E113: Interview with our New Director of EcommerceJanuary 18, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
“What’s the next thing we have to do to keep going? Is that contacting Amazon, or fixing a listing? Where in some places we probably should take a step back and think about where are we going with this brand and how do we picture it in the next 6 months or a year.” – Jacqueline on focusing on the bigger picture and not getting distracted by the day-to-day activities of the business
When you run a small ecommerce company, it’s fine to wear many hats–you can be your own CEO, product development specialist, even your own janitor. But if you want your company to grow, you’ll realize that being a one-man band hugely limits the scalability of your business.
While I’m not a one-man band, I realized I needed somebody to help with high-level business development when our company began growing aggressively. If you’ve been following the EcomCrew podcast for a while now, you’ll probably remember a few episodes early last year where I mentioned I was looking to hire a C-level employee. Six months later, we hired Jacqueline as our Director of Ecommerce. It was a long and meticulous process, considering that this is a role that will have a direct impact on the direction of our business.
Jacqueline has been with us for 3 months now and she has already made huge improvements in our business, streamlining many of what used to be “brute-force” processes. I invited her to be a guest on this episode to talk about the hiring process and what it’s like to be in the front seat running our ecommerce company.
Some conversation points:
- Why I decided to hire a C-level employee
- How we found Jacqueline
- Her professional background
- What she’s done so far and what changed with our business since she came on board
- Her first impression of our business and the areas she thought needed improvement
- The most difficult challenges she sees in the next 12 months
- What she’s excited about the company moving forward
We plan to grow double this year and I’m confident we will achieve it with Jacqueline’s help. I had fun recording this episode and I will have her on the podcast again in a couple of months with updates on our growth.
Thanks for listening! Until next week, happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 113 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/113 to get to the show notes and comments for this episode. And today I have Jacquelyn, our new director of ecommerce joining me on the podcast. It’s been a long time coming both in getting her hired and on board.
If you guys have listened to this show for any length of time, you know this is something I decided to do towards the early part of 2017. But the reality was it took almost six months to find Jacquelyn, for me to get the confidence that she was their exact right person, and also there was just some other timing issues in between there, things like six weeks trips to China and other things that kind of were going on. So that kind of threw off the timing.
And also Jacquelyn ended up going on vacation for three weeks to the day that we extended an offer to her. It was a pre-planned vacation, so it was totally fine, and something I’m happy that she was able to be able to go do. But the reality was it took six months basically from the day that I decided, okay let’s get Jacquelyn in the door, or this position filled, to she actually sitting in a seat and working at our company.
And now it’s been about three months, and I wanted to bring her on and give you guys some insight from her perspective of what that’s been like for her, from the hiring process to what she’s working on day-to-day, to what she’s now seen as problems and opportunities within our business. It’s one of these things I talk about all the time about how I think it’s disingenuous to always be talking about all the things that are going right in your business when you know darn well that people have things that aren’t working perfectly in their business.
So we’re going to share a little bit of that here, and we have a long way to go. And again trying to keep our eye on the macro ball and even others things that we’re frustrated with and I know that we can do a better job with, but also taking time to pat ourselves on the back and look at 2017 as a whole and realize we still doubled. We still went from about two and a half million to five million last year.
And our hope is to be able to do that again this year, go from five million to ten million this year, and certainly wouldn’t even become remotely possible without someone like Jacquelyn on board. So I hope you guys enjoy this episode. She is not going to be a stranger to this podcast. We’ll definitely have her on somewhere between once a month to once a quarter whenever there’s something profound to talk about.
And I think it’ll be cool for you guys to just get some insight into her development and how she’s progressing here, and the things that she’s working on because again this is definitely not something that I could have done myself. And I can already see what a difference this is going to make. So we’ll talk to you guys on the other side of this interview, and we hope that you enjoy it.
Jacquelyn:: What’s the next thing we have to do to keep going? Is that contacting Amazon, or fixing a listing? Where in some places we probably should take a step back and think about where are we going with this brand and how do we picture it in the next 6 months or a year.
Mike: Hi Jacquelyn and welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast.
Jacquelyn: Hey Mike, thanks for having me.
Mike: We are all joking over here because we’ve been talking about doing this podcast for a few weeks and the anticipation I think has built up to something that it probably isn’t, it’s just a podcast. But thank you for coming on doing this. As everyone knows we’ve talked a lot about you previously in the podcast, and you joined us as a guest for three minutes or so on one of the podcasts…
Jacquelyn: In the Philippines.
Mike: In the Philippines. So I’ll put that in the show notes. And the cool thing about this, I got a new microphone set up here. So Jacquelyn and I are sitting in our office, oval table with our iPhone and our little road podcaster contraption here. And I think that this can become like a regular segment we do on the podcast, either once a month or once a quarter, just kind of talking about what’s going on behind the scenes at our overall company.
But what I want to do with this episode was just give people an idea of what Jacquelyn has brought to the table at our organization, and have her kind of tell you firsthand all the embarrassing things that she’s seen behind the scenes that we haven’t been doing right. Because I think what ends up happening with a lot of these podcasts is everyone again they kind of talk about all the things that are going right.
And not everything is perfect here, and there’s a lot of things that we’re working on to improve. We’ve had a situation where we’ve been growing at 200 to 300% per year and that creates a lot of high fives and cool feelings, but also a lot of chaos behind the scenes. And this is something that I knew was a problem last year, and I wanted to solve them. One of my goals in 2017 was to get this person on board and start working towards fixing some of these things in 2017 and beyond.
And it took a while to find Jacquelyn. It took about six months from the day that I decided to make the hire to she was actually here. And it wasn’t because of procrastination, but because it takes a long time to find a really good employee especially someone that’s going to be so integral to our business. So let’s start with that, basically how we found you, the process that went through that.
Obviously, you don’t know all the things that went on behind the scenes first because you weren’t here yet. But the process basically was posting on Indeed. For me it was putting a lot of thought process into the job description, realizing people are only going to read so much. So just kind of listing our high-level duties and things that would attract the right type of person. So I guess the first question I have for you Jacquelyn is why did you respond to our job posts, and has it been anything like with the job post as it said?
Jacquelyn: What’s really funny is I was updating my LinkedIn the other day, and I was looking at the original job post thinking, let me double check if I’ve done these things or not. And the reality is I’ve done most of that, which is awesome. So Mike was right on point in what he was looking for. But when I responded to the job post, I kind of read through it and thought that a lot of it had to do with somebody who is really good at organizing and making up processes, and has a good business background.
But then I read ecommerce experience is a must. And I was like, oh shoot. But yeah I think Mike was just looking for a specific personality more than anything else, and I thought that I fit that really well. And so yeah I guess that’s why I responded, because I could bring to the table a lot of things that maybe he was missing here and that he was really, really I guess into teaching everything else.
Mike: Yeah, and that’s a really good point because in actuality as you know it kind of came down to two people at the very end. We had two really qualified people, actually, there was there was three in reality. They were three. But it kind of came down at the very end it was down to two. And it’s interesting because the other person that we were considering had more e-commerce experience.
She actually was a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company doing e-commerce. And in the end, I do think the personality thing is what ended up winning out because you can teach a lot of the stuff. At the end of the day like the way I look at it is I’m not that smart. So if I could figure it out, we could teach other people who are smarter than me to do a lot of this stuff, right? So yeah and there are certain things that come through in the interview process. And as you know, it isn’t like we just do one interview and all of a sudden you’re working here. It was three or four.
Jacquelyn: I mean the process was pretty long compared to any other interview process I’ve endured. But I definitely see the reason why you do it. It’s to find the right person and to make sure that they fit in within your organization. And it’s pretty cool I guess to get that much face time with somebody that you’re going to be working with every day. You have to make sure it’s the right person for sure.
Mike: Yeah, but I mean it isn’t like you didn’t have a background in any of the stuff. I mean so let’s talk a little bit about your background. I mean you worked at another Fortune 500 company yourself, but in product development. So let’s talk just a little bit about that. I mean it was definitely appealing to me especially as we’re considering launching a product a week or so, we can actually get on that schedule. But you have a background in that which was cool. So let’s talk about that for a minute.
Jacquelyn: Yeah. So my educational background is in international business and Spanish. And I guess in the last eight years, I’ve basically been working in business and marketing strategy focusing in the region of Latin America and Canada. And a big part of that position was product development. And product development not only from the standpoint of producing new products and then handing that off to somebody else, but from the position of developing products, researching what needs to go on those products, doing all the analysis and the market data and the competitor analysis, but then also following that product all the way through sell-through.
So it’s really the whole lifecycle of creating a product and seeing what happens to it and managing it throughout its life cycle. And that’s something that I think here is pretty much what we’re doing. So I’ve a pretty good background in that and just managing that process from start to finish and seeing all those little pieces and little details come together. And that’s something that we were working on today and is a challenge and exciting in other ways.
Mike: Yeah definitely. So yeah I mean it’s definitely the experience has come in handy, which is a good segue into the next question which I want to talk about here which is what have you been working on so far? So we made a job offer to you, you went on vacation for three weeks. That’s a good job offer which you had already planned which was fine.
But it was good for me because it gave me time to kind of sit down and think through, how do I want to bring this person on board? I know that there were going to be way more things that we can possibly give somebody at one time to consume. So it was more of a less of a let’s make sure we don’t make this person’s head explode or overwhelm them or make them run out the door the first day.
I actually remember thinking there was a possibility at the end of the first week that you might not come back on Monday, because it was just like even though I was trying so hard not to give too much, I felt like it was already overwhelming, because it is when you’re coming into a new organization. And for someone who’s already here and like myself, the day that you come to work your first days is just the next day in our journey. But I don’t think about the things that I spent the last four years learning, or it’s hard to communicate all that in a dump, at one time.
So we did I think the best that I could. I tried to stagger out introducing new things. And we’re getting further and further down at that point. And we both agreed before you came on board it would probably take six months to fully get on board. So we’re about halfway through that. But let’s talk about the things that you have been able to do so far because in my mind it’s a ton of stuff. I see an evolution in our company already. A lot of things are spreadsheets and processes, and let’s think about things a different way.
And even though we haven’t fully been able to implement all that in the life cycle, at least we’re talking about it. And I can kind of see the day-to-day way that we did things before which was hitting the panic button in every 30 seconds and realizing that certain things need to get done to try to have a mind shift of let’s plan a month or a quarter in advance and get things in place so we aren’t running around with a chicken with its head cut off kind of thing.
So yeah let’s dig into that and talk about some of those things that you’ve been able to implement, and at least get on the radar to this point.
Jacquelyn: Sure, so right when I started I had about a month before going to China. And that was pretty much like the ecommerce crash course from Mike on all the different softwares and all the different I guess things that we were doing here. And I had that month to kind of wrap my head around that which obviously isn’t a lot of time. And then we went to China for two weeks, and went to the Canton Fair and walked around there for a few consecutive days.
And so, one of the biggest things that I’ve been working on is new product development. And previous to this, there wasn’t exactly a process, or I mean it was pretty all over the place in terms of new product development, and it still definitely is and we’re working towards making that better. But I spent a lot of my time contacting and following up with all the manufacturers that we saw there, and just improving the products and putting our own spin on them and things like that.
So that’s definitely taking up the majority of my time just currently. But on top of that as Mike was saying creating processes both I guess internally and also with our team in the Philippines has been something that has improved what we’re doing. So new products just trying to figure out what the process is for that, how do we get things launched on time, inventory in general, how we can make our operation more efficient.
And then just internal processes like, how do we want to come up with our basic strategy for the next year or quarter or week, or month? Those types of things has been something that I’ve been working on. And then I touched a little bit upon inventory management, but that’s something that more recently I’ve become more involved in, and it’s something that definitely takes up a lot of time initially because you’re trying to clean up what has kind of happened, and trying to figure out what — just make things more accurate and what’s been happening and just trying to make it a more efficient operation I guess.
And then just continue to learn everything about ecommerce that there is to learn. So just thinking about our Shopify stores and Facebook ads and how to leverage the data that we got from that to do better marketing. And Amazon PPC, which is something that we’ve also been working on recently. So those are I guess the main things, but it doesn’t even start to touch really what we have left to work on and what I do on a daily basis.
Mike: I think the reality is it will probably take more like a year to implement everything by the time you really look at it six months or just kind of get us to the point where we’re really going to rocking and rolling with it. So the next question I have, this will be one of these top things to hear, but I already know a lot of the answers to those. But Jacquelyn and I did not talk in advance of doing this podcast.
I like to do that type of stuff with almost everything that I do with this podcast because otherwise it becomes staged or it’s not as real. So the question I have here and I’m curious to get your input on this is what things you see wrong in our business as someone new coming in. And I think that you probably can put those things in different buckets.
So let’s start with the absolute worst sense, what are the things when you go home and you’re like having a drink with your boyfriend or some friends or something and you’re like, I cannot believe the circus over there at Terran like crap. You won’t believe that some of the — what are those couple of things, or just like, oh my God, this is just like what the hell did I get myself into or like why you’re like what are they doing? We got to fix this right away. What are those things?
Jacquelyn: Wow. So I didn’t quite think about it like that, I just made a general list. But I think just overall coming from a company or a corporation rather with a lot more people that’s worldwide, and then working for a smaller company, just, in general, there’s obviously a lack of organization and being understaffed and things not getting done I guess in the most appropriate way or efficiently I should say. Those are probably the things that I’m like I don’t even know what to do, like how do I approach this?
But I think in general, the typical problems that you see that a business that’s scaling for growth has, or that there’s not a lot of processes set up. So the general lack of organization is definitely something I think about. And in general, for me, my personality is how can I organize this, how can I make it more efficient, what things would automatically improve our day I guess. So those are the things that I think about.
And then how to best utilize the staff that we have. And so as a company that’s growing, obviously we don’t have a ton of money to hire ten new people at once. And so how can we best utilize the people that we have here and in the Philippines to do what we need to get done and to achieve our goals. And I think we’ve hired probably at least five or six people in the Philippines since I’ve started, which is kind of crazy to think about. But they’ve contributed in massive ways to what we’re doing.
So that’s not necessarily — I guess that’s probably a good thing in the list of this is that we’re getting places and that’s obviously the reason why I was hired as well. I think another thing is probably focusing on daily activities a bit much and losing site a little bit of the big picture. And I think that’s just Mike, in general, having help now that he can use more time to focus on those bigger picture things and let go of some of the other daily activities.
But I think it’s very easy in a business like this where what’s the next thing we have to do to like keep going, and contacting Amazon or fixing a listing where in some places we probably should take a step back and think about where are we going with this brand and how do we picture it in the next six months or a year and what are our big goals. And not that none of that is happening, but I guess it’s not happening in an official way. And so it’s like floating around in Mike’s head and I need that information out in front of us so everybody else can see it.
And then also I think a big challenge is just using the data and metrics that we have to make better decisions. And so I think this goes along more of like focusing on the daily activities. Obviously, we’re getting a ton of great metrics from all the campaigns running from Facebook ads and on Amazon and things like that. But how can we better utilize that to make decisions that impact our business and just do better marketing in general, and give visibility to people who aren’t Mike who need to see the results of what they’re doing and what their day-to-day tasks are affecting and things like that.
So it wasn’t bad at all I think. I don’t think that – were you were expecting me to be that nice?
Mike: I was figuring — I think it was going to be a much worse list than that. Maybe I just see it from a different perspective. I’m more of a perfectionist like I know there’s problems or things that we should be doing a better job of and it drives me crazy. Like day-to-day like I see things that we aren’t doing as good of a job what I know we could do. But at the same time, which I always like talk to my wife about Michelle, we have to also like look at the macro part of it, which is that we still doubled from last year. We went from like two and a half to five million last year. We’re going to try to do that again and go to ten million next year.
So yeah there was a bunch of like disarray and like crap shows, stuff that kind of happens behind the scenes. But that keeps us from getting the explicit tag. But there’s a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that are not as efficient and as good as they could be and we want to work on that. It isn’t that we don’t want to make that better, but at the same time we have to look at the bigger picture and go, okay we achieved this amazing goal of being able to double with a small crew and all the other challenges that go on in running a business day-to-day, but we know that that’s going to continue to get harder.
I mean there’s a bigger and bigger headwind. It isn’t just doubling from five to ten million next year. When I was younger and more foolish in my entrepreneurial career, I used to think that it would be easier like every time you double, because like you’re just using this “cookie cutter” approach. It’s going to be so easy to just apply this to the next thing. But the reality is that is not the way that business works, unfortunately.
Yeah some things become easier because you’re doing them a second or a third time and you’re replicating it. But when you go from five million dollar business to a ten million dollar business, that business inherently just has another whole set of challenges that like rear their ugly head that you weren’t even thinking of when you were at a five million dollar business.
So yes some things behind the scenes are happening in a cookie cutter approach, but now you’re dealing with some other set of circumstances that you didn’t even prepare for. And things become more amplified as they fall through the cracks, it becomes a bigger and bigger issue in trying to juggle — it’s easier to juggle two balls, it gets hard to juggle four when you like go to the point where it’s like trying to juggle 200 or whatever the number gets to be as one person or a smaller team. Eventually, things just start falling apart.
So it’s planning for that. Also just realizing strengths and weaknesses. I mean I think that the reason that things aren’t necessarily organized as you would like Jacquelyn being so much used to ultra organized, which is, by the way, one of the things that I’m sure you probably picked up on in the interview process was something that I brought up over and over and over again. I think it’s important to like hire for your weaknesses.
As an entrepreneur or a CEO or whatever, you should not be the smartest guy in the room. You want to surround yourself with smarter and better people than you, and also you can hire for your weaknesses. I know that organization is not my strong suit. This is not a big revelation or paperwork or doing certain things. I enjoy certain aspects of the business, the things I don’t do, I don’t do a good job with and it just gets worse, why not have a Batman or Robin to the Batman kind of thing or whatever.
It is one of the things I was looking to hire for, just trying to find all the things I see in myself that are weaknesses in another person to help get us to the next level. And I think you’ve done a lot of that already. I mean I see inventory planning already doing much better. I look at where we were six months ago in the new product development process, we went to the Canton Fair, found all these great products, and hit a wall because it is not easy being organized enough to stay on top of all these disparate manufacturers, trying to launch multiple products at once, get packaging design for them and the photography done, and Amazon listing done, getting samples and placing the order, placing deposit, doing an inspection, getting the stuff like on a boat over here.
And the way I look at it is we want to be running an orchestra or running something that would be like equivalent people could use as analogy as like a really nice restaurant. You seat eight people down at a restaurant at a table and at a really fancy restaurant like all eight plates show up at one time on the table, everyone starts eating at the exact same moment, it isn’t staggered out.
There was the opposite at one of the meals we had at the Philippines. It was actually pretty funny like one meal drooped out over. I was like this is how our business is right now, it’s like pretty drooped out and inefficient. But like when you’re launching a new product, it should be like that like amazing wow factor you see at amazing restaurants. Everything is like pops down on your table at the exact same moment, and it’s just like that in itself is impressive.
And that’s what we’re trying to aspire to do. When we launch a product, there should be like immense sufficiency in the amount they were ordering and the speed at which we — from when we place our deposit to this thing shows up here. From the time that it shows up here to what’s actually up and running on Amazon and all of our channels. And it isn’t launched in a half-assed way to where there’s long-term repercussions in a negative way, because we now determine scientifically that the way that you want your Amazon listing is really important.
And having a big bang out of the gates is really important. So we need to have all those things working in unison to do that. And that’s what excites me about 2018. The thing is that I know that those are not my strong suits. I know that if I was the one still in charge of all that, it would be a massive failure. So knowing that there’s someone that’s way better at it than me is exciting.
Enough about that, we’ve already talked about this a little bit, but I had another question here of what challenges do you see? Now that you’ve been here for three months, I mean obviously we talked about organization and processes. And some of those things we already started before you got here, but we weren’t doing in the very level that we’re going to do moving forward.
But flipping it a little bit differently and phrasing the question differently the challenges, what do you see? The process stuff isn’t really a challenge as much as like it just got to get done. What are other things that you see being — that are going to actually be difficult to overcome or do over the next six months or twelve months?
Jacquelyn: Yeah, so speaking about the next twelve months, I think one of the biggest challenges I’ll have is trying to achieve our goal of becoming an eight-figure business next year. So that entails I mean just so many things, but I think just discussing and implementing a strategy, and on top of that making sure that we have enough products to launch to support those goals and getting everything done on time, that’s going to be a big one.
And it’s not because we can’t do it at all, I have no doubts about that, it’s definitely doable. But I think it’s just the timing that I kind of showed up here, I got like put into the middle of it, and didn’t have like exactly — I guess I didn’t get to plan it out from start to finish. And so just working with what I have, and then the products that we’re developing now is something that is a little challenging. But I think we can still do it.
And then another one is just developing the staff we have to be able to get what we need done. I think employee development is something that’s really important, and something that we should focus on I guess a lot in the next year. And then I guess the last one will be just managing the brands that we have in different life cycles.
And so we have ColorIt, that’s like a very mature brand that we’ve kind of saturated our audience a bit on Facebook, and we’re thinking out of new products to launch potentially for that brand or where it’s going to go. And you definitely become much more limited once you reach that point with a specific brand, and what strategy we’re going to take for that and what are we going to do there.
And then in contrast, we have a brand like Wild Baby that we’re essentially just launching although we’ve had some products there for a while. But just starting up that brand on the right foot, and how to create a really loyal brand following and how to develop the appropriate brand image. So you can see that there’s definitely challenges amongst the brands that we have, and just how to deal with those I think is going to be one of the things that in the short term we’ll be discussing and implementing within the next year.
Mike: Yeah, I think I definitely agree with all that. So on a more positive note, on the flip side, what do you see the things that – what are you excited about, what do you see as that big opportunity is, or what are you personally excited about like in this role and for the company?
Jacquelyn: Yeah so when you said that I definitely take it more like personally what I’m excited about. And I think one of the best things about working here is that anything that we decide or any action that I take, or that we take as a team has pretty much immediate tangible results. And for me, that’s very fulfilling being able to see your work turning into something, and being able to just have that effect.
And it’s something that’s so true in ecommerce, because you can split test a Facebook ad or basically do anything immediately and the next day you can see the results. And that’s something being a marketer that a traditional marketer I guess you can say, you can’t throw a billboard or throw up an ad in a magazine and then even attribute any metrics to those things. They are just there, and you have to like kind of hope for the best and hope that people that are seeing that stuff.
And in ecommerce it’s totally different. And so that’s the thing that excites me I guess, and being able to see those results is something that’s really exciting. And then since I’ve been working so much on the product development side, just seeing those products come to fruition and being able to like hold them and see them, and launch them and just creating amazing five star products is fun. And so that’s something that definitely excites me.
And then just the potential of growing and becoming an eight-figure business is something to aspire to and something that’s definitely a challenge. But I mean I love challenges and I love doing this type of stuff, and it’s all very exciting I guess.
Mike: This is what excites nerds.
Mike: It’s interesting you mention just the life cycle of launching stuff and how quickly you get response back from that, because that’s to me it’s actually addictive. It’s something that when I first got involved in online marketing 15 years ago it certainly didn’t exist. And it’s funny that like specifically that you mention it because like the next thing you mention, you didn’t realize you were talking about like the life cycle of getting products developed.
And it’s like this weird circumstance where like you get — at one part of your life you can get instant feedback, but then when you try to develop a product from China, it’s like a six month life cycle. You’re so used to this like instantaneous response, but it takes like almost six months between the time — like we’re talking about products right now that we aren’t going to see here until like late spring early summer.
That’s really difficult to really get your head around where talking about things on another side of the business. Most of our business for the most part is like this instant gratification or instant like it didn’t work and I can go try something different. The product life cycle is much different, and it can be a lot more depressing, because you don’t get to try again, like hit the recent brand and try again tomorrow. If a product doesn’t work, there’s a lot more consequences to it, so yeah.
So the next question I had here was what do you see as our growth opportunities as we — again you’re just kind of standing in the door now. But you got some information in your belt; we’ve gone over our P&L and other statistics here. As we’re trying to go from five million to ten million next year, what do you see like the biggest growth opportunities, how are we going to achieve the bulk of that extra five million dollars in business?
Jacquelyn: So I mean I talked about this pretty much in every question I think. But new products are going to be the way that we get there for sure first and foremost, but also discovering maybe new niches and developing products to fit those. I mean I think that’s going to be a big opportunity, and we have a few things that we’ve been discussing that we’re really just in the I guess beginning stages of. But I think it has a big possibility to impact our business, and I think it’s one of the best ways that we’re going to be able to get to that level of growth whether it’s this year or next year. I think there’s definitely a huge opportunity there.
More on just I guess marketing activities, producing new and exciting content, I think is where we have a massive opportunity to improve the type of marketing we’re doing. And not that we’re doing a bad job at all, I think that Mike pretty much has this dialed down to something that he knows what he’s doing. But we have awesome graphic designers in the Philippines that we’ve been working with and they’ve been producing some amazing stuff. We’ve been doing a lot of time-lapse videos for ColorIt, and they just can put together graphics really fast.
And I guess just leveraging video more across all of our activities will be really helpful. So I just think that the content aspect of it is something that we’ve been working on recently that will have a big impact. Also just paying more attention and developing our I guess strategy on Amazon PPC. That’s something that we’ve been working on recently, and that’s one of those things that has like immediate effect. And so the second you start doing that and you see sales double, you’re like wow like why haven’t we been doing this before or paying more attention to it, and how can we continue to do this in a way that we are putting that up there and then evaluating it and making decisions based on it. So with…
Mike: That scale, that’s the hardest part, right?
Jacquelyn: Yeah exactly.
Mike: When you do it for five products, it’s like super easy to get on top of it, but for 200 products, it gets tough to analyze all the data and constantly be on top of it. And so that’s actually one of the things you’ve been helping with. I mean we have the staff now, and trying to carve out someone’s either full time or a significant amount of their time to be able to stay on top of that and not let them get their eye off the ball, that it’s definitely difficult to do. Easier said than done, but I think that I agree there’s a big opportunity there.
Jacquelyn: Yeah definitely. And then I think the last thing is more just developing our brands. So we pretty much have a brand I think in almost every product lifecycle at this point, our brand lifecycle if you will. So we have two new brands or newish brands that we haven’t really done too much with up until now. And so I’m excited to get those launched. I think they have the potential to be just as great as ColorIt which I feel like around here is kind of like the flagship brand and gets most of the attention, but that’s about to change in 2018.
And then we have IceWraps that there is a huge possibility just to do a lot more. It’s kind of like the I guess that child, I guess you can say. And it’s an awesome brand, and we have awesome products, and I think we can put a lot more attention to that. And that just goes hand in hand with developing our employees here and getting that back on track. And yeah, so I think there is a good opportunity just to kind of be more detailed in what we do on our brands, and there’s a lot of growth there.
Mike: Yeah I agree. I think that probably 30 to 50% percent of our growth will come from launching new products of that five million we need to do. I think that another 30% or so probably will come from international marketplace. I don’t know that that was on your list, but we’ve been [overlapping 00:34:42].
Jacquelyn: It was. And I totally forgot about that one.
Mike: So we’re launching into Canada, UK, and hopefully all of Europe. And I think knowing a third of it basically is going back and auditing our existing stuff and doing a better job like you mention with PPC, significant amount of opportunity there. It is a lot of work, attention, and detail type of thing that I might agree to. I can do it once or twice and I’m like really good at it figuring out and doing it, but then it becomes boring for me in redoing that on scale for me is difficult. And unfortunately I was the one that was in charge of that and doing a horrible job.
So I definitely see a missed opportunity there, but also auditing all listings from just a content perspective. You kind of touched on this a little bit but better photography, better titles, better descriptions, making sure enhanced brand content is there. Basically making sure like all of our bases are covered as efficiently as possible, because it’s easier and better to do that with an existing product than go onto another whole new one. Because it’s more efficient to be ordering more of the same thing than going and finding another whole widget to like start producing.
But the problem is at least for me the reason we’re in this position, it’s inherently more exciting and interesting to go launch a new product than to go back and play with the existing one, because it’s no longer new and neat and fun anymore. But that’s like a really bad way to look at business and take care of business. So we’re going to try to get back to doing that. But also like being able to do all this concurrently that’s like probably the other challenge.
Jacquelyn: Probably one of the biggest.
Mike: Yeah, you’re trying to like run three races at once, and you are trying to fix existing listings, at the same time we have to like – we know we have to be launching new products right now. I mean you can do the math backing out if you want to get if we do want to double again next year, do another five million dollars in business, there is absolutely no way to get there like any way shape or form without more SKUs.
It’s just isn’t mathematically feasible to just expect us to get that by launching in the new marketplaces, or to be going back and auditing just listings. So we have to start that now in addition all the other things we want to do. So it makes a crunch time and kind of chaos scenario right now, but I think that we’ll kind of get over that hump. And hopefully it’ll pay off by the end of 2018.
We are at our 30 minute mark. We to try to keep these 30 minutes, so we had one more question, we’ll save that for another podcast another time, because like I said I hope to do these every at least once a quarter. I think it’s good for people to understand another insider’s perspective of what’s going on here at Terran, at our overall company.
Just so you guys know, our overall company is called Terran. We don’t really ever talk about that name much just because it’s just a holding company. But it’s our company that holds IceWraps, ColorIt, WildBaby and Tactical. And we’re also like again on survival food, all the things that kind of go around Tactical and all the different things that we do here including EcomCrew. So when we’ve added this whole thing, the conglomerate is Terran.
And it’s neat to see someone that has a different perspective besides just me. And obviously I think that after listening to this podcast for a little bit over 30 minutes, you get a good idea of like how impressive Jacquelyn is just like in her business demeanor and personality, and what she’s going to bring to this company. And it will be fun to do an update in another three months, and another few months after that and talk about like all the things that we’ve achieved.
So thank you for coming on and doing this today.
Jacquelyn: Yeah. Thank you.
Mike: I think you were a little bit nervous to start with for some reason. It was the anticipation of doing it, or I don’t know. It’s like when I first asked Jacquelyn about this, she said, oh I can’t wait to do the podcast. Then like right before we did the podcast, she was like, uh I got to make a phone call, or I got to go like order some food or do this. Let’s procrastinate for just a little bit.
Jacquelyn: Well you just set the bar so high; you’re such a professional at this.
Mike: Yeah whatever. This is the first time that Jacquelyn has ever tried to butter me up. I don’t know, it’s like [inaudible 00:38:27], we’re recording this for the holidays. She’s happy it’s Christmas season. This will go out in January, but everyone’s kind of got holiday brain right now because we are giving everyone off between Christmas and New Years, something I think that’s important to let people kind of refresh and kind of get back to the swing of things in 2018.
Unfortunately Philippines doesn’t get the week off between Christmas and New Year, because they just have a lot of holidays. They get to do it all year round. I don’t know, I’ve never known a country that has as many holidays I think as them. Good for them, it’s awesome they get to experience some longer three day weekends throughout the year that we don’t yet, but we’re making it up now this week.
So, awesome. Thank you again Jacquelyn for coming on and we’ll try to catch up in a couple of months.
Jacquelyn: Yeah, sounds great.
Mike: Thanks. And that’s a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed that interview with Jacquelyn our new director of ecommerce. Again we hope that she won’t be a stranger on the podcast. I had fun recording it with her. I think that she did too. And hopefully that gave you some insight into what we’re doing here at Terran and the things that she’s working on, and the difference that she’s able to make at a company that’s growing as fast as it is and on track to do eight figures in 2018, kind of a scary number I threw out there.
So if you want to go the show notes for this episode or leave a comment, you can go to EcomCrew.com/113 to get to those show notes. And until the next episode everybody, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.
Thanks for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ecomcrew for weekly live recordings of the EcomCrew Podcast every Monday. And please, do us a favor, and leave an honest review on iTunes, it would really help us out. Again, thanks for listening, and until next week, happy selling.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.