How a risk-averse wantrapreneur finally launched a company – with Peter Keller

This is the story of wantrapreneur who finally launched a company.

Peter Keller says he’s always been risk-averse and hesitated to start a business.

In 2010, he finally launched FringeSport, which designs and manufactures strength and conditioning equipment. FringSport brings its products to market through the e-commerce and bricks and clicks approach.

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Peter Keller, Fringesport

Peter Keller is the CEO of FringeSport which designs and manufactures strength and conditioning equipment and brings it to market through e-commerce and bricks and clicks approach.

 

Raw transcript

Mixergy's audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey there freedom fighters and wantrepreneurs. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And I say wantrepreneurs because I’m hoping that there’s some out there in the audience who are listening to this interview because I think you are going to get a lot out of this conversation.

This is the story of a wantrepreneur who finally launched and grew a business. Peter Keller says he’s always been risk averse, and hesitated to start a business. Then in 2010, something happened, and he finally launched Fringe Sport, which designs and manufactures strength and conditioning equipment. Fringe Sport brings its products to market through the e- commerce and bricks and clicks approach. We’re going to find out how he did it.

This interview is sponsored by Scott Edward Walker, of Walker Corporate Law. Who is Scott? You probably know by now. Scott is the lawyer than entrepreneurs trust. I will tell you later why, if you’re an entrepreneur who needs a lawyer, or an entrepreneur who is starting a company and doesn’t think he needs a lawyer, why you need to go to WalkerCorporateLaw.com and talk to Scott.

But first, I’ve got to welcome Peter. And thanks for doing this interview.

Peter: It’s a pleasure to be here, Andrew.

Andrew: You recognized that you were a wantrepreneur when you were in the trunk of your dad’s SUV. What were you doing there that made you realize that you’re not in the right place in your life?

Peter: Well, so this was in 2010. My dad was living in Kuwait and I was actually visiting him. At the time I’d had a number of different Internet ventures that I’d launched, but had all, I’d say, failed. At the time they didn’t even feel like failures. They just felt like they never got off the ground, because I was always holding a piece of me back. I wasn’t really investing fully into them. And this is with the benefit of hindsight. I think I wasn’t doing that because I was afraid of failure. Afraid that if I put it all in, and then it failed, that I’d be a failure.

Andrew: Give me an example of a business that you didn’t put enough of yourself into, and then we’re going to get back to your trunk.

Peter: Oh yeah. No, please, the truck.

Andrew: Got to.

Peter: One example is, I launched a website called MyGarageGym.com, which actually had a vision somewhat similar to what I’m doing now with Fringesport except all we were doing was drop-shipping strength and conditioning equipment products. And rather than, you know, go all in on that, I just kind of did it on the side and didn’t really give it the care, feeding, and the financial support it needed, so it never got off the ground.

Andrew: What’s one thing that you should’ve done that you didn’t do, because you weren’t 100 percent committed to it? Give me an example so I really get to see what you’re talking about.

Peter: Oh, man, I mean, the number one thing would be just be proud and be loud about what I was doing. I was doing it as a side project for my main business. And I was like, oh, well, I’m going to be in stealth mode. I’m just going to kind of launch small and quietly work on SEO, and quietly work on the PPC and stuff like that. The point was, it was just quiet. You know, nothing ever went there. Traffic was really low.

Andrew: Did you actually do your SEO? Did you actually do any of that work?

Peter: I did. What I did then, compared to what I do know, is worlds, worlds different.

Andrew: What’s one thing that you do now that is worlds apart, that back then would have at least gotten you off the ground?

Peter: One of the things that’s been actually successful for Fringe is that Fringe Sport very really strong in the CrossFit market. I’m a crossfitter, and all of my employees are.

One of the things about this market is that it’s very social media savvy, and has been for a number of years. So, one of the things that’s been successful for us is reaching out to bloggers, to people who have strong followings on social media, and other people like that. And you know, giving them free products or even just reaching out and saying hey, this is what we’re doing, this is what you’re doing. Is there some way we can could together? And then that creates, you know, good will. But it also creates inbound links.

Andrew: I see. And back then you were going to quietly do SEO, instead of emailing someone and saying, ‘I am running a business in this space. Can we work together?’

As a result of the change I can see that you’re on GarageGyms.com, for example. And other sites have linked and talked about you. All right. And we’ll get to all of that.

So I see. You were holding back. You were thinking that you were doing work. You were tricking yourself into thinking that you were really an entrepreneur, but really you weren’t talking to people. You were just doing busy work, maybe, with this whole SEO thing on the quiet. You were in the trunk, and what were you reading at the time?

Peter: At this time it’s very cliche, but I was reading “The Four-Hour Work Week.” When I was reading “The Four-Hour Work Week” we were driving through the desert, just kind of bouncing around. I was in the trunk because it was kind of a family trip to go visit my father, and there wasn’t enough room for me in the car, because I was kind of a late-minute addition. And so I said, “Hey, I’ll sit in the trunk.”

I had grabbed “The Four-Hour Work Week” on a whim, because a number of different friends had recommended it to me. I finally said, “Okay, fine, I’ll read it.”

And as I was reading it, all this stuff started to come together in my mind. And this…what Tim was writing about was really coalescing a lot of thoughts that I had had before but never really had coherently, if that means anything. And in kind of a bolt from the blue, I thought, I’m just screwing around. I’m using entrepreneur…and I didn’t know the word entrepreneur at the time, I think now it’s becoming more popular…but I thought that I’m playing an entrepreneurship. This is a hobby, it’s not a business.

It makes me feel good to have these little websites up, and I can feel like, “Oh, I’m Peter Keller, entrepreneur.” But I wasn’t actually fighting it out, duking it out in the marketplace where success or failure really happens. And so at that point, I decided I either need to stop being an entrepreneur, stop these little ventures or whatever that are leeching a little bit of money a little bit at a time here and there, and focus on my corporate job, which I had a very nice corporate job at the time. Or I needed to have a real burn-the-ships type of moment where it’s like, this is a go and there’s no looking back. And if it’s a failure, it’s a failure.

Andrew: I see, by the way. But if you’re looking at me and see…and it looks like my eyes are all over the place, it’s because I’m taking a look, now that you’ve given me a little bit to look at, I’m taking a look at mygaragegym.com. And you know who created mygaragegym.com? Admin. I see Admin here. [laughter] [??] I said, I’ll get to read it. And now I see, the About Us page is Admin as opposed to…now do you put your face on the site? I don’t see it.

Peter: Sorry, you skipped away there.

Andrew: Sorry?

Peter: You skipped a minute there. The audio.

Andrew: Oh. I’m saying now are you on the site? Is it more about you on the site?

Peter: On My Garage Gym?

Andrew: On Fringe Sport. My Garage Gym was created by Admin. You can email Admin@mygaragegym.com if you have anything to say.

Peter: I might email him. If I can speak to myself in the past, it might save me a few mistakes. But on Fringe Sport, if you go to the About Us page, it does actually talk about us. Because I founded Fringe with my brother….

Andrew: I see. Fringesport was founded 2010 by Peter and Alex. Alex is your brother. So you’re really now starting to stand up. I see. So now you’re reading this book. You have this idea all along. You wanted to sell equipment online. You’re going to do it right. What’s the first step that you take in this new, more correct path?

Peter: So, the first step that I took… and I had a lot of product design sourcing experience from my employer at the time, which is now my previous employer, of course. And I thought, you know what? Box shipping works for some people, but I actually need to bring in some of my own product, actually have it in my garage, so that every time I go out in my garage to go to work or go for a run or whatever, I can see with my own eyes that there’s boxes sitting on my floor. Because if I don’t sell them, there’s still going to be boxes sitting on my floor.

Andrew: I see. This is the burn-the-ships thing that you were talking about.

Peter: Yeah.

Andrew: You cannot trick yourself into thinking that you don’t have it. And if your money is in on this and it’s in your house, you have to…you’re forced to sell it at some price. Even if it means you have to sell it on Craigslist, you have to sell it.

Peter: Exactly.

Andrew: Got it.

Peter: And my wife will also see it if it’s in the garage. [laughter] So honey, if I can’t park my car in here, you need to be doing something.

Andrew: And before you even made a sale you quit your job?

Peter: No, no, no. I…So, we did actually do it on the side for a whole year…

Andrew: Okay.

Peter: …slightly over a year. And then we both quit our jobs and went in whole hog. I guess my…at this point my burn-the-ships moment was giving my heart to it and deciding that there’s not going to be any excuses here. Fringesport, or whatever the venture… and it turned out to be Fringe… is going to get all of me.

Andrew: Why did you need Alex to be a part of this?

Peter: So, I’m a very family oriented guy. I…it was always my dream to have a family business, honestly. And I wanted to be in it with him. The other part of it was that at the time I was the Vice President of another Internet company. I had a lot going on there.

And even while I was doing my own business on the side that, like I said, I’m going to give my whole heart to and work hard on, there was…it wasn’t possible for me to let things slide at my day job. I mean if I was taking a paycheck, I felt like that would be really disingenuous to, yes, let things slide and to not take care of everything that I needed to there.

Andrew: I see.

Peter: And so, one of the pitches that I made to Alex, because Alex is ten years younger than I am and he was actually going to college at the time, I said look…and he’s a really smart, talented, hard-working guy, and I knew that he was going to do well no matter what… and I said, look you can have your whole life to be an employee. You’re a smart guy. You’re going to be able to get a job.

Why don’t you take a flyer on this thing and worst case it’s a failed business and then you’ll go to business school and you know it’ll be more interesting on your application that most of the other people. Best case… We are where we are… But he helped me a lot on a lot of the marketing side, a lot of them helping me figure things out side. Honestly, emotional is an entrepreneur; when things are going bad or when things aren’t clicking where they need to be, it was helpful for him on that side as well.

Andrew: You know, I’m really glad you said that. Later on we’re going to talk about that. One of the things that we’re excited to hear about is… Maybe excited is not the right word. I’m proud that you’re willing to talk about these inner issues that we have, and were going to get to that later on. You then needed to get the product, how you get enough product in your house?

Peter: So I’m very lucky in that, with my previous company, I actually was involved in launching a new private label brand for them and this was in appliances…

Andrew: Can I say the name of the company? I don’t think it’s a secret.

Peter: Living direct and to be honest living direct.com… also at compactappliance.com… They were really, really great to me. Sometimes I feel a little weird about saying their name because I don’t know how it is, but they were very great to me but I wish those guys all the best.

Andrew: It’s a great company to come from if what you want to sell is physical products. That’s what they do. I’m looking at their site right now… They have kegerators. They have air conditioners… We’re not talking about little things that you sent to the mail, we’re talking about real stuff. Just like you with barbells. Alright so you said that you learn something about how to get products from working there. What did you learn that you can pass on us?

Peter Keller: Oh yeah and honestly have started sourcing product and making products (inaudible) five, now almost 10 years later, it’s so much easier. So one of the very first things that I would say, and this goes into my attitude towards wantrepreneurs now is (inaudible) of balls that was before which was stop wanting to do something. So the number one thing is just start.

Now if you want to make a physical product, there are so many more resources available to you now than there were before. I do blog a little bit at productsimple.net, about how to source and design physical products there is also another place that I am fairly active is the entrepreneurs sub Reddit, on Reddit. Where you can get help.

Andrew: That’s a really good sub Reddit.

Peter: I like that celebrated quite a bit.

Andrew: Now give me one thing that you did right back then, so that we can learn from your experience here today?

Peter: So one thing that I did right was… actually… and I mention this before, getting the product in and putting it on my floor, so I had a physical reminder of it every day and one of the things that I would say is, “That if you can do this, if you can go to Ali Baba or globalsources.net or something like that and find the product that you’re looking for, go ahead… if it’s not too expensive go ahead and take the plunge and then try to sell that…

Andrew: I see, I thought that you were going to… because you worked for livingdirect.com that you had some inner connection for where to source product… No you’re telling me the Ali Baba, globalsources.net… that the kind of access that the rest of us have access to that where you went online and you said I need to stock my gym from there. Gymnastic rings, is that we started with?

Peter: It is.

Andrew: Why?

Peter: I start with gymnastic rings because of the minimum order quantity required and then the cost of the gymnastic rings the amount money that I would have to invest and at the margin that I would potentially be able to sell those at when I got them in. So through Ali Baba, I found a supplier for gymnastic rings. At the time in the U.S., there are only maybe three companies selling gymnastic rings online.

They were all selling the gymnastic rings for $50-$75 and a be a very clear and honest I could get the gymnastic rings in for about $15 a pair or something like that… A little bit more maybe and so there was a pretty big gap between how much it would cost me to get those things landed on my garage floor and then what I could potentially… based on the market, sell them for.

Andrew: I see.

Peter: Then the minimum order quantity was small enough, I think I started with 100 pairs of rings. So, all and I was at about two-grand. Which… I wasn’t a rich man but I had two-grand that I could invest in this.

Andrew: That you are selling each for about 45 bucks, according to the site, from what I can see. Free shipping both ways like the Zappos.

Peter: There you go, free shipping both ways. I figured all in about two- grand, and worst-case, kind of like you alluded to before… I liquidate these things on Craigslist or sell them on the street corner, or something like that, and then that way I’d get my money back if it was a failure and I’d just be like, ‘Oh, okay, well I learned something,’

Andrew: Peter, this is fantastic! For wantrepreneurs out there you’re giving them so much direction. First of all, you’re saying, accept that you’re a wantrepreneur. Stop kidding yourself about the fact that you created all of these other businesses, or all these business cards that you have sitting in a drawer somewhere, if you’re a wantrepreneur, it’s okay to accept it, it doesn’t mean that your life has to end up that way. It’s not like being 5.7 that for the rest of your life you’re going to be around 5.7, you have a chance to do something about it!

Number one, accept it, number two, do something bold. And in your case, it was buy the stuff, and put it in the house. We’re not talking about 100 thousand dollars’ worth of equipment that sits around the house, for 2000 bucks, you had it, it’s sitting around the house, and you put it up on the website.

Here’s the other thing that I learned about you. Again, I’m on the site. On the very bottom part of the site, it says, “Powered by Shopify.” Right? Easy, basic off the shelf. Why did you pick Shopify as opposed to any other platform?

Peter: So, funny that you should mention Shopify. I came from an E-Commerce background and I was actually a web designer before, and I have a lot of experience with a lot of other platforms online, but I’m a Shopify Evangelist. In fact, Shopify doesn’t pay me, I pay them, but I really love that platform, and the reason that I picked it then is because I realized, early on, that our web platform was not going to be our competitive advantage.

So we needed to go with somebody that was SEO friendly, that was friendly to our customers in terms of how the shopping cart works, how to check out, you know, category navigation structure, and that made it easy to make the website look at least pretty good.

Because actually, I don’t think that our website is the nicest website that I’ve ever seen, it’s not even in the top 100 by any stretch of the imagination, but it does what it needs to do. And then Shopify gets out of your way and lets your do the marketing, lets you do the hustling, lets you sales.

Andrew: Gotcha, you can’t talk to Nerd Fitness and get Nerd Fitness to somehow link to you. You have to do that, but what they can do is make sure that customer’s credit cards go where they need to. Make sure the order process is clean and easy for people to navigate.

All right, I like the simplicity of it. So Shopify, just use off-the-shelf solutions. So many times people want to hire a developer for the first version-

Peter: No! [Laughs].

Andrew: -and frankly I just checked the site right now, on the very bottom it still says, “Powered by Shopify.”

Peter: And we’re proud of it.

Andrew: All right, I want to do a quick plug here for Scott Edward Walker, because I think it’s important to talk about the legality of putting a business together, especially if you’re doing it with another co-founder and especially if your co-founder is your brother, and then we’re going to get into what you did to now bring traffic into your store.

But did you and your brother have any kind of agreement in place for who owned the business, for what share you owned the business, did you at all? I’ll do that and then we’ll get into Walker Corporate Law.

Peter: We had essentially a hand-shake agreement which wasn’t really a handshake agreement. It was just a, “Hey, we’re brothers, hey, let’s do this thing together.” This is absolutely a hundred percent the wrong way to do it. I will never, ever do this again, and as you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about this.

Andrew: Why, what’s the problem with doing it that way?

Peter: Sorry?

Andrew: What’s the problem with doing it that way?

Peter: The problem with doing it that way is that in the start, when you’re in the honeymoon period, you’re like, “Let’s do a business! Yeah, we’re going to do a business! We’re going to take over the world,” and everybody has all of these good feelings, the hard work hasn’t set in yet, the grind hasn’t set in, the fact that one partner is going to do something that pisses the other partner off, the other partner’s going to either seethe quietly or retaliate or whatever.

And by the way, these are completely normal, normal-

Andrew: Even you and your brother had it?

Peter: Absolutely.

Andrew: What’d he do to you and what did you do to him?

Peter: So there’s just at different times during the growth of the business where I felt like, “Oh, I’m putting more of myself into the business,” or, “I’m more important to the business,” and then at other times, he’s, maybe [??] that I’m more important to the business, he’s feeling the same thing on his side, and so it creates friction, and friction between founders has a serious detrimental effect on the business as a whole.

So one of the things, to go back to what you had mentioned, getting adequate counsel, someone who’s been there, done that, to help sketch you out and write down a number of things: your articles of corporation, your partnership agreement, a buy/sell agreement. You know, things like that are extremely important from an early stage.

So one of the things that you mentioned before when we were talking about Shopify about, “Hey, you don’t need to hire a dev and do a custom site,” you absolutely do not, and unless you’re doing something amazing and fantastic and new, I would definitely go with an off-the-shelf solution there and save your money and work on something else. I would not go with an off-the-shelf solution in terms of your legal needs, if you’re really serious about this entrepreneurship thing.

Andrew: And you know what? And it’s, frankly, it doesn’t have to cost as much as I used to think it would be – it would cost. Because it’s a lot of labor, a lot of time for the lawyer to put it together. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as I thought it would be. I just assumed it was going to be really tough. How do you make sure that everyone’s shares are done right? How do you make sure that no one’s getting too much, that it really evens out or that it makes sense, even three years in the future?

It turns out the cost is lower than – a lot lower than I thought because lawyers like to help entrepreneurs get going to build a relationship with them. And it’s not as complicated because tons of other companies, tons of other entrepreneurs have done it. If you work with a lawyer who’s worked with other entrepreneur’s, he’s got it now at this point.

Anyway, I introduced a friend of mine to Scott Edward Walker. Walker Corporate Law helped them get started. The cost was really reasonable for putting it together and it didn’t take up much time at all. And I recommend to anyone out there that if you’re looking for a lawyer, Scott Edward Walker’s really the guy you go to when you have big transactions like selling your company, buying a company, raising money, et cetera.

But even in the early stage, they’ll be there for you to help you get started and to really make sure that you do it right so that you don’t have problems butting heads with your cofounders. So you don’t end up resenting each other and so that you don’t end up making a mistake that really you should not take your eye off of the ball but could potentially, if it’s not done right. So talk to Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. I’ll give you a website. It’s WalkerCorporateLaw.com.

All right, back to our story. You’ve got this website up. You have supply. You have the stuff at home. You know what you’re doing. It’s time to now bring people in the door. This can trip a lot of people up. How did you get your first customers?

Peter: So I came from a pay-per-click marketing background. That’s what Living Directs had done really well was pay-per-click. So that is, number one, one of the very first things that we did, which, by the way I would not repeat that [laughter].

Andrew: Why not? Why wouldn’t you buy ads?

Peter: Sorry, go ‘head. Sorry?

Andrew: Why wouldn’t you buy ads? Especially if you’re so good at it.

Peter: [laughter] Well, so that’s the thing. Even, it moves – pay-per-click moves so fast, it’s like playing craps at a casino. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to lose a lot of money very, very quickly. If you do know what you’re doing, it’s actually a great channel for getting traffic and for getting sales.

Andrew: But you did know what you were doing. What…

Peter: Yeah.

Andrew: And I’m looking, by the way. It doesn’t seem like you guys buy ads right now. You’re not doing any search ads, right?

Peter: We are actually.

Andrew: You are? Okay, I can’t tell it.

Peter: We, yeah.

Andrew: I’m glad that I asked you.

Peter: [laughter]

Andrew: So what do – how did you figure it out?

Peter: So [clears throat] we actually went with an outside company to manage that. We were initially handling that in-house and then when it started to get really good, which right now it delivers [clears throat] on an ROI basis very strongly for us.

Andrew: Hm.

Peter: But we were initially doing it in-house and, you know, acquiring customers that way. We actually did – it did work well for us but I just think that, for a startup, there’s probably better…

Andrew: I see. So what did you do that made it work well for you?

Peter: So [clears throat] diving into the analytics, understanding extremely clearly what the analytics are, understanding what your margins are – or in our case our margins were – and then understanding what our business model was for acquiring and retaining those customers.

So one of the things to mention about this, really quickly, is that a lot of people, when you talk with a lot of consultants in the PPC realm, they’ll talk with you about lifetime value of a customer and trying to get you to be comfortable with losing money on that first sale to acquire the customer because you’re going to get it back in the back end. And maybe this is a good strategy but for us as a bootstrap company, we didn’t want to go with that strategy. We wanted to make sure that we were making money on the first sale and then making money…

Andrew: Do you remember?

Peter: Sorry.

Andrew: Right, because you’re a bootstrap company, cash is an issue.

Peter: Right.

Andrew: Cash flow is always an issue in a situation like this…

Peter: (inaudible) it’s a huge issue.

Andrew: …especially if you’re buying up front, huge issue for you.

Peter: Yep.

Andrew: So do you remember one of the key words that worked for you or a distinction that you made that we can learn from? Do you remember anything from the first few weeks of doing (inaudible)?

Peter: Yeah…

Andrew: What?

Peter: So, you know, the more targeted the keyword and then the more, like, [clears throat] – and I know if anybody’s a PPC person they’re probably going to start rolling their eyes when I say this stuff – but the more targeted the keyword and then making sure that you’re going after keywords that are buying focused rather than people that would just be looking for, like, general information.

So for example, our first products were gymnastic rings – and this would be a super, you know, facile example – but the keyword “buy gymnastic rings” is obviously [laughter] a really targeted keyword that’s going to deliver very targeted traffic, whereas a keyword that might be similar, like ‘gymnastic rings exercises’, is not really somebody who’s looking to buy gymnastic rings. So, I’m making sure that you are targeting the appropriate keywords that you’re doing, and I can’t remember exactly what the term is, but you’re making negative keywords on the keywords that you don’t want to show up, or you don’t your ads to show up for.

Andrew: Do you remember one of the negative keywords that you did not want your ads to show up on?

Peter: I think maybe exercises, because I think that didn’t perform, and it was generally who already had a product or were thinking about buying a product but were more interested in finding out what you could do with the product versus purchasing that product.

Andrew: I think getting into the specifics of what you did with ad-words is outside the scope of this interview. For now, what I will do is I will take what you just said as useful information, but I’ll also just emphasize the fact that you work for a company that you did this. So many times entrepreneurial podcasts will put down people who get a job, or entrepreneurs will put down other people if they have a job, because if you have a job, that means you’re not a real entrepreneur and all of that.

I see over and over again entrepreneurs learned on someone else’s dime. Learned by working at another company. Learned by being trained at another company. And then they used it to get maybe even an almost unfair advantage because they got to see, to look inside a company. And in your case, you did that. So I’ll leave that out there as just another point to make sure that people take away from this.

Peter: If I can comment on that really quick, I’m a big, big, big believer in that. To be honest, I think, so I started a business when I was 30 years old, and that would have made my brother, my partner 20 years old. There’s a world of difference between 20 and 25 and 30 in how seasoned you are and how mature you are and what you know, not only about entrepreneurship , but just about people and about social dynamics and things like that, and I’m really happy for the experience that I got at Living Direct, which was an entrepreneurial company.

They had 3 million in revenue when I started there, and when I left as VP, they were notching over 50 million a year in revenue. And so the company was extremely entrepreneurial and I was able to learn in a lot of different areas, and if that’s what you want to do I would strongly suggest finding a company that’s going through this entrepreneurial growing pain and then you can learn and as you said, make mistakes on somebody else’s dime, because I made a lot of mistakes on their dime and learned from it, so…

Andrew: Yeah, and get some guidance early on. Alright, so ads were working for you. Let’s see what else: cross-fit. You mentioned that. How did you start tapping into the cross-fit population?

Peter: [laughs]. So this is an interesting one because it’s a little bit [??], because cross-fit is a trademark term, and so we always have to be careful about how we use it, but we are definitely cross-fitters. Our equipment is used by a lot of people who do cross-fit, and what we did to get more [??] is I was already personally involved in the community locally in Austin and online, prior to starting the business, you know with [??] on Facebook or it’s a first real crossfit we [??]. It’s such an online community.

So I was already very involved in that prior to starting [??] just deepen my involvement with that. And that, honestly, is one of the reasons that I started fringe is that I was very passionate about physical fitness and the cross-fit movement and I wanted a way to make my passion and my work and my entrepreneurship coincide. So what we started doing is that we started going out to events and going out to gyms and just straight-up hustling.

And that’s one of the things when we talk about being an entrepreneur, excuse me, being a wantrepreneur, I think a lot of wantrepreneurs are not adverse to work, they’re very hard workers, but they may be adverse to hustling, which I differentiate from work, because I think hustling is actually working hard to try and get an edge and try to get ahead and doing things that a lot of people may not consider- you know, work is like doing SEO on your site, making your own-

Andrew: Doing SEO on your site in stealth-mode, hustling is going into gyms in Austin, giving out- what did you give out there?

Peter: So we gave out free gymnastic rings at the start to owners of gyms or trainers or things like that and a lot of them were my friends already, like, ‘Hey! How you doing, brother? I’ve started this business, it’s called Fringe Sport, we’re developing these gymnastic rings, here’s a free pair. I’d love it if you would let me know what you think about it and if you like it, I know you have a blog; a quick post, a couple of pictures would be great. Even if you don’t like it, whatever, please get me the feedback because I need to know.

Andrew: Peter, this is hustling, and it takes guts. If I were to say to people, “it takes guts to do it,” they would almost brush it off. They would say, “Of course not. You just go in. It’s easy.” But when you actually have to do it…to walk in and talk about your business…your mind starts to play games with you. Things like well, this guy doesn’t need me. He has tons of suppliers. This guy…I don’t know how I’m going to get to the right person. Or what if I give it to him and he doesn’t end up buying.

Like all these head games that we play with ourselves keep us from doing it. And I know that there are a lot of people that pretend that they don’t have it. You have it. If you guys are out there pretending, I know you’re pretending to yourself. You’re lying to yourself. We all have it. And I think it’s impressive that you got past it to the point where you were able to go into a gym and give it. Did it work, giving out free rings?

Peter: Absolutely. [laughter]

Andrew: It did? Okay.

Peter: Yeah. I mean, it only worked 20% of the time. But…[laughter]. But that’s what you’re doing. You’re running a numbers game. Not every time is going to work. And honestly, even in those early stages there were some people that I considered good friends of mine who had big followings who I was like, oh, this guy is going to help me out for sure. Because we’ve been friends for three years. And then…there were a number of cases like that where nothing came through, and I was like, oh crap, what’s wrong there.

But then somebody from out of nowhere would say, “Oh, I love the rings. I love Fringe Sport. I love Peter and Alex and I’m going to do anything I possibly can to help push them forward. And that…I would seize onto that and that would give me momentum. And that would say, hey, we need to find more people like this. We need to connect with more people like this. And honestly, by the way, if there’s any way I can help these people out in the future, like ….

Andrew: More people like this, right? You want to see what’s working for you and double-down on that instead of trying to endlessly make things that never work out for you turn around. So what’s one thing that worked for you early on that you went in and doubled-down on?

Peter: So, I would say that [laughter] providing killer service. I mean, this is kind of a cliche. But I…when I had founded the business, I wanted to be…I wanted to pattern after Zappos, after Nordstrom, after R.E.I. And honestly Zappos and R.E.I. are two companies that I shop at quite a bit, and I really enjoy those companies. And so I had this idea that hey, if we provide knock-your-socks-off service, it’s really going to make a difference in customers coming back. And it actually really did make a difference. As you saw on our website, we do free outbound and free return shipping. And we are literally shipping weights. And so, it’s really expensive.

Andrew: Really expensive.

Peter: Oh yeah. And if somebody wants to ship the weights back, it’s no problem whatsoever. I mean, we do keep good analytics on all this stuff, like why are people shipping this back, that sort of thing. And as of yet, we’ve never cut a customer off even though we have had a few customers who almost rent stuff from us. [laughter]

Andrew: You mean they’re just buying it, they’re trying it out, and then going, “I don’t know these Fringe Sport people. I’m just going to send it back to them, get my money back, and try something else”?

Peter: Yeah, exactly. And I think that they’re like “I love Fringe Sport because I can get this bar, I can use it for two months and send it back and get a new one.” So…but that’s cool. No problem whatsoever.

Andrew: No, it’s not. That’s not cool, but it’s acceptable. We’ll deal with it. [laughter] All right, one of the challenges that you had was that this business wasn’t set it and forget it, you know?

Peter: No.

Andrew: It feels to me people who read four-hour work week think everything needs to be an automated business that they can run from the beach four hours a day. Four hours a week tops. This wasn’t like that.

Peter: No. And actually… so, I had talked about “The 4-Hour Work Week” before. So, I do love that book because it brought everything together for me, but I think that book is about 40% just utter horse crap. [laughter] And 60% pot-of-gold.

Andrew: What’s the horse crap?

Peter: I was not super-enthused, even now, to see kind of a lot of Tim’s stuff about how to fool your bosses into…

Andrew: Into thinking that you’re working when….

Peter: Yeah.

Andrew: You want to know something? I didn’t think that worked either. I had a past guest email me afterwards and say, “I did that. I don’t want to say it. I didn’t want to say it in the interview, but when I was working and I told you that I ran my company while I was working, what I did was hire and outsourcer to do my job for me.”

Peter: Wow. That’s really bad.

Andrew: But I…I don’t think it’s one of the most used ideas in the book. Outsourcing is but not necessarily without telling your boss.

Peter: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. So, back to automation then. Your business couldn’t be automated, right?

Peter: No, it couldn’t be automated. And I did have the idea when we started the business that we would potentially outsource the fulfillment (?) to a supply house which a lot of people do, and we would outsource a lot of these different things. And then automate them as best we could and then go on a beach and (?) or something like that.

But it became clear after a year that this was never going to happen in terms of automating the business and making a true four hour work week style business. But what I did see after about a year was that the business could be really great as A) a more traditional business and then B) if I moved on to ideas from another book which is the “E-Myth Revisited” then the business actually, let’s say, could be automated but automated systems, processes, and . . .

Andrew: Give me an example.

Peter: So an example, a good example is I’m here in Taipei right now. I’ve been in Taipei for the past week. I’m going to be in China. I’m going to Shanghai tonight. I’m going to be in China for the next week so I haven’t been home for . . . I haven’t been at the business. I’ll be gone for two weeks total. My brother actually is in Las Vegas right now, and when he gets back from Las Vegas he’s going to be in the office for a few days. And then he’s going to fly to London. And Vegas is work, London is a holiday, but both he and I are constantly coming and going.

Andrew: I wondered how you do that. I do that too at Mixergy. I used to think that it’s so about what I need to understand from the guests that I can’t ask someone else to do it, and I can’t get someone else to really understand this and do, for example, pre-interview. For sure pre-interview would never be done. And then one of my past guests, Owen McCabe Anowo, said, “You could do this” and then he almost wanted to tear the pre- interview away from me to prove it to me.” He forced me to sit down and say, “What are some of the questions I need to know?”

And now you went through the pre-interview process, and I didn’t have to do it the way I did when I started out. There’s a process. There’s a doc that goes along with it. What’s one thing that you didn’t think you could have someone else do that now you’ve been able to delegate?

Peter: You know, that’s a tough question because I focus really hard on only doing the things, only me doing the things that provide high value into the business. So let’s just say for example, sourcing and designing product. That’s something that I really hang my hat on personally. It’s a personal strong point and skill that I’ve got, but I have an employee that’s back in Austin now. He actually worked for us while living in Shanghai for a year. And I’ve been trying to just funnel and pool all of my knowledge in . . .

Andrew: How did you do it using E-Myth Michael Gerber approach?

Peter: Oh man. So if your listeners aren’t familiar with the “E-Myth Revisited” one of the key tenets there is run your business like it’s a franchise which is to say there’s actually a binder which in our case is Google Docs of what to do is every situation. And so what we do is we have Google Docs that say, “If this happens, then do this. If this happens, then do this.” And complete training on every different aspect of the business.

And so then please (?) Google Docs and because they’re aligned with the Google Doc format they can actually search. You know, just use a keyword search like okay, this is what I’m trying to do. Well, one thing when I say this is always a constant work in progress. I’m not going to sit here right now and my employees watching me. They’re like, “You’re not perfect.” Of course, we’re not. It’s a work in progress that just start writing everything down, like how do you do things, create template documents, even create check lists and things like that through Google Docs and use that to have your employees walk through the different things.

Let’s say like sourcing and maintaining these relationships with factories, that can be really high touch, but what I did was I made a lot of the initial relationships and then I actually moved my employee in. And I’ve taught him how to deal with factories and how to deal with people, and then he takes over a lot of the relationships.

There’s a lot of investment in time early on, but right now, again, I’m going to be two weeks out of the office right now and probably over the year I’ll probably spend three or four months of the year outside of the office whether being on holiday or traveling for business. And the business continues to run itself because of the standard operating procedures and because of the processes and because of the people who are implementing those processes.

Andrew: So we used template too. The pre-interview outline is template out, and all we do is copy a Google Doc that has it, and we start a conversation with you. We use Google Docs also because it’s so easy to edit that you can’t help yourself if you see a mistake. Then you’re going to go in there and edit. And we do have processes for getting results. So if for example, you or someone else were getting too broad, one of the things the pre- interviewer would know to do is say, “Can you give me an example of that?” People have heard me say that in the interview.

Peter: Definitely.

Andrew: If you say “Give me an example of it,” it always brings the guest back down to specifics. Specifics often lead to stories, which are easy to visualize and make sense. So we did that with you and said not just, “Did you ever have any low points?” Because then you’d say, “Yeah, every business has low points.” We said, “Give an example of a low point.” You said “Last year we had cash flow problems.”

Peter: [laughs] Yeah, so we’re an e-commerce business. We’re designing, manufacturing and sourcing a lot of our products and then inventorying warehousing those products. And we also are a high-growth business going from 100K in revenue in 2011 to a million in 2012 to 3.4 in 2013 to trending out to 6 million this year, which is our goal for this year. So that all sounds great until you start diving into the Ps and Qs of that.

And so since a lot of our stuff is coming from overseas, it’s very difficult to get supplier financing on that product, which that’s what you need to be looking for if you’re running a business somewhere online, the very first thing is to look for supplier financing. It’s difficult to get from overseas though and we’re having to buy in container load quantities in advance of selling onesie twosie items out to our customers.

So the growth was really great, but last year, and it was actually about a year ago, we hit some really serious cash flow problems. Because we had been growing our inventory in anticipation of sales. And even while our sales are going up and up and up, they’re not actually going like this. They’re actually going big up and then it’ll be a little bit down, then there’ll be another big up, then it’ll be down maybe two months and then there’ll be another big up.

The trend line, if you put the trend line out there, the trend line is up, up, up, but the fact that you have somewhat staccatic sales on a monthly, daily, weekly basis means that you’re always trying to [??] for sales. This is a little bit dry.

Andrew: It’s not. It means even frankly that the more you grow, the more cash flow problems you have.

Peter: Yes.

Andrew: Even if you did have perfect up, up, up, up, up, you would have to spend much more today to prepare for your growth next week and then much more next week to prepare for the growth the week after that. You don’t get your money back until after the sale, but you do put your money out before you get the product. It’s a huge problem. This is why many people don’t do this, why they frankly don’t get into the space at all. First of all, how did you feel about it? Let’s get into the emotional part of it that we talked about earlier.

Peter: So I’m a pretty transparent guy, sometimes to a fault. I would say up until now, this has been the lowest point of my entrepreneurial journey so far. So we were scrambling to pay the bills. We had a profitable business, had and have a profitable business. We had a lot of inventory on our shelves. But we also had bills because we need to pay more inventory and we need to pay to keep the lights on and the employees’ payroll and things like that.

So bills were stacking up and we had had a couple of down months in a row. This all contributed to a huge cash crunch. At the time, I was the only partner who was managing our cash flow and seeing the stuff going on. And we also had very poor systems for anticipating what was going on in cash flow or even anticipating what sales we had in the pipeline and things like that. So I was basically seeing that our bank account was running down down, down, down, down, even as our inventory was high. The bank account’s running down, down, down, down. I was internalizing all of this stress saying, hey, I have a profitable and growing company here. How am I having so much trouble paying the bills?

And I wasn’t reaching out to my brother and partner on that because I was saying, “Hey, I’m thirty-whatever years old. I’ve got an MBA. I’ve done this before. I need to solve this problem. I need to take this burden on my shoulders alone.” The result of that was I literally went into a depression. The anxiety was such that I would wake up in the morning and just want to go to sleep at night. And when I’d go to sleep at night, my head would hit the pillow and I’d not be able to fall asleep because I was so stressed.

I’d wake up in cold sweats in the night. It was really, really, really bad. But then in the morning when I go into the office, I’d have to put a huge smile on my face and show the employees, keep my chin up. None of the employees even knew anything was wrong. I’m just kind of having a really hard time up here. [??]

Andrew: I’ve had that where I sleep walked to work. Not here at Mixergy, but at a previous company. There was a period there where I was, basically, sleep walking to work. No one would know about it. I wasn’t functioning well. What did you do to snap out of it?

Peter: [??] There are a number of things I did to snap out of it. If you’re going through this right now the point is that you need to keep trying different . . . just as you mentioned earlier, try different things. Double down on what works and the kill what doesn’t work.

Here’s what worked for me. Number one, do deal with the stress I found I guess constant, some people call it, something that helped me get rid of the stress. For me it was lifting. I started lifting heavy and using that to deal with the stress. Every time I went in the gym the stress would go away for an hour.

At the very least, it would give me an hour to kind of clear my [??]. I also started going to therapy to deal with the stress. Prior to this I had thought that therapy was for weak people, or crazy people, whatever. Now, I’m a huge believer.

Andrew: I went to therapy so many times. I got nothing out of it. I feel like they either tried to tell me what to do. They thought that they were really being helpful by telling what to do, but I just wanted them to listen, or they would listen and not give me enough guidance. Tell me what to do without listening to me at all, or giving me guidance without any awareness of who I was. What did you get?

Peter: For me, and maybe I just had a good therapist, or one that I meshed with well. She does a very good job of listening and kind of nudging me in this direction or that direction. Saying, have you thought of this, or have you thought of that? But a lot of listening. I think maybe she instead of me trying to spill this stuff out to my wife, or talk about things that I would be ashamed to talk about with my wife, or with other people.

Andrew: Like what? What were you too embarrassed to say to your wife, or to ashamed?

Peter: That the business was failing. I had quit my job. A six figure job. Had extremely bright prospects to run this entrepreneurial business. I’ve got two kids. A wife who believed in me, and still does believe in me, by the way. How could I look at her in the face and say, hey, this isn’t going well? That was a big part of my anxiety.

Andrew: Being open about it somewhere I guess takes some of the weight off your shoulders, but it doesn’t make the cash crunch go away. It doesn’t bring more customers in the door, or bring more funding into your operation and get your suppliers to somehow magically trust you with 40 day terms, or longer.

Peter: I was dealing with the emotional part first.

Andrew: Okay.

Peter: Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of the business. One other thing that was a mix of emotional and business I joined EO, Entrepreneurs Organization. That was huge for me. If you’re not involved with other entrepreneurs that you have either a mastermind call with, or a mastermind group, or something like that. Definitely try to seek something like that out, but now I know the nitty gritty of what helped me out in the business.

First of all, a lot of what was causing a lot of the stress on me was the fact that I was seeing these problems, like, two weeks out. Not having a ton of time to deal with them. Our sales are down, inventories up. We’re going to have a cash crisis in seven to 14 days. That’s pretty horrible.

Andrew: EO helped you understand that this was coming up so that you could do something about it?

Peter: Oh, sorry. EO was a little bit of an aside.

Andrew: Okay.

Peter: Having an audience of [??] group with other entrepreneurs who had been there, done that to one extent or another helped me deal with a lot of these individual situations. The specific solution that I rolled in from my business on [??] actually was fairly, line of sight.

I wouldn’t say EO helped me necessarily with that, but they did help me while implementing it. What we did is we, or I created a cash flow document, which at the time was just in a Google. format. It actually forecast our [??] out by two months.

It weighs the sales coming in versus the money going out, and estimates all this stuff so that if there’s a cash crunch coming we have two months of warning, or more depending on what time of year it is, than own to two weeks. If you’ve got a few months you’re then able to say, okay, we need to do something to pump sales in that short time, or we need to seek a bridge loan, or something like that to make things work.

Andrew: I see.

Peter: [??]

Andrew: Sorry. What were you going to say?

Peter: Getting more visibility into our cash needs and then our incoming cash flows, as well, and balancing [??] was huge.

Andrew: The therapy is what helped you get out of your funk so that you could be clear headed enough to understand that there was a solution and then sit down with something as basic as Google Docs, create a spreadsheet, and sketch out what that solution would look like.

Peter: Correct. And I think it could help me get my head right so that I could operate the way I needed to operate and be the 100 percent or as close as the 100 percent as I needed to be in the office.

Andrew: I stepped over your response to what it was about therapy. Tell me if I- what else I’m missing here. It feels like part of it was just having someone who will listen allowed yourself to un-burden yourself which got the weight off of you. It also seemed that talking to the therapist you realized that some of these things that seemed huge weren’t as big as they were, and maybe- is that right, or am I just imagining it?

Peter: Oh, absolutely. And I mean, she helped provide a lot of clarity to some of the problems that I was facing, and then also to help me understand that I don’t need to be the Atlas holding that stone with the world on my back. There are other, my partner, other employees that could help in various different ways.

Andrew: I see. Unburden the negative and help turn your attention to what was working for you, what assets you had that you could use. Okay. Did I miss something? Because I don’t want to be a know it all with this answer and then miss something that I didn’t actually know.

Peter: No, so a couple of other things that we did; again, the Google Docs was very line of site. But after that, we actually- we didn’t have a bank credit line, we didn’t have any financing from the bank as of a year ago, so we actually went- or I went out with hammer and tongs and basically said, ‘I’m going to bring back a line of credits that we can get out of this situation as it moves forward.’ And basically by beating the bushes for that, we actually now have many, many many more options for financing inventory and financing different things, getting a bridge loan if there’s any situation there.

At the same time, concurrent when I was looking for bank and traditional financing, I was also going to our suppliers and saying, “Hey, you guys see our growth rate. This is something that you guys can be a part of and help assist us to continue to grow and grow and we’re going to be loyal if that happens, or you continue being who you are, which is great, thank you very much, but we’re going to need other options for suppliers who really believe in what we’re building and really able to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and give us some longer terms.”

And I did this both with our state-side and our overseas suppliers and had a good bit of success with that.

Andrew: Um, I should suggest to anyone who’s listening to this who wants to get more into this part of business; we don’t talk enough as entrepreneurs about the depression we feel, about the setback, how we have to deal with it alone, and frankly sometimes we have to put a smile on our face because we have to convince people that they should continue to do business with us. There are a couple of entrepreneurs who are especially good at this, and I’d like you to go and listen to them as a follow-up to this interview.

We’re not done yet. There’s a couple of other questions I want to ask here, but the founder of Live Person talked openly about therapy and its impact on him. I really urge you to listen to it, anyone out there as a follow-up to this interview. Really listen to it, hear his words, it’s available on Mixergy. Just put Live Person in to the search box and you’ll see it.

And of course, James Alteger, James Alteger on Mixergy talked about specifically, even thinking about, no just how to kill himself, but the actual practical plan for doing it. He’s always very open, James Alteger on Mixergy. I urge you guys to listen to those as follow-ups to this if any of this is resonating with you.

We started this whole thing out about a wantrepreneur who starts a business, you died it, and I think I’m curious about and I think the audience is curious about how big you got it. What were your sales last year, 2013?

Peter: So 2013 you’re aiming for 3 million in revenue, and we hit 3.4. We had a very nice push at the end of the month. And as I alluded to earlier, our plan for this year is to do 6 million.

Andrew: Were you profitable last year?

Peter: Yes. I earned 100k in revenue when we didn’t have salaries. But, you know, it’s just a side business. And that was in 2011, we broke even. We made a little money in 2012 on 1 million in revenue, although to be very honest, both myself and my partner were taking [??] salaries in 2012, and then in 2013, profitable on 3.4. Still sub-market salaries, but not as sub- market as they were.

Andrew: Huh. I think there are a lot of people that are thinking, you know, if he’s depressed, it means the whole business is going to pot, there must not be any sales, it must not be profitable at all, but that’s not the only time when things- when we start to get down. Alright, here is, I’m going to put it into Skype chat so you will remember, because you gave us so much. April in the pre-interview asked you if someone wants to go and actually do it, break their inner-entrepreneur, what advice do you have for them? And you gave her a list of things I thought we could talk about together. Podcasts was at the top of your list, why podcasts?

Peter: So, [coughs], I started listening to South by South-West in Austin a few years back. I’d never listened to a podcast before, and I’d never been interested in listening to a podcast. But I met a guy, Joe Runion from Impossible- oh shoot, I messed up his website-

Andrew: I’ll look it up.

Peter: Ah, there you go, Mr. Impossible, and [??] listened to podcast. He gave me an impassioned, semi-drunken ramble about why it was so important to listen to podcasts, and apparently it made an impact in my brain. And I started listening to the Tropical MBA and then from that, [??] Startup School, and actually, I think through the Tropical MBA I found out about Mixergy. I think I had maybe heard about Mixergy before but not until the TMBA guys were into it.

And it was a way- listening to these podcasts- was a way of quasi- surrounding me with entrepreneurs and people who were going through some of the same challenges that I was going through without having to actually seek them out and find them. And so for me, it was really huge, because it enabled me to super-charge the growth of my business and super-charge my growth as entrepreneur.

Plus, I could always listen to them in the car when I was on my commute to my corporate job where maybe a mastermind call or something like that I would need to be more present for.

Andrew: And today do you have your own podcast, too?

Peter: I do. [laughs], I have the Mistake Podcast, which you can find on I- Tunes or online at [??].com, which is actually with Peter Shane and we talk to CEOs and entrepreneurs about their biggest mistakes that they made.

Andrew: The founder of HARO, Help a Reporter Out.

Peter: Exactly!

Andrew: Nice partnership there. Why don’t we do two other things from this list? The second on the list I want to make sure to get to. You can read it exactly, any way you want.

Peter: So I had been holding off cursing a little bit on the interview, but if you want me to read any way I want…

Andrew: I want you to just be yourself in any way you want, any way that you think is important to get this point across because it’s important.

Peter: Okay. It is important. Fucking sell something! You know, convince someone to pay you one dollar, one penny, something for something else. The reason that I’m so emphatic about this is that I think that that’s the way to break the entrepreneur curse is to go out and start duking it out in the market place and getting people to pay you for something. This something could be a physical product, it could an information product, it could be a subscription to a website or something like that, or a consulting gig, something like that.

That’s how you can get out on this wantrepreneur bog that might mire you down: sell something to someone else because that’s the ultimate arbiter in entrepreneurship of success and failure. You know, somebody- well, I mean there’s profit, [laughs], but fundamentally, if you’re able to convince Joe Schmo to pay you even a dollar for what you’re offering, then you’re going to be head and shoulders above everybody else who’s a wantrepreneur.

Andrew: And then it starts to really feel real to you, I mean beyond the fact that you have a dollar, and if you know how to get a dollar, you can multiply what you’ve done to get it to get more, and frankly the second dollar’s easier than the first, but beyond that reality, there’s the part in your head that makes it real.

When I first saw on PayPal an alert go up that someone bought, I realized, yes, this is real! And now I have to make it real or else I make this guy a fool for buying from me. You know, I have to keep selling it, I can’t start giving it away for free. All right, one last one, personal life. The value of a personal life and the importance of it as an entrepreneur.

Peter: So, [coughs], for me, family always comes first. I mentioned that I have a wife, I’ve got two lovely, lovely daughters, and congratulations to you as well, [laughs].

Andrew: Is that [inaudible 00:04:36] place?

Peter: [laughs]. But, for me, it was when you hear these stories about- the fabled stories about Steve Jobs and I think he had to be sewed to provide a college fund for his daughter and also was potentially not the nicest person to have around the house, although of course it accomplished many, many great things. I’ve never aspired to that myself, and when I to business school there where a number of CEO’s who came in who were held up as paragons of success, but in every single speech that they gave to the Business School class, these different CEO’s talked about the negative effects that their success had had on their family.

And whenever I was sitting there listening to that, listening to things like this I you know made a mental note to myself that that’s not going to be me. So, if I was going to be a huge success out in the world, but my kids wouldn’t know me, and I do travel a lot by the way, but I’m extremely present as a father and a parent when I’m around, and you know I’m Face Timing and stuff.

Andrew: And you made another point too, you said, “Look if you don’t have a stable personal life, if it’s in chaos it’s going to make it so much harder to run a business.” If you can’t walk into work focus on your business because you have to focus on this argument, and this other thing that’s going on it becomes really tough to focus on work, and to channel your energy properly, true?

Peter: Absolutely, you know I have a very boring family life, which I love, and it lets me have a two month no twist business life. You know duke it out with suppliers and stuff like that.

Andrew: All right, we started out talking about if you’re an entrepreneur you should here this story. I hope you got as much out of it as I did, and I’m sure that if you, if you listen to it, if you watched what Peter did to succeed you’ll understand a couple of things that will help you work…That will also help you also break your inner entrepreneur, and frankly I’m no entrepreneur, I got a lot out of this interview. I’m going to close this off by suggesting the people to check out your blog, and giving your URL directly in addition to saying that they should go Fringe Sport, and the reason I want to give your URL directly is if they do what I just did, which is google Peter Keller you know what comes up?

Peter: I know what comes up.

Andrew: There’s apparently a murder suspect named Peter Keller…

Peter: That’s not a suspect.

Andrew: …There’s way too much stuff there, what’s the blog?

Peter: So my blog that I talk product stuff is ProductSimple.net…

Andrew: ProductSimple.net

Peter: Yes, and if you are googling Peter Keller no I’m not the Peter Keller who killed his wife and family. So…

Andrew: Yeah, you look nothing like him. I didn’t even read the story, but I saw murder suspect, and tons of posts. I said, “I’m not even going to get to the Peter Keller I interview on page three.” Alright, there’s one thing that I really like about this site, about Product Simple if anyone goes over to it I suggest they take a look at the email script. The email that you use to send to factory the one that’s actually copied from what you use to get a supplier, and the reason I think that they should take a look at it is because it’s so fricking practical.

This is the way people need to email when they want to connect with someone, not these long ass emails that really are way too complicated and force the recipient to try to spend hours reading them, and try to understand what’s in your head. This email just fricking makes sense. Alright, Product Simple dot net is the blog. The website is Fringe Sport and if you happen to be in Taipei, or anywhere else in the world where Peter is I hope you get to meet him in person and say what I’m about to, which is Peter thanks for doing this interview.

Peter: It’s been a pleasure, thank you so much.

Andrew: You bet thank you all for being a part of it. Bye guys.

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  • Jacob Liberman

    I think “filament” is supposed to be “fulfillment” as in “order fulfillment.” Huge fan of Fringe, great work Peter.

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Thanks Jacob! I fixed it.

  • the_rosenthall

    This was a great interview. Peter’s really a great interview, and it’s nice to hear someone who deals with a physical product because it changes a LOT of things. I make physical products right now and I can definitely empathize with some of the issues he’s faced.

    I’ve also been stuck in the “The more you grow, the more broke you become” and it’s a difficult dilemma for a bootstrapped company.

    Really looking forward to reading his blog.

  • Rafael Chaves

    Great interview, for a wantrepreneur like myself. I missed having a better understanding of how far Peter’s previous false starts got. For instance, did he have any sales with those failed attempts?

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Approved

  • kathrynddaniels

    My Uncle Riley got an almost
    new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online with a laptop. visit
    their website F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­