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Finally, I’d like to get your advice on how to promote a new sponsor that I’ll have on next month. The site is called LoseItOrLoseIt.com. It’s a ten week weight lost plan with a twist. On lose it or loseit, you set a goal for yourself to lose a certain number of pounds per week and then you tell the site, here’ the twist, you tell the site how much money you want to put on the line if you don’t make your weight goals. What do you think? How can I promote it? How can I get people excited about it? Tell me via email, or comments or Twitter or whatever. Lose it or LoseItOrLoseIt.com. Here’s the program.
Hey, everyone, it’s Andrew Warner, founder of mixeenergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And today I’ve got the kind of interview that many people have been requesting. They’re saying that they love hearing interviews with internet entrepreneurs, that they love hearing interviews with investors. Though a little bit less excitement for investors than entrepreneurs. But, what they would like to see more of is people who sell actual stuff, Atoms not Bytes is what they’re telling me.
And they’ll like to see bootstrap entrepreneurs who do it. The problem I’ve got with that is that I can’t tell whose what. How big a business is in that industry. That’s why when I got David Elliott’s email. David Elliott, my guess today, he’s the founder of Freedom Waterless Car Wash. And he offered to do an interview here with me on Mix Energy. What I was excited about, I said, “Can we go through your numbers? Can I confirm that you are as big as you are because outside the Internet I don’t have as much understanding of how big companies are.” And you’re willing to do it, David, we took a look at your . . . actually, what did you send me? I’ll let you say it so people can get to meet you.
David: Tax records, tax sheet from my CPA.
Andrew: Yeah. So, send tax sheets over. I figured that’s a good indications of the size of the business and we’re going to spend some time here today finding out more about the business and how you grew it there. Why don’t we start off with this. What is Freedom Waterless Car Wash?
David: Freedom Waterless Car Wash is a product that you can spray on, rub in and wipe off gently and it cleans, polish and protects without water. I mean it’s a water based product and it will wash and wax your vehicle at the same time without scratching. You can use it in the sun, you can use it in the shade and you can also use it on a wet or dry car. A lot of the competition can’t say that ‘cuz they use different compounds with kerosene and petroleum products in it, but we have an all water base products, no petroleum and it’s doing very well.
Andrew: And you actually have one of those names that actually makes sense. When I saw Waterless Car Wash, I completely understood what it was. Mix Energy on the other hand, the name that I picked for my business, doesn’t exactly do that.
David: No. But, it’s unique.
Andrew: It is unique actually and apparently trade marketable, Mix Energy is thankfully. How long have you had this business?
David: Been in this business for over 10 years.
David: I actually had this business going while I was in the Air Force. I was in the Air Force for 20years. This is my side business while I was in the Air Force and now it’s my full time business. I’m retired from the Air Force.
Andrew: How much time did you have while you were in the Air Force to start a business?
David: Oh, I had a little bit of time. I was going through marriages. I got a divorce and had a lot of time then. And then started a business that way. Once I got married again I was actually working in the Air Force taking care of my family in the evenings and when they went to bed I would work from about 9:00 at night until 12, 1:00 in the morning, packing boxes, answering emails, making phone calls to Australia and other places around the world.
David: So, one time I actually was so tired that I backed out of the garage without opening the garage door. But, it was okay because it didn’t hurt the garage too bad, but I did do that.
Andrew: Wow, wow. Get out. Okay.
Andrew: Okay, how much of, I have never been through a divorce, I can imagine how painful it must be and how much your life gets turned upside down, where you channeling the energy from that, were you channeling the feelings that you had towards your business?
Interviewee: Yes, Yes, I was in Air Force full time. I had a leadership role, I had 40 guys who were heavy equipment operators taking care of the base, and in between marriages, when I get a divorce, these guys told me hey they want me to go to this meeting and they are selling this product and I just wanted to hang out with people that were positive and that were happy about things, so I went there and they had this great product and it was an MLM company, multi-level marketing, so I was successful doing that and I liked hanging around people like that but I thought I could take it to the next level, so I ventured away from there and I found somebody who could produce a product similar but water based and not petroleum based and I just started marketing it to my friends and then I went on to, and not sure will go farther into this but started venturing outside America because America was quite ready for this product mainstream. That’s why it has taken me so long to get this product going the way it’s going now.
Andrew: How long were you doing the MLM?
Interviewee: About six to ten months.
Andrew: And what made you say this is such a good idea that I should go and create my own version of it?
Interviewee: Well because people’s reaction. They would pay $50 for a bottle, the way their cars looked, I thought that was the way with the future, there is a lot of cars in America, lot of cars in the world, there is a water crisis even back then, it was when Australia was just beginning this drought. So it seemed liked a good futuristic prospect to get things roll in early and hopefully in the future will be successful.
Andrew: I would like to do an interview or two on multi-level marketing industry at some point in the future, for now I just want to ask you a little bit about what you learned from it without getting too deep into multi-level marketing, the good and the bad of it, but you were with the program for 8 to 10 months, what did you learn, what did you take away?
Interviewee: I learned a lot. I didn’t know anything about business at all. I had actually started my own web design company before that and I was building websites with the surf industry, that was my way of being in the surf industry and I have been surfing all over the world, so I was able to learn from people who had businesses, for $50 I was able to have my own company or have my own business aside from another business and they were going to train how to run a company or at least show me and point me in the right direction. Even Donald Trump says the best way to start a company on the cheap is to start a MLM company or be in an MLM company and learn all the mistakes, make all the mistakes, let people show you the right direction, and I think that’s definitely valid.
Andrew: Donald Trump says that.
Interviewee: He just started his own MLM company the other day.
Andrew: That’s right actually. I have seen a lot of his ads online. So how would you even know where to go get your own bottle made? Where to go create this?
Interviewee: Well, I have a lot of trial and error but I did have a friend who, to sum up the MLM thing, they kind of went out of business, they had a great product and a great team, and they kind of went out of business, they came back a month later saying oh, we are back in another name, and I couldn’t fall them off the cliff twice. So I had a friend that was deep in that company and he knew some chemist and he knew some people and so we searched them out, we did some trial and error, we built a water based product and I went from there, and I just took my web design business and knowledge and we just kind of marketed across the world. I wanted to do things a little bit different. If the MLM company went left, I went right, and I just did it normal business ways versus MLM, and we just grew and grew until I was doing much better than my military pay and I had business colleagues and clients all over the world and it was great.
Andrew: You said that you did some trial and error, you actually formulated this together with the chemist and he gave you some bottles that just didn’t work?
Interviewee: Oh yes.
Andrew: It looks like in the internet industry, it’s a bad web page that maybe doesn’t covert, in this business what does that mean?
Interviewee: When it smears all over your car and you can’t get that off, or you have to get soap and water to get it off, that’s the kind of start over and let’s work with some other properties or I would send it to Australia and they say it’s terrible or, but a lot of times we would do trial and error right there and we would know right away this is working, this is not working, we are on to something and let’s keep going, let’s show some people and some people in the industry retailers and people who are on the country and the world and we finally came up with a great product and we have been improving it ever since. So it has really worked out well.
Andrew: Tommy in the audience is asking, What kind of cost is involved in hiring a chemist?
Interviewee: Well, it was profit sharing. So it wasn’t like I had $100,000 to plop down. I didn’t have any money to plop down. I’m in the military. I’m an E5 in the military. It’s not like we had a lot of money back then. So I was able to profit share. You know, if it cost $10 a gallon to make, then he was selling it to me for $14 a gallon. He was making $4. I’m just using rough numbers there, but that’s how I got started in the beginning.
Andrew: He’s also asking, Tommy in the audience, What was your initial investment?
Andrew: Because you had profit sharing from the chemist and you were selling to…?
Interviewee: Profit sharing. He went and got, he would buy a lot of the bottles. I guess I had some upfront costs. I designed my own label. I went from, the first labels I designed, I actually printed them on my inkjet printer. Not a good idea, because as soon as they got wet it just ran down. So I got professional labels made. I designed, and I was always changing them. So there were upfront costs. But the thing is we talk about bootstrapping. If I made $1,000, I would put it back in the completely. I wouldn’t pay myself for a long, long time, and I was able to keep on turning over the money and not getting into debt. I guess I got into a little debt in the beginning, but we’ll go into that a little later on if you want to.
Andrew: I’d like to. Let’s come back to it where it fits in the story. I want to dig deep in every part of this. You said when MLM went left, you went right. What kind of differences were there? What did you do differently?
Interviewee: Well, the traditional MLM, it’s, you know, you get your friends, and I get my friends, and pretty soon we’re NFL. We’re No Friends Left. That’s just a joke I have there. But, you know, it’s not about the product. I’m all about the product. I want your car to look great. I want the detailer to have awesome customers that they can’t believe that that’s their car. A lot of times with MLMs, not all MLMs, but it’s all about recruiting and getting as many people as possible, and it’s not really about the product. I’m all about the product, and customer service, and answering my own phone, and answering all my emails and, you know, that’s where the Crush It book comes in. I mean I really could relate with Gary Vaynerchuk on all that, because I do it every day. You know, people, “Why are you answering your own phone?” Because that’s what I do. And that’s really important. Another thing that the MLMs seem to be really too big. You couldn’t talk to the lead guy. They had a lot of people in between, and there was a lot of lies, and a lot of deceit and deception, and I didn’t like that whatsoever. I’m all about honesty and being up front, and that’s how the military is. So I bring my military integrity to my company, and people really like that. That’s why.
Andrew: Andrew SG in the audience is asking, Did you give a percentage, did you give any equity to the chemist?
Interviewee: No, not equity. Just revenue sharing.
Andrew: Okay. And the original customers? Where did they come from?
Interviewee: From the web. I built this entire company from the web, from a simple little HTML website that I built in 1997 or 1998 to, you know, Google, Yahoo, and just, I was one of the only ones that had my own company and a couple other companies out there. And that was it. There was nobody else in the market. So it was easy. They weren’t doing all these things. So the answer your real question is how did I get here is the MLM company had all these restrictions. You couldn’t sell bulk. You couldn’t private label. So I did anything and everything. We changed the color, changed the scent. We would make it purple with Barney on the front. As long as Barney’s okay with it, we would do it. We would be okay with it too. So I private labeled. We sold it in drums. We sold it in a concentrate. Anything and everything, we shotgun approached the whole thing to see what worked, what sticked, and what didn’t.
Andrew: How’d you get people to your website?
Interviewee: The same way I do today. They find me somehow. I don’t search out customers. Even today I don’t search out customers. A hundred percent of my business has been built up from the Internet and people finding me online.
Andrew: And you’re not going anything like search engine optimization or buying ads?
Interviewee: I don’t buy ads. I do have a web design company, and I kind of combine the resources of both. And because I have a lot of domain names, and we also do things… Today we do things like, if you’re a dealer, a Freedom dealer, and you’re in Toledo, we’re going to build you the FreedomofToledo.com website, and it’s going to be a kind of replicating website that’s going to look like some of our other websites. And you can maintain it on your own. So that’s another way of, there’s probably 100 websites out there, Freedomof…com, and they’re out there doing it. Plus I have some domains of my own that we promote too, and we blog on. So yes, we do that, but I’m not paying for Google AdWords.
Andrew: What [?] domains you have?
Interviewee: What kind? Like CleanPolishAndProtect.com.
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Interviewee: My biggest, my best domain is waterless carwash.com. If shoes sales and then you have shoes.com, you are doing something right. So to me waterlesscarwash.com is the premier domain name, so that’s my blog site, I will be turning that into a full fledged e-commerce website and information site soon.
Andrew: And I think actually in the pre-interview I did a Google search for waterless car wash and didn’t you come up first or second?
Interviewee: I have been number one for over five years, and now we are off and on with one another company and they haven’t even updated their website in five years, so I don’t know, I am kind of perplexed on why we are number two, but I think on Yahoo we are still number one, we are number one and have been for a long time.
Andrew: Micky in the audience is asking about intellectual property, did you get a patent?
Interviewee: Not patented, no it is not patented. Coca Cola is not patented either, I believe. So when you patent it you have to release your ingredients, people can figure out what the ingredients are but the percentages and the intellectual rights, that kind of stuff is, you are not going to figure that out, you can try and you can spend a lot of money trying and there are people trying right now, trying to do it, but you probably won’t get it exactly the same.
Andrew: And so, were you worried that somebody would get it exactly the same, that’s why didn’t patent it or was it that it’s not the product itself but the marketing of it in the name and everything else that goes with it?
Interviewee: It’s all of it put together, I am not afraid, China is going to do it, someone is going to do it, but yes it is the name, it is what we represent, non-petroleum product that works very, very well, high performance, high quality, it is all of the above. You can try all day long, you can pour it, you can cook it in your stove, you can do anything you want and maybe you’ll do it and maybe you won’t, but my guess is that you won’t.
Andrew: Okay, what about search engine optimization, still seeing questions from the audience on that? Do you guys do a little bit of search engine optimization. I guess creating content is a good magnet for search engines, right.
Interviewee: Content is king. Yes we put out blog post almost every day, lately we have been slacking a little bit but normally it’s once a day, what I have my guys do is I have dealers out in the field, I have detailers all over the world, they send me pictures, they send me articles, they send me interview, TV, all kinds of stuff and I post them on waterlesscarwash.com, I post them here, I post them there, and content, content, content all day along, you just flood Google, flood everything with as much as content as possible, well looking content, not other things and not other businesses and other things, it is all waterless car wash, detailing cars, high performance and that’s all we do.
Andrew: Okay, I introduced this not really an internet company because you are selling atoms not bites but I can see now that there is a lot of internet going on, there is a lot of marketing going on, the idea is from crushit, as you said.
Interviewee: Absolutely, it is a 100% internet driven, I have never had to go out there and look for customers, they call come to me and word of mouth to most of the internet search type in waterless carwash and you are going to find freedom waterless car washes, you can’t help but do it, and you’ll find, either if you can’t find it out, well you are going to find it in another way, on how to clean your without water, how to private label your own branded car care products, you are going to find me some way or another from the web.
Andrew: Okay, so going back about 10 years, you launched a web site, you start getting some orders but I can’t imagine you are flooded with orders at that point, and I also knowing you, I can’t imagine you just sit back and say one day I would be flooded with orders, you did something next, what did you do?
Interviewee: Well, again I had a small family, I was in the military, so there were times that I didn’t have any orders for a while, but I had regular customers in Australia, had regular customers in Europe and we were sending things, no I worked at it six, seven hours a day, that was a long day, for the last three years of my military career, I worked eight hour, nine hour days on this business along with taking care of every body else and my military career.
Andrew: So what were you doing in those hours?
Interviewee: Well, a lot of times there were online sales, so I was packing boxes, I was pouring bottles, it wasn’t all automated like we have it today, I had the ice tea pitcher pouring the bottles, here we got the bottle here and pouring the bottles, put the cap on, put it in a box, taping the box, doing the FedEx thing and in the morning I will have boxes stacked up as high as I am and it would be three in the morning that I had to go to bed, wake up at 5:30 and do the whole thing over again. So, yeah it was hard times back them. One time I did fill a thousand bottles with an ice tea pitcher and pouring, pouring, in a cold garage in South Dakota. I got this business started in Hawaii when I lived in Hawaii.
David Elliott: I have started this business in Hawaii, where I lived ,I lived in Hawaii for ten years.
Andrew Warner: But it’s a lot of work to do, a thousand bottles, but it also a lot of work to get a thousand bottles sold! How did you get a thousand bottles sold?
David Elliott: The customer ordered it and I said, Sure. And instead of paying for it to get done,I thought Oh Ill pour a thousand bottles, its not that bad and so I worked with a lot of companies, who think this was also a great idea but they din’t , at that time, want to go with our label, so they wanted to have their own branded labels, So I would design their, today I design their website and their brand but at that time, I designed their brand and they designed their own brand and we provided them with the product with the label on it or without the label.
Andrew Warner: And they would all just come to you, all these orders would just come online, because they found you,
David Elliott: They would come to me, they would wire transfer me , tens of thousands of dollars and that’s how I do it, I do only upfront advanced purchases, I don’t put things on credit. and they have to trust me, So I let them talk to some of my other customers. To make sure everything is on up and up and we fulfill their order. So things were a lot different then, than today what they are.
Andrew Warner: How did you change logistics?. I am paraphrasing Anthony Sarah’s question from the audience? How did you go from bottling yourself, to I guess, actually what you are having now?
David Elliott: Today, I retired from the air force, three or four years ago, I moved to the Seattle area, I started, I actually met a new company similar, well they had different chemicals. And we started to and talking ,the other business partner was in the U.K and he was making car care products. We redesigned what I already had ,made it even better,made it even safer than what it was before. And since they had a bottling facility and production locations in the UK and two here in the United States. I was able to break away from my original chemist.you know, I did not have a lot of fliexibility there .With these new guys, I was able to have a lot of flexibility, I was able to have a lot of fulfillment, they would do all the bottling, the labelling, the packaging, so that instead of packaging boxes all day long, I could sit back and sell online, I could take care of customers, I could be on the phone and that just freed up a lot of my time. So today everything is done by the the factory. I do ship samples out of here, overseas but 99% of the things are done at the factory and it is fantastic that I don’t do it anymore.
Andrew Warner: How did you come up with the idea to white label?
David Elliott: It’s a private label
Andrew Warner: Private label and then we will get to white labelling the websites?
David Elliott: Again , I took the whole industry and said, what are these guys doing wrong? What is ABC company doing wrong ? ? What is ZST company doing wrong ? Why does ‘nt their product work? Call them up , and do they answer their phone, what does their website look like? And I took all of their problems and said, I am going to make it right. I am going to make a water based product.we are going to answer the phone, we are going to do this, and we are going to do that. I took all examples of things what I thought was the wrong way and not do MLM , and all these different things, and that’s what I did.And people just responded to it, they said ,”Wow”. People said, these people,they want me to buy a whole truckload but you’ll sell me only one bottle, or ten bottles or just a drum, and when you concentrate it ,one drum and diluted it and make ten drums and only pay for the shipping of one drum .we were able to ship it wherever, to Quwait or South America or something. That really appealed to a lot of people, they could brand their own brand and they could have their own business, and I could help them if they want me to or not.
Andrew Warner: Why wouldn’t they just get their own chemist , the way you did, and have somebody create the formula for them.
David Elliott : Well,you can go and try, that would be atleast a six figure startup and you could, you know it is a difficult proposition. Today,there would be some people out there who would probably offer it , but at that time,it was atleast six figures to find somebody who would be able to do that for you.I just knew the right person. I was in the right place at the right time.and it all worked out well. I just finished the book “outliers” Have you read that book?
Andrew Warner: yeah
David Elliott: Again right time, right place, eco, trend , everything has come into play there
Andrew Warner: What about the websites? You have got the white label version of your website so that anyone can create the freedom, waterless car wash . I might be able to create the waterless car wash of Buenos Aires. Where did that come from?
David Elliott : Again, just one more thing, which no body else was doing, you know ,I did not want to give them my full website but by using WordPress. But now wordpress is so customizable.
Interviewee: By using Word Press, you know, and now Word Press is so customizable, we changed it around to make it not look like a Word Press website. And we’re doing more and more stuff like that right now. And, you know, we were able to do the same Freedom logo, Freedom of wherever, Freedom of Toledo, and they were able to do and… It goes back to the whole SEO Google thing. The more websites I have out there with the Freedom name, Freedom of Tennessee or whatever, and I can teach them with Word Press to blog on their own, to update their own pictures and their own videos, that just gives me more presence out there. It all links together in one big web. And that was, you know, everything, again, everything revolves around the website. Everything revolves around the Web. And though it is a physical product and it works very well, it all has Internet ties.
Andrew: How’d you go international?
Interviewee: The product wasn’t… I couldn’t give this stuff away 10 years ago. People with, only my friends would trust me. They’re like, “That stuff’s gonna scratch my car. That’s bad.” People just didn’t understand. So places in Australia where they had a big drought, places in Eastern Europe, and other places. They lived in small places traditionally, and they didn’t have a lot of places to clean your car at. So when they see the product, and they thought, “Wow, this is a great idea. There’s something similar, but this one’s from America,” and people like American products. And I was able to make a good chunk of change there overseas in Australia and other places, and it just flourished from there.
Andrew: Mickey in the audience is asking about increasing conversions. What did you do to increase conversions? Once you got people on your website from the search engines or from word of mouth, how to you convert them?
Interviewee: We convert them, again, email. I spent countless hundreds of hours like Gary does, you know, answering every single email, answering the same questions over and over and over and over again. And then last year we have a new, we started using another CRM product that has everything wrapped into it. It has sequence, emails. It has the affiliate program. It has this, it has that, and the shopping cart, and everything put all together. And that really automated things even more. So when you opted in, I didn’t have to physically send you an email. It was automatically sent to you. And it was all targeted. If you’re an international customer, you would get the international email. If you just wanted more information, you’ll get the drip email, one a day for the next 10 days. So that’s how that automated a lot of things right there. And now what we do, now we have the new telephone system that you recommend, there, and that’s working out very well too, because it goes to my new phone, and it goes to my email box, and I don’t have to call up my voicemail. And people can, I’ve had five calls this morning already on it. So it works out very well. It automates everything.
Andrew: We can say the name. You’re saying you signed up for Grasshopper after hearing about that here on Mixergy?
Interviewee: We did sign up for Grasshopper.com. I heard it enough times. I feel I have to get on this bandwagon, and I’m all about automating things. So there’s more than just the Crush It book that runs my business life. It’s the 4-Hour Workweek with Timothy Ferris. I mean I’ve read that book backwards and forwards. I have the audiobooks, the new one and the old one, and it’s all about automating things. You know, because I can only do so much. So I’m definitely looking into more ways to automate things.
Andrew: The founder of App Rabbit[?] in the audience: He’s asking, what CRM program are you using? This whole automation, who’s doing it for you?
Interviewee: It’s Infusion Soft.
Interviewee: Yes. Infusionsoft.com. I just went to the conference a couple months ago. Fantastic product. Everything is involved with it, I mean from the CRM, email marketing, affiliate program, shopping cart, checkout, and I probably left out five more things.
Andrew: What other tools are you using?
Interviewee: What other tools am I using? Word Press. Really a lot with Word Press. That’s about it. You know, Word Press, email, I’m going to do more video, you know. Of course we’re going to do more video, because this is a hands-on, touchy-feely kind of product, and we need to do more video to show just how powerful it is.
Andrew: What, actually, it looks like we lost our video. Just as you were talking about video, our video stopped. Do you want to take your camera off and put it back on? That seemed to work before.
Interviewee: I sure will. Okay. How’s that?
Andrew: It’ll come on in a sec. Yeah. Yeah, that’s great.
Andrew: So, are you seeing increased conversions because you’re adding video?
Interviewee: Well, I haven’t had too many videos now. I do have a video… We have come out with a couple videos. Yes, like have you seen the Long Beach video with the Long Beach mayor? We went and did a pilot project with the city of Long Beach, and they were going to clean the police cars using community service workers.
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Interviewee: Community service workers and the freedom products and I went there for a photo shoot type thing and the Mayor was very gracious, great guy, and he product himself, we have about 20 minutes for the video, we cut it down to about three minutes with the video, and that video is, it’s great. And when you see a Mayor of a major city like that saying this product is [30:24] at my garage, this is awesome, and then you have the police chief and you have the water department guy how it is going to change the way California’s water crisis, great PR things that really worked out well with this. And I was just there yesterday talking to them in Long Beach about how the program is going.
Andrew: Alright. At this point we will ask the big question that everyone likes for me to ask. What are the sales, what are the revenues?
Interviewee: Traditionally the revenues were about half a million dollars a year, this year it will be considerably more, we do have some major clients in the middle east and a couple of other places around the world, and so we are looking at a couple of million dollars in sales this year. A great switch.
Andrew: Okay, but the numbers that I see here in front of me are about half a million, we are not going to say the exact number, we are just going to say about half a million, I will keep the rest private. Alright, we talked about the rise, we haven’t talked about the big setbacks along the way. what are some of them?
Interviewee: Well, the big setback is that the big obvious one, the one that happened last year and last January, normally this is a seasonal product, so come winter time, people stop washing their cars and cleaning their cars in America but yet the southern hemisphere normally picks up the slack and I am selling in Chile and Argentina and Australia, I had like six big customers in Australia that would do major orders, so that would get me through, well not just past one but the one before that, everybody just stopped buying in America, in France, in Australia and my sales went to basically zero and I am thinking what am I going to do about this, so I worked really hard and that was scary because I have a family and I have a lot things going on, so I worked 18 hours a day every single day almost the whole year, I think I took a little bit vacation in August, but basically I transformed the company, we have three times as many customers now, I sold in over 120 countries, I have sold products, actively selling in 120 countries, but I have sold to that many people in those countries. We just recently had orders from Guatemala, Trinidad, Uruguay, we just sold in Uruguay, how does somebody know who I am in Uruguay, it is absolutely amazing. Slovakia, I sold some product in Norway in the middle of winter.
Andrew: I actually do have the numbers for 2008 and 2009, there is not a huge difference, I see that the hours that you put in helped. What I am wondering is what did you do in those hours. How did you find all those new customers that made up for the big business that you lost?
Interviewee: I kept going, I kept emailing, people kept on, I wouldn’t let some client drop off, sometimes I was too busy and I couldn’t get back to a customer quick enough, so now I definitely email them right away, it is on my phone, again I put more websites, I put up more SEO stuff, I have people helping me, I have some of my dealers helping me, they are fielding calls, they are fielding questions, and I just grew my customer base as big as I can and I utilize as many people as I could to help because I knew that I just couldn’t do it all myself.
Andrew: Who are you hiring, who is helping you?
Interviewee: I have people who are dealers, I have those hirers, I have other people who are professionals, customer service professionals, we have people at the factory that help. Lot of times I do most of them myself, I really do.
Andrew: I don’t understand what Troy is saying in the audience. He is saying, I don’t think people are comfortable buying that way? what do you mean buying online, buying by phone, I think everything he is saying makes sense, 100% of the business coming from the website, he is converting them using CRM, he is using a system called infusionsoft, people call, he converts, and it seems like the way that you increased your sales this past year was by just following up more?
Interviewee: Yeah, and the infusionsoft really helped to follow up big time. It is automated follow up. So I don’t have…
Andrew: It is just following up more, following up more, putting up more web pages to draw more people in, putting up more content on those web pages, bringing in more dealers also in 2009.
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Andrew: To draw more people in, putting up more content on those web pages, bring in more dealers also in 2009.
Interviewee: Yes I didn’t have any US dealers till 2009 so I put on about 80, now we have about 90 US dealers and that really helped a lot of things, so instead of worrying about and relying on overseas stuff I was able to rely on Americans to love the product and to get the word out there and instead of buying from me I would rather them buy, customers go to the local Freedom dealer and buy from them, and that way they get the local clientele and they can follow up with them in six months when they have done with the bottle or something, so did again a short gun approach, we did some private labeling, we did some bulk orders, we did this, we did that, and basically took what I was already doing and made it ten times better, easier, faster, more customer service, more people helping. Again, I can’t do it all myself, so I have dozens of people helping now.
Andrew: Are they dealers, do they buy their product ahead of time or you fulfill the orders?
Interviewee: Everybody buys ahead of time.
Andrew: I see. So every time you saw in a new dealer up, you have got some revenue coming in.
Andrew: And then you want to help them so that you get more revenue coming in the future.
Interviewee: And plus there is a couple of ways you can do this. I want them to make as much money as possible. So we can sell it to them in a concentrated form, I will send them the bottles, the labels and the sprayers, and everything the mixing and everything, and they can do it all themselves and they can get the product for a lot cheaper, they use their sweat equity and they can go and sell the bottles and use the bottles to clean there, lot of detailers using the products. The biggest detailer that I have buying the product cleans between 5 and 10 million dollars worth of exotic cars every single day with this company, and all the way down to the person in Los Angeles who sells the product on the street, on the corner of Century Boulevard in Victoria of Virginia and he stands there and sells it walking down the street. So it is a whole spectrum from the guy in Lithuania with a private jet all the way down to the guy on the street corner selling it to people who want to buy.
Andrew: And we talked in the pre-interview about how 60% of your business now is owned by partners? Can you talk about that?
Interviewee: Yeah, when the downturn happened and I was changing formulations and changing chemists since we were already successful making the product better, the downturn happened, I had some crossroads, what are we going to do, I need to cut some cost, I need to cut some things, so they were looking to get in the business also even though they were in a whole another different professional realm, so they became business partners, I relinquished some of the company and they took on the whole automated role. So I don’t have to worry about anything, they took care of it and now I can say I am the direct producer. We are all in it together, I am the direct manufacturer, we have production location in England, two places in the United States, and pretty soon we are going to have a location in China. So I can cover the globe, I have all kinds of people working, and it just expands my horizons and expands my business without having to physically go out and pay for a warehouse and pay for production location and pay for chemist. We have two environmentally compliant teams of chemists, one is in the UK and one is in Florida, and they know how to manufacture the stuff, they know all the regulations, they know the EPAE stuff, the guidelines. I don’t know those things, they do. So I am able to rely on all these people and it was worth it for me to relinquish some of my company to get the stuff completed, because I never would do it on my own, it would be cost me too much and it is just not in the ball game.
Andrew: How do you work on the design of the product? You told us about that first label that you created on inkjet printer. How did it evolve?
Interviewee: It is just design, and I am now working on a whole new re-design with everything right now. So it is going to look completely different. Now I want something clean, I want something right today or yesterday we had the bamboo but today, if you can see the bottle here, it is more of a uniform blue and every product has a different color and we don’t want to say a lot of things, so I use a lot of pictures. If you show the picture of a motorcycle on board and a car, in that way you can get it without me having to come out and say it.
Andrew: Who is doing it for you?
Interviewee: I design, I am the designer.
Andrew: Can we see it, can you hold it up, right up close to the camera. There you go, can you guys see that on the audience. I think so. Cool.
Interviewee: And there is the backside.
Andrew: And that is all you are designing yourself.
Interviewee: And I have a little bit help, but yeah,
Interviewee: And I had a little bit of help, but yeah. But mostly my design yes.
Andrew: Alright, so what’s the next challenge?
Interviewee: The next challenge, well we have some major things happening in the Middle East, so that, we have a few million dollars worth of revenue coming in from the Middle East. The next thing, we’re also going to be doing a volunteer or a charity type of thing across the country, can’t go too much into it, it’s going to be released I think next week.
Andrew: Mm hm.
Interviewee: And we’re going to be putting pretty much inner city kids to work in certain vehicles and they’re gonna get all the proceeds and they’re going to be able to bring home money to their families and its gonna go across the nation it’s gonna be. Definitely and that’s going to bring a hundred thousand or tens of thousands more people knowing what the product is, knowing how this product works and their be able to tell their friends and their family and it’s going to grow the company in a whole other direction.
Andrew: How are you getting so many kids to do these car washes?
Interviewee: I have an organizer that’s going to be organizing it nationwide.
Andrew: You’ve hired someone who’s going to…
Interviewee: It was his idea, he contacted me, again everyone contacts me and he wanted a product, he needed a product, he tried all the products out. He realized we have the best product with the background and he has organized this whole thing. He’s putting up the money, he’s doing it all and I’m providing technical assistance and the dealers out there in the field that are helping him and we’re getting started in Florida and we’re working our way across the country.
Andrew: Hm, it’s kind of interesting, the more you put out there the more people reach out to you.
Interviewee: Yes, definitely and then the other, the next part, the big part that,going to let the cat out of the bag here, is that, I believe that the personal car part, that is a hard business there, you have to really convince somebody this isn’t going to hurt their car, it doesn’t hurt their car whatsoever, but convincing them is a whole other issue. I believe that we’re, the businesses best served are the people who make this country go around. The small business owners of America and if they can save three quarters of their cleaning costs by, with this product and their car, and their trucks and cars look better, then that’s going to save that company a lot of money throughout the year.If it’s a small company and a big company, then I want to help those small business owners.
Andrew: And the millions in revenues that you said you are expecting this year, that are coming from Middle East, that’s already signed?
Interviewee: Oh yeah, it’s already pledged and ready to go, but also Eastern block Europe, we’re talking Australia, Japan, Canada, all over the US. You know, it’s dozens and dozens of countries all over the place.
Interviewee: So it’s not just the Middle East.
Andrew: Oh it’s not, it’s many different customers, all over the world who are going to be buying more this year and so this year you’re expecting to do three, four times as much revenue as you did last year.
Interviewee: Or more. So yes.
Andrew: Or more, so we should do an interview in about a year and see where you stand.
Interviewee: Yeah. Let’s do it, let’s do it. I have two big companies coming up in Canada, there’s a lot of things happening. It’s good times.
Andrew: I’m seeing a few people demand that I ask you how they can get a hold of you. I usually ask that at the end guys. I almost always include that in there. So how can people get a hold of you?
Interviewee: You can type in waterless carwash in Google and you can find me right there.
Andrew: And phone number and email address are all available?
Interviewee: Grasshopper.com number’s right there.
Andrew: Oh cool.
Interviewee: So yeah, its all right there. There’s definitely,my phone hasn’t rung yet, but it’s usually off the hook even normally, but I’ve been gone for the last couple of days.
Andrew: Is the phone on now?
Interviewee: It is but I turned the ringer off but I didn’t see it ring, but it probably rang a couple of times.
Andrew: Can someone try calling him, let’s see it.
Interviewee: No, no my office line, I have my office line off. This is my cell phone next to me.
Andrew: Oh I see, OK.
Interviewee: But the Grasshopper.com number is upstairs.
Andrew: OK, how about this as a final question. Books, you mentioned a few books here during the interview. What else, beyond the ones you’ve mentioned so far. What else are you reading? What do you recommend?
Interviewee: Oh, the ones I’ve already recommended is the ones I tell everybody to get.
Andrew: So Outliers, Crush It.
Interviewee: Crush It and The Four Hour Work Week definitely the number one books.
Andrew: What’d the Four Hour Work Week do for you because you’re working 18 hours a day?
Interviewee:Oh then I was, but before, the whole thing is automate everything, automate, I’m not doing the living, I want to be the Digital Nomad but I’m not living that way yet, I say yet and just automate as much as you can. Get other people to do what they do best. That’s what I got out of that Timothy Ferriss is very smart on that side and in his new updated version too. And then going back to Gary Weinerchuck, work hard, work hard, care about your customers. Answer your emails and don’t let that customer get away. Just make sure he’s helped all the way from the beginning to the end and you will have a definite business and just work hard and care about your customers, so that’s definitely what I do.
Andrew: What a great way to leave it. Thank you for doing the interview.
Interviewee: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: People can google you but they can also go to Freedomwaterlesscarwash.com That’s a lot of words for me to say all at once but it’s a good domain. Freedomwaterless, Freedom… Why don’t I get you to say it. What’s the website?
Andrew: Cool, and already someone said you have a Twitter account too where you can be reached is it?
Andrew: Let’s see Freedom WOW is your twitter account.
Interviewee: Freedom WOW is Without Water.
Andrew: Without Water. Again, thank you for doing the interview. Guys thank you all for watching, I’ll see you on the website.
David: To the end, and you would have a definite business just work hard and care about your customers that’s definitely what I do.
Andrew: Well great way to leave it, thank you for doing the interview.
David: Thanks Andrew.
Andrew: People can Google you but they can also go to freedomwaterlesscarwash.com, that’s allot of words for me to say all at once but its a good domain freedomwaterless, why don’t I have you say it, whats the website?
Andrew: Someone said you have a twitter account you can be reached at, freedomwow is your twitter account where you can be reached.
David: Wow it’s without water.
Andrew: Freedom without water, well thank you again for doing the interview, guys thank you all for watching, see you on the website.
Sponsors I mentioned
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