Bootstrapped To $1 Mil In 1 Year By Selling Tires?!

How does an accident lead a founder to earn $1 million in sales within a year?

Joining me is Lou Doctor, founder of BikeTiresDirect, the leading bike tire seller in the country. You’ll hear about the accident in this interview, and how the company that accidentally spawned took over his garage and his kids’ lives.

You’ll also hear how profits from that business enabled him to buy,,, and

Lou Doctor

Lou Doctor


Lou Doctor is the E-Commerce entrepreneur behind, which began as a local bike club in Portland, OR selling its excess tires and now has 30 employees.



Full Interview Transcript

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Andrew: Hey, everyone, my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of home of the ambitious upstart. And you guys know what the mission is here, right? To bring entrepreneurs on to talk about how they built their businesses, to share their stories, so that you can pull out the ideas that apply to your business and go out there and build you company now based on them.

So how does and accident lead a founder to earn a million dollars in sales within a year? Joining me is Lou Doctor, he is the founder of, the leading bike tire seller in the country. You’ll hear about the accident that launched this business in this interview and how the company that accident spawned took over his garage and then that company took over parts of his kids’ lives. You’ll also hear about the other sites he owns including,,,, and, a lot of great generic names.

Lou, welcome to Mixergy.

Lou: Thank you very much.

Andrew: So if I go to what am I likely to find and who’s the average customer who comes to you?

Lou: Well most of the customers that come to BikeTiresDirect first of all are at least savvy enough to be able to change their own bike tire, so that’s a somewhat exclusive group of cyclist. I think our core audience is probably a road biker as opposed to a mountain biker or a commuter. I think they’re probably people that maybe the first time they go to replace the bike tire on their road bike, they’re very surprised on how, number one, how short it lasted. Bike tires on road bikes often last only last about 1,000 miles and that’s not that much riding, once you start getting into road biking. And they’re also shocked as to how expensive those tires are in the store. So they probably walk into their local bike shop and don’t realize that they’re about to spend $60, or something like that, to replace their bike tire and that was really the genesis of the business.

The same thing happened to me ten years ago. I got into road biking. I found how expensive the bike tires were. And a group of guys in my town decided to find a bike shop in Europe, even, before there was much Internet searching going on. And we found some guy in the U.K. that was willing to sell us tires at a discount and that’s how we started bringing them into the country.

Andrew: Okay. I want to come back to that story in a minute, but let’s talk about where we are today before we go and discover how we got here. How about revenues, what can you tell us about the size of revenues at, and maybe all the other businesses too?

Lou: Sure. The bike accessories business actually runs a few websites now. So what started as BikeTiresDirect also includes a site called and also a generic site called And the collection of those three did a little over $9 million in sales last year.

Andrew: Wow. And what are the other businesses? Why are they separated out?

Lou: Well we always thought that it was possible that some buyer would be interested in only one sport. Maybe a company in the bike business might not be that interested in cue sports or necessarily in golf, which is the other categories we’re involved in. But we do share some common elements of the business in terms of the software platform and the marketing efforts. So they’re separable, but we’re also trying to get synergy between them.

Andrew: So, I ask entrepreneurs all the time about their revenues. I was going to say many, but most actually reveal their revenues, some say no, which is fine. I’m wondering, as an entrepreneur yourself, what value to you get out of listening to other entrepreneurs’ revenue numbers?

Lou: Well I think that once you hear the revenue you have at least a reasonable sense for the scale of the operation. So I tend of companies as having phases. I mean, the first million dollars in some ways is the most challenging, but also a great sales guy can single-handedly sell a million dollars of just about anything. And similar to that the $1 million to $5 million dollar range, that’s probably of few people doing a good job about what they’re doing. And I think once you get into the $10, $20, $50 million range you’re starting to talk about how an organization functions rather than just one person.

Andrew: I’m actually writing down that quote that you just said about how a good sales guy can do a million dollars of virtually anything, so I can come back and ask you how a good salesman can do that.

What else do I want to know about where we are today? Oh, I know what, how much did you bring in an outside funding to run this business?

Lou: Well we funded it all ourselves. The BikeTiresDirect business, as you know, started in my garage and has essentially been self funded so we were able to reinvest what would have been profit. At the end of each we left the cash in the company and we’ve managed to build that up to a business that has over $3 million in inventory.

Andrew: Oh, wow. So I know that you had a great track record in business before this. I kind of assumed that if you didn’t take outside funding, which I know from our conversation before this interview, that at the very least you brought in a lot of money from your past businesses and invested it in this company and it sounds like you’re saying no, you did not. You just bought a few tires early on. But really, less than $5,000?

Lou: Yeah. I mean, I will say that we didn’t draw salaries out for a long time. So the effect of that was to effectively reinvest by virtue of not taking cash out of the business. But that company was essentially self finance through its own cash flow.

Andrew: Lou, this is a dream. This is the kind of interview that I seek out that’s hard to find because there aren’t a lot of success stories like yours. And then the ones that are out there are very quiet they’re not ready yet for the world to know about them because they’re worried about competition, they’re worried about other things of course. So I’m dying to dig into how you built this business. Maybe we can give people just a little background on what you did before. I’ve got the whole timeline here on my screen. But is there a way for you to condense what your experience was before this business into maybe one short answer?

Lou: Sure. So I’m an engineer by training, but I call myself a recovering engineer. So my background is electrical engineering, but my roommate from college and I started a company early on that was venture backed and we successfully grew it to about $20 million in sales, but it wasn’t really a homerun because of the amount of venture money we used. So when the company was ultimately sold it gave us a nice kind of head start, it’s allows us to buy homes and whatever, but it didn’t set us up for life.

And then I just continued to do a bunch of startups and just never had a homerun, always had singles and doubles. And I kind of feel as though some of the Silicon Valley mindset is very homerun oriented. When you take venture money those guys are looking to hit it out of the ballpark, but I think when you’re starting your own company a single or a double is perfectly acceptable and you don’t want to take risks all the time to risk the company in every quarter, basically.

Andrew: Of all of them, which is the one that did the best for you personally? Is it Locality? Is it Roster Technologies, the first company.

Lou: Yeah.

Andrew: True Vision, I think was third.

Lou: Yeah. They’ve all done well. I would probably say Arbor Advisors, starting the investment bank with my partner there, Stan, and growing that for seven or eight years. That was a point in my career where I really thought about what I enjoyed. And I enjoyed helping people get liquidity and do transactions as opposed to really necessarily operate the businesses. And had kind of an advisory investment bank, helped a lot of entrepreneurs achieve liquidity. Made a fair amount of money doing it, but also helped a lot of people in terms of exiting from businesses that they had started. Now I’m involved with Horizon Partners and Sandy, Cory, and I, Mike Firmage, enjoy doing the same thing all over again.

Andrew: Sandy was a past interviewee. Horizon Partners is how I connected with you. Can you tell people what Horizon Partners does, for those that didn’t see that interview?

Lou: Yeah. In a nutshell it a sell side M&A firm. So we help entrepreneurs sell their companies. We occasionally do companies that have venture money, but most often we try to find bootstrap companies, kind of, entrepreneur backed and controlled companies. And we found that those tend to be very successful and exciting companies and they sell well. The challenge is finding great companies, but once you have a great company, if the owner of it is willing to sell it at a fair price, you can almost always get something done for them.

Andrew: So essentially the kind of company that you’re running now is the type of business that Horizon Partners likes to partner with and sell?

Lou: Yeah. Probably a company which is less likely to be eCommerce and more likely to be a software platform or a SaaS bender, but it could be an eCommerce company and we have sold eCommerce companies.

Andrew: Why less likely to be eCommerce?

Lou: You have to grow an eCommerce company pretty large, $30, $50 million plus in revenues to allow the founder to exit with effectively enough money to retire on. ECommerce companies don’t sell good. When they’re small they typically don’t sell for a fantastic evaluation, at least in our own collection of companies where we’re shooting for $50 million or so before we start looking for a buyer.

Andrew: Is that because margins are so narrow, so tight, in eCommerce?

Lou: I think that has a lot to do with it. What you find in eCommerce, especially companies that are buying traffic through Google clicks and Bing or whatever, is that early on in the company’s life you’re spending a very high percentage of your revenues bringing customers for the first time to your business and engaging with them and doing that first transaction with them. And then over a period of years you can turn them into steady customers and they’re more profitable and there’s less expense associated with. So you see the economics of those companies improving as they get to be several years old.

Andrew: So if that does happen, why is it that eCommerce sites can’t sell for as a multiple?

Lou: That’s a good question. I think because they’re working capital intensive. I’d probably say that there’s a bit of discrimination in America against businesses that require working capital to grow. There’s a bias toward companies that are just intellectual capital based. So I do think that when people look at our company, and we buy products and we sell products and we have warehouses and people that pack boxes and stuff, often that’s not the kind of company that sells for a high premium.

Andrew: Okay. So going back to the story, you wanted to find cheaper tires online. You found them and something happened and I alluded to it in the intro. What happened?

Lou: We basically had a group of cheapskates that were buying tires from a bike shop in the U.K. And then one day we got a box of tires that were the wrong color and when I went to the post office to send them back to England the guy wanted $50 to ship the box. I said to myself, “There’s got to be a better way.” So I handed the box of tires to my 12 year old son and I said, “Nate, sell these on eBay and I have $300 tied up in the box. You can keep anything you make above that.” And that was almost ten years ago. He sold the box of ten, eventually, for $350, made $50, he was 12 years old at the time, and said, “Dad, next time you’re ordering tires, order me ten more too.” And said, “All right.’

So then 20 tires became 50, became 100, became 500, and eventually we had 18 wheelers pulling up into our driveway dropping off pallets of bicycle tires. And my two kids at the time by then were 13 and 11, they shipped 10,000 orders from the parking space in my garage, a million dollars worth of product in the first year.

Andrew: So, this sounds like such a beautiful story, I’m wondering if, well, was it just that simple or was there maybe an intention to sell this . . . well, you tell me. I see that smiling, there’s some recognition in what I’m saying.

Lou: I think there was a point at which my wife and I had a conversation about my use of child labor in doing order fulfillment and she felt like maybe we should scale the growth back a bit, it was getting a bit out of control. And as an entrepreneur that was just not something I could relate to. It’s like, “Hey, if people want to buy the product and we can buy it and we can sell it at a profit, we have to do more.’

So we eventually got to the point where my wife walked into the garage one morning at about 7:00 a.m. and my 11 year old was in tears. And when she asked him what was the problem he, in tears, said, “We’re not going to be able to ship all the orders before we have to leave for school.” And she walked into the house and said, “This has got to get out of the garage.” And so we eventually moved the inventory up to Portland, Oregon. We were in the Bay Area, in San Francisco, at the time and we moved the business up to Portland, Oregon. There was no sales tax in Oregon. We reincorporated and started doing business out of Portland.

Andrew: How soon after your son’s first eBay sales of the tires did you say, “This is a real business”?

Lou: It was probably four or five months. We did eBay for quite a while, but then we put up our first website and made out a front page. I did it myself, it was pretty bad. We used PayPal for a payment system because of our eBay connection. And that was just when Overture was getting started with, essentially, keyword buying. We started going in there buying the key words for the products that we had on the website and that was really the thing that took off.

So the thing that we’ve gotten really good at as a set of companies is this pay per click, buying, landing page design, conversion optimization, efficient fulfillment, that whole chain of people that start, I’ll call it, in the Google channel and end up wanted to buy a product.

Andrew: So was it on the second sale that you saw your son going back to eBay and bringing in money that you said, “Hey, I’ve got to get in on this. This isn’t just my son’s side interest anymore.’

Lou: Yeah. I think if you really drill down, what we there at the time was an arbitrage opportunity. We were effectively, what are known, as grey marketers. We were buying product from legitimate dealers in Europe and we became effectively an illegitimate dealer when we sold that product in the U.S. But the lesson in all of that, which is a little bit like the story, is if you can make yourself big, even if you’re not built on a firm foundation, eventually the manufacturers start to respect the business that you’re doing.

And in our case, after two or three years they started coming to us in the U.S. saying, “We know you’re sourcing your product in Europe. We really can’t control that. We’d like for you to start buying from us in the U.S.” And so in a sense, if we had gone to them at the beginning and said, “Hey, I’ve got my two kids in the garage and we want to buy a million dollars worth of your product,” they probably wouldn’t return my phone call. But by the time we were doing a few million dollars a year in business, all of a sudden we were like a target account.

So I think it was that genesis of grey marketing transitioning to legitimate marketer that gave us the start. And then I think the other element to it is, if you visit, say the BikeTiresDirect website my business partner in that was a long time friend also a classmate of mine at Rensselaer Polytechnic and he’s done all the software behind the website. And so I think it would be very difficult to be a successful eCommerce company without your own IT capability in-house. People that outsource what they think of as a commodity, you know, the shopping cart, I think are kidding themselves in terms of their ability to grow. It would be basically having a brick and mortar retail store where you don’t control your store.

Andrew: Why not? What, for example, can’t an off the shelf shopping car do that you can that influences the business so much?

Lou: Sure. I mean, we find in every vertical market that we’re in, there’s a lot of market specific customization. So in effect, in the bike tire business you put a bicycle tire in your shopping cart the website will suggest a matching tube size to go along with that tire. An off the shelf shopping cart would probably have a tough time knowing the difference between a Presta valve tube and a Schrader valve tube and the different bell plates and stuff. And so, just the ability to go in there and tweak that merchandizing platform is important.

And then I think we’re entering the world with very much, I’ll call it, dynamic pricing too. Which is to say that you send your existing customers a discount code and they get a break when they come to the site. We have a loyalty program where 10% of every purchase you make is good toward a future purchase and keeping track of all this customer account information and managing a customer loyalty program is also tough to do. You can stitch software products together to do it, but often the sites look like they’re all stitched together.

Andrew: I see. What do you do on dynamic pricing today?

Lou: We just do a lot in terms of trying to optimize the offer. Most products, basically, have a what’s called MAP restriction, Minimum Advertised Pricing restriction. For example, some manufacturers will say, “Hey, you can offer a lower price when that product gets added to the customer’s shopping cart.” Other manufacturers say, “You can show a lower price if it’s added to the shopping cart and the customer manually puts in a discount code.” And then you look at this range of manufacturers and maybe you have 300 brands and everyone has a different set of rules with regard to what you can and can’t do in the presentation of their product. And so, if you have an off the shelf cart, you’re pretty much restricted to one form of presenting those offers. Whereas, if you can control that environment you can customize it for each manufacturer’s restrictions.

Andrew: I see. All right. Part of what you’re watching here is a wrestling match in my head. Part of me wants to hear the story behind the business and another part of me says, “No, I want to know about the A/B testing that he does.” I know you do a lot of A/B testing, and I wrote down a note here to find out about the Google channel and what you’ve learned about taking a customer from a search to a sale. Let’s try to do both. I’m going to try to fit every single thing I can in today.

Lou: Yeah, sure.

Andrew: So how big did the company get in the first four months when it was just doing eBay?

Lou: On eBay I think we probably got up to maybe $5,000 a month in sales.

Andrew: Okay.

Lou: So not too big.

Andrew: And then when you launched you own website, what did that site look like?

Lou: Well that was the first so it was an URL that was available at the time. We really didn’t know much about domain names other that the fact that we wanted to find something cheap. And on that FrontPage website we probably started doing say $10,000 a month, we sort of doubled our sales as soon as we went to a website versus just the eBay sales.

Andrew: How did you get so many customers within such a short period of time of launching?

Lou: I think part of that was just where eCommerce was ten years. I mean, your online shopping options were much limited. Amazon was selling CDs and not selling bicycles tires and so you didn’t have these one-stop shops. The large brick and mortar guys hadn’t moved their inventory online and so we tended to have specialty shops and things were hard to find. And so, you had to have perseverance even as a shopper.

Andrew: So was it essentially that there was such little advertising that you put your site on and poof, $5,000 in revenue just comes in? You’re nodding, that’s it, right?

Lou: There was a lot of that, yeah. I mean, it was a bit of the right place at the right time. There is nothing like a tailwind for a business. And so, we definitely had that. I would say at the beginning we were more trying to keep up with the orders than we were trying to figure out how to grow the business. The business was basically growing on its own at that point.

Andrew: So what I remember from the numbers in the beginning of the story, you were essentially bringing in less than 10% net margins. Right? Including shipping and everything else.

Lou: On each order?

Andrew: Yeah.

Lou: Yeah. Gross margins in the business have always run around 30% and so we were spending about 10% of revenues on traffic acquisition and we would spend roughly 10% of revenues on fulfillment and customer service and technology. And then we would hopefully try to make 10%. In reality those percentages always crept up into the make 10% category. And so, I think a business like ours, I think if it’s doing between 5% and 8% EBITDA margins is probably running fairly well at the growth rate that we’re growing, 40% a year.

Andrew: Okay. So you launch a website, you double your business, is the next step to buy ads and the business grows again still?

Lou: Yeah. For us it had to do with expanding the product offering. At the beginning we had literally just one or two different kinds of tires. Now that business has over 5,000 products. And so what we found is every time we added a brand or we got access to a new product line from another manufacturer, the business just grew linearly because the search volume effectively for one tire might be limited, but add a second type and there’s a whole new group of people searching for that one. So a lot of the growth of that business just came from the offering expanding, in terms of different brands and products.

Andrew: I see. All right. So eBay gets you started, website helps you grow, adding more products, helps you grow still, then was it Overture?

Lou: Yeah. It was about the same time. As soon as we set up the website we tried to figure out this keyword concept. The search was just Yahoo back then, so it was a question of, “How do you get on Yahoo? How do you make it so people that are on Yahoo looking product can find yours?” And that’s were Overture came in and that was prior to the Yahoo acquisition of Overture.

Andrew: Okay. And so they were doing pay per click before Google, of course, ever got into the business, before others discovered it, you did. Do you remember what you were paying for a click back then?

Lou: I think probably $0.25 on average, $0.20 to $0.25.

Andrew: What would you pay today for a comparable word?

Lou: You know, ironically it’s not much different.

Andrew: Really?

Lou: Yeah. I would probably say that the PPC cost creep affects people that are a new entrant into a business much more so than people that have been around a while. Especially Google’s quality score metric and looking for your click through rates. We’re so familiar to people in that market that our click through rate are quite high so our per-click price is still in the $0.30 kind or range.

Andrew: So did you immediately take people who were coming to you from Overture to a specific product page and dealing with them separately and differently than someone who had come to your homepage or did that take you some time to learn?

Lou: We figured that out fairly quickly. I mean, actually at the beginning we tended to take people directly to a single product page. Like we would think that if someone was typing a search term like “Continental Grand Prix 4,000” that that we really all they were likely to be interested in. Later on we realized that a search results page was probably the most productive place to put them, with the product that they were looking for near the top. That in fact there was a desire to do some level of comparative shopping and your options were so limited when you landed them on a product detail page that it seemed like we were getting better results with a list of products rather than a single product, and that’s 90% of what we do today.

Andrew: Wow. That’s so counterintuitive. I would assume that they search for a specific product, you’re giving them that product, they’d be happy, and you want to eliminate all the other options. You’re saying, “No, you do want to make clear that there are other options and let them pick the one that want.’

Lou: Yes, that’s correct because I think what happens is people are, I’ll call them, navigationally challenged when they come to a brand new site. And no matter how much testing you do or how good a job you think you’ve done in helping people navigate, it’s not as good as at least serving up some products initially that are probably reasonable alternatives to the product, if they want to compare them.

Andrew: And then how do you make sure that they see the product that they searched for is right there on the page and not have it buried within the list. Even if it’s in the top it sometimes feels like it could be buried.

Lou: Yeah, we spend time just meticulously going through the ads and then when an ad group starts become poorer performing over time, we try to figure out is it a pricing problem? Is it a page results problem? There are so many variables in there, but it’s just a painful process I’d have to say.

Andrew: And you have your own internal software for managing this?

Lou: We pretty much use the Google interface and regular old people doing the job. So there are people essentially monitoring the PPC campaigns on a daily basis. We’re only on Google and Bing so the two platforms and we probably two-thirds of our business through Google and about one-third through the Bing platform.

Andrew: Have you tried anything like Facebook or any other platforms?

Lou: Yeah. We’re spending a little bit. I think it’s still early on in terms of its maturity. Some day that may be a meaningful revenue stream. I think the social commerce business is still nascent compared to the traditional eCommerce, but I would actually that mobile commerce seems to be more promising than social commerce if we were to block them into categories. We get a lot more orders from iPhones off of these websites than I ever would have imagined we would have, considering the small screen size.

Andrew: Wow. Actually, you know what? That’s true in my life too. I’ve bought many things on my iPhone even on web pages that weren’t customized for my phone and I don’t think I’ve bought anything off of a social site yet.

Lou: Right, right. So that’s similar to what we’re seeing. I mean, I’ve been taking a 100 plus orders a month off of iPhones and we’re now spending some resources to try to make that a better interface and more customized to the small screen.

Andrew: You mentioned that you had a partner and I didn’t ask how you acquired this partner.

Lou: So we were roommates in college in engineering school and he was always the more technical one of the two of us. I was kind of the business guy and he was essentially the technology guy. And we worked together for many years. He eventually ended up at Microsoft. I ended up doing Arbor Advisors. He was retiring from Microsoft and I convinced him to become a partner in the bike business and run it. So he’s been the general manager. In each one of these companies I’ve got a general manager and someone who’s responsible effectively for the website and the product decisions and the buying. I don’t know enough about each vertical market anymore to make those decisions.

Andrew: Did he come into the business while you were still building it in your home?

Lou: It was already in Portland. He was living in Seattle so it was a bit of an easier commute for him than it was for us from the Bay Area.

Andrew: So up until that point, what technology were you built on?

Lou: Literally FrontPage.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Lou: Yeah.

Andrew: And the sales were coming in how? Did FrontPage used to have a sales engine?

Lou: We had, basically, the PayPal buy button. So you would do all of your merchant processing effectively through PayPal.

Andrew: And how did switching from that to your own system impact sales?

Lou: It was of course better. We eventually moved away from PayPal and went to a regular, we actually had a shopping cart called Cart32 for a while, which was an off the shelf PC shopping cart. And we moved from the PayPal buy button to the Cart32 platform and then when Jay took over the business he implemented a custom shopping cart.

Andrew: Okay. And I noticed earlier that there were a lot of generic names in your portfolio, like and Why did you decide to go after those names?

Lou: By accident. I was involved in the investment banking side, helping people sell companies and occasionally I would get involved in the sale of a high profile domain name. So I helped sell and, and a bunch of other names. And then the bike business was always very busy in the summer but very slow in the winter, so I started looking at the possibility of finding a sport that was busy in the winter and slow in the summer to keep the warehouse a level operation. I met a guy who owned, his name’s Nick Alexander, he owned a chain of pool halls in Texas and convinced him to put up an eCommerce site on it by selling me the name, but giving him and equity interest in the business. And that formula has been replicated.

I essentially wanted to find something even bigger than cue sports and then I found the guy that owned, a guy in New Jersey, and he also didn’t have a website on it and I explained my story about how I’d built these successful eCommerce companies and ‘golf clubs’ as a search term is probably the largest single eCommerce category, at least in sporting goods, it’s multibillion dollar market even just in America. And so wrestling the domain name from him for a deal and giving him some equity and investing money in the company to grow the business is how we got into golf.

Andrew: So, Sandy told me a little bit about that story, about the wrestling. I don’t know what’s private and what’s not so I’ll leave it to you. Can you tell me about it? I see it sounds like nothing’s private.

Lou: Yeah. Well I would say on that name and particular the bid ask spread was quite large. He felt like the name was a seven figure plus name and felt that without a website on it, it was far less valuable than that. And we kind of brain stormed this idea, which I think I’m quite proud of which was that I came to an agreement with him to lease the name from him for five years with an option to buy it at the end of the fifth year for his original asking price, but then the willingness on his part to finance that purchase for three more years after that. So I am basically making payments now to him as though I was renting a store from him, effectively, the monthly lease payments are not that prohibitive. I have to build the company up to be successful enough to make the purchase at the end five years or finance it through him for three more years after that. So it will have worked out well for him. He got the value that he was asking for, for the name. He also has some additional equity upside in the company so that as kind of a kicker for the risk he’s taken, he will benefit if we decide to sell the company before the five years is up.

Andrew: I see. And then what’s the risk to you that you build this up, but not quite big enough and then he ends up taking the business?

Lou: Yeah. That’s a risk I’m aware of. I mean, I also own Golfclubs and and an alternative is basically launch those sites during the five year period and maybe have to give up one of the three names, but still have a company at the end of it. And at this point the golf business is off to a roaring start. We were open for only about five months last of last year, we did about a half a million in sales and we practically did that in April in just one month alone. So at this point it’s probably going to do close to $5 million in sales this year and I think it’s going to be a huge success.

Andrew: How? I understand being at the right place at the right time, at the birth of the eCommerce boom. And I see how that would give you an advantage and let you grow so quickly, but Golfclubs is entering a market that’s already had lots of entrants. It’s not discovering pay for click before its competitors are discovering it. What happens?

Lou: Well, I think in that one, first of all being in Oregon and not having a nexus in California is a huge advantage. So California customers could buy from Golfsmith or Golf Warehouse online, but they still have to pay California sales tax, because all of the big box chains have a footprint in virtually every state. So to start with, we ship every club for free, we don’t collect sales tax. So if you’re buying a $300 set of irons or something like that, so you’ve got $30 worth of sales tax, more or less, off the top, you’ve got free shipping, you’ve got MAP pricing and maybe if you hunt around on the Internet you can find a discount code that saves you even more. So I would say, on average, we’re probably saving people about 15% to 20% over walking into a store and buying the same product.

Andrew: Then how would people discover it?

Lou: Again, pay per click search.

Andrew: It’s just pay per click and search?

Lou: Yeah. So if you start at the Google Channel, let’s call it. And again, I draw this distinction because I think of the world as the eBay Channel, the Google Channel, the Amazon Channel. It really depends on where you start looking for something and if you start on Google then I like to think we have a good chance of putting our offering in front of you and hopefully converting you into a customer.

Andrew: I’m going to come back. I’m writing notes on what to ask you about when we get to the section where I ask you for practical how-to tips. I’m going to ask you about SEO and also SEM, how to do it right.

All right. Let’s go back and fill in the gaps here. You said earlier that the first million is the most challenging. Do you remember the day when you hit that first million in sales and crossed that most challenging mark?

Lou: I think that we remember the day we shipped our 10,000th order and we probably didn’t have detail an accounting at the time to know whether in fact that was a million in sales, but because we so simple we just had our order numbers incrementing by ones. So we kind of saw it like 9,999 and it was like boom, like that’s 10,000 orders. And that came so quickly, I think we had a pretty good sense that we had crossed the million dollar mark as well.

Andrew: What was the celebration like or what did it feel like at home?

Lou: I think it was just a typical day of trying to get the shipments out. We were having a lot of fun I will say. We became the largest shipper in our town. The post office used to let us bring the express mail bags onto the truck after the post office had closed. And my boys got a first-hand experience in the back of the post office, like sorting stuff by state and loading up the truck, and saying goodbye to the driver every night as he drove off the 18 wheeler. So it was just a great experience. And then because we were sourcing product from Europe we got to take the family to Paris to see Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France 5, 6, and 7, three years in a row, and meet our distributors.

And I’ll say one last thing about that, is the first time we met our partners in Europe that very first year, we had bought a million plus from them, but had never actually talked to them, it was all done via email and credit cards. So they had no idea that they were talking to an 11 year old and a 13 year old at the time. And when we finally met them in the hotel lobby, they were shocked to find that they were basically doing business with kids. And at the end of each meeting, there were two separate meetings, both of them said, ‘America’s a great country.’ And so, I think people were really in awe that the kids and a part-time dad helping out could grow a business that fast.

Andrew: You know, Lou, I fell in popular culture the idea of bringing kids into business is considered a problem. You’re supposed to keep work away from the family, keep work away from kids, what are the advantages of having your kids be in business that early on and keeping them in the business they way you had?

Lou: I think it’s helped them a great deal.

Andrew: How?

Lou: Well, I guess first of all if you move kids from another country they pick up a language incredibly fast, their minds are like a sponge and I feel as though business is a language of its own. You’re talking about things like gross margin, and exchange rates, and markups and markdowns, and pay per click fees and stuff. So their exposure to that at such an early age, I think helped them. They’re both economics majors in college. My oldest son, the one that was really 12 at the time is now 22. He’s graduating Claremont McKenna College this weekend. He’s got a job working at Bill Gates Investments up in Seattle as an analyst and his career in finance is launched and I’d like to think that part of that was shipping that first bicycle tire that he bought for $30 and sold it for $35.

Andrew: I bet. This is Nate?

Lou: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Oh, cool. You also said earlier that a good sales guy can do a million dollars anywhere or in anything. How?

Lou: Well I think in my own experience a lot business, maybe with the exception of eCommerce at its outset, is the people to people business and I just feel as though eCommerce is different because it’s really your supplier relationships that represent that people to people connection. Your customers are often an anonymous relationship. If everything goes well they never have to call you. They find what they want on the website, they buy it, they’re happy with it, they send you a nice email thanking you. But I think that the business to business relationships and just the people and the trust building, I think a charismatic sales guy can do a tremendous job selling a product that may not be as good as his competitor’s product. I think people want to do business with people they like.

Andrew: I see. And are you that kind of a person?

Lou: I never thought I was. I probably developed a little bit more into it. I think as a business person, I try very hard to give everyone I do business with a fair deal and effectively exceeding their expectations for the transaction. I feel as though a lot of our growth, well certainly in investment banking it’s very much a trust based business. I mean, no one is going to trust with their company unless they feel confident that you’re going to do what you said you were going to do and give them a good outcome. And I think even in eCommerce manufacturers are trusting you to be a well behaved supplier in the market, and they’re trusting you to pay your bills on time. And it takes some amount of experience to really live up to that. And then I think when you exceed their expectation, as an example, if you pay your bills early you’re going to get the first product that they can ship. Like, a guy that’s behind paying his bills is not going to get product that he needs if it’s a hot product.

Andrew: What else? Give me some other tactics. I understand paying early helps. How about another tactic, maybe even one on charisma, is there a way to be charismatic on purpose?

Lou: Oh, maybe. That’s probably not my strong suit. I’d probably say, with regards to these eCommerce companies, I think the premiere domain names that we brought to the table got people to do business with us. Were as in the past, like for example in golf, many of the manufacturers initially said we’re not opening up anymore Internet resellers for our product. And then they went to the website, they saw, “Well, How could we not be there?” And then we were able to get access to those products. Were as, I think, we had been we would have had a much tougher time. So I think in that case the credibility came kind of came with the name.

I also feel like that’s important to consumers. The golf business has a lot of counterfeit product flooding around. The Chinese are counterfeiting every top selling golf club and the consumer goes to a website and doesn’t really know if they’re buying a counterfeit product or a real product so they have tended to go to brands that they felt that they could trust, Golf Warehouse, Golf Galaxy, something that’s already in their town, and so we’ve had to break into that.

Andrew: The Google Channel, that’ the next thing I wanted to talk about. Let’s talk about how a stranger becomes a customer and see if you can teach us some of the salesmanship that’s involved in every part of the process. So, I as customer might be looking for a specific pair of tires on Google, I do a search. Take me through that story. What happens when I search? What do I see? What do I search for?

Lou: Sure. Sure. Well let’s use the tire example. So we’ll search for a Continental Grand Prix 4,000 on Google or even bicycle tires on Google and you’ll end up seeing BikeTiresDirect pretty prominently placed. We like to defend the number one position for a search term. There are guys that realize they can make a lot more money at position four or five, just because the people by the time they get to number four of five are kind of exhausted and ready to buy. But I feel as though if we start at number one, we can defend number one, the next time you go looking for something we’re probably a company that you’re going to give a try to.

Andrew: And when you say number one, do you mean SEM or SEO?

Lou: Well, I wish I could control my SEO position, but since we decided that that’s not something we could ever control, we’re mostly focused on SEM position. So as an example, you may have to bid $0.80 for a click on Callaway driver to be number one and you might only have to bid $0.40 to be number two or number three and therefore the guy that’s number two or number three may be making more money on every sale, but they’re not getting as much volume, they’re not getting as much brand exposure. So in our case we want to have a fewer number on terms that we can defend the number one position on.

Andrew: What does it mean to defend the number one position? Obviously I understand that it means you want to stay number one, but how do you stay number one? What do you do to defend it?

Lou: Well, honestly, you have to figure out how to make money as number one. So the challenge really is, if you take a high traffic search term, let’s say “pool tables.” All right, you search for pool tables on Google, we’re number one. So that click, let’s say, cost me $1.00, right? I’ve got to monetize that visitor to generate more than $1.00 of gross margin in order to recover that $1.00 or otherwise the system doesn’t work. So you need to spend a lot of time looking at how people interact with the site coming off of a high volume search term and make sure that you’ve done enough testing to make that interaction profitable.

Andrew: And when you buy the ads on Google would you say, ‘I’m willing to spend, ‘ and come up with a really big number and trust that Google is going to take just the right amount in order to keep you at number one?

Lou: Yeah. I mean, I will say for all of the issues that I have with Google, I don’t distrust their algorithm when it come to . . . you know, I may bid $1.00 for a search term and I’m often charged $0.40 for that same click. So I don’t think they’re gouging by marking up the click to my maximum bid price. I don’t see a pattern of that. I do feel like the qualities metrics and, what I’ll call, a discrimination against new entrants in a market is difficult. They like a stable environment for a given search term. They don’t like people to bounce around. So time really works to your favor if you can creep up there and become number one, defend number one. I think it gives you, in some ways, an unfair advantage against other people that want to try to unseat you.

Andrew: I see, okay. So having bought for an extended period of time gives you an advantage, not necessarily being in business for an extended period of time is what you’re saying, or both?

Lou: Right, right. I think they kind of go hand in hand, but I also feel like there are factors where I feel like Google, on the SEO front as well, values and maybe places a disproportionate value on people finding what they’re looking for. So if you click on a free search listing and you don’t go back to Google, you seem satisfied that you found what you were looking for, I think, that website gets some brownie points. I think when you have a list of results and people are constantly going from one result to a next result, to a next result, I think that works against those websites in terms of having served up results that you were looking for.

Andrew: So the process that you told me about earlier, where people come to a page that doesn’t have one offer, but has a list of offers, that encourages an extra click. Do you think that extra click gives you a little bit more credibility with Google because the users not returning right back to Google, he’s more likely to maybe type in his search term again and do another search?

Lou: That’s a good question. I never really thought about it that way, but it’s possible that that’s helping reduce our bounce rate effectively. So I think to the extent that Google may think of that as a bounce rate problem, that fact that we land on search results pages most often and not on product detail pages may result in a lower bounce rate for that ad.

Andrew: So defending first place doesn’t mean having a person who watches those numbers every day and make sure that you’re bidding the right amount. It just means trusting Google’s system, but paying enough that you become first.

Lou: That’s correct, yes.

Andrew: So then the next step is the text on the ad. What do you do differently from the rest of the world?

Lou: Well, I think that what we do is constantly change and are always testing other alternatives. We try not to get too complacent if an ad’s been running for a long time we’ll often create a second ad to run side by side with it and see if we can’t beat the performance of the existing ad with something new. Occasionally we’ll stumble on something that is performing so much better than what had been there before, we’ll be tempted to go and change a whole bunch of ads over that same kind of copy. But then, ironically, I found that that doesn’t usually work. I think small slow changes with your Google campaign is the best approach rather than wholesale changes.

Andrew: Okay. Are there any tips that you give us, for example I think Google encourages people to put the keyword that the users search for within your ad so that the user feels that the ad is relevant to the search, does that work for you? Are there other tips that work for you?

Lou: We do tend to do that. I do think that you’re trying to, even starting at the ad, present what I’ll call a consistent message. So if you refer to what you’re running right now as a weekend sale then when they land on the website they should see a banner that says, “Weekend Sale.” They shouldn’t see, “Memorial Day Sale.” So I think this whole idea of consistent terminology, you’re building a relationship with someone even before they click on your ad from Google, and trust is an important part of that relationship in terms of, in some sense, getting what you’re expecting to see. And I do think there are a lot of companies that miss the boat on that. A lot of times I’ll click on a Google ad, because I’m legitimately looking for a product, I’m not just fishing on ads. And I’ll just say, ‘Like what were they thinking to land me on this page?’ I mean, it’s so completely irrelevant for what I was looking for. So I think there a billions of dollars wasted on Google, for sure, with people that don’t think much about the landing pages that they’re sending people to.

Andrew: It’s interesting, my website was up and down for a couple of weeks and this listener, Bob Hiller, came in and helped me stabilize the site and he and I have been chatting a lot and he keeps sending me links to Google ads that link to web pages that are just the homepage. And the homepage is so hard to figure out and it’s not at all connected to the ad and he goes, “Look what people are missing and they don’t even know the basics,” and he’s saying, “Andrew, you keep trying to boil the ocean with your interviews and understand every single thing. If you could explain to people that this dopey thing is a mistake that they could easily correct, you’ve done a lot.” So thanks, Bob, for helping guide this interview if you’re listening to this one.

So that’s one thing. Another thing that I’ve heard you say is, “Weekend Sale.” Do you do that a lot? How do you do sales or how do you do . . . well, talk to me about that, I’m trying to phrase the right question, but it sounds like you understand what I trying to do.

Lou: What we do, like for example in the pool tables business on, those are all house branded products so we have no MAP restrictions. We can literally sell any product for any price at any time. So that gives us unrestricted flexibility. What we found in the case of a pool table, it’s an average ticket price of about $2,000 so you’re probably not going to buy the first time you land up on the site. So having an offer that is too tight on time is actually a negative. If you said, “24 hour sale on pool tables,” the number of people that would click on that ad and then reach for their credit card within 24 hours is small. But if you have an ad going for “Big Memorial Day Sale” and then you basically present that consistently for a couple of weeks, you find that that repeat visitor pattern works to your advantage. They see the sale, the sale’s still on, they know when it expires, and we tend to see a big spike in sales around the expiration of the offer, and then we see another spike the next day after it’s expired with people calling up and saying, “Oh, I really wanted to buy yesterday. Can I still get that price?” So we never start a new offer right when an old one expires because we don’t want to create the reputation of someone that always has a deal going on. So we typically wait a couple of days and then launch a new offer after that.

Andrew: And do you make your sales topical or seasonal all the time to relate to what people are thinking about?

Lou: Yeah, we try to do that. We try to shift the Google ad copy as well. So if it’s a Mother’s Day sale or a Father’s Day sale or something like that, we actually find the click through rates when you have those topical Google ads copy is great. So if it’s the Tour de France for the bike business, we’ll talk about the “Tour de France Sale” or something. So we tend to be a little bit liberal about our use of terms. If Google will let us put it in the copy we’ll stick it in the copy. And since these are really more like transient ads, there usually down by the time somebody might get upset about them.

Andrew: What do you mean? Where do you walk the line? What’s an example of the time you’ve walked the line?

Lou: There’s a grey area right now about using companies’ names and stuff and how bidding on a competitor’s names and that sort of thing.

Andrew: Oh, I see. So Tour de France might be an issue with the tour.

Lou: Yes. Like technically you might not supposed to be putting it in ad copy, but if you put it in your ad copy when someone’s searching for bicycle tires you’re probably pretty safe. If you put it in your ad copy when they’re searching for Tour de France you’re probably not very safe.

Andrew: I see. Okay. This is so fricking interesting, I love this. One of the reasons why I took this line of questioning with you is because I heard just a little bit of this on the Frank Peter show that you did. I said, “Oh, I love this”‘ You were even talking about the button colors influencing sales, 10% to 20% I think you said. Do you have an example of that?

Lou: I mean, It’s fairly dramatic. We even started with this idea, I read a article about trust and the checkout page and saying how a lot of people are uncertain when they’re reaching for their credit card and typing it in. And we did different test, we did “checkout” as the button and then we went to “secure checkout” and that improved conversion, and then we went to a little lock and said, you know with the lock, ‘secure checkout’ and that one is even better. We got to the credit card field and we always just had Visa, Master Card, American Express, logos and those converted pretty well. And then we added a trust logo. My programming guy said, “You’re out of you mind. That’s not going to have any effect whatsoever.” And it had a noticeable and improved effect on the number of people willing to type their credit card into that field.

And so I feel like you’re never done testing. You just have to keep running the test. At any given time we’re running dozens of concurrent tests and their all based on people’s hunches like, “Hey, what would happen if we make this bolder or we make this bigger?” And so I think you’ll end up having to something of a statistician to run an eCommerce site because you have to be able to weed out the relevant and the irrelevant results from these test and how big is the sample size and can we really be confident in it. So there’s a lot to it. There’s a lot more than people think behind websites.

Andrew: Lou, I love this. I know that to most of the world this must be the most boring conversation ever. To me, and I know to my audience, this is like watching “American Idol,” only ten times more exciting to the average “American Idol” fan.

So I see the A/B testing and the influence of it. What software do you use for that? Is this internal or you using something like Visual Website Optimizer?

Lou: No, it is internal. So we developed our own platform and again, that’s why I feel that’s, in some sense, our secret sauce. I don’t think we could run these companies as successfully without a really great software group.

Andrew: Okay. So we’ve talked about we the person sees when he types a search into Google, what they click on, they end up on the page that ties back into what they said, we have a sense of what they see on the page, anything else on the page that you can tell us? It’s a list of items not just one?

Lou: We do try to get at least one, Why buy from blah blah blah on every landing page. So we like to have an offer, whatever the current deal is. You know, “15% off components, tires and tubes special this week.” And we also like to have several places where we identify, like, “Why do business with these guys?” I feel like a lot of people, that’s the question they have is, “I’ve never hear of them before. Why should I want to do business with them?” And explaining things like free shipping and no sales tax and the 100% satisfaction guarantee, and thousands of happy customers, and that sort of thing, are all confidence building tactics.

Andrew: When you say, “Why do business with BikeTireDirect,” for example, is the answer to that in one block like a question very clearly laid out the way the person might think of it and then and answer or are you talking about throughout the page you look to answer those questions that they ask?

Lou: We typically pull it out as a section of bullets and we let people click on it and get a more expanded answer to all those questions. So it’s kind of our version of “About Us.” I mean, we have “About Us,” but think our bigger question is, “Why buy from us?”

Andrew: I see.

Lou: And that’s the question we try to answer.

Andrew: Why buy from us? There is a sale or whatever the actual thing that they came in for, there is a list of other options on the page, and you get calling that page a search result page I think. Does that mean that there’s a search bar on there too?

Lou: Yeah. There tend to be, like filters essentially. So very often you can display that by brand, or by price, or by discount level, and that sort of thing. So you’re giving the user some controls that are hopefully obvious enough. I feel like if you can just engage them to start working with your website you can very often turn them into a customer. Because most websites are so bad and the bar is so low that when people come to a site that has fast load times and good imagery, we do a lot of our own digital photography. Virtually every product shot that we’ve got on every website was shot by our own group. So just the difference and being able to see the way the product is represented removes uncertainty. People want to make sure, ‘Is this really the product I wanted? Is that color right?’ So we pay a lot of attention to those things.

Andrew: Okay. When is said, “Is there a search bar?” You redirected me and you said, “No, we let them customize the results.” The reason that you want that is because you want them to hit a slider or a drop down menu and do something to make them say, “Yes, I’m on this site and I’m interacting.”

Lou: Right, and more importantly that interaction served up the results I was expecting.

Andrew: Gotcha.

Lou: So you spend a lot of time saying, “Okay. Well, sorting the products from Z to A or A to Z, or by price, or whatever, does that give you the results you were expecting?” So if you get those results then you start building up trust. It’s almost like when you walk into a store and ask a question. If you ask a question and get an answer that is kind of consistent, more or less, with what you expected and is an informed answer then you say to yourself, “These guys most really know their product and I want to stay in this store.”

Andrew: All right. I think I’ve got a sense of, now, the order process. What happens afterwards? How do you make sure that if you’ve paid so much money and so much time to bring the person to the site and finally get them to buy, how do you ensure that come back or how do you encourage them to come back?

Lou: Yeah. So we’ve done pretty good at email marketing so most of the sites send out an email every week. We tend to rotate the offers around, so we’ll put a category of products on special or a seasonal or a topical special. We like to keep people from unsubscribing to the list because we feel as though it’s “out of sight out of mind” and if we spam them with offers too often or the offers aren’t good enough then they’ll typical just stick them in a junk file or unsubscribe. So depending on the business, we’ll sometimes give them a discount code that’s site wide. Sometimes we’ll give them an offer on categories and sometimes we’ll have specific products that are marked down that time of the month. So we try to make it somewhat interesting in terms of what the next email is going to hold for them, it’s never like the same thing over and over again. So that way we’re trying to appeal to people’s interest and not just bore them by pounding on them with the same email or the same products all the time.

Andrew: Is it about exclusive deals also or just highlighting the deals that are available?

Lou: It’s deals that you could click through from the email, but may not be conspicuously placed on the website. So there is a degree of like a private communication going on. We don’t usually consider the emails to be part of public advertising, so we feel often, since we’re talking to existing customers, that we can price a product under the MAP price, but we usually check with the manufacturer first and say, “Hey, we have too many of these, we’re going to put it on special. Do you want them back or do you want us to blow it out?”

Andrew: I see. Anything that you learned about email, about doing email right, beyond this? Is there like putting a logo on the email that increased sales or something like that?

Lou: Yeah. I think we’re like only half way up the curve on email. I like to think that on PPC we’re pretty far up that curve. I think on email we’ve gotten really good at it, but I think we’re continuing to learn and improve. And I put email in a category like traditional media. Like we went a long time and never put anything in snail to any customer at any time then finally when we said, “Hey, let’s do a postcard drop to people that haven’t done business with us for two years and see what happens.” And we had a phenomenal return from that mailing, much better than any other program we had had in the past. So I don’t think you want to dismiss more traditional forms of advertising, but I don’t think you want to necessarily rely on them compared to the more modern forms.

Andrew: I love the testing you guys do, all the time testing everything. Discount codes, you mention that a lot. You said, “And if you happen to online and search for a discount code you might end up with a price that’s further reduced.” Do you intentionally seed the discount sites with codes? Tell me about how that works, I don’t know anything about it.

Lou: Yeah. Well we’ve been through the whole gamut on affiliate market so I put this in the broad category of affiliate marketing. I mean, the vast majority of coupons sites get most of their income from affiliate relationships with people where their being sent those offers by the sites and they post them on their site in turn. We’ve actually come around full circle on it to the point where we said, “Look, affiliate marketing is paying people most of the time for your own traffic. People are already looking for your product or your brand. They land up on a coupon site because that guy has good SEO results for your name because his site is so well trafficked and then you’re paying them 30% of the amount that you gave as an offer to the customer.”

And so we concluded that we would rather just seed the sites ourselves with discount codes so recently did pull out of LinkShare, we were in there for several years, and made a decision to just do that ourselves and we’ve had amazing results, mostly RetailMeNot. So we post discount codes on RetailMeNot , people find them, they use them. I think we haven’t done enough testing to know for sure whether that’s better or worse than not doing it, but we know it’s popular. So we know a lot of people are looking for discount codes before they make a purchase.

Andrew: I see. So you have one person who goes to RetailMeNot and a few other coupon sites and just types in the coupon codes that you guys have that are specifically tracked to those sites and you know that people are going to come to those sites just before they buy.

Lou: We do, yeah. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think that it’s almost like this whole concept of dynamic pricing. I mean, people have price sensitivities. So one person will be eating in a restaurant using a Groupon to pay for it, another person could be ordering off the menu, another person is sitting at the bar at happy hour paying the happy hour menu. All three people are getting what they wanted. The restaurant is happy because it served all three levels of price sensitivity, in terms of the customer. So I view it as our happy hour menu, quite frankly.

Andrew: And the way that this business works is it’s usually an affiliate program that these discount sites go to. They get both the code that gives their users a discount and they get a commission on the discount that they’ve promoted. That’s a pretty good business to be in.

Lou: Yeah, that’s right. So I think the companies that have set themselves up to do that, those large coupon sites, have made a huge amount of money through the years and continue to make a lot of money.

Andrew: I’ve got to do an interview with one of them, Lou.

Lou: But I think as a brand, as an eCommerce vendor we’ve sort of seen the errors of you ways and we don’t really think paying those commissions makes sense anymore.

Andrew: One of the first questions I asked you is, “What’s your revenue?” And you revealed it. And then I asked you about buttons, and SEO, and text, and you revealed it all. I understand what I get from all this. I know my audience gets to get a lot from this. What’s in it for you for sharing so much with us?

Lou: Well first of all I welcome anybody who wants to enter any of these businesses. It’s not easy.

Andrew: Yeah. I know that we haven’t given people the tool kit to go and compete against Lou Doctor.

Lou: But I will say frankly, I mean, I’ve had inbound calls from people that have seen interviews and said, “Hey, let’s do business together,” or, “I want to talk to you about this,” or, “Would you be interested in this domain name?” So frankly I think there is something of a cookbook to this, but it’s more like the “Julia Childs Art of French Cooking” cookbook than necessarily like a Better Homes and Gardens. It’s not easy. I’ve spent millions of my own dollars growing these companies and I’m very happy with the trajectory that they’re on. I think I mentioned we’ve done about $11 million last year through all three of those companies. We’re looking at $20 to $22 million this year and I’m pretty confident about $30 million next year. I mean, they’re all on a very steep growth trajectory, but at the same time I’m not launching a fourth or a fifth one right now because they require a lot of tender loving care. You can’t just start it and walk away from it, you really have to work it every day.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m hearing that. There’s like little details that you can pay attention to. To me, I’m hearing the exciting part about how you send out postcards and business grows. I’m not hearing about the 30 other ideas that you tested, that are little tweaks that didn’t pan out.

Lou: That’s right.

Andrew: Before I thank you let me thank Sandy from Horizon Partners. What’s happening is I’m doing these interviews over and over, people are starting to understand the kind of guest that I’m looking for. And without them listening in and saying, “Andrew, I’m going to introduce you to Lou Doctor,” there’s no way I would know about Lou Doctor or I’d say, I was going to say, “Half the guests here,” I’m just saying 90% of the guests I wouldn’t have know about, I wouldn’t have been able to land, I wouldn’t have called directly, if not for someone like Sandy who was a past guest making the introduction. Just wouldn’t have happened. So Sandy, thank you.

And Lou Doctor, thanks for doing this interview. It’s great to meet you .

Lou: You’re very welcome. Thank you.

Andrew: And thank you all for watching. I’m Andrew. Bye.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.