Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Today’s guest is me away. I had no idea. So, you know, you go to Amazon and you say, I need a scale. And. Most skills are pretty dumb. They just tell you how much you weigh, but we’re kind of techie.
So we want that data to go into our phones. And so they’re smart scales that will take your data and they’ll send it to your phones. And if you search on Amazon, you’ll see the top. If not the top, one of the top ranked smart scales is created by fit track. And it’s more expensive than some of the cheaper ones.
Like 25 bucks is way where a lot of them land. This is 75 bucks. And it’s got phenomenal ratings over 6,000 ratings, four and a half plus, but what I’m getting at is I see that people like it. I see that it’s that it sells well. I had no idea how well I had no idea all the other products that were here. I had no idea that this was started by a dude.
Who nearly lost it all. I know that sounds so Hackney. So true. So trite in a text-based, but he did. And then came up with a couple of ideas that actually worked that any one of them, I would have pounded him to do an interview about on Mixergy, but he wasn’t happy with them because they weren’t fulfilling enough.
Your parents, by the way, who are alive, who heard this? Jeff, that you said that. And when they heard you say that these other businesses aren’t fulfilling enough, I’ve got to go and start fit. Did they say, what are you doing?
Jeff: Um, yeah, they, they definitely did. I think that even starts it out when I quit my job as a investment advisor, when I was making really good money and wanting to just, you know, quit a six-figure job to start a business at such a young age when I was 24 was something that I don’t think they understood at that point.
Uh, but I just felt that that was something that I needed to do. And it was the right choice. And Here we are.
Andrew: Here we are. All right. How much revenue are we talking about? Fit track last year, 2020.
Jeff: So last year we brought in $80 million. Uh, it’s been a second year in business. Uh, this year we’ll be out there a year and we’re on track to make 120, uh, by the end of the year.
Andrew: Good Lord. That’s phenomenal. And this whole, can you tell me about the job that you did before? This was an investment banking. You weren’t happy and it wasn’t until you went to Hawaii that you said I got to have a whole new life here. The job that you had. Good paying job in finance.
Jeff: Yes, very, very good paying job. so I graduated university and the first job I took on was an investment advisor. Uh, I was making six figure at that time. Uh, but I quit it just because I wasn’t happy with just, I think in a finance.
was, it’s always about fighting for how much money you can make. And it’s almost a bragging right.
Of like, oh, I, you know, I just level up, you know, I’m making six figures now I’m making seven figure now. And. I thought that was very thrilling when I first started. And I think, you know, when you started making money and you get to where you are and you’re like, Okay.
I have this now and I’m still not happy.
So, um, you know, you just keep chasing for money and money. And I just felt like that was super unfair, fulfilling. And so that’s why I went to Hawaii. Uh, Take a break and just kind of think what I really wanted to do. And at that time I thought my passion was really just to start my own business and I was really into watches back then.
So I came back from my job, uh, quit my job, flew to Hong Kong to learn about manufacturing. Um, and then I went to Switzerland as well as to learn about the art of watchmaking and being that young. I think it was all about running businesses that, you know, that was cool. You know, there wasn’t really much thought that went in. And I also didn’t know how much it costs to run a business at all. I had $30,000 saved at that time. And fast forward two years in, I was $235,000 in debt. Um, everyone was like, what the hell are you doing, Jeff? I, you know, like give this up, but I’m also a very stubborn plus. And then the big of the biggest hurdles are, and I just didn’t want to lose.
And I felt like, you know, if I stopped doing that business, I’ve kind of lost. Uh, so I kept going, I sold everything. I have to keep going in, assault, my bad. I sold.
Jeff: I kept selling everything.
Andrew: Uh huh.
Jeff: I saw my bed. I saw my table, my microwave, you know, the only thing I had remaining was first my, uh, condo
Andrew: Okay. Let, let me pause right
Jeff: two jobs.
Andrew: but you took on jobs. I see that you’re going deeper on this. Let me understand why what’s the vision for this? What are you trying to create? The new Rolex? Were you trying to create a smartwatch? What’d you have in mind?
Jeff: just wanted to. A a more modern version of Rolex where it’s, you know, it’s for the adventurous, you know, people who just didn’t fit, you know, a square peg or whichever. So it was more of like the adventure as a rule breaker, because at that time, one thing I really believed in was, you know, what you wear is almost like an expression of who you are.
And I wanted to express myself and I wanted to create something that people who felt the same way, who, you know, will, might fail. You know, are the rule breakers, you know, are people who just didn’t fit in what seems as normal and have something to wear and express themselves. So that was really the whole idea of that, that initial first business.
Andrew: But before we go into what you did next, what did you do write about it and what, and what did you do wrong that got you to a place where you kept going into more and more debt?
Jeff: I don’t think I did anything right about that first business, just because I didn’t have any business experience at all. Um,
Andrew: But didn’t you get that you were able to produce the watch weren’t you.
Jeff: Yeah. So I think one thing I did learn was the manufacturing part of the business, um, and understanding that process. So I would say that’s one thing I did do, right. Um, I think one thing that I didn’t do correctly is understanding how to run a business. You know, I think marketing especially is such an important part of the business, how to sell the product.
You know, I think a lot of people go to product and expect things to come, and it just doesn’t work that way. Right. You really need to be able to. Understand how to market it, but in an efficient way as well, because when I started spending $230,000 of debt, a lot of that is from, You know, working with marketing agencies and running marketing campaigns that just aren’t profitable.
So I’ve learned a lot.
Andrew: You started hiring a marketing agency for a brand new startup watch company instead of buying your own ads.
Jeff: Yes. Because again, I didn’t have any experience right. On how to run Facebook ads or how it’s run to influence that like zero marketing experience. Working with an agency and hoping that they will be able to help me get there. And I think the problem, if a founder or a CEO running a business that doesn’t understand marketing is a very, very slippery slope because yeah, it is.
It just, you can put in, you know, a hundred thousand dollars in
Andrew: give me an, a, give me an example of one of the bad marketing decisions.
Jeff: So I think one thing we did was having these brand awareness campaign where we were running ads like good-looking at, you know, um, and we’re not really measuring how many people are actually coming through the funnel, how many people are in and how are we capturing them? Do we have a good enough creative?
What is the messaging there? There’s a lot of that more technical stuff. I just didn’t know how to ask a marketing agency. And I just didn’t know what to ask, right. Because of the lack of experience. So that’s why I think it’s very important for a founder to really understand marketing when they are trying to start a business.
Andrew: Okay, so then you’re stubborn. You keep going into debt for this. It’s still not working out. You sold everything you, then at one point you had to shower in the gym. Why did you have to shower in the gym? Which if you can’t sell your shower at home, right.
Jeff: I just didn’t have money to buy soap at that time. Um, I mean, you have to conserve everything. Like I bought like, you know, a ramen noodle for myself to eat, you know, and that sometimes I have to split it half. Right. Discuss. I’m just trying to
Andrew: Seriously, this is not part of your origin story that that’s exaggerated.
Jeff: No, not at all. Like, it
Andrew: Literally break up rom in the 75 cent noodle bag into two. So you can make it last for two
Jeff: Make it last longer just cause I then know, number one, I’m $230,000 in debt. I’m not making any, before I started my, my, the first two to two jobs, I wasn’t making much money at that time. I did didn’t know how much money, how long this will go on for. And I was also very stubborn that I’m not going to sell this business.
So I just needed to kept this, going to figure out how long I can go like that. And I think it was at that time, my mental, you know, like depression and all these really took, you know, the worst toll and
Andrew: Full on depression.
Andrew: What is full blown depression for you? Look like you seem like a pretty. I don’t know. I don’t know what to say, but tell me what it’s like to be depressed when you’re deathly
Jeff: Um, I would say the back of the base depression felt like, you know, you really kind of get out of bed. you question everything, you own ability if you’re good enough. And I think there are times as well, where you ask, you know, if I’m even capable of fit to be living in this life. Right. Like, am I smart enough?
Andrew: were actually starting to think. Should I kill myself?
Like to be very honest with you. Yeah. That, that, there, there are many times I bet happened. Uh, when in my first business, for sure.
Andrew: why didn’t you do it?
Jeff: I just felt like I’ve worked. I’ve come so far to come so far and I’m going to keep going in. That was kind of what I keep telling myself. I’m like, Hey, you know, you didn’t come so far to come so far. Keep going like one day at a time. Right.
Andrew: you feel like you came far though? I, I think in my worst moments, I would say I didn’t really come that far. I diluted myself and I
Jeff: But I wouldn’t even say come so far in results wise, but come so far in trying I’ve came. So I’ve tried, I feel like suffer for two years or, you know, trying to get there and yes, everything might not have work, but I’ve done so much. You get this far
Andrew: You’ve sunk in so much of your time. If you stop now, then it’s all gone to waste that kind of thing.
Andrew: Okay. All right. And then you said I’m going to start another thing, another product. How’d you come up with the next product to sell away from watches.
Jeff: So after my first business, when, and that didn’t work out, finally, I decided, okay, I need to, you know, like have my mental state first. So I went back again to jobs, but one thing I took away from that. Being able to like learn the money making skills. So I took five hours out of every day to learn Facebook ads, um, Pinterest, you know, influencer email website, conversion rate.
And it was, uh, 16, 17 hours a day, but it’s got, but I think it’s those times that allow me to learn all the skills that I needed. Um,
Andrew: saying, you just sat down and you learned 16 hours days. How do you learn Pinterest? In online marketing?
Jeff: So 16 hours days consists of that two jobs. So 12 hours, so who jobs and then on top of that as a five hours of learning, um, but it’s gotten to the point where I felt like I still wasn’t learning enough because I wanted to like, create my best, like my I’m thinking of creating a second business. But with that rate, you know, I think I could probably create a business and knowing everything in probably a year.
So I left my job, uh, again, But that time I saved up, I think I have about two months of savings and I left my job and I made sure I learned about 14 hours every single day. And after that, I think it took me about two months to learn everything. Um, I launched my second econ business after, and two months after launching a second econ business, I went from, you know, making $0 to making $250,000 a month and then taking all of that learning.
I’ve started growing that, that business from zero to eight figures,
Andrew: W w let’s before let’s pause. First of all, what did you learn in that time? What were you doing? Just going online research. YouTube videos. Yeah. And what did you take away?
Jeff: A lot of YouTube videos. I think everything that you need to learn, there’s so many free information out there, and I think people should really utilize that more. And that’s everything you want to learn about Facebook ads. Plenty of YouTube videos to understand that everything you want to learn about email marketing, this free courses as YouTube videos, same thing for website conversion optimization, um, creative.
How can you create the higher, the highest performing ads, uh, influencer marketing. So I’ve learned all of that. And I think that was time to put everything I’ve learned into, uh, into, into work at it.
Andrew: learning, absorbing, and you were starting to tell me some of the key takeaways. What are some of the things that stuck with you when you were learning?
Jeff: I think one thing I learned is the foundation of any great marketing comes from great creative and the foundation and great creative leads to, um, comes from great customer. Understand. I think that was my biggest takeaway. So, and that allowed me to launch my second startup, which is a homemade kitchen, uh, general store, where I am able to, you know, come through that, say Amazon and understand going through like homemade kitchen, seeing what sells well, number one, and then going through
Andrew: kid home kitchen.
Jeff: homemade kitchen is like a homemade kitchen.
Andrew: Okay. Oh, that’s the name of the company.
Jeff: No, no, no. the name of the company.
is called happy hut. It’s it sells like, you know, home and kitchen stuff.
Andrew: Oh, home and kitchen. So you got, went in and you went to Amazon and you said what in home and kitchen are people happy about? What are they looking for? And tell me more, sorry.
Jeff: Yeah. So I looked through like, number one, what selling really well on Amazon. Um, and then I go through like the comments and see what are people liking about this product? What are people not liking about this product? Great. And then. Building my store based on that, um, catering to what it, what do people want in the market?
And then allowing me, by understanding, going through these comments, understanding why people bought that product, what was their motivation? What was the problem they’re trying to solve? Allow me to build really good messaging and ads as well. When I’ll start launching my Facebook ads, uh, my YouTube ads, you know, I’m able to.
Seen a very great return on ass, just because number one, and the stem, my customer, which allowed me to build really great creative and ask that really resonate with the customers.
Andrew: What are some of the products that you sold that happy hot?
Jeff: I sold the blended as a blended model that they pretty well, uh, one of our winning products, uh, we have a Chrome pen that they’re pretty well as well. Um, there was an egg maker, so it’s just a lot of stuff that you would
Andrew: one of those that you remember? Sorry to interrupt, but I’m trying to squeeze so much out of this conversation. Can you, can you remember one of those products and what you read about them on Amazon and how that influenced, how you talked about it with your Facebook ads?
So I’ll use the blender bottle, for example. So once the product is selling really well at that time, and Amazon was a blender bottle and it had two blades. So people, what people really like about it is how possible it is, how they could bring it everywhere, um, how they could use that for in the gym, how they can use that to blend smoothie and fruit easily.
Um, And what they didn’t like about it was, it has only two blades and it wasn’t strong enough to blend ice. It wasn’t strong enough to plan a lot of foods in as well, if that’s what you wanted to do. And I then went to, you know, the manufacturers and asked if they could build something similar. Instead of two blades have six blades.
It’s that? So that way it’s stronger, but then so that’s on the product side. And then when it comes to marketing, what that allows me to do is focus on the possibility part of things, focusing on people’s different journey. So let’s say if someone who’s interested in just healthy, you know, smoothie lifestyle, you know, we’re able to cater that message of, you know, create a smoothie anywhere, you know, um, if people are interested in.
Um, on, uh, on, into the gym and work out, it’s like, you know, being able to blend, uh, you know, your like make you a protein shake, tastes tastier, you know, venting foods, but if your protein shake, so it’s all of these different stuff that really allowed us to scale that specific product. As an example.
Andrew: Um, I’m on, well, I’m going to Google. I’m searching for happy hut and blender. I don’t see anything. Is there a website that you had?
Jeff: So happy hot gadget planet. Those both shut down. Uh, and I, I took those money and I’ve launched a fake track.
Andrew: Okay. But by shutting it down, why couldn’t you. Okay.
Jeff: Um, just because number one, I just didn’t have the passion in that business anymore. And that, with that sort of business, which is a mixture of drop shipping and white labeling, there is a much value in that business cider, um, beyond the revenue and profit that it brings.
Andrew: Okay. And so was this gadget, um, gadget, planet.com.
Jeff: That’s my second, my third business. It,
Andrew: okay. Yeah. I’m going to internet archive to look at it. What year was this?
Jeff: this was 20 16, 20 17. It’s happy, hot dog Cohen gadget. And then up calling com.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah. I don’t see anything for gadget, planet.com and then happy hut.com. I’ll take a look at that. How much revenue and profit did you get it to?
Jeff: So for happy hut, I was able to scale that up to 8 million a year and gadget plan. And I was able to?
scale that to 12
Andrew: And how much profit.
Jeff: around a 15% margin for both those stores.
Andrew: Okay. Did you finally feel happy?
Jeff: No, I think I learned a very important lesson there. I think. And that’s again, I felt like I should have learned from my first Ms. Uh, coming up as an investment advisor where I just realized that, you know, it’s success is not just about making money, it’s about making an impact. Um, and I think even your passion, right, you’re passionate.
Like for me, making Washington a passion, but I still wasn’t happy there because I wasn’t making an impact and make an impact is really being of service to others. So I think that was one of the lessons I took away from those two businesses and which allow me to think for the next business that I want to create.
I want to make sure that it really had that making impact factor and, you know, being of service to others and making, uh, the world people, uh, live a better life.
Andrew: right. I see that it looks like the robots dot text file on that site basically disallowed everything. So I can’t see much in internet archive, but I can, I can see that it was up there. What, what tool did you use to build it? I’m kind of tying into my first. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. so my first sponsor is HostGator a site for hosting a place where you can host websites.
It’s competitive, obviously with Shopify, Shopify seems like a better option, frankly. HostGator does WordPress hosting. It seems like Shopify is a better option for you because of what.
Jeff: I think Shopify is just a lot easier. Cause you can kind of plug and play. You don’t really need much coding skill sets. Um, and they provide, you know, great support in terms of like the theme building and, and the downtime as well. So I think for a beginner, I find Shopify really helpful. And B being allowed, allowing people to just plug and play really.
Andrew: Okay. All right. Um, I’ll be honest. HostGator is, uh, great for hosting WooCommerce, which is competitive with Shopify. And the Shopify is in many ways, a much easier. And for many people, a much better solution. I’m not looking at pretend in this ad that that HostGator is perfect for everything. The reason I’ve seen people use HostGator and ho and WooCommerce specifically to host e-commerce is when they want to try creating multiple stores.
Have you seen that had one person in my audience. I said, why are you doing. WooCommerce. And he showed me all the different stores that he was experimenting with and allowed them to create. Once he created a template to create lots of different experiences quickly, what do you think you have an experience with them?
Jeff: Um, no, I haven’t had much experience in terms of with HostGator or WooCommerce. Um, I think we’ve thought that a Shopify and was still using Shopify Shopify at the moment, just because why don’t Shopify plus we, and they’ve been very supportive on, on really helping us grow our business. Um, but we are potentially exploring down the road.
So open up a, our own custom solution.
Andrew: Hmm. All right. Fair point. Look in the past, I brought in guests and I’ve said, you talk about the sponsor in any way you like, I’m not looking for people to pretend that they use them and they love them. And I’m totally fine with them saying I’d prefer a competitor. I use HostGator, uh, for WordPress hosting, largely because I’m a podcaster and I need to create content up on the internet.
I’ve recommended it at times for e-commerce, but I’ve also got to be completely clear. Not all of my guests use it. And today’s guest doesn’t. If you’re looking for a hosting solution for WordPress, for WooCommerce, I think that HostGator is a great solution. If you go to hostgator.com/mixergy, you’ll get a great price.
If it’s not right for you, I’m fine with that. And I’d love for you to let me know either way. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Um, so you decided I’m closing this. Did you take any money? Uh, did you put any money in the bank at the end of that?
Jeff: Yeah. I did. I think I walked away about 2.8 now.
Andrew: Okay. Wow. I interrupt you a lot because I’m kind of excited about this story and kind of put it in.
So Jeff, you’re a guy who, who was suffering couldn’t afford to pay for soap. It almost feels too good to be true. And then suddenly you end up with 2.8. What do you do? Do you do anything to take, to like celebrate? Do you do anything to feel like you deserve it to that you’ve did it or not?
Jeff: So, if you would ask me that question. When I was in investment banking, when I first started a watch business, like what would I do if I have 2.8, you know, a million dollars in the bank? I would tell you a completely different story of how I would spend that money. Then when I actually had that money, I think I’m grown a lot through my first business, my second business at third business, um, to understand that, you know, that money that I have is.
Not just for, you know, I think I’ve changed as a person too, right? I’m not that partying or that person anymore. And that was almost, that was my founder. That was my seed money, really, to be able to build something that truly have an impact. And that’s what I bet.
Andrew: Why didn’t you feel like you had to have an impact?
Jeff: I truly think for me, I think happiness comes from having an impact, you know, serving others. I think. That gives a purpose to
Andrew: Serving others. So if I say Jeff goes, if I say Jeff served me, you’re going to feel happy.
Jeff: If you said I made you a better person, I made you happy, happier. That makes me happy.
Andrew: And there wasn’t enough for somebody to say, I got this, this blender cup and it has six blades and I’m healthier for drinking out of it. That wasn’t right. Yeah.
Jeff: But that’s not necessarily solving for, I’m not making the world a better place in a way where someone’s able to blend, you know, the gym workout with a banana better or someone. Yeah. I’m making the life easier. Which is great, but I’m still not solving a big enough issue for me that I’m making a real impact on a customer life.
And I think that’s what I’m really striving for. How can I make the biggest impact? How can I, you know, Changed the world in, in a, in a better way, because at the end of the day, we’re all here once in his lifetime. And when we leave, it’s what we leave behind and how we make the world a better place that really counts.
Right. So that’s something that always stuck with me. And that’s, that’s what I live my life by, you know, being able to make the world a better place for my existence here.
Andrew: All right. And fit track is your place to do it. Where did the idea for that come from?
Jeff: So I started going to the gym, um, and I was so focused on gaining muscle and I was eating So. unhealthy. Lee’s about all, about being about ballgame and my dad who was also a doctor at that time, sat me down and told me that, you know, health is everything. It’s not just about weight and if I wants to game us, so I should really should be measuring that and not just weight alone.
Because as we know, there’s so much more that goes into weight. And in my case, I was gaining body fat. I was getting visceral fat, you know, and have gone on top of muscle as well, but I’m not able to measure them. You know, when I gained five pounds, I’m like, yes, you know, I’ve gained five pounds of muscle, but really it’s, you know, maybe two pounds of muscle and, you know, one panel visceral fat, which is the fat around your organs, which is really unhealthy.
And I got the smart scale and I got to see how then my daily choices from what I eat, you know, how my workout, how it really affects my body, um, what I was really gaining. And it really opened me up to a new world, understanding of my health. And I wanted everyone to have the ability to do the same, you know, understanding their body better so they can make better choices on how to improve them.
Andrew: So. Problems with those scales that have the metal on the bottom to check what your body fat percentages is. That they’re just not accurate enough. I see this constantly on Amazon, where someone will say here’s what this scale shows. Here’s what my doctor shows. Didn’t you find that when you were using one of the scales that you bought.
Jeff: A hundred percent. So if you were to speak with a doctor, Every the, the closest thing for you to be able to measure your, your, your true body composition as an autopsy. And the second closest thing, which is considered the gold standard is called dexoscan. And that’s the really expensive machine That people go to hospital to get scanned.
Smart scales. It depends on the brand of different, smart skills that you get. Some of them are 3% off the gold standard. Some of them 5% of the gold standard, and some of them are even more 7%. However, they will be consistently off by 3% of 5% or 7%. If a doctor always recommend people to still use a smart skill, because it still gives you a benchmark to understand how to improve the different metrics.
So let’s say if I get on a, a smart scale and a smart skills shows me 3% off my real body. If I started improving my health and I gained, you know, my, my boyfriend goes on my two pounds. That is a very accurate indicator that your body fat is going down because it’s consistently stays the same at 3% off the gold standard, 5% off the gold down there.
Oh, 7% off the ghost. And depending on which Moskal, you’re getting out there.
Andrew: That makes sense. You’re saying, look, even if we’re not a hundred percent accurate, at least we’re consistent and all you need is a sense of trends. You’re not looking to understand what exactly your body fat percentages. Right?
Jeff: Exactly the trend and understanding what the benchmark is and how to improve that. Uh, and what, which part of your body to improve as well?
Andrew: All right. So Jeff, these things that existed for years, decades, What were you going to add when you said I’m going into this business?
Jeff: So smart school had been in the market for awhile. Um, we’re not revolutionizing it, but what we’re doing is number one, improving the accuracy of it. And most importantly, the experience of it and a lot of the work that we do, if it focuses on a software, part of the business?
how we can ladies’ data back to a customer in a more easy to understand way and how we can provide more actionable steps after.
And finally how we can keep our users more accountable to their own goals through software. And we are continuously building upon these feature points to be able to provide a much more, better value for our customer.
Andrew: And that was from the beginning. The idea was what can we do to hold people accountable, to not just give them data, but tell them what they should do. That was the very first version.
Jeff: Yes. And how to make better choices, you know, based on the data and that day.
Andrew: Did you completely shut down the previous business before launching this one? Or did you run them for a while? Side-by-side.
Jeff: So I’ve actually tests. I did run them side by side. I tested fit. Try out on my gadget plan a store first, just to see. Within the guided plan, the store, we were selling cool gadgets for guys. And I just wanted to validate my hypothesis of if this product half a product market fit. Um, and it did pretty well.
And then I graduated it out to its own brand and building upon that. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay, I’m going to talk about my second sponsor. It’s SEM rush. Do you know SEMrush?
Jeff: Yes. A lot of times.
Andrew: hope. Perfect. What did you SEMrush for? SCM rush.
Jeff: Just finding what keywords are ranking well, uh, for our, you know, keyword campaigns on Google, um, I think SEO is also very important, uh, for knowing what to optimize for. So we use a lot, a lot on that for specifically for SEO and SEM buses.
Andrew: I’m noticing that this is the top tool for search engine marketing for search engine optimization. It’s also becoming used more and more for content marketing. You can see what other people are doing on Twitter. If that’s effective for them, how you compare to them, what’s working for them and a social media online advertising, any kind of marketing.
That’s what SEMrush is for. If anyone wants to use it right now, I’m going to let them use it for free. If you go to semrush.com/mixergy, I know you did it before. And then the free option was closed up. We’re going to open it up again and then they’re probably going to close it up again. Um, and frankly, Jeff, the reason they’re opening and closing it is this deal for giving it out for free was made with somebody who’s no longer at SEMrush.
The new person goes, we’re not doing that. Well, anyway, we made a commitment. So we’re opening it up for a limited time. Here’s what you, what you have to do. Just go to SEM, rush.com/mixergy, S E M R U S h.com/m I N E R G Y. You had a mentor who helped you too, right?
Jeff: Yes, I bet
Andrew: Who’s the mentor.
Jeff: it’s a guy named Manny from Miami and he launched, he’s taken a few other e-com stores, any skilled. Pretty hard and yeah, we reached out to him on Facebook and we just connected. And he T he, he taught me a lot about, you know, on, on the creative side, on Facebook ads, on understanding how to test products better.
Um, a lot of things I’ve learned on YouTube, but it’s always good to have a mentor.
there to validate, you know, at the, when you think of a baby walking, it’s always good to have a paradise, just making sure like, Hey, you’re doing the job, we do it correctly. So he done a lot of that. You know, the handholding in, in the very beginning publisher, which I really am grateful for.
Andrew: Why did Mandy do this?
Jeff: Oh, I think number one, I think he wants it to give back, uh, cause he had a mentor himself as well. And I think he, that man, so I’ve taught him a lot of stuff. Um, and I, from my understanding, I kind of speak for him, but I believe that, and he’s mentioned he’s a very big challenge of giving back and passing his knowledge down to different people.
So I, I believe that that Is one of the reasons.
Andrew: Is this many Hernandez.
Jeff: Um, no, it’s, uh, Manny Gladwell.
Andrew: Manny Gladwell. I’m gonna look this guy up. Maybe I should have him on too. All right. How hard was it to build your first scale?
Jeff: It was my, it wasn’t that hard just being, as I mentioned before, they’re already scales in the market. I think it was more on the software side of things, which was much more the harder part of like, how can we make it more accurate? Um, and how can we make the data more easy to understand by our customer?
How can we make it more actionable? How can we keep them more accountable? So really working on number one, the software piece. And then the UX UI piece as well on being able to relate these data back to the customer in the best way possible.
Andrew: What was in the first version of the app?
Jeff: The first version was a very easy to understand that your 17 metrics where you Frank on the metrics, it didn’t have the explanation of what each metric really means. And how you can do is improve that. Um, and. We didn’t have necessarily when it comes to the tracking your, your, your trends and data to the past three months, past six months, I think the experience of that wasn’t that great either.
Um, and which we’ve improved a lot since then.
Andrew: What are the 17 different points that you mentioned?
Jeff: Um, we measure body fat percentage, your visceral fat, your muscle mass, your protein rate.
Andrew: Uh, you can do protein rate
Andrew: from people’s feet.
Jeff: Yes, that’s correct.
Andrew: Okay. And then you listed it on Amazon. Is that the first place where you got your first sales or your site?
Jeff: Well, yeah, I’ve pushed out to selling it on my, on my website first. And then he went into Amazon right after.
Andrew: What worked for you for getting customers to your own site? I’ve been finding that Shopify stores are doing better now, but truthfully two years ago, when I was interviewing entrepreneurs, they would give me their overall sales number, but hardly any of it was coming from their Shopify store. It was mostly Amazon.
Shopify was the wish a store where they wished someone would buy Amazon was where they really getting sales. You started with your own site. How did you how’d you get customers there? What was working. Okay.
Jeff: I think we really, I have a very strong marketing plan and strategy, um, on acquiring customer to the store. And that comes down to, I mean, the different channels, right? Like Facebook, Instagram, uh, influencer YouTube ads and the success of being able to scale your own store. Right. It’s truly being able to understand a customer really well, and being able to build a messaging and ads that really resonate with the customer.
Andrew: Could you be more specific? Like what, what did you do that got someone over to your site? You were buying ads. What did the ad, what did the ad say that was so effective?
Jeff: So I’ll use fit track, for example, um, when we first started along with the track, we had, you know, hypothesis of. From the research that we’ve done of what other different user journeys that people are trying to do use a smart scale. So we have people who are interested in weight management because they started a keto diet program.
Um, and they wanted to see how the keto diet, if I can get their health, their weight, um, That people who have diabetes, who just want to be able to manage, manage their health better. And they want to, they want to measure more than just weight. Cause they want to understand the health, even better, that people who go to the gym and again, understand that weight is not necessarily a all encompassing thing to really measure your body composition instead.
So we understanding all the different customer journey of people who have even quit smoking, right? When they, when you quit smoking, you start gaining weight. They, you know, wanted to have a healthier lifestyle and having something to be more, uh, having something to keep them accountable. So underpinning all of these different customer journey and what is the audit different customer pain points.
So let’s say on a keto diet, their pain point is, you know, Uh, maybe not in this, not seeing an effect like, Hey, is this my diet helping? Is it changing? My waist stays the same. They want to understand a bit more. What’s this my kid, I work in not people who are working out, I’ve hit a plateau what’s happening.
Um, so I think all of these allow us to really understand the customer’s pain point and really built messaging to craft that I think the success of have you seen ads where you’re like, you know, going through your feet or wherever that is. Being like, oh, wow. How do they know? Right. And that’s the stuff.
When you really understand your customer, you’d be able to build creative. That really resonated with us. My, which then leads to a purchase our sales after
Andrew: You know what I’ve seen that, how do you know, what do you do to understand someone so well that you can come up with an ad that touches exactly what’s bothering them. And often they do it in a video, which is hard to edit over and over.
Jeff: I think that comes through really, really good. Customer research. It has plenty of ways to do it. Right. I first started out by just combing through Amazon reviews and really diving in understanding how to pick out what people are really saying. I not thought of doing that. And then I follow through, after I have monthly calls with my customers, you know, um, understanding what ma what was the motivation that they bought it.
You know, what was some of the pain points? And if you think a skill interviewer to really pull some real questions out of people. And I think as a company grow, I think having a consumer insights team and a data analyst is a social very crucial. And that’s where we are today. And we’re able to learn a lot more about a customer today than when we started out, you know, uh, two years ago.
Andrew: All right. I’ve noticed that you’ve got other products. What’s the next product that you created?
Jeff: In terms of what the product is launching or product that we’re going to be launching.
Andrew: I think you’ve got, you’ve got a smart watch now, too. Is that the next item?
Jeff: Yeah. So we launched a smartwatch because we wanted to allow people to be able to track the daily movement. Um, how are they sleep and being able to tie that all and show them how that affects their overall health and. That’s that’s why we created the smartwatch, but we are working on a plus on a new product, which I can’t disclose at the moment, but very exciting stuff.
That’s coming out very, very soon.
Andrew: All right. I saw this at the monitor too, for example. So is the idea to just say w how go ahead. There’s a delay.
Jeff: and all of that just basically allows people to see, you know, how to be able to manage, to help better. I’m making it easy to understand actionable and sustained.
Andrew: It seems like what you’re doing is saying, what are the health products that people have right now that are already smart? Let’s create those better. And with software that gives them more insights, not just numbers, right?
Jeff: And showing them how it all connects, you know, to a full picture of the health rates.
Andrew: And so anything it’s digital, like I could imagine, uh, w what’s that thing that does the blood oxygen level that everyone’s talking about in the early days of COVID yeah, the, uh, the app. Yeah. So is that a product that you were considering that seems like along the lines of what you’re thinking.
Jeff: Yes. So we, so the blood oxygen is one of the touchpoint to allow people to understand the health better. So within our smartwatch, it also measures your SPO too. So we didn’t feel like a need to launch that. And the goal isn’t to have, you know, 200 different devices to measure health, the goal is to really make health management simple.
And how do we do that by creating. Simple product. They are able to measure all of these different items.
Andrew: Oh, look at that. I didn’t realize it was an oximeter in there in the watch
Jeff: Yeah. It measured blood oxygen and our temperature as well. And not just a heart
Andrew: temperature too.
Jeff: Yeah. Images, temperatures too.
Andrew: See that, but now that I look at it, I could see in the image on the Amazon store, blood oxygen level, um, is right there at the very top and, and temperatures leave tracking. All right. One of the things you told our producer that you’re wrestling with now is now as the business is getting bigger, how do you deal with the company culture?
What’s the challenge and how are you dealing with it?
Jeff: The company grow as rapidly as we are. We really need to be able to build processes in place. I think a lot of times we’ve seen in the past where, when we grew from 20 people to 30 people, to 60 people, to now 200 people globally, How can we build continue having that same culture, I think is setting processes in place.
You know, having the right OKR is having the right, you know, uh, management platform, having the right people team. And I think we are very lucky to have a very strong people team number one, and as well. We’re very lucky to hire everyone who had that, who really embodies our culture, which is, you know, the passion for winning customer obsession, um, trust and transparency.
Uh, and, and we’re able to keep our company culture by building a lot of processes, uh, to keep everyone, you know, in check and in place.
Andrew: Do you think this type of approach, it would work for other, other categories within Amazon with the idea of saying, we’re going to take, what’s already smart, but make it smarter and then add software so that it could make sense. Like, I could imagine a thermometer for the oven might work that way too, but nobody really needed to be that much smarter and nobody needs an updated information, but you know what I mean?
Are there other categories where that is necessary?
Jeff: I think it’s about providing more value to the user via software. And they are plenty of brands that have done that. Right? I mean, if you look at the threat model, there are companies out there that now have threat mail combined with an app to show you workouts that you can do with your threaten metal or a bike, you know, with, uh, life classes on the bike.
So there are plenty of companies out there who have taken, you know, Products hardware products, and then understanding how can we provide a better experience for our customer? How can we provide a better value for our
Andrew: What’s an what’s another example of that, of a company. Or, or where that could happen if it hasn’t yet happened
Jeff: Yeah, I’m going to use Peloton for example. Like, uh, running a bike is just a bike. And one thing that they’ve done well was being able to immerse software of that. Being able to bring live classes into the, the, the usual bike journey. Yes.
Andrew: I’m trying to think of others. I’m going into the, uh, to the Amazon store, looking at electronics and seeing what it is that can be. That hasn’t been digitized at. Somebody can do what you did to it. I do notice the cameras that happened to cameras fairly quickly, right. Wise, I think did it on a cheaper end.
They said, let’s stick with cheap cameras, add a little bit of software and make it a little bit more useful. Um,
Jeff: Even a bed, for example, a normal bed that night, if you can build some tech into it, where it measures all of these, that allows you to have a better experience, better value, because now you’re not just sleeping. You also understand. How long you’re sleeping, you know what you’re are we in this? Like, you know, what your sleep score is like?
So there’s plenty of, there’s a lot of products, you know, at the end of the day, I find you provide more value by is truly the software part of things that allows us today to create more value for better experience for the users.
Andrew: All right. I think that makes sense. Now I’m going to start looking around my house around work and trying to see what is it that, that already has intelligence that doesn’t have good software or doesn’t have any at all and could use it. And the thing that I keep going to is something that others have done, which is the water bottle.
You look at the water bottle and there’s this like need for some reason for entrepreneurs to add counters on it. I don’t, I don’t think consumers have really bought into that, but there are other products around all
Jeff: Definitely. I’m sure if you, if you look hard enough, there’s plenty of stuff around, you know, that can be modernized, you know, to get that experience, uh, for us.
Andrew: this is inspiring. What you’ve been able to do. I had no idea that there was such a big company behind this product that I saw on Amazon. And, um, I’m glad that you’re on here to talk about it. Jeff Lee fit track on everyone should go check out the store, fit, track.com or where, where are you selling?
Mostly where’s the percentage breakdown, your store or other stores.
Jeff: We sell very well on our store, which is dot com. We also sell on Amazon best buy and Macy’s as well.
Andrew: What is it? 30 to 40%? I think you said before is on your site and then best buy Amazon, et cetera, as the others.
Jeff: Uh, at Amazon would be 30% and then 5% on the artist. And most of them will be on it.
Andrew: All right. Congratulations. Thanks so much for doing this, Jeff.
Jeff: Thanks a lot, Andrew. It was a pleasure to chat with you today.
Andrew: Same here. Bye everyone. And remember this interview is sponsored by HostGator hostgator.com/mixergy and get SEMrush for free right now at SEM rush.com/mixergy by everyone.