How to Win at the Mental Game of Entrepreneurship with Noah Kagan


In this episode of the business of
eCommerce. I talk with Noah Kagan. This is the business of
eCommerce, episode one Oh two, welcome to the business V commerce, the show that helps
eCommerce retailers start, launch and grow their eCommerce
business. I’m your host, Charles [inaudible] and I’m
here today with Noah Kagan. Noah is the chief [email protected] where
they help eCommerce retailers grow their email list. Previously Noah was
employee number 30 of Facebook, number four at mint, and
also worked at Intel. He’s an expert in marketing and
growth hacking and just like myself, he loves eating tacos. So, Hey
Noah, how are you doing today? Today, today was actually a really
good day. I did boxing the morning, floating float tank. We talked a little bit about Noah
just getting into the office. Yeah. And so the float tank is
you float in the darkness, right? Complete in this tank. Yeah. So I actually, it sounds strange when you say it to
like your parent or probably someone listening. It’s like you get butt
naked in a room and you get in a box, kind of like seems like a coffin and
then it’s quiet and you’re floating on basically super salty water for an hour. And when you, you pay money
for this. So people, yeah, if you don’t use this concept you’re
like, yeah and I pay to do all this. You know it’s funny you say that.
So it’s 75 bucks for an hour. I mean maybe it’s different. You can get them on Groupon actually
if you’re looking for it, get up, go look up Groupon if you
want to do a first time. But I actually thought about my handyman
and a handyman working on the house yesterday and I was like, yeah, it was
him and it was like his apprentice, his cousin. And I was thinking about
them in the, in the float and I was like, they must think this is so good. I swear this is so fricking weird. Like I was
just imagining them being like, hold on, you paid what you pay us in a few hours. You pay to sit in water and
do nothing. And do not. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. It’s a very, all these things are very tough to
explain to other people why you pay to do nothing. I feel like that’s kind
of partially like the mental game, entrepreneurship in all of us, right? Where you’re like so busy throughout the
day and you literally have to then pay to not be busy, which just seems
bizarrely counter-intuitive. Well I think that’s actually a common
problem with most business owners trying to grow. And what I mean by that is
that there’s this balance of like, I want to do everything myself or should
I hire someone else to go do it and then what’s worth the money? Yup. Like I was talking with a
young entrepreneur yesterday
over dinner and it’s like, yeah, I’m going to do all these
things myself. And I was like, right, well let me know how it goes. You
don’t really see most like, you know, restaurant owners or eCommerce
store owners or Amazon, Jenn Bazell st pack boxes. Yeah. But, but at the beginning,
how do you get around? Cause I didn’t see people
go the other way. Right. There’s folks said kind of
when they’re starting off, they do everything themselves. Or there’s other folks that try to do
nothing themselves and they want to be, you know, the CEO with the title, but
they don’t want to get their hands dirty. So I’ve see, I usually see people
starting off go to one of the extremes. Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah. I
can only speak from my own experience. Like when we started AppSumo about 10
years ago I intentionally did everything myself just so I can
understand everything. Yeah. And I think that’s the better way. What
I’ve, what I think is a common trap, a lot of business owners that are
getting going are wantrepreneurs. They’re like, they make a product like, so they’d gotten it from China or
they made an America and they invented something, which is really cool and
that’s really fun. And then they, they always, they say this line, not
always, but they mostly say this line, I need a marketer. Yeah. Okay.
Noah, come growth hack it. And I’m like, one, I don’t know
what that means. And two, you, you, you have a crappy product.
And you know, it’s just cause I think, I think
especially in the beginning, you have to figure out the sales,
you have to figure out the marketing, you have to do the support, you have to do the creation and then
over and then you know, as it’s working, you know, the only way you’re really going to grow
up business is hiring other people or hiring software. So would you say it’s time to grow
once you kind of have the engine going? Like you can’t, the goal isn’t to hire
someone to build the engine for you. The goal is you build the engine and
then you hire someone to run the already moving engine and you kind
of move to the next thing. Yeah. I’ll tell you something weird. I heard very early on when I started in
tech and it was a friend of mine and he said if you really want to grow your
business, you can’t do work anymore. Yeah. And I was like, what are you talking
about? Can’t do any work more. I like, I mean like I have to work right. And I’m supposed to be working
on all these things. He said, well it to grow a business,
you can’t be doing the work. And there’s like a, and that’s kind
of stuck with me for the past years. And I think there’s two, two
ways of looking at that. One, I think you have to find the place
that you really love doing. Right? And so if you like packing boxes then do
the backend boxes and higher everything else around it. But I think ultimately it’s like if you
find something that’s working, like, Hey, this product works, go find the people that are better
than you at that and let them go do it. And you just spend your time
on the thing you want to do. But what do you at the very
beginning, cause this, there’s Mo, there’s so much work, right? It’s like
10 years ago you launched the business. It was, was, it’s called
Sumo 10 years ago or was it Similar? Was 10 years ago when we’ve
launched a few products since then. Okay. So, but they’re all the
products under the parent company. [inaudible] Group. Okay. So
when you launched 10 years ago, you weren’t at the point where you could
just go and hire a developer full time or grow, you know, you couldn’t
just hire what you needed. So what do you do at that point to
actually get that first thing moving? Yeah. So you actually can hire, I just
think people don’t think creatively. Like I’m talking to this guy yesterday
and he’s like, yeah, I can’t, I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I’m
like, well, what can you do? I’m like, your parents really messed you up with
like this, like critical, skeptical, like, Oh, just, you know, it’s not going
to work. Attitude. And I, you know, I have that sometimes. But I think it
really is about thinking, all right, well what can I do? What is the
solution? Like we, we have Sumo wisdoms, we say at our company, and one of the
symbolism is we have four of them. One of them is we can do anything. And obviously I’m probably not going to
dunk a basketball and I’m probably going to be able to fly. But I think that
is a symbolism for us, which is like, all right, well how can we do it? Yup. And really trying to come in and approach
anything. So when, when I started out, I did all the deals for six
months and people then, well, how do you know when you have a
product market fit you, you just, you really do know. Yup. And
for me it was like, well, I know if I can get more products promoted
on AppSumo, the business will grow. So I kind of looked at what was my biggest
limiter and it was a salesperson to be able to go find more products
so that I can promote it. And then I kinda just went down the
list. And people might think, well, that’s expensive. It’s like, well,
I paid them on commission. Okay. And then for a developer
you know, one developer, I just kind of paint him in dinners a
little. I mean, there’s like, I mean, now this guy’s famous developer, a really
well known in San Francisco, but he, like, I met him through a friend. I was
like, Hey, I’m working on this thing, you know, I don’t have, I’m not
making a lot of money with it. Can I be created with you in
any way to help you, you know, help you help me do this. And then my business partner now actually
worked for free for six months. Wow. and it’s not, Oh, I know you must
be like this master negotiator. I’m a terrible negotiator. I want
everyone to get what they want. And so I was just like,
here’s what I’m trying to do. If it works out as it’s
starting to work out you know, I can give you a part of it
and then I can pay you later. The other thing that I wanted to really
highlight is people are getting started or people are getting going. It’s much easier to convince
others if you have momentum. Yes. That’s big right there.
I’m getting that a bit. Yeah, Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. Come like work for
me. I’m like, well, who are you bozo. Yeah. But Hey, I’ve got AppSumo
and this is back in the day. No one knew AppSumo and how it’s a pretty
known brand. You’d tell people like, Hey, I’ve already sold like half a
million dollars or whatever it was. It’s doing really well. Like you
should come be a part of this movement. Yeah, I think that’s it right there where you
already had something going and you’re saying, let’s be part of this together
versus saying, I have an idea, go execute my idea. Basically saying go do my default
me versus saying I have an idea. It’s already the engines are already
moving the trains going down the tracks. Just let’s get on the
train together. Okay. Yeah, exactly. And then, you
know, it’s an evolution of hiring. Like now when I’m hiring, I’ve
gotten to a point where like, I actually want to find people that
just blown me away. And you know, I don’t really know this house. But originally I was like, look, do you have a brain and can you
type on a keyboard? All right, I can probably teach you. And now I’m really looking to be
around people that are teaching me. And I think that’s an evolution
of a business where, you know, there’s the Netflix question,
which I think is a great one. Just like if you had to start the company
over or if your competitors were to hire someone, like who would you be? Like who would you take with you or who
would you not want your competitor to have? Yup. And that’s, so those are the people. When did you start hiring that?
When did that flip? Right? Like, cause at the beginning you basically happy
to have someone work for you verse at some, at some point you’re trying to go the
other way and find people who are more qualified to you, then you’d do X, right? Like when did that happen
and kind of evolution? Well I think one thing for a lot of
people who were running stores online but your listeners and your customers it
is a function of how much time you’re putting into looking for these
people. So I like part of me is like, I’m still looking when I get excited
meeting really impressive people. So that’s probably why I still look. But it should be a
significant part of your week. So if you are looking
to grow your business, like look at how your week has been spent, like look at a pie chart of your week
in hours and think about how much did I spend looking or meeting
interesting people. And that really is a key thing about how
you work, going to grow your business. Eventually you get to
a size where, you know, we’re starting to become a size where
we have a full time person just doing recruiting because literally the end
of the day it’s mostly just the people. It’s not Steve jobs, it’s the people.
And you know, it’s not Elon muskets. His people. For me, I had, I
would say people in the beginning, like they were just affordable. I think I hired my first salesperson
probably six months in and then a support person was my girlfriend at the
time, like three months then. And then I had a writer,
no joke. My writer was a 16
year old kid from Bulgaria. Like he would write the copy
for our products and our emails. So you can imagine he didn’t speak English
very well, but Nikolai was awesome. He’s awesome. I still,
I still love this guy. And so you think you got to
figure out how you can be scrappy? I think one of the challenges
I noticed, I don’t have kids, but if you have kids and a wife,
it’s definitely a or husband. It’s really hard, right? To allocate
that time to getting the business going. And so it’s just like how
do you prioritize or what
are you going to sacrifice to make that a reality? Yeah. It’s one of the things until
you have a family, you don’t realize, you know, when you’re younger that you
can basically work unlimited time, right? You can work a hundred hours a
week, it doesn’t really matter. But with a family you have certain
things you have to do. There’s a certain, there’s a stop time, there’s a start time.
You have to drive the kids to school. You can’t just, you know, ignore them. So it definitely makes it more
challenging once you can’t ignore it. I guess you could. Yeah. Yeah. Well you were saying about
the product market fit. Do you feel like that’s a like a switch
that turns on and off or is it like a gray area that is evolving because you
always hear of it as like the switch, like you found product market fit, but
is it really that or is it an evolution? It’s kinda like the, the
questions like when do you quit? I think what I’ve observed, so I’ve been doing like tech company
stuff like 20 years give or take and I’ve seen a lot like Facebook and mint.com
and AppSumo sumo.com and you know, just been around it and experienced
a lot and I’m still learning, right? I haven’t, you have to keep an attitude
that you don’t know everything. But I think there’s basically
two ways of addressing it. There’s the push method
and the pull method. And so I think there’s stuff that
needs to be iterated on, right? But like maybe your first
one is in the perfect, like most of the first versions of a
product we’d love today look like crap. Facebook looks like crap.
A iPhone looked like crap, Skype still looks like crap. You know,
it’s still still working on that. Jesus, these guys need some help. So I think what I’m saying is
that there’s a push versus a pull. So what I mean by that is that when
you’re going to the person that you think should be buying your product, are you pushing it on them or
are they pulling it from you? And that’s what it is at the end of
the day. Cause that I don’t ever, I love like not selling but educating
people if I believe it’s something that they really need. And I think when, when we create things where like
we created in isolation and that, and this is the unfortunate part, people spend 90% creating it and
then 10% promoting it and it’s like, well why don’t you spend 50 50 and then
in that thing you need to understand like, Hey, are people really asking excited for
what I’m working on or are they just not interested whatsoever? I mean, I can tell you about a specific like
software product that we’ve worked on and how we’ve kind of created it around that. Yeah, I think that’s helpful because
that concept of when people are coming, coming to the duo verse, are you going
out and knocking on doors? It’s a very, it’s a switch that kind of happens
all of a sudden and you’re like, Oh, that felt different. So
what, what’s that like? Yeah. You know, it’s funny, I think about
that with the, if you’re single, I’ve never had it like a, a attractive
person to show up at my door and be like, I want to date you. I’m
not saying that you know, a pool still ha you have to
still have to go out and put out, be out there and asking. But we, we so we’ve created our product sumo.com
which is mostly for Shopify stores but it’s an email capture tool. And we kinda got our asses beat in a lot
of different ways by privy and Klaviyo and drip and a lot of these different
companies in the eCommerce space on Shopify. And other platforms. And that
was pretty discouraging. You know, we had this audience, we had this lead, we had a lot of people with knowing
about us and using us and you know, from numerous mistakes internally
we, we’ve not done well. So we kind of had to come back to the
drawing board and figure out what the hell can we do? We can’t build
a better pop-up right now. We can’t out email market
Klaviyo or MailChimp or drip. You’re spot sponsored by
drip this show Orson Fox, which is another tool. And so
we said, well, what’s the next, what is the thing that the ideal
customer that we’re looking for really struggling with and what they’re actually
struggling with was not capturing emails. It was not having an
email tool. It was actually like, what emails to send and when can
I send them? So we’re like, Oh, well if we just sent the emails, if we just like wrote the
emails and sent it for him, how would that compare to like them having
to figure everything out themselves? And so then we kind of went, what’s that? Yeah. Okay. So you guys
prepackage the emails. We went further than that. So we started going to people
we knew that ran stores. So we went to this guy named Nick
bear from bare performance nutrition. And we’ve done even
marketing for a long time, so we’re gonna have some expertise
in it. We went to a few other stores, caffeine and kilos, these, these people that we knew and have good
relationships with and were like, Hey, can we just do your email marketing for
you and then just pay us 5% of whatever we help sell and we’ll just, and we just use their email software
so they didn’t have to change anything. And they’re like, you’re going to just
do all this stuff for me. I’m like, yeah, and then you don’t have to pay anything
unless we perform and you can approve every email. So there’s
really no downside. And we
did that for about a month. And then for all the customers we
worked with, we doubled their revenue on their eCommerce stores now. And
they’re like, Hey, can you keep doing it? And I was like, alright, that’s cool. So what I’m saying by that is that I
didn’t go and spend three months to six months creating something and then having
to go to these guys and be like, Hey, do you guys interested in using it? I went to them prove something
right away very quickly. And then we were able to replicate that
with software which we’re launching. I dunno when the show comes out, but it launches October
16th called meet fam.com. And the idea is [inaudible]
spell that again. Meet fam, M E E T sam.com. I probably, you know, as I said that I’d probably
need to buy meat fam.com. Like I wonder if that’s taken.
Anytime you say a domain, you gotta just go by rep Dean.
It’s bought in like Korea. This is anyone can have right now.
Yeah, these guys got it. Anytime you go to buy the domain
right away. And so we launched, so we said then we spent three months in
tandem after we found that people were really excited about it. Building meet
fam and it’s just for Shopify right now, but it isn’t, it’s an
automatic email product. So it basically gives every
small eCommerce store their
own email marketer for free. And so that was in
terms of a push versus pull. I think there’s a little bit like
what was anyone asking you for it? No, but when I went to them and said, Hey,
do you want us to do your marketing? They’re like, hell yes. And then when
we doubled the revenue, they’re like, just keep doing it. Versus
I think a lot of times, especially with like physical products
it does get hard cause you want to spend all this time making something really
cool and then you go to people in there like, eh, it’s okay. It’s a lot how to test when you have to
actually go and place a order. Right? Like the tech, I love what you do with
the testing, right? One, you basically, instead of even writing a line of code, you were able to get out there and start
doing the thing your software would eventually do. But with
people and you know, it’s a lot easier to try that versus
going out and saying, all right, when I spend a year in development and
then see if we did it right versus the way you did it, you can just find out,
you know, in a couple of hours of, is this even working? You know, do
people, are they even interested? And a lot of people, I, I know
there’s listeners out there, Charles, who are saying, well, I have a physical
product, which is different and I am, I mean, unique snowflake.
And of course you are, I’m sure your mom and dad are
fly. You’re the best. But it, you know, even with the physical product, you can go to people and see if they’re
going to buy and say, Hey, I’m building, here’s a dry, and I’ve done this. Like I did it like on the Tim Ferriss
show a long time ago where someone had a wooden toothbrush he made. And I
said, Hey, does anyone want to buy it? Send me $25 on PayPal to
this guy’s PayPal address. I think you got like $1,000 in PayPal,
like obviously we’re on a show, but a lot of people wanted it and I
think there’s a way of doing that. What the next thing that people
use as an excuse is that, well, I don’t really have the product. How am I going to deliver it and
or how am I going to make it? I’ve always believed it’s much easier to
deliver when you have the money and the customer’s already committed.
You’ll go, if you can’t solve that, you should just give up. Versus I’m going to go spend the time
making it and then hopefully put it on Amazon and pray that it’s going to
get a lot of sales, which is not, it’s unrealistic and it’s
not likely to happen. Yeah. And now you can do so many clever
ways of doing exactly what you said. Like we had a chat from board game
tables.com on him and they launched a Kickstarter and they then use the
Kickstarter to go build the tables. So it’s one of those things, they’re
able to come up with the idea, show it, get the money up front, and then go
produce the tables and send them later on. So you’re able to test and find out.
And if the Kickstarter doesn’t work, you would know very quickly, Hey,
this wasn’t what people want. So you don’t even need to go
and do all that work upfront. It just allows you to test even with
physical products, you can do that now. Yeah. I mean you can draw something out. And I think one of the things I
just want to highlight is just, it’s all about expectation
and it’s just like, Hey, I’m going to sell this product. I’m working on it and if you buy it
today and I’m going to try to deliver it within six months. And the beauty of
that is that if people don’t buy it, guess what? You didn’t waste all
this money in research time. But if you do, if they do like it,
guess what? Now you can go like, now you’re off to the races. Why did the people that not doing
that? Like do people not cause is, do people not know that’s the right fit
the right way to do it or do they know but hesitant to do it for some reason. So where’s your, where’s your
next vacation to Charles? You know, I don’t know if
I have one plan just yet. Actually I just got back from Florida
and I have to plan another one. Yeah. Okay. And the misses were
just in Florida. Let’s, let’s just, there’s two different ways
of getting to Florida. One way from Boston is
you can drive South. Yes. Another way to get there is look
on a map, figure out what city, which says you guys go to buy
South of Miami, South of Miami. You’re in Miami beach, you went the
Ferraro and the Ferrari were there. But you probably flew and you picked a
map and then you found a hotel and you planned it out. I think it’s kind of, there’s not necessarily a great framework
for people starting businesses where they’re just like, I’m going to kind
of do stuff and hopefully it happens. You know, I’ve put together frameworks
that we’ve used and, and you know, I think we had a course back in
the day. We don’t sell it anymore, but basically it’s just
like go get people at this. The shortest answer is go Valley
that people give you money, actual money for it.
That’s all you have to do. The reality though is that that’s scary. And so I’ve always encouraged,
we’ll do like the coffee challenge, which is you go to a coffee store and you
just ask for 10% off and they’re like, Oh, I asked for something,
I got rejected, it’s fine. And that’s really a parallel
you’re going to have to do in. But most people it feels better
and it’s safer to do that at home. While I’m working on this product for
six months and I’ve spent $5,000 and I still don’t have a customer. And then hopefully when I launch there’s
going to be someone there that cares. But I think the easiest short
answer when you’re asked is like, why do people do it that way? Cause
it’s easier. It’s not as effective, but it feels like you’re, you’re
making progress. So for me, I’ve always been like, almost every one of our
successful businesses has
been done in under a month and this is like, and I think we’re at our fourth or
fifth multimillion dollar business. So I don’t think that as a bragging
thing, it’s just, it’s more, we’d done a lot of things that didn’t
work so that we could find the things that do work. What’s the ratio of businesses? So
you’ve launched four or five successes, but what’s a ratio of ones that kind of
petered out and they might even been, it sounds like when
you’re testing like this, they might’ve never been become
like a business air quotes. They might’ve just been an idea. You talked to someone and
realized no one wants this. Like how often does that happen? Yeah, I’m trying to think of the,
the latest one that’s happened. It happens kind of along the way. Like
as we’re doing some of these things. So I’ll just tell you, we, we, that this PR product I told you about
where we do these new eCommerce email marketing called meet fam.com you’re
like, I just plugged it, meet fam.com. So we actually spent
before that. So there’s, I think on the sumo.com team
there’s about 10 developers. So let’s just say each developer makes
10,000 a month. That’s $100,000 a month. And so for about four and a half months, we tried to copy Klaviyo and create
like our own Klayvio version. And after four and a half months
of not really having any costs, we thought AppSumo was going to use it. Cause Apple simply uses Klayvio better
for knuckleheads. We’re like, wow, this is not an inspired direction. This is something we didn’t really get
any other customers. We just got AppSumo. And at the end of the day,
even if we got up, Sumo does, it really doesn’t seem like it’s going
to be ROI profitable for us in the longterm. And so, but that
was four months this year. So how much does that $400,000 trying
to create something that was like a complete flop? Hmm. Wow. So you’ve had, so I’m guessing you’ve had multiple of
these along the way in the past 10 years. I’m going to have more way. I’m
going to have more in the future. It’s the idea is how do you reduce the
amount of money or time to get to the understanding of what
people actually want. I think that a key thing
that I was thinking in the
float tank and I’m thinking in general is, is what’s the goal? What are we actually trying to accomplish?
Not necessarily the vision, like, Hey, I want to get to the moon, or
I want to be the number one of this, but like what’s the goal? And I think that kind of should dictate
a lot of the different actions that businesses are doing. And I
think we make mistakes with that, but it’s like if you have a goal, then really every decision is does this
move the goal forward? Or if it’s not, you probably shouldn’t
be doing that stuff. Are you talking to monetary goal or like
what by goal? What do you mean by that Exactly? It should be, it could
be a number of customer goal. It could be a number of products sold
goal, it could be a revenue goal, could be how many people
work for you goal. It can be a number of things donated goal
generally revenue is really nice one. And so in one of our
business units send Fox, which is email marketing
for content creators, it’s going to be a
number of customers goal. I’m not as focused on
maximizing the revenue. I’m focused on how do we get as many
people using the product and liking it. So that’s what we’re focusing on this
year and moving into next year. Gotcha. And so LA can be another example of goals. People always seem to
love goal examples. Yeah. Most people go immediately to money,
but I think there’s a lot of other, you know, monthly revenue, whatever it is. But I think there’s a lot of other goals
you can make a little more abstract. Sure. Number of customers. I think what I’ve
realized with goals, and so I have, you know, have my own show and I’ve done helped a
lot of people start their companies and I’ve helped a lot of people
wreck their companies. One of the things I’ve found, which
is interesting as you ask someone, they’re going like, yeah, I’ve got a
goal. I’m like, or what’s your goal? And I’m like, my goal is this,
it’s to be better. I’m like, your goal is to be better. I’m like, okay, when are you gonna be
better by soon? Okay, how are you going to
know you’re getting? How? How are you going to know when
you’re there? I’ll feel it And I just don’t do it.
That’s never worked for me. And I think a lot of people
don’t know if that works. I don’t know if that works
for anyone. It does. Well, the thing that’s weird is that
no one thinks they’re doing it, but everyone does it. Yeah. I’ve, I’ve literally probably eight out of
10 businesses run that way. Oh yeah. We’re just growing. I think the most
effective businesses are saying, I want to be at this point by this time. And that is everything I
measure myself against. And then I set quarterly or monthly
plans with KPIs and I can talk more specifically about how we structure
our stuff to be able to get there. It’s the same thing as you go into
Florida, I want to get to Florida, here’s my plan, I’m going to start
executing my plan. Guess what? It’s not working. All right,
let’s, let’s rejigger it all right. And eventually you get to your goal. Yeah. Yeah, I think so. What
I’ve always done for that, and I don’t know if I’ve
heard other people with this, is I have them all in a spreadsheet and
it’s the only file on my desktop and that’s it. So I just sit there and it’s the goal
and literally I just open it occasionally and I mean it’s the
only file on my desktop, so I kind of have to see it and you just
kind of know what’s there and you’re able to change it over time. I
want you to get to that month. It’s usually there’s a timeframe attached
and once you get there you kind of change it. But having that just one thing on the
desktop makes you look at it and review it and it’s very it’s in your face
all the time. What’s your goal? It’s always in monthly revenue and
it’s always X number of months out. And it’s usually revenue based. And how often are you hitting your
goal versus missing your goal? I’d say 75% hitting. We miss, it’s usually usually if it’s a miss,
try to hit it next month sort of thing. So it’s usually multiple months out. And then when you’re missing it, I think one thing I’m always curious
about is like what, what, how, how did you guys miss? Like what
happened when you missed [inaudible]? Usually let’s say there was a, if our recurring revenue business
bunch of uses might’ve left, there were unexpected or just less, there’s certain months that we just
know are going to be less less inbound interests, that sort of thing. So if you don’t even make the goal
correct for that month, if you don’t, if you don’t base the
goal based on the month from past history. So for example, I know in eCommerce nobody
adds anything new in December. It’s just not just not buying. In
December you’re kind of locked down. You’re not actually
implementing new software. So don’t have a very
ambitious goal for December. I kind of as far as new signups,
just because not many people know. Many people in their right
mind are saying, Hey, let’s change out our automation system
or email marketing system on, you know, red around the holidays.
So things like that. I’ve just learned to just make the
goal a little less aggressive in those months. There’s definitely, I think something
we’re trying to figure out our businesses, like how do you look at year to year
performance so you can understand trends. But I think one thing is like what,
how can you actually impact your goal? Cause I think what I’ve noticed with
goals is that it’s good to have a goal, which is the big thing, have a timeline. But a lot of people choose
metrics that are not controllable. And then they’re kind of at the mercy of, Oh well I hope Google sends
me customers this month. And I hope Amazon doesn’t
change my rankings. And I
hope that Shopify, you know, performs. And so I’ve tried to
figure out more in our business, how do we have more proactive
metrics? So it’s more, all right, how many blog posts did we put up a
month? Cause guess what? No matter what, I can control my blog posts go up, I can control how many emails
we send out requesting links, which we don’t even do that. But
that’s another example I can, I can choose how many products we launch. I can choose how many emails I cold
email for getting new customers. So I think that’s something that
I guess I’m curious for you, like if your goal is off,
like how do you fix it? Yeah. So you put, so you put your goals
are always based on what you’re doing, not the re not the result. The input. Well, so for example, let’s
just, let’s break it down. So like for meek fam.com we’re launching
October 16th probably live by the time it’s gonna be live by the time this comes
out. I think. So you meet fans goal, we started in may, the goal this year was to generate
$1 million for our partners. So let’s say that you’re
using meek fam on your store. We wanted collectively to generate for
you and everyone who’s using it 1 million bucks, which is like, I mean it’s pretty cool to
help people make $1 million, I guess a billion’s cooler,
but let’s just think of it. You got to start somewhere with a million.
Yeah. And so then we mapped that out, right? We say like,
all right, every month, how much revenue do we need to be
making? Like let me pull it up. So every month, how much do we need
to be making for these customers? And then from there it’s like, well how many customers do we need to
reach out to and to potentially get a customer like that that can actually
generate the amount of money we need each customer to be generating. And so it’s
like, well we can contact more people. And so I think in general I just
in business don’t like hope. I like surprises in my birthdays
but not in my business. So your, so your goal then is based on that your
goal is just a number of here’s how many customers are going to reach
out to per month and you know, and then you kind of
extrapolate out if we do that, we’ll get hair by this date
if we just hit this number. Yeah, my goal is the amount of
revenue generated per month. So each month I have a target about how
much revenue you need to be generating and then to control that revenue it’s
like well how many customers do we need to be having? So each month there is a target and what
can we control or influence to be able to get that amount of customers. So
in we’re in, are we in September? In September we need 48
customers. As it turns out, we were able to generate the
amount of our target revenue, which is around one 90 or so for the
month. We’re able to do that with like 20, I think we’re on 20 customers. So we, we didn’t need to necessarily focus on
getting more customers. It was like, all right, well how do we make better
emails? But that’s basically have a goal, have a plan around it, see what you can influence and
then keep adjusting along the way. I like that. How would have for the past, so you’ve been doing this for 10 years
now, supposedly dude, supposedly. But how have you done it for this
long? Cause I feel like this, this isn’t a story you hear very often. There’s a few folks that have
been in it for quite a long time, but most of the time you don’t hear
people 10 15 years in the software world. We seem to live in a very, I dunno, short market and people
kind of do something quick
sell and then, I don’t know, go go off in a boat or something.
But how have you been doing it? I love gardening. So maybe we’ll sell
some point and I’ll go off on a boat. No w how, You know, I think there’s times.
So I think I have, you know, everyone from her has a
disease, which is we want to, we always think the next thing is going
to be the next big thing. We’re like, Oh, this one feature, this one thing is really going
to take me to that next level. And nine times out of 10, it’s not. And I think my problem,
it’s not, I think my, my Achilles heel you could say
is that I’m very fast and I can, I like move really quickly and I like
trying a lot of new things and starting new things. And so I’ve focused on hiring people
that are much better operators than I. So Chad Ayman, Shawn and these guys and girls
that are working at singles, they’re better at saying, Noah, shut up. And so I’m, I’m, and I’m not,
still not perfect. I don’t know. I could be perfect one day. But I’m trying to figure out how
to spend more of my time in the, I like promoting people. I like promoting products and
I like starting new things. So how can I allocate my time in that
little realm and let the other people who enjoy potentially having more meetings, leading different teams be more
operational, run those places, which is what they really enjoy doing. And so I think it is kind of like
where are you really strong at? Spend all your day doing
that. What do you suck at? Find other people that impress you and
you know when you’re impressed like one of our symbolisms as good or great, What was that? It’s good or great or great and it’s it
cool cause like I think when people have values always sounds bullshit Or bull bull do-do.
It’s like Oh integrity. I’m like what’s your integrity like
you think anyone’s going to put liar on their values if you put, if
you don’t, if you’re not, if you don’t have integrity
then that’s a real issue. Yeah. Our company aims to be mediocre, but integrate is kind of something
that we’ve identified that is asking ourselves in each other,
is this good or great? Like is your work good or great?
Is that teammate good or great? Are you impressed? And I think
that’s just something that we, I try to hire people or I’m working on
hiring people around me better than me in these other aspects, which
has helped us be sustainable. I think the second thing is
like, how are you evolving? Like this is something I still don’t
know the answer to. Like on one hand, like we didn’t really haven’t
really ran like the mobile app game. We never got an iPhone, we never
got an Android thing really. But somehow it’s still, we still seem to do pretty well and
we still seem to be stuck in sticking around. And so I’ve, I’ve, I’ve wondered what stuff do we need to
keep doing new things as we send the beginning or keep doing our existing
thing, right? Like if you sell a trinket, like let’s say you sell a GoPro, right? It’s, well, it’s a tech toy,
so it’s a little bit harder. That stuff gets outdated. This GoPro
five is already past due and you know, DGI has kicked their butt and all these
other people have kicked their butts. So maybe one way to consider it. You know,
I think about like in and out burger, which is like, all right,
create something that’s just, people are always going to need, you know, create these products that should be
around in a hundred years. You know, people are going to probably
eat food in a hundred years. People are probably going to be
playing board games in a hundred years. And I think that’s something I come
back to our business pretty often, which I think this has helped to
stay relevant just as like, Hey, when the recession comes, are
people still going to need us? Like we’re not Apple, we don’t charge
Apple prices. We’re like the low price, we’re a value play. We always have good,
good deals. And it’s like, guess what, when times get tough, people still want even good deals and
companies want to promote their stuff even more cause they need that help. I think we’ve done probably poorly
in launching a bunch of new products. What’s funny about it, I was talking to David Hauser at
grasshopper and David said to me, he launched grasshopper,
which was their core thing. And they launched these new things. And
then after they sold that, he’s like, you know, if I would’ve just
put all of the, the new things, effort and money and time that we’ve
worked on into grasshopper itself, it would have actually
just even been bigger. Oh. Cause they did other things before. They were trying to find some of
these other products, which did. Okay. But still, I think he still,
is he still part of Chargify? Cause try if I still a thing. Yeah. It’s just kind of interesting
to think sometimes, like if you find something that’s working like another example that comes to mind,
like something that worked with Geico, right? People are legally,
you have to have insurance. But I think what’s interesting about
Geico is that they moved from the phone to the internet. So I think that’s kind
of how businesses can stay relevant, which is like you have something that
they’re, everyone’s always going to need. But like maybe the medium of how you’re
selling it or the medium of how you’re sharing it is changing. And so
you have to evolve with that. So they’ll change what they do
but they change how they do it. Oh yeah, that’s a good way of saying it. I mean you could argue like even
nowadays nothing’s really changed to some extent. Like people are
still selling things. Maybe it’s a little bit easier
to get it to the consumer but, and then the marketing is just going
through Instagram or let’s go through Facebook ads or just going through
Amazon ads. But guess what? People are doing ads for a very long
time. So now I feel like I’m going, I’m confusing myself a little bit. But the point being is that I
think you have to experiment. I think what I’ve realized is that like
four days a week you should be doing your core business and
going crazy on that. And then one day a week you should be
trying to podcast or trying an ad or trying something else. Cause most
of the like next level growth come, it does come from something new. But I would say if you
found something that works, keep investing the majority
of the time around that. Yeah. And a lot of the investment,
it’s cumulative, right? We were talking about going
to go into the float tank, that sort of thing or any of
that. You do something once. And I always love the analogy
of like brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth once, it literally
does nothing for you, like very little. But if you don’t brush your
teeth for your entire life, you’re going to have an issue very
quickly. So it’s one of those things. But if you do it every day consistently,
you’ll be, you know, great teeth, RCL life, that sort of thing.
And a lot of these are like that, that if you’re just making
the same consistent, you know, moving the ball forward
a little bit each day, that’s what you actually have to go. And there’s no like little
secret key you’re gonna find, Oh, if you find a secret key, I think what’s actually the thing I would
reflect on is that if I’m running any commerce store, I w would, I would hate to be an eCommerce store
these days solely for the fact of how easy it is to copy each other. And so I think where I as an eCommerce
store owner would be thinking about is like, what can I do that just no one can copy
or what can I do that I can be number one app? And like, I bought this I I have a Tesla
and I bought a car cover, but you couldn’t buy it on Amazon.
And I was like, these mother fuckers. And I was like, Oh, but
it’s good. Guess what? It’s harder to copy it on it if it’s
on Amazon, if it’s not an Amazon. And I went and bought it through them
and they control everything now. Yeah, they don’t, some of the
distribution, but so be it. And so I think it’s also like
there’s a store called ale hop, you heard of the store and they’ll
hop and go. So it’s kind of in Europe. It’s a L E hop. So all
they sell is impulse buys. So it’s like basically, you know,
the counter at the register. Yup. Everything by the counter, the restaurant, their whole store is that and
everything is like under 10 bucks. And so it’s just like they’ve
taken one thing and then now, and they’re kind of like trader Joe’s
where a lot of the products are their own. But I easily see these
guys getting so much, so much bigger from kind of
the angle they’re taking, which is like we’ll either take other
people’s products our own and they have to be impulse buys under 10 bucks. And now
when they created their own products, you can’t copy their own products easily. Cause they just have so many damn
many of them as a good price. And so, and that’s what builds
the most, right. Where now, now they have a defensible position
where they have their products. Most are kind of interesting. One was I think we all admire that
and it sounds good and yada yada. But I, I think what it is is like
what are you creating that’s unique? And frankly, if you’re just
trying to make some money, just go do some drop
shipping, let it run out, milk the cow and take all the cash. But I think if you’re trying to create
something sustainable, it’s like, what are you doing that you are
the best at? Like with AppSumo, I’ve always believed like if there is
a better place to promote your product, like I will go work there,
but there’s not actually, it was the best place to
play to promote software. And so I think in all aspects like, Hey, we have the best place to promote like
a washes for our car was that Kevin runs like miracle mop, something like that
to wash your cars. It’s like, yeah, there’s no one else can
copy this. So anyways, I think it’s just kind of interesting if
you’re trying to get some sustainably. Yeah, I like that. So
before we wrap up 2020, what’s next for Noah? Like where are
things going, where are things headed? I know you guys are
launching a new product, but like what else is coming down
the line in the next 1218 months? So it’s instead of new thing. It’s actually been interesting for our
business and I’ll just be candid about how we’re thinking about it is that
we have, if you look at our revenue, 85% of her going, it comes from AppSumo. 10% of our revenue comes from sumo.com
and then 5% of her revenue comes from these new products like
meet fam, send Fox, which is email marketing for content
creators, King Sumo or giveaway software, which is really popular, but
all of Oregon is AppSumo. All of our expenses are
on these other guys. So as we’re moving to 2021 I’m really
excited about is we’re doubling down on our core and figuring out how we can
make AppSumo the number one marketplace online to distribute software. So that is something that
I’m really excited about, which is like we’re putting all of
our products on AppSumo, which we, it sounds obvious, but we didn’t do
that. Putting all of our marketing, every single marketing is going
into AppSumo and growing the app, similar audience where she, I think it is like the Disney model
and Disney has an amazing graphic, which is Disney’s like creative team is
at the core and that literally created this amazing web of like movies of the
park of like accessories of cruises and everything is, is kind of a web that
stems from the core hub, same as Amazon. They have their Hubstore to credit
to AWS, which created their products, which created all these other things.
So that, that’s, I’m really excited. I’m excited to launch fam
in the next few weeks. I’m excited for all of us to be
integrated better. I’d say the one, I’ll tell you one business idea that
I’m thinking about a lot more is that there’s, there is so many more people
creating so many more products, but I still think discovering cool
products is actually very limited. Right, right now you kind of say, Hey, I
have a problem. Let me Google Amazon. Or maybe you follow maybe some influencer. And they put up one product a
week cause they got paid for it. But there’s not really like a trusted
source kind of like AppSumo I would say have really unique, amazing
products for kind of like, you know, 25 to 40 year old male and female. That’s highly curated and potentially
has a really good offering on it. Like a good special. So I’ve been kind of noodling on how
we can help promote core products physical products. So that’s
something that I’m noodling on. So you think of the AppSumo for
physical products. You okay? Well, let’s say you created a
new, like a lettuce cleaner. What are those called? The lettuce
spinners. Yeah. Spinner. Yup. Yeah. Charles loves lettuce and it’s like,
so if you create a new lettuce spinner, how do you promote it? Like how, like legitimate anyone
created any commerce store. You go to Shopify or woo commerce
or whatever. Another one, you put it on there and
then you’re like, all right, now I’ve got to get people to buy.
What do we do? Yeah, that’s a good map. Yeah, that’d be nice
to have. The is Amazon. You tend to launch on Amazon or
even your own site even worse, and there’s a good chance,
unless you’re really good at it, they might be crickets.
So having that same thing, that Dell site where you know they’re
going to put it out on X, you know, this day and it’s going to hit an
email list of, I don’t know how many, hundreds of thousands of
people, maybe even more, and all of a sudden they’re
going to see your product. You’re going to get sales like that. Yeah. I don’t know if there is something like
that right now. The physical products. Yeah, exactly, dude. So I think that’s
where I was like, well for me, my love, I loved money products. I just, I
love promoting products. I love it. I count myself because that’s how you
guys grew the business initially, right? It was AppSumo was like the thing. It is
the thing, it’s still the thing. Okay. Yeah. I, with AppSumo, we’ve tried so many marketing gimmicks
over 10 years and at the end of the day it’s literally always
been the exact same thing, which is promote better products. And
that has been the only way that, you know, obviously we do some ads and
affiliate and blah blah blah. But better products have really
helped us grow our business. And so from there it’s like, all right, well there’s not really anywhere
to do that on a physical level. And so I love promoting. Cool. I love
finding cool things and sharing it. So that’s kind of where I’m leaning
moving forward. Awesome. Well, what do you, what’s up with you in
20, 20? Yeah, that’s a good question. We are growing the core business
and grow in this podcast, so hopefully I haven’t, well
guess like on and then also spent, I don’t know if you could
actually see on the camera, but spark shipping here also growing
up, growing that way as well. So, Oh, so you’re, you’re on
the podcast spark shipping. And what was the first one that,
that those are the two things, both the and then you have like a specific
goal in mind for those two things. There are revenue goals. I should
have a better goal for the podcast. This is one thing I don’t,
I don’t have on the desktop. And maybe that needs to go in there.
Actually now you make me think that It doesn’t have to do, that’s
why I asked you on the, on that cause like I’ll
tell you for podcasts, you asked about goals last year my goal
was 100,000 downloads per episode of my podcast on the Noah presents podcast,
100,000 downloads an episode. And then after three months I
was at 25,000 and I was like, there is no way possible I
will ever get to 100,000. And it kind of almost burnt me out.
And for me, my podcast is my hobby. It’s not my job, it’s not my business.
It’s like literally I get to meet, I’m like, I’m today I’m meeting a football coach
and I’m just like super excited. Like, I really am like really excited.
I was like, I say my nervous, I don’t think I’m nervous to
like go hang out with this dude. And so this year, actually my goal, my only goal with my podcast was
to do one content thing a week. Okay. One content be an interview or, And it could be anything. It could
be an email, it could be a podcast, it could be I’m nearly to YouTube,
but it could be a blog post and I did, I’m done one every week and I have not
looked at any other number besides that. Hmm. I like that. And that’s
an all that you can control. I can control. Again, I can’t
control when people download my show, I can control how many guests I put
on or how many unique shows I put on. I can control much ads. I run to it, but I can control like if it’s really
hard to force people to go down with other things. Yeah, I like that. Okay. Well I think I may revisit some my
goal setting right now, so, awesome. Well thank you very much for coming on.
If people want to find you some links, wish are they actually,
where is the NOAA homepage? Yes. Go to appsumo.com and
sign up for a newsletter there. If you’re interested in learning more
about me on podcasts where there’s no Kagan presents podcast, if you have a store meet fam.com I
would go check that out. And then, okay. Dork.Com is where it kind of centralized
all of my like experiences and stories over the years.

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