Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I am literally dizzy. There was a second there when I sat down, I felt like the room was shaking and I was going to fall down. And I’m still here to do this interview and I’m going to go out and interview a buddy of mine on stage at a conference. And I will just keep going until I literally collapse because I believe that I’m not going to collapse, and if I just keep pushing it, I feel like I’m going to get the most out of life.
I wonder what my two guests feel about that. I saw their campaign for a journal that’s not supposed to help you understand your feelings and write down all the different things that you want to accomplish in the day and in your life, but help you achieve a sense of flow. And they come from this place of believing that we’re pushing ourselves too hard, that we’re trying to achieve too much. I don’t know about that. I don’t know. I think I’m at the most capable of accepting that message that I’ve ever been in my life and still I’m not ready to accept it, but I’ll ask them about it.
The two guests are a returning Mixergy interviewee, Chad Mureta and a friend who’s been here to drink scotch with me and used to live in the area, Arman Assadi. They are the co-founders of Project EVO. They’ve created a personalized journal that will help you unlock your focus and flow. It connects with this mobile app, and you can’t even buy the journal until you understand who you are and what your right way of getting into flow is. That’s their thing.
I invited them here to find out how they’re actually selling the physical product. And if they just say, “Hey, you should set up a Shopify store,” I think I’m going to laugh because there’s no way. There’s so much more to it than that.
This interview is sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first will help you hire great. It’s called Toptal. I had this great experience with an entrepreneur about them. I’ve got to tell you guys about them.
And then the second will get you designs . . . Forget you, get me a design. Look at the way I’ve been dressing over the years, look at my backdrop, I suck at design. They got me a beautiful design. It’s called DesignCrowd. How are they even back? I thought they canceled. We’ll find out.
All right, Chad, I’m on. Good to see you here guys.
Chad: What’s up?
Arman: What’s up, brother? How you doing, my man?
Andrew: How much revenue, 2018, what do you guys pull in with this?
Chad: Little over $1.2, I would say like $1.25 million.
Andrew: Wow. How much of it was profit?
Chad: We broke even.
Andrew: You did?
Chad: Yeah. We pretty much put it all back in.
Andrew: Arman . . . Actually, Chad. I’ve been thinking so much about your interview that I did with you years ago. It was you had these apps, you also had a course on apps and the course did a lot of money, and at the time I remember thinking, “That is impressive,” over $1 million from this one launch.
Andrew: And the more you thought about it . . . It was over $3 million from a launch.
Andrew: Okay. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered, “Was there any profit in that, or does that all go to affiliates, Facebook ads, basic salaries and then you end up with very little?” I swear, this has just been gone through my head for years.
Chad: Yeah, every business has its own profit margin. So on that launch, yeah, we definitely, it seemed like $3 million, “Wow.” You don’t get to take all of that, obviously. There definitely is affiliates. There definitely is marketing costs and team costs. I don’t remember exactly what we made on that one, but it still was about a $500,000 take home.
Andrew: You or to we? Meaning, you have to split that with multiple people.
Chad: No. That was me.
Andrew: That was just you. Okay.
Andrew: So you do have swagger. You know what? You both have swagger. I feel like Arman has swagger, I think, because you know how to express yourself really well.
Arman: Well, thank you, man. I agree with that, appreciate that.
Andrew: Chad, what is it with you, where does your swagger come from? You’re the first person I saw in San Francisco who I recognize. I was going into the BART and you were coming out, right?
Chad: Yeah, yeah. You have a great memory.
Andrew: So I got to see you even when you weren’t prepared to be seen, and I felt like even there you had this swagger in BART. Where does it come from? Is it from money? Is it from experience?
Arman: I think he’s done some shit. He’s done a lot of shit. Like, he’s done a lot of things.
Andrew: Is that what it is? Like what?
Chad: I think it’s just confidence because I have tried a lot of things. I have had businesses in six, seven different industries. And I just think I really, I have gone through almost near-death experience or once you survive that, you just have a thirst for life and it’s not [inaudible 00:04:17].
Andrew: So like what, what’s an example of something that you do that Armand does not do because he didn’t come close to death?
Chad: It’s a great question. What do I do?
Andrew: I was trying to like go through the videos that you had to get a sense of it. Yeah, go ahead.
Chad: I would say, I think when we realize that now it’s more brain type than anything, but I would say getting out in nature. I would say just like getting out in nature as much as I possibly can, because yeah, that’s my happy place, that’s a must for me.
Andrew: You’re saying, you come close to death and now you appreciate nature and give yourself more time to be in nature?
Chad: Yeah, I don’t appreciate it more, I’m just more aware of how much I appreciate it. Yeah, and I make it a must to go and actually spend time in nature, for sure.
Andrew: I don’t feel like that’s where swagger comes from. Arman, what am I missing? If we were drinking scotch, what would you tell me?
Arman: What I’d tell you about Chad’s swagger?
Andrew: Yeah. Does it come from dating? Does it come from having money in the bank?
Arman: [inaudible 00:05:09]. No, but I think that like we all come with our own baggage and shortcomings and insecurities, and I think often what people see is this swagger and that’s what we hope to exude more often than not. And that’s also a core part of ourselves. For me, what I see in the core of Chad that brings his swagger is that if he thinks it can happen and he believes it, he will make it happen no matter what.
Andrew: I could see that, and he’ll look at you with full confidence.
Arman: I just don’t know how many people that have [inaudible 00:05:35].
Andrew: Where does that come from?
Chad: Well, I just don’t know many people have been like, “I’m going to be friends with Tony Robbins,” and they go do it. I don’t know many people that say, “I’m going to be on ’60 Minutes,'” and then they go do it.
Andrew: What does it mean that you’re going to go be friends with Tony Robbins? You know, someone’s told me here in an interview that he was friends with Warren Buffett. I happen to have Warren Buffett’s assistant, his secretary’s e-mail address. I e-mail her, I said, “Is this true?” She gave me enough of a verification. I’m going to have to chat with Tony Robbins to see if you’re friends. You guys like buddies, you’re hanging out or you just saw him once or twice?
Chad: No, it’s not a buddy I’m calling every week, but Tony amongst other people are people that I volunteer for and I do have a relationship with and I try to help out. They’re always at the top of my mind because of what they’re doing in the world. He changed my life more than anybody. So for me, I have this like deep spiritual connection where it’s like, “I just want to give to somebody like that.”
Andrew: Okay. I know, this is where some people will listen to my interviews, go like, “Andrew, you just get too much into gossip, too much into personal stuff.” I feel like that informs who we are. Arman, I feel like the fact that, and I’ll get into business and how you guys are selling these journals and where it comes from, but I’ve got to ask you, you’re saying you came with your own . . . we all come with our own baggage. I had no idea about your baggage until I talked to our producer, saw his notes.
Arman: You’re right.
Andrew: Not a terrible upbringing, a nasty divorce. And as a result of that, you started mowing lawns and doing things like that. Is that right?
Arman: Yeah, the power of your pre-interview.
Andrew: Yeah, Brian Benson, he’s good.
Arman: I think like everyone has their stuff. And we live in a society now where, I think if you try . . .
Andrew: No, don’t go society, go to you. Like, I’ll tell you for me, the fact that my parents could not afford to give us health insurance and they were always worried that we would take little risks and then fall down and then they wouldn’t have health insurance to pay for it, that informed my determination to always have enough money to have health insurance for myself my kids, and I’m working like a madman all the time to never go back there. What about you, Arman, the fact that your parents went through a divorce, how did that impact you?
Arman: Yeah, well, no, what I was going to say was that I think we’re on the day and age where nobody wants the success without like, “Where did you actually come from . . . give me the authentic truth of who you are.” And I think that, we as a society, what I was going to say is, can smell through that very quickly, like that was bullshit or not.
And so for me, I chose to share that in the pre-interview. Yeah, I mean, my parents had a really, really, really nasty relationship. They’re two incredible people that were just not destined to be together. They’re both amazing human beings. And thank God, they’re so much happier now because they’re both remarried to new people, and they’re in happy relationships.
But what it did to me was like I couldn’t depend on anybody because I wasn’t being paid attention to the way I should have been. And I also wanted a sense of security for myself. So I literally have, I don’t even know how many jobs I’ve had, I don’t even know how many industries I was in. I just did it all, man. I started mowing lawns, like I told your producer by the age of seven or eight. I worked at Jamba Juice. I was in Skating Rink. I worked at Nordstrom. I sold used cars. I did mortgages. I did door-to-door sales. I mean, I’ve been told, “No,” and, “Fuck off,” and these types of things more times than I can count in my entire life.
And a lot of the work that I did was like commission-based. So I had to make it work. I just got used to making things work.
Andrew: Why did the divorce lead you to do that? You’re saying because you felt like no one was taking care of you, you had to take care of yourself from the beginning.
Arman: Yeah, we also had very little. Once my parents got divorced, we were living off, basically, my mom’s income with a little child support from my dad. And we were living in an extremely wealthy area. We were the poorest people in the neighborhood. And so, for America, I’m like, “I’m in heaven, you’re in the top 1% of the world.” But in my neighborhood I was the poor kid. I was the kid that was taking donations from other kids and their families.
Andrew: Literally donations?
Arman: Yeah, we got donations. I remember, I was on a soccer team and one of my teammates’ mom who knew we weren’t doing well, came over with my teammates’ old stuff and donated it to us. And I cried and celebrated in the house, with like joy that I got like this old stuff that to me was like super high-end Nike amazing stuff. And these are the things that I think I don’t think about often until a producer asks me, that have driven me for most of my life.
Chad: Well, and what I will say onto that because I know him, obviously, best friends and business partners, I’m even realizing this, we call him Wolf, like he’s a wolf. So he comes in and if something isn’t like . . . I’ve seen you do this so many times, whether we’re waiting for a table, whether we’re doing a business deal, whether we need to create a product, we have a deadline, you have this fire about you. Maybe it’s the swagger that you’re talking about. Where you’re just like, “This is it. I’m going to make it happen. And now I’m going to come with that certainty and I’m going to lead.” And so what that tells me is that actually made you a leader and someone that stands up.
Arman: When I don’t [follow 00:10:33].
Andrew: You guys look like high school friends, but that’s not how you met.
Andrew: Chad, you were blogging, that’s what connected you two?
Chad: No, I was still at Google when we met.
Arman: Yeah. I was launching my book and he was doing App Empire.
Arman: Launching my book and my roommate worked with you. My roommate Jason Adams did the marketing for Chad. And we were just hanging out. We were just hanging out. I invited him to my birthday party on a party bus.
Chad: Epic. I was like [inaudible 00:11:06].
Arman: That was kind of the beginning of our friendship. We were friends for years before we ever worked together. Went to the World Cup in Brazil. We traveled the world. We’ve been to a ton of countries together.
Chad: Yeah. We have.
Andrew: You were just friends first and then you had this idea for a planner. Who had the idea? How did it come about?
Arman: Well, first we had a different idea.
Andrew: What was that?
Arman: I had an idea for a book that I had no idea I was going to do with anybody. And I presented it in this mastermind group, informal mastermind group that Chad was in. And we went on this friend retreat together, and I talked about a book that was going to radically shift the workplace and that was going to help people actually find fulfillment in their work. Because I was very passionate about that after having worked at a ton of jobs and not being fulfilled.
And there was this light bulb moment for Chad and I, where Chad came up and was like, “Dude, I’ve written a book. Traditional, you’re saying you want a traditionally published book. You’re saying you want to go this route. You’re laying the out in such a linear A to Z fashion with all these steps. Why don’t you just go like this?” He literally drew a line on my board. And was like, “Why don’t you just go like this and be like this and like this and I’ll introduce to you this guy and then we would do the book together. I care about that. Why don’t we do it together? Why don’t we make it better by doing this assessment that goes with it and blah, blah, blah?” And the next thing you know, this multi-year journey started of like writing this book together that pivoted into the company Project EVO.
Andrew: See, I have to admit, I thought the reason you guys got into journal is you saw what Cathryn was doing with BestSelf. No, you saw what John Lee Dumas was doing.
Arman: No, we didn’t really know journals until we started doing market research.
Chad: We are a journal company, that’s the first part, that’s I think why. We’re not like, “This is our whole business.” It’s just one, that’s where we started. I think that’s why.
Andrew: But you were comfortable starting there because you saw other people were making money on it?
Arman: So, no, Chad was working on . . . So we were in the middle of all this work on this book, and we have this multi-year process of developing assessments. We took that assessment and Chad started thinking about things on the side and he started thinking about working on a planner. And then he kept thinking like, “Why am I not doing this with Arman?” Like, “Why aren’t we just merging all of this into one thing?”
And so we went to Summit at Sea together and that’s when Chad was like, “Yo, like what we’re doing is much more than a book or a little side hustle or a lifestyle business. We need to build a company. I’m working on this planner. We have this assessment together, and we need to merge this all into this larger mission.”
Andrew: I think when I talked to John Lee Dumas about his book, I got it, about his journal, I got it. All of his friends were writing books. People don’t read books. And then once they buy it, they’re done. John, comes out with a journal and you buy it and then you buy it again every three months because you want to keep writing in it, if it works for you. And while you’re writing it, even if you do a few different pages, you get his process. And it’s more impactful than reading a book and planning at some point in the future to use it. Right?
Andrew: That’s the thing that I didn’t pick up on when he first said to me, when he first said it to me I thought paper. Who wants paper? I missed that whole thing do. Did you feel that to, all that that analysis that I just gave right there, Chad?
Chad: I mean, for me it’s always then about, we’re in a different age right now, so technology being able to actually have this area, where not only can we understand about ourselves but we can finally use technology and AI and machine learning to help us actually being more who we are. So, I looked at it as data, I looked at it as, “I don’t want to be a journal. I don’t want to just write and people forget about.” I want to find out what are the key data points that I can actually understand about my customers so I can give them that extra 1% to make them continue the process, because we all want to do what we know we need to do. But the problem is, with planners and journalists, you stop doing it and then now becomes another relic in your living room. So I think that was their opportunity in learning what I did with apps, to be able to learn dopamine and be able to learn the triggers with people and help them actually use the product.
Andrew: You’re saying, the way that you learn to make your apps more enjoyable, you applied that methodology to the journal, to your process and also to your own app.
Let me talk about my first sponsor and then we’ll come back and understand what the product became, because I keep calling it a journal, and even before this interview started, I saw your faces as I called it a journal, it’s like, “Inappropriate, Andrew.”
All right. My first sponsors a company called DesignCrowd. I’m surprised, guys, that DesignCrowd is back to sponsor at all this year. I don’t know what happened. Here’s the deal with DesignCrowd. I can’t do design in any way. All I do is admire people’s design in every way. Like I’m looking at your jacket, Chad. I’m looking at the fact that Arman’s hair is perfectly coifed. I like the necklace, the whole. I don’t have any of that, even the shirt that I . . . It took me forever to pick out this shirt and this guy at Nordstrom had to give it to me. He also told me to get these shoes.
Oh, you like them? My wife says they make me look like a male nurse.
Arman: A swaggy.
Andrew: But I like them. These jeans have spandex in them, but I still, they do look good. But you should’ve seen the effort, and it’s not my effort. It’s the guy who picked it out for me. Anyway, it’s tough. But design has a big impact on the way that we think about people, and more importantly, the way that we think about products.
If you see my podcast cover art, and it looks kind of crappy like something I made at home, which is the way it used to look, you don’t think as highly of my work. And so forever I wanted good design, I did not explain it to designer. Every time we talked to a designer, they seemed like they think that what you’ve got in mind is stupid, and it probably is, because you do not express yourself. And then they create their own thing, which is completely disconnected and expensive.
Then I went to DesignCrowd. One night, I was drinking whiskey. Olivia was out of the house. I filled out their form, I said what I needed. Turns out, within like three fields I was able to express what I wanted. I think they know how to probe you, how to get you to like come back with something. I basically said, “Copy everything that works for Planet Money for me to put my face on it.” Because Planet Money was the number one business podcast.
I got a bunch of different designs from designers all over the world. The one that was a little bit different, I actually looked at and said, “I think I like this best.” I asked him to make a change. He made a change. Boom, I paid for it. I only paid for the one that I liked, and I had no agita. I wouldn’t have to pay for anything if it didn’t come out right. That’s the promise of DesignCrowd.
If you’re out there and you want a good design, you owe it to yourself to go to a designcrowd.com/mixergy, because you’re going to get a big discount that they only give to me. Oh, no. Oh, I went to the wrong URL, designcrowd.com/mixergy. And it’s super inexpensive.
So here’s why they’re never going to come back. They charge too freaking little. And then on top of that, I’m on the link, they save up to $100 off by using my link. How are they going to make enough money to pay for my ads? I swear, my ads are not inexpensive. Toptal, who you’ll see talk in a moment, of course, you’re hiring somebody, they have enough of a margin to pay me. How’s DesignCrowd going to when they charge peanuts? Dude, charge more. Or maybe, I don’t know their economics, they probably up to compete with others. They can’t do it.
But they’re a good company. You’re never going to see them advertise again because they charge too little. Go to designcrowd.com/mixergy while you can. We must have missed an ad for them last year, and so this is a make-up. Great, freaking company.
All right. The idea was what? At its essence, and then let’s get into the marketing and the creation of it because I know that it’s not easy to create this stuff. The idea is, what? That if we understand ourselves then we could do what to get to where? How would you explain that?
Arman: I think the idea is that, with all the education that’s out there around how to be more productive, how to be more effective, how to do anything, it’s always subjective. Based on the learnings and the research and opinion of the person that you’re learning from. And even tools that are developed are cookie cutter, to use a kind of simple phrase.
But what does that mean? It means, that it was not personalized and designed for the way that your mind uniquely works. Our research showed us that we all process and organize information differently. We’ve known this. Everybody knows this. We didn’t invent this idea, but what we did do is take these ideas, develop a way to understand, “Okay, I have preferences.” It’s like left and right handedness. I am all these—we’ll get to it—brain types. There are these four brain types.
Andrew: You’re the oracle, the alchemist, the explorer and the architect. Can you pick two that are, maybe one that you think is me based on what you know of me and one that would be the opposite, or your own types, just to give me a concrete example of how different people operate differently?
Arman: Yeah, so our guess would be then you’re an alchemist.
Andrew: Someone who prefers to leave things open-ended and need a lot of variety to thrive.
Arman: Again, I don’t just like type people by talking to them because we’re not talking about personality, that’s like disclaimer. We’re just talking about how you process information. It’s ultimately for you to decide. This is a person who loves variety. This is a person who’s an abstract thinker. Their reality is abstract and they live in a world of possibility, the world is malleable. Anything is possible. And a lot of times, these are some of the greatest thinkers, not to stroke your ego, but these are some of the greatest thinkers of all time. You know, the Da Vincis, the Einsteins. These are people that really saw the world as open-ended. With that, comes sometimes an ability to start projects, but not necessarily see through the details.
Andrew: That’s why I would think that I’m more of an oracle, I’m looking at the description, the two sentence description that you guys have on Amazon. I process data points to hone in on one specific outcome, and I tend to fixate on one idea for a long time, like think about how many different businesses people have gone through in the time that I’ve run Mixergy, because I’m obsessed. Does that sound right?
Arman: If I were you, I would take the test in full and find out.
Andrew: You know what? I did it and that’s . . . So, you’re saying I’m an alchemist, that’s more open ended, love variety, sometimes don’t complete things. All right. So then how would how would the journal, for example, change from me versus someone who’s an explorer who lives in the moment and needs a lot of freedom to thrive?
Arman: So this is where I think Chad really came in on the product and so where him and I somewhat divide and conquer, as I’m more on the marketing side and thinking about development and marketing, Chad really is, and especially, as an explorer, appreciates beautiful things and wants to create beautiful things. And so a lot of the reception we’ve gotten on the planners is that, “Holy shit, this thing is like really high quality and beautiful.” The materials are great. But as far as, like how they differentiate, I mean, like I remember Chad would ask me the craziest questions like, “Should this line be dotted because of this person’s brain type, or should the lines be slightly like should it be a box or should over here, should we break this up into three sections? How’s the spacing here?”
Andrew: So you’re saying, for someone who is more methodical, you want clear lines, clear descriptions and clear tasks in the guide, in the book. Am I right?
Chad: Every type is displayed differently. So for me, for my brain, I don’t want a list of things, where Arman does. I want just like chunks of my days. So the way it looks is different and then the prompts, things that I need to do to help me thrive are different than him.
And so those two things, the way it looks, should feel better if you want to do it. And then the thing it focuses on is actually what your need is to thrive as that type. And so that’s really the focus that we did on this planner is . . .
Andrew: Wait, I’m looking at a page within Amazon and it says, there’s a box where I’d say, “I’m grateful for . . . ” and I fill that in. Today I will find time to focus by, etc.” And then on the right, there are the most important work tasks and personal tasks that I can list. Which personality type am I looking at there?
Chad: The oracle.
Andrew: The oracle daily pages. And so the oracle is somebody who is . . . Let me see. Lots of data points, hone in on one specific outcome. So if you were to take the exact opposite of that, what would their journal look like if I had that in front of me?
Arman: So there’s basically a spectrum of the brain types. There’s the abstract side, which are oracle and alchemists, and there is real world, which are architects and explorer. And so, if I’m an architect, my secondary brain type is the alchemists, but that’s actually the one that’s closest and most similar to me. But just to use that as an example, for me as the architect, like the prompt that I have is that, what I need in order to thrive on a daily basis and have more focus and more flow is actually balance and order.
So an architect has a tendency to need to put things into order all the time. Like, “I have this whole list of stuff that I know I need to do and it’s all in my head.” As soon as they get their head and they put it into order and they order their environment, they start to feel like at peace again. They also are the most likely to be a workaholic, to burn out, to take on an insane number of things. And so what they need also is balance, and this doesn’t come naturally to them.
And as you’re saying, on the opposite of that, the alchemist, the difference between the two is that my core nature is concrete and real world as an architect. As an alchemist, the secondary type, that core nature is more abstract, like we were talking about guessing what you are.
Andrew: So here’s what I see as I look at them. For one type of person, there are clear lines under what my brain dump is for today, what I’m grateful for today. The other personality type is just an empty box. They could put in, they could write it on an angle, they could write as many different lines as they want. So it’s two different types of places to enter information. And then one group of people, I forget, for like the architect personality type, there’s a brain dump where they could just dump out all their ideas. For the other type, which is the explorer, there is no brain dump. They would just want to notes section, for example.
So what you decided to do was say, “Everybody thinks differently. We’re going to customize this for the four big group types that we see out there in the world. We’re going to create these journals first, and then create an app.” Am I right?
Andrew: And that’s the unique part that you guys did. The app came right from the beginning.
Arman: Yeah, it’s a component, it’s not an absolute. I mean, I don’t know how you describe it, but it’s a companion app for the system. Like, you can get away with not using it, but you’re just not going to get the full value of the awareness that comes with the system at all. I mean, that’s the differentiator. That’s like how you actually will develop the ability to change a habit or . . .
Andrew: What was your thinking about why would you want to have an app? Is that an app can prompt people to come back?
Chad: Many things, and this goes into the vision of what we’re building. But essentially, it’s like we all want to get better, we all want to evolve, we all want to have this certain feeling about our days. And so you know what can you do when you’re just writing in a journal? You don’t even know about feedback wise why you’re stopping, or why you’re not completing. The app is actually what we pictured as EVO is like this avatar of the app helping you finish the things that you say you’re going to do or helping you find your flow, and without the app you don’t have that intelligence, we don’t have that data.
So again, most of our whole principle is getting you to actually do these things and be this way, instead of just buying a product and not doing anything with it.
Andrew: And so once I finish writing in the journal, I then take a scan of the journal page, it goes into the app, you’ve recorded that I’ve done it and there’s a streak of how many times I’ve done it.
Andrew: And this is part of what you’re thinking of, “Hey, look, I created apps. I know how to make things sticky. I know how to get people to come back and feel competitive.” That’s part of it. The fact that this is the only journal app that I know of where I can add my friend and we can keep track of how we’re each doing is part of life.
Chad: Yeah, in life.
Andrew: The smile on Chad’s face. That’s it.
Arman: He loves hearing this. He’s like, “Wait, until you see all the other features.”
Andrew: Like what? What am I missing here that’s also good for marketers to understand?
Arman: What else are you missing?
Andrew: Yeah, what else am I missing as I look at this that’s a really good sticky thing that comes from your experience in apps?
Chad: Yeah, I think it’s just finding a home where people can really lean into the things that are most important to them, and friends to keep it sticky, but also I think what we’re doing now is building content into the app. So we’re going to find influencers, their morning routines, their ways of doing habits, their ways, you know, this oracle, the rock. So we’re going to have all these different content pieces in the app that are going to help people just push play and listen to it, because everything’s audio now. We want to wake up, hit a button, listen and learn and actually do this activity. So that’s another big component of it.
Andrew: That I get to learn about how to prioritize my day better, I get to learn how to express gratitude. You’re kind of thinking of like, “Here’s what’s happening in the calm.com world.” That’s what they created. Headspace created something.
Andrew: So now I get your idea, I get how it’s all coming together and I get why every time I say it’s just a book, you say, “It’s more than that.” Got it. I also like how in the app, there’s certain things that then trigger the monthly fee of $2.99. So you guys are also thinking about that business proposition about getting some more . . .
Arman: We’re shifting a lot of these things, like even what you were saying before about the planners, like we literally just submitted a new design. We change the design of the planner every month based on feedback. As far as the business model on the app, we shifted that, that should be gone in like a couple of weeks where we just have one subscription now for the entire system.
So they basically buy their initial planner and they go on a monthly subscription that then allows them to have credits toward future EVO planners and also unlock the premium features in the app. So we’re doing a sort of audible.com credit subscription style thing, that has actually been remarkably successful.
Andrew: How have you tested it?
Arman: I’m sorry?
Andrew: How do you even know? How did you test it?
Arman: It’s live already on our store and . . .
Andrew: On your website.
Arman: On our website, yes.
Chad: It’s not something we can do on Amazon.
Arman: And so when people actually go to check out, I mean, we’ve been running it for a while now and our conversion rate on it is insane. And we keep testing it and fine tuning it making it better, and so it’s only going to get better from here. But people want to stay in flow, like that’s the whole differentiator is, first they have a language to identify who they are, they love that. They know who they are. They have identity now or a more concrete understanding of their identity. And then they’re like, “Well, shit, this system actually helps me do more of what I love, feel better on a daily basis. I don’t want to lose that.” And so the idea of locking into the program and not dropping off to them and losing their flow is huge.
And so we did this subscription not because we were like, “Oh, how do we make more money?” Because we were like, “How do we serve this customer?” We serve them by not letting them drop off, like by staying in the system and continuously [read 00:30:03].
Andrew: I see it now. I went into your store, I hit Purchase on a book, and it immediately said, “Wait, don’t break your flow. Would you rather just upgrade to an EVO member? You’ll get $5 off today. Then you’ll pay only $10 a month, and you’ll receive credit for a new EVO planner every three months.” So that means you’re paying right now and you get the app, you get a book every three months and . . . Got it.
All right. So this was the idea. Now, let’s talk a little bit about marketing. Everyone has a good idea. You guys actually have customers. The first thing, as I understand from your conversation with our producer, Brian Benson, the first thing you guys did was you said, “Let’s put together a reservation list.” Right?
Andrew: This a list of people who pay ahead of time or they are committing to paying? What did they do?
Arman: Deposit down $5 to commit to purchase one when we went live on Kickstarter.
Andrew: How did you get that group of people to pay $5?
Arman: We put a funnel to get, we tested different versions of the funnel. I think, we had most people go through our assessment, our free brain type assessment. I think, most of them though, we actually just led to some pretty simple landing page that told and announced them that this was coming, that this EVO planner, this EVO flow system was coming. And it gave enough information that it got them excited to go down to the next step and put down $5 to get the best ever pricing, like better than the day one pricing on Kickstarter. So these people got the planner for like $20, maybe.
Chad. But we pre-sold it months and months before they even came . . .
Arman: Yeah, we killed it for months.
Chad: . . . and they didn’t know what it was. And so that was an amazing feat.
Arman: Yeah, they really didn’t know it was. Even the image of what we showed them was not what they got entirely. We improved it. We made it better.
Andrew: Chad, how much of this list came from your audience?
Arman: I mean, Chad and I both had audiences that we promoted too, but this was a new audience that we’ve built. This was an entirely new audience that we built.
Andrew: How’d you get this audience, Facebook ads?
Arman: Yeah, a lot of Facebook ads, we’ve put together different ad campaigns. We promoted ourselves, we pushed traffic different ways, we pushed our own traffic, we got people like Andrew Warner to tell people about it.
Andrew: Did I do that?
Chad: Yeah. Just like if, you know, like friends.
Andrew: Was I part of it? I didn’t realize that I did it. I’m sure, if you guys asked me, I would have done something, but did I do it?
Arman: Many people like you.
Andre: You’re saying you went out to friends, like I saw that Lewis Howes, for example, was listed on one of the Kickstarter pages. I’ve so many tabs open, I can’t even tell where. Oh, what’s their connection? Are these people actually helping you? Are their investors in the company? What’s the deal?
Arman: As an example, specifically, Lewis, no, he’s not an investor but he’s just a friend who’s helped a lot and he’s talked about it a lot on his podcast a few times, and not even as a sponsorship just as . . .
Chad: Yeah, we have like core friends, core influencers that are involved that love the mission, that this is sort of the nice thing about where we’re at, we’re able to also do that for other people and then our brands, people love it. They just want to be a part of it. So we have that opportunity for those people.
Andrew: I wonder how you guys meet these people and get them to just help promote your stuff for free, because influencers are expensive and they don’t want to talk to new people.
Let’s go into Chad first. Chad, what do you do that gets you all these friends. Is it going to Summit Series and things like that. Is it something else?
Chad: Yeah, I think that’s a big piece of it, you’re just around the right people. So summits, a lot of Robbins’ network, a lot of just masterminds, people that are doing cool shit in the world and making that a priority. And I think like anything, I don’t think it’s something that’s taught. I think if you care about people and you show up and you want to give value, then it all works out.
Andrew: So how do you give value? I picture you being someone who’s just super chill at these events and I’m the opposite. I’m like, “Let’s organize a dinner, let’s organize a scotch night. Let us go for breakfast.”
Arman: That is not Chad.
Andrew: I need my own space when I run, but I better do a running group. But you don’t do that. No, you said, Arman is laughing, and he says, “That’s not Chad.” What is Chad’s process then?
Chad: My process really is more of a, and then maybe it is my explorer piece where it’s more intuitive, and I sort of just show up, I am open but I . . .
Arman: You go deep.
Chad: Yeah, I go deep with people, but I let myself sort of, “What is the connection like? Who is a person I want to get to know?” And then when I find that connection I go super deep.
Andrew: What do you mean by super deep? Spend a lot of time together, smoke weed?
Chad: I mean, sometimes, maybe. No, I really just spend a long time, and really just, you know, I don’t know, I think I have a loose term, sometimes with like family, friends and all that. But to me, it’s just somebody I’m like, “Wow, I want to help this person. I love this person. And it’s authentic. I don’t want anything in return. So I think that’s the deep.” Those are my friends too, the people that want to show up that way for me, wow, okay, you’re like that? Yeah. Let’s roll together. Let’s do life.
Andrew: The only thing that I think you’ve got is, you’ve got a nice cool attitude about you. I’m the opposite. You’ve seen me move several times in this interview. I cannot sit still. The only thing that will get me to sit still is if there’s like food or alcohol or something for me to play with. You look like you’re comfortable enough with yourself that the world is going to come to and you don’t have to keep doing anything.
Chad: Well, I appreciate that feedback. I want to think that, and I think it’s just lots of practicing over and over. Showing up a certain way and, yeah, just playing life.
Andrew: What’s one part of you that’s worked on? I don’t want to just walk away thinking, “He just walks into a room and he’s comfortable and is looking for a . . . ” What’s one part that if you had to be honest, “This is my Andrew Warner part, where it’s a little bit like rigged but it works”?
Chad: Yeah, yeah. What is the one part of myself that I . . . ?
Andrew: That’s methodical about meeting people. That’s methodical when you really want to meet someone at an event, you’re going out to summit, your mind is going, “Should I’ve been here? Is it worth the money? Is it worth my time? Will anyone like me?” What’s the one thing that you know, “If I do this thing, I could bring myself back to sanity and get results from being here”?
Chad: Interesting. So, all right, yeah. I have been in those moments and I’m very clear with the one person that can help my mission. So if it’s a copywriter, if this person is aligned in this way. So I can quickly see a room and understand who that person is, and then I’ll be natural about it until I need to be ballsy about it. So I’ll be natural while we’re talking, but all the sudden if I got . . .
Arman: Hard ask.
Chad: . . . Yeah, an hour left or 30 minutes left, like I’ll just come in and I’ll do my homework on the person and just really be very authentic about giving them value. Like, “I know this is what you want. I have this . . . ” especially with my app background, a lot of people are on apps, so like I have that as a care already and being able to help them on an app, maybe marketing it, maybe something else.
Andrew: So if you didn’t know Arman, and Arman was at an event, Arman is a great writer and you needed a copywriter, you might go up to him and say listen, “Arman, I done a bunch of research on you. I think you’ve got an app in you, especially this thing that you wrote about a few months ago. How about I help you work on an app and maybe you can help me because my copy really stinks? My marketing on this stinks.” That’s the way that you would approach it.
Chad: No, I wouldn’t actually [go in with 00:37:10] your ask though. I would never make an ask ever, ever, ever, ever. I literally go up with the intention of like, “I like this guy, I want to help.” And then that’s it. And it really doesn’t come with a hook, like if he never gives back to me, I don’t actually care.
Andrew: Oh, really? You’d never have the hard ask, it’s just, “Well, can I help you with this?”
Chad: Yeah, it’s more of like I want people that I can play life with, business and friendships. And I think that’s obviously why I’ve created my life that way. And so, I’d be really authentic, like this guy can help me in so many ways outside of copywriting, like he has things that I don’t have and I probably will never have. So I’m just very raw, I think with the meeting. And usually, it opens up, some partnership opens up, some understanding opens up.
Andrew: Okay. Lewis Howes does that really well. I’ve said that he met me when I was in Argentina. He brought me and my wife a T-shirt. There was no request, there was no nothing. And I just felt like standing out, and even Olivia remembered him forever, and it works. I get it. So that’s what you’re saying.
And so then when you come out with this book after having done this for a while of building relationships, you have a bunch of people to call on.
Arman, what about you? You were introduced to me through Neil Patel. Neil Patel doesn’t have time for anything. But he’s the one who’s telling me, “Andrew, you should get to know this guy.” How are you getting to know all these people? Do you have a process?
Arman: I’m similar to Chad in terms of process, but our personalities are pretty different and our like approach is sort of different sometimes. But, like we kind of go through the same process where I think I fumbled and stumbled in my first couple years of being an entrepreneur. I had a scarcity mindset. I needed things to work. I needed to make money. And I misfired a few times. And I was like, “Okay, that doesn’t work. You can’t just come out and ask people for stuff.” Like it just doesn’t work. And now I have empathy for those that come up to me and they’re like, “Arman, could you please help me with blah, blah, blah?” Because I made that mistake. I got it, and I actually end up coaching those people and I’m like, “Hey, can I give you a better approach? Like don’t talk about yourself for at least the next three years,” like basically, just add value to others.
So what I did was I went hardcore the opposite direction. Actually, I just dropped it. I just dropped the need to meet somebody for something. And I’ve talked about this a lot in general, but it’s this just this idea of like I target the people that I actually want to be friends with. I mix business and friendship. And I see somebody who I may or may never do business with, and I’m just like, “That person is awesome and I really want to be friends with them.” I did that with Jason Silva, he’s literally one of my best friends right now. We’ve never done business together.
I did that with Neil. I did that with Lewis. I did that with Tim Sykes. I’ve done that with Lori Harder. I’ve done that with you. We’ve never done business together, you were introduced me and I was just like, “This guy’s cool,” and I offered to help you with stuff and that’s it. And we drink scotch and so that’s the approach. It’s just this very organic, like “I don’t care what I get out of this. I just actually want to be around people like this because entrepreneurship can be lonely,” and the way of thinking in my model of the world I need people around me that get my life, like I need that. I just do.
And then sometimes it ends up where like someone like Lewis says, “Hey, you guys want me to throw me . . . ?” Like casually, he was like, “Guys, send me a planner so I can talk about it on the show.” And we were like, “Oh, okay.” It’s just casual.
Andrew: All right. Let me talk about my second sponsor, a company called Toptal, you guys need to know about these guys. I just got a scotch here, Monday night, I’m practicing to use the equipment that we’re going to be using to record interviews with entrepreneurs around the world. I’m running a marathon on every continent. I want to meet entrepreneurs. I need to take my stuff with me. I did a great interview here. And as I’m sitting there go, “Screw it, I’m doing a live ad for it with these people watching so that I get a sense of whether I’m being a douchebag as I talk about my sponsor.” And as I do it, one of the people in the audience says, “Andrew, I’ve used them.” I said, “For what?” He goes, “For proof.” “For proof?” He goes, “Yeah, proof.”
You guys probably have seen this when you go to buy something on certain websites or enter your email address, maybe as you like on the board or trying to decide whether you should do it or not, this little widget thing comes up in the bottom left corner of your screen and says, “Hey, Chad from San Francisco just bought one of these journals.” “Hey, Arman from Sacramento just bought one.” All right. This is proof that there’s some activity here. You get to see the person’s face, you get to see where they’re from. That’s what proof is. It’s doing over $200,000 in sales. When he was starting out, he was just a guy with like an idea. He was just a guy who was a content marketer. He wasn’t a person who had access to Google level developers.
He’s heard me talk about Toptal. He actually used my URL, he got a top developer and he built this thing up to . . . Last I talked, I’m actually downplaying it, because I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but it’s over $200,000 easy in revenue for proof. All because he started out using Toptal.
So many people who I’ve interviewed have used them. If you’re out there looking for developers and you want to get the best of the best, not the cheapest, not the ones who . . . Actually, I want to one go see that the cheapest or they start to do their own hiring process, so it’s not cheapest and it’s no long-term hiring process. You just hit this URL that I’m about to give you, press the button, you’ll get on a call with somebody and you’ll tell me what you’re looking for. Go to toptal.com/mixergy, Top as in top of your head, tal as in talent, T-O-P-T-A-L.com/mixergy. When you throw that slash mixergy at the end, you’re going to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for 80 hours. I’ve said this forever. No risk, 100% satisfied, read all the details there, toptal.com/mixergy. You’ll love them.
Okay. When you went to Kickstarter to launch, how long did it take you to actually hit your goal?
Arman: Fifty-six minutes.
Andrew: Fifty-six minutes? How much money?
Arman: [inaudible 00:42:52].
Chad: Yeah. I’m proud of that.
Arman: Oh, good. Your producer asked us yesterday.
Chad: That’s true.
Andrew: What was the goal? You just talked to the producer yesterday?
Andrew: Wow, that’s fast turnaround with us. Usually people wait months. I’m glad that you’re on. So, you were aiming for $20,000 in sales and within 56 minutes you got that. And then you closed out $367,158.
Andrew: Right. Actually, your goal was $15,000. I take it back. So you hit it really fast?
Chad: Mm-hmm. That’s the pre-list that we set up.
Andrew: It’s because of the pre-list, because you went back to all those people who put down some money and you said, “It’s time.” What else did you [inaudible 00:43:27]?
Arman: Yeah, I mean, the idea was like hitting that goal as quickly as possible to really accelerate the Kickstarter algorithm and get ourselves as much of that organic through Kickstarter as we can possibly get and really exposure. Like, “Okay, they hit their goal right away. There’s momentum here.”
Andrew: Okay. So what else did you do to get more people to buy from you on Kickstarter?
Arman: On Kickstarter . . .
Chad: Did a lot of different things. And this is where you ran a lot of it, I remember.
Arman: Yeah, I mean, so we experimented with ManyChat. We had that as like a silver bullet, which was really, really powerful. It did do what it’s been, you know, the rumors around, you can get an 80%, 90% open rate. It did get that and it was very successful.
I don’t know if I would do that all over again just because you need a lot to acquire that subscriber.
Andrew: Meaning, you’d pay a lot of money to get somebody to come to a page, hit a button, and then subscribe to getting your messages via Facebook Messenger.
Andrew: It all started with ads and . . . ?
Arman: And I think once you’ve used that bullet, it’s kind of a silver bullet. I don’t think it’s like something that, this is again just from my subjective experience with it, I didn’t see it as an opportunity to keep messaging these people and getting them to take more actions, unless you really invest in like content with them and building that relationship via messenger. You have to do that, you can’t just be like, “Oh, we’re still mailing things for them to click.” So you get that we had that as a silver bullet.
We have a unique funnel, in the sense that we’re lucky that we sort of both intentionally as a result of this is what the product needs, and accidentally in the sense of like this is helpful for marketing, had an assessment to lead people to. That’s not just like some hogwash, quiz to find out something about yourself. That’s developed through some plugin. It took a lot of work and the organic nature of that, the viral nature of identifying your brain type and getting people to share, so you get one person to take that, you probably get three people as a result of that one person, because they’re like, “What’s [wrong 00:45:36]?”
Andrew: I saw that in the app. I saw on the app that as soon as I got in, it wanted to know who I was and then it gave me the opportunity to share. But before you had that, when you were in Kickstarter, how did you get people to take this quiz to see who they were and then share it?
Arman: We did have that and we were basically running a lot of ads to our assessment, and then basically going through the process of identifying their brain type and then, “Hey, by the way, you got all this value, there just so happens to be a system that’s personalized for you.” And then we would lead them to Kickstarter.
Andrew: So first an ad to know who you were, then once you know who you are, tell your friends so you can see they are . . .
Arman: That’s the value solution.
Andrew: . . . and then, by the way, we have this journal that will help you.
Chad: Yep, yep. At the right timing of everything, and I think for us we spent a lot of time on the video and making that like just really professional. And we doubled down on that video. And I think it really helped us, because people, once they watch that, they’re in there and they wanted to talk about.
Andrew: What you do in the video that was so effective?
Arman: I think we’re just kind of crazy with our standards. Like honestly, I think that’s part of it, is like whatever the video would have been, we 10x’ed it, like we didn’t except the video as it was by the producers, by the people that we worked with. We were just like, “No,” like, “Push this, no, try a different clip, try a sound there.” Like we pulled an all-nighter maybe a couple times like before the video and the Kickstarter actually went live. Like just obsessing about every detail.
But I think what we did in the video is that we were rational and logical with our proposition, and we also like really tapped into the emotions that we are all feeling right now. And that’s where you started was around this idea of like, “I don’t know if I buy this idea, if I’m burned out or not or I feel it all the time, but like I don’t think I want to change.” I 100% think that many people today are feeling that, I know that, I know that they’re upset, I know that they’re unfulfilled, I know that they want more for their lives. That’s why this resonates.
Andrew: I saw that. It wasn’t just the journal. It wasn’t just your personality types. It started with the way we think about success is wrong or the people think about success is wrong. Let me give you this new framework. Andrew trying to work himself to the point where he’s going to be too dizzy to sit in this chair. That’s not right. We’re taking a stand. Now, by the way, we have this thing . . . Got it.
Arman: For you, Andrew, we’re taking a stand for you. You deserve better.
Andrew: And by the way, as we’re talking, I’m still doing research on you. Like you talked about doing this personality test or assessment. I’m looking to see what software you use. I know you guys had a WordPress site in the beginning. I just don’t see what tool you just use.
Chad: We didn’t use a software. We actually built it into our WordPress site.
Andrew: Using what, like a form plugin?
Arman: Yeah, there was a plugin. But now we’ve built it differently than it used to be, I think it was built on a plug in before. And then now we’ve rebuilt it. The current version is different.
Andrew: All right. Let me continue then. So Kickstarter, after Kickstarter you guys go to Indiegogo. So Kickstarter was, what, $300,000 if I remember right? I don’t see it, somewhere, $250,000?
Arman: $360,000, yeah. I think $360,000 is [a low number 00:48:48].
Andrew: $368,000 and then you go to Indiegogo and you launch again with $1 million. Why do you go back to Indiegogo after you launched already?
Arman: I think, because from a marketing, from a business perspective, Kickstarter requires exclusivity. And if you’ve gone on Indiegogo, you can’t go on Kickstarter. And so, once we finished with Kickstarter, we rolled over to Indiegogo and we’re like, “Why not? While we are building out this business, why don’t we continue this crowdfunding effort? Let’s just keep going. It just makes sense.”
And so then we got all this momentum and everything that was working, all the systems that were already developed, let’s just keep using them while we go and build our site, our funnel, our system . . . like building you can’t take the success of even those ads and apply them to your own store. It’s a whole new business and a whole new ballgame you’re developing.
Andrew: What crowdfunding is?
Arman: Crowdfunding is but even just like the whole business that was developed. There’s no proof of a model for Shopify. You’re starting from scratch. So we needed time to go figure that out. And why don’t we just . . .
Andrew: Okay. So you’re doing Indiegogo, what did you do differently that allowed you to 3x your results?
Arman: Well, it was just a factor of, I think, time. I think the acceleration of those results of people actually sharing. I think that we learned more, we got more data, we had more people that were sharing and spreading the word. We had people that finally received the planners and went, “Holy shit. Oh, my God, this is beautiful.” And started telling people about it. So we’ve had like three four shipment waves while that Indiegogo was open. And then so I think that led people to just obviously like, “Look, it’s real, like I got it.” And more people purchased it.
Andrew: Okay. You told our producer, Brian Benson, you said, “Look, we tested everything. We tested driving people to brain type assessments, we tested events, we tested sponsored events, we tested influencers, talking about, etc.” What are sponsored events or what do you do with events? Let me see if I can standup.
Arman: I think what I meant by that is . . . There it is, yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Andrew: Yes, it’s a sit down stand up desk.
Arman: I think I was talking about like sponsoring. So we sponsored . . . a lot of people know Genius Network. So we sponsored that event with EVO planners. We gave like 250, 300 EVO planners away.
Andrew: To all the attendees?
Andrew. What’s his name, the guy we used to be in a carpet cleaning space, what . . . ?
Chad: Joe Polish.
Andrew: That’s his event. So everyone went to his event, got one of these journals, how does that help you sell more?
Arman: I don’t know.
Andrew: Just like, “Hey, let’s spread the word. Maybe one of them will talk about it.”
Arman: Influencers can go and make seven figures or more, they’re business leaders. We don’t know how to measure it. We tried to measure it to the best of our ability, we put a QR code on there. We tried to measure like, “What does this lead to sales and what not?” But I mean, it was a [risk 00:51:38].
Chad: It’s a tough one. On that one it’s like, those people typically are like they’re amazing people and they have the same problems we all do, finding our flow, burning out. So we’re thinking . . .
Arman: Help them.
Chad: . . . “Okay, if this going to help them, then they’re going to talk about in the world and they have major audiences,” and so it’s really just getting into a relationship with those people and knowing that we have an amazing product that will actually help.
Andrew: Did you have to pay Joe’s people to be able to do that?
Andrew: Okay. All right, so you gave it out. What worked best?
Arman: For all these things?
Andrew: For getting more sales in Indiegogo.
Arman: Number one thing.
Andrew: What worked? What’s one of the things that worked specially as well?
Arman: I think there was one thing that we can control and the thing that we couldn’t, that just happened. I think that what worked best is all the obsession into creating something that actually helps people upfront. And that led to how do you measure virality? How do you measure something, you know, one equals three? How do you do that? It’s difficult. So that works for us. Like, okay, just making sure that it actually worked. That the benefit, that the assessment actually gave people serious results and a major aha.
And the part that we could control outside of that, I think was getting really experimental with our ads and just doing interesting things.
Andrew: And that was you sitting down on Facebook ads, Google ads, you making those adjustments.
Arman: No, neither one of us is very good at that.
Andrew: Who did that?
Arman: We’ve worked with different people. Right now we’re working with a company called eBoost, San Diego.
Andrew: I don’t know eBoost.
Arman: Yeah, it is a friend of a friend. They’re really, really awesome, amazing guys. Actually, I highly recommend them, highly recommend them, they’re extremely professional.
Andrew: What do they do that’s so different?
Arman: Their attention to detail is just awesome, and they just are constantly experimenting and their standards are high, like ours. We also used an agency called LaunchBoom, and one of the people at that agency was pretty rock solid with Facebook ads, very different approach, far less methodical, more experimental, but obviously, got us a lot of results. So those guys were good too. We’ve tried a few different like media buyers.
Chad: Yeah, I feel like it’s less about one tactic and more about, again, the standard of, “How’s the video look, how’s these screenshots, how’s the story, what about the . . . ” Like we were just methodical about that, and I think in this day and age, there’s such a gap between people that just throw stuff up and even try out his like one offs, and then people that actually take the time to do it the right way. And I think we really did, and luckily like I have some app stuff, but I don’t have a copy. I don’t have his mind. So it’s like our collaboration is the only reason this was able to do so well. And as our team was built, we were able to lean on each other because we’re all different types [inaudible 00:54:34] it’s power.
Andrew: One of you told Brian in the pre-interview that Chad mainly did lifestyle stuff where he could build a . . . What does that mean? Was Chad just hanging out?
Chad: I think before that, before EVO it was mainly, yeah, I was building up app companies and selling them off and I was all lifestyle. I was all lifestyle.
Andrew: Just like enjoying your life. That’s what it is. And so the hard part is now you got to get down to work with someone who cares about . . .
Arman: Responsibility. Yeah, like the difference between being a solopreneur or entrepreneur that is fully able to be free in that sense, versus like, “Oh, we’re executives building a company and founders.”
Chad: Yeah, I thought freedom was very different than, actually I think we both, thought freedom was like, “Okay, make a lot of money, chill out. I’ve no responsibility.” But really if you don’t dig deep within yourself to find out what you actually need to do and show up for your perfect day, then you’re missing out this whole other piece of life.
Arman: I think we’ve prevented another crisis of meaning by making this shift. I think that if we would’ve stayed like lifestyle entrepreneurs, we would have ended up empty again. So it’s the best thing we ever done and it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done. For sure.
Andrew: I’m telling a person who I was supposed to meet, I want more time with you guys. I’m texting him and saying, “No, I need more time.”
Chad: [Get gone 00:55:02].
Andrew: “I need more time.” Yeah, Arman, one of the things that stuck out for me about your blog a long time ago was like, all the photos of you in these beautiful spots and you’re actually enjoying yourself and enjoying the fact that you’re being photographed, and I can’t get to that point. I always need to do something. I can’t sit still. I took this photographer who did really good work for me and I said, “We can hang out, but first let’s go have alcohol.” I swear, I’m not that much of a drinker.
But I needed him to understand who I was. And I said, “Don’t have me just sit somewhere. I can’t do it. It’s going to always come across phony. Have me to be too bothered to be photographed, moving all the time.” It was great, was great.
But you’re enjoying yourself, like look at this, on the bio, on the right side of your site, Arman Assadi, you’re sitting on this wall, it’s beautiful, it looks like Italian country side behind you. And you’re smiling like you’re enjoying yourself, not a care in the world.
Chad: That is him.
Arman: Those are fleeting moments though where my now fiancée will actually like forced me to take photo.
Andrew: Oh so you’re laughing, like, “All right, I’ll do it, I’ll sit here and do it.”
All right. Let’s talk about selling on Shopify. It’s not as easy as people say it is, it’s not easy at all. There’s no built-in market. Most people just want to Amazon shipments. So what’s one thing that is work for you there?
Chad: Yeah, we’ve got a lot of amazing things that work for us there.
Andrew: If you need help with some prompts, I kind of looked you up on a SimilarWeb. For some reason looks like LinkedIn was sending guys traffic. Were you writing articles on LinkedIn that got you traffic?
Chad: We didn’t. [inaudible 00:57:27].
Andrew: You didn’t. Okay. And then now we [Getwsodo 00:57:35]. What is gets Getwsodo? They were sending you some traffic?
Arman: I mean, we got some referral traffic from different things like we got hit up by Forbes. I think that helped for a bit. It gave us some like domain boost and some extra traffic. We did a cool interview with them. But I think that it was the momentum of there was a lot of excitement behind this planner. And when people finally started receiving it, I think a lot of our traffic is direct and it came from people just being like, “What is EVO planner? What is it?”
Chad: They were talking about it.
Arman: And our website finally went live and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t have to buy it on Indiegogo. I can buy it on this.” And then we built up this email list of people that were, I mean, we’ve had a lot of buyers but a lot of them never bought. So when we finally announced that we’re live on our own site and shipping and we’re totally in stock, I think that also created another positive effect.
But it’s the accumulation of all these things and you’re absolutely right. Shopify is not easy, but we’re lucky in the sense that we’ve been developing and building a list of people for a year that were interested in the concept of brain type, in flow, in focus and so they make the decision to buy right after taking assessment or one year later. We don’t know if they’re going to make that decision. So we just keep investing and like educating them and giving them concepts, and they suddenly decide like today’s the day, “I’m getting in the system.”
Andrew: I want to close out with tips for creating a product that you’re proud of. Product creation can be really tough. I know guys have had issues with labeling and stuff like that. For anyone who wants to create a book, a product at all, what tips do you have based on your experience creating an EVO planner?
Chad: Yeah, I think the first one is a cliché. Everyone knows it, but few I think actually follow through there, is build something that you 100% know your customers want. And so it’s easy as an entrepreneur, as a visionary, as someone that feels so close to your customers to build something you think they want. But for us . . .
Andrew: How did you know they wanted it?
Andrew: How do you know they wanted it, surveys?
Chad: For us, yeah, it was building that relationship beforehand and sending them surveys, saying them, “What about this, what about this prompt, you like that prompt?”
Andrew: Got it, and the concept, the text in the journals that gets people to write. Where did you go to have it printed?
Arman: Very far. We went to China. We literally went to . . .
Andrew: Literally flew to China to go check out the printing.
Arman: Printing materials and toxicity pollution poisoning.
Andrew: You guys were looking at each individual page, looking at what it would look like printed out.
Chad: Multiple factories, feeling the material.
Andrew: Did they make the book for you there so you could see it or that took a while?
Chad: We would get samples sent to us back and forth, but like what we got to see there was like the bulk materials, the raw materials.
Andrew: How did you know which factories to go and talk to? Sorry, Chad.
Chad: Well, I was just going to say, I remember that moment we actually had samples that when we left China, I remember getting a sample, probably the first time after a year that we went back and forth, we had a million iterations. We finally had the material. I remember like holding it on the plane, it’s like, “Oh, yes, a little baby. Yes.” It was so exiting.
Arman: Exactly true. And you kept smelling it.
Chad: Yeah. That’s a weird thing that I can’t figure myself.
Arman: He kept smelling it. He still smells the planners every time we get a new one.
Chad: Some time . . .
Andrew: I get, people who don’t switch to Kindles will often say, “There’s something about the smell of a book, and if it’s your own book so much sweeter.”
All right. The website is, and they don’t want me to just focus on the fact that it’s a journal, even though that’s where I spent most of my time here, it’s this idea that we all think differently. We all achieve flow differently. And if you want to read more about that, go check out projectevo.org, because dot com would be a little too commercial for these hippies, projectevo.org.
And you know what? I like you guys both individual a lot, and then I still, as people know, I go into just like the app store to see, maybe their app actually sucks and I could bring that up. Maybe people don’t like the app. No, sure enough, the app is good and people really like it. You have a lot of high ratings. It’s like over a 1,000 people already have rated it, 4.5 stars, much more than we Evernote.
Arman: I didn’t know that.
Andrew: All right, guys, go check them out. And I should also thank my two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will get your stuff designed right. They’ll even do books. I should’ve said this in the ad itself. Website, brochures, books, business card. Nobody needs a business card anymore, do they? Whatever you need that’s design, get a crowd of people to design it for you a designcrowd.com/mixergy.
And if you want to hire a developer, really a great developer, the best of the best, this is so many people I’ve interviewed have started their businesses like that. Dave from Proof. Who was it? Nathan Latka, when he took over a plugin that he bought, he went directly to Toptal and said, “Now, here’s how I need you to add some revenue to this thing.” And they added a revenue feature for it. So if you want to be like so many people I’ve interviewed who’ve gotten great results, go to toptal.com/mixergy.
And finally . . . What’s like the last thing I should be promoting? Oh, here’s the thing, I got to tell you guys, this is something I’m super excited about. I interviewed this guy, Scott Bintz, he cannot pronounce e-commerce right. I shouldn’t say this, I’m a little embarrassed that I did it, but he built this company that sold car parts online, truck parts online, got it to a few million dollars, was unfulfilled, didn’t love it. And he started going out to different companies to learn how to improve.
And he went to Tony Hsieh at Zappos to see how he did it. He went to Google, he took pictures of himself, like the whole thing. And he learned about culture and then he came up with this process for culture. And he then went to his team and said, “Here’s what we all as a company believe in. Every month we’re going to take a different part of our culture, and we’re going to implement it. We’re going to reward people for it and so on.” I did a course with him and then this year we’re doing that. We’re saying, “Look, here are the six things that you have to know to get to do well if you’re working at Mixergy.”
One of them is you have to act like a CEO. Don’t come to me asking for permission to do stuff. If stuff breaks, you have to act like a CEO and then lead it. And if you can’t do it, you’re really going to not do well here.
Another one is we do less. Just keep looking around and not say, “What can we do more of?” But, “What can we eliminate?” What could you eliminate. It’s so liberating. People now on our monthly call, because that’s what this month’s goal is, everyone has to find something they do less of. People feel so liberated. At first it was like, “Andrew, I don’t know. I was thinking maybe we shouldn’t do.” And they tell me what we shouldn’t be doing, like maybe we should test out like not putting so much effort into the subjects of our posts. Maybe all people care about is the company name or . . . I don’t know. Great. Let’s test it. Let’s see how it works. It’s so freaking liberating. Some ideas work, some won’t. We love it. It’s helping us really enjoy working together a lot.
All because I created this course with Scott Bintz, the guy who started out with a few million dollars. Actually, start out with zero, got a few million dollars, got plateaued. Then, came up with culture, took his business to over $100 million dollars. He spent so much time with me talking to me about culture. We created this course. I’m following it. If you’re out there and you’re not getting your company to grow and you’re listening, you’ve got to go check out this course.
Even if it’s not like full, “I don’t have employees because I don’t work well with employees. I work with what a team of people who’s consistent.”
Listen, if you want to go check it out, that’s part of the reason why, Chad, I never thought that I needed culture because I don’t really have people who work here in my office. I don’t. But I realized, it’s part of my culture. And I should enforce that.
Anyway, if you’re out there and you want to go check it out, it’s mixergy.com/scott. Scott Bintz is freaking phenomenal. I love that guy. Or get his book, Scott Bintz. mixergy.com/scott or Scott Bintz’s book in Amazon.
That was a little bit of plugging at the end, wasn’t it? Was that shameless? Be open with me, I’m watching your faces as I do it. It’s like, “Okay, when is it going to be done?”
Arman: You’re doing your thing, man. You do it well.
Chad: Yeah, those were some very good tips.
Chad: You’re doing your thing.
Andrew: Thank you. Thanks guys. And I hope to see you somewhere in San Francisco. But I’m guessing I probably won’t. I’ll see you somewhere . . .
Arman: Well, you never know, we come up a lot. Yeah, thank you for the thoughtful questions, Andrew, appreciate it.
Andrew: You bet. Thanks for being on here. Bye, everyone.