Print on Demand is something high in my priority list, it's just one exciting avenue to find meaningful success out of the many we cover on Ecomonics. My guest today Kerry Egeler is on the forefront of this pursuit and in addition to the free content he provides on his own platform, he also divulges a lot of important takeaways here including the sometimes surprising limitations when dealing with brand familiarity, it’s a fascinating story among many so check it out.
Kerry Egeler is a husband and dad of two children from Oklahoma. After starting his first e-commerce store years ago and weathering all the ups and downs, he's now sold over 20,000 t-shirts and apparel products and started and grown multiple successful online businesses. Through Shirt School, an online course and community, Kerry has taught thousands of people how to start, grow, and scale online t-shirt and apparel businesses.
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Kerry Egeler: [00:00:00] The thing that people really want to be careful of is, is don't go out well outside of copywritten and trademark stuff. Don't go find your competitors and, and do not just replicate their designs, right. Even if it's a small competitor, maybe you're in a small niche and you have another small company that you're competing with, please don't go out and just rip off their designs. Right. Go find, go find successful and popular designs in other niches that you're not going to, like you're not going to be directly competing with them. Right. That's that's, you know, would be my advice.
Joseph: [00:00:38] 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.
Print on demand is something high on my priority list. It's just one exciting avenue to find meaningful success out of the menu we cover on Ecomonics. My guest today, Kerry Egeler is on the forefront of this pursuit and in addition to the free content he provides on his own platform, he also divulges a lot of important takeaways here including the sometimes surprising limitations when dealing with the brand familiarity problem. It's a particularly fascinating story among many. So check it out and if you like what he says so far, you could also check out his, uh, master course on it as well, which he'll tell you about. So enjoy.
Kerry Egeler. It is good to have you here on Ecomonics. How are you doing today? How are you feeling? Love the studio.
Kerry Egeler: [00:01:42] Hey, I'm doing good. I'm doing great. Thank you. Yeah, we'll doing great today. Glad to be here.
Joseph: [00:01:46] Uh, you know, I, I forgot to ask you this, so you should ask this beforehand. Um, what, what time zone are you in right now? What time is it? It's 2:13 for me right now.
Kerry Egeler: [00:01:53] I'm in central time zone. It is 1:13.
Joseph: [00:01:56] Okay. That's about an hour behind. Yeah. Right on.
Kerry Egeler: [00:01:58] In front of you.
Joseph: [00:01:59] Yeah. I, I think, well, it's not a competition or anything, but, uh, all right. So, um, I'm going to get you to answer our opening question, but for our audience, just to give you guys a little bit of a primer, um, Kerry is, uh, known for the print on demand. T-shirt business, runs a whole course on that. Usually I don't do the primers. I usually just let the, the guests do it. But the only reason why I'm doing it specifically today is because before I got into Debutify doing print on demand was on data I was trying to do on e-commerce. And so this is an opportunity for me to, uh, hopefully put in enough of a compelling case together for my girlfriend to continue using her art, to, uh, sell shirts, uh, because she has fantastic and I am not, but I have tried, I swear. I have tried. So Kerry, the Ecomonics tradition is as follows, tell us who you are and what do you do? Even though I basically just did that, but fun with it anyways.
Kerry Egeler: [00:02:55] Yeah. My name is Kerry Egeler and so I'm the founder of shirt school. Uh, it's a course and a community we help, uh, online t-shirt and apparel sellers grow their sales and profits.
We also help people get started and learn how to actually build a store and get started with an online t-shirt or apparel business. And obviously I've been doing print on demand and t-shirts for myself for three and a half years plus. And, uh, yeah, it's, it's kind of what I do.
Joseph: [00:03:19] The, uh, when did the course start. Cause I think it's, uh, it's kind of a recent revelation.
Kerry Egeler: [00:03:24] Yeah. So we launched the kind of the 1.0 version in the end of September, 2019.
Joseph: [00:03:29] Oh, okay.
Kerry Egeler: [00:03:30] Um, yeah. So it's been, I guess, I don't know, 18 months or so somewhere, somewhere around there.
Joseph: [00:03:35] Yeah. You talked to her, I think some people think to 2019 might as well have been yesterday seeing us all compressed the last year.
Kerry Egeler: [00:03:41] Well, yeah, it feels like it was forever. So it'd be some people say that too. It's like it's forever or whatever.
Joseph: [00:03:45] Yeah. I got a quick, quick, uh, offhand story about. Um, my, I still remember my 2020 new year's party. We were, um, we went to the, uh, my girlfriend's friend's place, where they were having like a, a flapper party, like in an homage to the 1920s.
So everybody dressed up with like the feather, uh, Quill bandanas and the suits and ties. And it was great. And we were joking. We're like, so what happens when it gets to 2030? Are we going to do the depression party for y'all and like getting him for bread lines and, well.
Kerry Egeler: [00:04:14] That's hilarious.
Joseph: [00:04:16] Cause cause there was a meme going on where people were like post, uh, where you were at a 2020 before you knew all this happening.
I'm like cool man. Did things change for me based on my perception. So anyways.
Kerry Egeler: [00:04:27] Oh man.
Joseph: [00:04:28] I'm going to start with my own print on demand store because I think that would be a good place to start just so that our, our audience understands the, like my agenda here, which is like, You know, I want to be able to do this stuff too.
So I guess we should formally just run through what print on demand is. We have talked about it in the past, but you've been the expert on it. I think it's worth getting your take. So, uh, let's, let's get the one on one going.
Kerry Egeler: [00:04:53] So I like to think of it because I, you know, I think a lot of people are familiar with drop shipping and a lot of people are familiar with print on demand, but I think probably less so right. Drop shipping, Ali express, all this kind of stuff has been the kind of changed the game for, uh, e-commerce over the last, I don't know, five plus years. And so, um, basically drop shipping is where, you know, you don't house any of the products. You don't have to create products. You don't have to do any of that stuff. You can just find a supplier who already has products that you want to sell. You just make the sales and they'll ship it to the customer for you. It's very hands-off obviously you don't have, you don't need upfront capital upfront investment.
Well, Print on demand is basically drop shipping for custom merchandise and apparel. And so that's basically what it is. Print on demand allows you to start an online e-commerce business with no upfront capital capital. You don't have to have employees. You don't have to have printing equipment. You don't have to have be a screen printer, any of this kind of stuff. You just have to come up with some designs to sell, throw, throw them up on a store. And you, there are over 250 a print on demand companies, at least for Shopify that you can link up to. And 95% of those are going to be free to use. And you don't pay a dime until you make a sale. So you can sell anything from t-shirts to mugs, to hoodies, to tumblers, to blankets, to wall art, to skateboards, to headphones. I mean, almost anything you can think of that you could print something on, you can sell without having to buy a bunch of inventory or print it yourself. So it's a game changer, especially for people who want to have that t-shirt apparel business are kind of always dreamed of having their own brand. It's really a game changer.
Joseph: [00:06:37] I, I will say to our audience, the last person that we spoke to, who's also knowledgeable on the subject was George Vlasyev. So for those of you who haven't been listening in chronological order, that that episode will also helped to augment a lot of what we're talking about today for your own understanding.
Uh, so with that housekeeping out of the way, I got to ask you real quick, like what's maybe like what's something like that the quirkiest thing is that you've seen, um, people print stuff on, not like the art per se, but like w the stuff that maybe you didn't expect to see a print, uh, something being printed onto.
Kerry Egeler: [00:07:06] Man. It's a great question. I'm trying to think, because there are some odd ones. I mean, you got dog bandanas. I mean, you've got the, you know, one of the trends that's happening right now is personalized where the customer can actually customize the text that they want. So for instance, they could put in a name, a date that means something to them. Maybe if a family member or a pet that's passed away. I mean, so different things they can do, but one of the trends right now is jewelry that you can customize the text on the box, you know, which I think is just such an odd thing. Cause it's, it's not even customizing the product, it's customizing the packaging, but it's a really, really hot trend right now. So, I mean, man, there is, there's so much, uh, so many different products that are really out there. Skateboards is another one I mentioned. I saw that and I was like, Wow. Print on demand, skateboards like that. That's pretty, that's pretty crazy, but tons of stuff.
Joseph: [00:07:58] Yeah. I'm not an expert on the, on, on the skateboarding culture, but I would say that's like, that's reasonably punk because I was like on a scale, like, uh, out of 10, maybe like it's like, like a six. My experience with front on demand is my, again, my girlfriend is a fantastic artist and she, uh, actually discovered it provided. And she was doing work on one of two places. There was Zazzle and red bubble. And what these are, are websites that they kind of like eliminate the need to have a Shopify store. So it's a, it's a built home marketplace. Marketplace. Yeah, exactly.
Kerry Egeler: [00:08:33] It's a marketplace like Amazon, essentially you can list your own products on their marketplace, leveraging their traffic, their reach and all that kinda stuff. Yeah.
Joseph: [00:08:41] Right. Um, but, uh, uh, on, on the same token, there is also obviously a lot of competition there because it's one person's artwork, uh, going up against all this other stuff. So for, let's just say somebody is interested in getting started on this. I would think it would still be wise to start there just to kind of get used to transacting with customers, maybe building up some of the muscle memory to like, understand how the fulfillment works. Even if I'm like, I'm mostly, hands-off just to still like learn to, to, to sell and to compete with others. Um, before I move on to making my own particular brand store, now that's me with the, everything that I've put together so far. Um, but, uh, strategically, what have you recommended for people who are getting started?
Kerry Egeler: [00:09:26] Yeah. So, you know, I don't think that's a bad idea necessarily, but I would, I would probably tend to go a little bit different direction. Um, you know, there are a lot of drawbacks to being on those kind of platforms and, you know, I recommend thinking about, uh, well, I recommend, first of all, you need to have a niche. That's one of another, one of the problems with those stores is kind of are those marketplaces as you're really just the idea of it is you're just throwing out as many designs as you can and all these different niches or different, different, you know, areas, uh, different designs. And you're hoping one of those, what kind of take off, and that's kind of the strategy with red bubble or Zazzle or these different places. Um, my, my, you know, system, if you will, is to first, first of all, select a niche and there are three, um, I call them the three P's of choosing a niche. How do you figure out like what niche you should go into? Well, number one is your passion. What do you, what are some things that you're passionate about? I do believe in, in, in picking something you're passionate about, because, uh, you want to pick something that is going to get you out of bed in the morning, right? You wake up in the morning.
And if you're, if I, if I love motorcycles, but I'm, I'm building a store for cat lovers and I hate cats, but I'm only there because there's money there. Potentially, I'm probably not gonna be very excited to work on my cat business if I love, if I really want to love motorcycles. So passion is number one.
Number two is profit, right? Is it profitable? So can you, can you actually make money from it and that's Hey, going out there and finding, are there other people selling in that niche? Um, is it, is it already selling online? Competition is a good thing I believe. Uh, obviously it's, there's too much of it. If you're competing with Amazon or Walmart or target. That's probably not a good niche, cause you're just more general. Um, but I think competition is a good thing. Is there, is there other people selling it? So is it profitable?
And lastly, are you proficient in it? Um, so do you know something about it, right? You, you probably can't go out there and pick a niche that you don't know anything about that you have. No, and it doesn't need to be, you don't need to be a pro. You don't need to be an expert, but you need to know enough to be connected with the people who are interested in those products, in that niche and be able to come up with designs. So if it meets those three P's and when I, what I teach people to do is just write down three things, right?
If it were me, it might be guitars. I play guitar. So my right write down guitars on there. And I see if it meets those three PS. Right? Uh, am I passionate about guitars? Heck yeah. Is it profitable? Probably. Right. There's other guitars, guitar shirts and guitar merchandise. And then am I proficient in it while I play guitar? I know, know about some about it so I can probably meet. So I probably meets those three PS and that's probably a good niche to go in. So I encourage people, you know, write down three of those. There's three things that come to your head that you love and then start going through and seeing if they meet those PS. Right. Each of those, if they check all the boxes. Um, so I recommend again, I'm going to skim through it real quick, but I recommend. A niche, pick a niche, you know, go, go with that branded store to begin with. Um, and then simple designs, right? Don't make it too complex. Some of the best designs are, are just text-based designs. It doesn't have to have a bunch of colors. It doesn't have to be a, you don't have to be a amazing artist. I'm sure your wife's amazing. I love to see her stuff, but you don't have to be an amazing artist and you just, you, you, the number one key, the number one key, and I believe this statistic is over 50% of sales are made purely off of emotion.
So the number one key is that you make simple, uh, designs that are, uh, have emotion tied into them. They make people feel something, laugh, cry, get excited, um, feel pride, even get angry, right shirts and make people get angry. They sell well, right. They're polarizing. So in a nutshell, that's kind of the first couple steps that I teach. I believe you need to go niche. It's the easiest way to sell the, the, the saying that I kind of tell people the smaller, the niche, the bigger your voice, right? The bigger your niche, it's gonna be a lot harder to compete, smaller voice. The smaller, the niche, the bigger your voice, right? So go niche and then start creating simple designs. You don't have to be an amazing, you know, you don't have to be amazing in Photoshop. There's tons of software to do it easily and make those designs as emotional as possible. And then, you know, tying in trends or, uh, or, or viral viral type designs that always helps. But emotion is most important, uh, along with niche and simple.
Joseph: [00:13:47] And I think emotion is a great fundamental principle as well, because it's something that we have most, most of us are emotional, uh, to varying degrees. Uh, and it's just something that, especially also, I appreciate you referring to her as wife, but just to sum it, girlfriend, not wife. No, no worries. I don't know if she can hear, hear this right now, but, um, well, I don't have like a, I don't have to rig or anything like that, but like pretty sure she'll be my wife.
Kerry Egeler: [00:14:16] Maybe we'll cut this clip and we'll send it to her. Just this pretty sure she'll be watching like that. She'll enjoy it.
Joseph: [00:14:23] Well, I hope, well, I shouldn't have to hope. I, I'll have faith on that one.
Um, yeah, so I I'm taking away a lot of really good things here. It's definitely about the emotional side of it. Now, one thing that's been kind of like going in the back of my mind, going kind of like, this is the issue with copyright material. Cause there's a long standing, uh, dispute between where does fair use start and where is it, uh, now, um, copyright infringement.
Um, and I definitely don't want a, you end up saying something that would incriminate either of us. Um, so, you know, in this situation, what I really want to hear more about is like your, your experience with it. Um, have you seen people kind of like dance the dance correctly? Cause I know I'm seeing, I see content.
I see. Um, I'll, I'll give you an example, cause I think this is a good one to point out. So there's this comic series called gutters and it is, I mean they parody superheroes and I went into a comic book shop once upon a time I've, you know, used to go there frequently, but with the stop point and, and, and there it is.
And it's, and it's clearly parody. Yeah, exactly. And it's parodied work and I'm like, okay, well, you know, for all intensive purposes, they're using Wolverine and captain America to market their products. So there there's clearly like, you know, a, a delicate dance they're playing there. And then you got like a mad magazine, which is no longer around, but they were also parroting work.
So in, in the realm of printing on demand, I, I think I, I'm going to predict what you're going to say, which is don't bother. Cause it's just not worth it. But I am wondering about your experiences. If you've seen someone find the right formula to, uh, to, to use, um, uh, copyright work.
Kerry Egeler: [00:16:13] Yeah. That's a great question.
And, and, you know, I, I can, um, I do want to share my experience because I actually have, I don't, I'm not an expert in this area by any means, but I do have a lot of experience dealing with this. And I, I just recently was on a, on a live stream with a, with a, um, another, um, uh, I guess influencer in the space or whatever you wanna call them.
And it was one of the first times I've actually shared a story that happened to me, uh, in, in regarding this. And, and, and I was, I was shocked how many people reached out to me and like, loved me telling that story because it's something I've been hesitant to tell because it's like, I don't want people to think that I'm like, you know, this bad guy and it, so it's really interesting.
But when I first got started with print on demand, um, I didn't know anything about copyright, trademark, all this different stuff. And so I threw up some designs that like you're mentioning, right? Like there's copy written or trademark really trademark is the, is the right word, but trademarked figures or things.
And I, I, I, the first, I think three months of my business, I had three cease and desist letters. And one of those, uh, one of those was, uh, intense. It was one that, that pretty much wrecked my a bit, my business, uh, for, I mean, It wrecked my business. It was the reason that I almost am not here talking to you about this.
Joseph: [00:17:32] Wow.
Kerry Egeler: [00:17:33] I almost, you know, was just like, let's just go back to corporate world and get rid of this t-shirt thing, because actually went through a legal battle, you know, over, because a lot of my designs had, I guess, a, and this was interesting because it was, it was really just colors and it wasn't even like, you know, any saying or low, it was literally that in my state they had trademarked the colors.
I mean, it's, it's like, it's crazy. And so, um, so anyways, I mean, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma. Yeah. And you could probably, you know, I'm sure the audience can maybe draw conclusions on what that was. I was in sports market, kind of sports related designs here in Oklahoma, different things like that. Uh, and still had still have that store to this day, which is interesting.
Um, but very it's very different. And so, so I went through a legal battle. I had to hire a lawyer I had, because basically they sent me the cease and desist that was like, take down everything. I'm like, I take down everything. I don't have a business and this was my full-time gig. And, and so this is about three years ago.
And so I went through a legal, kind of a legal battle with them. No, no court appeal or anything like that, but it was definitely like, if you don't take down this stuff, we're going to sue you. Okay. Um, so I, I went through this and I'm at the end of the day, you know, I was able to negotiate a little bit, a little bit.
I mean, they weren't, you know, well, a lot of stuff, but I had to reinvent my whole t-shirt apparel business. I pretty much had to reinvent what I was, how I was positioning myself, the kinds of things I was putting on t-shirts and all that kind of stuff. And so, you know, it is, it is something that I have learned just from experience to just not, not mess with, like you said, and it, but I get this question all of the time.
I mean, every time I went a live stream anywhere I get, I get this question. And so, you know, at the end of the day, yeah, it's just not, not something you want to do. Um, You know, I think that, uh, there's a lot of money to be made there if you want to, to tow that line. But I don't encourage you to tow that line. That being said, everything in this world is, is inspired by something else is potentially copied from something else. I mean, every idea we have in our head. So I understand that. Um, and so I do teach that, you know, the strategy, I believe that most people should take in, in t-shirts print on demand is go and find things that are already trending in your market, that people are already buying, designs that are already selling and see what elements you can take from those right. Things like the font, the color, the colors, the color scheme, the, um, uh, the layout, right of images or text on a t-shirt or whatever the product is.
All of those things are basically not copyright or trade trademarkable. Right. You don't want, ever want to use logos. You don't ever want to use the likeness of a fictional character or a nonfictional character. You don't ever want to use a team name or a organizational name. Right? You can't put the Apple with the bite out of it on a t-shirt.
You can't put the Disney logo. You can't put Mickey mouse, right? Like. You can't use superheroes, all that kind of stuff. But in that same vein, if you saw a Disney shirt or a Nike shirt that had a certain type of font that you really liked that had a, it was, let's say it was a call bold font that it really looked Nike-sque right. That might be, you might not want to use that exact font, but you could say, Hey, I love the way those words are laid out. And I love that style of font. And I love that color scheme, right? It's a blue font on a white shirt. I love that. So I'm gonna take those elements back and, and, and use that inspiration for some of my designs.
And so that's really the core of what I teach for designing. I, the hardest thing people could possibly do when you're coming up with designs is just sit in a room and go, okay. Hmm, what's going to be a popular design in your head and just try to think of designs. Most likely it's not going to happen.
You know, if you're super creative, you might like, you might be the type that wakes up in the middle of the night and goes, Oh, I got 10 design ideas. Let me run them all down. I'm not like that. So I have to go out and find inspiration. And so I do that on the Amazons and the Teespring's and the Etsy's at T's a great place to go out and look at, what's actually selling, Oh, this item has 10,000 reviews.
This is selling. So how could I change up some of those words for my own niche? How could I use a similar layout or similar font or similar color scheme, but not directly, obviously not directly ripping off anything. We don't want to directly copy anything, but there are so many elements. I do this all the time with web pages and landing pages too.
It's like, if I'm going to go create a landing page for something. Well, the easiest way is to go find another landing page that, that, that I can take some of that inspiration from, if I'm thinking, how do I lay out elements on each part. It's like, Oh, well, this website looks really good. Let me do something similar to that.
Right? The part, I think the last thing I'll say in this question is that the thing that people really want to be careful of is, is don't go out well outside of copywritten and trademark stuff. Don't go find your competitors and, and do not just replicate their designs. Right. Even if it's a small competitor, maybe you're in a small niche and you have another small company that you're competing with, please don't go out and just rip off their designs.
Right. Go find, go find successful and popular designs in other niches that you're not going to, like, you're not going to be directly competing with them. Right. That's that's, you know, would be my advice.
Joseph: [00:23:02] That's fantastic. Um, there, there's definitely a lot of, uh, threats there, uh, even within the answer to that one question. Um, because on the one hand you have like a common sense, like, okay, don't pretend like you're like selling Disney products. Like don't pretend you're selling our products, but then on the other far end of it is the fact that you were, um, uh, harangued by, uh, a simple choice of colors. Now I, I do gotta ask, was it a coincidence or was it that, well, you know, being a fan of say, like the team, you wanted to honor the colors.
So there was like a bit of like a conscious choice of what those colors were.
Kerry Egeler: [00:23:42] Yeah, absolutely. A conscious choice, but I wasn't in the impression that like, How can it, how could a team trademark the actual colors? Like I can use these colors for whatever. The bottom line is when I started, I had no idea. I just had no idea about trademarks, copyrights or what you could do. And what I was doing is I, there were other companies doing what I was doing. I was like, well, they're doing it. And they're, they're, you know, having success with it. It should be fine, right. That wasn't the case. Because very shortly after that, my business exploded and I was suddenly bigger than all these other companies that I had drawn that I had said, Oh, if they're doing it, I want to do it.
Yeah. And, and then that's why they came after me. And I do, I do want to say that. I think that, I think the, the, the, to, in that story, because a lot of people are thinking like, we, you got sued and you get sued, but you got ceased and desist and all the stuff, the end of that story is I, I kept going, right?
Like it did. I didn't let it take down my business. I reinvented it. I changed what I was doing. I even rebranded my store, new name, all that kind of stuff, and was able to revive that business and grow it even bigger than it was when I was getting those cease and desist letters. And still to this day, over three years later, you know, I'm still operating that store and still having success with it.
And so, you know, thatt feels like the thing that would kill most people is if you're creating Disney shirts and they came and just took you down, right? Hey, or whatever, you're creating Marvel shirts or whatever it is, but it's like, you have to eat still have to keep going. You know, I encourage you to keep going, keep, keep trying to figure out how to do that.
Joseph: [00:25:10] It's it's the only way it just to keep on keeping on, um, to, to draw a brief parallel to, um, one area of expertise. In my end, I don't man. I talk a little bit of games once in a while, but it doesn't come up all that often. But, um, in, in the video game space, one of the big issues has been, um, revenue sharing on YouTube because on the one hand you have the content creators who are playing games or doing their lets plays.
And they're, they're basically doing free promotion for the companies, which is like one of their main arguments and they're in the end, these are monetized. Um, but then on the other side you have the, uh, the, the company who wants to either take most. If they're charitable, but prob possibly, potentially all of the revenue.
And I, I actually tend to lean a little bit more in the favor of the company and, and the reason is, and, and the reason why I'm bringing this up here is face it, the reason why this thing is generating interest is because it is based on something that people have prior knowledge about. I'm taking note, it's kind of a crutch to use somebody else's content. Uh, these are still designers, I don't care how big they are. They still put in the resources to generate these assets, but there is still a compelling, a valid case for the creators because they're doing a lot of Goodwill. They're doing a lot of free promotion. They're helping a funnel, potential customers to do this, to these products.
So. I I'm sitting there. I, I take on the story and I'm just thinking like, well, the solution is obvious. You just do a revenue share, like, let the, let the company take, like, I don't know, 35%, 20% something where like, you know, they get a decent chunk of change, but let the revenue creator be able to sustain themselves.
And everybody's happy. And I don't have all my facts together. I think some of them did that, but I remember Nintendo and there was, they were lambasted for their partners program where they like to have like the majority of it to the point where the creators were like losing money with you calculate how much time they're spending actually doing it versus like flipping burgers at McDonald's.
Kerry Egeler: [00:27:13] Yeah, no, that's, that's such a good conversation in my world. Um, I, I, like I said, I play guitar. I follow all of these guitar experts on YouTube. I watch all these videos, these influencers, you know, some of them. Two 3 million subscribers, very big ad revenue, and they made their living. Some of these guys have made their living off of teaching, how to play copy, you know, trademark song, copywritten songs.
Um, and, and they're facing that of like, they can't put up a tutorial and their argument is that, uh, if it's, if it's educational, you're supposed to be able to use it and all that kind of stuff. And I'm just like, nobody's, I'm, I'm tending to fall on your side a little bit of like, nobody's gonna watch your guitar tutorial on how to play sweet child of mine.
If they didn't create that. If you're not you, if you weren't using that asset of this guns and roses song or whatever, you know? And so, but it's, it's such a tough conversation. I think that copyright and trademark laws were obviously created at a time where they could have never anticipated the world that we live in a free internet and creators and content and all this different stuff.
So it's, it's really tough, man. It's, it's, it's a tough, it's a tough thing. Tough question to answer too.
Joseph: [00:28:23] Um, yeah, I, I think it's definitely something we're thinking about, but like, I think the main takeaway is, again, you know, we're starting with the fundamentals, start with an emotional state and, and start with something that we have an interest based off of and, and take it from there.
I, I remember a couple of like clients I had, um, when I was like, primarily just doing freelancing and, and they wanted to use a, a song is like kind of falling out of the wayside. So it's not like they would, uh, come after them right away. But what I told them is anxiety is a seed and anything can water that seed.
So even if it's just like a tiny little thing that anxiety can grow and grow and grow, and next thing you know, it's suddenly turned into a massive problem that uproots the whole thing. So don't even settle for like 1% anxiety. It just like. You just go, just go and go your own way. There's hundreds of thousands of artists who make music for free.
They are dying to have their music attached to somebody else's content, again, kind of a different realm, but you know, parallels here, right? This is not just within a t-shirt printing. It's an issue that we just have to talk about altogether. Yeah. Now with that, what's that, um, all, uh, all wrapped up actually rather unwrapped.
And I left all of the ground. We're going to move on anyways, because I really want to hear about the advertising side of this. I've talked to a lot of people who talk about advertising products and I, and I'm sure that there are a number of them effectively. What you're doing is product two, but you don't even like drop shipping products, physical products in specific.
So I would like to hear about what are some of the, uh, the, the fundamentals and some of the steps that you advise people who are looking to advertise their, their, their, their shirts and their print on demand content on, well, I, I know on Facebook, but, uh, we're, uh, where else there might be a good opportunity to reach out to a potential customers.
Kerry Egeler: [00:30:07] Yeah, I think, I think there's, you know, two, two real at the base, at the base of it. There's two real strategies, right? You, you can, well, it's three, I'd say three. Number one, you can go the route of ham, just going to dump a ton of money into advertising. When you're starting from scratch, I'm going to dump a ton of money into advertising.
I know I'm going to lose money, but I know over time, uh, that my costs are going to drop my, my data is going to grow. I can make better decisions with, with my advertising. And, um, and, and one thing that I teach that, you know, going that route is I'm also going to build my list. Well, as I'm spending that chunk of change on ads, I'm gonna make sure I'm converting that into emails, texts, social media followers, where I'm building influence.
Um, so that later on I can be more profitable and, and maybe I don't have to spend as much on ads to produce whatever my, my goal is. That's right. Number one, I'm going to dump a bunch of money and probably lose a lot of money into paid ads. Number two strategy is I'm going to start organic. I'm going to employ some organic strategies through, um, you know, outreach DM-ing, uh, micro influencers, or even just people that you might want to, uh, collaborate with and give them a coupon code to be a part of your brand different things like that.
We teach a few very specific strategies on outreach and how to, how to approach people, uh, another, you know, influencers, micro influencers offering free merchandise, or doing a giveaway with their following or paying for shout outs. I mean, there's so many different things you can do there. I consider that organic, even though some, you know, obviously sometimes you pay for those influencer shout outs, but it's really building your following, you know, organically and not dumping the money into paid ads until you're ready or maybe never doing it at all.
And then number three, which is really what I teach, uh, is, is you need to do a little bit of a combo of both, right? Especially if you want to grow quickly. And that includes having some one or two, maybe three organic strategies that you're doing daily or weekly that you're consistent with. And then consistently running ads, even at a small budget, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, maybe Pinterest.
Um, and there's a number of places you can advertise. I think those three really stick out for, um, for apparel and on demand, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. So a little bit of a combo of that, right? You start at a small budget, maybe you start by spending 10 bucks a day, 20 bucks a day. Uh, and you're really intentional to again, grow your email list because that's the key and I'd be happy to get into more, more of that.
Cause that's really the, the core of how to have a profitable, sustainable business is your list. Um, but you're using that paid, paid advertising to hopefully generate some sales. But specifically to grow your list and to get your brand out there, get some exposure. And then you're also, again, you're doing one, two, three at most three organic strategies per week.
Maybe you're, DM-ing 25 people a day engaging with 25 people a day on Instagram and Facebook. And then maybe you're approaching a new Facebook group to sponsor their group or a new influencer. Maybe I'm going to do two per week, right? So you have actually have a strategy to go out there and grow your brand.
You're doing a couple of those organic things. You're doing a couple of that. You're doing this kind of paid advertising and a low budget in the background, and this is how we're building, you know, building up our brand. That makes sense?
Joseph: [00:33:21] It does. So it's funny to me because like, I'm, I'm definitely a hybrid mindset.
Um, so when you say that, like, uh, you kinda, you take some of, uh, both a strategy, a strategy B and that strategy C uh, that does fall in line with like a lot of like my, my overall perspective on things like, you know, I'm, I, I do this, which is the performative side, but I also am like multimedia manager on the backend side.
So I'm like, definitely like an odd shift puzzle piece, but, you know, it found the right spot to fit. So, uh, that, that part, that's how I, I, I, I took away from it. Now you said, uh, growing the email list, which is something that's important to us to elaborate on. So hit me.
Kerry Egeler: [00:33:59] Hey. Yeah. Here's, what's funny. Hopefully people don't tune out right now because what I find is anytime I talk about email lists, it's like, nobody wants to hear about it. I don't know if it's just the thing that people just know they should do, but don't want to do. Um, but I encourage you if you're listening right now, keep listening, really take this to heart because I'm telling you anybody who's listening right now.
This is the key to it. All right. Is it really email, but also I've been talking a lot more about texts. There's a lot, there's a lot of really cool SMS stuff that I think people should be doing. But as far as email lists, let me, let me give you, um, kind of a couple stats, I guess, on, on email. So number one, um, Oh gosh, I have so many, so many good ones are, repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert than first-time buyers nine times more likely to convert. So that means you get people on your list and you, and you keep reselling to them. And that they're nine times more likely to convert. They spend on average three times more per order than first-time buyers.
Okay. So if you go out to Facebook ads and I pay Facebook gets $10 to get me a buyer. A person that's on my email list or a person who's bought from me before is going to spend on average three times more than the first time buyer. Another kind of great angle to kind of explain why email is so important.
You know, I think the general consistent consensus, and you tell me if you're wrong with if I'm wrong, but you know, email has been out since the 1990s, right? Uh, open rates have dropped every year. Um, you know, it's just a bunch of spam people don't check it. People don't open it. I think email, I don't know if when email was introduced in 1999, maybe even earlier than that.
Joseph: [00:35:40] Yeah. I mean, I'm just trying to figure out when it was like made public versus when it was just developed by DARPA. Yeah.
Kerry Egeler: [00:35:47] It's been a while, right? It's been awhile regardless, 15 years plus. You know, everybody's fixated on social media. Everybody's fixated on Facebook, the Instagrams, the tiktoks, all this kind of stuff.
Here's the reality. When you have a Facebook business page, the average reach is going to be between three and 5% organically when you post on your Facebook page. On Instagram, it's going to be somewhere around 10%, 15%. If you're, if you're lucky, when you make an Instagram post, that means 10, 10 out of your out of a hundred followers will see your post.
Obviously, if it's more engaging, more viral that can grow. On average, the average e-commerce brand is going to have a 20 to 30% open rates on their emails. So if you have a thousand people on Instagram, a thousand people on Facebook and a thousand people on your email list, that means most likely more people are going to see your email than they will your posts. That's just a, that's just that's the statistics, right? So email is the most still in 2021, the most powerful way to sell, the most powerful way to create, to generate relationships and build relationships the most powerful way to get your message out there. And, and here's the most important thing about email. No one can take away your email list. Mark Zuckerberg can take away your Facebook account, can take away your Facebook ads account. You know, Facebook can take away your Instagram account, your, your, your tiktok can get shut down your whatever. All this stuff can be taken away from you like that. But your email list, you hit download and save it in a, in a CSV or whatever excel file. You've got those emails and you can always go back and sell it and go back to that well, when you need sales and they're there. And so I think for anybody, whether you're a beginner or believe it or not, you know, I talk to students who are doing 10,000, 20,000, $30,000 a month and are not building their email list.
So wherever you're at in your e-commerce journey or anything, if you're selling anything on the planet, if you're not building your email list right now, make that a priority and then actually send them emails each week, you know, keep up that engagement. And so email is neglected, but it's maybe the most powerful way to build your business and become profitable.
Right? That's the key is those emails are gonna always going to be super profitable ads, aren't always going to be profitable. So if you use ads as a tool to reach new people and build your email list, that's, that's kind of the key.
Joseph: [00:38:03] You know, it's funny too, because earlier on today I was talking to, uh, Elena Kostova who, uh, is a sales and marketing in a SMS bump.
So we were comparing and contrasting how, you know, SMS and email marketing. They get along. They don't like cancel one another out. Um, cause like it just, just to retain kind of like what I was talking to, to her about her earlier today, be a little behind the scenes factor there for our audience, is that you use SMS in instances where her reaction is needed right away.
Like somebody is just about to converge and then the dog barks. And then next thing you know, they've just kind of like forget or that the momentum is down and then their emotional status change. And then I'm going to do it. The text message is ready to go. Um, whereas email marketing is, I mean, I suppose it could be reactionary, but it's often more about like welcome to the family and welcome to the community.
This is now our ability to share additional value, to have additional promotions look at, know what's coming up. And one other point too, that I think, uh, helps emails stand out among all of the other formats is that emails are well actually. Okay. Sorry. There's a lot of other formats to do this. Let me just make my point, which is an email is a self curated.
I can have messages that arrive in my inbox and say, you know what? That's junk. That's junk. That's junk. Conversely, I I'll check my junk mail once in a while. Cause I'm anticipating something shows up there that shouldn't have showed up there. So I go there. Well, that's not junk. That's not junk. Uh, I, I might need that to live.
So I grab all of those stuff and I put that on my, on my inbox. So my inbox experience is highly curated. Um, the one major issue that I've had, and I, again, this is like two episodes of drama that I talked about. It is, I was like, I just got burnt out with emails because I was getting so many of them. And I just like, I, and I just sort like I went on only an unsubscribing spree, so I never of them have survived the purge, but, uh, there are so many things that can happen to someone.
Um, someone's emotional state time of day, wrong place, wrong time. Sometimes if the email just showed up at like 5:00 PM, 3:00 PM. You know, um, maybe, uh, it would have survived the purge. Um, so yeah. Have you, have you encountered, um, uh, on subscribing or, uh, email retention rate or how to just make sure that like the people who are on the email list are happy with the, the flow of content?
Kerry Egeler: [00:40:17] Yeah. I mean, I think obviously there's a line of like, obviously you don't want to like piss off your whole email list or say something that's, you know, whatever political or, you know, depending on what you're selling, you know, it's something that might make people mad. But I think that they're, I think the unsubscribes are very healthy.
That's that's my philosophy is that if they're on my email list and you unsubscribed me, you're probably not the customer I'm going after. Right. And so the way I look at it is, you know, as people unsubscribed, my email list is getting healthier. Right. I, I, you know, it's in theory, my open rates should go up, right.
Because I'm getting rid of the people. So I even often, um, I try to do this at least once a quarter, is I go ahead and send a re-engagement campaign, say, Hey, uh, to all the people who haven't opened an email, maybe in six months say, Hey, Are you there? Like you, you haven't opened an email in six months. I just want to know if you want to be on this list.
Right. And you can tag them and most softwares, you can tag them if they click on a button or whatever. And then, and then you can go back and say, okay, I had a thousand people that haven't engaged with me in six months, 500 of them didn't even open the email. We're just going to delete those off of our list.
That's good. That's called cleaning your list. And so, and that tells the, the Gmails and the, um, the yahoos and everything that, you know, you have a good list because you're, you're continuing to make that list more healthy and you're, you're, you're pruning it. Right. And so you're going to show higher open rates, and you're going to show more engagement and more clicks because you're printing off those people who, uh, are not engaging with your, with your content.
So that's something I do quarterly or so, um, yeah, I mean, I never thought about that before. Yeah. Everybody's got a sender score. Believe it or not. It's like, you've got to, you know, you've got a reputation with Gmail. They, they have. A file somewhere that says, Kerry, this is kind of the quality of what you're sending.
And so, you know, it's something that's important.
Joseph: [00:42:05] Yeah. I think this is something that can probably be answered with just like one piece of software, but like how exactly do you know people haven't opened their emails?
Kerry Egeler: [00:42:12] Yeah. I mean, every email software will show you when you send an email, so open rate or non, you know, who opens it and doesn't open it. So, um, usually what you can do is you can do anything on the software you're using. You can create a segment and, and like a, uh, it's basically just a segment of your list. So let's say you have a thousand people, you go into those thousand people and you say, I want to create a segment and you can click a little dropdown that says everyone who has not opened an email in this timeframe, you set some rules and it'll just automatically update that as you get new subscribers.
And they fall into that. So on my email platforms, I just got a cold segment just called cold, and it's set to automatically when somebody hits that six month mark, they just drop into that cold. Cold segment. And so every quarter I just emailed that cold segment say, Hey, do you, do you still want to be on the list?
Joseph: [00:43:01] That's that's, that's helpful. And I think for our audience, are they, is everyone necessarily going to jump onto print on demand? No. Should they, in most cases I would say so, but even if they're selling other, you know, uh, physical products or selling lamps, whatever it is, that right there is a, is huge. Uh, I'm going to go and say that you have given us like crazy amount of really good value.
Uh, and I'm, and I'm seeing, I'm standing here taking this in, uh, a fun behind the scenes fact. I actually stand on when I record these. I mean, I'm sedentary for like most of my life. Right. There's I can do a stand up for us.
Kerry Egeler: [00:43:33] I want to be standing. It's just the way my camera's set up. Like I have my desk, you know, I have a button that raises it and it's like, yeah, I wish I was standing.
Joseph: [00:43:40] Yeah. Well, I mean, it's a, there's a strengths and weaknesses to everything my left foot may or may not be asleep right now. And, and I'm also like if I lean too far back, the shadows show up on my thing and I've, and I, I kid you not, I got this ring light thing. And I've had it for about three recordings so far.
And in the course of all the recordings, including this one, I have been like constantly like repositioning and trying to figure out how to cast up the shadow. So like a strict, uh, ups and downs.
So the point that I want to make about print on demand that I would like to hear your take on. So I'll tell you a story. So for our viewers, uh, you can see I'm wearing these, uh, compression gloves that are they're spandex and they help reduce arthritis at least in theory. But I will say, is that what I'm not using them I notice. And I don't want to throw the company under the bus that marketed them to them, to me. Um, and you'll understand why once I'm finished a story, but I bought the original ones for 20 bucks shipping. All that. And then I just, and I find out through talking to a Torin Hofmann that these guys are actually on Ali express.
And so I go on Ali Express and I'm like, Oh wow, this is actually three bucks. So I ordered $20 worth. And I ended up with what mine with myself, my girlfriend, uh, backups. And it's very difficult to protect the value because as soon as somebody figures out what's going on, they can get past that veil and they can now become more like myself or people who are just past the veil.
And now they understand how this works. And so the point I want to make with proton demand is that I think it's very good at protecting value because the value is, I mean, the shirts are obviously they serve a purpose to keep us warm and out of trouble, but also. The design on the shirt is where all the value is because people are paying for the idea they're paying for the emotional state.
They're paying for a message to paying for a way to connect with others. And you can't go on to Ali Express and find like a, like a drop ship version of that. It's, it's an original design by somebody else. Is it possible that you've seen people like, uh, have their value under attack? Like if somebody else like copies of design specifically, I would be curious about that, but I think overall, I, I just, I just think it's really important for people to understand it.
Like the value of this is right there and I. Can't imagine I can't fathom, there's some like behind the scenes veil, like with my gloves that I'm talking about.
Kerry Egeler: [00:46:05] Yeah. That's such a good, it's such a good point. You bring up, I think the, this is one of the biggest draws of print on demand that I think that people don't recognize when they get into it.
And they're thinking like, I just want to start a t-shirt brand. I just wanna start it. But it's like, if you compare this with something like drop shipping or whatever, I mean, yeah. It's, it's, it's nobody out there is selling what you're selling, obviously, unless you're ripping off designs or whatever. Um, so that that's, it makes it so unique.
And what we talked about earlier, if some of these really obscure products now print on demand is getting so sophisticated that. You can have so many unique products cause that, that would be the, I guess maybe the, the, the drawback for some people is like, well, I can go on Ali express. There's all these amazing products, potentially, you know, different types of products where I'm more limited on my apparel, you know, that I can use, but it's like with print on demand, not only can you customize the, the what's on the product, what's printed on the product, but now you've literally got thousands of different products available that you can, that you can now print on.
And then lastly, huge benefit is if, if you're a new biz on e-commerce seller out there and you're going to ali express, right? The most obvious benefit is like six week, eight week lead times to get to your customer with print on demand. Even if you're in a, if you're, if you're not here in the United States, there are fulfillment centers in the UK, in, in Canada, in Australia, in some different places, you can get your, your, your product to your customer.
Three to seven days. I mean, seven days would really be the top of that, that shipping scale, you know, for me for print on demand, if a lot, if the print on demand is really stinking on their shipping time, maybe seven days, maybe 10 for the worst, but that's way better. That's way better. Right. It's so good.
And so, um, but specifically to your question about, um, people being under attack. Yeah. I mean, here's the, here's the reality. It's not just print on demand it, any product that you are selling when you start to make noise in the marketplace, when you get to. You know, it's hard to put a number on it, but when you get to 25, $30,000 a month, $50,000 a month or more, when you start getting to those kinds of levels, um, people are gonna rip off your stuff.
No matter what you're selling, there are horrible people out there. At the end of the day, you have to remember that there most people, 99.9% of people are. And when you get to those levels, they are not going to have the skills or mindset to, to be as successful as you are. So. Brush it off. Right. And I also want people to remember that because this stops a lot of people from starting.
A lot of people are like, I I'm, I'm so terrified of starting because I don't want, my, my idea is so unique and I don't want people to, to rip it off. And so do not let this be a reason that you don't start because you feel like somebody is going to copy you. Right. And, and, and what I always tell my students is if somebody is copying you, you you're doing a great job.
You win. That's a, that's a sign it. Yeah. It's, it's, it's flattery, I guess is the saying it's like the highest value sincere.
Joseph: [00:49:09] Um, I got, uh, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Kerry Egeler: [00:49:12] Yeah. Yeah. But really, you know, of course it's frustrating. Yeah. It's frustrating when you see somebody like. Ripping off your designs, but number one, remembered they're never going to be you they're, they're not likely not going to have what it takes to get hit, get to your level success.
And number two, that means you're doing something good. That's a sign that you're, that you're creating some success that you've created something that people love so much, that there are turds out there who are going to rip it off. And so I just think, you know, I, yeah, it's again, it's frustrating, but it happens with any industry, any product, anything?
Joseph: [00:49:45] No, I haven't sorry. I just haven't heard somebody call somebody a turd in a long time. I forgot how funny that word is. Um, I, I gotta, I gotta bring that one back. I, I don't really have anything to add on to that. I think it's just a, it's a fantastic mindset and it, it, it just goes to show that in a sincere way, we all are learning from people before us, and we're all bringing our own ideas to the table.
So is there anything really, truly original, probably in those like underground bars and like, I don't know, San Francisco or something like that where they're like, they're protecting it and they don't want anybody to see it. Cause they love the idea too much, but in a way it also trying it's like ego preservation where if their ideas criticized, but they're so invested into it, withdrawing from that can be very difficult.
I would know cause I've had that issue with a lot of my own ideas. So I definitely know how it feels and it sucks. But for long-term growth, it's the right thing to do. So with all that, uh, said and done, I, I also want to make sure that we hear your story as to how you got into e-commerce. Uh, just because our audience, I don't know where they're from.
Um, but I do know that we have some people who are just waiting for like one more story to really spark that, that motivation for them to get into this. So, uh, I know I'm sure you've told this story before, but I definitely want to hear it as well for our, for our audience and for myself really?
Kerry Egeler: [00:51:10] Yeah. Nope. For sure. Yeah. So I, I got into, um, just honestly online business in general, but e-commerce printed mail kind of stuff. Uh, it's been about three and a half years, I guess we're going on four years. And basically the story is, um, I, I was working a retail job, uh, in the cell phone world. I'd worked my way up in the company.
I was a store manager. I was making a salary of some around $80,000 a year. I mean, very comfortable salary ride. I had a team of, I think, 16 people at the last store I was at, you know, and I was in line for, um, another promotion. I'd got all these promotions worked my way up. I was in line for a really big one.
I was in line to be a district manager. I was even doing interviews at this time, the summer of 2017, I was doing interviews for district management positions. I was going to approach uproot my whole family. I had a one-year-old son, my son, Calvin, and my wife. We'd been married for, I guess, four or five years.
I'm ready to uproot my whole family moved here from Oklahoma, everything I've ever known and move out to somewhere else, wherever this job would call me to, uh, and, you know, make a salary of probably 120 K or more maybe somewhere in there. And so I literally thought I would be with this company forever.
Now, this is what I thought I would do forever. Uh, I had no plans to do anything else, loved what I did loved leading a team. And, um, and one day, um, I'm giving you the, the a little bit longer version, but one day good old corporate security shows up. This is a soup, a very powerful, big, you know, uh, uh, Uh, communications company, you know, cell phone provider, you can, one of the big ones you can think of in your head.
Um, and the corporate security shows up. These are like former, like FBI agents that now work for these huge companies and they show up and they're investigating something that happened in my store with what, with some of my employees. And at the end of the day, I mean, it was terrifying, but at the end of the day, um, you know, I was let go and some of my employees were let go because I was in management.
So I was held accountable. I wasn't aware that these guys were doing this thing in my store with some shady stuff, but, um, but I was let go because of it because I was in leadership. And, um, so I was let go. And, uh, it wrecked my world. I mean, it was, my wife was the same, same feeling like, Oh man, we were making this comfortable salary.
We've got kids, we've got mortgage payment, car payments, all the things we even had some debt, even though we were making a good amount of money, we weren't saving. And it was just, you know, one of those things. So I was like, so I'm basically within seven days. I, I kind of made a decision. I was trying to figure out, I took a little bit of time, you know, a few days to kind of figure, I guess, let it all sink in and figure this out.
But after about a week, I was like, well, I've always kind of had the entrepreneurial spark, I guess I've been an entrepreneur. I'd never done marketing. I never built a website. I'd never sold products on the internet. Um, but I always kinda thought, man, I'd love to own a business. So I thought, well, what am I going to do?
Well, I should probably do something online. It's 2017 internet. You know, all this stuff probably do something online, had a brother-in-law who is a successful online entrepreneur, went to him and said, Hey man, do you think I should get a job? Or should I do something like you do? And he was okay. Of course he was like, dude, sell stuff on the internet.
You know? So he was, here's what I want you to do. Come up with three ideas, bring them back to me and I'll help you figure out what. So I went thought of three ideas came back and, um, And he was like, I presented these three ideas and he was like, do the t-shirt thing, like sell the t-shirts. So I, no idea when I was doing, I mean, it was literally the, one of my sayings that I like, I guess people know me for whatever is take imperfect action.
Right. There's a quote from Harry S Truman. It says, um, imperfect action beats, perfect inaction every time. Right. Procrastination, all that kind of stuff. And, um, and so I was like, well, um, I I've heard of Shopify, but I'm literally the guy on Google going, how to start a online business. It's like, okay, here ali express.
I hear so I'm discovering all these things very quickly. I didn't have a job. So I had all day, so I literally set up a Shopify store, free theme. I didn't do any designs of my own. I went to ali express, watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how you do drop shipping, went to ali express and found t-shirts on ali express that were already being printed with designs on them, put them onto a Shopify store with the mock-ups from Ali express, started a Facebook ad at $5 a day. And this is seven days after I was fired. And like eight days after I'm fired, I got my first sale. Like, I mean, literally the design I'm selling from alley express, all this stuff. And then like the day after I start the store, I get a sale.
And I'm like, you know, my phone's like, dang. And I'm like, what is that? And, and Amy just that's I got at the moment that changed, changed everything for me. And so, as I kinda mentioned to mention to you earlier, I, I quickly found out that the AliExpress express thing was not I'm going to work. I think my first three or four orders were all refunded, which was very deflating because I'm like, I got sales.
Oh, I don't got sales. Cause it was like long, long wait times and you know, all this stuff and I didn't have, like, I didn't have anything set up cause I didn't know anything of what I was doing. I didn't know how to send, like have the emails send for shipping confirmation. Like I didn't know what I was doing.
I wasn't expecting getting in sales on day one. And so I quickly found out the ali express thing was not going to work. And so I started looking for other ways. Luckily it came across print on demand and was like, this is amazing. This is exactly what I want to do. And I don't have money to go buy t-shirts.
So this is perfect. So I changed everything over to print on demand store started just blowing up. I had no idea what I was doing. I was spending all the profits, cause I thought I'm going to be rich. This is going to like, this is going to go forever. Right. And, and then, uh, the cease and desist letters came that kind of stuff wrecked my world kind of.
Wrecked my whole life. I mean, my wife and I went through the hardest time of our life during that period. And then I just kept fighting that in that period, I was driving for Uber and Lyft, like in, at night, I do it until 2:00 AM in the morning. I go to sleep from like 2:00 AM to 7:00 AM, wake up at 7:00 AM, work on my, um, work on my t-shirt business.
And then my wife, my wife was pregnant with our second child and her first trimester, which is like, she's puking all the time and all that it's gross. But so I was taking care of my son during the day. So it was like, it was, it was intense, you know? Um, and I just kept fighting. I just kept fighting. I kept trying to figure out how can I reinvent this store?
How can I keep selling? How can I keep coming up with different designs or tweaking my niche a little bit. And I just kept fighting and was able to grow that store to really big levels and, uh, by my measurement. And then I started a few more stores, had some success with those. I started a subscription service where we did monthly t-shirts.
Um, and then after, uh, to kind of wrap the story up, but, uh, sometime in 2019, after doing that for a couple years, um, to so many friends ask they're like, dude, I heard you were like selling t-shirts on the internet and actually like making money. How do you, can you teach me how to do that? You know, so many people were asking me, so I was like, just put all my knowledge into a little course and we put together shirts.
Cool. And, and then throughout 2020, really throughout 2020, and then at the beginning of this year, I mean, it's just exploded. I can't tell you how amazing it's been. And we have this at the point of recording this thing. We have over 1100 students in our course. Uh, we have, you know, 20,000 people on our email list.
We have Facebook groups and growing YouTube channel and it's like, It's just been amazing. The people we've been able to impact. We have six figure earners. We even have seven figure earners in our course. It's just blown my mind. So that's really taken over everything that I do. I know I have a team of three people that work directly for me here in Oklahoma and, and then I have some contractors in different stuff online, and it's just, it's just, that's where I'm at now.
And just want to keep. Keep helping more people do this thing. Cause it's, it's definitely what I love.
Joseph: [00:58:55] That's a great story. There was one, there was one part of it where, uh, cause you said that like if it was for a sales ended up being a for returns. So, uh, you might say that it took the wind out of your sales.
If you like that you're willing to use it. I just thought of it. I don't know. I just wanna get that one to you. And I think overall, it just goes to show how this continued through line, where people have really saved themselves and they saved others. And now they want to share that with, uh, with other people.
And it's definitely been like one of the most illuminating positive, uh, industry is positive communities that I'm grateful to not only be a part of, but uh, contribute in some small way. So, um, with that, I actually, uh, how are we, how are we doing? Yeah, we're pretty much shy. We pretty much gotta go here. Um, so I got to say thank you so much.
This has actually helped me out a lot. Um, many, if not all of the episodes they help, but. This has definitely been really helpful. Cause it's, it's been something that's been kind of like a nine away at me in the back of my mind is like, how do I, I gotta do this too. I really want to do this too. So w um, with that, we, I usually wrap up, um, I just give you a chance if you want to share any other advice.
Um, not that you haven't shared a bunch already, but just in case maybe there was maybe like a point or two that, um, uh, you didn't quite get to make a, this is a chance to make that point and then let the audience know how they can, uh, reach out to you, uh, and get a, get a touch and also check out your content.
Kerry Egeler: [01:00:18] Yeah. You know, the thing that popped into my head, I, every podcast I do, it's always kind of the end of your, like, what's your last piece of advice? And I'm like, Oh, I don't know.
Joseph: [01:00:26] I break some rules, but not all of them.
Kerry Egeler: [01:00:29] But the one, Oh yeah, no, it's fine. I love it. I love the question. The one thing that popped into my head is, you know, this, and hopefully I don't butcher it cause I'm, my wife gets on him, excited, butcher, like every story I'm like, let me tell you the story in that Burke portrait.
But, um, you know, what everybody wants is time freedom and the money freedom. Right? You want to have the money to do the things that you love, and you want to have the time to do the things that you love to be with your family, too, you know, all that kind of stuff. And so I would say to anybody out there who might be working a full-time job, maybe you're working during the day, or maybe you have a lot of responsibilities, you're trying to figure out how do I find the time to do this, or how do I find the money to start a, a business, right.
Because I want to, I want to make, I want to have the money to do the things that I want, but I don't have the money to start getting there. Right. And I think the, the saying, um, that, that I love that. I, I, it just always sticks with me. I would probably think of it every single day, but if you want to, if you want to have the time freedom.
You have to start making the time right now. Right? It's like people say, I don't, I don't have the time to do that. I'll do that. I'll do that when I have time. But the actual thing that you have to realize is you have to start making the time in order to grow that time. Right, because making the time now to, to invest into your business and build your business, even if it's, it means the sacrifice of maybe getting up early, putting in an hour in the morning or putting in some time after your kids go to bed or at night, that's, what's going to eventually create the time freedom where you don't have to work at your full-time job.
And then you can maybe work less hours per day or whatever. The same thing with money I find this is for me. I know. And I don't, I don't, I'm not encouraging anybody out there to like buy my stuff or anything. But I do want to say that for me, what I've realized is with money, it's the same thing you say.
I'll do I'll open that business or do that thing when I have the money. But the reality is you're going to have to spend some money right now to create the money later. Right? So that might be investing in online courses or coaching programs or books, or maybe a little bit of money to start up your business.
Right? So think about if you want time, freedom and money, freedom, you have to start investing your time and money now to create the freedom you want. And so that will be my final piece of advice. If you guys want to connect with me, learn more about me or, um, or, you know, look at my programs. Um, you can just go over to kerryegeler.com, actually new new domain, which might be a little easier joinkerry.com.
Join kerry.com. You can also find me on Instagram and YouTube. Uh, I'm just Kerry Egeler on there. Feel free to connect, DM me. I'd love to talk to you and get to know you.
Joseph: [01:03:07] Perfect. Well, I'm really grateful to have you on the show. I'm more than happy to have you back when, uh, when time permits. So, uh, I'm looking forward to that and, uh, uh, for our audience, um, it is, it is truly, uh, my privilege to be able to, um, be the arbeter.
I think I just liked that word. I don't think that's the word I'm score this cool word, right? It's just to be able to be an ambassador and to be able to convey a lot of this information, uh, to you. Um, so it, I, it means a lot to have, uh, to have you all listening. So thank you for that. Feel free to get in touch.
I would love to hear more feedback. So, uh, so, uh, let, let, let me have it. And with that take care and we will check in soon.
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