New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Today we’re chatting with Chad Myers of 80-Lower about the challenges, anticipated and otherwise, of selling controversial products online. Chad talks about how he got into selling gun parts, as well as some of the things he’s learned about business and marketing over the years as an entrepreneurial jack-of-all-trades.

Chad is the head of a digital marketing agency, SEO expert, and owner of several eCommerce businesses specializing in controversial products. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including the obstacles he faces when advertising his products online, the future of SEO, and the importance of a good team around the office.

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Chad Myers of 80-Lower)

Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.

Hey, guys, it’s Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks for joining me again on the show. Today, I’m joined by Chad Myers of 80-lower.com as well as SpringboardMarketing.com. And Chad is one of our newer members in the eCommerceFuel private community and has been a phenomenal addition. I had a hunch he would make a great podcast guest, and he didn’t disappoint.

We cover selling controversial items online because his portfolio of businesses primarily sells accessories for firearms. So do how you deal with that? What are some of the challenges of selling those, specifically from a marketing perspective? Because a lot of marketing channels are not available if you’re selling firearms or firearm-related products: AdWords, Amazon in some respects. How do you market your business? What are some of the challenges that maybe aren’t marketing-related but dealing with PR?

We talk about also SEO. He has a deep background in SEO, still runs an agency helping not only his own stores but other stores do SEO and how that’s changed over the years, some of the maybe not so white hat strategies that he still uses and finds effective, and why he decides to use those. Cover a lot of ground, so I hope you enjoy the discussion. He’s an impressive guy, and I’ll go ahead and get right into it.

Chad, so you started out with a degree in engineering, I believe, and now you sell parts and kits for AR-15s, guns. How did that happen? What’s the nutshell story there?

From Engineering to Gun Sales

Chad: It’s really a business opportunity. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs with my parents both owning businesses and my sister being in business for herself as well, so I’ve kind of always had that plan in my head. And early on in my career, I set out to try doing as many business experiences that I could while working for others to equip myself with the tools that I would need to eventually start my own business. And so I’ve just always, through my life, been looking at business opportunities.

And probably two or three years ago, we identified that there was a pretty growing market in the gun part industry, and from a digital marketing standpoint, it was really inept. There just simply wasn’t a lot of strong competition from a digital marketing standpoint and so, just flat out, we saw it as a great business opportunity to jump in and make waves and grow quickly.

Andrew: So it was a complete top-down, very opportunistic approach that brought you into it?

Chad: Very much so, yeah.

A Polarizing Topic

Andrew: Are you a gun enthusiast? Do you have strong views for or against kind of the, you know, firearms and that? Because it’s a fairly, you know, hot topic button especially in America.

Chad: It is. It is, man. It’s a very divisive topic. It’s probably second to only religion in terms of how polarizing it is. I mean, people are completely for or people are against it. I am definitely for it. I grew up in rural Indiana and we always had all the toys, you know, horses and four wheelers and go-carts and guns. And part of that was going out and just shooting for target practice. Part of that was going out and hunting. So that very much was part of who I grew up as and even still to this day. Now, did I necessarily set out in my business venture saying I wanna sell gun parts online? No, but it very much is part of who I am and part of my fabric.

Challenges in the Market

Andrew: So Chad, what are some of the unique challenges in selling in the firearms market? I mean, feel free to be, you know, fairly broad. I’m sure there’s a bunch of things you don’t consider, given what you sell. It could be shipping issues or PR issues or emails that you get from people who are accusatory, that really get upset with what you sell. What are some of those issues that, you know, someone selling an ordinary product wouldn’t even think about?

Chad: There’s certainly a lot and it’s a challenge to build new kinds of business in store dealing with somewhat controversial subject matter. The first hurdle we really encountered was even getting a merchant account set up. That’s something that’s generally easy for most businesses and it’s a one or two-day process. Not in this space. I think there’s only one or two merchant accounts that’ll actually work with this type of subject matter in this business. And so finding those people was a challenge and it actually took quite a bit of time for the more context.

Even now as we spin out new websites selling the same kind of product, it still takes us about two weeks to go through the approval process. And so it costs you time and money to just find those right vendors and get them set up. It really even goes into how we acquire customers, you know. Any of the mainstream channels just flat out don’t want anything to do with you whether it be Google AdWords or Facebook website click ads, PLA’s, Google Shopping Ads, none of those are permittable for our type of subject matter. So it really forces us to be very good at the acquisition channels that we can utilize.

The Benefits of a Tricky Niche

Andrew: Would you say that’s kind of in a weird kind of way a benefit? I mean, there’s a quote that I think is very true where someone said once, “If there’s not a hard part to your business, you don’t have a business,” right? Like, there’s something to be said for having some fairly large barriers to entry. I mean, thinking about Amazon, because you don’t sell on Amazon because they probably don’t allow gun sales. Is that fair?

Chad: We can sell some parts but not the main products that we sell.

Andrew: Okay, so limited on that front. I mean, what do you think? Is it something that you feel’s a little bit of a strategic advantage, especially being, as we’ll get into later, the fact that you’re fairly savvy on the SEO front?

Chad: Yeah, I really do view it as opportunity, to be honest. A lot people can…and I don’t mean to diminish the effectiveness of paid ads but Google makes it really easy for you to deploy a paid advertising campaign. And so because of that, you get a lot of saturation and a lot of competition. SEO, just inherently, is just a little bit more difficult because there’s less things that we, as individuals, can control. And so I actually do view it, while it’s a hindrance and sometimes I get frustrated, it’s actually an opportunity for us as well. And frankly, that’s also part of being under a business model and why we’re able to grow eCommerce businesses so quickly.

Springboard Marketing’s Start

Andrew: I touched on SEO. You also run an agency, Springboard Marketing. I think you do a lot of things, SEO, website design, you know, also paid marketing for others as well. What came first? I believe you came from the agency back on first and then got into eCommerce, is that correct?

Chad: I did. There’s a little bit of a preface to that. My wife and I actually started our first eCommerce store. It was either 2007 or 2008. And that was actually before I started Springboard Marketing, the agency. And so we’ve had a history of eCommerce and eCommerce store fronts, but the agency started in 2011. And to add to your point, we work with other businesses, building websites, doing customer acquisition for them or even doing CRO, conversion rate optimization. But what we saw was, when having both businesses running simultaneously… We launched the eCommerce businesses about two years ago. What we saw was that our team, and not even just me but our collective team from the agency, was gravitating more towards online retail.

And so historically, you know, maybe two or three years ago, we worked with businesses of all type as an agency. We were doing lead generation. We were doing just standard marketing or branding. Nowadays, we’ve actually narrowed our focus as an agency down to only working with B2C online retailers, eCommerce. And that was very intentional partly because it was a shared interest and some would even say a passion from our team and partly because when you’re able to narrow your focus like that, in my opinion, you have to be far more effective.

Driving Customers Without Paid Traffic

Andrew: And I wanna get into some of the team aspects but one thing before we leave kind of the marketing, especially marketing a firearm niche, how do you do that without maybe giving up all of the secret sauce? You can’t use AdWords. You are limited in what you can sell on Amazon. You can’t use Google Shopping Ads. I don’t know about Facebook, but you have all of these limitations. So what has been cool with you? How have you guys driven customers to your site with all these limitations?

Chad: One thing it’s important to note is that the product types that we’re selling right now are not what I would call mainstream products. You know, there’s a certain market cap to consumers that are buying these kind of products and that’s why, in many regards, the major marketplaces don’t even wanna bother with these kind of products, so just knowing that there’s a certain limitation on the market size of the consumers that are buying these products. Also what comes with that is there’s almost a deeper brand loyalty that comes with that, too.

And also, word of mouth also follows that, too. Consumers are really, I’d even say, passionate about these types of products. And so if you can acquire a customer, give them a great experience, give them a great product, they’re gonna go sing your praises for you. They’re gonna go tell all their friends.

So to specifically answer your question, with the initial primary source of customer acquisition that we can use is SEO. And so we’ve just learned over the years how to be really effective with getting websites to rank quickly through your broader head terms, but then also for longer tail terms, to really try to cover the gamut of where consumers are in the purchase funnel. But after that, it’s part of our foundation to make sure that we ship it quickly, that our pricing is, you know, on average… We’re not gouging people and even when they’re calling us asking questions, we try and truly give them a great customer service experience.

And if you can do all those things, if you can get them a product at a good price, you can ship it to them quickly and it’s a high quality, they’re gonna go out and spread word of mouth. They’re gonna go tell their friends about it. And so because we can use paid acquisition, we’ve really focused a lot on creating a great customer experience so that they can be our sales force as well.

Andrew: Do you have a rough idea of what percentage of your customers are return customers?

Chad: We do. Probably 60% to 65% is return customers.

Andrew: Wow, that’s amazing. That’s extraordinarily high. Okay, so that strategy seems to be working pretty well for you.

Chad: It does.

SEO in 2016

Andrew: On the SEO front, interesting, I mean, because traditionally I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit out of practice on SEO. I kind of cut my teeth, you know, five, six years ago, seven years ago and feel like I need to get back into it with a major campaign. But how has your strategy changed the last couple of years? I mean, it’s such a quickly-evolving industry, and you know, you hear a lot of people more and more, I feel, like saying, “You know, SEO. Yeah, it’s great.”

But it takes so long to do and ads are starting to really, you know, push out the organic rankings in the top of the search for Google. And a lot of people, you know, making the case that it’s around now, but who knows how much longer this is gonna be a viable channel especially for all the unknowns? Is that something that worries you, given that, you know, people are concerned with how much ad creep is going on in Google? And also, how has your strategy changed, you know, over the last two years? What are you doing differently today versus maybe, you know, back in 2014?

Chad: Sure. So the first part of that is, if you really think about it, and I’d love to see like visuals of this on Timeline of the major changes Google has made to show, you know, how much emphasis has been put on the ads, I feel like over the last year, we’ve seen the vast majority of the changes. And it’d be irresponsible if you didn’t look at that and feel a little concerned about that, feel a little threatened by that. The reality is though is that what is Google’s job as a search engine? I know they’re big business, but as a search engine, their job, their mission, is to give consumers the answers to the questions they’re asking.

And so part of that, they understand that, yes, consumers are tolerant to seeing paid advertisements and, in many cases specifically as it pertains to eCommerce and products, consumers like to click on those ads because they know they’re probably gonna get some incentive to purchase. However, if Google ever got so one-dimensional to either remove the organic rankings from above the fold or the serp, I really think it’s gonna breed distrust with the consumers. The consumers are gonna feel like they’re getting too much of one side of the story and not the full story. Conversely, I think there’s still a ton of longer tail searches where you don’t even see ads displayed in many cases.

So all those considered of really, if Google’s one-dimensional and only showing paid ads, it eventually is gonna create distrust with consumers and they’ll stop using it and they’ll eventually go away. Now, is that gonna happen overnight? No, but I’d also argue that Google’s not gonna let it get to that point. I think they’re pushing the bounds about as much as they’re gonna be able to push it right now. In other words, in some cases, the serp you’re looking at, if it’s got top display ads as well as PLA ads on the right, you may only see one or two organic rankings showing above your fold. If Google goes more excessive than that, things are really gonna start turning consumers off.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s interesting, and I hear what you’re saying. It’s tough. I think, if you look at the history of any organization, it’s really difficult for people to kill the golden goose at some point. When incremental guy’s, like, what made a company greater in value in the beginning, a lot of times, people cheat on once they get to, you know, a position of market dominance. And especially, you know, when you’re a public organization because you’ve got shareholders to answer to. I hope you’re right because I love SEO. I hope it sticks around for a long time. It’s just you’ll eventually see where that ad creep stops, and hopefully, Google, hopefully, they realize that, yeah, if they go too far, they kill the golden goose.

Chad: Look at Facebook. Google’s got no better example of how to jump the shark wrong or incorrectly. You know, it’s to the point where where Facebook is considering paying Facebook users to do more organic posting because they’ve recognized they’ve gone so heavy on sponsored posts and paid posts, that consumers are starting to use it less and less and less.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a good point. How have your strategies changed over the last, you know, two years? Are you still doing a lot of kind of the tactics and the early-stage planning that, you know, two, three, four years ago was really crucial, mapping out keywords, really working on onsite, architecting your site in a very, you know, deliberate way? Is that still really crucial, or kind of in 2016, are you taking more of approach of, “Let’s build authority. Let’s really build up a high-ranking domain and create good content and let Google figure out the rest?”

Chad: The answer’s probably both. We, historically, have been pretty traditional, trying to do a ton of queuing research because, at the end of the day, that’s what’s setting your sites, right? If you don’t choose the right set of keywords to be targeting, you’re gonna waste a lot of time and money and in 6 or 9 or 12 months realize, wow, we were all target here. And so we exhaustively spent a lot of time looking at consumer profiles, trying to understand what consumers are really searching for and looking at other search terms and other variations that may be used by consumers.

But yeah, all the technical elements are still there, man. You know, you’ve gotta have a really well-constructed website. You’ve gotta have a clean code base that renders quickly. Obviously, mobile-friendly now is a huge unit ranking factor, so your website technically still has to be very, very sound. If it’s not, it’s gonna hurt you. But even moving on beyond that, it sounds probably boring and very tired, just good onsite content. And we’ve built businesses, we’ve made a lot of money for other businesses, just based on those onsite SEO elements.

Now, what I will say is that we’re probably more aggressive with pushing the envelope now than what we were even two or three years ago. You know, I was pretty conservative about not trying to poke the bear, if you will, and then not do something to disrupt Google or, frankly, just make them mad at you and drop your site from the serps. But we’ve gotten a little bit more aggressive this year, even going back to some really old school tactics that don’t really get talked about a whole lot these days, and the first one is gonna be exact-match domain names. We’ve built pretty successful businesses purely off of a domain name. I shouldn’t say purely, starting with choosing exact-match domain name. That just accelerates your growth in the serps.

Another tactic we’ve implemented recently is private blog networks, you know, building up smaller websites with relative counting on it better than linking back to your primary money-generating site. Or even taking expired domain names, which have, amazingly, still some good domain authority to them, repurchasing those domain names, and just funneling through three more re-directs all that authority over to your money-making site. So we’ve actually gotten a little bit more aggressive to try to find continued ways to move the envelope over the last few years, though.

Playing Google’s Game

Andrew: Are you doing that because you feel like those things are becoming more effective or maybe Google isn’t policing them quite as heavily? Or are you doing it because the SEO landscape’s getting that much more competitive and the effectiveness of, you know, strictly 100% white hat, as you might call it from Google’s standpoint, is just getting harder and harder to pull off?

Chad: You know, I think it’s both. There’s a lot more savvy digital marketers out there now. You know, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and that gives a lot of opportunity for other digital marketers or SEO’ers to get experiences and to hone their craft. And so just from an SEO competitiveness, it’s gotten more challenging, right? You’re competing with a lot more. You’ve got major brands now, major retailers investing millions of dollars annually in SEO. So it has gotten more competitive, the SEO landscape has gotten more competitive.

Conversely, I think Google is great about misinformation. Google is phenomenal about coming out and saying, “Hey, guys. Links don’t matter anymore. It’s all content. Quit doing link-building. Quit doing spam me links.” And while there’s some truth to that, I think they come out with such an extreme posture to try to scare the hell out of people. And largely, that tactic works for Google, and I think I could even, to some degree, fall a victim to that. So my point in saying that is that, now, we’ve got enough experiments, enough data to test and validate that. When you wanna push the envelope a little bit with Google, you probably can, probably more so than they want you to believe. So I don’t think they are policing or monitoring as much of the gray hat stuff, if you will, that they claim they are.

Andrew: Yeah, you sound like you might be the ghost writer behind “Viper Show,” am I right?

Chad: No, sir, no.

Andrew: You are Glen. That’s your pen name. I wanna shift a little bit toward kind of your team structure, and in fact, you’ve got an agency, where you do, you know, a full suite of services for store owners and people with online presences. You also run, you know, a portfolio of eCommerce stores, you know, three or four plus. How do you manage all that? Like, is that difficult to pull off? If I was, you know, peeking in or just putting on your hat for a minute, it seems like that would be… Obviously, there’s some overlap.

You know, a lot of those roles that you need for marketing a store you could also, of course, sell to clients well but it seems like that would be a lot to be able to do well. People talk often about, you know, just lack of focus is what kills an entrepreneur so often. How are able to make that work, serving such two different things? Is that difficult? Why did you make the decision to do both versus just picking one or the other?

Keeping Focus on Multiple Things

Chad: It is difficult, to be honest, and that’s something that I struggle with and even my team struggles with. I think we’ve gotten pretty good at managing it, but you do things differently. You know, when I first presented to the team that we were gonna start building our own eCommerce brands and storefronts and businesses, I presented this as it really isn’t a radical change, guys. This is us doing the same things we’re doing, but just for ourselves, right? And I got them excited.

Right or wrong or different, there’s always restraints when working in an agency partnership. There’s always time or money, right? Where partners and clients are coming back to you, saying, “Great idea. Don’t have the money for it,” or, “Great idea. I just don’t have time right now.”If you’re doing your own marketing, you don’t have that, right? So we literally have a sandbox, where we can go experiment and try things that, you know, in many other cases, our partners or clients wouldn’t let us. And as a delivery person, that’s really exciting.

So I really try to pitch it to the team as, “Hey, this isn’t radical change. What you’re doing isn’t changing. It’s how we’re doing it.” But conversely, I probably underestimated how different the how is, right? Managing your own internal self is hard.

Andrew: It is.

Chad: Managing your own internal projects, you’d oftentimes put it to the back burner, right, and that’s a tough pill to swallow, especially me as the CEO because I want to be working on our own brands, just as diligently and actively as we are our partner brands that we’re working with. And so how we manage our work is a little bit different just from a personnel standpoint.

Really, another major change has been the financials .You know, the financial structure of a service-based agency is vastly different than that of an online retailer. So just me wrapping my mind around, getting our team wrapped around, how do you manage the finances of these businesses, too, it took some time to get that figured out.

Andrew: How does that look? How does your PNL look? Do you have, like, a column for services agency in each one of your stores? Does it all get lumped together? How do you break that up? Because obviously you wanna be able to look at your margins on your storefront basis versus your services basis I would guess separately.

Chad: Oh, yeah, they’re totally different. this was a big fork in the road for me. I sought counsel with our lawyers, with our accountants on what’s the best way to approach this. Right, wrong, or different, what we ended up doing was creating different legal entities and different financial PNLs through each entity that we have. So right now, we have three main inner retail brands inside of three different legal entities and PNLs for each of those three brands, in addition to the agency being its own legal entity and own financials.

Yeah, there’s some overhead there, right, and it take more time and effort to manage…the business entities not so much, but the financials, sure…but in my opinion, it keeps things more clean. And then commercially, when we get to the point of selling off some of these properties, it makes that transition so much easier too.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, if you were a buyer trying to buy one of your businesses and had to dig through a consolidated income statement, it’d be a huge turnoff.

Chad: It may be a deal breaker, yeah.

Best Practices on Managing a Team

Andrew: Yeah. How do you, you know, with your team, what do you focus on for managing them? I mean, apart from just a decent-sized team of a dozen people or so, you’ve got, you know, like you said, three or four stores and the service agency. What are the things you really try to emphasize and you’re zealous about, you know, managing, you know, all of these different things? Are you really focused on KPIs? Are you amazingly focused on processes? What do you think? If you didn’t do X, the business would fall apart. What is X?

Chad: Oh, that’s a big one. To help, I guess, most effectively manage the team, first and foremost, for me it comes down to bringing on the right people. If you have people with shared values and commonality and you all generally believe in the same thing, you can really go far with that. You can go a long, long way. So for me, it’s first getting the right people on the bus. Secondly, and every leader is a little bit different in how they lead their team and their business, but I really give a lot of leash with my staff. I want to hire really competent people that share my vision, and then I put them behind the steering wheel and I say, “Go. Go take this as far as you can go.” And that’s both good and bad. Sometimes, I don’t give enough parameters to people to define my expectations, but also, many times, they’ll go places I didn’t envision or expect with that.

One of the bigger struggles I’ve had in terms of managing a growing company,…and we’ve experienced a lot of growth over the last two years or so…and so it’s been very evident that it’s something I’m lacking personally, but that’s processes, right? I’m not a very well-structured, processed person. I’m very much a free spirit, but I recognize that that’s needed in our business. And so this past year, we hired a VP of Operations to kind of be that buffer to let me go out and still be that free spirit and explore different business opportunities, find ways to challenge our team and to grow them and their skill sets and professional development, you know, but also keep a finger on the pulse of our financial status and just operational proficiencies. So bringing people in that are more structured and more process-minded was one of those steps.

I love reading business books and some of the things that we’ve implemented over the last couple of years are a direct result of some pretty well-known business books. And whether if you Scrum or Lean Startup, looking at how to create Agile production cycles, and that’s a big one too. And so we’ve introduced a few of the Scrum metrics, which is sometimes hard as an agency. You know, Scrum is easier for one of the more traditional development process, such as building an app or a website. A little bit more difficult to do in an agency, but there’s a lot of lessons to be learned from some of those principles.

There’s No “i” in Team!

Andrew: One thing that stood out to me on the Springboard Marketing site was your About Us page, your team page. It stood out because there’s a lot of personality behind it. You really emphasize how much of a team culture and how much cohesion it seems like there is within your team, and it’s very personal. You know, you’ve got great photos, you know, stories behind everybody. You really feel like you get to know the team, and it looks like you’ve built what looks like a genuine, you know, almost like a mini family there.

Chad: Yeah.

Andrew: How do you do that? What are some of the things you really focus on to try to build such a strong team? And on the flip side, some would argue, “Like, that’s great. That’s really good when things are going well, but when things flip, right?” You have to have those hard conversations, where someone just isn’t pulling their weight, they’re not a good fit.” Obviously, I imagine, that’s gotta be so painful to let somebody go because it’s not just business, it’s personal. And I imagine, apart from just impacting that person, you know, it probably has a ripple effect that’s much more damaging than if maybe you guys were a little more focused on just, you know, the business itself. What are your thoughts on that?

Chad: It’s interesting because, when I first started in business, my very first business, the model’s predicated on outsourcing damn near everything, and frankly, that was very profitable. Did a lot of great work. You have a broader resource base to pull from to build whatever you’re building. But at the same time, I’m like, you know, I come to work every day, probably 10 hours a day every day, and I missed out on some of those human interactions, I missed out on having people to celebrate their victories with, you know. And so after a couple of years of that, I really took time to reflect and understand that there’s a big part of your work life which is missing, and that’s surrounding yourself with people that you can trust and respect and appreciate.

And so after a couple of years, I flipped the model to basically stop outsourcing and using subcontractors for a lot of our work and started building our team, and that comes with its own challenges. You know, just to be honest, a lot of businesses are far more profitable because they outsource everything they do, and if you’re in business just to make money, that’s the way to go. You know, if you’re just focused on profit, outsourcing everything, using VAs, that’s the best way that you’re gonna make profits and retain those profits. However, you know, I enjoy what I do, I enjoy my job, I’m passionate about this, and I wanna surround myself daily with people that share that.

The Lightning Round!

Andrew: Wanna get into the lightning round really quickly, but one last question before we do. Obviously, you run Springboard Marketing, and we touched on SEO. But can you give people a sense, who are listening, like, specifically, what do you guys do and who are you a good fit for in terms of what you can provide?

Chad: As an agency?

Andrew: As an agency, yeah.

Chad: So startup eCommerce businesses are tough for us. It’s not really a good fit because, you know, we’re an agency and we have costs that we have to cover. So the true startup, online retailer eCommerce business is proud and a good fit. Generally, we’re a good fit, you know, taking people that grew their eCommerce business themselves, got it to that first point of plateauing and have kind of stopped growing.

And usually, that’s somewhere around a couple of million dollars in annual revenue. We come in in those situations and help them. In many cases, you’ve doubled their revenue and in just a few years’ time. So that second iteration of an eCommerce business that’s growing out of the, “We did it ourselves” version and, “Now, we’re at a point where we need more help,” that’s usually a good fit for us as an agency.

Conversely, we do pretty well in terms of providing value and services to larger and older brands that, for whatever reason, are just now getting into eCommerce. They may have more resources and they have a great client base and they have a great product, but just for whatever reason, they’ve been reluctant to jump into that space. We can navigate those waters quite well just from a knowledge of business standpoint and connecting those dots with, “Here’s how you transform your business into an internet retail company.”

Andrew: And springboardmarketing.com, that’s where you can check out all of the services they offer as well as their team page. We’ll link up that in the show. No, it’s a great example.

Chad: Yeah, go check it out, but I don’t know if it’s still this way. I have not looked at it, to be honest, but it used to be where the team would write my bio, and all they would do is make fun of me.

Andrew: Really? So you don’t love ballet. Like, you’re not a dedicated ballet dancer? That’s not true?

Chad: I hope that’s not on there. Now, I’m gonna have to look.

Andrew: No, I’m just kidding, although, yeah, we could have some fun with this. I may be calling your services agency after this. Chad, I wanna get into the lightning round, and this is just I’ll ask you some quick rapid-fire questions. We ask these questions or almost all of these questions to all of our guests that come on, so if you’re fine with that, we’ll go ahead and jump right in.

Chad: Take it away.

Andrew: How much money is enough? What’s your number?

Chad: Personal income or business revenue? Which…

Andrew: I’d say, like, personal money in the bank, where if you had X in the bank, you could just be like, “You know, maybe I’ll still work if I want to, but that would be enough.”

Chad: That’s a good one. I feel like $5 million is that point because, at that point, you personally don’t have to work at all. The money can just purely work for itself. You still have enough money to invest and generate more monies, and you still have enough money to go have fun in life. So I’d say $5 million.

Andrew: What did you wanna be when you were a kid?

Chad: I wanted to be an architect. I wanted to design and build buildings.

Andrew: Did you think about seriously pursuing it?

Chad: I did, yeah. I took a few courses in college on being an architect. And just being very frank, my handwriting is not anywhere close enough to being neat, and that’s pretty much a requirement as an architect. I’m like, “You know, it’s not gonna work for me.”

Andrew: This was a little customized for you, but what’s your favorite gun?

Chad: Oh, that’s, boy. Honestly, I know that sounds probably predictable, but the AR 15 is and largely because it’s so customizable. You can have one core rifle and you can assemble it with five different barrel types and you’ll use that for so many different hunting or shooting scenarios. It’s extremely versatile.

Andrew: How many hours a week do you work on average?

Chad: Boy, if you ask my wife, she’s probably gonna give you a different answer.

Andrew: The real answer?

Chad: Yeah, which is probably true. It’s probably the real answer. I’m just not being honest with myself. I think I only work 50, but she would probably say 60 or 65.

Andrew: What do you think about in the shower? What’s usually on your mind?

Chad: I’m usually thinking about what I need to get done this upcoming day, and I try to think through…you know how it is. You get in the office, and all of a sudden, your time is being taken from you…so I really try to map through and say, “These two or three things are my top priorities today, and these have to get done.

Andrew: If you knew there was gonna be one thing that was gonna bring upon the fall of civilization in the next 25 years and you had to guess what that would be, what would be your guess?

Chad: Part of me thinks, like, nuclear fallout warfare. I can see how it’s certainly going that way, but I think probably it’s more realistic as global pandemic.

Andrew: If you had to live your business,… Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you couldn’t work at your business anymore, and you couldn’t start any other business. You couldn’t be an entrepreneur. You had to work for someone or some company, but you could pick any company in the world and be guaranteed you could have a job there. What company would you work for?

Chad: I would want to be Warren Buffett’s personal assistant. I would work for Berkshire Hathaway, just learn everything that dude knows, man, just soak it all up.

Andrew: That’s a good one. What do you spend most of your discretionary money on? And not necessarily housing or food, but money where it’s kind of fun money. It could one of your hobbies or vices or not a vice. But where does most of your kind of non-utility/housing/food money go?

Chad: This is an easy one. Burton and hunting gear.

Andrew: Nice, nice.

Chad: There’s no correlation, just separately.

Andrew: If you could live anywhere on the planet and cost wasn’t an issue, someone was paying for all of your expenses and community wasn’t an issue, you know, all your friends and family would be transplanted, so really all you had to worry about was maximizing the utility and the enjoyment of that location, where in the world would you live?

Chad: I would wanna live in central Oregon. There’s enough wide open spaces. There’s beautiful, natural surroundings. If you wanna meet my people, you can meet my people. If you just want some isolation, you can be isolated. I’d say central Oregon.

Andrew: Have you ever thought about moving there?

Chad: I have, loosely, yeah. We struggle because our area here is so great. It’s usually listed as one of the best places to live, and the school systems here are tremendous. And so there’s a huge benefit to our kids living here, not for all those personal amenities and resources I mentioned. But personally, if it were just me, I would move out there tomorrow.

Andrew: What’s one of the most generous things that someone has done for you?

Chad: That is a tough one, man. At the risk of sounding really, really cheesy, when someone just gives you their love, when someone just unconditionally says, “You know, you’re not perfect, you’re kind of ugly, but I just flat out love you” and there’s no strings attached with that. Love goes a long, long way, man. It really is a huge motivational driver, so I’d say my wife, you know, my wife giving me her love, my family giving me their love. So love.

Andrew: Let’s assume you’re facing jail time and you have one of two options. You can either flee to another country, serve no time at all, you can be guaranteed you won’t be caught and returned and you’ll be able to have your family with you. But you have to give up all of your assets and you can never return to the United States. So one option is you can flee. The other option is you have to stay and serve your sentence, and after your sentence, you can just return to life as normal, live in the country, you don’t give up any of your assets.

Assuming this isn’t like an issue of protecting your reputation and your honor. If you’re looking at it just from the utility side standpoint, like, how much time would you give up to stay in the country with all your assets? What would be that amount of time where you would be willing to serve to stay in the country, where one day more than that, you know, the maximum amount of time, one day more than that you would say, “That’s it. I’m done.”

Chad: I’m curious as to what my defense was, what I’m in jail for, but I guess, just to answer the question is, I think I’m a softie when it comes to jail time. Jail time does not interest me at all. I love my country, but man, maybe a year. I don’t think I could go more than a year.

Andrew: Yeah, okay, interesting. Chad, this has been fantastic. I loved diving into just your business, your agency. Thank you. You’ve been a fantastic member of the forum, you know, for the last two or three months or so, coming in and adding a lot of value. I mean, it’s been a privilege having you be a part of the community. So thanks for taking time to do this, and thanks for making our community that much richer.

Chad: I appreciate it, Andrew. Thank you for having a community. It’s a great source.

Andrew: Want to connect with and learn from other proven eCommerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight-knit, vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at eCommerceFuel.com. Thanks so much to our podcast producer, Laura Serino, for all of her hard work in making this show possible, and to you for tuning in, thank you for listening. That’ll do it for this week, but looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

What Was Mentioned


Springboard Marketing | About The Team

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

AR-15 Lower Receivers


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