You're about to listen to the first of many, many interviews on this show for a first interview episode, we decided to start with one of the minds who brought you Debutify as you know it, Ricky Hayes it's someone had to do with making sure all the recording software works, but it was 95%. We felt he was the best place to start. In this episode, you get to know more about what drives him, what makes Debutify so significant and what mindset you might want to adopt in the pursuit of lasting success. We don't waste any time in the interview getting to the good stuff. So let's adopt that principle here and hop in.
Join us as we talk with our first guest, one of the minds behind Debutify, 8 figure ecommerce and marketing entrepreneur Ricky Hayes. Listen as he shares with us his journey, experiences, tips and valuable insights in the world of ecommerce.
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[00:00:00] Ricky Hayes: [00:00:00] All these marketing and getting sales. It's a skill. It's not a, it's not just some talent people just get, um, it's a skill. And so with it being a skill, anyone can obtain it. Anyone can learn it and anyone can apply it. So as long as you keep doing it consistently, you'll be able to obtain that skill. And you'll be able to slowly build the lifestyle that you envision that you want to live.
[00:00:25] Joseph: [00:00:25] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast, your resource for one of the kind of insights into the world of eCommerce 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' go.
[00:00:56] Welcome to Ecomonics. Good to have you here. You're about to listen to the [00:01:00] first of many, many interviews on this show for a first interview episode, we decided to start with one of the minds who brought you Debutify as you know it, Ricky Hayes it's someone had to do with making sure all the recording software works, but it was 95%.
[00:01:13] We felt he was the best place to start. In this episode, you get to know more about what drives him, what makes Debutify so significant and what mindset you might want to adopt in the pursuit of lasting success. We don't waste any time in the interview getting to the good stuff. So let's adopt that principle here and hop in.
[00:01:31] Good to have you here. Ricky, we've got a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs out there and I want to show them how much we value their time. So let's get right into the good stuff. What is Debutify and why should I have signed up five minutes ago?
[00:01:44] Ricky Hayes: [00:01:44] Uh, Debutify is a Shopify e-commerce theme, specifically designed for Shopify that is to help, uh, dropshippers brand store owners, one product stores, uh, print on demand stores, any type of store, realistically, to build a high converting store [00:02:00] because in order to scale your business, You need to effectively be able to get as many sales as possible and increase your conversion rate Debutify sort of steps in to sort of help facilitate that problem because, uh, otherwise you normally need a number of apps to have to try and fill that gap.
[00:02:17] Whereas Debutify is an all in one solution where basically it is just a theme. Plus a heap of apps all embedded into it. That's designed to be quick, easy, fast, and, uh, yeah. Really make your store, get a lot more sales in the lay to scale your business quite easily. And the best part is, you know, uh, it really only takes a couple of minutes to get set up.
[00:02:38] So at the end of the day, your website's done and then you can focus on your marketing and that's the goal of Debutify.
[00:02:44] Joseph: [00:02:44] Now would you say that the marketing is one of the major components that separates it from the competition? Or what do you think it really gives Debutify the edge compared to a lot of the other apps and services out there because there are quite a few.
[00:02:57] Ricky Hayes: [00:02:57] Yeah. So from our perspective, [00:03:00] I would say that is definitely the actual speed of it. Speed of a. A of a theme is very, very important because most of the buyers in the eCommerce space buy are mobile. So it has to be very mobile optimized, um, and very, very fast for mobile. So that'd be one of the biggest things, as well as the fact that when it comes to building websites, a lot of people aren't fully aware how to do it.
[00:03:26] So with our solution, We have it all sort of in one where it's all sort of, they're pretty much a copy paste for you. It's all pretty much plug and play and set up. And if you have any problems, the thing I love the most is we've set up a really strong support channel. So if you have any problems, our support team will always be there for you.
[00:03:44] And, and I think that's really important because if you don't have that support, um, I know as someone, if I didn't have that support to be able to help me. Build my website. I just wouldn't be able to do it effectively. And I'd probably just stop right then and there. So to me, those are the [00:04:00] biggest things and most important things.
[00:04:03] Joseph: [00:04:03] Yeah, I noticed that too. I was, uh, as I'm going through this learning process, one of the things I'm doing is I'm setting up a store, uh, through Debutify. And so each time I would go to a different page, there would be a message that would pop up from one of the customer service agents. Now, I assume that they're not sitting there ready to type as soon as somebody enters in, but it is still really good to see that they understand what might be going through somebody's mind, as soon as they.
[00:04:28] Uh, uh, enter each page. Um, I don't know if you get the stats on this, but have you noticed, uh, any major trends in the kinds of people that are, that you're working with? Is it like a lot of dropshippers? Have you gotten many people who are manufacturing product on their own and then selling through a Shopify slash Debutify?
[00:04:48] Ricky Hayes: [00:04:48] Yeah. So the majority of our customer base are, uh, dropshippers, um, generally then followed by brand store owners. And then, uh, those a number of those brands store owners would have, [00:05:00] and do have their own custom labeled manufactured products. Ah, that is a more smaller minority of our overall, um, overall audience.
[00:05:09] Most of them, as I said, are, overall dropshippers, but a good number of them also are building their own products and their own brands from scratch using the Debutify a Debutify theme as their basis.
[00:05:21] Joseph: [00:05:21] have you done any brand search earnings on your own or have you largely been a drop shipper
[00:05:26] Ricky Hayes: [00:05:26] for one of the things I've been very passionate about and part of the reason that I built Debutify is that.
[00:05:33] Uh, to me building a brand is always the goal in any business. And, uh, and that obviously very much goes for eCommerce as well. So for me, I've always very much, I started out like a lot of people doing drop shipping, but I personally have never been, um, in a grant with the model, especially as a long term sustainable model.
[00:05:54] Because, you know, in order to really satisfy a customer, you can't get them to wait three, four, five, [00:06:00] six, seven weeks for an item to be delivered to them. Um, I've never been in a grant with that. So to me, I've always focused my stores on, on building a brand. To me, building a brand is more just having a good customer service, good product and good shipping.
[00:06:15] Those are the core three fundamentals. And that's where I've always personally focused on my own stores. And that's part of the reason that with Debutify we have all those tools and resources so that people can try and achieve that themselves, um, as well. Um, and because a lot of our audience are, are beginning to intermediate and advanced giving them those tools allows them to.
[00:06:37] To basically skip what I had to go through initially and more from the beginning, build a brand that's really going to actually create longterm sustainable income for the business owner.
[00:06:49] Joseph: [00:06:49] well, one thing I can tell you as somebody who's done a lot of online shopping, um, and this is pre- locked down by the way is I have experienced every possible kind of a order turnaround.
[00:06:59] I've had [00:07:00] stuff show up a day after I ordered. And I was quite surprised about that. Uh, there's one product I ordered, I think it was called a handsfree bracket and it never showed up. I checked the tracking for it and it ended up getting delivered to somebody in Quebec. And then I go to the website to let them know, and the website went down.
[00:07:18] So there is a pretty, uh, disparate. There was, there's a lot of different reactions, a lot of different results that I can get from the ordering things online,
[00:07:27] Ricky Hayes: [00:07:27] well shipping. Um, it's a really interesting thing. Like, you know, Amazon and Jeff Bezos. That's why they're so. Passionate about that. Um, one day shipping, because it is statistically proven that the faster someone gets an item, the more happy they're going to be, the more likely they are to buy from you again.
[00:07:45] So, you know, and, uh, to me, that is a very important fundamental, and someone as myself that buys a lot online too. The sooner I get an item, the happier I am, because who wants to wait. Months, [00:08:00] potentially for an item. You'll forget about it.
[00:08:02] Joseph: [00:08:02] I don't mind, I don't mind like a little bit of anticipation just to build excitement, but for the most part, I order stuff that I need and I'm going to get, get it going right away.
[00:08:12] So what would a, what was the design process for Debutify? How did this idea start? And let's go through the process of starting to realization.
[00:08:21] Ricky Hayes: [00:08:21] Yeah. So with Debutify, um, I actually approached my current business partner about it who had initially designed Debutify. And, uh, I really loved it. So I wasn't the original, original creator.
[00:08:34] I just worked on it a lot more to improve it. So I can't be a hundred percent saying that I'm the sole creator of it. Um, but in relation to it though, um, So it came about from the fact that, uh, my business partner actually, um, approached me to do a shout out for it. Um, as an influencer, myself and I had a look [00:09:00] and I really liked it.
[00:09:00] It resonated with me. I've always been very interested in software as a service as, as a business model I've been, you know, traditionally doing e-commerce. Um, it was my main income. I mean, I always loved software as a service because of the scalability, you know, I can scale anywhere in the world. I don't have to worry about logistics.
[00:09:20] And I saw this as a fantastic solution as an eCommerce store owner I always knew that one of the pains was trying to set up a, a high converting store, uh, quickly and easily. Um, but it would end up taking me so many hours. You have all these integration problems all, and, and it's just an ongoing thing. And it just really annoys me as a, um, as a business owner, in my opinion, the fewer problems you have.
[00:09:42] To worry about the more you can just grow your business rather than having to do all these hot fixes all the time. So when I, I found out about, uh, about Debtuify, I had a close look into it and tested it myself. I, I really fell in love with the model. It basically just had a lovely base theme [00:10:00] and then had ad-ons in integrated within it that basically allow you to, um, without having to get third party apps, have it all embedded within the theme.
[00:10:10] And I just saw it as a. A fantastic business model that was highly scalable, um, that I could definitely, uh, market and sell to, uh, an audience of people that would be very interested in because I knew myself that this was a fantastic thing. And I knew that many others would love it themselves because many struggle with this.
[00:10:32] And, uh, so I really wanted to present that to help them so that because to me, When I first started out in e-commerce, I spent months building my first store and I learned a lot from it, but it was a complete waste of time in the sense that the most important part of building a business is not having the perfect website.
[00:10:53] It's getting eyeballs to the website. You don't, your website comes secondary. Marketing is first. So I, as a [00:11:00] business owner, um, I want to build a high converting store quickly and easily and know that I can do it quickly and easily. Time and time, again. Um, so that I can purely focus on getting my product out there and getting eyeballs onto it and start getting sales.
[00:11:14] And that's why, uh, that's where it all sort of came to fruition. And then pretty much, uh, there was a lot of gaps in there in the actual theme that I from my experience really wanted to have further integrated into it, to further help boost conversions and, and help people to save money as well, by not having to use a lot of third party apps.
[00:11:35] And so that's sort of where it sort of, um, Well started when I started working as the cofounder of Debutify to where it is today.
[00:11:44] Joseph: [00:11:44] Well, one thing I wanted to zero in on that you mentioned about solving problems for entrepreneurs and e-commerce and drop shippers, is that I don't think we want to live a life where we don't have problems to solve, but I think it's a matter of, we want to solve the problems that we.
[00:12:00] [00:12:00] Want to deal with, you know, as opposed to having to do intensive labor and have to waste all this time on something we don't really care so much about, um, like what are, what problems do you enjoy solving, uh, when it comes to a business?
[00:12:14] Ricky Hayes: [00:12:14] Uh, monetary problems. No, but like what I mean, but that is for me, I enjoy, um, solving, um, the marketing problems.
[00:12:24] Okay. Um, one thing I've learned through my years of having been doing this is that marketing is the key. And, um, as you said yourself, basically being a business owner in e-commerce, it's just a matter of time, consistency, money, and problem solving. And, uh, the reality is I just don't want to focus on. Having a website where I'm going to have a million different issues from all these third party apps.
[00:12:51] I just want to have something that I know is working. That's going to do the job so that I eliminate that as as possible chink in my chain [00:13:00] so that I can focus more on the problem solving at the marketing level, because you know, for me, it's far more worthwhile for me to be spending a lot more of my time and energy on.
[00:13:10] Uh, different creatives, different marketing strategies to scale my overall marketing campaigns profitably and get sales through my website than it is for me to spend hours a day on my website, trying to make it perfect. So the most important thing to me is always about making my marketing ad spend, whether it's through Facebook, Google, YouTube, being so on and so forth, uh, make me as much money as possible through those marketing mediums.
[00:13:35] Joseph: [00:13:35] So. What I was doing was I was going through the website and I wanted to put myself in the position of somebody who might use it, uh, which ended up not being a hypothetical cause now I am, but there are going to be ops some natural obstacles. People are going to go up against, in the short term and the longterm.
[00:13:51] So what do you think people are going to be facing once they get started?
[00:13:54] Ricky Hayes: [00:13:54] their website? Was that your question? Pardon me?
[00:13:57] Joseph: [00:13:57] Um, well, not the website because [00:14:00] make the website part of it easy, but yeah, in general, what sort of obstacles are people are going to be going up against
[00:14:06] Ricky Hayes: [00:14:06] a lot and that's the fun thing.
[00:14:08] With building a business, um, you know, right out the gate, the first problem you're going to have is getting sales. Okay. I still remember my first sale. It is like a dream come true. The reality become like a big becomes, not just fiction. It becomes an actual reality that you can actually live consistently.
[00:14:26] Um, so that's sort of your first problem. Um, the problems range from. Anything and everything in, in the business world, you're always going to be, uh, push your boundaries, always going to be pushed. And so for instance, every day is different. You're going to have issues from logistics. You're going to have a day where you're going to potentially get the worst customer you've ever had.
[00:14:49] You might have the best customer you've ever had. Um, you, um, staff, if you have staff, your staff might, um, You know, something might happen in their lives. They might [00:15:00] not be able to work and you might have to fill in the gaps yourself or find someone else you're marketing one of your ad accounts might have issues or, um, one of your, you might be massively overspending.
[00:15:11] You might have, uh, financial problems. Um, then you might have taxation, legal, legal problems. The list sort of goes on, on and on. And that's one of the things that I actually very much enjoy. Uh, about business as a whole and especially e-commerce is all the problems it presents. Um, every one of these problems can be fixed.
[00:15:33] It's just a matter of approaching it in how to fix it. And, uh, you know, not trying to avoid it, just trying to tackle it straight on, um, learning from it. Um, and uh, consistently applying that every day. And for me, I personally find that by doing that, it just, every day it becomes easier and easier and easier.
[00:15:51] I'm always going to find. Problems that are going to challenge me, but I, as a whole, it becomes easier because of my past knowledge and experience. So, um, you [00:16:00] know, the, the, the thing that I see most people have is obviously sales, getting consistent sales, being profitable sales, scaling their business payment, processor issues, chargebacks refunds, returns, exchanges, um, just in terms of that, the customer service, in terms of all the questions you get about your products.
[00:16:20] Just right now, like every eCommerce business, whether people realize it or not, you know, COVID for every especially eCommerce and retail business is causing huge logistical nightmares. And that usually translates to. A huge amount, more demand on customer service to make sure that your customers are always answered.
[00:16:43] So, uh, so that means that we have to take action, like being very proactive with customers and advising the bit that there is going to be delays that you are going to order this and there's going to be expected delays and, um, and supporting them through that journey as well as an example.
[00:16:59] Joseph: [00:16:59] Yeah, I [00:17:00] mean, but just touching on COVID a very briefly, and I'm hoping that we, you know, by like interview seven and we won't have to talk about covid anymore, but 14 days of flatten the curve, uh, I think to some extent, people get that with the, the coronavirus.
[00:17:14] This is, there is a mass slowdown. So I, so I think people are going to be, they should be a little bit more patient, but.
[00:17:21] Ricky Hayes: [00:17:21] You know, generally most people are, but the sky's the limit when it comes to customers at the end of the day, um, some customers, most 99% of customers will be very understanding. I mean, you know, it's out of our control understand, but every now and again, you are going to get someone where.
[00:17:41] Whatever the reason he, or she will have unrealistic expectations in their mind. Um, and you can't control that. So it's just always done anomaly in business. Um, and it's, it's just about how you handle that. That's the important thing from my perspective.
[00:17:57] Joseph: [00:17:57] Yeah. You know, one thing I was relating to [00:18:00] is you mentioned how good it felt to get, you know, your first e-commerce sale.
[00:18:04] And I don't know, I don't exactly have that yet to my credit, but when I started freelancing, it was the first time I decided I was just going to be my own boss and I had to, to, to get paid by my first client. I had to take a trip all the way downtown. It took me an hour and a half caught up on the street car.
[00:18:21] And he pulls out a wad of cash out of the ATM and gives it to me the most like ghetto way to get paid. But I said, yeah, I did it. It's mine. It's mine now. Uh, what was the, what was the first sale you had on a, on e-commerce?
[00:18:35] Ricky Hayes: [00:18:35] Uh, the first sale I had was I, um, so I had an old store of mine. This store took me months.
[00:18:41] It was called the everyday diary. Um, I, for some reason, my first store thought, Oh, I'm going to make a stationary store selling pencils and diaries. And I thought, what an ingenious idea, no, one's doing this. And, uh, yeah. Anyway, that was a bit naive, but
[00:19:00] [00:18:59] Joseph: [00:18:59] no, I'm not, I'm laughing because that was one of my ideas.
[00:19:02] Ricky Hayes: [00:19:02] yeah, well probably steer clear anyway, but, um, um, the, my first sale was an actual diary and I remember it, it was this, um, the thing that made the diary unique. Was just a small hand, hand diary that's quite portable. And it had a nice graphic on the front of it, of a, of a Panda eating, you know, some bamboo.
[00:19:26] And, um, when I got that sale, I think I sold it for, I think it was $20, 1999. I can't fully remember. And, uh, you know, I was ecstatic that someone actually purchased it now on that store. That was the only purchase I got before I shut it down. But, um, it was, it was, uh, something that really sort of changed my perspective that I can actually make this a reality.
[00:19:52] Someone out there is actually interested enough into buying my actual product
[00:19:57] Joseph: [00:19:57] yeah. I mean, that's a. Ah, that's [00:20:00] awesome. You also mentioned that as, as you go and as you're, uh, I'm not exactly sure how to characterize this, but as you, as you advance through your, your career, you are facing new challenges. What are like some of the newer problems that you had to solve once you've reached the point that you've, uh, that you've reached more lately
[00:20:18] Ricky Hayes: [00:20:18] for e-commerce specifically?
[00:20:21] yeah. So the, the biggest problem, like, honestly for me right now is logistics. Um, that, that is entirely my problem. I have a number of products that I'm waiting to, to scale quite quite aggressively, that I'm very confident I can scale. Uh, very easily in fact, but my problem is logistics, um, getting it into warehouses.
[00:20:43] So, um, our prime, my primary markets, I market to being United States, Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. The, you know, the stock has been purchased. The stock has been created. Uh, the problem is obviously getting it into the warehouse, which you know, to just to [00:21:00] get it to America via, um,via via sea freight takes a month alone.
[00:21:05] Then through customs, it takes upwards of a week and then it can take another week or to two weeks just to even get it into the warehouse. So, you know, you're looking at it like a two month period. And, um, so my actual biggest focus right now is more running the businesses in a hibernation state, purely for the fact of, uh, for the sole objective of Q4.
[00:21:29] Um, so. So that obviously, you know, sales is going to dramatically increase then. So that's sort of been my primary focus and that's sort of my biggest challenge right now.
[00:21:40] Joseph: [00:21:40] in addition to Debutify, you're also a YouTuber, you're a mentor, you're a, an eCommerce expert. Uh, do you do investing as well?
[00:21:48] That wasn't really the main question, but are you an investor as well?
[00:21:51] Ricky Hayes: [00:21:51] Uh, yeah. In the share market, correct. So I, uh, invest in shares on more [00:22:00] longterm trader personally. Um, I, I wouldn't call myself an absolute expert. I do very much enjoy following it every single day. Um, for, for those that wonder what type of shares that I would be interested in being someone that I've always loved technology.
[00:22:16] I actually, my career was orientated around being in the technology field. A lot of my shares are, um, Actually doing quite well, funnily enough, because obviously technology is doing very well because of the COVID situation. And I've invested most of my, uh, most of my portfolio into that type of strategy.
[00:22:36] Joseph: [00:22:36] So. Onto the main brunt of this, a two part question. Is that, is there any from that list, did I miss anything, I guess, is there anything else that you get involved in that, uh, I, I couldn't find through my research.
[00:22:48] Ricky Hayes: [00:22:48] Uh, no, that that's pretty much it. Yeah. So I do, um, I do offer mentoring to people. I, uh, sell my course have the YouTube channel.
[00:22:57] I had my website, which, you know, just [00:23:00] basically offers free resources. Um, and then I have my eCommerce businesses. And also I do have a digital marketing agency, so that was probably the one that was overlooked there. So, um, for, for specific businesses, I, uh, have built a team where we help people that have eCommerce businesses.
[00:23:20] Cause that's about our speciality, um, run their Facebook ads, Google ads, Bing ads, YouTube ads predominantly, and help them, uh, further optimize the backend, like their, their actual store to further increase their sales volume. So we only work, uh, with specific clients that have an established brand. I don't.
[00:23:40] Really work with, let's say, um, with someone that's completely new to the business, because I can't really help grow your business if you don't have an already established business. So that's sort of one of the other projects that are being scaled up currently as well.
[00:23:54] Joseph: [00:23:54] Yeah. And also creatively too, is that you don't want to tell them what their voice is.
[00:23:57] They need to find their own voice themselves, and then you can [00:24:00] help to enhance that voice.
[00:24:02] Ricky Hayes: [00:24:02] That's correct. Exactly. Yeah.
[00:24:05] Joseph: [00:24:05] So what are your goals on a week to week basis? And what's your a five to 10 year window looking like.
[00:24:12] Ricky Hayes: [00:24:12] That's a great, great question. I know the five to 10 year one my week to week basis.
[00:24:18] Uh, basically, yeah, just doing whatever needs to be done at this stage, too, to get the businesses to where I want it to be. Cause of, cause I'm very much a very longterm thinker. I don't really think about the week to week. Personally all that much. I just, uh, obviously like anyone I do to some extent my week to week would be more about, um, what staff do I need to fill?
[00:24:41] What roles, um, what's what budget do I want to apply to what marketing channels? Um, how much do I want to be spending on stock to replenish stock? Um, those are sort of the more week to week administrative tasks, but my five to 10 year goal is. [00:25:00] That personally, I don't know why, but I've always been very fixated on this.
[00:25:05] Um, my goal is in five to 10 years that I want to have 15 companies, so I don't know why I have a very ambitious goal like that, but I just really do. And I know I can make it happen. A lot of people think that I wouldn't be able to, but it's actually a challenge of mine to prove them wrong. Cause I'm so confident that I can.
[00:25:28] And it's just a matter of time. So my goal initially is to build two companies every six, sorry, 12 months. So a company every six months on average, build it, grow it, scale it, get the team in place, continue scaling it, manage it day to day, and then, uh, build another company and keep repeating that process.
[00:25:49] So my goal over the next five to 10 years is, is a very, very high risk high reward strategy because I know I have the skills and capacity and [00:26:00] mindset to do it is to consistently reinvest into multiple companies and build them from scratch and, uh, build great teams, great processes, provide a great experience for customers around the world.
[00:26:14] And that sort of ties into my longterm vision that. I very much enjoy being, being a boss in that regard and having multiple income sources that I have direct control over myself uh that does mean that there's a lot more responsibility and expectation there, but that's why I take a very high risk approach of.
[00:26:34] That my goal is to ensure that the business operates consistently is through a lot of reinvestment into staff, marketing systems, automations to make it so that the company will always run regardless of my contribution, um, at any point in time. So,
[00:26:51] Joseph: [00:26:51] uh, any particular reason why it was 15, just seemed like a.
[00:26:55] Ricky Hayes: [00:26:55] That's a pretty good number isn't it. I like it. It's just a good number. I don't know why
[00:26:59]Joseph: [00:26:59] like I'm a [00:27:00] 17er or like I'm born on the 17th and I keep seeing that number pop up. Like if there's 17 in the lottery, I go buy a lottery
[00:27:08] Ricky Hayes: [00:27:08] ticket.
[00:27:10] Joseph: [00:27:10] we're just drawn to certain numbers.
[00:27:12] Ricky Hayes: [00:27:12] Uh, I, I just liked that, uh, as a, as a round number personally, uh, I would expect that if I hit that goal of 15, I'll probably say I want 30 companies or something.
[00:27:24] Um, and one could easily argue and say to me that I'd be stretching myself too thin, but when you don't have much of a life and all you do is work, I would argue that very differently.
[00:27:35] Joseph: [00:27:35] Well, I mean, if, uh, uh, running a bunch of companies and making good money is doesn't characterize as having a life, then I don't want to know what the other form of it is.
[00:27:46] Let's get into this a next, a bad boy here. So you, uh, when you brought me on, you took me through the, uh, your university course. And my initial impression of you was that this was someone who had been at this basically for a [00:28:00] lifetime. Uh, and I don't think that's the case. I, uh, if I understand this, you you've been at it for a little while, but you haven't been at it for as long as somebody might think.
[00:28:09] So. When did you get interested into this? And what were you doing prior to this? Yeah, I mean, e-commerce in general,
[00:28:17] Ricky Hayes: [00:28:17] so firstly, I'm flattered. Thank you. I appreciate that. Um, secondly, secondly, it's actually been, I've been doing this for just collectively, from when I first started to get even the idea of trying to build my own business was three years ago, just over three years ago.
[00:28:35] Um, And, uh, prior to that, I was, um, just your standard, a worker in an office. Um, I worked in information technology, so I come from a very tech orientated background. And I was more in the help desk support. So I did a lot of troubleshooting and stuff. So that's why, that's why that's sort of the business world really tied in well, cause I was already very [00:29:00] used to troubleshooting, um, and especially technology.
[00:29:03] And so it just sort of molded into a very strong skill set that I had already built over many years. And, uh, how it all actually came to fruition was I was, um, in my previous, um, employment. One of my colleagues had resigned, found another position, and naturally we had a, a going away party, um, or whatever you call it.
[00:29:29] And now I'm not by any means a social person. I was actually very hesitant to going to this cause I personally wanted to play my console, but I decided to go nonetheless and. Uh, one of my other colleagues who I'm still friends with to this day and speak to regularly, uh, we're just sitting beside each other and there was about 11 o'clock at night, you know, just having a nice drink around a fire.
[00:29:52] And, uh, it was just, I just posed the question to him. So, you know, like what, what's your ambition outside of our current, uh, [00:30:00] current department and he just told me, look, man, you know, my ambition is that I want to make money online. And to me, that whole concept seems so foreign. So, so fictional, it just seems so unattainable.
[00:30:12] It just I'd been brought up. Um, my parents had brought me up about that. You know, you become an adult, you get a good education and then you work, you get a job. So on and so forth, you sort of get the frame, the picture. And, uh, but this really fascinated me because I knew a lot of people were making money online.
[00:30:30] I just had no idea how. So, uh, he actually started with what was called merch by Amazon, which is basically print on demand through Amazon service. And, uh, it really captured me and, and I listened to, uh, funnily enough, I listened to a number of podcasts myself. And, uh, to learn all about this and tried a number of things and, and that's sort of where it all started and it sort of fueled a fire within me that I just absolutely [00:31:00] loved learning all about this and, uh, all about the business world and that it all sort of started from there.
[00:31:05] It took me. It took me 12 months after which, uh, before I, um, actually, uh, was it 12 months? Yeah, 12 months before I resigned from my position where I had, uh, what I defined as a form of stability, where I could comfortably leave my position and pursue e-commerce, uh, full time to be able to be sustainable because, um, I didn't want to leave my job, uh, straight away.
[00:31:33] Um, I, I wanted to make sure that I knew that this was going to be a tough thing, that there's going to be a lot of unexpected turns, twists and things that happen. Taxations. It's going to be more expensive than I thought. And I was very glad I did. Um, it was very challenging 12 months where I was working.
[00:31:50] Uh, working a full time position. Plus I was working at least eight hours every day at home. So part of what you said about like where my lifetime of knowledge has come from [00:32:00] is for the last pretty much two and a half to three years. Um, I've, it's only recent that I've sort of changed that, um, I've typically worked about 15 to 18 hours every day.
[00:32:11] Uh, and that's partly because I just love it so much. And so I've just sort of, uh, I guess accelerated my, my knowledge in this space from that naturally,
[00:32:22] Joseph: [00:32:22] I'm just going to skip ahead because you transitioned pretty perfectly to question nine, but I've got seven and eight still in the chamber. So when I was going through a university course, I did spot that you're, um, your, your blizzard, uh, account and, uh, some other, like some of your hobbies, have you managed to balance your time for activity?
[00:32:42] Like how have you been throughout the course of your week? Do you, have you found a enough ample time for downtime?
[00:32:48] Ricky Hayes: [00:32:48] Yeah, I have now, um, after two and a half years, two and a half years, it took me collectively. If I were to sum up my whole journey, it took me two and a half years. Now I know a number of people have probably done it [00:33:00] in, in a fraction of that time.
[00:33:01] And maybe they're much better than me. I don't know. But, um, uh, only been in the last six months that that's actively changed and that's from a big shift in mindset where I forced myself, where, uh, for a long period of time, I was making a lot more money than I am now, but now I make, I don't make as much, but I had more time.
[00:33:24] So it's, it's a, and I know that that will change again over time as I start to scale the businesses more that, uh, that, that will change again, et cetera, et cetera. But in the last six months, it's changed quite a lot where, you know, I've gone from 18 hours a day to probably 10 hours, you know, I'd still, I just love to work truthfully.
[00:33:48] Um, I'm a workaholic, so I'll always work, but. Uh, now I have a little more balance where I can, I mean, I would socialize with my friends, but obviously I can't visit them. We're in lock down here, but like [00:34:00] the, um, I can play more computer games. So like what you said with blizzard, I arm I'm a computer game or I play console games.
[00:34:07] I spent time with my wife watching shows. We go for walks and stuff. So it collectively in my journey has taken me two and a half years to one get financially stable and to also have the right mindset and capacity to be able to take a bit more of a step back because it is very hard, um, because for me to take a step back required me to, um, Basically hire a lot more people and train them up and get them to fill the gaps means that I collectively earn less means that overall though, that I have more time.
[00:34:42] But at the same point is that fine balancing act between, um, having someone that is reliable in, in that position that you can depend on. So, um, that's been a big, big hurdle for me as well. And, uh, sort of at a point now where it's actually, it's quite stable and comfortable.
[00:35:00] [00:35:00] Joseph: [00:35:00] Now I want to ask what was your first major breakthrough, but I think you answered that one, which was when you sold that diary, but would you offer up a different answer to the question?
[00:35:11] Ricky Hayes: [00:35:11] Yeah, so that was a, I defined that as a fluke sale, truthfully like that, that gave me the, the, the reality check that this is a feasibility and that this is a reality. But it didn't definitely give me a, any real taste into what e-commerce can really be like. And it wasn't until I found what I define as probably my first winning product.
[00:35:30] Which, uh, I didn't make any money out of, cause I didn't know my financials at all. It was a baby gyro bowl. You may have seen it. Like I'm just a plastic. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Um, so
[00:35:43] Joseph: [00:35:43] yeah, it's, it's part of your, uh, it's part of your course.
[00:35:46] Ricky Hayes: [00:35:46] It's a, it's
[00:35:47] Joseph: [00:35:47] a cereal bowl where you can balance it around and babies.
[00:35:50] Probably have a blast with it.
[00:35:52] Ricky Hayes: [00:35:52] Exactly. So that item and, uh, so it was a winning item for me that I, that actually, uh, sold very well through [00:36:00] Instagram to, um, to younger mothers. Um, and, uh, I was selling it for $20 each. Um, and a lot of people were buying two or three, um, at any given time. So it was a great item.
[00:36:13] I just, uh, I just didn't have the skills and mindset to properly be able to scale that product to. I think I did about 50,000 in sales. Um, and I could have easily done a lot more, but, you know, that was, that was the, the defining moment where I hit, you know, $2,000 in sales, in revenue. In a, in a single day.
[00:36:35] And you're like, well, you know, when you think about that, that $60,000 a month, and you know, that's, that's three quarters of a million dollars in revenue a year. If I made 10% of that, I've got a full time income after all expenses. And so, you know, for me, that sort of really opened my eyes that, you know, uh, from little things, big things grow.
[00:36:56] And, uh, that was for me, the real defining [00:37:00] moment. If I'll, if I'm honest,
[00:37:02] Joseph: [00:37:02] You know, one thing I'm curious about is if, uh, once those bowls really hit the market, if that actually led to a drop in overall sales by the cereal industry, because there was less spillage, but that's, that's me just like pontificating.
[00:37:15] You don't have to answer.
[00:37:16] Ricky Hayes: [00:37:16] I don't think my sales volume was near high enough for that to cause any form of dent. If I would be honest there.
[00:37:26] Joseph: [00:37:26] So one of your key values, um, which stood out to me when I was first looking into joining the company has been honesty and transparency, which is something that I value a great deal too.
[00:37:37] Uh, but. Businesses can get pretty nasty. People could lift material from one. Another ideas can be stolen. Disinformation can be disseminated, uh, there's bullying. And I, and I don't want to point fingers or anything like that. But what have been your guiding principles for living a good honest life and doing equally good in your business?
[00:37:56] Ricky Hayes: [00:37:56] Uh, well, as you sort of said yourself, like for me, um, [00:38:00] honesty, transparency, um, are the two linchpins in my opinion. And then, you know, feedback, you know, like, um, Uh, feedback is very important. Um, having an a very open mind is also very important as well, like, um, Uh, I, I think that being open to learning new things, open to understanding more about yourself and that you are never perfect.
[00:38:24] And that it's only when you work as a team, that, um, as an individual individuals that are imperfect, but when you build a team, that's when you start to perfect. Every one of each other's flaws, cause we all have them and that's all perfectly fine and natural. That's just a part of life. No one can ever do it.
[00:38:40] Um, Everything in life. So to me, those are sort of the most important things. And again, as I said to me, just being honest, and that's why, like, I like to tell people, I've always said that business is never easy. And one of the things that I would say to anyone. That I've always said and been very passionate [00:39:00] about is approach business as if it's the hardest thing you'll ever do.
[00:39:04] Um, business, it doesn't mean you have to have a physical brick and mortar business or eCommerce business business is just, you know, you making an income from either your service or your product primarily. And always to me, That's where it's always very important to accept the reality. That business is incredibly hard.
[00:39:24] You know, I've been doing this for three years and I, I am very experienced in a lot of areas, but I still find this very hard. Um, I just find it easier a lot easier than I did three years ago. And, um, and that's why honesty and transparency is so important because, um, you know, if you, if you think that business is easy, you will get burnt in five seconds.
[00:39:48] Business is a very harsh mistress. It will wake you up in five seconds. It doesn't care, but all business, all the business world cares about as you sort of said yourself at the end of the day, all business world cares [00:40:00] about is money. Okay. It doesn't care about human emotion. It doesn't care about you as a person.
[00:40:05] It cares about the exchange of ones and zeros between different bank accounts and that's the harsh reality. And so I've always used that as my foundation. Uh, to how I approach business that the, the very foundation of business is money. So I need to approach it in that regard. And that business is very hard and if I approach it like that, um, and always think that business is never going to be easy than I, I generally find that I come out on top.
[00:40:30] So that's sort of how I generally sort of approach it now, hopefully I think, did I go off on a tangent there? I think I did. Didn't I. Sorry.
[00:40:39] Joseph: [00:40:39] I'm I'm quite pro tangent. I'm all about tangents.
[00:40:42] Ricky Hayes: [00:40:42] Oh, okay.
[00:40:44] Joseph: [00:40:44] Yeah. I'll never stop a tangent.
[00:40:46] Ricky Hayes: [00:40:46] Okay.
[00:40:48] Joseph: [00:40:48] When I was, when I was putting these questions together, uh, Debutify had 115,117 downloads.
[00:40:55] And that's definitely changed since then. Cause I wrote these questions, I think like. A couple of [00:41:00] weeks ago. And I also think it's interesting how 15 and 17, the two numbers we talked about earlier ended up showing up here. Like life is really weird like that. So theoretically that's as many new stores on the market, uh, which is quite a bit.
[00:41:13] So what do you see for the future of Debutify as well as e-commerce in the next five
[00:41:17] Ricky Hayes: [00:41:17] years? Um, the future of Debutify is going to be changing quite a lot. Um, uh, the last 10 and a half months that I've been, uh, growing and scaling this company, um, has all been laying the foundational work and, uh, by me for foundational work, as I said earlier in this was marketing to me, is the linchpin.
[00:41:38] Um, and, uh, so very much building a very versatile, um, and strong and stern marketing team. Um, and also then now we're really starting to build on our development team and, uh, that's where things will get really exciting because from the development team, Obviously the next linchpin where there, our goal is to now I'll go [00:42:00] into complete overdrive in terms of, um, uh, there's been a lot of work now done to release a lot more updates.
[00:42:07] Um, and now once those updates are done and we get that consistent, um,I plan for Debutify to not just be a theme. Um, so I plan to, uh, as I said, um, I like to tell the opportunity when I see it so Debutify. We're going to be developing tons of different apps. Um, uh, that's all going to be under the Debutify umbrella.
[00:42:29] Um, and again, the goal is, is to bring that all in house, integrate it all. Um, so that people have all those tools and resources straight out the gate that they can use. Uh, as an examples, SMS messenger, push email marketing. Um, one page checkouts. Thank you page, upsells. Um, just to name sort of a couple are all things are being worked on, um, influencer marketing tools, uh, video editing tools, graphic design tools, [00:43:00] um, all to have embedded within our, the Debutify umbrella.
[00:43:04] So that at the end of the day, my goal is that. People can use the Debutify products. And then, uh, they pretty much have, uh, one source that they go to where they basically use Shopify and Debutify and you have your whole eCommerce business sorted. So that's our, uh, you know, our goal over the next five years is to very aggressively invest into all of that.
[00:43:29] And, uh, and, uh, look at trying to take market share in each of those industries, respectively. So that's pretty much sort of how I'm looking at over the next five years. Well,
[00:43:41] Joseph: [00:43:41] I think a lot of people are pretty eager to get started, uh, before they do. What are the anywhere between three to five key things that you encourage entrepreneurs to have ready, uh, before they start their Debutify adventure?
[00:43:53] Ricky Hayes: [00:43:53] Sorry, can you ask that again in a sec, but you also said as well, where I see e-commerce going to be in five [00:44:00] years. So I apologize. I forgot about that question too.
[00:44:04] Joseph: [00:44:04] Oh, that's fine. That's fine.
[00:44:06] Ricky Hayes: [00:44:06] E-commerce will be, in my opinion, e-commerce is only going to, especially because of the accelerated growth with the COVID, uh, eCommerce is, is now what is many people define as the next big gold rush?
[00:44:20] Ah, so it's going to absolutely go ballistic. What we're going to see is we're going to see over the next five years, our big continued shift from brick and mortar retail stores to them, a lot of them, and then purely going to online. Everything's going to over the next, however many years, it might take, it's going to continue transitioning to online more and more.
[00:44:42] So we're going to see an increase in competitiveness, marketing competitiveness. Cause naturally everyone's going to be. Doing digital marketing. So that means that Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, all of these platforms are going to start to see more competition. And that means for people getting into this space, that it's very important [00:45:00] that if you do want to, uh, enter this space and you do want to build a sustainable business, I would recommend trying to learn and educate yourself on it.
[00:45:07] Um, now, because it's, it's, there's going to be plenty of opportunities in five years time. But it's going to be a lot more competitive. And so the way I look at it is I want to be geared up ready for that because in that five years as well, it's going to pretty much, um, I would expect there's just going to be such a huge shift.
[00:45:26] Like what we've already seen this year, to just everything being online purchase because what this year has really done, I look at it is it's changed culture, our cultures at a core fundamental. And so what that means basically is, is, you know, historically shopping for a lot of people would still be brick and mortar, which don't get me wrong.
[00:45:46] That'll always be there. But with everything covid people being forced at home in that is forcing a cultural change where people are going to be shopping online. And once you change the culture of a society, it [00:46:00] nearly becomes impossible to change. And that becomes the new standard that's from my perspective.
[00:46:04] So I that's sort of how I see the eCommerce space continuing to go down that path of the next five years. Does that answer that question? Oh,
[00:46:11] Joseph: [00:46:11] absolutely. Um, one thing that stuck out to me. Is that this is the year 20, 20 and 2020 as coloaqually been referred to as, you know, the, the number of hindsight. And so it's fascinating to me that everyone is stuck in their homes and are forced to reflect and more often than they normally do in the year 2020.
[00:46:29] So I, I, I just thought that was a pretty interesting coincidence. So, uh, I've got a couple of, uh, quick ones here that we usually have prepared for guests, but, um, we covered a lot of these. So, um, mostly is I don't really need to go through, but for the ones that I can do, um, what's one lesson that you would want to teach your former self.
[00:46:50] You can go back in time and
[00:46:52] Ricky Hayes: [00:46:52] change things. Um, that's a, that's a really good [00:47:00] one for me. It would be. It would have been doing a lot more research upfront. Initially when I started, I sort of did things on a bit of a whim. I would see something and I'd be like, Oh, I'll just market that. And it'll, you know, hopefully work itself out.
[00:47:18] What I've learned is one of the very strong foundations to a successful business initially, is a research and that teaches you about the industry. How the industry works, what your customers are like, what your product should be like, how you should market your product, why your product is such a good product, how you can beat your competitors, what platforms you should market it on to someone and so forth.
[00:47:47] So to me, my, my number one lesson that I would say to myself, if I would start again is do a lot more upfront research rather than just like seeing a product marketing it. Do a [00:48:00] lot of research around that product, understand everything about that product and then sell it my experience for myself and many other people I've worked with in clients.
[00:48:08] And that is that the most successful people let's say in E commerce are generally the ones that have a huge, profound amount of knowledge about their product. It's like, it might be just a passion. Okay. Uh, let's say that your into, uh, let's say, um, I'm into. Yeah, computer parts. I know a huge amount about that.
[00:48:29] So I'll be able to more confidently try and sell that to, to my potential audience of customers, because I generally just know a lot more about it rather than a product that I just see in like, Oh, I can sell that and make a lot of money. I have no idea about this product. It generally is reflected in how you actually market it to them because the more you know about it.
[00:48:51] The more, you can resonate with customers cause you personally understand what the customer will be going through. And so that's why to me research is [00:49:00] probably my biggest hindsight.
[00:49:03] Joseph: [00:49:03] Um, what's one business hack that, uh, you personally favor and that you'd be willing to share with us a
[00:49:11] Ricky Hayes: [00:49:11] business hack that I favor.
[00:49:12] Um, wow. That's a, that's a bit of a broad one. I'm trying to think about what I could pin that to. There's there's a lot out there. I would say the biggest business hack is approach business. Like it, I sort of said this earlier, um, uh, approach business, like it's the hardest thing you'll ever do. Uh, I know it sounds incredibly vague and useless.
[00:49:37] So like a, I um I would personally say that approach business, that it's a, it's the hardest thing you'll ever do. It's going to challenge your core beliefs. It's going to challenge you to every extent it's going to, um, it's going to change you as a person. And, um, so to me, the biggest business hack is having the right [00:50:00] mindset that this is.
[00:50:01] Going to be difficult. And if you really want to be successful, you have to be committed, not just for a year, not just for two years for the rest of your life. Um, business is a lifelong commitment in my opinion. And, uh, so my biggest hack that I always apply to myself every day is that every day is going to be a challenge.
[00:50:23] And every day I just need to do it because business is not going to do itself. I have to do it. And so to me, that would be my, my number one tip. business hack, I guess you could say
[00:50:34] Joseph: [00:50:34] amazing.
[00:50:34] So I think we're just about ready to wrap up. So get, do your research upfront, uh, be prepared for a hard but rewarding journey.
[00:50:42] Anything else that we glossed over? Any other advice you would give to entrepreneurs before they get started?
[00:50:48] Ricky Hayes: [00:50:48] Um, not really likely what was the thing that, well, if I were to say the thing that I'll, I'll encourage everyone, regardless of where you're at in your journey is just be proud of yourself. Um, one of the things [00:51:00] that, uh, I still do to this day, if I'm honest, and in hindsight, I shouldn't.
[00:51:05] Is, uh, entrepreneurs can be notoriously hard on themselves and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's always good to be self reflective and understanding who, what you are and your strengths and weaknesses, but it's also important that we all understand and respect that, you know, no, one's perfect. And don't be so hard on yourself.
[00:51:25] If you see other people succeeding. Okay, that's great for them. Okay. Um, but remember that they will have gone through just as many hardships as you have, whether it's just a matter of, do you know that reality? Do you know the truth of their backstory? You just don't know. So to me, I just always liked to very much encourage people that everyone's journey is, is unique.
[00:51:47] Everyone's journey is fantastic and you should always be proud of yourself for venturing down this journey into the unknown. The reality is most people don't even try to attempt to get into business because they don't want to [00:52:00] fear the unknown, which is fine. Some people want to be like that, but we're entrepreneurs.
[00:52:05] We, we, we embrace the unknown and by embracing the unknown. That in my opinion is something that you should always be proud of and happy that you're actually doing, because it is, it is very tough. You're going to get a lot of people, whether it it's directly or indirectly putting you down about that, your decision in life is not the right one that you should be.
[00:52:24] Uh, you should be in a nine to five job. Okay. You should be just working a typical job, like, like most people. And that's why to me, I always say that, you know, being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely lifestyle at times. And, uh, so very important that you should always be proud of yourself. And I very much encouraged people to, to network with other entrepreneurs.
[00:52:45] Um, and don't get, don't get jealous or upset if someone else has more success. Then you or whatever, just be proud of where you're at in your journey and just keep doing it consistently. And you will see the success. Okay. Remember being in [00:53:00] e-commerce in that everyone, all these marketing and getting sales, it's a skill.
[00:53:05] It's not a, it's not just some people just get, um, skill. And so with it being a skill. Anyone can obtain it. Anyone can learn it and anyone can apply it. So as long as you keep doing it consistently, you'll be able to obtain that skill and you'll be able to slowly build the lifestyle that you envision that you want to live.
[00:53:26] Joseph: [00:53:26] Well, that's outstanding. You know, one thing that crossed my mind as you were saying that is, you know, I, I look at the potential, uh, of, uh, of, of e-commerce and, uh, and I see that people can, you know, do, do pretty well with it. And I wonder, you know, what, what holds back so many people from wanting to do this too.
[00:53:43] And I think a lot of people, um, they don't want to take the initiative and they don't want to be, uh, um, a leader in something, right. But because there's a lot more risk involved, whereas people who pick up employment and they work for somebody else, I'm a mix of both. Right. You know, I, I, you know, I work for you guys, but I also work for [00:54:00] myself too.
[00:54:00] And people don't want to get, uh, th th they don't want to, they have a lot of the things they have to worry about. Maybe they got kids. So not everybody has the means to, to take the journey. So if you do have the means and you have the desire, you should go for it,
[00:54:12] Ricky Hayes: [00:54:12] well, it's. It's an interesting discussion. And I think that 2020 has, uh, uh, to me, um, I speak to my wife about this regularly.
[00:54:23] Um, 2020 to me has very much highlighted, uh, how that being in a nine to five job is not technically a stable job. It's not stable. Okay. A number of my friends that have had, uh, you know, being in large companies have been, have been laid off. Okay. And they were in ongoing. Ongoing full time positions being in an ongoing full time position is, is not, uh, it is in some regard more, more stable than being an entrepreneur in many regards.
[00:54:54] But if you look at what 2020 has done, millions of people have lost their jobs that have been in a full time [00:55:00] ongoing position. Anyway, so the definition of stability. To me, um, has really changed as a result of COVID anyway, and that, you know, uh, people being in a job does not necessarily mean because at the end of the day, as I said earlier, what runs a business is money.
[00:55:16] If a business isn't making money, then you're probably not going to be employed by that business case. So, you know, the, um, the important thing is understanding that. Uh, a nine to five job. Isn't isn't a hundred percent. Okay. Just the same as being an entrepreneur, everything in life is a risk, in my opinion, no matter what decision you make.
[00:55:38] Joseph: [00:55:38] That's true too. I mean, I think that the core point I was trying to make is simply like, Taking orders from somebody else to earn a pay rather than ordering yourself around. But, uh, I mean, full time positions, depending on the industry, a lot of them have gone under even before COVID. So I think things change quite rapidly.
[00:55:57] Ricky Hayes: [00:55:57] Well, some people just don't. [00:56:00] Some people just don't want to be a leader, as you said as well. Like it can be pretty daunting. Um, some people just step up to being a leader. Like it's natural. Some people, um, it takes a long period of time to build that confidence and skill set and that too. So it's a. It's a fine balancing act.
[00:56:17] And it's based on everyone's own exactly comfort zones, I guess. So
[00:56:21] Joseph: [00:56:21] we hit an hour. Ricky. Thank you so much for your time. We're gonna get going
[00:56:25] Ricky Hayes: [00:56:25] no worries. Thanks for letting me on the show. It was a, it was an absolute blast. Thanks for your time, mate.
[00:56:30] Joseph: [00:56:30] Glad I could do it. You might've found this show on any number of platforms, Apple podcasts, Spotify.
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