleeding. Like literally I would comment on every comment because I just saw people engaging and that really was where we started to get like momentum and then we took those videos and those views and comments and scaled up it just started. I ran all the ads myself but that's how we went from like 400k organic to a million dollars with Facebook ads. And then I hired someone that actually knew how to retarget like actually knew when things were just coming out, he actually knew how to use it. And that sort of went for like a million to 4 million you know and then went to six and now we're doing like nine or 10, with the ability to scale those channels. Now to Facebook Google, we're doing Tik Tok different things like that. And then really, on top of the front end, we've dialled in the backend, you know, I that's really what lets me sleep at night, is that all I care about- if someone's willing to buy I want to wow them in such a way that I earned the right to sell to them again.  We do things that other people really just- I have a lot of secrets here but - in email, you know post-purchase flows, thank you voicemails, thank you cards, thank you videos, we all do that are tough to scale, but we do it because it's worth it. And we've kind of changed -  the comments were where we're getting our original traction, but now we take that same approach into where we drive the most revenue, which is email. So we really looked at the back end,  we're in PostScript with email and SMS. And we have that same thing where we don't necessarily say does your driver sound like that? The last questions we want to know the answer to like, Hey, we're launching two new products this in the next six months, or we're designing new to two new products. Which one of you do you want. And what it does is does two things. It gets people involved in the brand. It gets people engaged, it moves your email to the inbox from the promotions tab. And lastly, it gets you an answer, you really want to know the answer to our question. You want it answered a lot of times early on when I was like having a couple of good years were crushing it. I thought I knew what the customers want it right and we had a couple of launches or one launch, in particular, didn't crush it. Because I didn't really know if you'll want it. So now we just asked them. So our whole approach is having a two-way dialogue or a two-way conversation on the channel we can control and the channel that drives revenue the most, which is email. And that allows us to be profitable, whether it's Facebook, Tik Tok, Google, YouTube, connected TV. We could spend more because we know who we're going to repeat, we have a higher LTV, and it turns people into brand advocates. So it's a more mature way to look at it. And that's really at the end of the day, if we were to sell the company, or be bought, they're buying our customer lists. And our email list, which is our true asset, you know, a lot of people look at it like  ”I got to drive an ROI from my ad. But then they totally negate email and just blast them over the design newsletters, they get nothing done.”  So that's really like how we look at its two-way conversations that you actually want two answers to that keep get people to reply, and help you learn more from your customers.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Very cool. So this is actually one of the very few discussions with, Easter owners that actually took a lot of action in triggering that dialogue post-purchase, because, you know, many entrepreneurs know that they should be more active on the email than there are opportunities out there to automate. If we could zoom in just a little bit into this, and if you could share, I have two things that I think would be very relevant to the guys listening to us right now. And one of them is to draw a parallel so we can show through your case study if you want, the difference that email marketing can make, as opposed to if you are not running it. So for example, you have a cost of acquisition by running Facebook ads, let's say, but then how much you can increase the value of that customer by running very good email marketing campaigns? And that'd be one. And if you have some numbers that you could share, I think there would be building on to the argument. And then the second one was, what's your approach to marketing right now? Like, how are your funnels looking?

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Yeah, I mean, so I hate tactics, and hacks, and things like that, at this point in my life and business and both companies, it's all about mindset and strategies at a high level. So it's like, I can tell you ”hey, do this tactic or this will reduce your CAC if you do this type of funnel or flow” but that's not the reality. The reality is you need to have a true across every department - ads, email, customer service - you need to have an understanding that you're going to actually be real customers, and you're going to actually ask real questions everywhere. But if you just say  ”hey, do this one thing in email, it's gonna make a difference” it's not gonna matter. So it's a very different approach. The year we did our worst, we tried every tactic of strategy, and it wasn't an overall high-level view at it. So that's number one is like the mindset is probably 99% of this is changing how you look at email. Because I can tell you, hey, do this. If you do a one time or you don't do the whole mindset shift, it's not gonna matter. So you need to truly understand and appreciate what the inbox is and try to be native to it. Do you want to get into how we execute that and from a tactic standpoint? We write a lot of plain text emails - if you get an email from your buddy or you send an email, do you write it in HTML and make it look pretty in a newsletter? No, you send in text like ”Yo, what's up man? What are you doing Friday?” So we do the same thing that's native to that platform. It's a mind shift thing. If you want it to look pretty absolutely we can do that for you, but a lot of it is getting out of that ”oh this has to be on-brand, look pretty to like ”Alright, what's native to the platform?”. So we'll throw in you know question emails that are one line: ”Hey, Mike! What driver you're playing right now? And they just reply: hey, I am playing this. So we have feedback and that gives us data. Then we have my in house guys, this is from saying full mind shift, now my in house guys that are paid well my customer service guys, then will have a starter conversation with these guys. So they're almost we're having an ongoing conversation for years. So like we've got guys like Jim or Mike or Bob, whoever it is that is bought from us in 2014 that now they've actually had quite 400 email conversations with our guys in the house. We're like, ”Hey, man, I played this weekend awesome course” and then our guys ”but what do you shoot?” Like literally just building these relationships at a scale that no one wants to mess with. So I think that's the hardest part is like, completely shifting from emails a revenue source only I want money, money, money, money, I'm gonna blast bullshit, or overly design garbage to like, alright, this is a real channel, I'm gonna have real conversations and build something from that. Right? So like plain text and make some more native. And then really, the other one is just, you know, we do ask for replies for like, early access. So I think I don't want to go too down the rabbit hole of like this tactic thing, because again if you missed the first part doesn't matter, but will ask replies like, hey, do you want to, like, just be really casual, like ”Hey, we're launching a new club, you know, in 15 days. This is what it's going to be, do you want to get early access?” click reply, reply, boom, with one word, boom, early access. So then we tagged them, that they replied, now we're guaranteed to be an inbox or have a better chance to see that email. And just engaging. So again, these are small tactics you can do, I can go into a million more tactics for us. But if you nail the strategy of why the channel is important, and why you should give it a go, you'll be better off. You know, I’m really thinking of it as like, if Facebook ads died, if Google Ads died, would you be able to survive and sell through your inventory and continue to run the business? I would say probably 85 to 90% of clients that we look at their accounts would be a No, because it's been blasting things, and they need new customers to survive. We all want to grow. But if you couldn't grow, that's the exercise I asked is like, could you sustain and at what level. So that's how we treat it and we really changed that perspective. And then the second one that's really easy. To us it's just like, you shouldn't be emailing more and if you're emailing, stuff they care about emailing more will be good. But if you're emailing more about stuff they don't care about, you're screwed. So that's why he like tactics, hacks because if it's just one siloed hack or tactic, which I've tried all of them, it doesn't work without the high-level strategy, you know what I mean? 

 

Andrei Tiu  

Okay. And do you think or do you feel anything has changed other... No, actually, probably macro would not be the best angle to put the question from right now. But, in your niche, and taking the case of what you were doing before COVID and then looking at let's say the last Black Friday and now the upcoming one. In this sort of year period, because we are getting close to this so I'm curious to see what your position is and what you feel has been dramatically changed since

 

Tyler Sullivan  

What has changed from last year with Black Friday?

 

Andrei Tiu  

Yes, I mean, you know from before the pandemic and then going to Black Friday last year and now preparing for the next one coming this year.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

I mean, last year is gonna be, hopefully, the only year like that. It was a weird year overall because, COVID I felt weird personally because we were golf is up, eCommerce is crushing so to be doing better than ever when seeing sorry people suffer and have a tough time was hard for me personally to be okay with. I think from other clients and brands, I think Black Friday is gonna be massive. I mean, it's always big but income has sorted 15 years or 10 years with what happened COVID. People that wouldn't have shopped online are obviously shopping more online than ever before. We'll see how COVID is doing because if we're you know, I think people are just dying to do anything with friends and are doing stuff and getting out there so we'll see how that is. I think Black Friday is going to be big and really preparations have already begun. If you're not engaging, ask some questions and just having real conversations with your list you're screwed, it's already gonna be too late. So really, we're not necessarily my own brand a massive q4 brand like our summers is q4. You know, personally, with golf, I mean, you can't even get clubs made for a year now the lead times are so long and with shipping, I think that's going to be one of the true challenges is having brands stocked up enough because that has been one thing out of our control is the inbound shipping, you know, no matter where you go and stuff made, if you're shipping it, it's just been brutal, you know, normal shipping times for 30 days. For us now they're 90. So I already ordered everything for all of next year and have everything in stock for all of next year. For the most part, I got a couple more shipments, I think people that weren't willing to do that invest, throw down that cash flow or we're going to have a tough time and sell too quickly. But it's gonna be big. I mean, Black Friday, Cyber Monday is always a fun, our most fun time at the agency, because for a lot almost 90% of our clients. This is their peak season, this is the go time. So I think a lot of people are gonna launch promos super early. I think best campaigns that are best brands or brands that do the best typically launch something new alongside discounts. I've always personally struggled with this time of year because it's like, how hard do you want to push a deal? And then people will like, don't want to buy and fewer deals still exist. So we try to run it very tight window, how big the deals are, and say to ourselves, "okay, would we be okay, shelling this deal? Anytime year? "That's like my litmus test. And if I'm not willing to sell it, anytime a year, I really shouldn't be doing a Black Friday because it means the margins aren't right. Or it's not a deal, because you may get stuck if you go too hard. Because people be like, "Hey, I wanted that price." And we always honour those prices no matter what. So that's just one thing I'm wary of. Yeah, it's a fun time. And I usually, as I said, launches and new launches during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, is a good way to sidestep pure deals. So like, for us, we'll launch two new products or two back-in-stock products that are sold out. And those will do well because there's pent up demand versus just be like "Hey, 50% off. Good luck" because everyone's saying that. So that's one way to get around it.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Question here. Let's say because you mentioned the agency and you work with a variety of eCommerce stores already. Mostly Shopify as far as I know. Correct me if I'm wrong. Probably not all of them have a big database that they can leverage in advertising, throughout the year and including Black Friday. What are some of the top strategies that you feel are suitable for small, maybe niche, online stores that are looking to scale and maybe to prepare for Black Friday? So kind of these building activities that they can still run, preparing themselves for the period when they will be able to deploy something on email.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

I mean, we don't change strategies. Like again, I literally work two to three hours a week on my Econ brand because we have set plans and strategies for the whole year. We're not testing new stuff just because it's almost q4. I mean, you should be running paid traffic profitably and well already before Black Friday and gathering emails. This would be any time of year we want to make sure the pop-ups are dialled in. I mean, that's the biggest one. You only have two real buckets, in my opinion, you've got customers, so guys that are bought a product from you, and then you got people that have abandoned you need to get that email. So for us, the first thing we do with a new client is optimised your pop up. If you want to go down that hacks, tactic strategies of like, let's do giveaways, and let's do this stuff to build up our list in an artificial way for Black Friday, I think it's a mess, I think it's gonna be a lot of bullshit emails that don't buy. Whereas we just do it all day every day and don't have to pivot because we're doing it properly. So right now we have an email pop up that gets like 17%. And so that pop up the whole goal is to build that list, evergreen, every day, all day, all year. So when Black Friday comes around, we won't worry that we didn't have enough emails. You don't I mean, I think that's a big mistake. And if you're smaller, it's all fundamentals. You can't, it's not complicated, it's traffic, it's email and really we have like zero SEO on these other things, but you got to be able to drive traffic and then you got to be able to monetize back end and increase, repeat and that's really it. That's stuff you should be doing all year. If you're scrambling to do stuff new and different. Now I think you're going to struggle. So I would take a step back and say "what can we do to optimise for pop up to get more email or more SMS now? "whether it's Black Friday, this year, Black Friday, next year or any day, you know what I mean? It shouldn't be a special thing for Black Friday.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Okay, however, so I know you don't like this and I'm not trying to push the idea of only hacks and tips and strategies or whatever. I'm just trying to because I saw this in a couple of conversations that I personally had as well with some of our clients or potential clients lately, many people were kind of not switched off during the summer but didn't really push things forward as much as they should have and they kind of left them on the side it was a bit of insecurity in the market too and people really want the holiday, so everything kind of slowed down a bit with the smaller shops and stuff. And now as you know, autumn comes and then winter and Christmas as well. Even though it's not the best-case scenario, everybody tries to push things a bit stronger forward. So that's basically where I'm trying to get to as well in our conversation to maybe try to put together a list of like maybe three or five things that somebody that maybe has left these for last-minute can still do and still make a step forward in that direction although long term strategy is definitely the way that they should be approaching this.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Yeah and I hear what you're saying. I'm not negating strategies and time of year you know if they've been just taking the summer off and we're doing it right I believe you should have it set up so you can take the summer off and do it well. But that's neither here nor there. Can you drive traffic profitably and can you hype well. So from things to do if you're sitting on your hand saying "oh damn, Black Friday is coming". It's is my pop up dial then meaning "Can I get more opt-ins? Yes or no? If it's under 15%?" Probably, most people are like 5%. Yes, you can do more, so dial in your email pop up to get more for people that are not buying. Does number two post-purchase anyone that is buying? Do they actually like you? And are you doing a good job, you know, wow-ing them so that's more of a customer service deep dive of like, what is your help scout rating, or whatever rating, because if people are not happy, you're not delivering on time, they're not happy with the product, happy customer service, you're gonna have a tough Black Friday from that segment. So I would audit that and say  "how are our actual customers what's a repeat or rate Do they like us lifetime value" all that stuff. And then really the last part would just be planning the offers. So like, if you are deciding Black Friday, Cyber Monday is going to be our big push, 95% outside of engaging the list, getting more emails and the list and hyping them, like telling people to come in that's most of it. But then it's the offer itself. And this is a hard one to really dial in because it's dependent on the brand, it's on inventory, it's dependent on what the normal deals are. But we've found special bundles typically do well. So like instead of like saying you got the best selling, I don't know, dog toy, whatever. Instead of saying, hey, this dog toy is only 20 bucks, but for Black Friday, it's 10. You're gonna have to sell twice as many of those to make up for that March. What I'd rather see is more time as the founder, saying, Hey, we have this one product that does well. And maybe we've got two other products that don't do well. Let's make a Black Friday bundle and bring them altogether if inventory can do that. And now we are aov instead of let's say, average order was $20 per item. Now it's 60, then the perceived value, when you drop it to 40 may be higher, you know what I mean? And now you're on a visa. So I think the power of the offer, whether that's bundling discounting, new launch or bundle, typically and not just massive discount is the make or break. We try to hype, I can't give all my strategies were hyped with email and SMS saying stuff is coming. So they're getting ready for it. And we run ads at full price or normal discounts and hold them back. You know, and we don't do a lot of this because we have a Black Friday count, but typically we'll hold that offer. So when they do see it, it's a big deal. But I would encourage people yesterday, your fundamentals, which is building the list, build your customers, make sure they're happy. And then just work on your offer, which is where you should be doing all your anyways, I know that's my thesis, I guess today. If you don't have an offer that's like, really exciting, dude, it's gonna be tough to stand out that day, that week, that month because everyone's going as big and deep as they can.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Great points. And another thing you mentioned, you will tell us a bit about your agency and how that came about. So let's zoom into that a bit. And what's the story behind it?

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Yeah, sorry, another accidental entrepreneurship moment. BombTech was going really well. This was year six, or something. And I had a number of articles come out a couple relevant, like really relevant to eComm. And people started messaging me I like Facebook, LinkedIn, like "Hey, man, I saw that you were killing it with your own eComm brand. Do you want to help us? I said "No, absolutely not. I can't help you. It's too complicated." And I didn't have the time and I had a young kid. I was like dude, no. And then I thought about it. And I just kept like getting, it was almost relentless with these messages of people wanting to help or wanting me to help their brand. I was like, I don't know if I can help and really, for me, anything I ever would do needed to be tangible. You know, I wouldn't be like, Hey, I'll do consulting just help you on a phone. I was like, it has to be tangible. So my number one, my first employee, Chris, who is my, you know, this, he's been with me now for four or five years, he was running all my email and do all the technical stuff, I would help him with the offers and the copy and stuff. He's like, hey, and he was a unique guy who was working like 80 hours a week on his own regard. You know, he would text me like two in the morning leaving the bars like, Hey, man, have you seen the conversion rate? I'd be like, dude, you go to bed. So he's like, hey, do you mind if I, as a side hustle, help these brands, see if I can help them specifically with one thing, which is email and drive more revenue. I said, Dude, I want nothing more in life than to support you. So if you want to do this on the side, I will, I'll do whatever I can do to help you. Let me know. So he close three of the deals that are three of the brands are interested in talking to me. And I said, let me know how it goes in 30 days I go, don't be an impact your day to day work? Let me know. So 30 days go by going What's up? How do you go? He goes, Well, I double the revenue from email. I go, Oh, that's good. What do you want to do? And he goes on to do more of that. So we essentially sat down, you know, had a couple of beers and said, How are we going to make this happen? And so we literally wrote out his transition plan from BombTech how someone would, you know, take it over or how we would do that and how we are building the agency. So that was three and a half years ago. And you know how he really runs that company, Ecomgrowers, I'm more of a silent partner in the fact that I just helped him with systems operations and getting him the right people and that's really all I do and he does all film it manages the team. So we have a lot of high-level strategy conversations of like what do we need from a company standpoint, but we've gone through many evolutions. Now we hover between like 30 and 40 clients we work specifically with eComm brands doing between one and like 3 mils a year, most of our brands are doing like seven to 10 and we run all their email. Email and SMS now so what we do is someone that's interested we'll do a full audit, so we'll go jump into there we only do Klaviyo and PostScript. We'll jump in because we're a platinum agency we're like top four or something, I don't know that what it is, in terms of revenue manager. We'll jump in and just audit their account see what they're doing and we'll give them a roadmap Hey, you don't have hires but if you were to that's exactly what we would do you can do yourself or you can hire us to do it. And we take the same strategies that we use in our own BombTech and use them for everyone else. It's obviously custom and tailored for everyone and it's been pretty cool you know because that was totally not something I anticipated happening and now that's doing over seven figures since we're going to eight very uncommon brands, seven-figure agency and I'm excited to scale that up. Very different battle running an agency, because there are lot more humans involved, because it's a service type of industry so we've done a lot now we have full healthcare, we've increased our salaries, our bonuses, a lot has changed. So it's cool to have another company that's growing. And it's cool to be right in the same niche. So again, I'm not wanting to be like, hey, leggings are trending, let me go sell leggings. Do what you love, and see opportunities when they come and I just told him like, Hey, I'll help you in these very specific silos, operations and, strategy, but you're the one in the day to day and it's worked out great. He's making, you know, 10x when I used to pay him and he's run his own company, and I'm glad to be a part of it.  I am pretty removed from day to day stuff, that's why like, I don't get deep in the weeds because I just have the right people to ping the things off because I'm not that smart anymore. I'm just a dam owner my job.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Very nice adventure there. You did quite a few very interesting things. And notable what's coming up for you right now? Like where are you focusing on, what do you want to scale faster? Maybe release? And you think that our audience can look into what you'd like them to find.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

Personally, I've just been trying to enjoy life more. And I've got two young kids, they're seven and four now I was just I was like, I can't live like that. So I when I had my second child, I was able to truly - and this was for me as one of the things I'm passionate about  I don't do anything like I don't monetize this - but I'm passionate about helping founders and mostly my co-founder Chris get out of the day to day so he can live his life because it took me I think too long the other day It took me you know, I don't know how many years. But now I'm truly an owner that has no levers to pull because I have all the right people. I'm personally passionate about that haven't monetized and turn it into anything but I like when I see founders get out of their own way and actually become an owner so you can live your life.  Which is really hard but from you know, most of my time I spend with my family or try to help Christopher the MC so if there are any eComm brands that are looking to prep for Black Friday or just want an audit of their Klaviyo account we'd love to do it at Ecomgrowers.com. That's really our biggest opportunity to grow. BombTech is well optimised and scaled and we'll see what happens with that and you may be hearing some news. But life's good, man. Whatever I can do to help and if they want to reach out to me directly on LinkedIn, Tyler Sully Sullivan and you know I'll probably just say hey, I can't talk medicine as my assistant because I don't like to work anymore. I'm kidding. But hopefully, I'm dropping some value and you know, I think it's a hard thing to go from a hustler every day to an owner and I think everyone's got to go through their own journey and I'm just old man, nine years deep, two companies and two kids. Everyone's got their own journey so I hope whatever they're doing, they enjoy it.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Very nicely said. So guys, for you tuning in today, first of all, thank you for sticking all the way until almost the end right now. Sully, thanks a lot for the insights. I think they were very valuable and practical, which I really loved about them. And definitely will have links to your platforms in the description of the episode. So guys, if you feel that Sully could help out with your email marketing strategy and the way that you are thinking about the channel, specifically, if you have a clear Klaviyo account, then definitely reach out. Same if you feel there's anything in this episode that we touched upon, and maybe you'd like to find out more information, you can also either if it's directed to Sully, then feel free to get in touch. If it's directly to us, or something that we could maybe organise together at a later stage, then definitely write to us and we'll be happy to see what we can do to best deliver towards that direction. But yes, until next time, Sully, this was a very big pleasure to have you here. Very happy to hear that everything is going well and excited to hear maybe the announcements soon.

 

Tyler Sullivan  

We'll see. One day at a time. I have a lot of secrets, but I appreciate you having me help with some value not to get too deep with tactics and hacks, right think mind shift is big man, you know, it's like, you get so deep in the weeds in the computer into the shop by back end doing the stuff, that it's hard to see what's really a bigger lever to pull and I think that comes through time. But it's if you're a founder and owner still in the day to day in your computer, I think there are bigger levers you can pull that will drive more revenue, grow faster just by hiring the right people and getting out of the way kind of so hopefully some value.

 

Andrei Tiu  

Great stuff. Definitely, this was a very nice chat. And until next time, wishing you all the very best. Thank you again for being on the show. And looking forward to catching up soon.

 

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