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Tyler Jefcoat - Capitalize on Key Aggregated Knowledge and Flourish with Ecommerce Accounting

icon-calendar 2021-01-11 | icon-microphone 1h 8m 14s Listening Time | icon-user Joseph Ianni

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You're going to run into a lot of challenges in business. And a critical point raised by the kinetic Tyler Jefcoat is that you were relying on other businesses to focus on their task. So you can focus on yours is what you've been doing as a drop-shipper Tyler's business is accounting, but beyond that, it's highly focused on the e-commerce space and the information he provides is going to guide your growth and also shape how exciting it can be to have an e-commerce focus accountant on your side.

Tyler Jefcoat is the Founder & CEO of Seller Accountant where he exercises his passion for helping sellers maximize their businesses. Tyler provides financial coaching for sellers totalling more than $100 million per year in e-commerce sales.



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Tyler Jefcoat: [00:00:00] Crack your profit problem first, then add the fuel capital once, you know, okay. I've got a business that I feel is viable.  I'm not hiding, I'm not, I'm convincing myself of my own BS, that kind of thing. Then looking for intelligent ways, the fund, your growth, whether, uh, you're always going to get the best rates through a really good traditional bank loan, unfortunately in the e-commerce world banks kind of hate. And so you have to find creative ways to raise that cash until you build a few years of revenue. 

Joseph: [00:00:30] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for  one of a 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.

You're going to run into a lot of challenges in business. And a critical point raised by the kinetic Tyler Jefcoat is that you were relying on other businesses to focus on their task. So you can focus on yours is what you've been doing as a drop-shipper Tyler's business is accounting, but beyond that, it's highly focused on the e-commerce space and the information he provides is going to guide your growth and also shape how exciting it can be to have an e-commerce focus accountant on your side.

Tyler Jefcoat. It is good to have you here. Welcome to economics and to beautify podcast. How are you today?

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:01:27] It is great to be here, Joseph. Thank you so much for having me. I'm having a great day. 

Joseph: [00:01:31] Awesome. Yeah. So am I, so I think it would be helpful just to let our audience know how we actually got to talk to you.

Um, in a previous episode that we had to talk to, uh, my Amazon guy, Stephen Pope, and he referred you to us. So this is something that you guys are going to be able to look forward to is that we are going to be. Really reaching out to everybody that we talk to and ask them, who can they recommend to talk to us as well?

So we're looking forward to branching this out, expanding our reach and talking to people who have different views or different practices, because believe me, the e-commerce puzzle gets bigger. The more people we talked to and today we're going to be adding another significant piece to that. So. Let's warm the audience up both in general, and to you, our guest, Tyler Jefcoat. Tell us who you are and what do you do. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:02:17] Well again, Joseph, thank you so much for having me. So yes, Tyler Jeffcoat, I own a company called seller accountant and seller accountant. We do two things. We provide bookkeeping services. No, we provide a fractional CFO, chief financial officer. I would, I would think of it more like a, uh, financial coaching service for e-commerce brands that are trying to scale.

So I think the reason this probably fits with your podcasts, Joseph, is that we only do e-commerce. We only help brands. My, my, my dad owns a real estate brokerage. My brother owns an appliance repair company. I said no to both of them. We don't do their accounting. We don't do their CFO because they're their own animal. We only do e-commerce. 

Joseph: [00:02:56] And you specify that, uh, quite well. And I've, I've checked out some of your interviews as well, because there is a very specific vertical to e-commerce and it really does require someone to pay careful attention to it. Now what we're going to do by the way, and just to kind of like give our audience a head up, I'm using myself as my own ombudsman.

Is that we are going to hear some terms that I don't think our audience has heard before and whenever they come up, I'm actually going to try to guess it, uh, just for the, just for the fun of it. So you say fractional CFO. So when I think fractional, I think of fractions and it's not my strong suit. Cause math is not my strong suit, but my guess is when you say fractional it's because you are not.

A staff member of these companies, you are a partition service. So you assist with them, you do all their services, but they only turn to you when they, when they need to turn to you. I think I'm along the same lines, but correct me where I slipped. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:03:46] No, that's great. I think for both of our services, it would bookkeeping. We are an outsourced. Kind of contract partner.  So instead of having to hire an employee to do your books that you have to manage, you have to build the system for them to run. You can hire a team that specializes in your industries, accounting. That's what we do. And then on the, on the fractional CFO or the kind of financial coaching, it really is that you, you get a tremendous amount of value.

Talking to someone in your boardroom, whether it's virtual in a real boardroom who has been around your type of business all day, every day for years. And so again, because we're so focused in e-commerce my team, the CFO team that I work with here has an. Just kind of an out sized ability to counsel a brand that delivers value via an online channel.

For instance, just to kind of a small example, we did about 150 million. So $150 million worth of annual sales. We were able to say, Hey, let's get a whole bunch of Shopify sellers and a whole bunch of Amazon sellers and take their data together and try to get to the bottom of a question. Like how profitable should these brands be?

You know, so that, so now when I talk to you or another single brand owner, I could say here's how your performance fits into the context of the industry. Here's an area you're doing really, really well. And maybe it's advertising. Here's an area that we might want to tighten down on. Maybe it's a supply chain or logistics.

And so that additional perspective allows you to buy a fraction of a full person. And still get a lot of value and not have to bring that big time salary onto your payroll. 

Joseph: [00:05:22] Right. So one parallel that I drawn on listening to what you're saying is the same way that a lawyer would specialize. For instance, one person might be a landlord tenant lawyer. Um, one person might get into, uh, she's you would think I actually, uh, w I've worked with the lawyer client, or recently you would think I would remember more of what they get up to criminal law. Um, it's like a little lawyer works on robberies and specific and what's what's key here is, and you said it pretty well is the accumulation of data. So if somebody let's just say, if your company, hypothetically, you did work with people in e-commerce, but then you also worked with people in. You know, say, say what your family works on. You would have a bunch of different datasets that if you're lucky, they'll have something in common, but chances are, they probably won't. Whereas you have the additional resources and the additional mental focus, and you're constantly on that gear to focus on a specific breakthroughs in that. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:06:18] Totally. Yeah. That's exactly, exactly right. You nailed it. I mean, it's almost like you can go to almost any accountant in the world and they can give you a smiley face frowny face on whether you made money and, you know, it's kind of like, Hey, you were in the black this year or you were in the red.

That's not so good. But in order to just, like you said, with an attorney, you know, it's a different. Person that you're going to hire. I guess if you're having a family issue, maybe you're adopting a child or you're going through a divorce versus someone who's negotiated mergers and acquisitions. And it is kind of like that with accounting too.

So, and to be honest with you, CPAs love us because they really, really hate e-commerce. They do. It's so bad. There's so many data points that make this kind of accounting hard to do. And so they love working with us where we can say, hey, we'll tackle this little vertical stay in our lane and you do everything else.

We don't have to make you worry about it. You know? 

Joseph: [00:07:04] All right. So CPA. I got nothing. I can't figure that one out. What does CPA? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:07:10] I'm sorry. A CPA is a certified public accountant. Okay. I am not one. I'm an accountant. I have an agreement. And I am, uh, my MBA or masters in business is in finance, but the traditional tax guy, uh, you know, really anywhere as either a, a certified chartered accountant where you might see in Europe or a CPA, a certified public accountant here in the States.

And, uh, those guys do a lot of taxes. They are, they tend to be generalists as we were talking about a minute ago, do a little of everything. And they really, with these complex kinds of businesses, love to have someone they can turn to and say, Hey, I got a guy in my back pocket that actually knows what Shopify it is, you know, that kind of thing, and can point you in the right direction.

Joseph: [00:07:51] Okay, good. So CPA, wasn't an e-commerce term. So I don't feel bad about not getting that one. So that's right. All right. So let's make sure that we just got a full scope of everything. So people can go to your website. They know what they're going to be looking for. So you have a southern accountant, it provides a bookkeeping, uh, the financial.

There's actually a coaching, a DIY courses for people who are interested in taking it on their own terms, because entrepreneurship, it does appeal to a lot of independence and a lot of people just want to try to handle as much on their own. So it's good that you respect that and you want to give people that option.

Um, there's a mastermind meeting group as well, and I think that's everything, everything key from your website, but just let me know if I missed anything from there. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:08:26] You nailed it. We want to serve e-commerce brands that are growing and we have, like you said, a do it yourself course. I do lead a pretty exclusive mastermind.

That's only for seven and eight figure sellers. Um, I just, not a lot of me, so it's a smaller group and then we do bookkeeping and CFO. So yeah, you nailed it. That's it. 

Joseph: [00:08:42] So people might get into this business. And frankly, I will say that I think a lot of the people who are drawn to shipping, they might be on the younger side.

And I know this because I've seen lots of YouTube videos of a lot of people who are. Well, they're quite young like that. They're already on their second house and I'm 30 years old. And I, anyways, I think most people understand the basic risks of not. Having accounting or having bookkeeping, right. Getting audited, uh, not foreseeing potential bankruptcy.

Um, so I do think that there's like a baseline level of someone has to look after the finances, but there is, and we've, we've talked about it. We've started opening up some of these threads. Um, there is a lot more to gain through quality book keeping. So a seller works with you, you know, over the course of the year, what are the major benefits that they, that they get from you?

And I know you said you accumulated the data and you looked at it. So touching on that, if you want to refer more in specific to the data that you have found, and you have been able to give to them, I think that would help characterize what you do for them. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:09:42] Yeah, Joseph, this is a good question. And here's why there are there extra kind of four broad reasons that any business owners should care about accounting at all.

And so the first one is compliance. They kind of talked about how do you keep your tax? You know, auditor off your back. How do I make sure? Right. I think it's, I heard somebody say this the first and most important job of any accountants to keep you out of jail, right? If I can keep you out of jail, that's a win.

But to be honest with you, most, most, most business owners are not cheating on their taxes. Most business owners are. But they want to know for sure that they're compliant. And so having a good system of records where if you were unfortunately, to be audited, you could not have any issues. That's a really nice success.

The first thing is compliance. The second thing is control. How do you know that your vendors or your partners aren't double charging you, or you almost think about like a personal credit card? Like, Whoa, you charged me twice, Hulu. What's up with that. Right. So like, like that kind of thing happens in business too.

Are my vendors taking care of me? Uh, did I accidentally forget to pay somebody or did I pay someone twice or do I owe? And so that kind of control of your money is the second thing you want with your bookkeeping system. And then the third thing is what if you ever needed to raise cash and this could be through an investor, or it could be through a bank I'm going to have to bring some financial statements, a, they call it a P and L or a profit and loss statement that can help me demonstrate that my business is working.

That is effective. And I'm a good bet if they're going to be. You know, kind of invest some money with me that it's not a high risk bet. And so we've got the compliance control raising cash and then the fourth one, cause I couldn't figure out another good, see is basically cash cow or profit. How do I understand what's happening in my business?

Almost like you think about a dashboard on a plane or on a car so that I. Drive properly so that I don't run it into the ditch, you know? And so if I see something overheating or if I, some dial is off, I know I've got to fix it so that it actually makes money. And so those are kind of the four reasons you should care about accounting and the bigger you get, the more important each of those four reasons are.

Joseph: [00:11:49] So of those four, one of the ones that I want to touch on right away is the raising money aspect, because I want to make sure that there's a, as a pretty clear line between somebody who say. Oh, winds up there for a Shopify store, uh, using the Debutify template, of course, because this is a Debutify podcast, but, and so maybe I think for a lot of them, they've initially got their capital at 500 to a thousand dollars and they've, and they managed to scale and it went quite well.

And I, and it happens to talk to plenty of people, uh, who have, uh, who have made it work. And it wasn't luck. It was, it was hard work and maybe like a dash of luck here or there. So. How do they get from that point to, I guess, a, you know, taking on the bookkeeping when it's time to start looking into that.

And then the next destination is the people that you've worked with. When do they come to you and they're, and they're ready to raise money? What exactly are they trying to, um, to, to achieve. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:12:44] It's it's a good couple of questions there. So the first question I think I picked out of that was when should you start worrying about accounting?

And I think that's why we did the do it yourself course, to be honest with you, Joseph, because I don't, I've started two businesses now where I didn't spend a dime on my own accounting. Not to mention not, it didn't even do my books for the first six months. I mean, when you start any vendor, your first and only the priority is to find a path to profit.

I've got to find a customer that I can solve a problem for in such a way that they will pay me for it. Right. That kind of thing. I can always go back and clean up a few months worth of mess. And so I would not hire seller accountant or any other accounting firm to do your stuff. When you're starting on a shoestring budget and only doing a few thousand dollars a month in revenue for us, something happens between about.

$10,000 a month in revenue and maybe 20,000. It depends on the product, but somewhere in that 10 to 20 K, now you're a six figure per year business and things are coming at you quickly and it's time to get organized. And so, you know, if you're good with numbers, if math is your strong suit and you're kind of nerdy with spreadsheets and whatnot, you may want to go ahead and try your accounting.

Having a QuickBooks online account or a Xero account and just go for it. But if it's your worst nightmare, it might be the first thing you outsource. I can't wait to not have to worry about accounting. I'm scared to death, to peek under the hood and see what's happening there. And, you know, if that's the situation may be and.

10 $15,000 a month in revenue. Go ahead and hire someone to take care of it for you. Um, and man, you had another great question there also Joseph, Oh, about raising casts, raising cash. The really, really important anecdote I'll say to that is cash. Only magnifies what your business is doing. What I mean by that is if you have a really profitable product and you have a great funnel for addressing your customer and you add cash to that, you're going to scale.

And you're going to be really happy if you have a really crappy product or your supply chain is not. Yielding enough profit margin. Uh, and then you add cash to it thinking, Oh, if I can just scale, then I'll get out of trouble. Right. That is a disastrous situation waiting to happen. And so I've had some sellers and some brand owners who wake up two or three years in and have literally millions of dollars in debt for a couple of these guys and have never cracked the pro.

So crack your profit problem first, then add the fuel of capital once, you know, okay. I've got a business that I feel is viable. I'm not hiding. I, I'm not, um, convincing myself of my own BS, that kind of thing. That's another acronym I could give you either. Right. Then I think we all work that way now. And they're looking for intelligent ways to fund your growth, whether, uh, you're always going to get the best rates through a really good traditional bank loan.

Unfortunately in the e-commerce world, banks kind of hate us. And so you have to find creative ways to raise that cash until you build a few years of credibility. 

Joseph: [00:15:36] So I'm drawing something from my own, uh, my own history, because I've, I've, I've worked for it for a number of companies. And, and by the way, I'm just looking for your opinion on this. This is not like a, an, an insight thing, because this isn't e-commerce in specific, but you know, one of the, one of the places I worked for, they were pretty much operating at a loss for the most part. But they continued to try to raise revenue and they did so, um, because they would prove they would argue that their, their business model was profitable once they reach a certain level.

And I think when one clear example of this, that I think people will recognize as something like Uber, who is constantly operating at a loss, but they're continuing to generate their revenue so that they can have the infrastructure. Once they have the infrastructure, then they're good to go. So have you. Seen anything similar to this where even if they're not profitable, they have a strategy that seems to be yes. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:16:28] So I think if you are a disruptive model, your business is so disruptive to the industry or the market you're addressing, you can afford to build enough scale. Like Amazon's a great example of this.

I think Amazon had like 50 consecutive quarters of losses, but continue to raise cash at the lowest. Cost of capital in history because the market could see. And Uber is another great example that you mentioned there, Joseph, they were so disruptive to the fundamental value chain going to the customer that, Oh, we get it.

We see it. This is we're going to pay outsized values for your business. Because you're going to figure it out eventually. And when you do, boom is going to destroy the entire competitive marketplace and you're going to be dominant. Shopify is kind of similar, right? Shopify has ability to raise cash and not have to demonstrate just radical profitability each month just because their model is so clean.

And it is so disruptive that they can do that. Now, now here's the thing. For the rest of us, Joseph for the rest of us who are running good businesses that are not going to be these unicorns that you hear about on every business TV show in the world. We have to make money and we need to make money more quickly.

Um, and, and, and, and I'll kinda take it down to a micro example here. If you're selling, let's say you're selling a supplement, something that does consumable, and you're going to get a fairly high repeat customer, right? That kind of thing. You can still afford to take a short-term loss. I can acquire Joseph is my customer and pay a little bit to get them to come in, but I need to make money pretty quickly, and it might need to be 90 days or 120 days.

I sure as heck can't wait three years to be profitable or I'm dead. 

Joseph: [00:18:09] Okay. Well, I appreciate that you bring it more into a micro example because the only reason why I tend to use some of the bigger wins is just let everybody can have like a frame of reference in their minds. So I, I appreciate that side of it.

I'd also, yeah, just, um, for the record Amazon took w I just did like a quick Google searches. Amazon took 14 years. Before they were profitable. Um, you know, actually, I don't know if you had told me to guess I would have guessed that it took longer than that, but you know, a props to them. I want to, I want to ask about the DIY courses. Cause I, there people maybe like you said, they might be mathematically inclined, so it's already a pretty well within their wheelhouse. Um, so what are the basics of personal bookkeeping? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:18:49] So the, the basics of the bookkeeping, um, the course, and even bookkeeping in general is you're going to pick some kind of a software to be your, your home based software for accounting.

Uh, QuickBooks online is the one we've selected as a firm. Uh, there's another product called zero there. They're kind of the two dominant players in the market. You're probably going to pick one of them. You're going to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to $50 per month to buy that product. And you're going to integrate your bank accounts and your credit cards, and you're going to use it as the place where all your transactions get dumped, you sort them out, and you can then generate the reports that give you some help.

Right. That kind of thing. And so the do it yourself course that seller accountant created. Walks you through, you know, here's how you set up your QuickBooks online account. Here's how you do the right chart of accounts. So chart of accounts is kind of jargon for how do you organize things in your, in your financials?

So do you have, uh, how many different categories and what should you call those categories? That kind of thing. And so there's a pretty specific chart of accounts that, that the investors are telling us are the investor grade. Picture of success within e-commerce. So the course teaches you how to do that correctly.

How do you deal with Amazon? How do you deal with Shopify? How do you deal with inventory? How do you deal with cost of goods sold and even some of the basics? Like how do you reconcile a checking account and make sure you didn't miss any expenses or something like that. And so that's what the, the goal of that first course is to take somebody from, it's kind of like, almost like a couch to 5k kind of thing, right.

Where it's like, you don't know much about accounting at all, but you've got a time. And you want to learn the basics of how to run the financial operation of your business will take you from don't need to know much at all to, hey, and maybe a couple hours a week. I could do my own bookkeeping, that kind of, 

Joseph: [00:20:38] And I bet that a lot of the people who look at those courses will also be more likely to then want to just get somebody else to do it in the long run. Because once they see everything that goes into it, they have a much deeper appreciation for how hard the work and how much time the work actually takes. And so then they'll go to somebody else. One thing that I've found is that it can be harder to convince someone of a service if. They're, they don't have their own intuitive understanding of how it works. Like the old, um, city, a person goes to a mechanic and doesn't understand what the, uh, what the mechanic is saying. Hey, it just seems like a bunch of jumbo, but if the guy tries to fix the car on his own after a month and the car is now in two pieces, he goes, okay.

Now I see why I shouldn't have gone to the mechanic in the first place. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:21:23] Totally nailed it there. Yeah. And I think we see that a lot also. And then we want people to be able to do it on their own, but I think what we're betting Joseph is as you get more complex, you're going to realize, ah, not only do I appreciate what has to happen to fix this system, but now I just don't wanna fool with it anymore.

And. You know what? Go ahead and hand it off. And, and so, yeah, but, but you're right. I mean, for the average, like Shopify seller, that's, that's trying to launch their brand. You know, if you only have PayPal and maybe only Shopify pay as your payment processors, then you could probably follow the system. Then the course that you and I are talking about and you're going to be fine for awhile, but then once your catalog of skew.

So the number of products you're selling grows beyond whatever the right number is 50 or a hundred. Now you're taking Amazon pay. Now you're taking an Apple pay. Now you're taking all these other payment processors. They're going to say I'm done with that. I don't really want to fool with it anymore. And at that point you may want to hire some.

Joseph: [00:22:13] Yeah, exactly. And so for a lot of dropshippers, Uh, I'm not sure exactly what your goals are, but if you've listened to every episode, chronologically you'll have picked up on a pretty important theme. Is that a lot of the people, some people continue to do drop shipping and maybe they'll, they'll stick to it indefinitely, but overall, most people branch out and they end up hiring additional staff.

They end up going into other agencies, they ended up doing something else with it and they use drop shipping as their means to get that initial capital so they can start venturing out further into e-commerce. So don't be surprised if you end up reaching out to Tyler at some point. So that's one of the many reasons why I'm glad we got to that.

We're getting to have this conversation today. Now one thing that we, we, we touched on it, but I want to make sure we give it as much oxygen as it needs, which is the difference between having somebody in their own business, doing this versus a hiring somebody internally. And again, we did touch on this, but again, I want to make sure that we just kind of run through it.

So when we mentioned so far, is that being in your own agency, you accumulate all the data for yourself and you're accumulating it from other companies as well. And then on top of that, you don't have to give somebody dental. So let's just go through that for the audience. Like what really do they stand to lose from hiring somebody internally for this.

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:23:25] Yeah, I think the great analogy, because we are talking to maybe an audience that's more drop ship heavy is the premise of that. The entire business model Joseph is I don't want to become an expert at logistics. I don't want to have to fly to Asia and negotiate the entire, every step of the supply chain.

Hey, I know what I'll do. I'll generate the traffic and I'll drop ship the product because then I don't. So there's a lot of problems that get solved by. Partitioning your business model and having an expert in the area that you're not an expert in tackle the thing you don't want to tackle. And so I think accounting is really similar and it's like, okay, if, and, and this, this kind of goes to, I had somebody ask me, so once, like you get what you pay for, right.

Should you buy cheap or not cheap? It's kind of the same thing. Like any function in my business that I am an expert at. And I've taken the time to develop a really good process for it. I can kind of hire cheap and get that thing done for me. Right. I know how to manage it. I know what correct. Looks like.

I already have the process dialed in. Let me pay someone 10 bucks an hour, 15 bucks an hour. And they can do it for me, but every part of my business that isn't in my wheelhouse, it's not my zone of genius. Oh man. I'm going to make some expensive mistakes if I try to do that cheap. And so you talk about kind of, uh, hiring an employee. Well, geez. If I'm not great at accounting, the kind of employee I'm going to have to hire to really solve the problem is going to be a fairly expensive employee because they need to understand the accounting. They need to be able to do it. They need to be able to document the process. They need to be able to know if it's correct or not. Correct. You've got to be able to trust them. Right. There's lots of layers. And so when you're in a situation like that, where this is not my wheelhouse. I want high quality, but I don't want to have to own an employee that I have to not just pay for, but manage.

I have to identify. And by the way, this happens a lot of times when you have an internal accountant, if something goes wrong, do you feel kind of. Oh, gosh, they've got me. If I fire them, I'm going to have this entire half of my business laying back on my plate. I couldn't possibly tell Susie. She didn't do a good job because if I did, she's going to walk and I'm in trouble.

And so that's another benefit of having kind of an outsourced partner. If I lose one of my teammates. I've got 15 more and we're going to work together to make sure your system continues to run now, not to mention the fact that we don't have a contract, right. Or any other agency like mine probably wouldn't either.

If we don't do a good job, you're going to fire us. And so our job is to earn your business each month, instead of kind of feeling like we're in a cozy job where you can't get rid of us, you know, that kind of thing. That's a, there's a lot of great points raised in there. And I think one of those sticks out to me is you are kind of taking the accountant that you hire internally at, at their V at their face value.

And you're assuming that they're doing correctly and we don't want to say like people get hired and they don't do a good job, but you never know. They might think they're doing a good job and they might not know, whereas for a business who's, um, his lifeblood, your ability to survive and thrive is based on doing a good job.

And you have other clients who can also vouch for the quality of the work. That also adds a lot of legitimacy to it as well. Totally does. And if you think about it, sometimes if you hire like, say an office teammate, say it's like Tom, and he's the guy in your office and he's doing your bookkeeping. It's not, the Tom is going to be dishonest about it.

It's just that every time you have any kind of an admin. At all, you're going to throw it on Tom. Now, Tom, might've been really, really good at the first thing you hired him for right now. You can't afford to hire a second guy. And so Tom gets ABC to EFG and he's not great at most of those things. So I think that's the other, you know, it's almost like the fractional CFO discussion we had where I have somebody in my office who I, who I believe is the best PayPal reconciliation person in the country. I say that with, uh, maybe one of the best in the world, these are really complex statements that have lots of layers and complexity, like thousands of transactions a month. Everyone beats their head against the wall, trying to get these to reconcile.

Ashley can do it. She's an expert. And, but she's not going to help everybody everyday just on PayPal. So she does other things also. And so anyway, as a business owner, the fact that you could say, Hey, I've got an expert like Tyler, when it comes to driving advertising efficiency in a funnel, I've got someone like Ashley, who's really an expert at PayPal and Shopify pay and the other kind of thing.

So I think that's kind of the, the other benefit is I get the. The bigger brains, fractionally, that kind of thing. 

Joseph: [00:27:37] You know, I it's, I have a lot of appreciation for the breadth and the depth of what, what goes into running these operations. And I just reminded myself the last time I was trying to explain to my dad what I do.

And he's like, h no, I just told her strategist internet. And I'm like, all right, dad, you know what? People run stores online, right? Yeah. Okay. I think that's as far as I was really able to, to get them to understand. So yeah, 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:28:00] No, I had to try to convince my mom a couple of years ago that I don't actually work for Amazon. She's like, you work for Amazon and I'm like, no, mom, I don't work for Amazon. I'm like you like, kind of, like you just said, Joseph, who are stored, that fell on Amazon and they have a Shopify site and other things and yeah, it can be kind of hard to explain that. 

Joseph: [00:28:16] Yeah, but, you know, we, we, we try, we try. Uh, so you, you guide a small e-commerce businesses on, on scaling. Um, anything that you can elaborate on on that. So how you're guiding people and giving them the confidence when they're ready to scale up. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:28:33] So I think, yeah, so something I'll mention here, because this is a really good topic is every business type e-commerce, uh, the business I owned before this one was a home healthcare business.

It could be in healthcare. It could be an immediate business. Every business has a weird. Awkward think about it like middle school, adolescents period, where you've reached a point in revenue where the CEO can no longer spin all the plates. The chief executive officer can't spin all the plates anymore, and things get really hard until you find a way to scale through that awkward period to where you actually have.

Smart people in different seats and processes and things that aren't just having to be toted or carried around by the CEO. And so in the e-commerce business model, for some reason, that seems to be between about one and $3 million per year in revenue, depending on your product, it might be a little less, might be a little more.

But something kind of mysterious happens with these one to $3 million businesses where they get way less profitable. The CEO gets way more stressed out and they're like, Oh God, what did I do? I thought I had a cool product. I was making money. I was happy. And then this sucks. I don't, what am I doing every day with my life now I'm doing too much.

And so , once you start feeling that stress, first of all, no, it's normal. That's every CEO goes through that process and every industry, even in accounting, I think the number's probably closer to probably half a million a year in revenue. Like when we reached about $500,000 a year in revenue, I was like, Oh boy, I got to have people who can talk to people who can do things like it's all these different details that have to be systematized and processed.

And so my advice to you is to, if you've never read, maybe like Michael Gerber's book, the E-Myth or one of these great books that teach you how to not always work every minute in your business, but take a second and zero out and say, okay, wait a minute. What is my vision for my company? If my vision is to exit in two years, my strategy is going to be a little different.

If my vision is to scale to 20 million and be the CEO of a larger company, that's going to change how a, how I manage things. And then just pick off one at a time. What's the most important process that I should get off my plate out of my head, by documenting how I do it, and by maybe hiring someone else to tackle it for me.

And so I think if you kind of, you kind of have to get out of like, The wild West, like gun slinging. Hey, I'll just figure this out and bring a little bit of order to your business. The quicker you can do that, the quicker you can navigate that whitewater and end up with a business you love, 

Joseph: [00:31:04] You know, when you said that there's like that transitional phase where people are going through their, their, their business puberty, um, I changed my Facebook photo today. And I saw some of my previous photos about when I was going through puberty. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:31:22] It can be rough, right. It can be really weird. I mean, if you ever go, uh, Joseph, uh, if the world ever opens it back up again, we'll go back to conferences for e-commerce sellers. And everyone loves to talk about their top line revenue. Cause that's like, what's really sexy. It's like, hey, I finally hit a million around.

I'm a, I'm a seven figure seller. Especially for those guys that just barely hit seven figures. They don't like to talk about profitability. Because they're not profitable. And that's the thing I just want to say to the audience here is that that's normal. It's normal to feel stress in the different kind of corners of your business.

That adolescence period is real. You know, this there's no school photos from Facebook are real. Those are a thing. And don't give up, but know that. What got you to where you are, is not going to get you to where you want to be. You're going to have to change some things about the way you lead and you're gonna want to be intentional because if you're not.

I promise you the, a natural inertia of a business like that is to kind of implode. If it's like, Hey, I'll just whitewash. I'll just white knuckle this thing, and work 80 hours a week and do everything myself and answer every email and dah, dah, dah, dah, the offer. Nope. Not going to work.

Joseph: [00:32:25] You probably pick up on that when you're, I don't know, like what's their main line of communication. Do you usually email your clients? Do you usually call them or I suppose it probably like on a client to client basis, but my sense is you can catch when they're starting to stress out and you notice a change in their diction or changing their tone. So, I mean, I can understand how it's really hard to dial out of that.

Um, but any, any mindset, advice, or any like wellbeing advice that you can give people to help them actually take their mind off of it? Just even for, for a day? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:32:55] I think one, one mindset is. You know what, honestly, if you don't take care of yourself in the things that are most important to you, like I'm thinking about like your family.

So, uh, just one quick story is that I know a CEO in, um, in a big city in America who has made it to the top of the mountain. One of many that I know that absolutely hates his life, millions and millions and millions of dollars. Kids hate them, never sees this family. And so what I would first say to you is know for sure what you want.

I thought 10 years ago, when I was about to start my first company, I thought that I wanted to be the CEO of a a hundred million dollar company. And after being the CEO of a company that had a hundred employees, which is what I did for awhile. I realized, ah, that's not really what I want to do. I actually liked being married.

I actually like my kids. I actually, and so I think first thing is define what you want and then realize that you have to do the little things to take care of yourself. Like it's like, so. It kind of seems too simple. You gotta sleep, you gotta sleep. You need to eat healthy. You need to exercise. You need to, you need to take a vacation. You need to take a half day alone in the woods every once in a while, and just bring a journal and turn off electronics. And so I think building some habits, stacks, uh, James clear has a great book called atomic habit. If you're wanting something to read about that, but, but building some habits, stacks that are going to maximize your energy as the CEO, and then clarifying where I actually want to go with the business. And then, you know what? You just got to get practical. Maybe it's like what it needs to happen this quarter, this 90 day period in order for me to achieve my dream for not just my business, but for my life, for my family, for my, you know, finances are a small part of our life. It's not the whole thing.

Right? So once you clarify that you can make great choices and honestly it helps you say no, because that's one of the most important things you can do, right? Joseph is like, there's a million opportunities every day. I want to say no to like. Almost all of them and just yes, to the ones that are going to get me the farthest, the fastest towards my vision of success.

Joseph: [00:34:54] Well, here in Canada, we replaced no with, sorry, we don't, we don't have no one in this country. We just have, sorry.

Yeah. I'd like to add onto that as well, in terms of wellbeing. And I haven't really like mentioned this on the show before, is that. Having a, having a partner. Um, my, my girlfriend, she really has been like the rock for me. Uh, whenever I start to feel stressed out and I just needed to like, take a few minutes to recalibrate, I'll just go sit with her and we'll emojis and we'll just kind of like, appreciate each other for maybe it takes like 10 minutes and then I just get right back into it. And we also joke that we're we all, we heard that term money doesn't buy happiness. Well, actually I disagree with that. Uh, we, we were happy before and then we started earning more money and yeah, we got a lot happier, but we had that foundation, we had each other and we had, we have our friend networks, we have our goals.

And so the money that we're earning has helped us move forward in that regard. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:35:50] Yep. And I would say that we were talking about how cash to a business only amplifies or magnifies what you're doing. I would say cash to your life is kind of the same way, right? I mean, if I have a solid foundation, I know who I am.

I knew what's really important to me and you give me money. I'm probably going to be a good steward of that money. I can find things to do with it that make my life more pleasurable. And also I can give it away. But if I'm. If I'm a hot, if I'm a hot mess and you give me a million dollars, I'm probably just going to be, um, a cataclysmic hot mess.

Right. Cause I'm gonna buy a big car and crash it or whatever. Right. So it's, I think it is. Um, I think it's just about knowing who you are, what your identity is and what you want your life to be about and making sure that you didn't leave a perfectly good job to start a business, to have it ruin your life, make sure that you wrap your business around your goals instead of letting it exactly.

Joseph: [00:36:40] And I mean, one philosophy that we've. I brought about on this show, uh, and that I think is quite important. And you've said it too, is that, you know, business and e-commerce, it is about solving problems. And when you wake up every day and you consider your business as a means to solve problems for people.

Yeah. That's probably one of the best ways to motivate yourself to scale up because now I'm going to be solving problems on, on a national scale. Maybe I can solve them on a global scale. And so anybody who goes into business, not thinking about how they're going to solve a problem. I think they're going to encounter a lot more of that frustration line where that feedback, cause there's no nobility to what they're doing.

I mean, yeah. You can figure out how to make the money, you know, congrats. You make the money, but you'll, you'll see the difference in focusing on knowing that you're. Going to bed each night and you're contributing to the net good. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:37:28] Yep. And maybe that's exactly right. Like having a value, adding problem solving mindset, but even maybe a step further is to be, how can I have an impact on people?

Kind of that's one of the things that you look at, e-commerce even something like accounting, like what I do, it's easy to make it about numbers or about datasets or spreadsheets. And that's not our goal at all. So our accountant, our goal is by the end of 20, 23, we want to have 500 transformational relationships.

It's about people. How do we interact with CEOs in such a way that we can be a transformational force in their lives and not, not in any other way, except whatever their goals are, what here's, what I want to be in. And we help them get there and for our teammates also. And so I think if you can understand, and the reason this matters so much for the brand owners that are out there is.

If I can understand who the hero of my story is, who's the person who's, what's her name? What does she look like? The person whose life has changed for the better, even if it's in a small way by the products and services that I offer. If I can understand who the hero is and build my mission around, making her more successful, making her life better about solving problems for her, you know, in a lot of ways, the money.

Like, should we focus on people and solving problems? So anyway, 

Joseph: [00:38:39] You say also, I, I really admire your, your energy and your, and your character and, and I, and I figure that the, your business is, is an enhancement of that. You know, the pace that you go wide as the pace of the business goes at. I just wanted to say that because just listening to you talk and the way you, um, you conduct yourself is something that I'm admiring.

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:38:57] Thank you. Thank you. I really appreciate that. Love what I do. 

Joseph: [00:39:00] You're welcome. Welcome. 

Alright. Um, earlier on you mentioned habit stacks, and, and again, this is something that I can kind of Intuit, um, where it's not just like one habit, but it's, uh, the, the habits are condensed into a package. Um, but I don't know. I'm not, I'm not D I, in my own mind, I'm not answering this question very well. So what exactly is a habit stack? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:39:21] So, and I'm stealing this, I think very clearly from James clear, the guy who wrote the book atomic habits, but basically what I was remembering him saying is we all kind of have routines say, think about like your morning routine.

You get up, you go to the bathroom, you brush your teeth, you put on your clothes or whatever it is. And so one habit. Kind of naturally happens because it's programmed in your brain to happen right after another one. So for instance, if I wanted to add the habit of, and this is one I've actually worked on this week, Joseph is I want to take a moment and it's almost like a gratitude journal.

I want to, I want to once a day, sit down and say, what am I proud of myself for? What am I grateful for? What I, what would I like to improve? Over what's happened in the last day and what am I excited for? Right. And so actually, one of the things I was excited for today, Joseph was getting to be on this podcast to the you.

And so, um, you know, one of the things I was proud of is that I really showed up for my wife yesterday and served her when she was having kind of a crummy day. And so this idea of if I wanted that habit to become part of my daily life, I need to say, okay, wait a minute. I'm just going to put my journal right next to my bed with a pen, and I'm going to make it my habit to write.

After I do X, I don't know what it is, brush my teeth. I'm going to make myself immediately go in and do this new thing I want to do so that I'm more likely to stick with it because it's stacked on some other stuff. Does that make sense? 

Joseph: [00:40:35] Yeah, it does. Um, I I've been doing something like that too, although.

I, this is the first time that I've heard the term habits stack. So I guess I can't particularly characterize it as that, but the way I was scheduling my days is I would wake up and from eight o'clock to 10 o'clock before I have my breakfast, I do have a sequence of things to do as well. And the way I would prioritize it is that as long as I do the more important ones.

Um, and then more, uh, quickly and efficiently I do them. The more it opens up time for, I guess, some of the more luxury ones. So an example of this is first thing I do is I have a very small exercise routine. I noticed that if I try to like go to ham on it, I'm just going to burn out. And then I Slack for like six months.

So my workout routine is very simple. It's called a 10, 10, 10, right? Do 10 of something hard, tend to something easy, tend to have something kind of middle. It's usually pushups, sit ups and squats. And, um, anybody like me, who's a millennial nerd. I'm sure you'll know which one is a hard one. And then the more effective that I do that the more it opens up my time to check my phone and check on my, my clash of clans village before I had to breakfast.

So. There's also an importance to it too, where I got gotta, I got to make sure I do the important ones first, and then I can do more of the luxury ones.

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:41:47] It's a great idea. I think it's something else that I feel like I've heard. That's a good advice to kind of almost give yourself the reward. Like Hey, and working out is one that we like, a lot of people are like, Oh, if I could just have that be a part of my habits back, but know that I get to have a treat, whatever that treat is for me.

Right afterwards, I get guilt free. And I don't know about you, Joseph, but for me, it's like that little like workout. Um, and I don't do it every day. I wish I could say I did, but for me that's like almost like what I would call like a Keystone habit. Like it's a habit that if I just do my little exercise thing for 20 minutes or whatever, each morning or each day, I just feel so much better about myself.

I feel like my energy is pointing the right direction. And so anyway, for what it's worth, I think if you have one that's particularly challenging for you, whether it's. Eating sleeping, working out, make that one kind of, as Joseph was saying, that's right before something you really, really want to do and you want to feel guilt-free about it and kind of stack those together.

Joseph: [00:42:37] Um, that's all good. That's all great. Yeah, I'm done by the way. I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. Like I can, I can run like a deer depending on the situation, but other than that, uh, uh, I've never, I've never been very good at that. So. For me to try to implement a very small, but still effective exercise routine is important.

And, uh, this is one that I picked up from a UFC coach. Uh, his first name is Faraz. I can't remember his last name, but he was a guest on, uh, on the Joe Rogan podcast. And he said, focus on volume. Over the course of a month. If you do that many pushups per day, you'll look back on the month and you realize that you had done so many pushups, but if you go to the gym once a week and you kill it, you're going to be out of it for a bunch of days anyways.

And maybe, maybe the volume will be the same, but even so you'll have days where you can't use your arms. So it is better to focus on the overall monthly goal. And then the other thing too, that I wanted to mention too, and then we'll get back to some of the e-commerce stuff. Not that you don't enjoy this immensely by the way, but no. It's that when, when you say like we, the, the guilt-free reward, um, there is a way to characterize it through positivity, which is that if I, if I get up and believe me, there have been countless mornings where I get up. And the first thing I do is check my phone, uh, especially, you know, as a recording, this, the U S elections just happened. So it is very difficult to not want to like check the progress, uh, such as it is in the morning. And so that's in the most chemical sense. Yes. That is a dopamine reward. There is that hit to get it right away. And yeah, I, I feel bad about it, but we can convince people that he okay. At the end of the day, it is the reward. It still makes you feel good, but here's a way to make it feel even better. Here's a way to enhance the high it's the delayed gratification. It's do this other hard thing first. And then when you go to it, Part of why it feels better is because the guilt is taken away, but it actually just is a more profound high. It does feel legitimately better. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:44:34] Sounds good. Yeah. I love that. I like the idea of kind of teeing yourself up to kind of maximize what feels good. That kind of thing. 

Joseph: [00:44:40] Yeah. Yeah. So it all comes down to, um, finding out what's the right way to, to convince people at these things. Cause I know some people who were like, um, they, they almost embrace their bad habits and they said, well, why would I not do it? It feels good. I'm like, yeah, but here's an even better high for you. I think that's one way to kind of get people out of that rut.

There are a lot of expenses that a business can incur and a lot of the uni expenses fall into that gray area where they don't quite realize it was an expense. And this is something that I know that we kind of touched on at the beginning, we were opening up our threads. So what are some of the expenses that people tend to overlook when they're assessing their expenses versus their profits? And, you know, these are probably the ones that you would find that they have noticed. Yeah, I think that's it. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:45:29] Unless you put a name on every dollar, you know, right. You take the time to be like what it actually all came out of my credit card or out of my checking account. It can be hard to let some things slip the areas where we see e-commerce brands struggle.

The most are one over advertising. So I didn't realize that when I added my Facebook ads in with my Google ads and with whatever else I was doing, the affiliate links that I have, that I was actually spending half of my budget just on advertising. Right. So if I think about, if I'm selling a product to keep it simple, if I sell the product for a hundred dollars and I've got to spend 30 or $40 just to buy the product.

Well, if I spend $50 on advertising, I'm almost never going to make money on that product. And so advertising is one that can sneak up on you unless you're good at collecting all the different sources of advertising. Another one is, especially for. Some kinds of drop shipping businesses and some kinds of resellers body, uh, salaries like that.

The people, the actual folks that you employ can, can get out of hand really quick. And this is something I just want to caution our listeners out here is if. If you don't make enough profit margin in your products, and you also need a lot of people to either count and grade refunds as the one I'm thinking about a case study in my head here where someone's a really successful Shopify seller in the sense that they have lots of traffic, they sell lots of units, but their particular product is one that when it, even though they're, drop-shipping it, it's got to come back to their warehouse to be dealt with if it's returned.

And because it's a kind of like wearable. Apparel ish kind of item that takes a lot of energy. They have to have a lot of people on staff just to make sure this one's good. I can resell it this one. Oh boy, I better throw that one out. Right. And it's a high enough value product that they can't afford to just let the customer keep it if they refund it.

And so you just have to monitor, how does my salary count? Because we were talking about this awkward adolescence, we're trying to scale through the awkwardness of a business. Sometimes a CEO can do an extremely, which let me hire 20 people. Let me, let me scale up so quickly. And, and we'll, we'll catch up with it.

And, and to be honest, so this is kind of the mistake I made in my first company, Joseph, we got to a point with the healthcare company where we went from six employees to like 50 in a year. And we didn't make any money that year. It sounds sexy to be like, wow, we grew, we had a bunch of revenue. We were multimillion dollar business, all of a sudden, but what we didn't know is how to actually manage the functions.

We didn't realize, Oh, this is customer service. We need one person for this seat. They need to look like this. They need to have these skills. We didn't really have the time to do that. We were like, Hey man, you're a body go. And your body goes higher, higher, higher, higher, higher. And I think a lot of times e-commerce brands, especially if they have a warehousing operation can do that too.

I'm stressed out. I'm the CEO and now you've got to post you're my uncle come on in and my brother and you need a job. Come on. And the next thing you know, you've got 30 grand a month in salaries and there's no amount of scaling that business is going to let you catch up with it. And so. Anyway, I kind of rambling about it here, but those are some of the main expenses.

The other one that I see a lot, you're talking about expenses that get missed or these like software products. So like you could probably buy 12 different SAS products that sometimes will solve the same problems, but you're texting them. Right. It's like, it's almost like, think about like when you're at home, it's like, I have Hulu and I have Netflix and Disney plus and Oh, crud. I'm still paying for my cable also. And so if you don't take a moment, at least once or twice a year to say, huh, That's weird. I didn't remember. I was still paying for three different Google accounts. Actually. One of my business partners realize this, this week where he'd been paying for a Google account for a domain that he closed three years ago, but he'd been paying 12 bucks a month and he's like CRA.

And so take a few times a year and just look detailed at your expenses and be like, huh, I can probably cut that one. 

Joseph: [00:49:23] You know, what's interesting to me about the transformation that we're going through or salaried employees is that. I so remember, I would go to a lot of my businesses. I would go to, you know, I, I love, I worked in a lot of stores.

I had a lot of sales positions and it was a, it was a toss up as to whether or not I was really bringing the most amount of value to the store that day. Um, so for instance, when I was working as a grocery boy, there were days where there really wasn't, there was no delivery. We didn't get any product on the pallets.

So I would just like grab all of the overstock and just see what I can add onto the shelf and, uh, and help people, not a very valuable day. And then there are the days where the unsalted butter goes on sale and all hell breaks loose. Oh yeah. I was providing a lot of value that day. So one of the issues is, yeah, you can, you, you give somebody a salary position.

They have 40 hours a week, but being in that, but by being an employee, it is difficult to really quantify how much value they're actually able to bring to it. And it has nothing to do with them, not wanting to do their job. People typically want to do their jobs. Okay. Maybe, well, you know, some people want to do the jobs that other people don't.

That's probably a more fair assessment of the, uh, on a cultural basis, but we got it. You still have to send people to the store and they have to send people, get people on the phones. It it's extremely difficult. So no matter how much people are able to quantify, there's still stuff left to the gray area that you just can't put a, your, uh, put your finger on.

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:50:50] Yeah, I think that's, what's really, you're talking about. There are some salaries you bring on that are really easy to, like, for instance, if you had a new marketing person you brought on, that was going to be just measuring success on a particular PPC campaign, it might be unusually easy to track their effectiveness.

But I, I think the cautionary tale here is that you have to be slow as a small brand in bringing on those ancillary salaries that are hard to attach to direct customer value. If you could almost like this is the reason we exist, the reason these brands are coming online, there's so many, there are over a million Shopify stores, so many great businesses that are being born.

And the reason is, is that the old model of getting in your car and driving to wherever it was to buy your products is not as efficient. As getting the product delivered this way. And so we have to make sure we kind of, Etch-a-Sketch kind of shake up the business model and say, okay, in order for me to continue to be competitive as our world evolves, as these businesses get more competitive, uh, we have more people jumping in the space there, you know, there's more pressure on our profitability.

We have to get better at saying, huh? There's gotta be a better way. There's gotta be a more effective way for us to deal with customer service or deal with like you're talking about restocking, right. Or, and so again, that kind of points back to, I wonder if we could partner with a third-party logistics or three PL partner instead of having to build, maintain, ensure, hire the employees, manage my own warehouse, you know, that kind of falls into the same category as like, should I hire an entire accounting team or outsource it to someone who does it for me, that kind of thing.

Joseph: [00:52:23] Hm. Yeah, I, I chambered this question like way, way off in the beginning, and then I kind of forgot to ask it. It it's it's it's going to take it a second, but do you do people's taxes or do you get to somebody else have to do the taxes? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:52:34] We do not do taxes. So we are as kind of, for the same reason, we're an e-commerce and other, other niches is that my mentor always said there are riches and niches.

I want to find a problem that I can be the best in the world at solving. And there are really good CPAs that already solve the tax problem. That's that a certified public accountant again, they're Joseph and. We don't do that. Let those guys do it. We're going to handle the books and the fractional CFO.

Joseph: [00:52:58] Yeah. Like I said, that one was just chamber and I just had to, uh, get that one in there. Um, we're, we're getting kind of, we're getting close to, uh, to wrapping up, but we can, uh, go for a little while longer. Um, I personally, I want to know a little bit more about your, your healthcare company, because I hear healthcare, but I'm not sure what it is that you like, what the business actually was.

So I would like to know more about what. Yeah, like what the operation was and, um, why exactly did you decide to move on from it? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:53:28] Yeah. So I was a graduate student back at the university of Georgia. I'm in, I'm in Georgia here. So, uh, and my, a couple of grandparents, not on the same side of the family, but like my wife's grandparent and my grandparents had a really nasty battle with dementia and had really bad experiences in a nursing home just happened to be the same year.

And it was so frustrating. And so when I had the opportunity, I was just sorry to hear that. Yeah. Thank you, man. And, um, and so our. Uh, we just kind of felt compelled to join this mission, to serve seniors, especially ones that have an Alzheimer's or dementia or Parkinson's something to that effect. And so I had a, um, an investors business partners say, Hey, let's build a company and try to do this.

And I was like, sure, we didn't know what we didn't know. Let's do it. And so we just dove in, we got a group of 30 ish, I think it was 32, maybe. Actual senior citizens and a huge focus group for a weekend. They named the company. They're the ones that were like, Hey, here's, what's missing in this like kind of quest to help provide the nursing care or a CNA certified nursing assistant kind of care.

And so we just kind of built a brand around that concept and it started really slow. 2013 was like hard and then 2014, we really exploded. Um, and so that's why we got into the business. I've always been a finance guy, but I was a finance guy that was. Pissed off at how bad home care was. And I wanted to make it better.

That was, that was the Genesis of that company. And then, you know, we got to the middle of about three years ago and. Uh, it was just my business partner and I like, he wanted to stay in it. And I was kind of ready to either bring on some investment in scale, or I was ready to, um, to go ahead and exit because he wasn't working in the business.

I was, and it was one of those working, you know, 15 hours a day. Sometimes I was working night shifts on the weekends because we wanted to make sure our team wasn't letting someone down. We had 110 or so employees. It was a really big operation. And so. And it was amicable where I was like, Hey, wait, if you want to stay with it, that's fine.

Let me, well, you know, my part of the company to you and you can keep doing it. And oddly enough, he actually, uh, he sold the company about two months ago. So a national franchise swooped in. So if you, if you go to care to continue.com, so a great company, it actually forwards you to a national home page. A lot of the transitional staff that I trained in left when I, when I left.

It's still there. They're just working for the new company now. And so it's kind of a weird, surreal, full circle where I was part of the team that built this brand from scratch. Literally using the input from a focus group, had the privilege of serving the populations, the seniors, and these caregivers, these sweet souls that have been just kind of called to give their lives away for people is incredible.

And, and now to see it I've exited and now to see the business itself kind of. Poof, it doesn't even exist anymore. You know, it's like such a weird, uh, kind of a weird experience, but I'm also really grateful. I'm so thankful for that time. And, uh, to be completely transparent with you, it's a better mission than it is a business model.

It's a great way to serve. It's not a great business model. And I, I wanted to be in a business where I could see my kids and where I could be available for my wife and be in that apartment. 

Joseph: [00:56:39] And, and I didn't expect this, but when I answered that, when you answered the question, it made me realize that the legitimacy that you're bringing to e-commerce, uh, derives from that desire to, to want to help people on that level.

So I think, I think the e-commerce space is, um, is, is better served for having you in it, but why, like, why exactly were you drawn to e-commerce in specific? 

Tyler Jefcoat: [00:57:03] So, yeah, I really appreciate you saying that. So I, when I was an undergraduate. Student when I was in college, I was kind of a scrappy eBay seller guy would buy, sell parts.

I built up, built a guitar and sold some other stuff. And it was just kind of like let's hustle to make a little money, you know? And then I, to be honest with you, I wish I had a super sexy like launch story, but a friend of mine here in town and Athens has launched a pretty successful software company.

That's geared towards e-commerce sellers. And I just was having kind of a, just grabbing a bite to eat with them and hanging out with him. And I was, I was under non-compete. I couldn't do healthcare in North Georgia and my wife has a college town girl. We didn't want to move to the big city. And so we were like, okay, what are we going to do?

You know? And so I started to brainstorm where Brandon and, uh, he was like, well, these Amazon and other Shopify sellers are having some problems. I wonder if we could help them. And I was like, wait a minute. You mean like Shopify and Amazon are selling that stuff to you directly. So I was that ignorant, you know, three years ago it was, you know, it was gonna kind of give me some real credibility here, but you know, it, we start talking about it and there was a desperate need in this space for a different level of financial sophistication, because shopify is going to make money. Amazon's going to make money. Walmart's going to make money. But the CEO of the small business is oftentimes the victim because they don't understand how to manage their cash. And so I just got fired up about it. I was like, man, this is a great mission. I love this. I love the fact that I can kind of do it remotely.

Um, and so, so that was, and I happen to be an accountant. So my degrees in accounting, my MBA focus is kind of finance or mergers and acquisitions. And so. Uh, the thing that I actually love more than anything, even in my prior company was just coaching. I love coaching. I love sitting down with someone who's having to make either difficult or important strategic decisions and give them arm them with the tools that are gonna help them do it.

Right. And so, uh, this just kind of fit and we just said, well, okay. I wonder if we could build a business. And actually my first phone call was to my largest, I think my largest national competitor, I just called, called him. And I was like, Hey, I'm thinking about competing with you, but I don't mean an ugly.

I just want to understand it. And to give him credit, he gave me an hour of his time and walk me through it and kind of grew from there. Kind of like the first business, the first year 2018 was kind of a lonely long year of like, will anybody pay us to do this? So then, you know, we. 10 X last year and are going to more than double again this year.

Some I'm thankful for where we are. Um, but that's the story. That's why I'm in e-commerce. I love e-commerce. I love, I love the idea that we can generate transformational value for our customers regardless of the product, anywhere in the world. With some great ideas, some great, uh, data management, good decisions.

We don't have to have a job anymore. And we don't have to get kind of whipped around by the big players, the big venture backed Amazons and Shopify as the world, we can be our own kind of boss and when, and so anyway, it gets me, gets me pumped to do it. I love it. 

Joseph: [00:59:59] That's awesome. Um, there was a, there was one topic that we had, uh, we were going to bring up.

I, I didn't really find like a good time to transition into it naturally. So I'm just going to do it. Inorganically because it's better than nothing, but, um, there is a distinction in making a DTC, a directed Congress channel like Shopify versus a marketplace channel like Amazon. Um, so when I was set out to make my story using myself as an example, uh, what do I keep in mind to be direct eCommerce friendly versus being Amazon friendly?

Tyler Jefcoat: [01:00:27] It's just a different kind of funnel. So if I am at the core, particularly good at generating traffic, And conversion on my own. Then I am going to be able to keep a little bit more of the profit margin. If I sell through a direct to consumer channel like Shopify. But if I am, if I'm not great at that, and I need some help developing that relationship with my customer, then marketplace, you know, the three big ones right now are Amazon eBay and Walmart.

It's kind of launching its marketplace. There are other ones, but Amazon in particular has just solved a ton of the problems for us. They're great at logistics, they are bringing millions of eyeballs to be kind of close to your listing every day. And so the number of things you have to be great at. Are smaller as a marketplace seller than they are as a Shopify or a true DTC seller.

Now the ultimate flip side of that is if I can do the hard work, if I can cultivate those relationships with my customers, where I can retarget them, I own the information kind of like a Shopify seller would do. I ultimately can generate higher. Value. Like if I were to sell the business in a few years, I'm going to be worth more.

If I have the customer that I own, instead of Amazon who owns my customer. But it's a whole heck of a lot harder to earn that customer's trust. And so a lot of sellers will either start on a marketplace, make some cash, and then, or, or start with a drop shipping model like you described, and then pivot more into their own brand or their own products.

And they kind of leverage yesterday's cashflow to build a more. Robust business model, but to be clear, direct to consumer is a more valuable model. It's just harder. 

Joseph: [01:02:10] Yeah. And one of the first things that, uh, Steve had brought up when we talked to him is he asked me, you know, do I order things from Amazon?

I said, yes. You know, I, I got my mattress from him and he says, well, do you know what brand the mattress was and said, I have no idea whatsoever just to show that people are connected to Amazon, but that connection doesn't there's, there's no like. There's no emotional connection to Amazon because I don't think anybody can next to, I don't know their mission or any charitable act they do, or like what's the point of their company versus a versus a company where they sell, like gluten-free cookies for, for, for kids so that they can, you know, enjoy cookies, like their friends. So they're, so people like you were saying earlier in the, in that, in the sense of a hero, people want to know that they're helping the hero out. Nope, totally awesome. So, um, we're gonna, we're gonna wrap this up cause I know that do you only have a little bit of time left with us.

Um, so the last question that I'm going to ask you is kind of a philosophical question. Maybe it's going to get, uh, pragmatic. We'll see. Um, I think accounting or rather accountability. As important as it is in business. It is important in life too. So, uh, can you make any recommendations for people to be, have good accountability for their self and their life and their finances, both in their business as well as for themselves?

Tyler Jefcoat: [01:03:26] That's a really good question. So I believe that accountability is a character trait in a choice that you and I get to make. More than it is a system. In other words, if I have teammates that work with me, I can choose to be accountable for my actions and I can ask them to hold me accountable, but I can't make them be accountable and they can't make me be accountable.

And so I think as a matter of just, personal character. It's really important to me, Tyler, that me, that I develop my life around being accountable to the things that I want to accomplish to the goals, to the commitments I make to my family. And so, there's a step further. That is okay. Once I've decided I am going to be an accountable person, I'm going to take responsibility for the things that are in my kind of, kind of whatever, locus of control whatever's around me.

Then there are some tools that you can use to help yourself. See where you're falling short or to enhance your accountability. One of those for me as a CEO is to find a peer group. I want to have people around me who don't have a dog in the fight of them, that they just care about me. They love me, and they are willing to call me out.

I had somebody, uh, that's close to me two weeks ago. I had hired someone. It wasn't a great fit, but I was trying to convince myself that this was a great fit. And about 10 minutes into the conversation, my buddy says, Hey, Tyler, it sounds like you're, it sounds like you're believing your own BS, buddy. It sounds like you're trying to sell this to yourself.

And I was like, I can't believe you would say that. But I went back and asked my COO, my, my chief operating officer the next day. And she was like, Tyler, I've been trying to tell you this for three weeks. You're not listening. And so having somebody around me that cares enough about me to call me out on a blind spot.

You know, my wife serves me in this way a lot also can help me. Live out my desire to be accountable because people were like, Hey dude, you said you were going to do this. You're not doing it. You know, in some ways an accounting system, I guess can do this also, right? If I say I'm going to budget to only spend this amount of money on eat out and I keep up with it, then I have to face the hard truth of Oh boy.

So I was gonna spend a hundred dollars this month on going to, you know, my favorite restaurant and I spent $300. If I'm going to choose to be accountable to my performance, I'm going to have to make a change to the way I operate in order to be, to have integrity. 

Joseph: [01:05:40] That's awesome. I'll tell you when. So it's a, it's a micro, uh, accountability story, but I just thought it was funny cause it happened today.

Um, we, we tried buying lettuce from this different market cause we didn't want to support, but we want to support small businesses too. And so I took it home and I'm eating the salad. I'm thinking, I gotta tell you, I don't like this salad all that much. And she says, well, did you remember to wash it? Like.

No, but would it tastes any better as well? Usually there's there sand in it, if you don't wash it. And then I clenched my teeth and I can taste the grain in between like top and bottom incisors. So yeah, it's, it's, it's a little things too. It's not, uh, where I accountability is important in that way. So wash your, wash, your lettuce people, please wash your fricking lettuce.

Don't have enough sand in your teeth. Uh, no. All right. Well, uh, Tyler, it's been a blast. Uh, I want to thank you for your time. I think our we're going to get a lot of really good stuff out of this. So I hope our listeners will we'll reach out to, uh, I, I imagine maybe not right away, but I think once they're ready to take that next step, I would definitely encourage it. And so how could people do that? Just let her know where to find you. 

Tyler Jefcoat: [01:06:52] I think the easiest way is just to go to the website. So seller accountant.com selleraccountant.com. All lots of resources in a way to get ahold of this if you'd like. 

Joseph: [01:07:02] All right. Excellent. Well, everybody we'll check in with you soon. Have a good day. 

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Joseph Ianni

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