Chris: I think we’re good.
Andrew: I think so too. Can you angle the camera down just a little more? It looks like it’s… There you go. And you’re going to be comfortable like that?
Chris: I’m chilling, man.
Andrew: All right. Tell me something, before we start–are these numbers real, $1 million a month in revenue?
Chris: No, actually, they’re not. It’s grown to about $1.5 million since then. We’re only scratching the surface. The reason those numbers aren’t triple to quintuple what they are is because we’ve had website issues, but $1.5 million a month now.
Andrew: What service do you guys use to process revenue?
Andrew: What is it?
Andrew: Can you do a screen share and show me Stripe to show me that the revenues are that?
Chris: Let me do this. Hang on. I’m going to pull it right off of my phone here.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m going to zoom in myself here.
Chris: All right. So, in the last 30 days, we’ve done $1.31 million.
Andrew: Where is that? I see $22,000–oh, that’s $22,000 for today and $1.31 million. Whoa, selling beard oil.
Chris: Hang on. This is the best part. If you click all, $7.4 million–
Andrew: That’s everything, $7.4 million and when did you guys launch?
Chris: Eight months ago, eight and a half.
Andrew: Eight months ago? I’m keeping this in the interview. You okay with that?
Chris: Yeah. I’m not on that needs to hide what we’re making. We’re just trying to get more beards involved and increase the awareness, so let the word out, brother.
Andrew: Holy smokes. All right. And your name, tell me if I’m pronouncing it right, it’s Chris Stoikos?
Chris: Stoikos, yeah, you got it.
Andrew: Stoikos. You’re the founder of Dollar Beard Club and you guys sell supplies for guys with beards, grooming supplies for guys with beards, right?
Andrew: Cool. This interview is going to be sponsored by two great companies. The first is a company called HostGator, that will let anybody host their website and really allow you to get solid hosting. I’ll tell you more about them later. And by a service that will make it easy for you to schedule with people, it’s called Acuity Scheduling. I’ll tell everyone more about them later.
So, Chris, I was so skeptical and shocked when I saw these numbers. It’s amazing to see your Stripe data. You were a guy though who came up with this idea when you were just living with seven dudes, in a house together. You were seven dudes total living in a house together working on different businesses. What was your business while you were all living together?
Chris: We actually had various ones. To kind of bundle it up into a nutshell, our main two frontrunners–we had a golfing product that you could hit golf balls off of called Range to Go. We had a wearable device called Wear Vibe. I just finished selling a restaurant called Project Taco. And we had an agency-style company called Project Copilot. We assisted other companies with launching their products.
And all those kinds of dissolved simultaneously as Coolbox, became a frontrunner. We crowdfunded a smart toolbox that has a lot of cool different features for it. You can check it out on Coolbox.io. We did about $400,000 on Indiegogo and then we got called to go on “Shark Tank” for it. We recorded the episode. It went great. Put that on the side, then Dollar Beard Club, we launched–
Andrew: Before you get into Dollar Beard Club, I just want to get an understanding of your thought process with these businesses. Were you just tossing out a bunch of ideas hoping one of them would work?
Chris: Yeah. I’ve always had a problem staying focused on one thing. I like just having my mind open in a lot of different areas. That’s since changed, that’s since changed the guy who’s talking to you today. I just find opportunity. I flipped a couple different businesses. We have great connections to produce stuff, make them, get some sales and then flip it.
Andrew: What’s one that you flipped? You sold an electronics store?
Chris: Yeah. I sold an electronics store when I was 19 years old.
Andrew: What does an electronic store mean these days? It doesn’t mean owning television and Radio Shack, like little wires, right? What did it mean?
Chris: I guess back then it actually kind of meant that. I was helping people repair the red rings of death on the Xbox 360. I don’t know if you’ve seen those three red rings. I was repairing cell phones, PlayStation 3s, TVs, selling some TVs. It was kind of just a grinding methods of different madness. I was in York University, a university up in Canada at the time. Our school went on strike. I was like, “Forget this.” I didn’t want to be in school anyway. So, it was my excuse to drop out and make some good money with the store. I ended up selling the store and that’s when I took off to California.
Andrew: And when you were in the store, were you fully in the store or was your head partially creating other businesses then too?
Chris: Always partially creating other businesses. I feel like everything I’ve ever done in my life is a stepping stone to the next one. I believe that in order to better your knowledge base, it takes a lot of failing in order to succeed. I don’t consider anything a failure as long as you get back up and you learn from your own mistakes.
Andrew: What’s your biggest failure that you had to really scrape yourself up off the ground for before this?
Chris: The restaurant, actually. So, I opened up a restaurant called Stoik’s Bear Paws. We sold fired dough up in Canada, these things called beaver tails. So, we made them into bear paws instead. I was kind of a mess myself at the time health-wise in a lot of different ways. So, it was tough. We lost a lot of money there, like $150,000 as a 21-year old.
But I had it from my previous store and flipping a house sort of thing. But anyways, I rallied and we ended up selling the store for a decent amount of money to a really awesome partner who franchised it into multiple locations. At the time, it sucked, but now it’s good. It was a good learning experience.
Andrew: Were you depressed over it or are you the kind of person who says, “It’s another idea. This one didn’t work?”
Chris: Yeah. Depressed is a relative term of different ranges of emotions people can feel. At the time, I didn’t really care. Obviously part of you gets scared, but it’s onto the next one, man. I think that everything that happens in our lives is exactly what is supposed to happen and you keep rolling with the punches, go with the flow and things eventually make sense and now they do.
Andrew: Speaking of going with the flow, that’s what I did at the beginning of this interview. I forgot to even introduce myself. You know what I usually do? Before I full introduce myself, before we officially get into the interview–I see people running behind you for the airplane. I feel bad for them.
Chris: No, you’re good.
Andrew: They’re barely going to make it. I check with my guest before the interview. Yeah, we have researchers. Yes, we have a producer. You talked to our producer. Yeah, we do all kinds of work. But I still always am like worried that someone is going to get past my screening process. So, before the interview starts, I usually chat up the guest and I say, “Prove it to me. Show me what it is.”
Today, I wanted to keep it in the interview and that’s why we started without an official intro. But I will introduce this as Mixergy, a place where I interview entrepreneurs about how they really built their businesses. I try to ask as many tough questions as I can because I know my audience is full of real entrepreneurs who are trying–not trying, they’re actually building great companies and they want to know what others are doing. So, that’s what Mixergy is about. I am Andrew Warner, the founder of the site.
You then, moving on with your story, Chris, you then noticed Dollar Shave Club is my belief, right? You said, “I think there’s something here for guys like me who don’t want to shave.” Am I right?
Chris: Yes, definitely to an extent. I myself started growing out my beard. I started purchasing beard oil. It was $20 a bottle. The bottles had lots of different unnatural fragrances and chemical ingredients. So, it was a combination of it being too expensive and not liking what was in the stuff. So, then I started looking online. Everything was virtually the same. I saw Dollar Shave Club. I’m like, “Chicks shave, guys done. We should get an affordable product with a solid list of ingredients and do a cool model to jump on top of what they’re doing.” We did just that.
Andrew: But why would you even put oil in your beard? Why not just say, “You know what? The whole idea of having a beard is I don’t have to take care of it. Those suckers have to shave every day. I get to just be every day.” Why go out of your way and buy something for $20 that could or could not smell good and put it in your beard? You don’t seem like that kind of person.
Chris: You know what? It’s kind of the halfway between. If you rewind 1,000 years and the Vikings in the mountains and stuff, mirrors didn’t exist. They would go and hunt their food and there wasn’t this society status to keep up with social media and everything.
So, beards I think still serve their innate purpose of having something where I always say you don’t have to have a beard. You have to do something to not have a beard. But if there’s a way to make it smell good and present yourself with a solid scent and be able to shape your hedge in different ways, I think there are so many different kinds of beards out there. So, it’s not mandatory. That’s kind of the lifestyle we preach, do your own thing.
Andrew: What was it for you? Why did you decide that you were going to try oil? There’s a reason for it, I imagine.
Chris: Yeah. I guess I’d wake up with bed beard a lot of the time. My beard would be all scrunched up flying all over the place and stuff. I wanted to be presentable. I guess it’s kind of the same reason to put something in your hair.
So, applying beard oil–shaving is like a 15-minute ritual between everything you have to do. Beard oil takes a minute. I put a little bit on my hand. I love the smell of it. It got my stray hairs to kind of come down. I was able to give it a little bit of shave, get my mustache away from my mouth. So, it both smelt good and it was functional.
Andrew: Okay. And then you saw the Dollar Shave Club and you said, “I think I can get into it.” The problem with Dollar Shave Club is they kind of box themselves into a corner, right? It’s just $1. They’re always going to be the low cost producer. You’re a guy with a lot of business experience. Why go after the cheapest side of the model by calling yourself Dollar Beard Club instead of saying, “Maybe there’s more revenue to be had?”
Chris: Definitely. Without getting into too much detail, we have a pretty interesting rebrand coming down the road that’s going to be quite the task to pull off that we’re excited to do just that. But no, we’re not cornering ourselves at all, unlike Dollar Shave. Again, you look at their products, they have chemicals and so much crap. The new line they just came out with–lip balm and hand cream. They advertise the health ingredients, but not the good ones.
So, with us, because we give such a quality product, we can charge more. If you want to just get in and say, “Yes, $1 for our top of the line oil,” but we’ve started selling other cool things like brushes, like combs, like beard balm, like money clips, like stainless steel combs that double as bottle openers.
Andrew: So, you always knew it would be an entry point into the market, but you were going to go higher, more expensive.
Chris: Correct. We’re going to sell the world’s best beef jerky that everyone has ever put in their mouth.
Andrew: All a part of this new brand?
Chris: All a part of this new brand.
Andrew: What’s the new brand?
Chris: It’s going to be called Uncut Beard Club.
Andrew: What do you think of this guy who’s got TwoDollarBeardClub.com?
Chris: Funny story with that dude. He’s not the most integral person. I hit him up to be involved with Dollar Beard Club, kind of pitched the concept. He said he wanted to get involved. Two weeks later, Two Dollar Beard Club popped up because he already had the domain.
Andrew: So, you were talking through your idea and he copied it?
Andrew: This is the kind of the thing that entrepreneurs keep worrying will happen and people keep telling them, “Don’t worry about it. That’s never going to happen.” It happened to you. So, what do you think of that?
Chris: Yeah. It caused some stress at the time. Basically what we did, we just out-marketed him. He has a subpar website that I think is actually down right now, one of my buddies told me. Yeah. I believe that true entrepreneurs, like if somebody right now stripped Dollar Beard Club from me, stripped my rolodex, stripped the clothing I’m wearing and threw me in the middle of the street naked and no bank account, it would just take me a couple months to go make $1 million.
It’s more the knowledge you have in your head. That’s what people can’t take away. When you take care of your body and your mind and you constantly always are thinking and looking for the next opportunity, I think it gives you the ability to harness the creativity and positivity within yourself to keep creating. Yes, it sucks when somebody tries to steal your idea. In this case, it ended up being okay. Obviously the guy doesn’t really–his website isn’t big or anything like that.
Yeah, I don’t know. Let’s sign an NDA, what does that really even mean? Are those things enforceable? I don’t know. It’s honesty. I like doing handshakes. I like looking somebody in the eye. If I trust them and want to do business with them, that goes a lot further for me than a piece of paper.
Andrew: I could be wrong, but it looks like that site is pretty much abandoned now.
Chris: Yeah, it might be, man. I tried to offer him money to be a part of this, even after he tried to screw us over. Long story.
Andrew: Who is he? It sounds like he was a friend.
Chris: No. Not at all. Could call, man. He just had a beard company selling beard stuff. I looked him up online, did a WhoIs and we hit it off at first and thought we were going to have an awesome partnership.
Andrew: I see. He would supply the product and you would sell it?
Chris: Yeah, exactly. Then we ended up producing our own product.
Andrew: Okay. What does it mean to produce your own product? The very first bottle, who made it and how was it made?
Chris: So, we have a company in California that’s a CM, a contract manufacturer. We were very specific as the ingredients we were willing to work with. So, we went through a bunch of different options of Bearded Crew–we had seven guys, like you said, living in a house, all with beards. So, we would smell the products ourselves. We’d test it out. “Hey, the consistency is a little too viscous. Can you put some more of this? Take out that?” And we’d just go through a step of alterations until we had a product we actually loved, pick a bottle, go through pricing, what are our minimums and then place one big order?
Andrew: I see. All right. So, you placed an order and then you went out and got sales?
Chris: Correct. Yeah. We knew it was going to take off. We did a great video for it. We built up an awesome following on Instagram and Facebook before we even launched. So, we had a good user base of guys that we knew we’d be able to sell at least what we ordered.
Andrew: All under the Dollar Beard Club name? You were building up a Twitter following, Facebook following, Instagram, you said.
Andrew: I see. Okay. Do you remember one of the first things that hit for you on Instagram?
Chris: Like a post? Not exactly. One of my close buddies was building a following. But people in general liked Dollar Beard Club, coming soon, get your beard oil for $1 a month, all natural ingredients. Everyone’s going, “Wow, nothing out there has natural ingredients and nothing out there is $1.” So, it was kind of easy to hook people in on the attention side of things.
Andrew: Okay. Then you finally get the product. It’s time to actually launch. Who built the site?
Chris: A couple buddies again.
Andrew: I just clicked on your site, which means the video–I love that video. If you’re going to hit me with a video, it’s got to be that good.
Chris: I appreciate it, mean. Wait until you see our new video that’s launching in a week in a half.
Andrew: I like the one in Canada with a freaking lion.
Chris: Yeah. That one was good. Our new video has little capuchin monkeys. We have a couple camels. We have a cameo from a pretty cool guest. It looks like our video cost $1 million to produce and that it was shot on five different continents, when it cost a tenth of that and we shot it all in California.
Andrew: How much was it? The first video cost you $1,000. This is the one with you walking through I don’t know what, what looks like a warehouse, right?
Andrew: It’s kind of a takeoff on the Dollar Shave Club but kind of making fun of people who shave, but also just a one-take type of action thing that gives me a sense of who you guys are and what you’re about. I really love that video. It’s available on Dollar Shave Club–DollarBeardClub.com, excuse me. Look at that mistake.
Chris: Careful, brother.
Andrew: I went with the competition. I see. So, that cost you $1,000 to shoot. Who shot it for you?
Chris: My buddy, Cory. We call him Terry even though his name is Cory. We basically hooked up four and a half years ago when we had my restaurant and they were shooting a reality show on us. He was the camera man for the crew that was shooting the reality show. I hit him up a year later and I said, “Buddy, I have this idea for this other product. Let’s shoot a video.”
We started working together. I had no experience script writing or acting whatsoever. He had some decent experience behind the camera doing reality show stuff. We quickly transitioned into a full blown kind of high end production stuff. So, he shot it.
Andrew: Okay. I’m looking at the old Instagram photos. It’s stuff like, “Trust me, I’ve got a beard.” It’s photos of you without your shit on and your big beard. It’s, “Excuse Miss, my eyes are up here,” with the guy with the beard in the photo. “There’s a word for guys without beards. It’s called women.”
Chris: All those sorts of things.
Andrew: I see. That’s what you were doing to build up this vibe and build up this community of people on Instagram. Did I get to who created the site, the first version of the site?
Chris: Yeah. A couple buddies as well that we met that we kind of became with. Then they ended up building it out. The site was built to handle a lot of users, but not quite the traffic that we ended up getting right out of the gates. And then it kind of turned into trying to renovate a house while a really raging house party was going on inside that house.
We were constantly making errors and screwing up, but trying to stay on our feet and move forward and scale customer service and production. We went through a lot of different problems, a lot of growing pains, to say the least. You always hear the word growing pains in the entrepreneur would, but we actually suffered from them.
Luckily we had such a sticky user base and loyal bearded brothers–I always refer to is as when you pass a clean shaven guy walking down the street, you don’t look at each other and say, “Hey, nice shave, man.” But when a beard passes a beard, there’s this unprecedented brotherhood, this underlying camaraderie that’s there. I think a lot of the loyal users–dude with a beard just nodded at me. I just nodded back at him.
Andrew: You’re at the airport now.
Chris: A lot of people, they had this loyalty to us. So, it was cool to be able to engage with our users. We were very apologetic anytime we screwed something up, but we’ve now gotten things to a pretty stable area where we got through the growing pains and now our website is awesome.
Andrew: I actually see who built your first site. It’s Scott Wyatt, ScottVWyat on Twitter.
Chris: Yeah. Where’d you find that?
Andrew: I’m constantly hunting down as we’re talking, while we’re talking to get a sense of what it is. He signed his name in the source code of the site. I was trying to figure out what he built the site on. I can’t figure that out just yet.
Chris: That’s a good skill you have there, man. A lot of the most influential people I’ve ever met are just by hunting and approaching them with a very, very cool outside the box manner. My inbox now gets flooded with everyone, “Oh, Chris Stoikos is a somebody. Hey, Chris, I want to work with you.” How are you not something to ignore those ones?
Like become a unicorn in somebody’s inbox. Have a very catchy subject line and have a cool video to it that’s going to excite people the way that I showed you what I made for Tim Ferriss. I think that when you can go outside the box and you can create something that actually has value somebody, you have a better chance of meeting them. Your research skills are impressive.
Andrew: Thanks. I love it. Let me do a quick sponsorship message and then we’ll come back and talk about how you got your first customers. The sponsorship message is for a company called HostGator. Do you know HostGator, by the way?
Chris: I don’t. Tell me about them. Are they like GoDaddy or what?
Andrew: What they do is actually I guess in some ways they are. What they do is they will let you buy your domain name, but they’ll also host your site, regardless of where you buy the domain name. What’s impressive about them is they will keep your site running even when you get tons of traffic the way that you guys did, Chris, keeps it running up and what’s amazing about them is that they also have customer support, which means you can actually call them up and have somebody pick up the phone and really talk to you.
Let me ask you this, Chris, if you had nothing and you had to start over brand new, what and all you had was a website, what would the website do? What would be on there?
Chris: Like if I had to create a website from scratch?
Andrew: Yeah. It’s you, Chris, you’re out on your ass, you’re completely poor except somebody gave you a HostGator-hosted website. You’ve got to rebuild yourself. What would you build?
Chris: What I just built as a side project a couple months ago called Jotsome, for like jot some thoughts, jot some ideas. Jotsome has been my go-to kind of online journal for when I’m in a place and I need to put my thoughts on paper. It really allows me to zone out and record my creativity onto a platform. Actually HostGator sounds awesome for that.
But to go into that a little bit more, I’d be in the car listening to the radio and you have six presets. If I was listening to a song that I really liked, I couldn’t even listened to the song I really liked until I checked the other five presets and made sure there wasn’t something I liked more and then I’d come back to that station. I think that constant mindset of exploring, finding something you like, like you’re diving into it and storing it somewhere.
My phone is full of endless notes of lots of different things I’ve learned and people I’ve met, but when you can record them, compartmentalize them, pick something and then execute really, really well, it gives you the chance to grow something. So, I don’t exactly know what business I would start again, but I know there would be plenty of opportunities.
Andrew: What I like about you is that you don’t give it so much thought. You’re not going to spend five years thinking about whether you should open up a restaurant or not. You’re not going to spend ten years trying to figure out whether there’s something in the beard business or not. You launch the freaking website and you get the business going.
What I like about HostGator, my sponsor, is that they make it easy for people to do that. If anyone listening to me has an idea while they’re listening to this interview, HostGator will allow them to basically by the end of this interview have the site up and running so that they could actually test it out and see if it works.
If it works, great. You blow it up. You grow it. You make it into your thing. If it doesn’t, you close it up and you can always start a brand new domain name or brand new site also on your HostGator package or frankly, they have such a generous, money back guarantee that you can probably cancel and get your money back if the idea doesn’t work within a few weeks.
All you have to do is get started by going to HostGator.com/Mixergy, HostGator.com/Mixergy. When you do that, they’re going to give you 30% off and get you started right. They’ll tag you as a Mixergy fan, which means they’re going to take especially good care of you and that you can always contact me and let me know if you ever have any issues. But you won’t need to. They have a phone number that you can contact and talk to somebody directly whenever you have a problem with your site.
If you’ve heard me talk about HostGator and your site stinks, your hosting company stinks, you don’t have to stay with them. Remember, you’re an entrepreneur. You can do whatever you want. You can take your life in your own hands. You can take your website in your own hands. Move it to HostGator. If you’re on WordPress, they’ll even do the migration for you. They will do it for you. If not, they make it easy for you to migrate yourself. Go to HostGator.com/Mixergy.
Where’d your first customers come from? Now that you’ve got the site, now that you’ve got the whole business model, where’d your first customers come from?
Chris: Our first paying customers as soon as we opened up our website and we put our video on YouTube, we got picked on Reddit. We had an article, a post on Reddit do really well. Then that led us over to getting capture on Product Hunt. Then we ran a contest on our Instagram to tell our followers to go upvote us on Product Hunt. So, we got to the top of Product Hunt. Then BuzzFeed saw us and Huffington Post saw us. I always talk about rolling an organic snowball and just getting the core started. It took off with all the momentum. So, Reddit, Product Hunt and then a bunch of PR articles.
Andrew: I see the Product Hunt post. You got about 900–well, there it is, 824 votes. That’s huge for a non-software product, for something that’s not a brand new invention on a site that’s meant to find software and new inventions. I guess it’s because you sent people over to vote, which is one of the keys to getting up to the top of Product Hunt.
Chris: Yeah. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to think outside the box. You have to bend the rules sometimes. You have to take chances. But like you said before, don’t think too hard. Just do it. I’m kind of shoot first, ask questions later. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Andrew: Do you remember how many customers you got from being on Product Hunt?
Chris: Not exactly, but thousands.
Andrew: Thousands of people paid you money for beard oil and other supplies, mustache wax, etc., right?
Chris: Yeah. We had 10,000 customers in our first 30 days.
Andrew: 10,000 customers representing do you know how much revenue?
Chris: It was in our first–actually, I’ll check right now. I think it was the month of June. We did $61,000 in our first seven days. And then in the month of July, we did $183,000, then in August, we did $500,000 and then it just goes up from there.
Andrew: What was it about the Reddit post? I didn’t see that. What was it about it that did so well?
Chris: A lot of guys were complimenting me. They were like, “This guy is hilarious. We’re behind the beards. We’ve been looking for something like this.” I think a lot of people were kind of complimenting the concept as well. If you go through the comments, you’ll find they’re pretty detailed. We went through all of them because we had never experienced that kind of overnight success, even though we had been trying for it forever and then if finally happened. Yeah. It went well. The Reddit article did well.
Andrew: The big thing I saw was that people couldn’t tell whether you guys were real or not.
Andrew: Because of the video. It seemed like maybe you were spoofing this Dollar Shave Club.
Chris: That was definitely one of the small problems we faced. We didn’t have any customers that didn’t think we were real. You go on the website and it says, “Buy now,” right here. There were a lot of articles written. I think it was almost to get them traffic deciding whether or not we were real.
Andrew: So I can’t tell which of these posts is the first one. Let me see… I can’t find it. The only one I can see is “Dollar Beard Club vs. Dollar Shave Club – Are We Pro-Choice of Pro-Beard?”
Chris: I haven’t even seen that one.
Andrew: I hate when I can’t do research in real time and really uncover what we’re talking about.
Chris: Some guys making fun of us… Dollar Beard Club… I can’t find it either, man.
Chris: It was June 23rd is when we launched. I don’t know if you can search by date on Reddit, but it would have been on the 23rd or 24th.
Andrew: June 23 rd. I know that I can do a search on Google for it.
Chris: Hey, Andrew, while we’re talking about this, I screwed up the scheduling. I’ve got to board a plane in about ten minutes.
Andrew: Ten minutes. All right. Let’s keep moving then. We’ll make it work. Next question is I see the launch did really well. It seems like the video was the heart of it, right?
Andrew: The video and the fact that you were also tagging and making fun of Dollar Shave Club. What’s the next thing that allowed you to go beyond it? That can only survive for so long.
Chris: Our next video–our first video had like 4 million views on Facebook. Our next video, the Up North video had like 15 million views. Our Beard Oppression video for the month of No Shave November had 20 million views. Now we’re expecting our new video to probably do upwards of 30 million.
Andrew: So, videos were the big thing?
Chris: Yeah. We didn’t even know about customer acquisition through Facebook, email marketing.
Andrew: You weren’t buying any ads, you weren’t doing any of that?
Chris: No. Not at all. We bought our first ad like three months ago with those numbers that I’m showing you. Now we’ve just tapped into a whole new world and what it means to do ad buying. I’m hooked up with some of the best players in the industry. So, we’re learning quickly and it’s allowing us to scale big time.
Andrew: What about this–I did a search on SimilarWeb to see where you got your traffic and a big chunk of your traffic has been coming from Bilzerian Beard Bash.com. What is that?
Chris: That’s weird if it’s a big chunk of it. We threw a party on September 26th last year, kind of an inaugural celebration for Dollar Beard Club. We just had that as an entry point for different guys to post videos and different things. We had a bunch of competitions that we ran online and then we flew in like 30 members to the party and had a pretty crazy time.
Andrew: You did have some kind of partnership with Dan Bilzerian, right? The guy who is huge on YouTube, has a beard, really cut up, always partying with guns and women and planes. How did you connect with him? What email got you through to have him pay attention to you?
Chris: I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and I jumped out of a moving Jeep over a bridge into a body of water and he was the one of the guys that I called out. I’m a big believer in energy and the secret and that sort of thing. 24 hours later after making the video, I ran into him in Vegas. He was in a massive crowd of people. I kind of just tore through the crowd and went up to him. I showed him the video. We hit it off from there.
Andrew: I see. What was your ask now that you got connected with him?
Chris: Actually, at first I was trying to work any angle to work with the guy. Obviously he was very influential and we had a lot of different things in common. We shot the shit here and there over the course of a couple months and then Beard Club came along and that was an outlet for us to be able to collaborate. It didn’t stray from his brand or what he preaches.
The thing about a guy like Dan is a lot of people have an inflated version of their life that’s sometimes falsified for how they represent themselves on Instagram [inaudible 00:29:29] brand and everything that you see is the exact way that guy lives his life with no exaggeration. So, the fact that it was like Beard Club and everything that we’re all about and that’s what he’s about, it kind of made it easy to align with each other.
Andrew: All right. Quick sponsorship message and then we’re going to come back. Now I’m looking at Dan Bilzerian’s Instagram. Damn, the guy is always doing something fun.
Andrew: The second sponsor is Acuity Scheduling. One of our producers here at Mixergy wanted to organize an event and he needed people to talk to him. A lot of people in my audience want to try to get connected with people and have them get on the phone. The problem is that they do it like idiots.
They send out an email and say, “Hey, can I chat with you?” which means even if I say yes, I have to go back and forth with you, picking a time. That’s not going to work. Here’s a way that Jeremy did it. He found the people that he wanted to come to his event and he said, “Can I get on the phone with you? Here’s a link to my calendar. You pick the time that works for you.”
They picked it. If someone picked one time, the next person didn’t have that time as an option, which means that he could not double-book and look like a knucklehead with these guys. If you want to book people and have them have a conversation with you on the phone, in person, wherever, you want a system that’s going to make it easy for you.
That system, that software is Acuity Scheduling. All you have to do is go to AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy. They’ll hook you up with a free account. You’re going to see how much easier it is to get on the phone with people–potential customers, potential partners, potential or existing customers, anyone you want to get on the phone with, anyone you want to schedule an appointment with, this makes it super easy–AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy.
How are we doing, Chris, with catching the flight? Got a few more minutes?
Chris: I just made my account on Acuity Scheduling because that sounds epic and I need something like that.
Andrew: You’re going to love it.
Chris: Realistically I’m watching the last–that’s my gate right there with the last kind of people getting on. But I’m probably good for another four minutes.
Andrew: All right. Why don’t you walk in with the laptop. Let’s see how far we can go with it. You cool with that?
Chris: Oh yeah, we can go, man.
Andrew: All right.
Chris: I’m in Boulder, Colorado right now.
Andrew: What are you doing in Colorado?
Chris: Learning how to make more money, man, with some pretty cool dudes.
Andrew: Who taught you?
Chris: I guess it’s kind of been obviously an ongoing process, like I said, just the radio station analogy of checking every other station before you actually pick one to roll with. I met these guys through an event, through a friend of a friend and kind of Hansel and Greteled the trail of bread crumbs following back form seeds that I’d planted from previous ventures. I think things come full circle a lot of the time. But yeah, I learned some pretty cool things out here in Boulder that we can’t wait to apply to the business.
Andrew: Who are these guys?
Chris: They’re kind of some underground dudes. They don’t have like a brand or anything. I’m a big guy about reading books and there are a lot of cool books that teach you how to make a lot of money if you can just apply the things that you read in the book.
Andrew: I heard you went 25 years without reading one book and then you suddenly became this book lover. What turned you?
Chris: Yeah. Now I’m 27. I’ve probably read 100 books. School put a very bad taste in my mouth for reading. I didn’t get to choose what I was reading. I was reading history textbooks and geography and things I didn’t care about. So, I had this mental tie that reading was for things you didn’t like. So, it was very tough for me to get over that. When I broke out of the education system and got out of school, I’m a very punctual guy. I’m big on grammar, even text messages. So, I applied kind of my love for certain areas of school to reshape the way I looked at reading.
Reading, you can have somebody’s entire life wrapped up into 300 pages. No one realizes that it can take somebody 300 days to write a book, sometimes longer and it takes three hours to tear through a book sometimes. You can tap into someone else’s mind and you can matrix their information into yours and become limitless, man.
Andrew: One of the books that you recommend is “Clarity” by Jamie Smart. Why “Clarity?”
Chris: One of the first things it says on one of the first pages is, “The first step to breaking out of the trap is to realize you’re in a trap.” So, a lot of people don’t zoom out and look at themselves and look at themselves form the third person to be able to take in what’s wrong with what they’re suffering from and are your problems actually even problems. I think that being able to be self-aware on a heightened level allows you to figure out things a lot quicker.
Andrew: What was your problem that you had to realize was a real problem before you could get your way out of it?
Chris: I’ve had a lot of different problems in my life and struggled with lots of different things. I think that’s a common denominator amongst many entrepreneurs. Myself, I was always looking for a shortcut to make money. I always thought there was an easy way just to get from zero to $1 million. Part of that is good because I was looking for lean ways to do things, but a part of it is I fell for every sucker trap out there, “Yeah, I’ll do this and make this in this much time.”
When I realized that, no individual step is hard in any process. Building this airport I’m standing in right now started with a guy writing the architectural plans on paper. That’s not hard for him to do. Then laying the first beam isn’t had. The whole thing is really hard. So, just take each step kind of piece by piece and when I was able to do that and stop trying to chase this prize and started putting in the work, things just started coming together.
Andrew: I get it. What’s one other book? I feel like you’re moved by books much more than I am because for you it’s a brand new discovery and maybe I’m starting to take it for granted a little bit.
Chris: Definitely. I’m big on health, really big on what you put in your body results in what comes out of your body in terms of creative output. A book that I really like is called–what the hell is it called? I don’t even remember. It’s like a 400-page book. Sorry. Yeah, I’m on that flight.
Andrew: Okay. All right. I know that they’re calling you.
Chris: “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” absolutely insane.
Chris: That’s a great one. Definitely, man. No, Andrew, I don’t know if you want to pick up…
Andrew: We’re good. I think we’ve covered everything we need to. I’d love to have you on at some point in the future, but for now I’m going to thank you for being on here and I’m going to thank–who was it who made the introduction? It was Kareem Powell.
Chris: Kareem Powell–hey, let me tell you something real quick about Kareem. Kareem Powell hit me up. In the first video, I did this head tilt, the famous head tilt. He sent me a video of him mimicking the head tilt and he did it to a tee. His beard looked so similar to mine. I was crying laughing. Then he sent another video of him playing piano to one of our jingles that we did. I was just like, “That’s how you get somebody’s attention man.” Super cool dude. He introduced me to you guys. I keep in touch with him over email. But yeah, it’s fun doing stuff like that. I’m getting shooed to the entrance.
Andrew: All right. I appreciate you doing this interview. The site is DollarBeardClub.com. I’m thankful to you for doing this interview. Thank you and I’ll finish off after you’re gone.
He’s off. He just got on the plane. We lost his connection. He called me afterwards by phone to apologize. But I think we got everything from my notes in the interview. All I want to do is say thank you to you guys for being a part of Mixergy and listening. And I should tell you about my two sponsors.
The first one, the guys who I rushed through their sponsorship message, that’s the company that’s going to help you schedule appointments with people easily. It’s called AcuitySchedling.com/Mixergy. You saw Chris sign up for it as we were doing the interview because if you want to get somebody on the phone, there is no better way to do it than to just give them a link to your calendar with all your real availability and allow them to pick the time that works best for them.
Really good. So many more features that I haven’t even begun to tell you about, but you’ll explore them on your own at AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy. And of course, second sponsor is HostGator. If you want to host your website, go to HostGator.com/Mixergy.
Finally, there’s a part of the site that I don’t usually tell you guys about that I probably should be spending a little more time telling you about. It’s the part that’s members only. What we do here in addition to interviews, I record courses where I bring an entrepreneur on to teach one thing they’re especially good at, like how do you handle taxes in a way that allows you to save money.
I know everyone’s really happy to pay taxes because it means you’re making a profit, but what if you could be intelligent about it and save money without cheating the government. Well, we brought in somebody to talk about that, someone who’s an expert in it. What about how to improve your site so you can actually increase conversions? Well, the founder of Optimizely, which is a software that’s made to improve conversions came on to improve conversions.
That’s the thing that we do. I find people that are the best, entrepreneurs who are the best at something because that’s their job day to day. I have a producer talk to them. We put together a course here on Mixergy where they teach that topic better than anyone else could because that’s what they do on a regular basis. That’s all part of Mixergy Premium. You don’t have to buy these courses one at a time. I know I can sell them for $100 apiece. I know because we’ve tried. But we make it available all as part of your membership. If you want to join, go to MixergyPremium.com.
Thank you for being a part of Mixergy. Keep listening to these interviews. Bye, everyone.