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Ep. 76 - Making a Lean, Mean, $5 Mil Machine and How to Tame It with Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan

Tyler is the founder of BombTech Golf, an Ecommerce store with over $15 million sold online since 2012. Tyler also runs Ecom Growers where he and his team have helped countless Shopify owners add 6-7 figures in additional sales to their Ecommerce stores by optimizing email systems and ad campaigns to find hidden revenue streams.

Over the years, Tyler has come to learn the formula for running successful and profitable Ecommerce businesses. He believes that even with online companies, there is huge value in having real conversations with customers and potential buyers.

Tyler is hyper-focused on the customer experience and operating a lean business that doesn’t just drive revenue but drives serious profit and cash flow.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [0:35] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest 
  • [2:46] Tyler’s founding story
  • [5:39] How Tyler achieved growth and success
  • [9:44] The best way to scale your business
  • [12:24] Why Tyler seemed to stop the further growth of his business
  • [17:23] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com
  • [17:53] Things you shouldn’t be doing as a business owner
  • [21:38] Learn what you can but delegate it once you get good at it
  • [22:07] Tyler’s quick test when hiring an agency
  • [23:56] Tyler’s very “lean” team
  • [25:15] Writing down processes so the business can run without you
  • [26:38] Sponsor: Postscript postscript.io/install
  • [27:17] Does Tyler apply his quick hiring test for the not-so-critical roles in his store?
  • [29:41] Tyler’s Ecom Growers story

Resources:

If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest Ecommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!

Transcript

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

If you don't know how to do stuff in your business, you can't properly hire or fire someone.

 

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.

 

Gorgias Ad   

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What are you doing to manage all those questions? Do you have a help desk for your business? 

 

One of our sponsors of today's episode is Gorgias. Gorgias is the #1 rated help desk for Ecommerce. It integrates seamlessly with Shopify. We have installed it in a bunch of stores. It's also used by brands like MVMT and Rothy's

 

What it does is it takes all of your customer insights and information, brings it into one amazing dashboard so you can solve their problem as quickly as possible. If you want to give Gorgias a try, visit gorgias.link/honest to get your second month free. 

 

Chase Clymer

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of honest ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer coming to you today from my office bedroom where I've been quarantined for the last couple weeks. 

 

And today we welcome the show Tyler “Sully” Sullivan. Tyler is the founder of BombTech Golf. They make premium golf clubs for regular golfers like me. 

 

And he's also the co-founder of Ecom Growers. It's an agency that helps Ecommerce brands profit more with Klaviyo. I like that niching down he got there. Anyways, Tyler, welcome to the show.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan

Glad to be here. I don't know what day it is with the quarantine and all --and being home with the kids-- but I'm glad to be here.

 

Chase Clymer

Oh yeah. For us, it's like... [It] ended [on] week 5. I think Ohio is one of the first to pull the plug.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

I think we're in week 4. We just got it extended to May 15th, we have to continue. Vermont has been pretty good, though. Because there [are] only 600,000 people for the whole state and our biggest city is 40,000 people. So I've been practicing social distancing for a long time. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah well. Hopefully by the time this podcast comes out, --we're probably 2 months ahead of schedule now if I was going to guess-- Hopefully, the world will be in a better position and people will be like, "Oh, that's funny that they recorded that back then."

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

Hopefully. I think we'll be good. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer

Awesome. So let's give the people a crash course on the founder story of BombTech Golf.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

It's a crazy story. I was an accidental entrepreneur. I had no intention of running or starting an Ecom business. I was just obsessed with golf. I mean, I was attempting to do [a] home run derby of golf called World Long Drive

 

I traveled around, hit balls as hard as I could, and I qualified. I wasn't very good. I hit a couple of drives like 360. And in that process, I started breaking golf clubs. And not from pure power but from local club builders' inability to build them correctly. So I just started assembling my own clubs. I made some for some buddies. I made the world's worst website. 

 

And in doing so, I sold something. And I sold it when I was on a boat, not a yacht. And that blew my mind. That was like the epiphany. I was like, "Holy shit. I'm not in front of a computer or at a job and I just made money. So that got me really fired up. 

 

From there. I worked with my local college, University of Vermont, where I was like the worst student and it took me 5 years to graduate. And I designed our own driver with a group of students for a year. And this is an 8-year long journey. I'll try to condense it for everyone's sanity. 

 

So I made my own product, my own brand with the college. [It was a] super big risk. [I] cashed in my 401k and sold a lot of them, mostly with Facebook

 

[In the] early days when you have 1000 followers, it's 1000 real people that see your stuff. The reach was 100%. And I hit a lot of stuff early, Facebook Video, Facebook Ads, Facebook Live

 

I really went all-in when those things came out. We scaled it up. And now I truly believe that I have one of the leanest, lowest overhead Ecom brands out there. We've got 1 employee. All variable costs nothing fixed. And we do 5 to 6 million a year with that business. And 2 years ago... So that's my main business. I can go to more depth... 

 

But then I have an Ecom agency. I started with my first employee at BombTech. [It's] called Ecom Growers. 

 

And I'm really just acting now as the owner of both of those and just trying to have more fun and network with people that are trying to do what I did, which was a total accident. 

 

But I'm very fortunate and thankful I hit social media when I did and it's crazy. I'm very thankful I've got 2 kids and I'm living the dream, man.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So let's talk about... Obviously, most of the audience here [are] small to medium-sized businesses. They are hearing your story of growing this thing to a lean, mean, $5 mil machine. And they're like, "Well, how do I do that?" So let's look at it. 

 

Obviously, it wasn't overnight. I want to point out again. You said this is an 8-year journey. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

Totally. 

 

Chase Clymer 

So I guess in the beginning, what were some of the things that you were doing wrong that you want people to not do?

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

So many. I really was slow to learn. For me, I think you have to do everything in your business, and do it well, and be dangerous enough so you can hire yourself out of it. If you don't know how to do stuff in your business, you can't properly hire or fire someone. 

 

So for me, I did stuff that you shouldn't be doing for far too long. So I literally was assembling clothes by hand in my basement, which I renovated to be a shop. [I was] shipping clothes myself, doing live chat, email and all this stuff, and the social media, and the ads way too early. Or way too long.

 

So how I actually did it... It did take me long because I wasn't that smart. (laughs) But I really used... What I did well is I used social media, --Facebook mostly-- to document what I was doing instead of trying to be something I'm not, like a big brand. I just was transparent. 

 

I put myself on video. I put myself out there and people felt like they could relate to me. So when I really started scaling up to get into tactics or strategy, it was me on video. [I] video my original self, good or bad. Hungover or tired or whatever. I would just put myself out there. 

 

And I remember a couple of key moments to my growth. And this is... Again, this is a substantially different time. But I remember I made a video in my backyard. 

 

And I just had my first kid and he was taking a nap. And I hit the ball into the net. It sounds like a gun explodes. Literally, the net explodes or your gun goes off. And I literally just said, "Well, does your driver sound like this?" 

 

And I boosted it on Facebook. Not an ad [but] a boost for $300. And it got 300,000 views and 10,000 comments. 

 

So what I did is, without knowing what I should do, I commented on every comment until my thumbs were bleeding. And I really just engaged over time consistently with my audience. So that they knew I cared about them because I did. And that slowly allowed me to scale and sell products. 

 

From there, we really used Facebook and email to just start scaling up. I ran myself really poorly from... I went from $100K. My second year, which is $100k --which felt like the hardest I ever worked-- to $450k when I got fired from my day job, which I was still broke. 

 

Then I went from $4 [hundred thousand]  to $1.29 [million].  $1.2 million to $4.29 [million]. $4.2 [million] to $6.5[million]. And now depending on if we launch or not, we'll do [something] between those numbers. 

 

And it really was just focusing on a good product, using traffic and email to drive traffic that converted. And then once they've converted, getting them to buy more. I know that may be high-level, but that was how I did it.

 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. So, a few things in there that I hope I remember by the end of this statement. One, you were just making content, which I think is very timely now. 



When this comes out, I still think It's very timely. There's nothing stopping you from grabbing your phone and making content and putting it on your socials. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan

Yep.

 

Chase Clymer

That's something that... I think that's what separates the people that are trying from the people that are doing it. It took me a minute to do it with this business. And it's night and day, the difference between starting to produce content. 

 

People want to work with people. People want to buy from people. If you don't want to be the face of your brand, if there's some insane reason why you can't be the face of your brand, you need to find someone that will be or you're not going to stand out. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

Agreed. 

 

Chase Clymer  

So you did that just by happenstance. And I think that is what helped lead to these successes. Am I putting words in your mouth? I don't know.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

No, no. I mean, one thing I would say to that. So my personal brand, being a part of it was an accident. But I'm like the persona of my audience. So guys just could relate to me. So that was good. It just made sense. 

 

I think the big thing for me, from a strategy standpoint, is, where do you do that? How do you do that? A lot of the ads that do well --to clarify-- are not with me on it. But there are key places where I'm involved in. 

 

The About Us page is my story, the email you get from me. Or the emails you get from BombTech are from me, not from BombTech as a company. We do thank you cards from me, thank you voicemails from. There are little ways to do it. 

 

But if you're starting out and you're trying to scale, I would just tell your story and keep telling it until someone starts listening. And engage with your audience like I'm a big fan. 

 

Social media is good and bad. It's really good because you get a lot of comments there, but it doesn't always drive revenue. 

 

So I'm a big fan of having those conversations on email, where we ask people to reply and ask real questions. So, let's say you're a small brand and you're trying to scale or even a big brand, I don't care. 

 

Let's say you're launching something new, ask your audience. Like, "What do you guys think? Vote A or B. This color or that color." "Hey, what price point [would you want?" 

 

Just ask stuff that you would want to know anyway, like genuine questions that will help you. And then you'll have real conversations, and people will give a shit, and they'll feel like they built the product, and the brand, and have input in it. I think that's the key. 

 

It's like, be a person, have it come from you as a founder if you can. If not, have someone attached to it so [make it] personal. And then just have conversations everywhere you can that are real. And then really engage. 

 

And that, over time, will be a key piece of [information to know] if ads will work and if email [marketing] will work. That's more a “function of offer”. But offers don't do well unless all those other pieces are doing well or working. I don't know if that makes sense.

 

Chase Clymer   

No, it does make sense. It's human nature. You need to get buy-in from your audience whether it's your customers or your employees or what have [you]. 

 

People want to feel heard, and they want to feel like they had something to do with the bigger picture. And asking those questions and communicating with your customers is such an easy shortcut to success in Ecommerce.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

It was for me. I can't say today what I would do. I just know that that's how I did it. 

 

Chase Clymer   

Yeah. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

And continue to.

 

Chase Clymer  

So I got a question that I'm sure some of the listeners might have. You were talking about this growth, like doubling. [It is] some wild growth, and then there at the end, it didn't trickle. 

 

I think I know what happened, but you hit $5 to $6 million a year and it seems like you're okay being there. Is there any particular reason why you stopped? This is obviously a loaded question.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

That's a great question. So my life has changed so many times since I started the company. I've had huge life events that have changed [me]. I've had 2 kids. Yeah, I was fired from my day job. And when I first started I didn't have any kids and I had a job. 

 

So, I was obsessed with growth and being the biggest baddest guy in town. And then now, I believe in profit/cash flow insanity. So my whole angle now is... Actually, the one thing I'm working on right now is I'm building a how to run or operate on tech gulch. 

 

And anything I'm still doing, I just am replacing myself with. And I've got one task left, so I'm doing okay. So really now at this point, with 2 kids and the life I want to live, I don't want to be in my business. I sacrifice top-line revenue and vanity, for cash flow and lifestyle. 

 

I could definitely push it and break eight figures but my return on ad spend would diminish. My cash flow would diminish and my whole lifestyle. And I really just... I'm really happy and content with where it's at. Now I've thought... 

 

And I'm debt-free. [I] have no investors and it wasn't always the case. I've taken a lot of loans out, cashed my 401k. So for me, it's like, I enjoy working on the business. And I love having big months and doing $5 to $6 mil. But doing $10 or $12 mil and profiting almost the same but having more headaches is just not, it's not my goal in life. 

 

When you asked me 7 years ago, I'd say I want to do $100 million. But I don't know. I'm just at that point in my life with my business. I don't want to live like that. People may think I'm nuts but it's a good place to be for me and my family.

 

Chase Clymer  

No, it's being honest. And that's this show. And I asked that question and I'm really glad that you answered it, the way that you did. I think that lifestyle businesses are almost looked down upon these days by some people. And I'm not gonna name names but growth for the sake of growth isn't a good strategy. 

 

By any means, like you said, you're gonna have so many more headaches. And at the end of the day, all that matters is the cash in the bank, and your sanity, and your family, and your life. So why work twice as hard for almost the same reward?

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Totally. 2 or 3 years ago, before my second kid, I tried everything. I was doing Amazon, I was doing this. We're doing Resellers and Affiliates. We did drive a little more revenue, and we could have kept going. 

 

But I just hit the brakes and said, "Listen. Why?" And I just simplified everything. Anything that was difficult or complicated, I just simplified. I either removed it, automated it, or delegated it. And the business is doing great. 

 

And it's even more profitable than it has ever been. And I'm working less. Because I just said "What's the point?" So that was a big epiphany. But I don't like... It's hard for me to tell someone to do that because, for me, it was like specific things in my life that made me do it. 

 

It's my first kid. Getting fired was the kick in the ass that [made me] scale and survive. And then having my first kid, I was working way too much and then I was like, "I can't do this with my second kid." 

 

Then I had my second kid. And the real thing with that, when I had my second kid I said, "I'm taking 6 weeks off." before I had her. And what do you think happened to sales in those 6 weeks?

 

Chase Clymer   

I know the answer because I listened to another podcast.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

(laughs) It's one of my epiphanies. It went up. And that was like... You could tell someone to do his stuff. But  for me personally, I've had to have these like big life events to be like, "Oh, now I get it." 

 

So yeah. I don't know. It's a different way to look at it. I think growth means nothing. And cash flow is really something that's not talked about. It's not sexy. 

 

But I believe in a cash machine that provides a lot of cash flow and low risk. I feel like that's where we're at with the business and our customer base at this point.

 

Chase Clymer   

Yeah. I think if it gets to a certain point, it's almost like a motorcycle. If the gas is staying constant, it's gonna stay straight and keep going in the right direction. You don't actually need to do anything at that point. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

I like that. I haven't heard that. 

 

Chase Clymer   

I just made it up right now. Coined by me. Harley Davidson, did you hear that? Let's do this.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

This is your moment. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer   

Absolutely.

 

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Chase Clymer  

Alright. So you're over here, the Tim Ferriss of golf, 4-Hour Workweek...

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan    

(laughs)

 

Chase Clymer   

...how do I go from my full-time business. running an Ecommerce business... I haven't delegated much, we got a small team. What should I start thinking about that I'm probably doing as an owner that I don't need to be doing?

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

This is the hardest thing. I've tried to have these conversations before. And if you really don't want to... A lot of people still want to hold on and do things. So it may not be something you really believe you can do, or want to do. 

 

And I say, it's like limiting belief breakdowns. And this is what I do with my partner, Chris. In his business, I'm just a co-founder. All I do with him is I break down stuff. He's like, "I can't hand that off." or "I have to do this. This is me." And I just say "Why?" I usually break it down. 

 

So it's an exercise that I just have chosen doing my own business. So I can tell you exactly my setup, so someone could tactically just do this and live my life how I do it. The hardest thing is finding the people. 

 

Positions I have or the brands/agencies I use, you can use [it]. It's who you find to do that. So first off, my setup is simple because I use a 3PL

 

I used to ship everything myself. Shipping stuff yourself, for me, by going to a 3PL has saved me hundreds of thousand dollars a year. Not thousands, hundreds. Number 1, shipping prices I could get at a 3PL are so much more advantageous due to the size of our product. Number 2, location-wise, I live in Vermont. 

 

Vermont is the #1 worst place to ship golf clubs (laughs) for where my customers are. We found Wisconsin was the best place. So what I did is --This is a thing you can do today-- You can take all your shipments that you looked at for the last year or 2 years and just literally you can actually hire a 3PL. 

 

You don't even have to pay them. Just say "Hey, I'm thinking about a 3PL. Can you do an audit of where you think I'd be the best location for your company." And a lot of them are huge and they have a lot of locations. And they help. That's what I did. I worked with a couple of them. 

 

And they said, "Based on this, your best place is in Chicago or Wisconsin." There was like one other location that could vary. We picked Wisconsin based on the best location for time and money. So I did a 3PL. 

 

You're on your way to the 3PL rabbit hole, but that's gonna also make you force you to make your products shippable without you. A lot of people are like, "I can't do that. I have to be involved. I have to touch the product." That's a lie. That's a limiting belief. 

 

I used to assemble clothes by hand --custom-- because I thought people want custom clothes made by me. They don't care. I have them barcoded. It's coming from a manufacturer in a bag ready to go. 

 

Because I broke through my limiting belief that I had to have all these options, all this bullshit. And then I said "You know what? This is nuts." And the first time I launched a product with less options, it was my best launch ever because it was simple. 

 

So you gotta have the first thing. For 3PL, break that limiting belief that you have to have options. Or that many options and you have to be the one shipping it because it's better and cheaper not to touch it. 

 

I haven't seen a product for 4 years. But I get clubs for myself, but that's the first one. The second one is the ads/traffic. If you're doing that stuff in-house, you can learn that skill to a point. 

 

But I have found personally that hiring an agency of some capacity or an expert that has their hands in multiple accounts... I work with a small agency that does my ads. He's got like 8 to 10 clients, but he sees stuff across the board that he can then use and optimize my account for. 

 

Chase Clymer   

Oh yeah. I use that in sales almost. Because you have to think of it this way. I'm working with 12 clients at a time, I'm learning 12 times faster than your single account.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Totally. Yeah. If that's all you're doing, you're the expert. If you're deep into it, and you're dealing with it, It's way better than... 

 

As an owner, you shouldn't be doing something for your bottom line. You should learn it. This is what I screwed up. You should learn it so you could hire someone properly. 

 

Chase Clymer   

Yeah. You need to be able to speak the language, but you don't need to be getting in the weeds.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Everyone gets in the weeds. That's the funny thing about Ecommerce. Everyone wants to get into the apps, the weeds, the technical stuff. I'm like, "Dude, you need to worry about the offer, and the brand, and the voice, and let the experts do their thing." 

 

I have a quick test if you want to share it with how to hire an agency. I don't know if this will go against stuff. 

 

Chase Clymer  

That's fine. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

I was so fed up and I fired a guy who was killing it for me, 2 years ago that I should never have fired because I didn't know enough. And looking for another agency was the biggest hassle I've ever [gone] through. And I've done... I literally hired and fired 8 agencies in 1 year. 

 

So I said, "You know what, screw this." I'm learning ads myself. Learned it myself. [I] got us to about a 4x, which I thought was pretty sick. And then, I now have a test where I do a screen share with anyone that says they're an expert. 

 

I go "Cool. Let's do a screen share for an hour and I'll pay you for that time, whatever it is. $500, a G ($1000), $200..." And we'll go through it together, building campaigns together. If your campaigns outperform mine, you're hired. (laughs) 

 

And that's how I found my current guy. I went through 12 guys. 12 one-hour sessions. Learned nothing from 11. I learned one thing from the 12th guy, and he was the guy hired.

 

Chase Clymer 

That's a good way to do it, if you have the time. I don't know if we [would] do that, to be honest.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Oh yeah. I'm not saying... It's just for me after my process. You have to know ads enough and people won’t do it. But for me, that's how I had to do it.

 

Chase Clymer 

And it's not because I don't think we can perform well. It'd be fun to have an off-camera competition between the 2 of us...

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

(laughs).

 

Chase Clymer  

...but it's just because as business owners ourselves, that's a lot of time to invest to try to win a client when there are other people that want to work with us.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

No doubt. And you'd beat me now. So I don't know anything about ads. I just know high-level stuff. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer   

And that's what you should do. That's what you need to know right now. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Right. So, alright. So far, I've got 3PL, I've got my ad guy, and I got my email guy who... I have an agency that does email. Chris, he was my first employee at BombTech. All he does is my Klaviyo and PostScript

 

So anything [that] we're doing, ads, he's doing all of the offers. He runs my email, which sounds crazy. He writes all the copies. He's better at segmenting. It's a lot of work. So he does email and then we also have 1 in-house person. That's it. That's my employee. 

 

I went from 6 people with an office to 1. He's my general manager that does customer service as well. So he manages the different agencies. That's his job. He manages different agencies. I have a third-party, outsourced, customer service company called Influx

 

They do 24/7-365 customer service. [It was] another thing I didn't think I could outsource. He manages them. We got response times down to under an hour, which now we've got the best satisfaction ratings ever had. 

 

And then the last thing I really have is I did hire the guy who is doing all my video and photos to do social media. He's already making the videos for ads. Now we just post them. [I'm] trying to think if I have anyone else. It's pretty simple.

 

Chase Clymer   

It's a pretty, pretty lean machine.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Super lean. Yeah. And then... What do I even do any more? So I just... I'm working on that manual because I've been looking at businesses to buy and I realized "Wow, these businesses could never be sold." 

 

And it made me say, "Okay, what do I have left at BombTech that I'm doing?" I have one thing left and I'm just... So, I've got a manual now. So if I died, --It sounds dark-- my family could run the business or someone else could run it or it would just run without me. Do you know what I mean?

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Internally at Electric Eye, we refer to it [as] "If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, do we have a process in place? Do we have it written down?"

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Exactly. That's all it is. So I made just a simple thing. And that has been actually getting me really excited because --Not that I'm gonna get hit by a bus tomorrow (laughs)-- But the idea that I have something to work on that has a big impact. 

 

So the hardest thing is, let's say you've got these areas, 3 or 4 areas, how do you vet and who do you find [someone] that's a true expert? And then you just need to know this stuff enough to know if you're doing well or not. 

 

And then just get out of the way if you can, and then focus on... So right now, I'm focusing on products and our offers. I'm trying to make offers that are really high margin, and the product is so good that the customers are just blown away. Focus on the stuff that matters. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yep.

 

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Chase Clymer  

I got a question for you about hiring people. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

Oh god. 

 

Chase Clymer   

When it came to getting the ads team, you wanted someone that could outperform you. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

Yeah.

 

Chase Clymer   

With other jobs that aren't as close to the money, --is how I'd probably refer to it as-- do you have any good enough mentality behind hiring people to do that? Obviously, they're not going to do it as well as you. But do you set a certain threshold of where they need to be?

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

I'm trying to run the Ecommerce business to have no people. So what I try to do is say, "Alright. Do I need someone that I pay as a direct employee or can I find a service or an agency that exists that can do it better?" 

 

Because honestly, I had a lot... Oh, not a lot. But I went really deep in terms of time, effort and money, training, and hiring my original crew. I paid them bonuses. Crazy bonuses. Brought them [to] golf all the time. I really spent a lot of my personal time like getting them invested in the brand.

 

 And then they just left. And I was just like... That really tore me up. And then this last couple of times, we had some turnover, with customer service specifically. I just say, "What am I going to do about this? Do I want to go through the process of hiring and training someone or can I find someone that hires and trains and find people to do it for me?" 

 

That's what I did. I went that route. So I hired that outsourc[ing] agency that does customer service instead of having a direct employee. I'll tell you what, that has saved me so much time, effort, and just money to have experts. 

 

So I'm leaning towards all agencies, all experts, nothing in-house. My one guy in-house was... He means well. He's a good guy. I love him. He crushes. I hope he can step up and be like a true manager [so that] I can get him to the next level. 

 

I just don't know how you do that with a lot of people. I think having one guy that's like the main guy... I don't know if I'm the best guy to ask for hiring. (laughs) I think you just got to see if they have integrity and then give them a shot.

 

Chase Clymer 

Yeah. So nowadays you are looking to buy some businesses. Obviously it's a little... It's a good time now when this comes out. Hopefully, some of it has recovered. You're also working with Ecom Growers. Let's talk a little bit about that.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

Yeah. So that was another business that I did not expect to ever start. And so Ecom Growers, we are really niche. We only help Ecom brands [that] typically do at least a million a year profit [or] more with Klaviyo. 

 

And the whole reason I exist is because of my first employee of BombTech Chris, who is like the most hardworking... If I were to hire someone, he's the best hire ever made in my life. And he found me. (laughs) 

 

He, literally, would be working at BombTech as a customer service rep and messaging me at 1 in the morning like, "Hey dude, did you see the sales right now? The conversion rate is through the roof." He goes, "Hey, I got an idea for this email." And he was just such a unique guy. So for him to step up... And he started running all of BombTech's email. 

 

So he started running all that stuff at BombTech. He was my go-to-guy. And he started crushing it. And then Klaviyo did a case study on BombTech... And people had been reaching out to me before with other podcasts and stuff like "Hey. So, can you help me? Help me with my Ecom brand?" 

 

I was like, "Not really..." Because at that point, I was like "It's too complicated. I don't have a service where I can really show a lot of results." I said no. And then Chris, who is now my co-founder, he's like, "Hey, do you mind if I do a side hustle trying to help brands with Ecom or with email?" 

 

I said, "Dude, of anyone I want to win, it's you. So go for it." So he went out [and] closed 3 clients. I was like, number one, shocked. And number two, I was like, tell me in a month or 2 --I can't really remember the exact timeframe-- how the results are. 

 

And so he came back and he's like, "Dude, they went from 15% to 45%." It was crazy. I was like, "Okay, so the service looks pretty good. You did it for BombTech, you did it for three brands... I was like "...Do it a couple more times." 

 

So then, at one point I go "Let's partner up." And because it's a legit service, people are asking me anyways for help, I can help him with this. And we launched Ecom Growers, officially,  18 months ago. 

 

Now, we've scaled up pretty well. And that's been a whole different look at it. And it's rewarding to help other Ecom brands with a service that is so specific. And the only reason I got behind it was, he's doing my email and my SMS. And it's so much ROI. I was like, "I'm in, dude."

 

Chase Clymer   

No yeah. That's cool. It's cool, too. And it goes with your kind of mantra of like, "I'd rather hire a business." and you just turned your asset and you helped him start a business.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

And I'm so fortunate to have them and so happy. He's doing so well because, at BombTech, I was paying him pretty well. But I couldn't ever pay him what he's making now as a co-founder of an agency.

 

So I'm really like... When you talked about hiring like, "How do you do that?" He found me. But I'm so happy that he's doing well and doing things he could never do under me. So that's one of the most rewarding things. And also for my mental sanity, having 1 income versus 2 has been great. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer   

Yeah. That makes sense. Alright. So before I let you go today, is there anything that I forgot to ask you that is worthwhile?

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan   

No, I think we went pretty deep in all of the aspects there, for sure.

 

Chase Clymer 

Awesome. Well, next time I'm out in Vermont, and we're allowed to, we'll play 9 (holes) because I don't know if I want to do 18 (holes) without any practice. 

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan  

Dude. No judgment here. I'm in. I'm ready. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

 

Tyler 'Sully' Sullivan 

Alright, Chase. Thanks, man.

 

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!