Ethan Dobbins - Compete At Your Highest Level And Prepare Your Ecommerce Business For Endgame
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Ethan Dobbins is a serial eCommerce entrepreneur and Founder of Dropshipping Warrios, an e-commerce learning program that teaches entrepreneurs how to start their own e-commerce business.
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Ethan Dobbins: [00:00:00] Yeah, I know everybody has different philosophies and ways they approach how they actually pay themselves. I know in the beginning, when you're starting your salary is basically nothing like you're not going to be paying yourself. If you as the business owner taking in more than 10% of your profit, you're doing something wrong. You should never be doing that. You should never be making more than that because you should always be reinvesting all that excess about 10% back into your business, whether that's hiring new employees, having faster shipping lines, having better suppliers, having more products that you're offering. That's usually a general rule.
Joseph: [00:00:35] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable. So let's go.
We've discussed running stores successfully for some time now, but one subject we haven't broached too much on the program is the exit. My guest today, Ethan Dobbins tackles this subject head-on and it's an important one to consider. It's possible you wouldn't see any major gains until it's sold. Your business that is. At 19 in this recording, Ethan says an example for how to condition yourself to handle business at this level and where to take your career into the future.
Ethan Dobbins. It is good, if not great to have you here on Ecomonics, how are you doing today? How you feeling?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:01:33] Uh, I'm feeling extremely excited. I've been circling this on my calendar for a while.
I love this show and I've listened to a ton of interviews you pass and you seem like an amazing host so I was really excited just to, yeah, just share some value, share my story and, uh, really help your listeners progress in their e-commerce journey and just give them as much value as possible.
Joseph: [00:01:52] Well, it's great to have you, and it doesn't mean a lot that, you know, for, for a lot of the guests have actually technically, technically all of the guests have, um, progressed quite, quite a long, quite a ways in their career.
And so to get that feedback, to know that I'm doing a job that is up to that level, it does mean a lot. So, you know, I do appreciate it.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:02:09] No problem at all.
Joseph: [00:02:10] Yeah. Uh, I'll just, uh, it'll allow myself to sleep as I, as I think of it. Anyways, opening question, tell us what you do. Tell us what you're up to these days.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:02:18] So right now I currently run multiple e-commerce stores in the home decor niche and women's clothing niche. I recently, well, not rarely recently, but about a year ago, I exited my first ever company, which was a sport jewelry brand and made a healthy profit from that. So I was able to take that money reinvest into other ventures, like starting my own coaching business, where I teach beginner entrepreneurs, how to start and scale their own e-commerce store along with just helping my own stores and building systems and hiring teams. And I would say my latest project, I really had a lot of energy and had been putting a lot of time into is a mobile app, a social media app for musicians. And I put in the time of hiring a developer team, getting a patent. So I've just been able to sort of shift my energy from e-commerce, which I've been focused on in the last three years to a different industry and really just exploring and learning more because honestly at the end of the day, there's so much you can learn out there and there's so many different industries, so I'm just like, well, why not try to expand my reach and to see what I can do. So those are pretty much all my businesses in the moment coaching e-commerce and also mobile app. So those are the things I'm working on.
Joseph: [00:03:24] I did have that chamber as a question because if I don't see intuitively from, from my prep, like where about the guests is branching out, I take it upon myself to find that out. And so that's one of the things I wanted to know is like, you know, we're where you're branching out to. I do get guests, they'll, they'll start, they'll do the agencies.
It would do their coaching services. One person that I spoke to a couple of weeks ago. It's not out yet as the time of this recording. So you hadn't had a chance to listen to it. But, um, Jeffrey Ho, he was a great guest because he had, he'd only learned so much from his prior line of work gets into e-commerce.
And again, it feels like he needed to learn a lot more. So then he steps back out of it and. You know, at any minute now he'll be coming back into e-commerce. So it's, it's one of the, I think one of the most encouraging things about this method is that you have some paths where you need to be like 10, maybe 15 years to build up that same kind of capital.
And it's a one-to-one relationship between the work and the money earned. Whereas here it's condensed into what, how long did it take you like two years, three years before you were able to have the capital to then move into another, um, field of work?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:04:27] Yeah that's pretty much my entire mindset. I mean, I see so many videos and successful entrepreneurs always saying, you need to have a five-year plan or a 15 year plan.
You need to know what you're actually aiming to do so that all your steps before that can really align to your ultimate goal. So to actually build the capital, I would say in my first year I did build enough capital and to get into a mobile app. Really, if you want to build your own mobile app, it can be ranging from $20,000 to a hundred thousand dollars.
So I was able to build up the capital in the first year. I just never really explored into the other industries because I was so passionate about e-commerce. I just really wanted to learn everything I could. So it took me about a year. Um, but at this point, because I've exited a company and I was able to get a good payday from that.
And I still have companies today. Uh, I'm able to just use one I'm actually making right now, just for that app. And it's costing me about, let's say maybe like 25 grand, just because you have to hire a developer team yet that lawyers for patents to make sure everything's proprietary and no one can steal your idea and NDAs, and there's so much different expenses and also marketing so that people actually know your app exists.
So, um, I would say, probably took me about a year, uh, because there was just so much you had to do. And I had to find my first winning product that I scaled eventually to about a thousand, $2,000 a day.
Joseph: [00:05:41] I just want to go on record and say at some point, if somebody does try to take your music app, um, be prepared that they're probably gonna say, no, it's not, I'm not stealing it. I'm doing a cover.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:05:49] Oh yeah. Uh, I mean, and even if you do have the right patterns, like, you know, Uber was the first ride sharing app and then Lyft comes out like a year later and happens all the time. So you can have all the patents, but hey, if I just did 90% of what you did in slightly different. Then my thing is different.
I mean, that's every single dating app to Tinder and hinge. They're all pretty much the same concept. They just have a slightly different component to it. So it's hard to really protect an idea. You just have to, you know, make your thing the best really that's all you can do.
Joseph: [00:06:16] Well, I'm I'm, I am, I'm intrigued by that and we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll get into that.
Um, but before we do that, I want to hear your, know, your e-commerce backstory is, you know, what, what drove you into it in the first place? And what path did you think you were going to be on prior to its discovery?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:06:34] Yeah, honestly, throughout middle school, uh, my whole thought and then just growing up as well as like, I always wanted to be a professional baseball player.
That was my whole entire goal, be a professional athlete. Um, I'm still hugely involved in, devoted into sports. I still play right now as a semi-professional soccer player. So I'm still having that goal in my head. But when I was in middle school and I was growing up, I was never really good in school. And that's a lot of entrepreneurs.
I mean, I had ADD, I could never focus. I was always the class clown getting in trouble, getting detentions, all that stuff. Just the typical cliches, just because I just didn't really enjoy it as much. I mean, there were some classes I did enjoy where the teacher was just so passionate about it. And if I can tell someone's passionate, I'll put in the work like with my history teachers, I love AP US history.
I love AP statistics. I love all those classes, um, a lot because just the teachers and who's actually teaching the subjects passionately. But, um, when I was graduating high school and when I was in high school, just a lot of times, I sort of felt like I didn't really have a purpose and I can notice everyone else around me that was in my AP classes were like, well, I want to be a doctor and I want to be this.
And I didn't really have my niche. I didn't really have my thing. I just knew, okay. I like sports, but obviously statistics are against me here. Like there's millions of athletes in the world. There's only so many spots. And then also I knew I'm not going to be, you know, an investment banker working on wall street, going to an Ivy league school.
I'm not that smart. I just don't care enough. Or at least I wasn't going to put in the work because I just didn't care about school enough. So I sort of had a crossroads and I was like 15 years old where I was like, man, I need to do something because deep down I want to have the biggest impact I can on as many people as possible.
I want to have a legacy. That's my ultimate goal. And that's just how I approach every business opportunity. I want to create the thing that impacts as many people as possible. That's why I'm getting into this app. And that's why I started e-commerce. So when I was about 16 years old, I started to do research and I just looked up on Google.
How to make money online as a teenager, how to make money online fast. I did the whole, when it's to all these different industries, affiliate marketing, and then I looked at drop shipping and Amazon FBA. And then eventually I settled on drop shipping and I realized, okay, this is a real business. I need to save up money and I don't have any.
So I went out, became an empire, started umpiring little kid's baseball games, made $20 a game. I'd have drunk parents just yelling at me because I would make a call against their son. I would just say, hey, your son's out. They would just be cursing at me. I'm like 16 at the time. I don't even understand any of this.
So I'm just like, I'm just here to get my pay. And then eventually after umpiring a lot, I started buying Instagram accounts and I would buy these niche, Instagram accounts for 50 bucks. And that was a huge deal to me. That was like a major acquisition of a business. And then I would grow them up for a couple of months and I would sell them for 500 bucks or a thousand dollars.
And when I think about it in hindsight, two to three months of work of growing an account. Just being really laser focused and only making $400. It is pennies. But to me that was something, it was progress. So I was able to save up the money, put it into drop shipping. I lost about two grand, honestly, my first job doing business.
Cause I was just because when you're doing something for the first time you're going to fail. It's inevitable. That's just a part of the process. You think you're going to be successful. You're going to have a rude awakening. And honestly failing is apart of it. And everyone knows that, but usually when you're frustrated and failing, that's when you're making progress.
Like if I'm at the gym and I'm working out, I know I had a good workout if I'm sore. So if I'm frustrated and I'm like, oh my God, this problem, or Facebook ads or doing copywriting, this is so complicated. And there's no way I'm going to learn all this. That usually means I'm learning a lot and I'm going to be on the right track.
So I was doing that, uh, lost a couple thousand dollars then had to go back to my job and eventually saved up some more money. Found a winning product. After I invested with this mentor who ran his own Facebook ads agency. So he taught me how to do Facebook ads. I found this really cool baseball cross necklace.
It was two baseball bats that made a cross together, sold it to baseball players. It's super well scaled to $2,000 a day. And I was like, holy crap. This is insane. Like I, any time I would just contact an influencer and Instagram pay him 50 bucks, I was making $200 back every single time. And I was manually fulfilling the orders, typing the address is doing all this.
So take me two hours a day, cause it be getting so many orders. And during that summer I was just going nuts. I was buying all these shoes because I was like, I finally have money now. I buy a $500 pair of LeBrons. And I was like, I thought I was an absolute baller. And then suddenly all the money I made was already gone.
So I had to go find new products and reinvest back into the business. Um, and then eventually two years later after just scaling and finding a bunch of different necklaces and jewelry, I was contacted by this other company that was a Christian sports jewelry company. I can't really say the name. Um, but they reached out to me and like, hey, we love your business.
We think it's awesome. We want to basically buy your company and just get the customer database. Cause I had about 10,000 customers at the time, a lot of repeat customers. So it was a good business and they had a really good email list. So I had to create a business plan, which of, none of you have ever done this.
It is a pain in the ass. It's about a 30 page report where you literally have to say, okay, what's the problem I solved. What's the opportunity. What's my target market. What's the demographic. What's my company history. What's my management history. How is the company structured? I mean, it's just so many different things and you have to do, oh, what's the projections, the finances.
I literally every single detail about the company before you sell it. What after literally negotiating and doing interviews for two months, finally settled on a price. I sold that company, got into other ventures and was able to actually spread my time. Cause I was like, after three years, I sort of got a little bit fatigued on, I just wanted to do something else.
And then I started coaching just cause I had a lot of people reaching out to me cause they saw, Hey, you know, you've been in is posting all these stories where he's doing a thousand dollars a day. I want to do that. So then I got into coaching and, uh, of some other stores and then, uh, eventually just laying on the whole app idea.
So that's pretty much everything in a nutshell.
Joseph: [00:12:29] You're pretty good storyteller. I got to say I'm just like jotting note after note. So the, so the business that you had said earlier, the one that you had exited that as the, the, the back cross one, right?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:12:37] Uh, yeah. Yeah. It was the same one. It was a sports jewelry store called Omero sports. Yeah.
Joseph: [00:12:41] Okay. See, part of this that I find interesting, if not a little funny is that like this, uh, this Christian sports company, they reach out to you because they want to buy the business. So to me, it's pretty funny that you had then had to write a business plan as if you were pitching it to the many ways.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:12:56] Yeah. You have to, honestly, they just have to know all the different financials. I mean, they were interested in the business, but like, how is it structured? They need to know, oh, do you have full shares of the company? Who else is a part of the company? Who are we actually buying here? What's your team? Like, why should we buy it?
And there was just so much that went into it. Um, but you have to be able to do that. I mean, and that's where I sort of got a taste of like, oh, so this is how a real company actually. Makes all their plans and decisions. They have this all mapped out before they even start building the business side. None of that, I was just like, all right, I need to find a product.
I need to sell it and make some sales and make sure I'm just making more money than I spent. So that was my whole goal initially. So that was, this is the way I was looking at it, but it was a nice, rude awakening, I would say.
Joseph: [00:13:35] Well, I, if there's one thing that's, uh, already like a preliminary takeaway for the audiences, uh, you know, let's just say that the business is going well.
It wouldn't be such a bad idea to develop that, uh, business plan in advance in the event that somebody reaches out. Cause, cause we don't know, right. Somebody might, uh, staples might come along and be interested in what I, and what I'm offering. And I would have to have something ready to, to work with them.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:13:59] Yeah. I would say that's, that should be the goal, honestly, of every entrepreneur, your goal. I mean, we love building brands, but at the end of the day, you want to make the big pay day. It's always going to be the exits whenever you see, oh, this company was sold for 400 million headed, the owner had 10% stake, so they just made $40 million.
It's always, that's going to be the big payday when you sell the company. So you should, and this is how I know I'm going to take a lot of my future businesses because I know I can't sell my coaching business, even though, hey, I've done $240,000 in revenue this year, so that's great. I can't sell this company.
So at the end of the day, I'm not going to have that big payday because it's my face. I can't sell, you know what I do. So I want to build other companies that are not my face and eventually scale them up, have good numbers to have good financials. Cause that's when you actually really make the money here, I'm sure you can get to $2,000 a day with your brand.
And that's great, but hey, when you sell a company that's doing $2,000 a day, you're going to get a much bigger payday. So that should really be the ultimate goal of, I want to scale this company for a couple of years, build up the customer base, build up the team and eventually sell this to another company.
That's how pretty much almost, I would say every single really successful millionaire tries to build that because it's like, if you look at any billionaire like Mark Cuban, for example, I mean, he had a, just a business where he was basically broadcasting different college sports games just nationwide.
And he just filled up the stand base. Uh, I just use their base and maybe like 500,000 people. And he did that for a couple of years and that was his whole goal. He just wanted to build this company for a couple of years, and then he sold it to Yahoo for about, I believe it was like $5 billion because it was just in the height of the whole tech boom tech, tech bubble, whatever you want to call it.
And that company just totally busted literally two years later because Yahoo didn't know what to do with it, but that should be your goal. Yeah. If you really want to make it, I mean, and get those huge pheasants.
Joseph: [00:15:45] Hey, I've uh, had, uh, I'm not a keeping exact track, although I suppose I, I woulda coulda shoulda, I think we're on like 85, 86 interviews so far.
And this is probably the first, um, time that we've really had somebody, um, be that. Um, uh, forthcoming with the, the ultimate goal, which is to sell the business. We have talked to Mark Daoust, who runs quiet light brokerage, and he, uh, specializes in, um, and selling online businesses. So it is like a subject that we've covered before.
Um, but I think you make a really good point. And here's the, I guess the, the, the, the conflict that would be going through my mind, which is one of the, one of the things that makes a smaller businesses and e-commerce businesses appealing is the idea of, um, rooting for the underdog. And, and a lot of that does come from making a more, um, profound or a more personal connection with the mission of it.
And it depends on the, on the story of it. So like one business, for instance, that I had researched a very early on, you know, there's something gluten-free cookies because her daughter needed a gluten-free cookies. Right. So like, you know, there's definitely like a sentimental, um, uh, component to it. So when you're marketing these stores, how far can you go on that to create still that connection to the, to the audience, to the customers? Um, well, so giving yourself kind of like the, the safety, uh, hatch to then disconnect when the time comes.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:17:10] Yeah. Obviously you do want to build a community people in the beginning. That's the approach I took with my first business, umero sports. When I was growing it, I remember when I was on my Instagram account, I literally would be following, I would say probably 50 people an hour about 500 people a day, just because I wanted to reach out to people.
I was messaging them in the DM saying, hey, you are going to love this necklace. I mean, we're just a small brand. Uh, but we have really great prices. And we think that this is something you haven't seen before. So yeah, I mean, to a certain in the beginning, you have to start small. That's how every single company starts.
You have to start small, see if this is an idea that people want. And once you get that validation, that your idea is good. And then you got to do proper customer research. So I would say obviously a lot of people like, yeah, I just want to have a nice small business. That's making money, but at the end of the day, I think we're all entrepreneurs.
We want to scale stuff. We want to build legitimate teams. We don't want to just always be the solo preneur who handles every single thing. We have to be the firefighter all the time handling and putting out fires in our business for, oh, I have 10 angry customers because that means I gotta email them or I have to fulfill my orders or I have to make the ads or I have to just make the website.
I mean, there's just so many different aspects of it. So to a certain point in the beginning, yeah, you start small. Find a few products that you like starting, you know, putting 40, $50 testing them. But once you have something that works, you should be considering, okay, how can I finally hire a virtual assistant so that I can grow this company a little bit more?
And even when you're growing your company, that doesn't mean you have to be disassociated with your audience to just be a complete, uh, we're just a giant skyscraper company. You can't talk to us. We're just a bunch of suits. No, I mean, you could still have social media managers and people that are building up your audience and communicating with, you know, the people that follow you all the time.
So I don't say just because you're a smaller company or you're a bigger company that doesn't mean you're necessarily, uh, not talking to your audience that are not engaging with them. So I think you can always do that despite, and I would say with the more sales you make and the more money you make, you can put more money reinvested back into having a better experience for your customers, whether that's faster shipping, negotiating with your suppliers, having social media managers, interacting with your fans. So I would say, you know, start small, but obviously the ultimate goal is to scale and build your team.
Joseph: [00:19:31] Well, one thing that that helps, um, click in my mind, um, having selling the business and the exit as an end game is that it doesn't resolve one of the issues, which is when running these stores. We want to put as much money into it as we can, that we earned from it to continue to grow it and be able to hire additional help even to expand or improve on the product line and branding, marketing, and all of that.
And what isn't clear is when does the person running this, actually get to take some of that money home for themselves? Not for granted. I don't ask this to everybody. So in your experience, was there a point where you get where you're actually starting to pay yourself? Did you like maybe scratch off a little bit at the top, but you know, or was it like your certain milestones had to be crossed before you were actually able to start safely saying, okay, I can, this is how much you need to invest in the business.
This is how much you need to invest in my own.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:20:23] Yeah. I know everybody has different philosophies and ways they approach how they actually pay themselves. I know in the beginning when you're starting your salaries, basically nothing. Like you're not going to be paying yourself. I know a lot of times with bigger companies and I've had many mentors like Sam Ovens who scaled a $60 million consulting business.
And when you look at people like Jeff Bezos and all this, they usually say if your company is taking in, or if you as the business owner taking in more than 10% of your profit. You're doing something wrong, you should never be doing that. You should never be making more than that because you should always be reinvesting all that excess above 10% back into your business, whether that's hiring new employees, having faster shipping lines, having better suppliers, having more products that you're offering.
So that's usually a general rule, um, that a lot of people like to follow. I can't say I've specifically been like, all right, I can only pay myself this certain amount because when I first started, when I was first making money with this, I was really stupid. And like I said, I spent a lot of money on shoes and I mean, literally most of the money I was making was just going into that because I was like, oh, I can finally spend money.
But after I sort of went through that phase materialism and I realized, wow, this crap doesn't really make me that much happier. So I just sort of got rid of that whole mindset where I need to be making money just for oh, clothes and cars and all that to the point where honestly, I don't really pay myself that much.
I really don't. I don't really have that many fancy things. I'm pretty simple. Like we talked about this beforehand. I mean, I played video games, those cost 60 bucks. Like I don't need to have, make 50 to a hundred thousand dollars a month just to afford that. I'm pretty simple. So I just like to reinvest back into the business, grow it, and then eventually have that massive payday.
I think that's when you can really be like, okay, I can take this money. And when you finally exited, but you can have different rules. I mean, everyone is different. So, you know, you know how much you want to be making, how much you want to be putting into your rent, your food. Everybody's different. I mean, I put most of my money honestly, into food.
So you have to be budgeting that. And if you're like, okay, so my expenses are 3000. I'll take that from my business. I'm making 10 grand in profit a month. I'll just put three into myself. So I mean, everyone's different, but I, at 10%, it's usually a good general rule.
Joseph: [00:22:28] Do you have any obligations to the business that you'd exited? Like do they, they have the ability to consult you if they have any questions about it, or can you like rest easy at night knowing that there's nothing left for you to worry about with regards to the business you exited?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:22:42] Honestly, yeah. It's been like a year and a half now. And I think the last time I talked to them was maybe a year ago.
Um, cause usually in those instances, like they completely dissolved my company and they mainly bought my business so that they don't have another competitor. Cause I was a direct competitor to them. And also it was to have my customer user base. Cause I had about say 11,000, 12,000 customers at that time.
Cause I did about 300 grand revenue. So they use that. And when you're buying that, you get to use that for your Facebook ads for lookalike audiences. So they have really great data and people did that all the time. They sell customer databases so that when you're doing your Facebook ads, you have all these already purchased customers.
And you can find new people that are already like all of these other people that have already purchased. And all these people have spent the most. So a lot of the value of my company literally just came from, I have all these customers that I've already had and they're repeat customers. So they bought that.
They added that to their email list. So new people to market, to for lookalikes, when it comes to consulting, they, you know, basically just dissolve it. So I, it wasn't really like, okay, Ethan, we're going to keep your company running and then we'll ask for some help. Yeah, it wasn't really like that, but I know in some cases it is.
Joseph: [00:23:48] Yeah. I got to tell you, there's definitely a lot. Yeah. Of, um, uh, a lot of synopses flaring because, uh, one of the things that I hadn't thought about really up until this conversation is the notion of from one part of figuring out who you can market to is figuring out who your audience is and split testing ads and all that good stuff.
But this would be the first time they're really start to think about like, what, where would I, how would I position my brand to try to get the attention of, in my particular example, it would be staples. And the reason why I say this is because if I go to staples, they don't have my product because they don't think the demand is there.
But if I can show that the demand is there. If I create the demand in my marketing, then I have the leverage to say, Hey, you know, pick a pick this product. Uh, you can, uh, dissolve it, just give me some of that, some of that sweet, sweet money. So like, Is that something that you keep in mind too with your businesses is like how you would strategize whose attention you want to get in case they would end up being the ones that would buy you out.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:24:47] Uh, I will admit personally with that business, I really wasn't focused on that. I was focused on.
Joseph: [00:24:52] Right, right. Sorry, just to clarify, I didn't mean that one. I'm thinking more like the ones in the future.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:24:56] Oh, well, in the future, uh, I will admit I will be taking the approach of okay. What do my competitors really want?
Yeah. So when I'm building my next app, I mean, my main focus is how do I build up the user base as fast as possible? How do I get them to stay on my app as long as possible? Because the apps that sell for the biggest, and you look at clubhouse, which was huge. Literally they started their company April 2020.
Yeah. So been out for less than a year. They're already worth $10 billion, which is insane to me because they were able to raise a hundred million dollars from all these venture capitalists and all these stacks out there. And a lot of times with apps, the valuation does come from how much are they getting from investors?
And that really it's all about how much are people willing to pay for the app? Not necessarily how valuable it is. It's really just, it's like with cards, for instance, sports cards, people, I mean, this right here has no intrinsic value. It's 4 cents to make, but some people are willing to pay $20,000 for a LeBron James rookie card.
It's really just about how much people are willing to pay. And that's the same thing with apps. When they're looking at a Facebook or an Instagram, it's like, okay, so who are all the people that are interested in buying, who is willing to put the top price? And that's the valuation of the company? A lot of times, it's not necessarily based on oh, market cap or how many customers are getting and yeah.
All that. So it can lead to over numbers. You see that all the time. And we saw that 20 years ago with the doctors com bubble and all that stuff. And we're sort of having that now with cryptocurrency and all this stuff, but yet with my future companies, I am definitely looking at, okay, what are my key metrics that I need to be focusing on?
Okay. So I need to build my user base. Oh, I need to have a good ARUP so average revenue per user. I need to be really looking at how can I monetize it? What is my revenue model? Okay. So in the beginning, are we going to have ads or we're going to have subscription plans because that's what people do care about when they're buying these companies.
They're worried. Okay. What is your revenue model? What is going to be your future projections? What's your finances like? So, yeah, I do 100%. Keep that in mind. And in your instance with the whole staple saying, I mean, the only people I really know that have had a brand that has gone into like traditional stores, like the Walmarts and all that stuff was the burrito blanket, which was, this company started by two college kids.
And it just did super well where they were marketing it everywhere with influencers and Facebook ads. And they did about $10 million in revenue and the best way to sell people on why they should carry your product is yeah, showing them the sales numbers. People love seeing the numbers. So if they're like, okay, you have all this demand, you have a huge market and you can show them, okay, this is our demographic.
And we're still have a couple million people that you already have in your user base, or you already have in your customer base that you could be selling this to. That's going to get their attention for sure. If you can convince them that yeah, you already have customers and they're going to want this.
And we already have the sales track record to prove that.
Joseph: [00:27:41] Yeah, that was just reminds me here in, uh, in Canada we have, um, a historical Canadian tire, which is, I guess like our general, like mechanics, um, seasonal stuff. You have to pour down your drain to unclog it, that kind of thing. And I do remember seeing the weighted blanket in there, which was something that I remember seeing marketed pretty heavily on podcasts.
And I believe it was also on Dragon's den too. If memory serves me correctly. So it, I, it is, is jarring to see something that I see online first end up in stores, but that is a really important, I personally, I've, I've been talking to a lot of people lately about this. It is, I would say one of the more grandiose objectives of e-commerce is.
Then the last year, the gap between digital and brick and mortar has been there. That is that's the one I was looking for and, and that momentum needs to keep up. Um, because I think it is encouraging for a lot of businesses to see the very realistic possibility that a product that they're marketing one day can end up on store shelves in another day, even if for no other reason than just that, that feeling of legacy of, you know, something that I used to shop at when I was younger.
And now I've actually had an influence in this. And if this is what I see on my store, it's going to be like that all over the country or all over the world.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:28:55] Yeah. I mean, that, that should be the aim with every single product that you sell that eventually it can be something that you can scale it to. I mean, cause in order to really get as many purchases as possible as many customers, you need to be distributed, you know, as many places as possible. I mean, it shouldn't just be online. You shouldn't just be focusing, oh, I'm getting all my customers from ads. It should be organic traffic influencers. And yeah, I know with some of my students, for instance, that one of my students sells wine glasses.
She's started to do, uh, reaching out to these different bars and they're carrying her wine glasses now and they're selling them to their customers. And she's reaching out to a bunch of these retail stores because Hey, these people buy it in bulk. So she's getting more people buying from her. So she can just easily sell 50, a hundred glasses instead of having to mark it on Facebook ads or influencers, because these bars will just both buy them and she gets more customers that way more people see your brand.
So it's just a win-win for her. So, I mean, we're really with any product you want to sell, you want to make sure, okay, is this a winning product? Awesome. I'm getting a lot of sales. First off. I need a white label. I need to put my brand on it somewhere. So people actually know who it's coming from. And when you have that white label and you have that brand authority, it's a lot easier to sell your products to bigger stores and say, Hey, we have a real brand.
We have all these customers, you should definitely carry us because Hey, we have all these people that are already interested and, uh, it makes it a whole lot easier. So that's definitely the focus, finding a product brand it, and then yeah, try to carry it in as many places as possible. Cause there's no reason why you can't.
Joseph: [00:30:19] Right. Could there be any issue with the source of the product. If it's just being drop-shipped from AliExpress, like what I wanted, maybe I'm fine. Even like a more localized manufacturer or anything along those lines, just to have like a better sense of authority. And yeah, actually I will just stick with that.
It's just better sense of authority when I work with these companies. Now, mind you, uh, the stores, they ended up selling a lot of stuff that comes from China anyways. So th so there is that, but even so they, they do have the backing of, uh, of other large companies to, uh, give them more peace of mind that the product has some sort of quality assurance.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:30:54] Yeah. I mean, honestly, you never want to stick with the ali express suppliers. I mean, you really want to just test products with them initially, but once you have a product that you liked that is getting you 10, 20 plus orders a day, that's when you have to be okay. I need to be reaching out to as many suppliers as possible, whether that's on ali express, whether that's going out to Upwork.
If you go on Upwork right now, you can type in sourcing agent, product agents, and you can see a ton of people that do live in China that could source your product by going to different warehouses to make it because it's never going to just be one person who makes your product very, very rare. So there's going to be at least 10 20.
So if you really reach out, you'll find a bunch of people giving you quotes different prices, and you can ask them, Hey, I want some quality assurance. I want to make sure at least 95% or 99% of the products that you're sending to me when you ship them to America are 100% fine and there's no dents, there's no dinks, nothing like that.
So you do one, eventually get some sort of agent that you can do trust that, you know, we'll have a strict process for doing quality assurance. And I know when I was first starting and I was selling Netflix's a lot of these would break within like two, three weeks. And I knew that was a problem I had to fix.
So I had to reach out to a bunch of agents and I found this one agent that was recommended to me by one of my econ friends, her name's candy. She was amazing. And she was able to source my product. I was paying $8 a necklace. She sourced it. I was able to get it for $2. And I was like, oh my God, I can actually negotiate product costs.
I can make a whole lot more money with that. So I can negotiate product costs at faster shipping lines. I didn't even know that you can have any other shipping lines outside of ali express, but there are there's UNE express there's, um, SF express, which are both one and two weeks. So America, I know CJ drop shipping also does one to two weeks shipping.
They have their own thing. And I like using them a lot of times as well. So you definitely wanna reach out to as many people as possible and compare rates, compare prices, compare to shipping, and also order some samples as well. Just so you can see the quality. Cause I know with my student, who's doing wine glasses.
She has a supplier that I believe is actually in Europe because she reached out to a bunch of places and she got the best price from them. They ship it directly to her house and she ships all the orders and also reaches out these bars and already has the glasses that are already, you know, well made and well quality so that she can just be assured that that's going to be fine.
Cause she's the one looking at them. So I mean, there's, there's many approaches, but that's the way I go.
Joseph: [00:33:05] I would figure it to that now that you were able to negotiate the price down, what like $6 do you probably keep, if it gave the margins the same, you pretty much, you don't really have to change them anyways, because now you've actually increased the profitability of it anyways.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:33:19] Yeah. I mean, and that, and it's just, it makes a huge difference. I know. I recently just started another drop to me. So I'm selling like spiritual pyramids. And the only supplier I found on ali express was literally selling these for like $25, just really chakra woo woo type. And I knew my audience loves this stuff, but I could only sell that for maybe $59.
And that's a lot of money for a little pyramid. So I reached out to my agent and I'm like, okay, can you source these? And she got them for me for 12 bucks. And I was like, man, I can only charge now 39 for these. I can lower my price. 20 bucks. It's much more affordable and really anything under $50 can be an impulse buy for people.
If they see it's under 50. Okay. I can buy this right now and it looks cool. I'll buy it. And it solves my problems. So yeah, I mean, you have to be negotiating this because you can lower your price and still have great margins. I have the same margins at $39 that I did at 59 with that other spar, maybe actually a little more money, but it's very, very similar.
So you definitely should be reaching out, especially when you're scaling as well. And you're making sales because you have leverage on your supplier. You can say, Hey, I'm getting all this business. Hey, can you help me out a little bit lower the prices since I'm doing all these deals for you or, Hey, can I buy bulk order from you?
Can I bulk order a hundred of this product at a discounted rate so that I can ship them out myself? I mean, there's so many different things you have to do, and you're a business person at the end of the day, you have to know how to negotiate. And if you don't, I mean, there's tons of books on it. I know there's masterclasses from guys like Chris boss.
It was like a famous, uh, former FBI hostage negotiator. And I learned a lot from his master class and just how to negotiate in general. So you should have some sort of, uh, knowledge that Hey, every couple of months, let me see if I can get a better deal as you can. And you should. It makes a huge difference.
Joseph: [00:34:58] I have, actually, my girlfriend has access to master class, so I guess I can go check that out. Um, but what, what would you say is like one of the more significant takeaways from the negotiating course? Like the one that you're really applying to your work?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:35:09] Honestly, there was just this amazing thing that Chris talks about when it comes to negotiating deals, where if you want something, let's say at a hundred dollars, you should always do your first offer.
First. You should like sort of preemptively say to them, okay. You know, I have a number in mind, but you're not going to like it and I don't want to offend you. So you really make people think that whatever your offer is going to be is a lot lower than they expect that they think, oh my God, are they gonna offer me like five bucks for this.
So really lower expectations. And he has so much of this psychology and negotiating and understanding like empathy. Okay. Listen to the people that you're negotiating with, understand how to actually talk to them. And then with your first offer, if you wanted something for a hundred, offer them at 65% and say, Hey, I mean, you're not gonna like this number.
And then when they hear, oh, it's $65. Wow. That's a lot higher than I thought it would be. I mean, obviously I can't accept it, but I'll be more willing to negotiate than if you just said, Hey, I know you're selling this for a hundred. I'm gonna offer 65 because that's what I think is fair. I mean, people can get offended by that.
So if you just sort of, I would say cushion the offer and just the reaction to it. People are a lot more willing to accept or at least negotiate. And I've had this with influencer deals where I thought I would have to pay $150 because when you reached out to influencers, you usually have to say, okay, what are your prices?
And they'll say, okay, it's a hundred dollars for 24 hour posts and story. If you say, Hey, $65 is the best I can do. I'm on a budget. I'm really tight, but I want to work with you. And I respect you. There'll be a lot more willing to negotiate. And a lot of times they actually will accept that first offer on anything if they don't and they do go down to $90, you can say, oh my God, thank you so much.
That means the world to me. Thank you for negotiating. I want to do a better offer for you. So I'll go up to 75, which is sort of the next window watch. So he recommends 85%. I do believe so you do $85 and then a lot of people are gonna accept that second offer. And honestly, with my influencer deals, I don't think I've ever gone past the second offer.
And then usually the third offers 95% of that target price. So there's just little things like that. Just like, oh my God, I had no idea. I could have saved a lot of money on influencer deals a few years ago. If I just did this and actually try to negotiate, because usually when people quoted a price to me, I was like, all right, that's set in stone.
There's no way I can negotiate that there are a big deal. They're not going to want to do it. But with these tactics, it's so crazy. It works like every single time. And you just see the reaction that like, and when you're first negotiating, like, you know, you're going to hate this number and I don't want you to be mad at me and just seeing their reaction.
I always get the same message back. Like, no, no, no. Just say it. Just say, I won't care. Like you can say whatever number and I'm like, all right, I got them. I already know I'm going to get a better deal. No, it's just little stuff like that. There's so many lessons from them.
Joseph: [00:37:43] So one thing I'm going to want to hear from you in the future is let's say that you, um, you exit one of your future businesses.
I'm going to want to hear how this negotiation technique applies to something on that scale where now it's not just about a product or, or, or a source, but it's the whole, it's the whole thing altogether.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:38:00] Oh yeah. I mean, I'm sure everyone will know the tactics. That's the one thing you got to also anticipate, you know, everyone knows everyone's moves.
So, I mean, I mean, being as successful negotiators, Pretty much up all the part about entrepreneurship. I know, again, like Mark Cuban, he says that's probably the most important thing. You need to know how to negotiate, how to actually talk to people, how to make deals. So, uh, I, I can't wait to actually see, like when we do get to a master a massive scale with either this app or another e-commerce company, like how, yeah.
How are those negotiating negotiations going to be? What are the tactics, but, um, yeah, I'll make sure to keep you guys posted. Cause I love documenting my journey.
Joseph: [00:38:35] I'm looking forward to hearing about that.
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So next thing that I want to ask you about were the students that have been reaching out to you. I'm what I was wondering is if you had noticed any patterns or commonalities among people who are reaching out to you, because they want to break free of whatever it is, they need to break free from and make their way into e-commerce.
So, uh, you, you have your story about your, your, your student she's, um, she's selling glasses, um, sorry, like drink glasses, wine glasses. That's right. And I do admire that this isn't like the best time in history to, to sell the bar. So I do appreciate that she's still going for, cause I suppose some bars are open right now and all of that.
Um, so I think there's a degree of like, she really enjoys what she's, what she's selling and, uh, it means a lot to her. At least that's what I think is just kinda like my, my initial takeaway. But I'd love to hear more about like what, you know, what's your, what your students are going through right now.
What position are they in? Are you getting like, are you getting boomers by any chance? Are you getting people who are like. Kind of like a few, a few chapters ahead in their life story?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:39:58] To a certain degree, we will get people that are, are they like 50 or older that say, Hey, if then, you know, I lost my job.
I really want to give this e-commerce thing a shot. I've been thinking about it for a couple of years commonalities though. I think the first question was like, am I noticing people messaging me that want to be a student, all the commonalities between them? I mean, you can sort of tell a lot of times, cause everyone says the same thing.
It's always going to be like, Hey, I'm starting my e-commerce store. I really want to break free. I hate what I'm doing right now. I want to quit my job or I'm in school and I want to learn how to make money. Like you can sort of bucket it into three different categories there. I can pretty much tell like immediately who's serious and it's not like just from the opening message and that determines whether or not I'm actually going to read and actually respond.
Cause I respond with voice memos. I'm really personalized if you catch my attention, but you can tell who cares. Uh, just because. A lot of times people will reach out to me. Uh, and just asking you a question about e-commerce in general, like, oh, how do I do my Facebook ads? Or how do I do product research?
And I'm like, you know, the fact that you're reaching out to me and not just doing the research yourself, that's already a bad sign because all the information's out there, there's nothing stopping you. Like, uh, if you really want this, and if you're really super passionate, everything's out there that you need on YouTube on just articles.
I mean, maybe not everything, but it can be enough to get you started. And I know if you're coming to me for basic questions that can be answered in two seconds, you're most likely not gonna be able to run a six figure business when you have all of these different problems with, oh, I gotta pay my employees, make sure they're happy and manage that team.
And also make sure I'm getting sales and creating new ads and making sure we've got social media posts because that's a whole different animal by itself. And honestly, when you're an entrepreneur, your whole job is to solve problems. The more problems you solve, the more money you make, that's how it works.
So if you can't solve a basic problem, like how do I start my store? How much money do I need? And that information's already out there. It's like, oh my God, I know you're not going to make it. You're just not like when I was doing research for this app, there's no courses on really how to build an app.
And I was surprised by that. I had to literally reach out to people that already had an app on LinkedIn, ask them questions and go to different advisors. That's hard to do. I mean, that's where I was like, I'm so passionate about this idea. I'm going to do the research myself. And I know what dropshipping, there's literally hundreds of gurus.
So if you can't figure out what the basic questions, man, you just don't, you're not that passionate. That's just the reality. And you have to be super passionate. You have to be willing to dedicate at least a couple hours a day to this, if you're going to make it work. Um, but with my current students, um, let's say main things I'm noticing.
I mean, they're all following the same sort of system. So they're all doing Facebook ads and phones are ads, et cetera, growing their brand. It's just all processed when it comes to just testing and mindset. Uh, because I think the thing I have to hammer down the most with these entrepreneurs that are getting into my program, because a lot of them are new entrepreneurs.
They'd never started a business. It's just the mindset and the approach you have to have as an entrepreneur. Like, okay, if you want to take this serious, I can give you all the systems in the world to be successful. But at the end of the day, the most important part of this is execution because I can give you the exact systems I use to set up my businesses and how I've done it, you know, to a certain point where I'm able to exit my own companies.
But if you can't do them well, if you can't execute on the system, you're never going to make a dime. Like if I give a hundred movie actors the same script only one's going to get the same only one's going to go to that actual part because they executed better than everyone else. So everyone can have the same system.
Everyone can have the same knowledge it's about who does it the best. So you need to know how to do that. So that's what I try to teach my program. Like I don't want to put too much focus on the systems or the scripts and the templates. I want to put the focus on you need to put as much time as possible into this.
You need to make sure this looks really amazing, your website, your products, all the time, you're putting into it and really asking yourself, okay, what these five products I found, what are the problems with them? What can potentially go wrong? That's how I approach it. I know. Okay. Is the product viral?
Does it appeal to someone's? Uh, you know, just your basic, uh, I would say human traits, like, okay. If this is something that helps me with my physical being, my emotional wellbeing is, is something that is for gratitude or is this something that I can use to, uh, be a gift for a lover or something like that?
Cause I mean, there's four to five emotional traits that pretty much every single winning product goes into that you can use in your marketing. So there's just so many different things. Um, and also I think the final thing I really pushed with my students that can be hard for them is just the daily. I would say tasks that you need to do and just how you need to live your life if you want to be successful.
Because for me, I mean, when I was first getting into this, I was still playing video games like nine hours a day. I was in school. I was playing soccer. I didn't really take it seriously. And then I learned from these eight and nine figure entrepreneurs and e-commerce and I learned, oh my God, okay. The little details I need to be waking up and measuring my actual sleep.
So there's different sleep apps, like, uh, uh, sleep cycles. What I use it's about like, I think $80 attract your sleep unless you know, how much sleep you're getting. What's the percent wa how good are you actually sleeping? Um, and it also wakes you up with an alarm clock when you're not in deep sleep when you're not in REM sleep, because when you actually wake up in the morning, and this is just little things, I know it sounds super nerdy, but when you wake up and deep sleep, you usually feel groggy and you feel like, oh my God, I slept eight hours, but I really haven't felt like I slept at all compared to when you're not in deep REM sleep and you wake up, you notice, Hey, I'm refreshed.
I feel good. I mean, I feel like I could do whatever I want. I can climb Mount Everest or whatever. So it's just little things like that. Or also, Hey, you need to work out in the morning. Cause when you work out in the morning, that gives you more energy that clears your mind. It relieves stress so that the rest of the day is going to be a lot better or with your diet or making sure.
And this is, I think the biggest thing that's really hard for my students. I tell them, delete all your social media, delete all apps on your actual phone. So you limit the distractions because Hey, you're putting three, four hours a day into social media. What does it actually done for you? Have you made any money from it?
Has it actually benefited your life in any way? No, it has it. So I don't even like social media. I really don't the only reason why I use this for my business and posting, but I don't really like it at the end of the day. So I had to tune that out and I'm super add. So when I'm working, my phone is either in airplane mode or I'm listening to music.
I can't listen to podcasts or videos. I know a lot of people do that, but. It's just from statistics. Like your brain. Can't really multitask. I know a lot of people said I can multitask. I can chew gum and walk at the same time, but your brain is going to suffer in some way. It's either you're going to be doing one activity better than the other one's going to suffer. So you have to be just so focused, cut out all the social media, cut out all the things that are just killing you make sure. Oh, you also have a daily journal where you're writing out your tasks every single day. I mean, I have been religiously writing down. Okay. Hey, it's 230. I have a podcast with Joseph.
I need to make sure I'm doing that. Okay. After this, I need to be editing a YouTube video. I already know what I'm going to do, uh, planned out for the next day. Cause I write it at night. So you need to have little things like this because this is what the top guys do. And you have to have every advantage you have.
So having that daily planner, not having shiny object syndrome, making sure you're focused when you're actually working. It's just little things like that. So that can be hard for students because they've never ran a business before and it's their first ever time. But once they get past that, they're able to build legitimate businesses.
Like my student Dzaleka with a wineglass business, like my student, he started a seven figure iPhone business, and he just sells to people in Asia and India. So once they get past that part and they really focused on what they need to do, it, it becomes a lot easier.
Joseph: [00:47:07] At first, I wanted to comment on the, the, on the, on the sleep side, just because I'm, I'm, I'm a big fan of sleep too, and it's important to get optimal sleep.
And one of the huge breakthroughs that I had was a difference between using your alarm clock to wake up at the time that you want to wake up at versus using the alarm clock as an emergency backup, just in case I didn't wake up naturally. So my natural wake up time is somewhere around eight o'clock to 8:30 AM.
And my, usually my, my sleep time is around like 11, maybe, maybe 12, if I'm, if I'm caught up on something, which is often. And if I, if I get up for the, from the, from the sound of the alarm clock, you're right. It's, I'm in the middle of another sleep cycle and I am. Out of it for the entire day. So even something like then, so, so listeners, that's the one thing that you can do tomorrow is like, you know, set your alarm to support you as a safety net in case you're not up, but you got to figure out what time is your actual natural, organic wake-up time.
And the other thing too, I also, I also have a journal. I've been using a journal for the last seven years. I get one every year. And it's just fun to, to just like, write down, have a vision for what tomorrow is going to look.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:48:14] Yeah. I love checking off my daily journal. Every single day. I have a little daily planner it's sorts of by like, okay, what is the most important thing I need to get done?
What are the little things that if I get done, it's awesome, but not necessarily the most important, so yeah, that's just personally how I like to schedule it. I have this company I'm sort of blanking on their name. I think it's called the action journal or something like that. It's like a $30 journal, but it's, it's really awesome.
It plans out like, okay, this is what I need to get done for this quarter, for the next 90 days to hit this goal. And yeah, I mean, it can even literally just be like a little spiral notebook. Just something like that. Just to plan your day. It makes a huge difference. Cause I noticed when I didn't have a journal, I was just free, free wing in it.
I was really winging it. I was like, okay, do I need to get this done? What do I actually need to get done for the day? And I would spend like an hour or two of my day, actually just figuring out what the hell I needed to get done. And then compared to, with the journal at night, I can just think about it when I'm just about to go to sleep.
I already, okay. I need to get my ads done. I need to get this video done, et cetera, et cetera. And that just saves me a lot of time. It also just keeps me more focused and that's, I think the name of the game is just focused. If you can really focus, it doesn't matter how smart you are. It really doesn't.
It's just about, okay. How hard you work and how focused is your work? Are you working smart or you're working? Uh, you know, just for, just to be busy and a lot of people do that. They say they're busy, but they're not actually doing anything. They're just wasting time.
Joseph: [00:49:32] Yeah. Yeah. Th they're chipping away at that surface level problems without actually, uh, just dealing with symptoms, but not actually dealing with what's going on underneath.
And, and one of the things too that I would say is a more, um, uh, big picture takeaway, a macro takeaway is that when people are reaching out to you and or whoever, whatever path that they happen to be on, it's a process of getting out of a systemized lifestyle versus an independent lifestyle. And by that, I mean, it's easy to get up at 7:00 AM.
If I have to be at school for nine. Because, uh, cause there is a drastic consequence for not doing it. It's easy when I have to be at work. Uh, there, there was drastic consequences for it. And part of the process is conditioning people to actually understand what freedom is like is to understand that now we are our own, um, schedules.
We are our own systems and there are no matter what, there will be some kind of systemization just so that people can be functional and productive, but it's a difference between me being in control of that versus, um, having a larger structure or an institution doing that for me.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:50:35] Yeah. I think everyone's different in that regard.
I mean, and you're right. I mean, everyone's sort of conditioned through throughout high school, throughout middle school. Okay. I need to wake up at this time. I have this class. Yeah. And there are consequences, et cetera. And I remember when I graduated high school and I didn't have that and I was just, uh, I remember my first year I was living in Spain, just playing soccer and that's all I was doing.
And I just woke up literally at 12 o'clock after partying or doing whatever. And I just didn't. Have a schedule. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. And I realized when I was my most productive, which is probably around now. It's when I have a structure when I figured out, okay, this is the time I need to wake up.
This is the, we need to go to bed. I already know I need seven hours of sleep. So I go to bed at 12, I wake up at seven, I got practice at eight. So I know exactly what I need to do. And you know, some people are more different where they like to have more freedom. You know, they listen to their body. They're like, okay, maybe at this certain time or they have their morning rituals.
I know for me, I like to have structure. I think structured can help you out a lot and just organizing your day, making sure you're most productive. So that's what I like to.
Joseph: [00:51:34] One more sleep question for you. Just cause I'm, I'm intrigued. Was there, did your app, uh, help you figure out what was like an ideal sleep time?
Like if you went to bed at 11 versus 12, it actually would have made a, a notice what differences?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:51:45] I should check that out. I'm not 100% sure, but they basically give you a score of zero out of 100%. Like what's the best thing I think they probably do recommend like, Hey, you should probably go to sleep around here.
I have like statistics, my journal. Uh, regularity. Uh, so went to bed, woke up time and bed asleep. So it doesn't necessarily tell me that, but it tells me like, okay, this is how many hours you were actually sleeping deep sleep or light sleep. And it gives you, okay, this is how much time you are in bed. So maybe you were in bed for eight hours, but you actually only slept for five of those hours.
And it can tell because you have to put it next to your bed and it listens to your breathing. And that's how it knows if you're in deep sleep or not. So it's, it's super crazy. I know some people, it might seem invasive and you might not want to have the near you, and I wouldn't recommend having it right near you because maybe radiation, stuff like that with your phone.
But, um, yeah. Yeah, just keep it next to my desk. And it's really helpful. And it lets you know, all these different statistics and I definitely, I look at my score. I'm very competitive. I'm an athlete. I like to be like, okay, I got a 70% score. I want to get a 75% tomorrow or the day after that. And it just, it really helps you with that.
And I think it's definitely a worthwhile investment. If you want to take entrepreneurship seriously. Sleep and how you take care of your is a huge part of having a different hobby that helps you exercise it for your mind, paying attention to your sleep, your diet, all that stuff. It does play a part. So, uh, I recommend definitely just journaling and writing down what you're doing.
Joseph: [00:53:09] Back that up 110%.
I, so I only got, I got you for a, for a, for a little bit more time. And, and I, and I got to say, I still like putting together a, some of the stuff that we talked about and it's, uh, and it's really actually really helpful. Let me do one more. Well, actually, I wanted to ask you about your, your, your soccer. Um, cause I was just curious about like how you find the time for it.
Um, aside from like the exercise, does it also serve a purpose to just help you take your mind off? Uh, what else is going on just to focus on something happening very much in the moment.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:53:40] Yeah, honestly, it's just, it's another escape for me. It's like, okay. I know when I'm not playing soccer, my main focus is okay.
I need a manage my developer team on my app. I need to manage my sales team, uh, for my e-commerce or coaching businesses. So yeah, when I'm playing soccer, my main focus is like, okay, I get to finally just kick a ball around with my teammates and try to get better and get, be super competitive. And I've been doing it for five years and I just love doing it so much. So I, I always do make the time because I'm like, well, every single entrepreneur has to at least work. I know the general rules are like, okay, you need to work out at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day. But I, I probably train maybe two, three hours a day. Cause I do legitimately want to become a pro because I'm like, God gave me a body where I'm 63, I'm 170 pounds.
So I'm like, I'm an athlete I could be at. My dad played for LSU. He was a runner. So I'm like, I have the genes. So I really wanna to, uh, see what I can do. And I don't want to have any regrets at the end of the day. Also like when I'm 80, I don't want to say, okay, well, sure. I had a successful business, but I mean, I was super athletic in the day.
I shouldn't have given that up. I want to make sure I could've maximized what I got. And I'm already playing in Miami, which is super competitive. And at the fifth year in the US soccer league, I want to become, I want to get to the first tier. So I mean, I'm just super competitive, but I make the time because I SU I just love doing it.
It's a nice distraction. And, uh, yeah, it's just, it's another thing to focus on. I mean, cause I think when you put all your eggs in one basket, you focus all your time. On one thing, you can get burned out. So fricking easily. Cause I did initially, um, straight out of high school, like when I moved to Spain, moved to Madrid just to get better at soccer.
Cause that's the soccer capital world and my whole focus was on soccer and just soccer, soccer, soccer. I would just go out just to go to soccer stores with my friends and my, I just sort of was like, okay, this is it's too much. I need to have a distraction or something else because all these other soccer players that are really good. Yeah. They're super obsessed with it, but they do also have something else. So it's just, and you know, another sort of gateway another escape from it. So I love it.
Joseph: [00:55:35] Yeah. And, and I think it's important to, um, th this is certainly my learning process. Um, it's a miracle that I even have one, frankly, but you have the, the same there's, there's the absorption.
And then there's sinking, um, where the, the information that we're learning is starting to be programmed into us on a subconscious or an unconscious level. And I think one of the healthiest things to do is to go and pivot and go do something else. Right. You play, play a video game, um, uh, sport exercise, whatever it is, because it gives the mind a chance to filter through all that other stuff that we've been soaking up and then let it sink in so that when we come back to what we feel a lot more fresh and, uh, cause it, it seems, it does seem a little counter intuitive for somebody to be competitive in something, not to focus on that a hundred percent, but in reality, like.
90% was probably more optimal. Give yourself 10% to go do something else and just letting your mind like breathe.
Ethan Dobbins: [00:56:26] Yeah. I know a lot of the times, um, when people just have a problem in their business and you've been focusing on it for a couple hours and you just can't figure it out. I think a lot of the best things you can do is just, okay, let me just leave it here.
And I'll take a walk. I'll just walk around for 10 minutes, 20 minutes just focused on something else. And then you usually, when you're not even thinking about the problem is when you figure out the answer, it just comes to. So yeah, I mean, it's, it's weird how it works, but I mean, you wish, okay. I wish I could solve it when I'm putting all my time into it, but yeah, a lot of times when you're just focusing on something else, that's one, oh, holy crap.
I can do this. If I just move this, uh, change my price. Or if I did this with my ad, it would've made a huge difference. I need to try this. This is a solution. So I totally agree with that theory, 100%, just like, okay, putting your brain in a different environment and different thought process that can sort of, uh, help you figure it out.
And you see that with like even developers. A lot of times that for like major companies like Google, like you look at Google's. Just workspace in general, it doesn't even look like an office. They have all these different like distractions and they have, you know, uh, pool tables. They have foosball tables just to distract you because a lot of times when you're developing, you have to figure out, okay, what's my code going to be?
What do I have to do to program this? Like, Hey, oh, I don't know. I'm working at apple, Steve Jobs back in there. He wants me to put a million songs into a phone. How the hell do I do that? I need to figure out that equation. So I got to, you know, just first put my mind aside, play a little foosball, maybe I'll figure out.
And I'll just be thinking about that. And it just puts you in a different environment and yeah, you can solve a lot of problems just by spite making a little shift.
Joseph: [00:57:56] Well, that, that's just, that's just fantastic. Uh, really, and truly before I, uh, actually I, I said I was going to come back to the music apps, so I do want to just like squeeze it in raw, real quick.
So, um, would you be able to, as much as you're willing to tell us, um, what exactly is the music app for?
Ethan Dobbins: [00:58:11] basically a couple of months ago, I would say like six months ago I realized. Hey, I've been quarantined for about five, six months now, and I don't have a girlfriend and I don't have anything. So I started to hop on Tinder swipe, right?
A little bit, did some, uh, planning, tweaking in my bio and eventually I did find a girl and we went on a couple of dates and she was a musician super, um, popular. She basically was like 60,000 followers on Instagram. She's been on like the Mexican version of America's got talent. So she made it to the finals, had hundreds of thousands of views and all this.
And I was like, oh my God, she's a baller. I want to have this person next to me. Cause she's super ambitious. And she doesn't go to college. It's like me, she's doing her own route. And I think that's super cool. But when I really went into it and I was looking at it. Uh, like how much money she making, how much did she actually putting in from this business and all the work I realized she really wasn't making a whole lot of money.
Like the music industry, when it comes to streams, they don't pay out that much money. It's really hard to actually make money from your music in the first couple of years and really just market yourself. So I was trying to help her out and we reached out to a bunch of agencies and labels like, Hey, can you promote our music?
And it's like, oh, well that'll be $3,000 or $5,000. And she doesn't have that. Cause you realize we made any money from her music. So I was like, man, there's gotta be a better way to promote your music as a smaller artist. And I noticed there was a ton of my friends from high school, all of them making music.
I mean there's cause literally every single year there's millions of musicians, but they don't know how to do the one thing, which is market their music and get people to listen. They know how to make it. That's the part they love, but they hate making content. They hate making embarrassing TikTok videos just to promote or music or make tons of daily content on YouTube.
No one really wants to do that as a musician, they just want to focus on their music. So I was like, all right, Let me create an app where all you have to do is sort of like TikTok, where you can make quick samples of your full song. So let's say you have the three minute song. You can make a 15 second sample, a 32nd sample.
You posted onto our feed and automatically gets seen by hundreds of listeners. So it's likeTikTok because when you post something on TikTok, it shows it to a sample of people. And if that sample of people likes it, it shows to more people and you can go viral off that. It doesn't matter if you have any followers.
So I was like, why don't I just create that for musicians? So they get free marketing, which is the main problem they have. They don't know how to get people to listen and they don't have any money to actually promote it. So I was like, all right, I'll create a free platform. They can make these quick samples because it seems like short form video is taking off.
Let me do short form audio. That's never really been done before. So I wanted to do that. They post their samples already magically get seen by hundreds of listeners. And if those hundreds of listeners like it, it gets shown to more and more listeners and then they can go viral. They can build up their fan base and actually make some money from their music.
And we have like many different ways we're planning on doing like maybe live streaming eventually. So you can donate to your favorite artists, have a little virtual wallet, so you can make some money from that seller on merchandise on it. I mean, there's a bunch of ideas I have, but when you're building an app, you can only in the beginning have sort of a beta version, which has like the core features.
You can't really spread it across because we want to do that. It's going to cost you like a hundred thousand dollars. So you have to really figure out, okay, what are the core features? And then if people like it, and the idea is validated, then we can have our second generation of features. So right now I'm just focusing on, okay, I have all these different ideas.
I need to figure out what are the core ones, so we can cut all the other things and just have the beta version and then build a fan base and just go from there. So that's pretty much an idea in a nutshell.
Joseph: [01:01:29] Well, that sounds pretty good. And I will say too, just as a podcaster, I would love to see an equivalent of that for the, for the radio space.
Um, if I hear just listen to like a sample of a podcast for a minute, let the creators curate what minute they feel is ideal. And what I would do is I would scan through a bunch of different ones and be like, oh, you actually know what I kind of resonate with this. I like the sound of that person's voice and so on, and just gives people, um, the, this, this river of content, because it's all there.
Right. And it's just it's distribution. That has been the struggle for a long time.
Ethan Dobbins: [01:01:58] Yeah. For podcasts, for artists, for video creators, that's always the main thing. How do I get people to actually do it? Because there's so many platforms out there, but like Instagram, it's hard to grow on that. It really is that organic traffic sucks.
TikTok has sort of become the main way. And I like TikTok a lot, but sometimes it can be even tough. Like if you've been posting there for a while and have been getting views, they do sort of, I would say shadow ban you. Or they just don't show it to as many people. So it can be tough there. So I was like, man, I should just create a platform for musicians.
And maybe, and that was an idea as well. I'm like. I mean with Spotify, you can put your podcast on there. You can put your song on there, but really it's up to you. You have to drive the traffic. So you have to tell your people on Instagram, Hey, check out my song on Spotify. And that's how you get your first use.
They don't do that for you. Spotify doesn't really have organic traffic. SoundCloud doesn't really either. So I was like, man, this should be something where if you don't have a big fan base, you can just promote something, uh, in our magically, get it seen. So I was like, yeah, I think that's something that would be interesting.
I think that could help a lot of people and also help non-musicians find a newer music and new, uh, musicians that they never even knew they loved. So we just automatically recommend content. You like it, or if you don't like it, it just helps our algorithm promote better content to you. Just like TikTok in a way.
So I was just like, I think this could help a lot of people and I'll just make it completely free. No subscriptions, anything. I mean, we'll do ads, et cetera, and microtransactions, but I think it could definitely be something that, so that's sort of been my focus the last month, honestly, just a ton of research on how to actually take an idea to an app. And you know, now that I've got a developer team, you know, we talked on slack every day. I get updates. It's super fun just to focus on a different project outside of e-commerce. Cause I already know pretty much every single step in e-commerce and what you need to do. So having a whole different thing to learn about, it's just been.
Really exciting for me. And I just I've been loving it.
Joseph: [01:03:44] I'm excited for you. I think it's a great idea. I think it's got, it's got a lot of potential I'm going to, and again, you know, coming in more from what the Talkspace, um, uh, I'm, I'm more leaning towards that side, but like just the idea of even having, having the music playing almost in the background, kind of like a radio stream and just let the music, um, come in, maybe I'll say, oh, also a limit.
I'll be like three minutes per song or two minutes per song. And then I'll just like, wait a minute. What is this? What am I hearing? Stop the presses what's going on there. So yeah, I think it's got a lot of potential there. All right. Well with that, uh, Ethan, this has been fantastic conversation, really glad to a met you and to, uh, until, and to learn and to learn from you as well, because I, I just don't know how I managed to continuously be exposed to new information.
It, it blows my mind. You would think like at some point with like a doctor. Yeah, exactly. But there's, there's always something new and, uh, and it's true here and it's been true with each episode so far, so we'll, we'll keep it going. Um, with that, if you have any like final words, You know, the drill last bits of wisdom, anything you feel like sharing and more than welcome to, and then let the audience know how they can, uh, reach out and find your content.
If you guys
Ethan Dobbins: [01:04:50] enjoy this podcast and the value from it I mean, I have a barrage of different things that I've learned from my experience just on Facebook ads, on how to find winning products, how to build your website. So if you guys want more value and more tips on that, I do have a YouTube channel. It's just my name, Ethan Dobbins.
And I also have an Instagram account where I pretty much posted daily different tips, different value. I'm not really the traditional sort of guru that just posts photos and I'm vacationing or in front of their cars. I do like to just primarily post value. So if you want to check me out there, uh, I do have Instagram, Ethan Dobbins official, and I also do also, um, have a product research case study video that's completely free.
It's about 28 minutes long. That showcases exactly how I've been able to build my brand and how I find the products that I'm going to sell and scale to six figures. So if you wanna check that out, I do have a website called dropshipping warrior.com backslash case study that you guys can check out. If you want to learn more about product research, But, um, yeah, in general, the best place to reach out to me, if you have any questions, if you want to potentially work with me, uh, talk to me as a coach is on Instagram.
So Ethan Dobbins official.
Joseph: [01:05:50] You know, one thing I'd like to see, and I pitched this idea before, but you know how, like the typical Ty Lopez video where he's walking around the mansion and the pool and all of that, I would love to see somebody, uh, do a riff on that, where they're in like an alleyway and there's garbage cans.
And like the dumpster was on fire and there was, there was syringes on their flood and just like, yeah. So I, I scale my business to eight figures and just like, get like a complete parody on that. I really hope somebody takes that idea because it's going to be a while before I can do it. All right. Well, to our audience as always, it's great to have all of you participating.
So thank you as always for, for our, for your listenership and for spreading the word and all that good stuff. And Ethan, uh it's uh, once again, it's been great to have you with us, so thank so much.
Ethan Dobbins: [01:06:30] Yeah, no problem at all. Would definitely do it again. If you ever want to reach out again.
Joseph: [01:06:33] Doors open, I'm more than happy to have you back.
Ethan Dobbins: [01:06:35] Awesome. Appreciate it.
Joseph: [01:06:36] All right. Take care. And we'll check in soon.
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