Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs for an audience of entrepreneurs. I’m incredibly excited about today’s guest and I have a sense that he’s incredibly nervous about, uh, today’s interview, but Tyler Williams is a listener.
Who created something that I just think I love your business, the business called motion array. Do you have a quick one sentence description of it? We went through five different versions that I had here before the interview.
Tyler: Yeah. So towards the end, um, before we sold it, it was, we were calling it the all-in-one video makers platform. So. You know, uh, anything that people needed to make a video. We had it on the site.
Andrew: Not the video editing software itself, but just about everything that you would need as a video maker to put into your video software, right.
Tyler: Yeah. Correct.
Andrew: We’re talking about photos, video stock V I’m jumping in. Cause I get excited about your business. Maybe I should shut up, but I’ll tell you it’s. You have stock video, stock photos, you have audio, you have, uh, uh, after effects, which I didn’t know before I did Mixergy what the, what that is.
But every time you see a beautiful intro to somebodies video where it’s like their names spinning and stuff coming out, it’s not that person creating it. It’s not even their editor creating it. They’re often using a template and then putting their content on that. Right. That’s what’s that software called?
Tyler: Yep. Yeah. So after effects, templates and sound effects, we tried to have everything that, um, Someone making a video with
Andrew: And he does it on a monthly subscription, built up the business, sold the business for how much
Tyler: 65 million.
Andrew: for a guy who comes from humble background, who is not somebody who is like, you’re more of a creative from what I sense than an entrepreneur. Am I right?
Tyler: Yeah, I think so.
Andrew: That’s gotta feel great. We’re going to find out how he did it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first is unbalanced. So that wants you to know that if you’re curious about my style, how I get people to talk and want to know a little bit about how I learned to do it, they paid me to write a guide about it, and then they’re giving it away for free on a page called well, here’s a URL unbounced.com/mixergy unbounced.com/mixergy.
They’re not even collecting email addresses. They just wanted to get that out there. And to let you know that. And bounces around if you want to create quick landing pages, like the one that they use and by HostGator, which I’ll talk about later, Tyler, let’s, let’s just jump to the end. What did you do that to reward yourself for the years of hard work that we’re about to find out about?
What’s the one thing or two things that you got for yourself after the sale?
Tyler: Yeah, so. Um, I bought a Ferrari, uh, I actually bought that prior to the sale, um, because I, I anticipated it going through. and then my wife and I bought another house, uh, that we’re currently renovating.
Andrew: What’s special about the house.
Tyler: um, it’s a cool old house. Um, it’s actually. It’s a historic home here in Atlanta and it was, uh, the home of EISA Candler’s son.
And EISA Candler was the Coke. Uh, the guy who started Coca-Cola, he didn’t really start it, but he was the one that kind of grew it to what it is. Um, and so it was his son’s house. And so it has roots here in Atlanta. So I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool.
Andrew: Why? Why does that move you? Is he an inspiration to you? Or is it that you like old architecture?
Tyler: I think it has more to do with the old architecture. Yeah. And the yard is it’s a really big yard and, you know, with it kind of, I don’t want to date the interview, but during the pandemic, you know, a larger yard, it’s nice.
Andrew: So helpful. We have not used our yard nearly as much before the pandemic, as we did after the pandemic it’s, uh, and in San Francisco, it’s just a treasure to be able to go into a backyard with two kids. You didn’t come from a place where you had this kind of, um, possibility. What was life like growing up for you?
Tyler: yeah. Um, life was pretty rough. Um, yeah, I had a tumultuous childhood for sure. Um, there was lots of, kind of. Well, I should just say, you know, my father was an addict. Uh, typically he, he preferred alcohol, of course. Um, but because of that, you know, there was a lot of moving back and forth between, you know, homes.
He would get a job and then lose a job and, you know, so it was kind of back and forth between houses and, you know, my parents divorced, um, Yeah. And then we stayed with my mom single mom, and that was pretty hard just living on her salary.
Andrew: What’s one thing that you saw other people do or get that you dead stung for you because you didn’t have it, or what’s one thing you felt you were missing.
Tyler: that I wanted really more than just kind of stability in the house,
Andrew: Uh, got it.
Tyler: And to not, not be on edge all the time.
Andrew: You, you started out creating for other platforms. What were you creating?
Tyler: After my daughter was born, um, my wife wanted to stay home and we couldn’t afford it. So I was trying to make extra money. Um, and at the motion graphics studio I was working at, uh, they had bought some stock footage and stock animations, and I was like, Hey, I can make that stuff. So, yeah. I made some stock animations and uploaded them to a site called pond five.
Um, and you know, I just happened to get a sale and it was very, um, pretty addictive for me to, to get the online sales. Um, and so I started doing that for awhile and then I learned,
Andrew: mean by stock animation? What were you creating?
Tyler: it’s stock video, but it’s just, pre-made animations. So you can’t really manipulate them or add text or anything like that. It’s not like a template, it’s just an animation. So, you know, like a good example is kind of some that you see of the earth spinning and, you know, kind of the sun in the background with like a nice lens flare, that kind of a thing.
Andrew: got it. You know what? This is something that I, I didn’t know until I went down a rabbit hole on YouTube. A lot of times when someone wants to set the scene, they might show their city from high above, but they’re not flying a drone to get that shot. They’re going onto your site, motion, array, or site like yours.
They’re just buying it and putting it in. Right. Which is that’s the audience doesn’t need them to shoot that, that shot of their city. They just want to know where are we located? And that one second video helps tell that. And it’s worth to just go to a site like yours to get it. All right. So I understand, I got that for video.
I didn’t realize that also existed for animation. You are sitting there in your spare time, cranking it out, putting it up on this other platform. You started getting sales, you started getting addicted to, and then take me through how that led you to say, I think I could create my own, my own platform.
Tyler: So. After the stock animations. I, I found another site called Rebo stock. Um, that’s R E V O. And they were doing a lot of after effects templates, and I had never considered that, but I was able to kind of put two and two together. And I, I saw the most downloaded simply on their site. It showed how many downloads it was and the price.
And I just did the math and I was like, wow. You know, this guy is making a ton of money. And he only did it one time, you know, and it just keeps selling over and over. So I started making templates and actually started earning more money from the templates and the stock animations. And I was at my, my day job as an animator.
And yeah, I had told my friend about it, um, at the same studio. And we were, we were working late one night at the studio. It was probably, you know, eight o’clock, nine o’clock, something like that. We were stuck there and we were like, this sucks, you know, we’ve got to do something. So we kind of, we were just spit balling ideas.
And the first idea that came, it was kind of, um, a way to customize after fixed templates online so that you didn’t even need after effects templates. Like you could just change the text in the browser, change the colors. And then in the background it would render out the video.
Andrew: So, if I wanted to, you have a really cool intro for this podcast. If I were to do a video version of it and I wanted Mixergy to come on and spin it a certain way, I wouldn’t have to get the template loaded into the software. Manipulated. And then export it and then use that video as the intro to all my videos, I could just go to your site.
Your vision was type in my name, which is Mixergy pick the template that I want hit enter, and then outward come a file that I could put before all of my videos and give it that cool intro. That seems like a lot of work for two non-diverse.
Tyler: Okay. Yeah. And that was the problem. So we realized, you know, it was going to take a lot of money and yeah, just a lot of developers and a lot of resources that we didn’t have at the time. So we were like, Hey. Let’s just make this little website and we’ll upload after effects templates, and we’ll make it unlimited downloads.
And the idea was that we would make a lot of money real fast, and then we would use that money to fund, uh, the other idea.
Andrew: Okay. So just create the templates yourself since you’re already good at making them. Where are you able to use the templates that you put on the other platforms or did you have to make new ones?
Tyler: Yeah. So we made sure to, to join non-exclusive, uh, marketplaces so that we could kind of put them anywhere we wanted. Um, yeah. And the way we actually funded the company was by uploading to other platforms. So all of the money that we were earning on the other platforms, we were just putting back into advertising and growing our own site.
Andrew: Got it. Um, that makes a lot of sense. How many templates did you have on your own platform when you started?
Tyler: On launch day. It was 10.
Andrew: Okay. And you were selling it on subscription.
Tyler: We were. Yeah. Um, I remember that. So my business partner designed the sites. It looked like a heavy metal website. It’s it’s so funny too. To look back at, um, and then we had some developers in India make it, I think, for a little over a thousand dollars and we were doing everything right. You know, capturing emails and, you know, so that when we went live, we could send out an email blast and let everyone know.
And then the morning we did go live, um, we immediately had one person sign up and. I remember telling my business partner, Eddie. I was like, Hey man, this is it. Like, this is it. We are off to the races now. And after that one sale, nothing, nothing just crickets for four months. Yeah.
Andrew: What did this was back in? What? 2011,
Andrew: what did you guys use to create your subscription site? Do you remember?
Tyler: Um, yeah, the actual website was built on Joomla. Yeah. So it was built on Joomla and the subs, the subscriptions were through, uh, PayPal, which absolute nightmare, but that’s how he did it.
Andrew: But it worked quickly. What PayPal had that other platforms didn’t have for a long time was an easy way to create a button that gave you a subscription that automatically would charge people. And if they had a PayPal account, it was even easier.
Andrew: You know, what the reason I’m asking is that I feel like now what you built is much easier to create, to create a marketplace that sells, that sells digital products.
And there’s always some new thing that needs templates. The hot thing that I’m noticing right now is templates for notion, which people think of as a note app, but it’s more like a Wiki app. Anyway, you could design these really nice notes or wikis on it. But if you add a template to it, it becomes much more useful, much prettier.
You could even turn it into a site. Anyway. I feel like people can take this idea that you’ve created, um, for video and you use it for all these other platforms. All right. So you did that. You got your first sale that way. And did you still have both of you, your full-time job
Andrew: maintain the full-time jobs?
Did you still continue to submit to other platforms?
Tyler: Yup. All, you know, nights and weekends, we were working, making more templates. I think we each ended up making about a thousand, um, for over the first few years.
Andrew: Part of the reason why you were just working so hard, I sense is because of what happened when your wife first became pregnant, you kind of hinted at it before, but those days around that were tumultuous, tumultuous for you. What was going on?
Tyler: we were living in Savannah and I was going to grad school. Um, and my wife was working at the time and she got pregnant. And at the same time, I was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. And on top of that, my mom, uh, was dying from colon cancer. So we were like, Hey, we need to move home to be around family.
And we moved home. I had my surgery that went fine. Um, and then my mom held on just long enough to see her, her granddaughter. It was, she saw her on a camera, but still, you know, she was able to see her and she was definitely holding out for that. Um, because she passed away two days after she was born. And.
Andrew: said, I don’t know what was going on with her.
Tyler: Yeah. So my wife ended up having postpartum depression, um, and did not want to leave our daughter. Uh, just the thought of going back to work was either eating her up inside and, you know, I was trying to do everything I could in my power to make enough money so that she didn’t have to go back.
Andrew: When you were working at night. And weekends and times when you were tired after a full day of work, was that in your head? Were you thinking I’ve got to take care of my family. This is now I’m a father. I’ve got this responsibility. It’s not just creating another template. It’s do or die for my family.
They could go back to the life that I had. I do that to myself. I just try to fire myself up with the worst case scenario. Wake up, Andrew. Here’s what could go wrong? Here’s what’s at your doorstep. Keep working. Does that, is that what you did?
Tyler: that’s what I did.
Andrew: You did, how did you do that? How did you consciously get yourself?
Think about that and use it.
Tyler: so I think there’s kind of two parts to that. And it was, you know, one was providing for my family and the other was. Running away from morning. Um, and the depression that set in after my mom passed away. So yeah, I think it was just kind of natural to just try and bury my head and work at the time. And ultimately it backfired completely. yeah, so I just got so caught up in work that I neglected my relationship with my wife. Um, and we ended up getting separated for about a year.
Tyler: Yeah. But you know,
Andrew: trying to provide for her and your daughter and deal with your depression and or not depression, but the sadness with your mom, all that. It’s it kept you working so much that she disconnected from you. Did she start, did she start talking to you about that? I find my wife will say that to me and I don’t pay attention because I think, okay, she’ll get past it.
It’s your job to get past it. Just like it’s my job to work late.
Tyler: Yeah. That’s exactly what happened. You know, she was, she was telling me and giving me signs, but I just wasn’t picking up on them. Um,
Andrew: What’d you do have done in retrospect, I feel like this is. It’s a winning story here. It worked for you. Would you have taken a step back from work? Should you have taken your foot off the gas?
Tyler: No, I don’t, I don’t really think back about how I would change things. Um, just not much you can do. Right. So, um, but yeah, you know, I, I try to be more receptive for sure. Um, in a relationship now and definitely here out, because I do know that she would kick me out
Andrew: It’s not an idle threat. It’s been proven.
Tyler: yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Um, I finally got back together. Was it because you had a realization that you’re willing to work less or what? That you’re not as scared anymore with the gym more momentum? What was it?
Tyler: um, you know, I think if you were to ask her, the fact that I never gave up on the relationship was the reason that, uh, we got back together.
Andrew: How did that
Tyler: Because I, you know, I just think it’s so easy to give up. Um, it’s a much easier thing to do than to fight for a relationship. And I never, you know, never quit. I would kept coming over and taking care of my daughter and
Andrew: Okay. So then you created your site. How did you get customers? How’d you get that first customer and then the first customers after that?
Tyler: Yeah. So the first customer was just some random person that, you know, thought it was a good idea to sign up and download these templates. But after that, you know, you just have to learn everything, right? Like I was learning ad words and we were learning. how to market the company. And we ended up putting ad words on my credit card and just letting it run for a little while.
And then we just came to the realization that we needed more content. Um, and then that would help the conversion rate.
Andrew: So it’s that you didn’t have enough content after the, after somebody came from an ad to convert them or that you were thinking SEO. That’s what it was. Because they’re not just coming in saying I’m ready to buy. They’re coming in thinking, what, what are they, what are they looking for when they’re researching?
Tyler: Yeah. So I think the issue is we were a membership site. Um, I think if we were just selling one-off templates, you know, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. They could just buy one and go use it. But here they were, you know, They were signing up for something. And that kind of makes people feel locked in a little bit.
And you know, if we didn’t have that much contents, I think that’s what was, uh, a barrier for entry for a lot of people.
Andrew: You guys are great at it. Now there’s that video right at the homepage. That shows me what I get. If I subscribe, if I’m a member, there’s the free content. So go ahead, sign up, get some stuff for free. See what we’re like. And then of course you start the relationship with them, which makes it easier to transition from a free membership to paid then from no membership to pay to membership.
By the way, why did you decide to go for a membership? A lot of other sites were selling one-offs.
Tyler: Yeah. Um, I just, I don’t know, you know, the idea of, I think Netflix had already gone unlimited or with streaming actually. I don’t know when that actually happened, but. I just kind of saw that as the future and where it was headed. So making it subscription and just the idea of recurring revenue is where we want it to go.
Andrew: If you’re an, if you’re an online business or frankly, any business at all, having recurring revenue is so good that it’s in your interest to make it like a no brainer for people to buy that it’s almost painful for you to give that much, that people will sign up, you know, like, um, If, if you’re Disney and you give out the latest movie that’s supposed to be in the theater, it just has to be so good that they think what the, what are these guys thinking?
I would almost think that for Disney, it should be. And guess what, if you get, if you come to Disney world, we’ll let you in for free or we’ll let you cut the line or some like full look for something that’s that painful because it’s that helpful for a business to have recurring revenue, to, to have predictability, to have growth.
All right. Let me take a moment to talk about my, uh, sponsor. It’s HostGator. One of the things that I like about your story is, like I said, there’s always new kids categories to create marketplaces for if someone’s listening to us right now and they go to hostgator.com/mixergy within a moment, they could be up and running with a WordPress website.
There are. Themes that you can use to turn that WordPress website into a marketplace that sells any digital product. I, like I said, notion is a good example of it, right? People are now getting excited about notion, but there are others. Can you think of any Tyler? What would you do right now? If you, if there’s a digital marketplace, would you come up with right now?
Tyler: Um, you know, this might not be good for your sponsor, but, um, I’m really getting into web flow. Um, and what they’re doing
Andrew: Why do you like web flow more than WordPress? I’m seeing a lot of people get excited about, about them
Tyler: for me, it kind of lends itself to motion graphics, designers, and I, there’s just a lot of animations that you can do easily. And. Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the interface is kind of familiar.
Andrew: I definitely, um, I definitely see that that’s a competitor to WordPress and I have no problem with you by the way, bring up competitors, but is there a template marketplace for that? For there is right for web flow. There’s
Tyler: I think, I think Webflow actually has templates on its site
Andrew: They do, but you know what I find you get, you get them with all these different platforms, but there’s always, um, there are always other platforms that create better templates. The problem with templates for web design is it’s a one-off thing. That’s why ThemeForest sells one and done. You don’t need, unless you’re a design agency, you don’t need tons of themes.
So it doesn’t, I don’t think lend itself to that. As much as other platforms do when I think about notion or when I think about, uh, I forget what that is. There are these like, uh, spreadsheet sites that are just super powerful. Right? When I think about that, there are lots of different things you could do with them and you need a theme for each one of them.
So you might use, um, sorry, what are we going?
Tyler: Yeah. I was going to say, didn’t you have someone on here that, um, started, uh, uh, PowerPoint templates,
Andrew: Right. So for PowerPoint, I don’t remember that, but for PowerPoint, for sure. People who do PowerPoint presentations need templates on an ongoing basis, because there’s a chance that they’re using them for meetings on a regular basis. Um, Anything, I think where it’s digital, where there’s ongoing need for, it lends itself to a marketplace that people can charge.
Uh, people who are listening to us can go and create the marketplace for it, and then charge an ongoing fee. Yes, you could do this with other platforms. And I encourage people to do it with whatever platform works for them. The reason I like WordPress is because there are templates and themes and everything already built because it’s, it’s the most.
Popular, uh, content management system on the internet right now, one out of three websites I think is hosted on WordPress. And if you’re gonna host on WordPress, bring it to HostGator. And if you’re gonna bring you to host Gator, go to hostgator.com/mixergy, we’ll give, they’ll give you an incredibly low price, um, and just give you something that works.
All right. At this point, you finally have started to buy some ads. You starting to, um, Add content. Was there any one thing that helped you get a bump to that magical $10,000 a month? Recurring revenue moment?
Tyler: Um, excuse me. So I don’t think there was one thing that got us to the $10,000 a month recurring revenue. I do remember celebrating it. Um,
Andrew: How did you celebrate it?
Tyler: W I think we just went and had a beer, uh, down the street.
Andrew: Why was 10,000 so important to you?
Tyler: So 10,000 was so important because that allowed us to quit our job.
Andrew: Really? So that’s $60,000 for each of you a year and that’s enough to quit your jobs.
Tyler: We were scraping by, but yeah, we were also. We were also doing some freelance work on the side and using that money.
Andrew: you and your co-founder made a thousand templates each. Why? Why didn’t you say, you know what? We’re going to create a marketplace where anyone can upload their stuff. We’re going to take a step back and not create those a reason why you decided you needed to do it yourselves.
Tyler: Yeah. So since we were like an unlimited marketplace, the amount of money that. Someone uploading a template would get is, would be just too small for them to want to, to do it and to join the because they were used to, you know, the other sites where they were getting 50% of each sale and
Andrew: So you’re saying it, it just wasn’t enough. there wasn’t enough money to pay the people who’d create the templates, especially compared to what they were getting in other places. I get that. What were you charging a month?
Tyler: We, uh, we experimented with every price. Um, I think it. It was around like $29 a month. And, you know, it was just crazy to us that we didn’t have more members than we did because the templates, some of those cost more than a monthly membership. And we had, you know, a thousand, 2000 and yeah, it was just
Andrew: You did have that. No brainer deal. I mean, really it’s just a few bucks to get it. You are definitely undercharging and still people didn’t discover you because it’s hard to get noticed. Right.
Tyler: It’s very hard. I think, you know, when you build your site and your company, you just think people are going to come to it magically and it just doesn’t happen.
Andrew: And the price was so good. Think about like, how could you change the pricing? How could you change the landing pages and all that. But truthfully, if nobody’s coming, it’s really hard. If you’re, if you’re buying ads and still not converting, it’s really tough.
Andrew: I remember one of the things that worked for me and I had it easier because I had an audience first and then I had a subscription product, but I remember one thing that worked for me was people said, I want to just buy one off.
I said, okay, great. Here it is. The standard price is what, few hundred bucks per, per online course, we’re going to sell ours for $97 for one-off or 25 bucks a month for all of them. Which one do you want? It’s a no brainer, even if you’re slow and it takes you four months to cancel, we’re going to take care of you.
Um, and it’s still a better deal, but for you, you just didn’t have that built-in audience. He didn’t have the marketing chops. Right. And it’s not a thing that, um, it’s just not a, what was it? A thing that people were searching for? Was it a thing that people are gravitating to? No.
Tyler: Yeah. You know, there was a lot of search traffic for after effects templates, but. Yeah, the price kind of was too high at that point too. I mean, we were still doing it, but you know, we were competing with the larger companies and yeah, it was just tough for sure.
Andrew: Tell me a little bit about the software that you used in the beginning. It was at Joomla site.
Yeah. Good decision there. Um, and he also had. The idea to not do unlimited and to make it credit-based where it’s still recurring revenue, but you had, you know, four to 20 different downloads that you could do per month. And I think that is what enabled us to later on open up the marketplace to other contributors, because the revenue that they would be getting per download was a lot higher than if it were unlimited.
Andrew: Got it. That is, that does make a lot of sense. You didn’t have issues before, right. Where people were coming in subscribing and then downloading everything
Tyler: We did. Yeah. I think those people are always out there, but
Andrew: I found that we had that, but it wasn’t a big enough issue. Everyone kept telling me, watch out here are different ways to block against it, but it wasn’t a big enough issue to cause a problem. Um, but I, I guess those people are, like you said, they’re always out there and with you, they get to keep it for free and whatever they create using the designs they got from you, they get to keep the ownership of right. Uh, I wonder if today there’s just. An easier platform for creating a marketplace like yours, which keeps track of everything. Is it their basic marketplaces for sure. They’re templates for it. But is there someone who makes it easy to create a marketplace charged by credits and then split the revenue with the, with the creators who are on the marketplace?
Tyler: No, I, I’m not sure. Just because we had ours built and I just haven’t been looking,
Andrew: When do you ever bring that in house? Or was it always an outsource thing for you guys?
Tyler: Oh yeah. We, we ended up growing the team for sure. In house.
Andrew: How big was the team before you sold?
Tyler: At its peak, probably around 40 people. Yeah.
Andrew: Why did you decide to sell.
Tyler: you know, we had been doing it for nine years at the time and we had been growing pretty well and. A financial advisor had reached out to my business partner and told them about how the market was hot for the type of business that we have. Um, and you never know what’s going to happen in the future.
You know, he was a good salesman, uh, and he just kind of put the bug in our ear and, and we thought about it and thought about kind of our families, you know, and making sure our families would be taken care of because I, I just feel like. Every day for nine years, I always had the feeling that the entire thing could just be, you know, wiped away.
Someone could unplug the server or something, you know, it’s not that likely to happen, but yeah, the feeling’s always there. So kind of de-risking and having money for our families, I think was the biggest motivation.
Andrew: What do you do to stop thinking that way is I find that I’m not very effective and I don’t come across confident and, and clear and strong when I feel like the whole thing could go away tomorrow. That if I don’t value myself enough to think that this is going to stay around forever, people pick up on that in my voice, and it really hurts every conversation.
And when I do believe that this will outlast me, that people will be studying Mixergy interviews forever. For example, you could hear it in my voice and people want to work with me. People are happier and more productive working with me. And so I try to stay focused like that, but sometimes it’s a challenge.
Tyler: Yeah, I think, you know, when I was talking about it going away, it had more to do with me and my business partner, not being developers, um, and kind of that entire world just being unknown to us. Um, That we just always had the feeling that the site could go down and, you know, or it could get hacked or, yeah, just
Andrew: you just don’t have the skills to fix the thing that goes wrong.
Tyler: because we were the, we were the artists, we were, we made the templates. That’s what we knew. Um, but when it came to the, the development side, that’s kind of what kept me up at night sometimes.
Andrew: All right. So then you decided what going to sell. We’ve been, will you burned out after eight years of work? Do you feel
Tyler: It depended on the day
Andrew: really? Okay,
Tyler: some days were good. Some days were not so good.
Andrew: so you hired an investment banker. Can you say who you hired?
Tyler: Um, sure. Um, MVP capital, which I think has been acquired by Houlihan Lokey.
Andrew: And they went out and they started shopping you around.
Tyler: Yeah. So they put together all the marketing information, um, in the projections and got everything ready to go. And then we were about to go to market and COVID struck. So they just said we should shelve it and just play everything by ear. So it was just like week after week passed and. They just kept saying, let’s just wait another week and see what happens.
So it was a very long not, well,
Andrew: No. Do you drink or because of your dad, you hold back.
Tyler: yeah. You know, I quit drinking over a year and a half ago now and going through COVID was difficult for sure. But yeah. Um, yeah, just. Pretty stressed out the entire time. I’m sure my wife would tell you, but yeah, it was not a fun time.
Andrew: How’d your team deal with that?
Tyler: It was weird because we didn’t, we had not let them, we didn’t let them know,
Andrew: No, but with your anxiety, they can make it read that you’re not,
Tyler: Yeah, no, no. You know, cause we would have just a few meetings. Throughout the week because we were completely remote and yeah, I don’t know if they picked up on it or not.
Andrew: Wow. All right. And then you got prices all over the board. You finally decided to sell to the highest bidder.
Tyler: Where are they? The highest bidder? we could potentially have gotten more, but. The deal that they had was just really good, you know, because a lot of people, when they hear about people selling a company, they don’t know about the whole back or the earn outs where you have to stay on for, you know, two or three years and all of this stuff.
So yeah, the deal that we got with artless was really good. They wanted to move really quickly. Um, And the time that we have to stay on is pretty short and it’s not contingent, you know, the, the money’s not contingent on any goals that we have to hit. So it was just a pretty sweet deal.
Andrew: Why did you guys announce the amount I see here? It’s a Televiv company, right?
Tyler: Yeah, that’s correct.
Andrew: They put out a press release saying that they bought you for $65 million. Usually I have to work on getting the founder to open up about this. This is right there in the press release. Why did they say it?
Tyler: You know, I’m not sure. I think. Yeah. I don’t know.
Andrew: How was it for you to have everybody know what you sold the company for you own 50% of his business, right?
Tyler: Yeah. So not that many people know
Andrew: They just don’t look this up.
Tyler: unless you’re in the business world, like. None of my family knows, uh, my friends really don’t know if you’re on LinkedIn and connected to me. You might’ve seen the article, but other than that, yeah, we haven’t really announced it to that many people.
Andrew: I might go back a little bit and understand how you, how you grew the business when you started getting other D other creators on your platform. I know that it would have helped you. It would have helped you, um, have, have more content and be more sticky for your existing customers, but did those creators also start sending you customers or because of the way you structured your marketplace as a subscription?
Tyler: they didn’t send us that many customers, I don’t think.
Andrew: that’s the
Tyler: And it was, it was super hard. To convince them to join our site. We, um, yeah, I think we started with a 70, 30 split giving them 70% of, of all of the revenue of all the revenue that the com uh, the site earned per month.
Andrew: Okay. Meaning. Oh, but it’s the basket of all the creators get 70%. Wow. So that means if you, the day, day one, when you brought in new creators, Your revenue, even though it was all your stuff, essentially, that was selling your revenue got chopped to 30%.
Tyler: Not really because we still had our content on
Andrew: Oh, because right. You’re also listed as a creator. And so you get to share in that, in that 70% based on the percentage of. Down your stuff. That’s downloaded compared to the others. Okay. I get it. Um, and the reason that they wouldn’t send people over is because they don’t know, they might be sending somebody into your marketplace and then that person is going to go and buy from everyone else.
So what’s the point of, of wasting their energy, sending people in. You know what I wonder how the only marketplace that I’ve seen do this really well is Skillshare. And I imagine the reason that they do well is because there are people are, have such a rabid following that they care about their content, right?
If you like Ali Abdullah, you want to go and watch, you’ve watched them on YouTube. You want to go and learn from him on Skillshare. He tells you to go to Skillshare or you’re going to go and learn his course, and you might be diverted to something else, but you’ll learn from his course. And I think I could be wrong about this, but I think Skillshare also gives the originator of the sale, a big cut of the sale.
And you guys didn’t do that. It was it wasn’t like get the first month when you send a new customer over.
Tyler: Right. Yeah.
Andrew: So it’s all on you. All they do is provide more content for you to sell, but it’s all on you to do the marketing. And that means that you miss out a lot, like every other marketplace, every other approach, they get the creators to send people over.
You think about Etsy, you say, go to my Etsy shop, but you’re sending people.
Tyler: Yeah. And these creators were so entrenched in our competitors that they would much rather send them to their sites because they. Get a higher cut because it’s a per product, um, purchased there.
Andrew: And then maybe they have the, um, the leader boards and they go up the leaderboards, which means they get more sales. And even if they don’t get the leaderboard sales, their numbers go up the next day, uh, the download number. Would you still recommend this approach considering that it, it just doesn’t alleviate the marketing burden
Tyler: yeah, I think so. For sure. Just. I don’t think we would be where we are right now without all of these guys and their content.
Andrew: Yeah. Do you need their content, but you’d still recommend the SAS approach of charging a monthly fee. So what you’re looking to the creators for is not the marketing. You’re looking for them to create the content and it’s worth putting in the effort to get them in. And then you put the effort and you get a recurring revenue.
That’s predictable, that’s a sale of the business that you can then sell and get a multiple of sales, uh, from the company. All right. I’m with you. What worked then for marketing now was on you to bring customers, not just for your family, but for all your creator’s families. What else was working?
Tyler: Yeah, so. We were actually, so we were approached by a company. Uh, they wanted to purchase us and we, we entertain the idea. And at this time it was just myself, my co-founder and maybe a couple of developers. And we met with them. Didn’t like the deal. Um, but in doing so we learned that, um, One of their marketing guys was leaving their company and he had done well for them.
So we, we poached him, not really post him. He was leaving anyway. So, uh, we approached him and he decided to join us and he basically set up all of our marketing for us. Um, you know, he was doing that words really well. And then he was growing our SEO traffic. And just churning out lots and lots of content, um, with that.
What else did we do then? We got into Facebook eventually, which ended up working out really, really well. We had Eddie and I had, yeah, Eddie and I had tried it a few times and we just couldn’t get it, you know, probably cause we didn’t have the time to spend on it, but. So we went back to it, reluctantly, but it definitely took off for us.
Whenever Cole joined the company,
Andrew: You know, and then I noticed also that he started getting you into all these different free marketplaces, right? There are sites like a soft archive, which offers apps, music games, and it’s all basically for free. And what they’re doing is they’re linking to two other sites. Do you know the site?
Tyler: I do not
Andrew: I wonder how much it, this is actually, um, pirate verse not, let me see, uh,
Tyler: yes. We should probably talk about that. There’s there’s a huge just pirate community for this type of content. You know, someone will come to our sites with a stolen credit card. Join. Download tons of stuff. And then the next day it’s up on all of these other pirated websites.
Andrew: What do you do about that?
Tyler: So we hired a guy that was sent out DMCs, um, and that worked pretty well. But then these pirate guys, you know, they created their own kind of server farm network. I don’t know what you want to call it. That. They would upload the content too, and you would send them a D the MCA and they just wouldn’t take it down.
So, you know, it’s just an ongoing battle.
Tyler: And if anyone out there can solve this problem, I think there’s a lot of money in it.
Andrew: I feel like a lot of the people who approach me to solve it are maybe even causing the problem in the first place. You know what I mean? I have this sense that some of them are actually copying stuff. And then they’re saying, Hey, look, there’s someone copying the stuff from your site. Go and do it. Uh, yeah, I see.
Actually that it looks like some of these sites are actually still sending you traffic though. I wonder if you guys are buying ads on them. Yeah. Look at this. He might be all right. I can, yeah, I can see that. It’s I didn’t realize how big privacy is soft archive. It looks like you can, you can buy part, you can download pirated books and other stuff from there.
All right. Affiliate programs, you know, if that worked out well for you. Okay.
Tyler: we just started getting into an affiliate program before the sale. So the results are kind of up in the air.
Andrew: All right. Um, you know, let me ask you on a personal level. Now that the interview is over before we started, you said to me, um, I have a little social anxiety.
Andrew: So how does it feel to be on camera like this and be asked so many questions? What do you go through when this happens?
Tyler: Um, initially, you know, you, you visualize everyone kind of staring at you,
Tyler: think you’re such a good interviewer that, you know, It turns into just being a conversation between the two of us and helps relieve the anxiety.
Andrew: you’re taking medicine for this too.
Tyler: I do.
Andrew: What’d he take?
Tyler: I take a small dose of Clonopin every day.
Andrew: And what does that do
Tyler: have generalized anxiety. So not just socialize, social anxiety. Yeah.
Andrew: Just day to day? What does that feel like? What triggers it and then what does it feel when you get it?
Tyler: You know, I never had it until probably three or four years ago. And I mean, it just, it changed my life completely. Like just, it’s amazing, you know, not having to deal with these, uh,
Andrew: You’re saying your whole life you’ve gone through having anxiety and it was just a natural thing constantly going on. Wow. And so how would that affect you? Would you have a hiring conversation with someone and then that would put you into an anxious spot with something else?
Tyler: just, yeah. You know, just the craziest thoughts. Um, I could sit there and think about, uh, I don’t know, something like if my wife had gone somewhere, like I would immediately think, I hope she doesn’t get into a car wreck. Yeah, just like, and just, I think given my mom’s past or kind of the health issues that run in the family health has always been a trigger big time for me.
So going through COVID has not been easily easy, but, um, yeah, just lots of different triggers.
Andrew: And what about the, this could all go away tomorrow. Did it ease that. It did. Oh, wow. You know what? I wonder how much mine is his anxiety. I don’t feel I’ve got anxiety actually, but I do have this sense constantly that something bad could go wrong and it’s related just to work, If I think about my family, it occasionally comes up. I wasn’t the dad who would go and check to see if my kid was breathing.
I just assumed that they were breathing. My kid broke the webcam that we had on him and I was fine. I realized they just scream if they need you, but the, Oh, no, something really bad could happen work. And then I won’t be able to take care of my family. I won’t be able to take care of myself. I’ll be so embarrassed with the world.
And what they’ll think that just that’s a problem.
Tyler: Yeah. I remember when our daughter was born, like just worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong. And I feel now that the medication, I would just tell myself, you know, that’s not likely to happen.
Andrew: So, how were you productive before with all this going on in your head? How did you take the risk of starting a business with all this going on in your head?
Tyler: I think I just took it because I felt like I had to, you know?
Andrew: then maybe this was your way of dealing with the anxiety, the, the issues that would go through your head when you were anxious.
Tyler: Yeah. You know, I just, I guess I just felt like I had to start the company so that I could earn the extra money from my family and.
Andrew: you’d have anxiety about what would happen if, and then it was, I’ve got to work harder so that I can overcome that. Right. And truthfully in America, that is true. Right. If you have an issue, right? What’s, what’s the worst thing that could happen during COVID while you get sick, you get better care. If you have money, what could happen to your kid because of this?
Well, they can’t go to school with your money. You could just hire a tutor, right? It does. It does overcome a lot of issues, which kind of sucks that we’re creating this environment where some people have it and other people don’t not kind of, it does suck, but, um, it also is a real incentive to hustle and work because there’s nobody who’s going to save you otherwise.
Well, what do you, what are you gonna do next? Continue to work in motion Ray for a while. It seems like you said that you’ve got some time you need to be there.
Tyler: Yeah, we were there until, um, August of this year. So not too long. Um, responsibilities are pretty minimal, which is nice. We’re kind of just helping facilitate the combining of the two companies. Um, and they pick our brain every now and then, but other than that, you know, it’s pretty, pretty low key, but yeah, I just plan on starting more companies.
Andrew: What are you thinking of next what’s scenario? You’re interested in.
Tyler: Uh, all kinds of things. Um, I’m interested in a type of search engine. Um, I have some crazy ideas that I’m interested in pursuing like renewable energy type stuff, as well as, um, affordable housing type stuff. I feel like now I want to. I want to do things that help other people. I felt like with motion array that was trying to help my family, but now I can afford to try and help other people.
So that’s kind of where my mind’s at.
Andrew: I could see that motion array. One of the things that stands out for me is that it just has tastes, you know, the. The videos, the, uh, motion graphics. It just has, there’s a sensibility. That’s there. That, what are you studying? Fine art or some, the thing is as a student, is that right? Or am I wrong? Yeah, it has that care.
It has that sense of taste and style and, um, and understanding also not just what the designer wants and the creator wants, but what the, the. The viewer of their product wants it’s really well done. And I could see that. And I can imagine now that with that kind of care, what you could do next, I’m excited about this.
I feel like what you’ve created you are ahead of the game with this marketplace, but I wonder what other marketplaces people are going to jump on. What the most exciting one that I saw was a marketplace for marijuana and marijuana leaf link.
Tyler: Was it like CPD or was it actual.
Andrew: stuff that like the actual plant, as he says and everything else.
So he said all these different stores, the only way that anybody could buy from them is if there’s a sales rep who goes out and talks to them, well, that’s an inefficient way to do things. We’ll create an online marketplace. Every everyone who has product can come into the marketplace, everyone who needs it can come into the marketplace and buy, you don’t need to send out reps.
The whole thing is clearly there and he’s doing incredibly well with that marketplace. Now that’s different from what you’ve created, but he’s not handling product. He’s just doing the, the, the digital side of it, you know?
Tyler: That’s awesome.
Andrew: Right. And I’d talked to him, he goes, this DeMar, there’s a need for these types of marketplaces for so many other businesses.
He goes, everyone’s thinking about business to consumers. Uh, you’re taking a step higher and thinking business to creator. He says, how about even business to business? Think about all the different sales reps that go into a restaurant. Every one of them should be some marketplace and somebody creates. So the restaurant doesn’t have to be limited to the person who shows up and happens to bribe their person, uh, the most, but to.
You know, a marketplace with everything that comes along with that, like ratings and reviews and more options. Anyway, all that to say, I’m really excited about what you’ve done with motion array. Congratulations. I’m looking forward to having you back on with your next idea. And, um, I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen.
The first is HostGator. If you’ve got an idea for a marketplace, go to hostgator.com/mixergy, and the second is a unbalanced. They paid me to sit and write and I’m hoping you’ll go and check it out. If you go to unbounce.com/mixergy, you’ll see me. You’ll see this guide that I created based on how I have conversations with people.
That’s uh, unbounced.com/mixergy. Thanks, Tyler.
Tyler: Thank you so much, Andrew.
Andrew: Hey, it’s Andrew. Again, a moment after this interview is over. Tyler told me that I missed something and so I hit record. And here’s what he said. What do you wish we could have talked about?
Tyler: I think there was definitely a turning point in the company.
Andrew: What was that?
Tyler: we, we had started with just after effects templates and my business partner, Eddie was like, Hey, you know, what do you think about making a template for premiere pro, which is just the video editing software. And I was like, uh, I think that’s stupid, but he’s, you know, he kept pressing and he’s like, I’m just gonna make one and we’ll give it away for free.
And if people respond to it, then we know we have something. So he made it. And when we first put it out, you know, we, we posted it on Reddit, on some video editors, uh, subreddits there and. Everyone hated it. And I think it was because they were worried, right. They were worried it was going to eat into some of their work because now you have these pre-made templates for video editors.
Um, and we went ahead and just started that category. Um, so we came up with a category for premier pro templates. And since there was no competition and, you know, We immediately ranked first for an SEO, but of course, no one was really searching for it because they didn’t know it existed yet. So, but when we ran ads and stuff like that, it just kind of took off big time.
Andrew: I see it now on your site, what is a premiere template?
Tyler: So it’s very similar to just an aftereffects template. Um, There’s some limitations, but you can still do some pretty amazing things, uh, with the graphics and stuff and premiere. And I think what, what makes it amazing is that the editors that were using after effects templates they were using after effects templates, because they didn’t know the software, but here we were making templates for premiere pro.
In the software that they know and, you know, they didn’t have to go and learn something new and they didn’t have to have two different software packages or yeah. They could just stay in their main editing software.
Andrew: And then, Oh, so it would still do the whole intro, but you couldn’t, you couldn’t change say the logo or the name on it. Could they.
Andrew: Oh, so you found a way to do what people were doing with motion and do it in the apps that they were more likely to be using and no,
Tyler: Yeah. And that were more widely used because when someone’s starting out with video, they start with the video editing software, like premier pro or final
Tyler: and then maybe they move into after effects or motion, something a little more complicated.
Andrew: I see it now, I was thinking that what it was was like a template for creating a blog or a template for creating a video, a commercial, and you just upload your product image to replace our product image or replace our a day in the life video with your day in the life video. No, you’re, I’m looking at it right now.
There’s something called an action opener. It’s a premier pro template. This is the type of thing that we would see in, um, Uh, what is it called? Motion, uh, after effects. Is that the, got it. Wow. All right. And so that helped you take off and then what, what else did we miss?
Tyler: I mean, mainly that, to be honest, that kind of, yeah, just took our revenue, started growing like crazy. And then that’s when we were able to kind of start building the team out and getting extra help. Because for the longest time it was Eddie and I, for the most part, doing everything.
Andrew: and then, you know what it seems like also that, that the content creators, I think we undersold the impact they had on, on getting traffic. They may not have been out there hustling to send their audience over to your platform, but. Their content was working on your site, uh, through SEO to bring people in.
Right. I’m looking at it now that that every one of them is now up. You know, another landing page that you guys turned into, not just a landing page for the thing that people. So let’s take a look here. I’m looking at logo, typography pack number one, right? If I’m looking for a logo typography, I might end up on this page and see this one.
But on the knee underneath it is what 1224 different related templates and then promotion for the other content that you have on the site. It seems like that was helpful.
Tyler: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And then of course, just having the extra content helps with the conversions and turned it into an even bigger no-brainer.
Andrew: What you don’t get that other marketplaces have, or other creators have is. I don’t think that Adobe is sending customers to you from what I saw, right. DaVinci resolve is not sending customers to you. You still have to get your own customers.
Tyler: That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Because even now, you know, Adobe has their own marketplace.
Andrew: Yeah. Versus like Shopify, they, they help promote their partners. All right. Um, anything else we missed? I’m going to leave this clip in the interview. You go with it.
Tyler: I am perfectly cool with that.
Andrew: All right. Well, thanks.
Tyler: Andrew, this is a dream come true for sure. And I thank you for, for all of the past interviews you’ve done and helping everyone.
Andrew: Thanks. So I think for a lot of people who do it, there’s an upside truthfully, when I ask them what their goal is, they say, look, we’re raising money. Are we trying to get the message out there for when we are? Uh, you’re not looking to get customers from this. You’re not in a place where you’re raising money.
It just, I appreciate that you’re here just doing the interview to do the interview.
Tyler: Thanks so much.
Andrew: Thank you.