E291: The 10 Things I’m Looking For In My Next Ecommerce BusinessNovember in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
After selling ColorIt back in April, it’s left me with an itch that I just can’t scratch with the other brands that I have. I’m looking for something that I can sink my teeth into and improve their revenues drastically using the strategies and lessons I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks over the past 6 years since I started Treadmill.com.
In today’s podcast, I go over the criteria of the next business I’m looking to buy. These criteria come from a long list of lessons I’ve learned since I started Treadmill.com, and I can’t wait to get started on this.
- I want a business that can be a legitimate brand. (12:19)
- A business that has a direct audience on Facebook or a product that can respond well to a large group. (14:18)
- A business with good profit margins, at a target of 5x ROI. (16:09)
- Something that we can create a lot of content around. (17:46)
- A product that can be shipped via FedEx, USPS, and that’s not over 70 pounds. (19:39)
- Items that are not a passing fad. (21:08)
- Something that I’m personally passionate about, and would be a customer for. (21:16)
- A product that has a good lifetime value of, and that there’s repeat purchases for. (24:39)
- A business where I can add a lot of value. (25:52)
- A business that will make great content for Ecomcrew. (27:34)
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Full Audio Transcript
Mike: [00:00:00] Ecomcrew Premium is opening next week for the last time in 2019. And best of all, we’re launching a completely updated “Importing from China” course. In this course, we’re going to share some tactics that we have never shared anywhere else. We’re going to discuss Batch Product Development and how to use it to launch dozens of products in a year. We’ll share exactly how we reduce the cost on our best selling products by nearly 25% and tell you the exact sourcing agents we use so you can use them, too.
Mike: [00:00:31] We’ll even show you how to get enrolled in Amazon Global Logistics and ship direct to one warehouse just like the Chinese sellers do. And of course, with Ecomcrew premium, you’ll get five other courses, access to biweekly webinars and unlimited 1-on-1 support. So head on over to Ecomcrew.com/Premium and get on the waitlist today.
Mike: [00:00:52] This is Mike and welcome to Episode 291 of the Ecomcrew podcast, so glad to have you guys along. And hello once again from San Diego, California. Tell you what, man, been banging out podcasts left and right over here. Got a great spot over here in La Holla as you guys have heard me talk about the last few weeks and an even better spot to record a podcast. Rented this AirBNB for a month over here and there’s a second bedroom with this like cubby hole that’s perfect for podcasting. It’s unbelievable.
Mike: [00:01:20] It’s kind of a– it’s a desk, but it’s a built in kind of thing and the back part of it on the wall has got cork. So the sound in here is awesome for podcasting. I wish I had this to take with me on the road. It’s almost like a little podcasting booth. Man, it’s been great. But any rate, just having a great time over here in San Diego. Not a whole lot of time left. Gonna be heading out of here shortly and doing some other traveling, which I’ll talk to guys about as we do that. But today I want to talk about something that’s gonna be coming up in 2020. And if you listen to the podcast, you know I do these “Goals Episodes” all the time, usually about once a quarter. And so one of the goals for 2020 is going to be buying a business. And I want to talk a little bit about that today. I already know that that’s going to be the goal for 2020. I know kind of exactly when I want to have that happen.
Mike: [00:02:11] And I’ll share that later. That’s not really a part of today’s episode. But I’ve been talking a lot with Dave and Dave — Dave Bryant, Dave Couillard, obviously my trusty partners here at Ecomcrew. People that I respect quite a bit about what the future of Ecomcrew is and all that good stuff. And originally I had really thought about starting another business from scratch, something I really like doing. Both Dave’s were really intelligent to point out that takes a long time and we already have that content. We’ve done that with ColourIt, been kind of through that pretty step by step along the way over the entire period of that and even more recently, Dave has done OffroadingGear and he’s crushing it.
Mike: [00:02:51] I’m really proud of what he’s done there. It’s absolutely amazing seeing what he’s doing. I’m actually a little bit jealous cause he’s making good money for not a lot of work in terms of the number of hours that he’s putting into it. He definitely works hard. I’m not trying to give him a hard time about that. But for the amount of stress that he has and he’s really optimized his time and he’s getting a good return on his investment in terms of the number of hours he’s putting into things.
Mike: [00:03:16] And, you know, a lot of that is you take for granted all the things that went into that ahead of time. You know, the business he had before that, the amount of hours that went into that and to really learn things in that learning curve was tremendous. So, you know, there was definitely a huge investment in the past. Now, being able to leverage that into this new business is awesome to watch. And so what we haven’t really covered is buying a business and improving it and going on that journey.
Mike: [00:03:43] And so I think that’s where we’re settling on. We being my wife and I and what we want to do next. And the other thing that’s come up, the other idea is some sort of incubator or accelerator, which I’m also toying around with. But the more people I talk to about that and the more I’m being steered away from it, because there’s just a lot of complications. And one thing that is a goal of mine and moving forward in my life is to reduce those. And also another goal is to focus on one thing, the book “The One Thing” is a great book. I highly recommend reading it. And I have not practice what I preach there up to this point.
Mike: [00:04:17] But after reading it and thinking about it and having a zillion people talk about this over a long period time, I’ve really come to realize that that’s like the most optimal thing. And so over time, the goal is to have just one ecommerce business and focus just on that. And we have a ballgame to finish, we’re still in the sixth inning, let’s say, of some of the other stuff that we started. We’re definitely going to see that stuff to fruition. So the timing’s perfect for that. It’s the ability to bring this other business or other thing that we’re gonna buy into that fold and then let the other ones go, kind of like we did with ColorIt over time.
Mike: [00:04:49] And again, that’s another thing for another day. But what I want to talk about today is that the type of business I’m looking to buy so this episode’s gonna be twofold. It’s going to be– I think it’s interesting content, just kind of seeing where I’m at in this early stage and people are out there looking to buy a business, you’ll kind of have a feel for what is that I’m looking for after spending the last 6+ years in ecommerce and selling tens of millions of dollars worth of stuff in ecommerce over that time, it’s crazy to even think of that number’s even real, that we’ve sold literally tens of millions of dollars of stuff at this point.
Mike: [00:05:23] Its absolutely crazy and there’s been a lot of learning from the school of hard knocks during that time. So those are things that I’m taking into account for buying a business. And so there’s that part of the audience out there that might be interested in buying a business themselves. And someone else recently had the forethought to say, “Look, you got a podcast with tens of thousand people who listen, maybe someone out there is looking to sell their business.” So if you’re listening to this episode and run a business that meets the criteria that I’m going to talk about today, reach out [email protected] Let us know if I think that it’s something that I might be interested in and we can have a further conversation. And maybe this is the way that I end up buying my next business. And maybe that’s what the podcast was all about all these years and I never knew it and that’ll be interesting if that ever comes to fruition that way.
Mike: [00:06:10] Before jumping into today’s episode, I do want to mention our relationship that we started with Brex. It’s not quite a sponsorship of the podcast, as I mentioned in the last episode. This is an affiliate relationship of a product that I think would be really useful for the ecommerce community. The question I love to ask when I meet other entrepreneurs, I actually– I just met some of the Ecommerce Fuel community for the first time and I love asking that question. What’s your biggest challenge? And oftentimes the answer to that question is cash flow and so, if that’s where you’re at, if cashflow is your biggest problem, which, by the way, is a great problem to have, because hopefully, that means you’re making a lot of money and you’re growing really quickly, but you just don’t have enough money to continue to grow as quick as you would like. That is a great problem to have. And so if you’re in that phase, Brex.com is just a great tool to be looking at.
Mike: [00:07:02] It’s basically a credit card. They give you a 60 day payment term. So every time you charge something on the credit card, it’s due in 60 days. And so you’re stretching your cashflow out by a pretty significant amount of time. If you’re turning your inventory four times a year or three times a year and you’re able to put some of those expenses on a credit card, then you’re getting almost twice as long to pay in a lot of cases, if you can do that. So go to Ecomcrew.com/Brex to learn more and use the affiliate code “Ecomcrew” to sign up. You’ll get 50,000 Brex points when you sign up under that code, normally you only get 7,000. So that’s the bonus there for you.
Mike: [00:07:41] Obviously it’s an affiliate relationship, so we get some help as well to pay for the Ecomcrew podcast and everything else that goes behind the scenes. If you don’t want to use the code, then don’t. That’s why I didn’t want to take sponsorship money because I think that in that case you have to listen to this stuff and you’re kind of forced into helping us make money with that and I don’t like that relationship on the podcast. So definitely check that out. So on the other side of this break, I’m going to get into the exact criteria that I’ll be looking for for that next business opportunity.
Intro: [00:08:09] Welcome to the Ecomcrew podcast. The Web’s most transparent podcast, from two seven-figure sellers who share the good, bad and the ugly about running an ecommerce business. You’ll learn how we build our brands, find products and develop marketing strategies that will help you start and grow your own million dollar ecommerce brand and now your hosts, Mike Jackness and Dave Bryant.
Mike: [00:08:37] Alright, guys, as I mentioned off the top, we’re going to be talking today about the next business I’m going to be looking at buying, and this is definitely not in stone yet, we haven’t signed on the dotted line. I’ve been talking to a couple of people relatively seriously about some of their businesses and starting to pursue that. But this is something that’s going to happen in 2020, obviously I’ll keep you guys abreast of anything that becomes more official.
Mike: [00:09:01] But there’s definitely a bunch of things that I’m really looking for in terms of the next brand. And so what have I learned in many years of doing ecommerce now and millions of dollars of sales and the lessons that I’ve learned, the school of Hard Knocks stuff that I don’t want to repeat. You know, so if you’ve listened to the podcast for a long time, you know the story of Treadmill.com, which was the first ecommerce business we got into. And so Treadmill.com, I bought the domain name with my buddy Grant, who I used to do the podcast with. We started an ecommerce site. We didn’t know anything about ecommerce, didn’t know what platforms to use, didn’t know the first thing about anything that had to do with ecommerce. And so the lessons that we learned during that first business was #1 I don’t particularly like drop shipping. We’ve done an episode or two on the Ecomcrew podcast about job shipping. I think that dropshipping is a very valid business model for a very small percentage of people. It certainly was not us in the fitness equipment space, but if you’re doing something like Dave Couillard does with HardCases.ca, his dropshipping business, I think that he has a really great business there and it’s a great business model.
Mike: [00:10:10] But what we were doing was competing against the manufacturers themselves and big box retail stores like Sports Authority or Dicks or these types of companies. It’s really, really difficult because we were not able to compete on price. We were held to MAT pricing when everyone else in our orbit wasn’t and we didn’t ship the stuff ourselves. It went on common carrier trucks and often got damaged or showed up late. We had all these different types of problems. And so that’s just a subset of some of the lessons that I learned in that business. And so the next thing that we did was I went out and bought IceWraps.com and through that I learned a bunch other things like I wanted to sell my own products because when I first bought IceWraps, it was nothing but other people’s products that I was selling and I realized the perils of that.
Mike: [00:10:52] And so that’s how we got into private labeling and selling on Amazon and also why we launched ColorIt. And so it’s all been a journey along the way. And I learned a lot with ColorIt as well. And when I look at the different businesses that we’ve run, ColorIt would be my favorite and which is the one we always were talking about. IceWraps is the one that’s made us the most amount of money, which surprises people often to hear that IceWraps was always about twice the size of ColorIt, but it’s boring products and boring products are kind of boring to talk about. And they’re also not very defensible and a bunch of other problems. And so, this is accumulation of things that I’ve kind of realized as I go into the next thing.
Mike: [00:11:30] And the business that I end up buying or the thing that we do, it won’t be perfect. It definitely won’t be perfect. But you also create your own luck. You know, people were like, “Oh, you were lucky to get into Coloring and what a lucky business that was”. Same thing with the online poker industry when I was doing that again. You create your own luck. I went through a lot of trials and tribulations, lost a lot of money, a lot of sleep and a lot of stress and a lot of things leading up to the thing that was perceived to be a lucky thing, right. And so I think we did great with ColorIt and we’ve done great with IceWraps. And those were just stepping stones to this next thing that we’re going to do, which I hope is that eight-figure or nine-figure thing that we go do and that I’m really proud of and look back and realize that that was the end of the journey or a part of the journey on ecommerce.
Mike: [00:12:14] So what are those things? Let’s really kind of start to dig into the criteria that I’m looking for. So the first one is that I want something that can be a legitimate brand. And man, this word gets thrown around so much and it can mean a lot of different things. I mean, you can go out and make a brand out of anything, right? You can call anything, anything you want and there’s your brand. You can sell one widget, Mike’s telephones, I’m looking at a telephone sitting here on the desk and I could sell Mike’s telephones, I could sell one phone and have a brand and that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Mike: [00:12:46] When I say brand, I’m talking about something where when people are looking for something in that niche, you’re the word that they type in. ColorIt was a legit brand, right. I mean, our number one search term on our site was ColorIt. You go on Amazon and look at the keyword data on the word “ColorIt”. That is a legit keyword because people are looking for ColorIt branded products. When people get a ColorIt product, they’re expecting a certain level of quality and cachet and usability and customer service and just everything that went into that brand. And, you know, I’m really proud of what we did there and I’m excited for the people who bought it. They’re continuing to do a really good job with it. And they have the same vision for the brand that I did.
Mike: [00:13:31] And so to me, like, it needs to be something that can do that. When I look at treadmill again, for instance, not a brand, doesn’t fit that criteria. Yeah, it’s a brand in the sense that if you looked up the Webster definition of it, but it’s not– it doesn’t fit those other criteria, same thing with IceWraps. We’ve sold tens of millions of dollars of ice pack, gel pack, hot and cold therapy, whatever the heck you wanna call it, type products. And we have a trademark for IceWraps, but I still wouldn’t call it a brand in the sense that I’m talking about.
Mike: [00:13:58] People aren’t really passionate about our products for IceWraps like they were for ColorIt and so I think that’s the differentiator. That’s what I’ve wrote down here on my list, which is products that people are passionate about. And so this is a really important differentiator from ColorIt to the other things that we’ve done. So I definitely want something that fits that criteria. Another one is that there’s a direct audience on Facebook or a product that can respond well to a large group. So again, something like ColorIt, there’s a direct audience. You can advertise the people who like colouring and it was a slam dunk and it did really, really well and it helped jumpstart our business. I was in a mastermind with a really good friend of mine from Ecommerce Fuel that does this thing called KeySmart.
Mike: [00:14:41] And so that’s something that’s more wide range of appeal. It still works with Facebook ads, still something that’s a brand. It’s this keychain that goes in your pocket and fits nicely in your pocket and gets rid of all the loose dangly things which I hate. I literally carry no keys. I love that my phone is my key with a Tesla. I really have grown to hate keys and things in my pocket. I carry one of these minimalist wallets. And so, you know, having something like that I think is pretty cool. Like you can create a brand around that and or, you know, they’re passionate around it and there’s Facebook audience around it. So that’s really important.
Mike: [00:15:11] Or if you’re really lucky with something like the key thing, you can just advertise to people, which is really, really cool and it works in that realm. But having Facebook ads, Instagram ads, whatever it is, is a really important part of a business, in my opinion, an ecommerce business. That’s something that I’m really good at. I perceive myself to be better than average at, at least, so I want a business where I can do those things and it responds well, IceWraps again, I’m gonna keep beating up on myself. I can’t run Facebook ads for Ice Wraps. There’s no targeting for that. I’m not going to be able to target people who are in pain or about to go into surgery, who have arthritis. These are not things that people have interest in.
Mike: [00:15:49] And even if I was able to get my product in people’s hands, which we’ve done, again, tens of thousands of times and hundreds of thousands of times over the years, no one is going to be passionate about this product. Oh my gosh, hey honey, I put this in the freezer and it got cold. My ice froze!
Mike: [00:16:03] And they’re not gonna tell their friends about that because it’s not a passion type product. So this is something that I’ll be looking for again, something like ColorIt. Another thing here is good margins. I can’t stress this enough. Something that we got better and better at with each brand that we’ve done. I’m going to take this to another level. It has to be a minimum of 4x ROI. But really the target I’m looking for here is 5x ROI, meaning that I buy something for $10 and sell it for $50. You can make a lot of mistakes in ecommerce and get away with it when you have higher margins. You can spend a lot more money to acquire customers when you have higher margins. You can afford to go into retail at some point when you have higher margins. You can have a better return policy and customer service and on and on and on. When you have higher margins, you can deal with tariffs. You can deal with a recession. You can deal with competitors coming in. The list really continues to go on.
Mike: [00:16:55] I don’t want to drone on about this too much, but it definitely is going to be very high up on the radar in terms of things I’ll be looking for, making sure that we have adequate margins in the business moving forward. So this is gonna cut out a ton of stuff right off the bat, especially direct to consumer brands like IceWraps and ColorIt, we’re buying for a dollar and selling for three. And you can make good money doing that. I’m not trying to knock that. You know, if you have a business that’s doing that, I would continue to do it. And that’s fine. We certainly do with IceWraps, we’re not gonna just turn that off. We’re selling millions of dollars a year with these products, and we make a pretty good living doing that.
Mike: [00:17:30] But again, with all the things that I just kind of mentioned, don’t need to rattle them off again, it’s important to me moving forward to have better margins. So think of things like makeup or food products, jewellery, things with a lot of IP. These are things that you can get way better margins out of. Another thing I’ll be looking for is something that we can create a lot of content around. Content marketing, getting back to my roots, something that I’ve been really good at and we’ve done a good job with some of the things that we’re doing at Terran. We did a great job with this at ColorIt.
Mike: [00:18:01] They continue to do a good job with it at ColorIt. Writing good content, having a niche that allows for good content, first of all, is really important. ColorIt gets tens of thousands of people a month or hundreds of thousands, whatever the number is at this point, of people coming to ColorIt.com for free through Google Organic Search and they’re working on YouTube videos as well and having a channel there. Ecomcrew is another example of this and this is all thanks to Dave Bryant and his amazing articles and the writing that he’s done there. If you haven’t gone to Ecomcrew.com, by the way. This is a shameless plug for. Ecomcrew.com and go check out the written content!
Mike: [00:18:39] If you only listen to the podcast, you’re missing out. Dave writes some amazing written content and we’re ranking for all kinds of things over there and get lots of free traffic every single day. And we’re adding new people to our e-mail list every single day for free because of that content. The same thing is true for ColorIt. The same thing is true for Tactical.com as we continue to grow that. And so this is really important to me. I can’t really do that as well for IceWraps. We do write content for it and we’re working on getting our SEO rankings back up over there. But you can’t nurture people through that content and get them on an email list and get good lifetime value of a customer through something like IceWraps as good as you can for ColorIt.[00:19:15] And so this is something that is going to be really important to me as a site. And hopefully, you know, the thing that I buy, they’re not doing a good job of this right now, because one of the things I’ll be talking about is I want to be able to add my secret sauce to it and improve upon what’s already there. So nonetheless, it needs to be in a space that content can be a large portion of the business over time. So that’s an important one.
Mike: [00:19:39] The next one here is something that can be shipped via FedEx, USPS, things of that nature. And so, this is going be on a sliding scale where if it can’t, if it’s over 70 pounds, it’s just out. If it can’t be shipped via UPS, no way in heck am I doing it. Learned my lesson with Treadmill. If it’s large, oversized items, okay. I’m willing entertain that. It’s more of a pain in the rear end from logistics. It’s more expensive to store, it is a little bit harder to ship, but I’m willing to deal with that as long as it’s not, you know, super crazy big. The most ideal thing obviously would be something that’s under a pound. I mean, man that would be great if I can find a type of brand or business where the majority of the packages are under a pound.
Mike: [00:20:18] They’re high value and some of them can be shipped the cheapest way because shipping is a really expensive part of ecommerce. And I look at the most ideal thing with this type of thing is something like an iPhone, right, where it’s under a pound. It’s a really high value item, really high margin. Obviously, I can’t go out and design an iPhone, but the more the product resembles something like that, where it’s dense, it’s light, relatively small. The more brownie points it gets. But if it’s something that’s larger, that’s oversized in terms of Amazon’s criteria, that’s fine, too.
Mike: [00:20:49] It just won’t be as something that I am as excited about, but certainly something that I’m okay with as long as it fits the margin profile then I’m okay with it. And so that’s gonna be the most important thing. But certainly it can’t be something that goes on a pallet. I’m not going to be shipping fitness equipment or something that large. It’s something I’m definitely not willing to do. Next one here is something that’s not a fad. I’m looking for this to be maybe the last ecommerce business that I run. I want to get into something that, the next thing on the list here, I’ll kind of put these together. I want to get into something that I would be a customer of, that I’m personally passionate about and that I could even be the face of the brand for if need be or one of the co-faces of the brand.
Mike: [00:21:28] And in order for that to happen, it needs to be something that I’m interested in. And coloring wasn’t that. I love what we did there. I loved ColorIt, really proud again of what we did there. Just absolute love that brand. Love those customers. It was just super awesome. And I looked into getting into something like crocheting, which Dave Bryant was like, “That’s a slam dunk. You got to do that because it’s the same customer profile.” And I know we would be successful in it. It would actually be– we could wreck that industry in a positive way for us. But I’m just not passionate. I’m never gonna be the customer. I’m never gonna be sewing yarn. It just is not my thing. And I’m not knocking crocheting. My mother in law loves knitting.
Mike: [00:22:07] I know lots of people who love knitting. And I think it’s a great hobby. It just isn’t something that I’m interested in. And so, it needs to be something I’m personally passionate about, that I could see myself being a customer of, but also has to be that’s not a fad because I am starting an ecommerce business and having creating a brand has a lot of work. And what I’d like to see happen is the one thing, as I mentioned before, where it’s just one brand where everyone is focused on doing the one thing that we’re working on, something I’m personally passionate about that I don’t lose interest in and not necessarily is the forever business.
Mike: [00:22:40] But it is something that we can carry the baton for much longer because it’s something that I’m personally into. So by very definition of that is something I don’t want it to be a fad. So I would be very skeptical or worried about doing something like a Keto diet product as an example. I could see myself owning a brand like that because I think it would force me into eating better. I’ve done the keto diet myself, so it’s something that I really can relate to. I kind of enjoyed doing the keto diet.
Mike: [00:23:06] There’s different degrees and ways you can do it. You can eat nothing, but blocks of cheese all day long or you can eat a healthier Keto diet where you really just limit your carbs, especially the bad carbs like bread and things like that. And so I can see myself being a customer of that and really loving having a brand like that. What I would be worried about, is that five years now people don’t even talk about keto diet any longer because it seems like every six months or a year or a year or two that people are switching to the new diet. You know, I think of Atkin’s diet or South Beach Diet or these different types of diets that have come and gone and that would worry me.
Mike: [00:23:42] And so that would be something that would be really cognisant of. But again, making sure that I overlay the fact that I can be a customer of. Really, really important thing for me. And so this is going to make things actually a lot more difficult than any of the other criteria, because I’m a pretty simple person. I’m actually not interested in a whole lot of things. I like traveling, as you guys probably can tell just from podcast. But travel products are really difficult. It’s a saturated market and it doesn’t fit a couple of the other criteria that I might talk about here. And, you know, so there’s other things that kind of go into this.
Mike: [00:24:13] I like tennis, but again, very, very difficult to have something related to tennis unless there’s products out there that I’m not aware of yet. But food, I definitely I could see that being a thing or there’s a couple of other things I’ve been looking at. I don’t want to sway people into different niches here and pigeonhole things because there’s a couple of things I’m looking at that I never thought that would be something I would be interested in, but I have kind of a fringe interest and I think it would be really cool. So I think that it’s important to have those things in mind. Another thing here is that it is something that has a good lifetime value of, that there’s repeat purchases for and this is something I learned.
Mike: [00:24:47] I kind of had that nirvana moment, that epiphany doing ColorIt and comparing ColorIt to IceWraps. I love email marketing. I love retargeting. I love selling the same people that we spent so much time and effort getting to be customers to get more stuff from us. It’s a really good feeling actually, when you have someone who buys everything that you release. You’ve done something right. We have this with Ecomcrew as well. And we have people who purchase every course we put out and keep on saying the greatest things about us because they become really passionate fans and it’s really expensive to acquire a customer.
Mike: [00:25:21] And it was really neat every time we released a new product, seeing the dynamics of that on ColorIt and it was just awesome. So this is really important to me, to make sure that when we release new products or people fall in love with the product, that they continue to use the product in the things that again, I perceive myself to be better than average at, one of which is email marketing that we can really leverage that. And that’s important to me. So that’s another thing that’s on the list, which is repeat purchase, high lifetime value of a customer. There’s two things left here on the list. The next to last thing is something where I can add a lot of value.
Mike: [00:25:56] So a business that has the criteria that I talked about but does an awful job with e-mail marketing or does an awful job with SEO or PPC or Facebook ads, things of this nature. Hasn’t released a lot of products or hasn’t worked on logistics. There’s things again, I perceive myself– maybe I’m foolish to think this, but I perceive myself to be better than average at. And so if the business already has all these things humming, that doesn’t really make sense for that to be the business that I get involved in.
Mike: [00:26:24] I think that there’s another group of people out there that are looking for businesses that are just cash flowing X amount and they can add that to their portfolio. That was very much the buyer of ColorIt, right. They want to grow the business and I’m excited to see where they take things. But we handed them a pretty decent company with a bow tie on it that was humming on almost all cylinders. And they’ll find things to improve upon that I might not have been as good at. They’re really good at just data analysts and stuff of this nature. And I’m really again, excited to see where they take things because I’ve remained friends with these guys and I think they’ll do a great job with it. But I don’t want to buy the business that I hope to create five years from now.
Mike: [00:27:00] I want to buy the bucket of bolts that’s struggling in some way that I can apply the secret sauce to. And so it’s probably a business that has some really defensible intellectual property or they have a lot of sales already and they’ve been just struggling with cashflow or they’ve been struggling with e-mail marketing or they’ve been struggling with creating great Amazon listings or again, the things that I think in my world that we’re good at. And I think that’s really important. I want to be able to take a business from X hundreds of thousands or X millions of dollars a year and then tenfold that over the next few years.
Mike: [00:27:33] And which leads me to the last thing on this list, which is will make great content for Ecomcrew. Ecomcrew is definitely the number one focus for my work burner. If you listen to a previous episode that we just did and the way that I look at it is that Ecomcrew is what brings all the fulfillment in my life from the work burner. And I really enjoy the people that I’ve been able to meet, the businesses that I’ve helped, the people that I’ve helped. It’s just an awesome feeling. It really is. And it’s something that I never saw myself doing or thinking that those things are going to be important to me, but they’ve become important. And thinking about fulfilment and the things that are important, it’s important to make sure that that continues to be the number one priority, eventhough I’m working on some other business.
Mike: [00:28:21] And so it’s fun for me to have been able to document every step along the way the things I was doing with ColorIt. I love that. It kept me motivated like a little kid in a candy store and very nerdy and loved being able to share every step along the way the things I was doing with ColorIt and we would share like 85% of what we did there in terms of the products we were launching and the email sequences that we did and free plus shipping offers and our Thanksgiving Black Friday stuff and the challenges we had with logistics in China and in building a Philippines team and just everything that came out of the awesome things that came out of ColorIt, including selling it, which I thought produced really great content.
Mike: [00:28:59] So now, in my life, the thing I think of is like, what can I be doing that can generate more content for Ecomcrew? And so, I think that this podcast is a great start for that. Talking about the type of business I’m looking to buy and being in my head of what it is that I’m looking for and then seeing how that progresses. You know, talking through hopefully the business that I buy will allow me to talk about the process of all of that and how we go through due diligence and maybe get an SBA loan and a whole bunch of other things are going to happen along the way when we go buy a business and then talking about how we rebuild a team or what we tackle first and what our 5 or 10 year plan is for this new business will produce really, really great content for Ecomcrew and for my speaking engagements that I do all around the world. And this is the last thing I’m mentioning. But actually, as it turns out, is really the most important thing. And I love doing Ecomcrew and I am feeling a little lost right now and like a microcosm in terms of content for Ecomcrew because it’s not really exciting to get on the podcast and say we’re doing $5,000,000 this year.
Mike: [00:30:09] We did $5m last year. I want to grow by a few percentage points and just kind of keep things steady. And we’re making good money and we’re just trying to maintain and it’s great for the bottom line. My wife and I are enjoying finally having a positive cash flow business that isn’t stressful and doesn’t have debt. It’s really pretty darn amazing from that perspective. I absolutely love it, but it doesn’t produce good content. And so, we’ve had to reach outside the lines to have other interviewees on and things of that nature and talk about some stuff that’s going on in our lives. But eventually that stuff’s going to run out. And so that’s really important to me, is to have something else relatively soon that will fill that void. And basically what I promised myself, promised my mastermind, promised my wife, is that it’d be probably around a year after selling ColorIt that we would jump two-feet into that next thing. And that’s only a few months away.
Mike: [00:31:03] In fact, we’ve already got our lives all planned between now and when that’s going to happen anyway. And so the time is gonna be really good to be really jumping in and doing that. And that’s going to be in the form of either just buying a business outright or there is definitely the potential of investing in either with cash or my time into another business that would allow me to do that.
Mike: [00:31:25] So if that does sound like you, reach out: [email protected] Let me know what you got. Might be something that we were interested in buying outright or investing in or becoming a part of. We’re aiming relatively high. So I’m not going to be interested in a $50,000 business. I’m looking at something that’s seven-figure type business. I feel very confident in the abilities that we have at this point to hit a home run. I feel like all the singles and the things we’ve been doing leading up to this point are going to put us in an awesome position to have a really cool story to tell here.
Mike: [00:31:56] And so one thing that you got to really remember is that time is money and whatever size business it is, I’m going to probably end up having to put the equal amount of time into. So I want one that’s going to yield the biggest result. So again, looking for something that’s going to be in that category and something that’s going to be reaching for the stars in my world. And again, everyone’s different. For someone out there listening, the thousand dollar business that you start might be reaching for the stars and you should stay in your comfort lane and for other people out there, they might be looking to buy a 50 million dollar business, which is way past where I’m at. And so you’ve got to just keep things relative to you and not try to compare yourself to everybody else.
Mike: [00:32:35] And so I know what my comfort level is and I want to be in that. And that’s going to be probably some seven-figure business. And that could range anywhere from low to mid or maybe even high seven-figure business that we’re looking at purchasing. And then 5, 10x-ing that over the next couple of years, something similar that we did with ice wraps, although that was something we bought for a relatively small amount of money compared to what we’re willing to do now.
Mike: [00:32:59] But you know, hopefully the story of that will be how we bought it for $50,000 back in 2015 and then sell it for seven figures in 2020 or somewhere at 2021 maybe, or something in that range, which is going to be a cool story to tell in itself. And so, you know, again, more content for Ecomcrew, and that’s definitely the focus there. So hopefully that gives you guys a good insight into what I’d been up to, what I’ve been thinking about. Obviously, this is not something that I put five minutes of thought into. This has been about six months of thinking and talking and a lot of things. I want to thank everyone that’s out there that listens, that has been a part of that journey.
Mike: [00:33:34] There’s too many people to thank to just kind of start writing names off, and a lot of people that I talked about this stuff don’t listen to the podcast. But if you do listen, you know who you are and thank you. And speaking of thank you’s, thank you for those who have left reviews for us over on iTunes. If you haven’t had a chance to do that yet, please do so. Those reviews mean a ton to us, that helps get the Ecomcrew podcast ranking higher. As of right now, we rank fifth on iTunes for ecommerce. If you type in the word “ecommerce”, we rank fifth and they show four episodes at a time when you do this search on desktop and it drives me crazy. We’re so close to being number four, being a part of the top conversations. There’s some other great podcast out there that rank and we’d love to be a part of that. And it’s interesting because I’m competitive, these guys are my friends. Two of them are really good friends of mine, Ecommerce Fuel and My Wife Quit Her Job.
Mike: [00:34:27] So I recommend checking out those two podcasts as well. But leave us the review and let us know what you think. It’ll definitely help us out. Those are those other really good podcasts out there as well. So go check those out as well. And until the next episode everybody, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
Outro: [00:34:43] We hope you enjoyed this episode of the Ecomcrew podcast. If you haven’t done so already, please head over to iTunes and leave us a review. It helps more than you know. Did you know that Ecomcrew has a ton of free content, including ecommerce courses? Head over to Ecomcrew.com/free to check it out today. That’s going to do it for this episode of the Ecomcrew podcast. Until the next one, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
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.