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Ep. 93 - Avoid Being a Bottleneck in Your Business with Beav Brodie

Entrepreneur Beav Brodie is the Founder and CEO of Tactical Baby Gear, on a mission to liberate fatherhood from the forces of boring diaper bags. 

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:56] Podcast intro shenanigans
  • [01:43] Tactical Baby Gear’s story
  • [04:25] From self-production to outsourcing
  • [06:40] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [07:28] Tactical Baby Gear’s winning strategies
  • [08:45] Giving value, being genuine and organic
  • [10:22] Going from zero to one
  • [10:43] Businesses having bad customer service
  • [11:36] Best cheap top of funnel strategy
  • [12:32] Agencies and metrics for store owners
  • [14:26] How to get good ROI
  • [15:19] Don’t get hung up on Facebook “gurus”
  • [16:01] Drawing conclusions with not enough data
  • [17:31] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com
  • [18:10] Think about your marketing messages
  • [18:52] This podcast is a top of funnel/awareness strategy
  • [18:58] The customer service “nightmare”
  • [19:28] Less customer service more profit
  • [20:18] Tactical Baby Gear’s current strategy
  • [21:49] What Beav would change in the past
  • [22:29] Selling products get expensive real fast
  • [23:12] The 3 phases of growing a brand
  • [24:23] Good control of finances leads to success
  • [25:22] Different approach for different business stages
  • [26:16] Stop being the bottleneck in your business
  • [28:06] You can be successful with or without books
  • [29:19] Sponsor: Postscript postscript.io/install
  • [30:09] The first hires of Tactical Baby Gear
  • [30:54] Post FAQs as part of your content
  • [31:39] When Tactical Baby Gear decided to hire
  • [32:10] Electric Eye’s first hire
  • [32:35] Delegation and task management
  • [32:59] Beav’s passion to help
  • [34:59] There is no quick way to success
  • [36:44] Where Honest Ecommerce came from
  • [37:18] Know what would be your definition of success
  • [39:11] Where to find Beav

Resources:

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 Transcript:

Beav Brodie  

"(The) bottleneck tends to be the owner a lot of times. Because we're people of many hats and we're like, 'Oh I can do this and put that hat on. Oh I can be the copywriter, let me put that hat on.'"

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. 

Today, I'm excited to welcome to the show a fellow believer in "There's no such thing as getting rich easy. It's all hard work." And so I'm starting to get into that at the end. 

But Bev Brody from Tactical Baby Gear, how are you doing today?

Beav Brodie  

I'm doing good. I'll correct you. That's Beav Brodie.

Chase Clymer  

Beav. See, we do this before and I always get it right. 

Beav Brodie  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

And then I just double down and do it wrong every time I record these things.But we're gonna leave it in because we've already said we're not editing anything out of this one so...

Beav Brodie  

That's real life. I do it all the time, too. I'll have some big name guest and it's like, I" know their name. I know this person." And then I introduce them completely wrong and feel like an idiot.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And I always...

Beav Brodie  

But that's life.

Chase Clymer  

...in the pre show, I'm always like, "Hey, like, are we... Am I saying this right?" And they're like, "You got it spot on." And then I do it. And they're like, "You did it wrong." because that's...

Beav Brodie  

(laughs) 

Chase Clymer  

My brain doesn't.... (laughs)

Beav Brodie  

Anyways, yeah man. Thanks for... So anyways, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Chase Clymer  

(laughs) No. Yeah. Thanks for being here and accepting me for who I am. 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

So let's get into it. Let's let's talk about Tactical Baby Gear first. (It's a) founder's story again. I know my listeners. 

My audience likes the founder's story, because they like hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. Is that the right way to use that phrase?

Beav Brodie  

Yeah, I think so. So the founder story. Like a lot of other great businesses, it's something that came out of necessity, solving my own problem. And that problem being that, I was having a second daughter and I knew being hands-on --like a super hands on dad-- the first time with my first daughter, and then finding out my wife was pregnant, and it was another girl. 

And I was like, "Fuck man. I gotta carry my wife's girly, purple, flower, diaper bag again and I don't want to do that. And for the listeners who are like... I'm heavily-tattooed, covered in tattoos... I'm like your dude's dude. I come from building custom cars and motorcycles. And it's like, I just... 

A girly diaper bag didn't fit my personality and my lifestyle, not that it was going to keep me from being a good parent. But I was like, "Well, I'm such a hands-on dad. I'm carrying the diaper bag more often than she is." She was working a full-time job till 10 and 11 o'clock at night and I just…

I was picking the kids up from daycare, I was bringing him home, I was changing diapers and making dinner, and doing bedtime, and bath time... And I was like a super hands-on dad, running all the errands. 

So I constantly have a diaper bag. And I was like, if we're having a girl again, and I know that means she's going to carry this purple bag. 

I want my own bag that fits my personality. That doesn't make me feel like "This is something I have to do." versus "Something I get to do" mentality. 

So anyways, I went searching Google for cool men's diaper bags or whatever. And this is back in 2013. And nothing existed in that world aside from maybe the black or gray version of what still looked like a diaper bag through and through. So I was like... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

"Man, these things [are] still just ugh..." So again, my background is in automotive and building custom cars and stuff. I did upholstery as part of that so I've got skills in sewing, cutting, sewing machines, things like that. 

So I decided I was going to make my own diaper bag and make it more of a military, tactical style. That's another community I was a part of: It was the hardcore gear/gun guy. Stuff like that. I was like, "I want a tactical diaper bag." 

And then I was like, "Ooh, that's a good idea." And I know, there's a lot of other dudes like me... All my buddies would prefer that over having to carry their wife's bag. And they're all like "Oh, that's brilliant! That's cool! Make me one!" Stuff like that. 

I was like, "I got something here." And I treated it like a side hustle for a long time. And now it's grown into  this big, eight-figure business and, you know here we are. 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. Alright. So...

Beav Brodie  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

There's a lot of growth in the last sentence there. So let's talk about... So you got the idea, you couldn't find what you were looking for --which time and time again, we hear that on this podcast-- 

So you're like, "I'm just gonna DIY it. I'm gonna do it myself." How many times were redoing your "prototype"? Or was it like... How long was that thing  getting it from a prototype to... I'm assuming you did... You cut and sewed the first one yourself.

Beav Brodie  

Right.

Chase Clymer  

How long was the journey from that until you realized that you couldn't produce these fast enough by yourself? 

That you need to like to send [or] get in touch with,  [I'm] assuming, is a fulfillment house a seamstress company?

Beav Brodie  

Factory. Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Factory.

Beav Brodie  

So it [happened] pretty quickly. Because again, I had a car shop at the time. I was already running a business. I'm an entrepreneur at heart. So I was working for myself then, running a car business from 7am to 6-7pm. 

And then I was putting the kids to bed, and then coming home, and working on Tactical Baby Gear stuff, whether that was Instagram and Facebook, or trying to figure out the Ecommerce world at that time which... 2013 is a bit different from from where it is today 

Chase Clymer  

Oh yeah.

Beav Brodie  

There was a lot less information about it and still a lot of things to figure out. And it wasn't. We --still even back then-- weren't completely in a mobile-first environment. So there was like... 

There's just a lot of things. It was in this weird transition phase to where we are now but... I was... Pretty quickly I was like, "There's no way." 

When I started to get the traction through [the] Instagram community I had in the automotive world --on Instagram-- to give myself some shoutouts and network with some of my other friends in that world that had huge followings, to get some shoutouts from them. And that really, really kick started it. 

And then [I] was like, "Oh. Holy shit. There's no way I can keep up with this."  I've got to get someone else to make these bags. 

So I outsourced small batches of bags for a while until I could get to like a real factory to do hundreds and hundreds of bags at a time. But it [happened] pretty quickly. I was like "Dude, I can't. I've got a business... Another business to run, I got 2 kids to take care of and the side hustle, and I can't be the one making the product." It's not scalable. 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

Beav Brodie  

So it didn't take long for me to realize that I needed to outsource that.

Chase Clymer  

Gotcha.

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Chase Clymer  

So within building this whole community on the back of Instagram and reaching out and finding customers in the communities that  respond to this type of product, what would you say was like a winning strategy for you back then? 

And then would you say it still works now? Or is there something you would do now, where you'd put your focus if you're trying to go from zero to one and [be like] "I need to get my first couple sales, I need to get feedback from real people, I need to know if I'm onto something here."

Beav Brodie  

In terms of Instagram strategy, yeah, I think hashtags are still super powerful in the turn in terms of using the correct ones to help for discoverability but also going through those relevant hashtags that are relevant to your brand or your product. 

And commenting on other people's stuff with genuine comments. Not spamming them with shit but genuine comments about... For me, I was going through hashtags like #newborn or #expecting and it's like "Hey, congrats! Blah, blah, blah.", especially if I can find pictures that had dads in them. 

And I'll be like, "Oh",  I would just say some genuine nice comment about the picture and not "Hey come by one of our bags or whatever." I was never... I never go on a first impression to somebody with my hand out asking for money. I think that's a terrible strategy. 

Chase Clymer  

I think....

Beav Brodie  

So... What's that?

Chase Clymer  

Leading with value is the number one thing you can learn in business. You got to lead with value.

Beav Brodie  

I think so. And maybe it's not always value, but just... It needs to just be organic --I think it's the best way-- without expecting something in return. 

So just because I commented on this woman's post on Instagram that was like expecting, or 28 weeks, or whatever, and I was like, "Hey, congrats! I'm so excited for you." Or it's a gender reveal [and they're] like "It's a girl. and you're like, "Hey, congrats on the girl. You guys are gonna love it. Blah blah." 

I'm not expecting them to come by something but it's just that top of funnel/awareness in a very organic, genuine way.

Chase Clymer  

 Mm-hmm.

Beav Brodie  

It's not spammy, which then leads people to be like, "Oh, that was nice". And like, "Oh, Tactical Baby Gear. What's that?" They click on it and they're like, "Oh, these are cool bags. My husband would love this." 

They go to [and] surf the website and then ideally, you're hitting them with retargeting ads [when] they showed some intent. And that's where I start to get a little more transactional right is like people that showed a little bit more intent. 

And then you have to obviously work them down the funnel to a purchase in a non-spammy way. In my opinion, that's how we structure our business. I don't. I'm trying to be spammy.

Chase Clymer  

No, I think that's... People, all the time, they ask us. They're like, "Hey,  I want to get into paid media. Facebook and Instagram. People are winning there, right? And it's like, "Well, kinda... You missed the boat. It's not cheap anymore." But I think having to...

Beav Brodie  

[You] gotta pay to play. Yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

That's a good first strategy [for] top of the funnel: commenting. You and the rest of the team are just searching hashtags and being genuine human beings, and then hit... 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. That was the strategy in the early days. I'm not going through as many hashtags I used to... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

...we used to. We've got a lot of money running behind ads at [the] top of funnel stuff. But I think so, to your point... Your question was, "How do you go from zero to one?"  and I think that's the way to do it. 

Even though we are living in a pay to play world with social media on the big platforms, there's still a huge opportunity for the organic stuff, if you put the effort in. 

Chase Clymer  

Yep. 

Beav Brodie  

So there's no... It's not an easy thing, like you said before, where it's all organic. And it's... Instagram, it used to be chronological. You saw every post from every person you followed, those days are gone, for sure. 

But if you're willing to put in the effort and grind through commenting on people's stuff: Replying to your comments, actually replying to your DMS... It blows my mind how many people seem like they're too good to reply back to somebody's DM or something. That shit blows my mind. 

Chase Clymer  

Bad customer service. 

Beav Brodie  

it's awful because without customer service, you have nothing.

Chase Clymer  

Without customers, you'd have a business that's not making any money.

Beav Brodie  

Right. 

Chase Clymer  

And then that's just a terrible hobby at that point. (laughs)

Beav Brodie  

[You have to be a] consumer-centric brand or business in order to have meaningful growth and wealth. You can't be all about yourself, you have to be about the consumer first, and then figure out how to make it work.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And so if you're looking to get into paid ads and you have more time than money, which is a lot of young brands, start with that top of the funnel strategy of just finding comments, finding hashtags, and commenting genuine stuff. 

Don't expect anything. But then you can retarget them for way less money if they've hit your website, or if you want to do Instagram engagement or what have you. 

And that's going to save essentially, half your budget, depending on how aggressive your strategy is. Because prospecting is the most expensive thing to do. Yeah,

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. That's where we lose money. And a lot of big brands lose money on that top of the funnel stuff. The awareness, once they get into the mid and lower funnel stuff, like you already know how much intent they have or don't have. 

Soon you can focus your money on those dollars, where you start to see the actual ROI. So put the hours into the top of the funnel for free  and then yeah, spend money on the lower funnel stuff. It's a way better strategy if you have time for it.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, it sounds like you know a bit a bit about Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising... What [are] some tips to look out for if you're hiring a consultant? 

Or where should your focus be on what metrics should it be if you're out there trying to grow your business through that lens?

Beav Brodie

Yeah. That's a good question. I struggle with hiring consultants or agencies myself. I'm sort of a control freak like that but I'm also like... I have a marketing mind and I want to control our voice and our customer experience in that regard. So we do all that stuff in-house. And I'll give you the metrics that I pay attention to. 

And we just talked about the top of the funnel. So you can't... It's really difficult, in my opinion, especially with an agency to give them one metric to focus on. So if you're focused on ROAS (return on ad spend) or the ROI, or the ACoS (the acquisition costs) and stuff like that. 

They focus so heavily on what the ROI is for the whole ad account that it starts to get spammy. They're focused on way too transactional content and things like that, that can turn some people off. 

And then you also have to realize, there's a time and a place for that ROI. So (for) the mid and lower funnel stuff, if you can convert customers on top funnel stuff, by all means go for it. I'm not discouraging that. 

But be very careful about how you do it. Anyways, back to the metric thing, though. It's like, if you're focused on solely ROI, it's hard to grow. If you're like, "Listen, I'm gonna go full growth mode. And I don't..." And it's  like, "I'm gonna just dump tons of money at the top of funnel and get like massive awareness." 

Know that your ROI is going to come down a little bit. So I tend to look at  different parts of the funnel and how they're performing individually...

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

Beav Brodie  

...versus one metric to rule them all. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

Typically. That's a loaded question. And there's a lot of different ways to skin that cat, but like..

Chase Clymer  

Oh yeah. No, it's absolutely a loaded question. Yeah, it's just when people are like, "My agency is always getting me 10X on everything. And I'm like, your agency's not prospecting."

Beav Brodie  

Yeah yeah. Anybody... You could... I could run a retargeting ad for any Ecommerce brand who's never done any retargeting and get them 26X at the bottom of the funnel. That is probably a pretty easy thing to do for a lot of people that have a decent product. 

Chase Clymer  

Yep.

Beav Brodie  

That's another big key. If they have a good product like and traffic, you can get crazy ROI at the bottom of the funnel, retargeting high-intent people who may have abandoned their cart and like, "Hey, I got you 26x." 

But you have to continue to fill that funnel with people. So you have to do the prospecting and then, if your ad account is performing at 5x and you have massive growth, that's really good. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

There are people who get hung up on these Facebook ad gurus that are [having] 10X and 20X [ROI] and I don't give a shit. If you're so good... You're not growing. Period. It's just not happening. 

Or you're you're not telling the whole truth and painting the whole picture. You had 1 campaign that did one thing during Black Friday that got this person ridiculous results and that's what you're selling people on and it's bullshit.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. You gotta you got to ask for blended across everything. And then you gotta ask him to break it down top, middle and bottom. Those mean different things to everyone else, but that's enough information to know. But...

Beav Brodie  

It gives you some indicators on "Hey...

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

...you need to focus more on this." Or "This is really great. Let's keep doing its thing. And let's fuel that fire and add more people to it, for sure."

I think another big thing I've noticed for a lot of people I consult for and help with their brands, when I dig into someone's ad account and I'm like, "Dude, this thing was crushing it. Why didn't you just spend more money?"They're like, "What do you mean?" I'm like, "This is insane. If I was doing this, I'd spend every penny I had" Or what do you... 

Chase Clymer  

Just turn it back on! (laughs) 

Beav Brodie  

Why? Why? He's like, "Well, it didn't do that good for a few days. So I just turned it off. " I'm like, "You need more than 3 days of data to make a decision like that." As you know, there's times like... The Pixel, that thing can collect data for depending on how you have the... [What's] this word that I'm looking for.... 

Chase Clymer  

How fast you're spending money, essentially. So that's how fast they can...

Beav Brodie  

Oh no. Not even that. But the attribution model, is it... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

Are you looking at this at 7days, 14 days, 20 days, whatever. So  it's collecting data for 7 days for somebody that clicked on it today and bought a week from now. You're not even giving that a chance if you're turning it off after 3 days. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

And then they see that  several days after turning it off, it's got better and better results because those people may have finally purchased. And they're like, "Oh, it wasn't doing that good when I turned it off." Like why'd you turn it off?! (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Oh man. It's so funny you say that because what happens sometimes, at the bottom with those ads, is someone sees it in the middle.

Maybe they weren't that intent and they're like, "Oh. You know what, I really wanted to buy that hat." So they go and then they add to cart and abandon it because they're like, "They're probably gonna send me a coupon code." And then Klaviyo does the heavy lifting. 

Beav Brodie  

(laughs) Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

And it just gets the job done. 

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Chase Clymer  

If you get to think about it, it's so hard to be like, "I need this one channel to work for me." It's got to be a whole fulfilling system. It's got to work together. 

It's got to be cohesive. In all the messaging, you've got to be the same.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah, for sure. In terms of how the campaigns are cohesive with one another. [Is that] you mean?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Well, sometimes I see people offering 15 there and 10 there and... Don't use the stock stuff. Go through and think about it like, "Alright, these [are] the messages that we want to get out here..." 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

...on all this stuff with pushing people..." I guess it'd be more of a strategy on the middle and bottom of the funnel like how you want to... 

What [are the] incentives that you want to give them? This is... I don't know why [I]brought this up [but] we audit so many stores, because I'm an agency in real life. This [podcast] is obviously marketing for my agency. 

Beav Brodie  

Of course.

Chase Clymer  

The veil is gone. 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

(laughs)

Beav Brodie  

This is top of funnel awareness. 

Chase Clymer  

This is exactly what it is. We audit so many accounts. (laughs) We get in there. And these people, they'll have like, 2 SMS apps running at the same time --live--, collecting emails in different places, and then like a third... 

And then they'll have like Klaviyo, but then they still have the abandoned carts on from Shopify. So like, I'll add something to my cart and then I'll get like 19 different messages that say different things. It's all over the place with different coupon codes and like, how does... 

Beav Brodie  

And to that point, we talked about customer service. That creates a customer service nightmare.

Chase Clymer  

Oh yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

If you have a customer service team in place, like I do, or even if you're doing it yourself, and you're starting now, and all of a sudden, "Hey, I just bought this thing, but I just got this 15% off coupon code. I used this 10% off. Can I get 5% back? And dadada... All this stuff." And then you're trying to figure it out... It becomes a huge nightmare. 

The least amount of customer service you can do and the least amount of touch points that customer on that end, the better. You need to focus your time on something else.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. That's like one of the... That's a huge marketing point for some of these return solutions that are out there in the ecosystem. They're like you cut down on talking to people... 

Anytime you can automate human interaction, it's gonna make your business more profitable. It's just... 

Beav Brodie  

Right. 

Chase Clymer  

Some people only see dollars and cents on the front end. They don't understand it on the back.

Beav Brodie  

Right. Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Man, we went down a huge rabbit hole there with Facebook all the way through it.

Beav Brodie  

Oh dude. We can nerd out. We can keep going. You don't stop me. I love it.

Chase Clymer  

Oh. It's great. So now, like you said, Tactical Baby Gear, it's grown since the inception. It's this huge brand now. So I'm assuming your guys's strategy has changed a little bit? 

Where are you guys spending more of your time these days as far as top of the funnel or new customer acquisition? A follow up question. What was the biggest mistake you've made? Something you tried in the history of the brand. I was like that one as well.

Beav Brodie  

Okay, so...

Chase Clymer  

Those are two different timeframes. I just threw them at you. That's how my brain works today. (laughs)

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. No, you're good. You're good. You're good. Our strategy overall... We spent a lot of time like a LOT of time on Instagram. [We] still [spend] a good bit of time on Facebook, but [we have] a lot of engagement with the community people on Instagram for sure. 

Although a lot of our retargeting ads and things of that nature really convert best on Facebook, you gotta think... You have to really try to dissect your demographic and your customer, where they are spending time. 

For us, it's like new parents who are excited, and they're posting pictures of ultrasounds to their family on Facebook and stuff like that. Not as much on Instagram. 

So we tend to convert pretty well through Facebook, but we do spend a lot of engagement time on Instagram, for sure. And that strategy is maintained. We're doing... We do stuff on Pinterest And we do... We dabble in a lot of the other platforms. But like, we do a lot of heavy lifting through Facebook and Instagram, for sure. 

Uhm... Man... Biggest mistake?

Chase Clymer  

Or maybe if you could go back in time and talk to yourself... That's another way to think about it. What would you be [saying to yourself] like, "Hey..."

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

"...don't do it this way, you should probably do this instead."

Beav Brodie  

I look at my ad account, a lot of times. Facebook ad account. And I look at historical data. And I look back at what campaigns crushed it. What about it... I try to dissect it. Was it the copy? Was it the photo? Was it the targeting? What audience was it that was crushing it? Stuff like that. 

And I look back and I go several years back, and I look at stuff and I'm like "HOLY SHIT. The ROI on stuff." [was great] that I was like, "I should have spent so much money." But then I'm like, "Oh. But I couldn't because we didn't have enough inventory." 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

(laughs) So that's a whole another side of it. Selling a physical product is like keeping up with inventory and reinvesting money in that. And that's not cheap. We have an expensive product. 

And when you're selling through the amount that we sell through the volume that we do, we're investing millions and millions of dollars into inventory and bootstrapping all of it. We didn't... We don't have investors, we don't have money backing us, and all that stuff. 

So we've had to fund our way to the top. And where we are now... I shouldn't say"to the top" but to "where we are now". So we've been limited. 

If only I had more money to buy more inventory, then I would have spent 4 times as much money on Facebook or whatever and add even more growth. So that's one thing that I always look at. Like "Argh! I should have spent more money." (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I always like to think of it like there's like, there's three phases of growing a brand. The first one is product-market fit. Like, do you have something anyone wants? That's the hardest thing: Figuring that out, finding something that people want to buy. You've got the message behind it. 

Once you've got that figured out, then you go into pretty much scaling, but not in a way where it's like scale for the sake of scale. It's like, "Okay, now you got to grow the business in that phase." I think what you need to do when you solve for that is when you can figure out the 2 or 3 things that you can do literally... Like, "If I put effort here, I'm gonna get more sales." It's black and white. It's as black and white as it can be. 

Beav Brodie  

Mm-hmm.

Chase Clymer  

And once you figure that out and you do that for a couple years, you venture into this, like phase 3 of things, which is just finances. It's like the part that no one wants to deal with any business. 

[It] becomes the last part to deal with for most successful Ecommerce businesses. You're like, "Cool. How do we get our margins down? How do we get our lead times down? How do we do inventory planning? How do... Where are  all of our sunk costs? Where are all of our lost revenues coming from?" Which is something that I don't think people talk about much. [I'm] not saying you have to but...

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. And I think that that's part of the reason we've had great success. It's because my business partner, who I brought on a couple years after starting, is a finance guru. He's obsessed.

He's like super OCD, spreadsheets open all day, a number-crunching person. And I attribute a lot of our early finances to the success that we've had because we were able to maximize profits to reinvest into inventory and just buy as much inventory as we could afford. 

So really paying attention to that and not spending money on dumb shit or paying ourselves a ton of money, when we didn't have the money to pay ourselves. Instead of paying ourselves, we just bought more inventory so we could grow this thing. 

And then putting that foundation in place, whether you're talking about scaling of what things can we automate that help the workflow so that I can focus on something else to help scale that, and then as the foundation... 

As your business grows, the foundation grows. And you have to have different foundational pieces in place at different times. 

So it's like, you can do an awful lot by yourself for 1 or 2 people and scale and grow and be a million dollar business with just a couple people, depending on your product. And what you... If you're like... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

...physically making a product yourself, that can be very difficult. But if you're outsourcing it to a factory and you're just managing a lot of that stuff, you could do a million dollars by yourself. That's not that difficult, really. 

But then to get from say, 2 to 3, 2 to $4 million, you need some customer service help. You get to a scale and you're just dealing with more people and more volume to where now, that team needs to grow and scale that. 

And then to get from that 4 or 5 to $7 million and $8 million, you need this in place. And then you start to take the $10 millions and 8 figures, and you're like, "There's just a lot of shit going on and we need some more help." (laughs). And then you start to realize where the bottlenecks are. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

And "How do I put someone in that role, so that's not the bottleneck?" And that bottleneck tends to be the owner a lot of times. Because, we are people of many hats, and we're like, "Oh, I can do this." We put that hat on. 

"Oh, I can be the copywriter. Let me put that hat on." "Oh, I can manage this. Let me put that hat on." You get to the point where you're doing too many things and then people are waiting on you. 

And this gets slipped through the cracks and all that stuff. So you just have to have the foundation in place to get to certain levels to continue to scale that. 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

Beav Brodie  

It is a huge thing that I've learned along the way. And we still struggle with that on a daily basis. But it's a really interesting thing. And it's a cool and humbling experience to get through those things, too. 

But it's also very frustrating when you realize that you're the bottleneck to the whole thing. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

That's essentially the CEO's job or the founder's job: To replace themselves as many times as they can.

Beav Brodie  

It's hard to do because some... Like [for] myself, there's some things that I just don't want to let go of. And again, coming from an automotive background where I was the one doing things and cutting, and welding, fabricating sewing, just building really cool custom stuff, to wanting to be in here, doing the things, making videos, editing the podcast... I like to... I'm a creator. I like to make things and go from nothing to something. 

And now, as a visionary and a CEO, I'm just trying to articulate my thoughts to other people and hopefully... They're getting it done and a lot of times they do it way better than I would have done it because like that's their expertise. They do that 1 thing to do really, really well. I was okay at it. But I still enjoyed it. So it's tough for people like myself to let go of certain things when...

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

...especially when you're super passionate about it. So I have a dual role. I'm like a CEO/CMO where I still control a lot of the marketing and strategy around x. I really love it. But yeah. It's tough, man. It's tough.

Chase Clymer  

You mentioned something there. Visionary? Are you a fan of Traction by Gino Wickman

Beav Brodie  

I have no idea what that is. 

Chase Clymer  

It's a book that uses that phrase as one of the key elements of a business.

Beav Brodie  

I would agree with that. You say book, I'm not really sure what books are because I don't read anything. (laughs) I was on a podcast recently. It was like, "Alright, what's the best book you've read recently?" I'm like, "I don't read books. I hardly read my email. Are you kidding me?" (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Yeah no. It's funny. It's a good one but I'm not gonna push it on you.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

 You like to consume your content in other ways.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. Yeah. I'm a visual person, man. I could watch videos and stuff like that all day but reading just... I'm just... I think mainly because I'm not great... 

I'm not a fast reader so it takes me so long to consume stuff through words versus a picture where I could digest that in a fraction of a second [and] understand exactly. But [if I] try to read three sentences. Forget about it. (laughs) It's awful.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. It's one of those things you gotta put in your reps like... 

Beav Brodie  

Oh yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

But... 

Beav Brodie  

For sure. 

Chase Clymer  

I'm not even... I'm not even... I usually read a bunch of business books so I can have smart things to say on this. But I'm reading the Name of the Wind. It's like some crazy high-fantasy novel right now which is awesome, because I'm a giant nerd. 

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Chase Clymer  

So you talked about something a little bit ago and you were talking about making those initial hires. I guess, what would you say... 

If you're gonna go back, what would you say was like the first crucial hire you had to make when you're scaling the team beyond key partners, I.e. beyond manufacturing and stuff? Who was the first person that actually joined the company? 

Beav Brodie  

The first outside person, aside from your owners, was a customer service person to handle all the inbound customer service stuff, emails [like] "Hey, I want to make an exchange." All the way to defect stuff. Or, "Hey, do you guys ship to this country?" Or any of that inbound email stuff and Facebook messages.

That was huge. That took a lot off our plate, because we're doing a lot of just prospecting, and getting out there in the world, and it just created a lot of questions because we created a product that didn't exist in the world. 

So people were like, asking in... Asking questions [like] 1, about the product or 2, how quickly they can get it or when it's going to ship or just stuff. But then you learn a lot from that. So to that point... This is off topic a little bit, but very relevant to the podcast. 

Taking the inbound customer service stuff... And if you get a lot of those common questions, make sure you're answering those questions on the website. If you're like, "Oh. People want to know when it's going to ship." 

And you have an answer for that. You know that [your product] ships within 24 hours or ships the same day or "Order by this time and it ships today." Or any of those. Trying to reduce those touch points like we talked about earlier. So that was just a side... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

...thought as I had about customer service stuff. But using that information to your advantage to answer them on the website up front is huge. But yeah, customer service was a first... [It] was a big first hire that took a lot off our plate to allow us to really focus on other areas of the business for sure.

Chase Clymer  

And... You don't have to give it to the dollar but do you remember where you guys were yearly, where it was something that you had to consider?

Beav Brodie  

Somewhere around a million dollars, I think. It's hard to say because this person was also working for me doing car stuff. 

So as I shut down the car business, I just transitioned him over to Tactical Baby Gear, so I don't really remember where exactly when that happened. But it was a crucial point for us. It was game changing.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think our first hire at the agency was a project manager to just essentially make sure everything was getting done that we said was getting done. 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. Not letting stuff slip through the cracks.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And I think that that's what customer service ends up falling on everyone's plate on the leadership team at any brand. It's like... You will just [be like] "Yeah, we'll get to it." Everyone has access to that account. We can all answer questions, we'll get to it when we get to it. 

Beav Brodie  

Mm hmm. 

Chase Clymer  

But you know, when it's like 3 people's responsibility, they think someone else is going to do it.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, trying to delegate that chain of command or it's like... And we use customer service software like Zendesk or Gorgias or whatever. So... 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

Beav Brodie  

...that way you can assign things to certain people at that point. Try to eliminate some of those like, "Oh, I thought you were gonna answer that." (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

No, not anymore. It's assigned to you, bud. 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

So now that you've replaced yourself in your job about half a dozen times --maybe more-- you're branching out more and doing more consulting.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah, I've always done a little bit of that. [I] dabbled in it. I had YouTube... I still have a YouTube channel, and I create a lot of content around this stuff because I have a huge passion for it. And I just... I love to help people so I dabbled around in trying to do tutorials on how to do Facebook ads and things like that. 

Well then, those videos led to... It was like this, like a top of funnel/awareness where people would reach out and say, "Hey, I saw your video on this. Would you help us with our stuff? Blah blah blah..." 

So I'd  fly to North Carolina and spend 2 days with a company and help them with stuff or put things in place or just open their eyes like, "Hey, we've always been a B2C. We've got a brick and mortar store but we want to go online. And we saw some of your videos on YouTube, and blah, blah, blah... 

So I've always dabbled in some of the consulting stuff for the last, probably, 3 or 4 years, I'd say. I've been doing less and less of it now because I just don't have the bandwidth. I just don't have the time. So even my YouTube channel, I haven't... I used to upload like twice a week, now it's twice a month. 

But I still like to have a passion for doing stuff and helping people just because I remember being there myself and wishing... I want to be the resource of information that I wish I had when I was starting out. 

Because again, in 2013, when I started doing Ecommerce, like there wasn't as much information and it was hard to weed through a lot of it. And there was conflicting information. It's like "Do this." "No. Don't do that." Or whatever. 

So it's very difficult. So, I want to be a resource of information for the things that I know or are tried and true that have worked for me that have gotten us this far, that are ethical ways of doing business and things of that nature. 

So yeah, that's my intern consulting. (laughs) I just like to help people because I think it's the right thing to do.

Chase Clymer  

No. I can agree with that. So before I let you go, is there anything I didn't ask that you think is worthwhile? 

Beav Brodie  

Man... I don't know. I think we covered quite a bit of good stuff. We could go down so many different side streets here. But, I don't know... I don't know that I have anything super particular to talk about other than... 

Just to my last point, doing things ethically, there's a lot of get rich quick schemes out there. A lot of these... Mike Winnet. I  mentioned this guy's name to you earlier. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Beav Brodie  

He's a YouTuber. He's got a channel. I think it's... Mike Winnet is the name of his YouTube channel. And he's on this "Contrepreneur"... Exposing Contrepreneurs, where they're like fake entrepreneurs trying to con you into buying their program or their ebook or their... Whatever their their thing is that they're trying to sell. 

But he's got this whole thing on exposing all these people and how they do it. And he spent a ton of money going to all the big conferences and all this stuff where they promise that you're going to make a million dollars within 6 months, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

And, "It's only $897, but we're going to give you an even better value. Today, it's only going to be $597." And only so many people can sign up and like "Oh, I call that bullshit." And then they just they know... 

And they're just preying on the on the weak --the bottom feeders-- where they're super desperate. They'll do anything to try to make a quick buck and they're just taking advantage of them. 

But there is no quick, easy way to success. Anything that you really want to have long term success just requires a lot of effort, and grit, and patience. 

And I know I sound like I'm probably regurgitating Gary Vee's words. (laughs) But it's true. A lot of the things that come out of people's mouths are true, even though it's not what you want to hear.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. That's essentially where Honest Ecommerce comes from. You're not going to buy a Ferrari. Do you have a Ferrari?

Beav Brodie  

I've got an Acura NSX.

Chase Clymer  

So..

Beav Brodie  

So it's like a Ferrari. 

Chase Clymer  

But how long would it take you to get it?

Beav Brodie  

15 years?

Chase Clymer  

Of hard work? 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer   

Almost every day. I'm sure you took a weekend off once in a while. 

Beav Brodie   

Every once in a while.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. But no, it's just... It's that thing. It's not [a] get rich quick scheme [like] "I'm gonna spend $2,000 on Facebook ads and I'm gonna go out and buy this Tesla." 

Half that stuff's a lie. There's overheads in the product. Just because you made $100,000 in sales in one month... You didn't put that in your pocket.

Beav Brodie  

No. And if you're smart, you won't put it in your pocket. You reinvest it so that you can make $200,000 and then take a little bit for yourself and reinvest the rest of it and make some more money. 

I think a lot of it, too, is balance and finding what your goals are. If you're content with that and that's paying the lifestyle that you want, then cool.

Chase Clymer  

There's nothing wrong with a lifestyle business. There's nothing wrong with making a good income and living your life the way you want to. And you don't have to scale. There's nothing like... I think that that's a toxic trait... 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

...sometimes. It's like... 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's like that hustle culture where you feel like you have to make a million dollars. I don't know who determined the million dollar thing [as] like the number. It's a big number, but there's different ways to skin that cat. 

And for some people, a million dollar is a lot of money, for some people a million dollars means they're going out of business. So it's a relative term. 

So I know, people that have side Shopify side hustles, and they make $20-$30-$40 grand a month. And that's not profit. In revenue, they pocket $10 grand a month or something. I'm like "That's awesome." 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Beav Brodie  

And they'll ride that train as long as it goes, and they still have a full time job. And [they still have] retirement benefits and all that stuff. 

So that becomes fun money for them. And they can invest in kid's college funds and things like that. 

You don't have to make $100 grand or a million dollars or whatever. If you're cool with the side hustle, cool. No one should judge you for that. You don't have to try to be the biggest in town.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think it's... What's worthwhile is you get to understand what your actual goals are. And don't let anyone make your goal for you.

Beav Brodie  

Yeah

Chase Clymer  

Figure out what you actually want to do and what you want to do. 

Beav Brodie  

Yeah. For sure. 

Chase Clymer  

And I guarantee as you get older, it's a lot less than you think. 

Beav Brodie  

Oh, yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

At least until you have a family. Then it just... Your world goes... 

Beav Brodie  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

And then you make a company to make diaper bags.

Beav Brodie  

(laughs) That's it. That's it. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Hey man, thank you so much for coming on the show today. If people want to reach out to you, how do they get a hold of you?

Beav Brodie  

They can check out our company website at tacticalbabygear.com. And then personal brand stuff around this thing as well marketing content, I have podcasts, YouTube Channel, and you can get to those by going to beavbrodie.com. You can find me those 2 places. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. We'll put links to all that jazz in the show notes. And for sure we're gonna have you back on Unprepared, the video one. 

And we're gonna essentially break down the 3-step funnel we talked about a little bit today, but we'll get a little bit more in place for a 10-Minute... Essentially, here's a done for you, Instagram funnel for free for everybody. 

Beav Brodie  

Cool. I love it. 

Chase Clymer  

All right. Thank you so much. 

Beav Brodie  

You got it man. Thank you.

Chase Clymer  

I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well. 

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!