How to Start an eCommerce Business in 2020 (E121)

  • Kyle Goguen
  • Founder of Paw Struck


Kyle Goguen will always be an entrepreneur at heart. Kyle founded his first eBay store at 16 when local restaurants refused to hire him—apparently having zero work experience isn’t a desirable attribute! From electronics to designer women’s clothing, Kyle sold anything and everything he could get my hands on. He spent most of the profits purchasing inventory, which filled my parents’ garage. Every other cent went straight into his savings account.

At 18, Kyle put his eBay business on hold and headed off to USC—majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering. Rather than jump back into eBay, he scooped up a few part-time jobs—one on campus as a Video Technician and the rest as a College Ambassador for brands like PlayStation, Monster Energy, and Ubisoft.

Kyle rode that wave until he finished his Bachelor’s and eventually my Master’s in Engineering Management. With his degrees in hand, he made an illogical decision (in the eyes of many) and chose to avoid a career as an engineer—the thing he had been training to do for over 5.5 years. Instead, Kyle returned to his passion: eCommerce entrepreneurship. was born in January of 2014.




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the Business of eCommerce. I talk with Kyle Goguen about starting the an eCommerce business in 2020. This is the Business of eCommerce episode 121. Welcome to the Business of eCommerce. The show that helps eCommerce retailers start, launch and grow their eCommerce business. I’m your host, Charles Palleschi, and I’m here today with Kyle Goguen. Kyle is the founder of PawStruck, a e-commerce dog treats company, Kyle side of the company in 2014 and has since grown to 12 13 million, I assume on the show today. Tad about if you’re starting an eCommerce business now in 2020, what are some of the best things you should be doing? So, Hey Kyle, how are you doing today?

Kyle (00:43):

I’m doing well. Thanks for having me.

Charles (00:45):

Yeah. Awesome to have you on the show. Love the new thing. Kind of focus in more towards retailers, just starting off on kind of what they can do, kind of getting into 20, 20 to kinda just help wherever they are today. Get to that next level. You see kind of a lot where they don’t really know, kind of, everyone’s kind of trying a lot of different things. What I’ve noticed. So it’s kind of always interested in saying what’s the one thing you should actually be focusing on? Cause I feel like that’s of the, the big thing right on. You could do a little PPC, a little social ads, you know, do some Instagram, do some random blogging, but that’s usually not the right thing to do. So I guess to fit, to start, what would you, if you’re talking to a new retailer today, they’re just starting off, or at least I have something going, what would you say they should be focusing on in this upcoming year to help kind of grow their business?

Kyle (01:39):

Sure. So something that we’ve found to be extremely effective is email marketing. I think it’s something that, especially new eCommerce stores hesitate to jump into and really focus on. It’s something that I personally failed to do for the first couple of years of my business as well. At least for me, like I, I didn’t see email is it’s kind of the future of marketing. I thought it was kind of old school cause it didn’t really work on, on me personally as a consumer. It wasn’t something like I keep my inbox pretty clean. I feel like those email campaigns don’t work on me. I just get annoyed if retailers are emailing me. But frankly, in, in most most categories of products and almost every e-commerce owner I’ve talked to, email marketing is like the number one most successful and profitable marketing channel for the business.

Kyle (02:30):

And that’s been the case for us too. So I sell dog treats and dog twos and, and we really focused on building out a really large, a subscriber list that we can reach out to weekly with different content and deals. And then also, I highly recommend setting up a lot of automated flows number one with an abandoned cart email, which is like the lowest hanging fruit and then a lot of followup emails. Especially if you sell a consumable product. You, I mean, just by setting that up, it’s, it’s you’re gonna put money, your pocket, you know, for every day for the, for the rest of time basically.

Charles (03:03):

Yeah. I feel like a lot of people, they, they start with some like top of the funnel strategy, but they haven’t really kind of done like the rest of the funnel, but they just think more users, more visitors, more eyeballs and that will work. But kind of I guess to dig into both either the email marketing and the abandoned cards, which in a way is email marketing, right? It’s just a different type. It’s a lot more bottom of the funnel and I think people don’t get as excited because they’re saying, well, I just, I just want more people to come to the site and like, that’ll work. But usually it’s not, it’s you kind of want to flip it around. Right. And kind of go the other way.

Kyle (03:38):

Yeah. Yeah. I would say in my experience, I kind of, I’ve kind of gone back and forth. Right. So in very beginning, I would say I probably, me personally spent more time over optimizing my website and those sort of bottom of the funnel kind of building that mousetrap personally spent way too much time and effort optimizing our website when there really wasn’t any users coming in and setting up all these email flows and stuff like that. So I think there’s a balancing act where you, you definitely want to build that mousetrap in a way that when you send traffic to it, they’re actually going to convert. But don’t spend a ton of time, like you’re gonna read all these blogs telling you to AB test this and, and do all that sort of stuff. But if you don’t have enough customers coming through the door, it doesn’t really matter. But so it’s kinda, it definitely is a balancing act. You want that abandoned cart email and all those other email capture popups and all kinds of other best practices. Otherwise you’re just sending traffic inefficiently to inefficiently to your website. That’s just going to, you know, bouncer or never come back. So,

Charles (04:35):

Yeah, I feel like there’s like a tech talk kind of thing here, right? Where you need to stop, you know, you start somewhere, right? You need traffic and then once you have a little traffic you need to figure out how to better convert that. But then very quickly you need to figure out how to get more traffic. And you kinda, I think a lot of people what they do is just read random blogs, articles, just listen to random, I guess things like ourself, things like us talking, but they don’t realize that the thing, the thing to keep in mind is that it depends where you’re at and where you need in this kind of tech talking. If you have no visitors, right? Then like you said, all the abandoned cart emails you want, not going to work, but if you have no abandoned card and then that’s when you want to kind of talk tech talk back in the other direction of, all right, let’s turn to optimize the funnel at that point.

Kyle (05:19):

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that’s a great way to describe it is it’s going back and forth and, and at different stages of your business you’re going to have to continue to re optimize or continue to find new traffic. But you’re definitely going back and forth between the two.

Charles (05:33):

How do you know when to actually kind of go back and forth? Like, I guess obviously if you have no one coming, you want to start there, right? But when do you know, okay, I’m starting to see, you know, 110 people a day, a hundred, a thousand lakes. When do you actually know, okay, now it’s time to actually start working on the funnel part of it, working on the middle and bottom part of the funnel.

Kyle (05:53):

So real, real tough question to answer. But I can try give a little bit of insight. I think it’s easier for people who are just starting out to answer that question. So if you’re just starting out, I mean frankly, like you want to kind of want to follow that like MVP practice, right? Like minimal viable product to get a website up there. It starts selling, see what’s going to happen. Lowest hanging fruit, throw up an abandoned cart email, but you don’t just put one email, throw up a newsletter, pop up, that’s fine. Like you don’t really need to spend much time and start getting, you know, some traffic prove the concept. But after that, frankly, like once you have what you would consider like a legitimate business that you know you’re going to be committing to and you’re going to do it over time. It’s really just, it’s very dependent on, you know, how much time you have in a given day or week or whatever that you can allocate to these sort of things. And also if you have a team around you too. So I think it’s a, it’s a tough question like I said, but early on you definitely want to not get too focused on the details and make sure you can prove the concept before diving in too deep.

Charles (06:56):

When you guys were getting started, how did you actually start with that top of the funnel? Like getting anyone to come? Cause I feel like that’s what, that’s what most people kind of get lost. They, you know, go create the big commerce side, Shopify site, whatever it is, launch it and then just like crickets and that’s us. But like where did you guys actually start day one of saying, okay, we need to get someone, you know, someone that we don’t know, basically someone other than the people you put on Facebook. Hey, we launched and some people click on it, but where do people actually go for that next step of, now I need to start getting some real shorts, like

Kyle (07:28):

So very dependent on the products obviously that you’re creating. But in general for me, I would recommend looking at Google ad words. That’s a great place to start or paid ads in general. I mean that’s the easiest way to drive traffic early on. SEO is a much more longterm strategy. So likely that’s not going to be your first step. That requires a lot more investment and you kind of reap the rewards, you know, three, six months to a year or even maybe even longer down the road. So paid traffic is probably the first thing I would recommend. And that’s what we did personally. And so I started the business in 2014 we started pretty early on with Google average just because our products fit that pretty well. And then we jumped into social media and some of these other avenues. So I would just kind of pick what makes sense for your business.

Kyle (08:18):

Like if you see your product doing requiring a lot of education, for example, and it’s something really revolutionary, Google AdWords probably isn’t a good fit for you and you’re gonna have to go more towards like a social Avenue where you can explain maybe in a video or an image and really show off what your product is. You may have to go towards like Facebook, okay.


Or something like that. So just pick one of those paid avenues, dive in and learn as much as you can possibly hire an agency and then you’ll, you’ll have some traffic. And then it’s just a question if that traffic is affordable and you can get them to convert.

Charles (08:50):

Yeah. So when you guys were launching, you kind of knew, so you sell dog treats, right? And you know, people literally typing in buy dog treats into Google like this. Like you know this keywords and it’s probably a hundred other ones. Very, you know, a little more niche. But you know, there’s just audience and audience ready and they just looking for it and all you need to do is figure out how to get in front and get, get in front of them and bring them to your site at that point.

Kyle (09:14):

Yeah, exactly. So we were in that, I guess that kind of favorable position early on that a lot of our products were keyword driven. So it was like people knew how to find our products. It wasn’t like we invented something revolutionary. You know, we have our brand and our story that we tell because our products are better than our competitors in our opinion. But yeah, we had a built in audience already looking for our similar types of products. So that’s why Google ad words was perfect. So someone looking for dog treats, we could run an ad to them. And then sell them from day one. Like I said, if your product is a little bit different and more unique, then you’re probably going to have to go with a different strategy.

Charles (09:50):

What do you say the people that, that kind of starting off, and I see this all the time with folks kind of just, just getting, going with paid and stuff’s not converting the way they want and they look and say, Hey, we spent, you know, whatever, $10 to basically get like a $5 sale and that sort of thing. And they’re looking at like these very like small numbers and trying to extrapolate that to like, this doesn’t work or something like they start, you see people looking at small numbers and try to extrapolate that. What do you kind of say to those people?

Kyle (10:21):

Yeah, and I, I understand where they’re coming from. I mean, I did the same thing and I would say most new entrepreneurs on a budget probably are feeling the same thing, right? Like you, you want that instant success. You’ve put time, effort on the line, maybe some money. You taken some risks and you’re hoping that you can just turn on some ads and start crushing it right out of the Gates. So just at least hopefully you can feel a little better knowing that most people are in this, in the same boat as you. But yeah, don’t make any assumptions too early on, right? So if you’re running Google ads and you really think you’ve done the research, you think it should be working, don’t turn it off after a week. If it’s not performing, you just gotta keep at it, make adjustments, move on to different blogs or whatever resources to learn how to do it or hire an expert, get hire a consultant, hire an agency, whatever it is to try to make it work.

Kyle (11:12):

I mean, ultimately at some point you may have to pull the trigger or pull the plug, rather if it’s, if it’s truly proving to be not a profitable or a way that you can really acquire customers, but just don’t give up is the point. Like you, you kind of have to remember that this is your, you’re paying to learn essentially like you’re losing money on those early those early outs. And that’s okay because you’re basically paying for that education and no one’s going to be perfect out of the Gates unless, unless you have some background or if you get lucky or you have the perfect product, I guess.

Charles (11:42):

Yeah, I feel like on those initial ones, right, if we’re talking about the whole tech talk, you’re not going to have your abandoned cart email set up. You’re not going to have your retargeting setup or clicking a right that well. So let’s say it is costing you $10 to acquire a $5 customer, whatever it is in at some point that might become profitable once you get the rest of the funnel actually working better. But it’s hard to know at the beginning is that, should we just scrap this and move on? Is this not working? Because it might end up, it might end up being great and maybe you’re doing the right thing there. You just don’t know yet, which is always interesting.

Kyle (12:14):

Yeah. And I guess another few things to throw in there too. So it really depends what you’re selling. So if you’re selling a consumable product, there’s also some consideration when it comes to profitability, right? Like lifetime value of a customer. If you know they’re going to continue to shop with you. I sell dog treats. So you know, I know if the dog likes it, like the owner’s going to come back and buy many times from us. So you have to take those sort of things into account. And when you’re first starting, it’s nearly impossible to come up with a lifetime value. But just kind of keep those kind of ideas in the back of your head. And then another thing which is important to some kind of what we were saying, don’t get discouraged, don’t get too excited. Also, if you’re seeing really good results from the beginning you’re driving, you know, $100 worth of sales and it costs you five bucks, that’s terrific.

Kyle (12:58):

But a lot of the time that sort of success also doesn’t scale. There’s only, when it comes to Google ad words, there’s only so many people looking for those specific keywords in a given month. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to scale that up and be spending $1 million an hour and spend and ad with a five X ROI, you know, longterm. Same with Facebook and Instagram and a lot of these other, other areas where you can pay for traffic. Scaling that traffic up is really difficult. And generally speaking, as you grow it, it becomes less and less efficient.

Charles (13:28):

Yeah. I feel like Edwards, one of the is one of the tougher ones too, right? Cause you could find some niche keywords that are great and they convert like gangbusters, but maybe there’s only 10 people searching those a day and you can buy all 10 and they all convert, but then you just need more keywords. And it’s not like if you’re talking social, right, like, and you’re saying, Hey, I just wanna advertise to all the dog owners in North America from 18 to 35. You can pretty much just keep going forever at that point. Like almost, but you know, when you’re talking search, you don’t have that kind of forever. You have to constantly be kinda, okay, what happened with this keyword? Let’s think with the next one. Okay, we’ve done it, let’s take on the next one. You need to constantly be kind of moving and doing better at that.

Kyle (14:14):

Yeah, exactly. With those keyword driven platforms like Google ad words being if you’re selling on Amazon, Amazon’s platform is very similar as well. It’s people looking for a specific keyword or product, then it’s a fixed amount. So unless you’re coming out with new products or people, there’s new trends out in the market, it’s not really gonna change a whole lot. So you’d have to change something else or you need to kind of jump into a different platform to, to get more users or customers.

Charles (14:43):

Yup. Going back to the email marketing side, I’m kind of, one of the other things you see all the time is folks who just have trouble getting people like pulling an email address out of someone. Right? And you kind of see the classes thing, give them, offer them a discount in exchange for the email, Hey, you know, put this little pop up into your email and we’ll send you a $10 off coupon, whatever it is. Is that something you’ve done or something else you’d recommend? Where would you kind of go there?

Kyle (15:10):

Yeah, we’ve tried a lot of different things when it comes to capturing email and we’ve gone back and forth with discounts of different values and it comes down to really just testing it with your audience. Like, your audience is going to be different than mine and you need to figure out what works best for you. Generally speaking, some sort of offers really good. But maybe you don’t wanna make an offer from the get go. Like if you see someone coming to your website, maybe you don’t want to give them a discount right away, but you’re really doing a discount, like an abandoned, abandoned cart discount. Right? You can do those, those popups that pop up when someone’s leaving the cart and that’s where you hit them with a discount. Cause you want to obviously keep as much money into your pocket as possible.

Kyle (15:52):

And also you have to remember like the quality of your customers to like ideally you’re attracting people who are actually interested in your products and then those sort of people are much more inclined to give you their email address and be interested in your products on a regular basis. So you don’t really want just deal hunters who are just going to unsubscribe from your email list as soon as you sure. Right to anything. It just requires a lot of testing. I would start with like a smaller discount. You can try percent off, you can try a dollar amount off, you can test both those against each other and see what really works. And then you can also test no, no discount. Right. Like make some sort of offer, join our club that gets VIP deals, early access, whatever you can offer that maybe isn’t just money back and see if that converts just as well. Because in a perfect world it would and then you’re not giving away margin from the get go.

Charles (16:43):

Mmm. Gotcha. Yeah. I think a lot of people miss that part. Right on if you offer a coupon, a lot of people I just going to sign up, get the coupon hit and scribe. So if you kind of are looking at the wrong numbers, you’re going to say, Hey, you know, 10% of people click and sign up for this. But out of that, you know, 98% of people unsubscribe. So what’s the point? And if you kind of don’t see the whole whole way through that, you might easily miss that undescribed rate when it comes to the sign up on that form.

Kyle (17:10):

Yeah. And frankly, the size of your email list is really just a kind of a vanity metric in my opinion. When it comes to an eCommerce store, it doesn’t really matter how big your list is. Frankly, it’s how many people are buying from you and actually want to be on your list. So how engaged they are, how much revenue it drives. I’d much rather have a highly engaged audience that’s half the size than something twice the size that doesn’t convert nearly as well. So just keep that in mind as you look at those numbers. You know, part of the time you definitely will have to look at the subscribe rates, but eventually you’ll be able to analyze your list and see, you know, to make sure you’re acquiring the right people onto your list, I guess.

Charles (17:49):

Yeah, I was talking to Joanna, we’ve, we’ve from a copy hackers back on episode, I think it was one 13 and one of the big things she mentioned, which is super interesting, is being sure a tag users using what they interested in, right? So let’s say a particular type of dog treat or they have particular type of dog that you know, you, you know, they have a Husky and you have these large dog treats. You’re not going to advertise a small once a month, maybe a bad analogy, but you know, you are on going and right there alone. So instead of saying, Hey, we have an email list of 100,000 users and we just blast them all with a lot of stuff that they don’t care about, you then start to know out of those a hundred thousand only really 2000 are in the special niche, but if you email them that exact offer, you’re going to get this, you know like a 90% open rate versus female, the whole list, you’re going to get the same 2000 people to open it. Have you ever done any kind of segmentation like that and try that?

Kyle (18:48):

Yeah. The more segments and you can get the better. I mean I think everyone would agree with that. It is a kind of an equation you have to do in your head how much time you have and how much effort you want to put in. Kind of like what we were talking about earlier, right? If your list is a hundred people, you’re not going to spend a bunch of times segmenting that list into four different buckets and and customizing the email four different ways. Most likely, unless you have a really high priced item. But if you a, once you get into like a larger list, you’d definitely want a segment as much as you can. So the easiest example and most obvious example I could say when it comes to our store is we do sell some cat products, right? And the last thing we want to do is send an email with dog treats to cat owners or vice versa. It makes no sense. They’re definitely not going to buy and they’re probably going to be pissed off that they got sent something that is irrelevant to them. But like you said, like if we know the size of their dog or what types of products they’ve purchased in the past, all of that information is extremely useful to target them better and write copy kind of focused on that type of customer and their needs. It’ll open the on better metrics across the board, open rate, click through conversion, all of the above.

Charles (20:02):

Yeah, totally agree. I think that’s, and again, it’s kind of goes back to the tech docking like you said. Right? So if you have that a hundred percent email list, don’t Dole this anything we’re saying go out there and buy some ad words, but if you have that, you know, thousand 10,000, 100,000, that’s when you want to start segmenting. And you can even start collecting the data early on, but because there’s a lot of email VITAS now that are just sitting behind the scenes listening, tagging, collecting, and that’s great to implement early on, but you don’t actually act on it until you really have any sort of volume, which is kind of evicting them. How do you know? So we were talking before and one thing you mentioned is how to know when’s the right time to start a business. I found that that’s interesting cause I feel like a lot of people don’t think about that when they kind of got into it.

Kyle (20:47):

Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot of people are excited by the idea of starting a business. They’ve always wanted to have their kind of rights ready or are unsure if they’re ready to really make the jump. And, and in my feeling, the easy answer is now, like there’s no better time than the president. Right. it’s only gonna get harder. So for me, I started it right after college which was it was a great time to do it. I was used to eating and living like a college student, so my expenses were pretty low. And, and it was a perfect timing for me. I didn’t have a lot of responsibility. I didn’t have any kids or wife or anything like that. So I think that was a huge, huge advantage. I could just dive in and focus on business. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case that you have to do it when you’re young.

Kyle (21:38):

But I would say that there is no, I guess, a right time in your life. So if you’re thinking of something and you think you’ve done your research, you’ve done your due diligence, you think it’s a good idea and you think it can work, just, just make it happen. I mean, even if it’s a matter of working here full time job and doing it at nights and weekends whatever it is that you need to do and just just make it happen. I every, I would say almost every person I meet that is an entrepreneur has told me they wish they had done it earlier. So I, I think you will, you won’t regret it if you make the jump over.

Charles (22:16):

Yeah, I can definitely, it’s looking back. I can say that probably at the time probably kind of stressful. But yes, in hindsight I feel like I would say exactly the same thing. I wish I did it sooner. Cause then you’d say I’d be, if I did it sooner, it’d be a year further along in the journey right now. But yeah, I know, I feel like a lot of people, they get started in this, it’s so easy to tell them what reasons not to you know, once you in, once you have a family and kids or any sort of responsibilities, it’s very easy to kind of push things off. But I think people underestimate how much you can get done nights and weekends and just like in between. And a lot of this too doesn’t take 40 hours a week at the beginning. A lot of 40 hours you’re not even going to get anywhere doing that because you don’t really know the next step. So if you sat down and just, you know, woke up on Monday and said, Hey, I’m ready to work, you might not even know the thing to work on. So you need to actually just do a little and then go back to your research, do a little more, do some research. It’s at the beginning you kind of just don’t have like, we’re just going to go and it’s very hard to just go for it. I found an artist.

Kyle (23:19):

Yup. Yeah, I agree.

Charles (23:21):

When you started doing, so you are right at a college?

Kyle (23:24):

Yeah, I, I had just graduated from college and I actually had accepted a job offer from that company I had interned with the previous summer and I was planning on doing that and was kind of kind of what I was just describing, like unsure. I’d always been pretty entrepreneurial. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go the safe route with this job that I accepted or really start my own business. And I kind of just finally decided that there wasn’t a lot of risks. Like what was I risking? I just finished school and I should try it now while I have the time. And so I, I ended up turning down the offer and jumping right in.

Charles (24:02):

Hmm. And that was six years ago, right? Or no, 2014.

Kyle (24:06):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. In 2014.

Charles (24:08):

And where the business now and size of terms of size, scale number of employees, anything like that?

Kyle (24:15):

Yeah, so we have, so I’m in Southern California and our, in our headquarters, we have our warehouse in the Midwest and then we have some remote employees all around the world actually. So we’re right around a little under 30 full time employees. And then we also have some agencies and different kind of contractors out there as well. In addition to that size-wise I mean we’re, we’re right around, we broke 13 million this year and then we’re hoping to grow a decent amount coming into 2020. So

Charles (24:52):

Wow. And how many skews are we talking?

Kyle (24:54):

Yeah, we are, I would say like unique products. We probably have around 90 or so. Yeah. For our own brand. Yeah, around 90 skews. And then we have a lot of variations within that. So we have different pack sizes. So say you have a dog treat, we have a 10 pack, 25, 50, a hundred pack, 250 packs, so you can buy in bulk. But in terms of unique products right around that 90 Mark,

Charles (25:20):

And what is the product line if you’re talking 90. And excuse my ignorance about the doctor, that one I have not researched too much, but are there even 90 different types of dog treats? Like how do you even do that?

Kyle (25:33):

Yes, there are quite a few. So when I say dog treats, I was being a little bit vague, but we primarily focus on single ingredient dog treats and dog twos. So what I mean by that is generally they’re animal body parts. So like say cow ears, pig ears, hopes bully sticks. Those are the type of items that we focus on because it’s kind of our belief that you know, animals are carnivores or dogs are carnivores rather you know, they, I would rather give my dog, you know cow weer than some sort of dog treat that was cooked up in a lab with all kinds of artificial ingredients and things that I don’t know where to in it. So we really focus on premium not Ash. Sure. Well probably okay. Because I love and have a ton of health benefits as well.

Charles (26:18):

Very cool. And you guys produce them all in the U S or like how do you actually, how do you actually source, like what are the pieces comes like some way, like how do you do this?

Kyle (26:32):

So we are sourcing raw materials, which would be say a pig gear for example, from various slaughterhouses and providers throughout the U S and also we have a lot that we’re buying from South. So we focus on countries where quality and safety and all of that can be kind of insured. So generally speaking a lot in the U S we also do Canada. South America has terrific beef, a lot of like free range grass fed cattle, so that’s a great place to buy stuff as well. We buy a few things from New Zealand. We pretty much just stay away from any of the co the countries that the quality is a little bit questionable. So we stick to kind of the, a lot of the countries where we can get a lot of the, we can go visit the factories and we can get the certifications and a kind of standards around to make sure that everything is the way we want it to be.

Charles (27:25):

Very cool. It sounds like you have had quite the run in the past, what, six years from zero to 13 million. That’s that’s impressive. What do you kind of attribute that success and growth to?

Kyle (27:37):

Yeah, so I would say to be, to be honest, like the first couple of years were very slow going. I mean I was starting from scratch like a lot of other eCommerce entrepreneurs. I was tech savvy and I knew I wanted to get an eCommerce, but I didn’t know the first thing. And so those first couple of years were a big learning curve trying to figure out what I needed to do, how to do it, how to attract customers and all of that. So I mean, the one thing I could say that has been the biggest factor in our success so far, which might sound crazy, is finding other likeminded eCommerce entrepreneurs to learn from. So in particular, one group I joined when I, now it’s four or five years ago is eCommerce fuel. So it’s an online forum for eCommerce business owners and that, that frankly was [inaudible] big turning point point in my career because up until that point I was basically just running things solo, trying to figure it out on my own.

Kyle (28:34):

And I’d read as many blogs and articles and listened to everything I could, but I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it or I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or learn from or anything like that. I was, it was pretty lonely frankly. And then once I joined that group, I was able to go to some in person meetups, meet other people in my exact same shoes, but maybe a little bit more advanced like a year or two ahead of me and just constantly just sucking up as much information as I possibly could from all these people. And then now looking back like four years later after I joined that group, I have a large network of really close friends at this point that we’re constantly in contact. I have a group that I’m meeting with on a monthly basis via Skype. We hold each other accountable. We talk about the new best marketing tactics, we talk about tough stuff like HR problems, employee issues, hiring, firing, everything in between. And, and frankly, if I didn’t have that network it would be much lonelier and I, I don’t think I’d be nearly close to where I am today.

Charles (29:33):

I like that. I yeah, it took me, I did something similar and took a while. I was actually, we were talking before the show, going into a trip after this with a bunch folks how to doing something similar and literally staying in a house with like eight other people that, and we’re all in, it’s basically like a mastermind over course of a week and things like that. I find it super helpful. How did you find that mastermind group? Would you call it a mastermind, the kind of weekly, monthly,

Kyle (29:57):

Yeah. The one that I’m meeting with monthly is we call it a mastermind. So there’s nine of us. I met all those people through eCommerce fuels so that, that forum I can attribute that forum to a lot of my success. Frankly. Like I’ve met a lot of people through there and that’s kind of broken off until a lot of these different groups and meetups that I’m a part of because of that.

Charles (30:18):

Very cool. Do any conferences at all or is it all kind of mostly online?

Kyle (30:22):

Yup. Yup. Yeah. So the e-commerce who was a conference and going to next month I think and then I go to a few other comp Francis throughout the year as well. I personally for, for conferences that are much more like kind of like a mastermind, like you said, like you’re, it’s a lot of networking, collaborating with your peers. I’ll find that much more helpful than going to conferences where it’s a lot of vendors pitching you on their, on their different softwares and whatever else. Those are useful if you don’t know what’s out there, but at a certain point in your business, after many years you kind of know what’s available and you, you don’t really need that and you just need to just learn from what other people are doing.

Charles (31:04):

Very cool. Yeah, I definitely I’ve noticed over the years you kind of build up a network and at some point you have questions and you kind of just roam around on Google, searching them and hoping, hoping to get an answer. But at some point you have enough of these contacts buildup where you can just go into your Facebook group or a private Slack channel, whatever it is that you’re in and just kinda, Hey I have this really complex, this, this HR issue that I can’t say publicly or whatever it is. And you have 10 other people on there that kind of reply back and be like, yeah, had the same thing happen. Here’s what you do. You’re like, Oh wow. That just saved me a lot of time wandering around in the dark, so. Yep. Exactly. Very cool. All right. It was great chatting. I appreciate all the insight. If folks want to find you, kinda see more about you, what can they do? So

Kyle (31:50):

The the easiest way is you can check out our website. It’s and then maybe I’ll I’ll have you put it in the show notes, my LinkedIn, and happy to connect there with anyone.

Charles (32:00):

Awesome. I will include that on the notes, so thanks a lot for coming on.

Kyle (32:03):

Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

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