Imagine being able to grow your business 100x in a span of only three years. Impossible? Not if you’re Daniel Parker of My Choice Software. Daniel is here to share the story of how his company did just that. After being recruited to My Choice Software in 2013, Daniel and his partner used clever marketing and stellar customer service to drive their business to exponential growth.
Dealing with such a rapidly growing business isn’t easy, and Daniel gives us insight into My Choice’s mindset, profitability, and hiring tactics during their years of incredible growth. He also shares the challenges his team faced when scaling their company, as well as the customer service hierarchy they employ to maximize return business, a key driver of their huge success.
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 e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.
Hey, guys. Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today.
And joining me on the show today is Mr. Daniel Parker from mychoicesoftware.com. And Daniel’s been one of our top new community members over the last six months or so. Had the chance to meet up with him in Savannah at our live event, played some basketball with him, which was a ton of fun. And his story is really exceptional. He’s been able to grow his company the he started back in 2013, from $250,000 to over $25 million in sales, in the course of just over three years which is phenomenal. So wanted to have him on to talk about how he did that, obviously doing something right there and doing something in a lot of different areas. So we dive deep on that.
So I’m gonna keep this intro short, and let’s go ahead and jump into my discussion with Daniel Parker.
Andrew: Daniel, so I’m really excited to dive in deep on your story and how you grew the business so significantly in such a short period of time. But there’s one thing I gotta mention first before we do this, and I hope you don’t get upset with me about this, but you were part of my favorite moment of ECF Live or the funniest moment. And it was it when we were all in the room with Peep Laja from ConversionXL and he was doing website critiques and, of course, you have a wildly successful business. But he’s just…you know, on usability, he’s just brutal and just ripping websites apart.
And then the site before, he mentioned something along the lines of, “I hate how there’s…anything unnecessary should be gone. It should be gone.” And they pull up people off your site and the day before you guys added a little bat flying around for Halloween and the whole room just lost it. Do you remember this?
When Peep Laja Rips Apart Your Site
Daniel: We knew that Peep was going to go through that process of reviewing the site. And after seeing the first couple where he had torn people a new one effectively, I busted out the iPad…
Andrew: I thought you were using the iPad to try to, like, remove this flying Halloween bat from your site before, but you wanted to get this on camera?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. I wanted his response on camera. He’s a very excited guy so capturing the response of him was great.
Andrew: That was great. You were a super-good sport about it, too. So I’m excited to get into your story about MyChoiceSoftware. But before we get into that, how did you end up there? How did you…kind of, in a quick nutshell, what’s your background? How did you end up at the company?
A Computer Science Background
Daniel: I went to school for computer science, wanted to be an engineer. Originally, I wanted to do video game development. And when I finally was confronted with the choice of colleges, I looked at video game design and standard programming and I said, “Well, I really love programming. Let’s stick with the core basics, and if I wanna get into video game design later, I can do that.” So at that point, I kind of made that choice and chose the school and moved forward, eventually graduating with my degree in Computer Science. At some point, the first e-commerce company that I worked for decided that… It was one of the managers of the company I was working for. He’s like, “Hey, you do some cool marketing stuff and you’re a good programmer. Why don’t you come over here and learn sales and marketing?”
So that kind of snowballed into my love for e-commerce, and they had a really great intelligent management team there that was able to rapidly grow this business. Then one day I got the call from the owner of MyChoiceSoftware who I’d worked with at a previous job, and he said, “Hey, man, you’ve got some pretty good tech skills. Why don’t we have a meeting?” And he flew out the very next day. We had a meeting and two weeks later, I was on a plane to California to join the team.
Joining a 250K Revenue Business
Andrew: That’s crazy. And you came in, when you came into the business, MyChoiceSoftware, you guys…summary, I probably should have mentioned this at the top, you guys sell all sorts of different software for a lot of business uses. The revenues were at 250k per year when you came into the business. Is that right?
Daniel: Right, and he had done that in a really, really clever way. He put an ad up in the FedBizOpps buyer’s guide and it went out to all the admirals and all of the generals that purchase and do procurement for the Pentagon and all these different places. So there was probably $30,000 or $40,000 of consumer sales, and then these huge chunk sales to the military for name-brand software. And it was really just about getting the message in front of the right people to draw these people in.
Andrew: I’d love to hear how he convinced you to come, because I know you and you’ve got a tremendous amount of technical chops. You’re really an incredibly smart guy, and it seemed like he pulled you away from a company where…a stable job from a larger company, to come to a business that was fairly small, only working, you know… He was the only guy. How did he do that? What magic was he able to do to get you to do this? And I’m asking, so if people listening wanna be able to hire great talent, maybe they can emulate what he did. How was he able to do that?
How to Nab Great Talent
Daniel: So he took a few pieces of key information which was, one, my commute in Baltimore sucked. It was raining all the time, the weather was terrible, and just general happiness having to drive an hour to two hours to a job every day to kind of grind out in software development wasn’t nearly as exciting as starting new business and kind of going back to the things I really love to do, because we had worked together. We had a really great working relationship before that. We were able to accomplish a lot when we were both sales guys.
So he saw that and kind of leveraged that and said, “Hey, man, we got this new company. I’ve got it rolling a little bit. We can really build this up and build something amazing. Why don’t you come out? I’ll give you a place to live. I’ll cover all your expenses moving out here. When can you come?” And he basically showed up in person, sold me on the idea. And two weeks later, I was there.
Andrew: That’s amazing.
Daniel: He’s a great sales guy, though, just to mention. He’s a fantastic sales guy.
The Company on Day One
Andrew: What did the company look like at day one? And I know you mentioned a bunch of the issues. What were maybe the two or three biggest issues you saw with the company, coming in, you know, when you started three years ago?
Daniel: So the issues that plagued I think all companies around that time was fraud was at an all-time high. Some of the platforms were really unmanageable. There were hosting issues. There were numerous technical issues that basically a small team of one to two people wasn’t equipped to handle. So, really, the first issue that I came in to address was getting us off Magento. Magento was too much for us to handle at that time with four groups of people.
Andrew: Seems to be a theme among a lot of us.
Daniel: It’s a theme, but Magento was great if you’re a larger company with developers and numerous people to be able to manage these different things. Looking back, open-source systems like Magento are really attractive. And you can do a great deal of customization. But I walked into a scenario where the checkout was already hacked. He had been on his fourth or fifth merchant account due to the insurmountable amount of just fraud and issues relating to procurement and delivery issues, a lot of things that just were instantly simplified moving to a close-source system.
So we ended up, in our first two months, moving to BigCommerce and kind of rebuilding our base from that point.
Andrew: So fraud and tech issues. What did you… You can see… I would think, if you come into a company like that and you fix some of the tech issues and the fraud issues, it gives you more bandwidth and the ability to market a little bit and maybe the company goes from 250k to high 6-figures, maybe you break 7-figures. But in terms of what drove the growth is what I’m most curious to hear about. What did you guys start doing that not only just reduced your workload and your burdens, but results in such an enormous flood of sales coming in quickly? What were the biggest factors there?
Selling High-Ticket, Complex Items
Daniel: So the January when we moved into BigCommerce, we started to get more sales. We started to get more increase. But the real basis of the business was how do we sell high-ticket items that are very complex? And since I was a software developer, I’ve worked with a lot of these database applications, a lot of business and IT applications. You can speak to the customer on a level that they understand. So the people that are going out there to buy these software products aren’t looking to talk to salespeople. They’re looking to talk to people that understand the applications and the things they’re trying to do and then can speak to them on a technical level.
So the very first month of January, I believe, going into 2014, we sold in…for sales, we sold $51,000 in Sequel Server licensing that helped bootstrap this business to save a ton of money on their end, but more specifically navigate the course of what products they had to buy, because IT and software is very, very complicated. Doing the licensing correctly is very, very complicated. So we made our business entirely about simplifying that process for people, getting them on the phone, having well-educated, technical people talk to other technical customers on the things that they really needed for their business.
And that’s kind of been our primary differentiator. So when you’re selling a very complex, expensive product, you have to staff it with the people that are able to speak to that. And it wasn’t something that just you could throw customer service people into at that time. It really had to be people that really knew how to sell these things and really understood the products that we were trying to push.
Andrew: That makes a lot of sense, so incredible customer service that was very well fitted to you. I think, like Rackspace. I’ve used Rackspace in the past. And they are…don’t use them anymore because our needs are different, but it blows me away. You call them up and it can be 4:00 a.m. in the morning. And if you’re on the right plan, you can get someone who can write a custom Unix script for you on the phone within 90 seconds and it’s phenomenal. So sounds like you just kind of have a similar model on the e-commerce front. It was just knowing your product so well. How long were you able, as the main tech guy, to be able to run the business and scale it up, being the primary customer service person? Do you remember, in terms of time and revenue, how far were you able to carry that by yourself?
Hitting the $5 Million Mark
Daniel: So we were able, with basically the addition of one staff member, to get to the $5 or $6 million mark. The amount of product fulfillment and content creation and stuff really didn’t become overbearing until the $7 million mark. But we were doing a lot of it ourselves. We are using one-off contractors here and there. And really it was taking our same very simple plan and pushing it into the different marketing channels. Once we were effective there, we moved on to the next one. Once we were effective there, moving on to the next one. And a lot of our marketing and a lot of our decision-making about the products we sold was we wanted to start with something that had a really high brand value to start. So we decided to start with Microsoft products. And that Microsoft brand carried a lot of value already.
So all we had to do was really demonstrate our knowledge on the product and talk to people, on a human level, to get them to choose to buy it from us instead of one the name-brand guys like Newegg or CDW or Tiger Direct.
Andrew: And most of your sales at this point, when you’re growing up to 5 million-ish, are most of your sales…are they fairly large-ticket item sales? Are you selling a whole lot of… What percentage of your sales are, you know…1Z, 2Z, here’s a $100 license or a $50 license versus you get off the phone and you close $10,000 worth of licenses?
AOV to Get That Revenue
Daniel: Great question. So the majority of the licensing back then was box model. And box model had a very poor lifespan of the product, meaning you’d sell one box and it’d be good for seven years. So the average cost of Microsoft Office back in the day was $499. Today a person can buy Microsoft Office for $69. So, over time, our average order value had scaled down, but there was a point where each sale, you know…10, 15 sales in a day would be in the $400 to $500 range. And, of course, you’d get 1Z, 2Zs through marketing, but you’re really searching and trying to segment out the people that are gonna be repeat buyers and bulk buyers or any of those people that you can drive a lot of repeat value to.
Andrew: So what percentage of the success and the rapid growth would you attribute to having a lot of business-to-business buyers that bought in volume? Would you say that was the huge factor to how quickly you were able to grow?
Daniel: Yeah. So setting up those relationships early has really built the foundation in the business. We like to joke that we can turn off marketing today and we could still maintain half a million dollars in sales and SEO and then probably another half million just with our sales team. So building up those relationships and constantly feeding them and constantly contacting them has been the entire objective of the business. Our objective was never set out to sell consumers this one product that takes seven years to get a new one. It’s always been to pull up these business buyers where we can continue to generate stickiness with them and cross-sell and upsell and really be their product solutions expert.
So there’s a whole host of solutions out there as an IT buyer. Wouldn’t you rather just pick up the phone and call your guy and have him tell you, “This is what everybody else buys?” That’s kind of the relationship we’ve cultivated.
Prioritizing Customer Service
Andrew: And what’s your approach? How actively do you manage some of these bigger buyers? For example, do you just say, “Hey, we’re gonna let our world-class customer service be what sets us apart. And we know that if we serve someone really well with this big purchase, they’re gonna come back when they need software X, Y, and Z as well?” Or do you guys take more of a proactive approach where somebody calls up, they book a $10,000 order, you enter all of their details into a CRM, you know that their wife’s name is Mary and she likes this kind of wine. You sent her wine. How much do you court them once you get them versus just letting your service speak for itself?
Daniel: Great question. So since the growth of the business from then to now, we’ve created a customer service model where we’ve been able to train people that haven’t come from the software background, that come from more of a customer service background, to fill out that base layer. And then we have a sales team which is very good at the technical sales level. And they basically enter all the data into a system and continue to retouch these people every three months. So we’ve worked out the effective schedule for one to three months and how many touch points we should have with a customer to keep them coming back and buying and keep them happy. So the real generation of it has kind of been like a gold filter. You have everybody that deals with customer service. And then we narrow out the business buyers or potential business buyers.
And then the sales and account managers generate a relationship with them, maintain their books of business, so each sales agent has his own book of business. And then the sales director manages those books of business over top to keep cultivating better relationship goals with each of those customers.
Andrew: Interesting, so a very tiered approach based on how technical the sales staff has to be to be able to service the bigger clients.
Tiers of CS Support
Daniel: And we go all the way up to full implementation for clients. So our top tier customers have AWS installations. They have Azure installations. They have hundreds of seats in CST or Microsoft Office 365. We’re doing their managed services. We’re providing them 24-hour support. So the relationship can get very, very intensive with these customers so you have to have a lot of trust and a lot of knowledge so that you can service them well. So we had to break it out to different levels because you can’t use a flat customer service approach with these types of clients.
Andrew: Tell me about scaling that team, because it’s one thing… I mean, you went to school for Computer Science. Just me knowing you, you’re well-spoken. You know, you’re good with people. And I think, I’m gonna generalize here as a guy who also went to school for a portion of it as Computer Science, not everyone in the technical field is like that. You need to have the hard skills and soft skills, it sounds like, to be an effective customer service rep with you guys as unique value prop. So how did you scale out that team and grow that sales team? Was it really difficult? And where did you find people? How did you come up with the training process, because that sounds like a really difficult thing to do?
Creating a Stellar Team
Daniel: We got actually really lucky. There was another tech startup company that was doing technical sales where they were taking all of the products from all distributors and just forcing them into a BigCommerce site. And I went out and asked some of their sales guys. I said, “Who do you have that does technical sales that would be good for my team?” And all of a sudden, I got referred to some very disgruntled employees at Micro Center who were the top salespeople from Micro Center selling hardware and software at Micro Center. And the next thing you know, half of our staff is from Micro Center.
Andrew: That’s crazy. And so you were able to bring them in with minimal effort because they had already been doing it. And just it’s worked out perfectly.
Daniel: Right. So we basically found our mold of employee that already came in with the subset of skills. So the upper level management is all made up of these people who now have two, three years of selling technical. And then they manage customer service people that are built on the backs of the systems they’ve developed to promote this and simplify the system down so that anyone coming in without a technical background can speak to it in an intelligent way.
Andrew: I’m gonna do the same thing I did earlier when I asked you how your employer was able to poach you, for people listening that may wanna be able to poach someone else from a competitor and bring them on their team for great talent, how did you do that? You said “disgruntled,” and I’m sure that was a part of it. But what did you offer them that they weren’t getting at the other job? Was it better pay, more flexibility, not having to deal with low-level stuff, all the above?
How to Poach an Employee
Daniel: This probably isn’t the answer you wanna hear but we just brought ’em in and we sold ’em.
Andrew: What do you mean?
Daniel: Just like everything else. We said, “Look, this is a small company. The work is gonna be harder. But at the end of the day, you’re gonna be more fulfilled. There’s a lot more opportunities to grow in a business like this, especially monetarily, than you’re going to see at some place like Micro Center. When one person succeeds at Micro Center, you’re still making $12 an hour. When you succeed here, you’re financially rewarded to your contribution to a much smaller team. Your efforts matter that much more working with a small team.” if you go above and beyond and sell $250,000 in licensing, like many of our staff members have, they are rewarded directly based on those efforts.
So they’re hungry to succeed but they’re also hungry to contribute to the process because as they contribute to the process and help us develop this, they get more employees to work underneath them to accomplish their vertical of development within the company.
Andrew: So it sounds like you did have some kind of commission structure in place for where they would be paid out based on sales, where the other employer did not?
Setting Team Goals
Daniel: It’s not as much commission as much as it was team goals. So we’d set out team goals on things like reviews or selling X amount of this product. And if the team could accomplish it, then they would get a flat-rate team commission. Only in the last six months have we built out commission structures that are specific by job role. So now we have these huge commission sales books where if you’re a chat support person and you make your metrics based on previous metrics, you’re eligible for this type of bonus and then you have these areas where if you go above and beyond and contribute, you make a bigger bonus.
So now every person, individually, has a commission structure in their job role, whether they’re a customer service person, a salesperson, a technician, a graphics designer. They all have their own commission guide built out for how they can make more money and succeed within the business.
Andrew: That’s really interesting. And I’m sure we could do a whole series of episodes just based on those because getting your metrics right for what you’re holding your employees and your team accountable to is so important. One that I think would be relevant to most people listening with stories is customer service. What are those metrics for your customer service people, maybe your phone support as well as your chat support? And we don’t have to dive too deep, but I’d just love to hear what are a handful of those key metrics that they’re judged on and they’re eligible to earn bonuses based around?
Daniel: I guess I’ll start with chat. Chat, we’ve kind of come up with a simple canned response system. And it’s basically, if the chat comes in, if the client disposition, sales or customer service, did the customer service issue be resolved in the chat or did it have to lead to a phone call? How many chats led to follow-up sales? Were we able to leave the customer with a good feeling? That comes out where we’ll draw a customer from a chat scenario into a call scenario, and then request that they give us a review on how things went. So we were conducting chat reviews for a while and then we’d start, swap our bonus structure to, “How many reviews can you collect via a customer with your name in it, based on your experience here?” to, “How many chats were actually resulting in a sale?”
On the side of customer service, we basically determine how many resolutions can be accomplished with a single call. So if a customer has to call more than once to have their issue resolved, we track that. We wanna see what the call length time is, how effective they are with the customer. Can they resolve the issues with the current understanding of how things work here? Because you might get a call for someone who wants help installing Microsoft Office. At the same time, you might get the other call where somebody is having some issue in Microsoft Server, configuring something that they don’t quite understand. And it’s a wide breadth of knowledge. So we sit there and measure, if the customer service agent can resolve it on that one call or does it require follow-up calls? If so, why? And how can we improve that process with that person?
So it’s more based around their continual education. If they knew how to fix the server thing on the first call, then it wouldn’t have required two more calls. So that leads up to their compensation plan.
Keeping Employees Educated
Andrew: Interesting. And do you take the approach of saying to your team, “Hey, we’re gonna equip you to all these things? We’re gonna have training every three months. You have to be on new software trends and, you know, what software is best in being able to help the customers,” or do you say, “Hey, here’s what we expect from you. Here’s how you’re being measured. It’s kind of up to you to take care of your own continuing education. Maybe you get a couple hours, you know, every week or something for it?” Which one of those two approaches do you take?
Daniel: A lot of the education is kind of on the fly. They spend the first two weeks working with another customer service person fielding all of their issues. Luckily, the majority of the issues that come out of our products are quickly able to be looked up on Google and can be resolved right there in one call. But there has to be a lot of cross-training to bring them up to speed. The sales guys, on the other hand, are more in a training revolution where they have to get so much training and so much certification to be able to have the opportunity within our organization to sell the more expensive items. If you call me up and tell the customer service agent you wanna buy a Sequel Server, that customer service agent cannot field that call. They have to refer you to the next level agent that is properly trained and equipped to handle that type of call.
Because we don’t wanna let $40,000 or $50,000 walk away from the business, we have to measure where our customer service people are educated to and then continue to evolve them with a different set of skills.
Key Marketing Tactics
Andrew: Wanna jump back to…you mentioned marketing a while back about how you were really good at iterating through marketing. You’d go to a channel, you’d master it, you’d move on, etc. And what you’re talking about, what I’m digging into, is works really well once you get people on the line and for bringing in repeat business, but what were you doing mostly early on to drive that? Was it… I guess that’ll be my first question. What were the big channels kind of in order of importance that you guys attacked in terms of building up that initial sales base?
Daniel: So we’ve kind of been on the backside of the wave. For us it started out in text marketing…not text marketing, excuse me, just standard Google PPC text ads. And then it evolved further to go into product listing ads. And we really found our home in product listing ads. The evolution of the company grew three or four times over once we started competing directly in the PLA categories. Text ads were a great lead-in to get some calls, but they weren’t the most effective way or they stopped being the most effective way to sell products, name-brand products. Shortly after, we had opened the business. Everything started moving to PLAs. PLAs got very competitive. You started to see four or five names on the same product because there were so many different skews on these products.
We really had to flower out our approach to selling things to create these funnels where we would get people to communicate with us. So the information on page wouldn’t always be all of the information a person needed to make a decision, but it would be enough to start a conversation with our customer service team to be able to make an educated decision on what they should buy.
Andrew: And so the big ones were… It sounds like PLAs were the biggest one and then, you know, AdWords, things like that. Any other meaningful sources for how you guys drive revenues, either starting out or today?
Advertising in Many Forms
Daniel: So we duplicated the Google ads. We’d use a good amount of Facebook now. We do pretty good amount of Bing ads. But what we found was going to directed user groups where customers lived, turned out to be a really successful strategy for us. So in our case, we found that there’s a lot of IT buyers in this group called Spiceworks which is very similar to eCommerceFuel, except for IT professionals. And IT professionals would go in there and discuss issues. They had a product that they offered for free for their members which did a lot of network management so you can manage all the computers and software on your network using the software. And it was free and they would show you some ads.
Well, this was kind of an ad platform in disguise because everyone thought they were getting this free product. Well, we all know that when you get a free product, you are the product. So we ended up working with this team called Spiceworks to directly reach out to IT buyers. We’ve developed government programs to reach some of the more federal business buyer guides. We have orders coming in all the time from small MSPs which we’ve heavily developed through affiliate. We’ll sign up an affiliate and we’ll say, “Hey, we’re gonna give you 2% back on all the business that you refer here or that you buy for your clients,” because many of our clients are just purchasing for their client.
So as opposed to CDW, TigerDirect, Newegg, if you buy from us, you’re gonna get 2% back of the deal. So that started to accumulate a lot of deals and a lot of traffic, and especially going out to the Spiceworks community where they have this network management software that allows you to see all of the people who are Spiceworks members. You get to see their network. Now, not to say that we get to see their network but we can give a targeting profile to the Spiceworks folks and they can make sure that the people we’re trying to target in a given campaign see our advertising.
Andrew: So are you saying, Daniel, that just kinda like how we have in eCommerceFuel where we have the software directory automatically crawls like MyChoiceSoftware, and it will say, “Hey, you’re using BigCommerce and you’re using this email provider,” you could do that…this network allowed you to do that for all of these companies in terms of their software. So you could see who the people were that say, for example, “My Sequel Server that was two or three versions out-of-date,” and you could approach them proactively and say, “Hey, are you thinking about updating this?”
Daniel: Absolutely. And in Microsoft land, it’s a lot scarier. If somebody’s running Server 2003, it ran out of PCI compliance, meaning that if there’s one 2003 Server on your entire network and you’re taking credit cards and Visa finds out, they’ll shut down your entire organization. So we were able to go out and target these types of opportunities at this grouping of about six million networks and direct advertise to people with these real-world problems with very scary information but it was very effective towards driving our sales.
The Power of Resources & Creativity
Andrew: That sounds way more powerful than… I mean, I’m just guessing here, but if you had to pick between all of the other…the AdWords, the PLAs And this, this sounds like… You’re getting creative but also leveraging an incredible resource. Would you say that was the most powerful driver for growth, your ability to tap into that kind of intelligence on your customers?
Daniel: I would say that, without getting too specific, it probably accounted for the growth in the last two years, a significant amount of the growth in the last two years. But it’s still not our number-one driver of traffic but it is our driver of specific, high-value accounts.
Andrew: Over this time, you’re growing so quickly, 25 million in three years is just unbelievable. How focused were you on growth versus profitability? The whole time, was the mindset, “Hey, this is a land-grab. Let’s try to get…because these customers, if we can get them and take care of them, they’ll be around hopefully for life?” Was that the mindset and everything that was …either the profitability was plowed back into growing the team or maybe you were just selling early at a breakeven or a loss to get those customers? Or were you guys pretty cognizant about the PNL and making sure you were in the black all the way up to 25 mil?
Daniel: So we’ve stayed profitable the entire time, but very much on the shallow side. The majority of efforts has always been doubled down, tripled down, going into marketing to acquire customer relationships. Because we have a B2B, B2C marketplace and we’re trying to extract these B2B customers, it became very, very important all the way through our growth to spend as much as we could into marketing to extract these opportunities so that now, in year four, we essentially have a sales team that can go back and call on these people and develop these large deals.
So the first three years was really dump as much as you can into marketing. Profits were very, very small…very, very small. But we were acquiring customers at such a rate that these less expensive marketing channels, like affiliate and email marketing and remarketing, became really powerful tools for acquiring more business at a cheaper rate. So it’s always been, “Get the customer first. Get the money first. Get them in with a deal that they’ll accept and then work on the repeat business.”
Daniel’s New Project
Andrew: This has been fascinating, Dan. Tell me a little about sounddecisions.co. It’s a site you’ve started to write about. What are you doing over there?
Daniel: Sound Decisions is my own advisory brand. So over this whole journey of joining all these different companies and seeing all the places we screwed up and we were successful, I want to take all of my experiences and all of the experiences of those in my team and people that contribute to this project and basically show people how to make a sound decision in marketing. Another piece is sound decisions in business management, how to create a compensation structure for your team so that everyone, no matter if they’re a developer or they’re a customer service person, they can feel like they’re getting something out of their efforts.
On the development side, we’ve been working a lot on explaining how small companies utilize something like JIRA and Scrum Methodology to get over the millennial problem. So this is my home for that research and those case studies and those advisory pieces on the bits of information that I’ve discovered to help people grow their business and make sound decisions in each of their avenues.
The Lightning Round!
Andrew: It’s really good stuff. Daniel is one of our top contributors, as I mentioned at the top, in the form. And a lot of that knowledge, no-nonsense really kind of battle-tested stuff, is over at sounddecisions.co. So check it out. Go over there and subscribe. We’ll link up to that in the show notes.
And, Daniel, this has been phenomenal, hearing how you’ve done this. I wanna kind of end on a slightly cheekier note, if that’s alright with you, to do our quick lightning round. And this will be…just feel free. These are short, sweet answers. They can be, you know, 5, 10 seconds, don’t need to explain too much but it’s fun to get different perspectives.
So I’ll start with, how much money is enough? Like what would your number of cash in the bank be where you would feel good not having to work again? Not that you don’t love it, most of us do. But you’d say, “That’s enough. I feel good at that.
Daniel: Probably 100 million.
Andrew: Hundred million.
Daniel: To something completely unobtainable so that I never have to give up this wonderful journey of self-discovery.
Andrew: How many hours per week do you work?
Daniel: Anywhere from 55 to 75.
Andrew: If there’s one thing that was gonna bring upon the fall of civilization in the next 25 years ago, what would it be?
Daniel: Well, the fall of our civilization would come in the form of any sort of EMP because we wouldn’t be here doing this podcast right now.
Andrew: I like that answer. If you had to leave your current job or business…you know, so MyChoiceSoftware and the other things you got going, you can’t be an entrepreneur, you have to work for someone else, but you can pick any company in the world to work for, who would it be?
Daniel: SpaceX. I’d be an astronaut.
Andrew: Nice. What do you spend the most of your discretionary money on?
Daniel: Food and audible books.
Andrew: And finally, if you could live anywhere in the world and cost practicality, your current community aren’t an issue, where would it be?
Daniel: So someone once asked me that before, and I told them California. I still believe it’s right where I am right now.
Andrew: So it’s as good as people say, huh?
Daniel: It’s amazing. You’ve been here?
Andrew: I have. We’re heading down there again this winter. It’s becoming a tradition to head down to California when it gets, you know, below zero in Montana. It’s pretty amazing, at least in terms of weather. Tax rates, not so much, but the weather is pretty phenomenal.
Andrew: Hey, thanks for taking the time to do this. It’s fascinating digging into how you’ve been able to scale 0 to 25 million in three years. It’s just mind-blowing. So thanks for everything you do for the community, everything you contribute there, and for taking the time to chat with me and share the story. It’s been awesome hearing ’em.
Daniel: Andrew, thank you for taking the time with me today.
Andrew: Want to connect with and learn from other proven e-commerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel Private Community. It’s our tight-knit vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at eCommerceFuel.com.
Thanks so much for listening and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.
What Was Mentioned
- Sound Decisions
- CDW eCommerce
- JIRA Software
- Scrum Methodology