The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Grammar And Spelling Errors
Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world, a serial entrepreneur himself, Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz Ninja, entrepreneur radio.
Alright, welcome out to business, entrepreneur radio. I am your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today we have Carrie Pegler, and Carrie is going to be talking to us about his entrepreneurial journey, his e commerce journey and some of the secrets of what’s working in print on demand today. Welcome back to the show, Carrie. Hey, Tyler. Thanks so much for having me on, man. Appreciate it. Yeah, I it’s not hard to get me to, you know, be excited to talk about e commerce. I love things like print on demand that allow people to get started without huge upfront costs. But before we go into like what you’re doing now, let’s go back to the beginning. When was the moment you first realized that you were an entrepreneur?
Kerry Egeler 1:21
Oh my gosh. I kind of feel like I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spark a little bit. But I hadn’t I felt like business was so like, just out of reach that owning a business was so out of reach. I didn’t you think about all the taxes and all the different things, the legalities of it and then that responsibility in the way of owning your own business. And I just, I feel like I always had it in me that that that kind of need for it. But I thought it would never be
Tyler Jorgenson 1:46
possible. So So you went through the first part of your life with like, dormant entrepreneurship. It was like they’re just ready to come out. What was the catalyst that got you to finally take that leap? Yeah,
Kerry Egeler 1:57
I was in the I was in retail, I became I was working in a cell phone company, cell phone sales, moved, kind of moved up the corporate ladder pretty quickly and got into kind of a management role and really excelled at it. And I loved that job. I learned a ton. But one day, corporate securities are really big companies, corporate security team shows up at my store, they look they’re like old school, like sheriff’s. And like I mean, and now they work for this big company and corporate security. So they’re intimidating, like FBI agents rolling up in there. And they did this whole security investigation into my store. And I ended up getting like go from the company. I had some employees doing some shady stuff. And I didn’t know about it. I was in leadership. So I was held responsible. Yep. And so that was the moment, you know, being fired that I was like, Well, okay, do I go back to what I’ve always done? Or do I try something new. And that’s been about four years, and I man it, having the online space to start up a business, obviously has, like revolutionized the way that we can start up businesses really quickly and started up with a lot less money and all those advantages that come with online. So that’s kind of how I got got into online business.
Tyler Jorgenson 3:08
So four years ago, you you have a decent job, get laid off from actions of others within your company. And instead of going back and just applying for other jobs, you decided to do your own thing. What was your first step? What was the first thing like, okay, here’s what I’m going to do to make this a reality. Yeah, it’s really interesting, because
Kerry Egeler 3:27
I didn’t know anything. Like I didn’t know anything about marketing did anything about Shopify, or online business, or any of these things, I had really had no idea. And as I said earlier, I had no idea about owning a business. And so I had to just go to the only source or person that I knew that had any knowledge. And that was my brother in law. And luckily, I had, you know, had my brother in law that was already doing an online business thing. And he’d actually been kind of putting a bug in my ear for a couple years, like, Hey, you need to you have a side hustle, you need to do something online. So I had no idea what to do. But I was like, he’s probably the guy I should go to. And so I called him up, like, the day after I’d been let go or something. And he’s like, I’m like, Hey, man, I you know, this is all happening. I’m thinking about maybe business stuff. He’s like, come to my office. Let’s talk about it. So that was like, the first step was like, who do I know that already knows a little bit about this, and go find them and pick their brain a little bit.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:21
Awesome. So I and I love that. There’s an old adage, it costs nothing to advice to ask advice of a friend, right? And it’s from the richest man in Babylon about the idea of just like asking people who are ahead of you, you know, for help. So your brother in law gives you some initial pointers, and the next day you made a million dollars. I wish what what how did that actually go?
Kerry Egeler 4:43
Yeah, so so I think I probably got up to his office about three times in the first like week or so and is one of those things where like, and I guess it’s a little bit of encouragement for anybody listening that’s maybe trying to get started with this stuff is like, sometimes you have to be aggressive when you’re in a tough spot. And you have to be a better word is probably persistent. Yeah. So even though I felt like I was annoying this guy cuz he had have had a lot more success than me at the time and, and it was like, I’m this guy who doesn’t know anything. So I’m just like showing up at his office, you know, day after day, trying to pull information out of out of him, like every time he pulls his headphones off, so he can educate a minute of your time. But I was so persistent. And he saw that in me, like he saw, this dude’s not going to give up, you know, like, this dude’s gonna keep going. And I had a one year old son at the time family, I had to pay the bills, my wife, we actually found out we were pregnant with their second child, about a week after I was let go. So we were already in a tough spot, like, instantly, just because the circumstances kept piling up. What I did was I he after talking him a little bit, he was like, here’s what you need to do, you need to, I want you to bring me three ideas, like go back to your house, lock yourself away, just come up with three ideas, bring them back to me, and I’ll tell you which one to do. And so that was kind of like the next thing. So I I show up at his office, I got these three ideas. I lay him on like this, I could do this and do this. And one of them was I thought maybe I sell t shirts, it was sort of a T shirt business. And he looked at all of them kind of talk them through with me, he was like, do the T shirt thing, go do it. And so that’s how I started into the T shirt game. And so that’s, that was kind of the next step.
Tyler Jorgenson 6:23
So you got started in T shirts. And I love that, by the way, I love the you know, three ideas thing, it’s something I do a lot with people who are trying to figure things out or come up with something. One, it always shocks me how, for some people, it’s really hard to come up with ideas, because like for, for me, it’s hard to limit the ideas. And but that’s just recognizing each of us have talents, right? So you come up with your three ideas, he helps you pick one, you’re going to start a shirt business. You know, did did you go find courses? Did you just start looking up? It was just trial and error. What did you do to get your first t shirt business launched,
Kerry Egeler 6:56
I knew I wanted to do online, I knew I wanted to do t shirts, I kind of had an idea of what kind of things I wanted to put on the T shirts. And he kind of sent me in the right direction was like, Oh, this thing called Shopify, that’s where you want to look. And one of the things that I think was really important about that time, and like one of the reasons I had so much struggle in getting started and really getting learning and getting it off the ground, which we’ll talk about a little bit more. But um, he was always like, he was very much into like online courses and training and books and, you know, coaching and that kind of thing. And he was from the beginning, he was very stern with me, like you need to get help, you need to, of course, get a mentor, get some somebody to help you with this. So that you can you can shorten the path and have success quicker. And I didn’t I did not take that advice because I didn’t have money, you know, kind of the things that people struggle with, I didn’t have the money to go invest in a course or a coach. And so I kind of just tried to figure it all out on my own. I knew like a little bit of Photoshop, very, I mean, very little, had a little bit of bits and pieces, watch some YouTube videos. But I kind of figured out that, you know, I needed to start a Shopify store to sell t shirts, I did not know there was something called print on demand. I didn’t know anything like that. So what I did first version, I put up, I put up three t shirts on a Shopify store, like the most basic, free theme, you know, store, really crappy logo, all the things put up three, three t shirts that I found on AliExpress, you know, drop shipping from China. And, and that was like my first very first online business venture. There’s those three t shirts from AliExpress. And he kind of taught me how to get like a little Facebook ad off the ground. Yeah, there’s one little Facebook ad, somehow some way, like one or two days, and I made my first sale from this Facebook ad that I was running at like $3 a day or something $5 a day, I make a sale. And yeah, so my first like three or four sales were actually refunded, because the T shirt sizes were different. The shipping times were six to eight weeks, like I didn’t know that I need to set expectations.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:10
It’s fascinating when people get started, and they do drop shipping from like, from overseas, and they don’t understand sizing and they don’t understand that like material quality. It’s a really fast way to get merchant accounts shut down if you don’t have the business side of it set up. But from that you learned at least the basics of getting a side of the basics of getting a T shirt sold. And then it sounds like you’re like okay, I need to do this differently. Right. So is that where you uncovered the world of print on demand? Or what was the next step for you?
Kerry Egeler 9:41
Yeah, it’s so had those kind of first orders kind of returned. But I think one of the things for anybody starting that is I always I’m just like, Man, this is this is what you need to do is he to get those first sales under your belt because that gives you so much confidence even with them being refunded. I mean, obviously that was discouraging. But I knew there was something there. I was like, I’ve got these t shirts. And I know what kind of designs that these people bought. So there’s got to be more people out there that will buy similar designs to this, you know, something, but I had to figure out another way to fulfill, I can’t ship from overseas, it’s not going to work because of the refunds. So I was on the hunt for what I was going to do. I knew I could get sales. Now I had that confidence. But I had to do I needed a different way to fulfill so I just started scouring the internet for anything I could find, contemplated whether I should print my own shirts, but I didn’t really have my own designs yet. I was just using these designs that were from overseas, setup, design, develop, develop all that stuff. And
Tyler Jorgenson 10:39
do mumble upon pig did sorry, real quick, had
Kerry Egeler 10:42
you picked a niche? Or were you just like, finding random designs? Yeah, I picked a niche. And I found designs that were kind of fit fit with those niche on AliExpress. And so anyways, I stumbled upon cross print on demand. And I was like, This is unbelievable, like the way that Print on demand works, not having to have inventory, all that kind of stuff. I thought it was unbelievable. And so I just started getting designs done like crazy getting as many products as I could. And it started to become a real kind of a real business as opposed to just having these three t shirts up on my website. Awesome. So
Tyler Jorgenson 11:17
I mean, yeah, so now you move to having your own designs, you move to having realistic timeline fulfillment, right through print on demand. Yeah. At what point did you realize you’re like, Okay, this
Kerry Egeler 11:28
might actually have be a business, this might actually be able to provide some income and can be, you know, be successful. It’s really wild. But like, within the first three months, the business kind of skate like I was able to scale it up to about $30,000 in a month, within the first three months can after switching to print on demand. It just like, it just kind of took off. And basis. So that’s that’s when I knew like this could be real, you know, I wasn’t bringing home like crazy profit margins or anything like that. But, but I obviously I sold a lot of T shirts in those first three months, and it kind of kept doubling. I think the first month I did 4,002nd month they went to nine and then the third month is when it went to 30. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is like super real. And that’s that’s the point where it just crashed. Because like, after that third month, it literally just fell off a cliff.
Tyler Jorgenson 12:19
Not the direction I thought you were going with that totally got me. So okay, well, there’s two things that we’re gonna address one we’re gonna address why the crash and what what you did to overcome it. But also, you brought something up that I think that’s really important. A lot of people here $30,000 in sales, in a print on demand store like man, you must be making a ton of money. Well, you’ve got the ad costs, you got the fulfillment costs, you have the cost of the few refunds and things that are happening, even if it’s not as crazy as China. Yeah. What What do you typically say is a realistic margin for someone doing around 30k a month on print on demand shirts.
Kerry Egeler 12:53
Yeah, if you, you know, if, if you’re really, really focused on is a whole nother subject that I get really passionate about, if you really, really focus on the upsells on the back end systems, your email marketing, those kind of things that that increase profit margins and get customers a lot cheaper, and are not reliant upon strictly Facebook ads, Instagram ads, that kind of stuff. Yep. You know, you can get to 35 you know, 35% 40% margins, you know, that high? That takes time,
Tyler Jorgenson 13:22
you know, at the beginning, well, you don’t have the secondary purchase. You don’t have the lot the lifetime value figured out. Yeah, most of your purchases are coming at acquisition level. And so margins are can be zero to like 10 to 15% usually, yeah, yeah. 10% Yeah, definitely. Somewhere so and it’s tough people are like, Man, that’s it, you know, doing $30,000 in sales and making somewhere between zero and 5k. Like, is that really worth the risk? And I always say the big play is if you keep doing that, and you compound every time you’re acquiring $30,000 a client you’re getting them profitably well now you have the email marketing and a secondary purchases that have the higher margins, right? And so so what happened what you went zero to 30k things were going amazing. What Cliff Did you What What happened?
Kerry Egeler 14:08
Yeah, it just kind of fell apart. Like it like the ads were not profitable. They just became fatigued. And it was like I was solely relying upon Facebook and Instagram ads, I hadn’t focused on building my list. I hadn’t, I didn’t know any of that stuff. And that’s why I kind of said earlier is like, you know, my mentor was kind of pushing me to go get a course go get just follow somebodies path, as opposed to trying to figure it out on your own. And I was just trying to ride the wave of like, Oh my gosh, these Facebook ads are taking taken up, so I’m just gonna keep scaling up. But I wasn’t doing any of the things to to really build my business for long term. And so when the ads didn’t work, I didn’t I had no idea what to do. And so, you know, when I say fell off a cliff, I mean, the next month it was down to like five 6000 in sales, you know, which is which is crazy. Pretty crazy. drop off.
Tyler Jorgenson 14:57
Well. Yeah, it’s it’s pretty crazy, right? Right, if you’re if you’re let’s say that you have $5 of profit margin, and it’s costing you $4. To acquire a customer, well, you can spend a lot of money, right? But if you’re $5, of profit margin, you’re costing $6. To acquire customer, you can’t keep spending, right? Unless you’ve got a huge war chest to say, oh, we’re making money on the next purchase. So it’s amazing how one or $2 can make a huge difference in whether a company is growing or not. And it sounds like that was what happened, like the ads just didn’t work quite as well. So you slowed down and but you didn’t you didn’t give up? didn’t give up? Yeah, guys. So you see, you’re doing less revenue? You still have that same site four years later? Yeah, I did. How’s it doing now?
Kerry Egeler 15:41
It’s doing good. It’s doing good. You know, a lot of my time is, is is focused on helping others do kind of duplicate this. And that’s, you know, I have a product called shirt school. But yeah, I mean, we still run it, it still does well, and the cool part is like, you know, the the list has grown so big, the, you know, all the all the different things that text message marketing, the messenger marketing, email marketing, email marketing, and there really is just a point where you know, it all kind of kind of snowballs where you can shift, you maybe don’t have to spend as much in ads to hit the same numbers, you know, and don’t have to spend as much on the front end, and you focus on that back end. And you can still always pull in consistent sales, because building relationships with your customers using email marketing, which doesn’t cost hardly anything, and so many other tools at your disposal. So it’s pretty cool to still see it still producing, you know, somebody years later.
Tyler Jorgenson 16:34
I love that what what is one of the number one mistakes that people make when they get into print on demand?
Kerry Egeler 16:41
Yeah, you know, the one that comes to mind is, is that that we’re kind of talking about they, they focus too much on the front end. And I think one of the reasons for that, and I guess what I mean by that is they’re, they’re super focused on, you know, how much does my ad cost? And how much profit Am I getting out of the first sale. And they’re, most of the time they’re selling one, you know, one t shirt and one product, they’re not bundling, they’re not doing upsells. They’re not building their email list. They’re not doing anything like that. They focus on the front end. And I think one of the reasons for that is, you know, years ago, kind of when I got into it, was kind of the Teespring craze, you know, and I remember that, but it’s like, yeah, everybody’s just popping up a Teespring t shirt, running Facebook ads, and supposedly people are becoming a millionaire’s from that. And in reality, they’re selling really high volume with, you know, dollar to dollar $5 margins, maybe. And that’s, that’s a fly by night strategy. That’s just not that’s not the path to owning a real, real successful, profitable business. And so you know, that that’s the number one mistake I think people make they get in there, they see they just want to run some ads and just convert the sales of like, one t shirt at a time. And that’s just a very hard road to take.
Tyler Jorgenson 17:55
Yeah, I think being in any business being just front end focused without understanding the longer time and really the lifetime value. Right. Absolutely, that that is a major issue in a lot of e commerce brands and businesses in general. What is you have shirt school? Where do you educate and you teach people and help them? You know, move forward? What are some of the big things that you teach so that people can move faster and make smarter choices? Like as they grow their brand?
Kerry Egeler 18:26
Yeah, yeah, it’s we have a three part system, a shirt school, it’s, it’s kind of the three biggest keys to having a successful and kind of long term sustainable brand. Number one is you got to have good designs. That’s kind of the foundation for everything. If you don’t have a good design on your T shirt, it’s like, Who’s gonna buy it no matter how good your marketing is? Number two, the number two step is I call it an automated sales machine or an ASN. And what that is, is really an optimized store that does all the things that we’re talking about, that doesn’t just sell you one product at a time, but it’s structured in a way to sell multiple products at a time to upsell to increase that average order value. And then and then on the back end to have that follow up email retargeting, SMS, those kind of things and I call that an automated sales machine. And the last the last key of our short school system is just traffic you got to be able to drive traffic into that machine in order to get sales and build the list and all that kind of stuff. So those are kind of the three parts that we teach and we go obviously really in depth on how to how to design yourself or how to outsource your designs how to build out a Shopify store, what print on demand you use, I mean all the different things and then numerous different marketing strategies and stuff like that so
Tyler Jorgenson 19:38
awesome. Yeah, I think it’s amazing how every I don’t care what business it is right? You have to have a product that people actually like you have to have something interesting right? So for you Good designs, most t shirts are more or less the same especially on print on demand. You can either go to try blender, you go the cotton, right like it’s like, there might be a few brands but more Unless it’s a couple of options, so it comes down, people aren’t buying it, because it’s a tribal ensure they’re buying it for the design, that’s the unique product, then you’ve got automated sales machine, which I love helping, you know, making the store, increase the average order value, all of those things be optimized for that. And lifetime value, huge, huge proponent of all of that. Traffic, that seems to be the big challenge for a lot of people. And there’s a lot of people that can come up with ideas and get something started. But then it just sits there. So you guys teach you teach your students actually how to get the first round of traffic and start to get, you know, the right eyeballs on their store?
Kerry Egeler 20:36
Yeah, yeah, we teach, we teach a few different like organic strategies, and we also teach some paid strategies. And and we love Facebook and Instagram ads, there’s absolutely nothing, nothing wrong with those, I don’t want to sound like I’m gonna but you know, it’s all about using them the right way, having the right expectations. And then on the organic side, you know, I really believe in in today’s world, especially with everything we’ve been through in recent times, all the craziness, people are really craving relationship. And so it all comes back to building a relationship with your customers, especially on the organic side, genuine genuinely connecting with them before you attempt to sell them something. Yeah. And so that’s, that’s a big portion at a high level of what we teach on the organic side about how to build relationships with people how to find those micro influencers and get into their world. And then on the paid side, obviously, Facebook, Instagram ads. We also talked about Pinterest ads, and tick tock ads.
Tyler Jorgenson 21:34
I love it and what’s going on in your business as you as you now you’ve got your shirt business, you’ve got your shirt School Business, right? What as you’ve been growing over these past couple of years, what are some challenges that you faced as now you’re managing two companies? And then and what do you do to overcome those?
Kerry Egeler 21:50
Yeah, man, there’s been a lot of challenges. For sure. I think it’s, as you grow, it’s, you know, new levels, new devils, right. Like, it’s like, there’s, there’s always more as you grow. And so you know, I’d say in the last year, year and a half, it’s, it’s been all about building out my team. It’s been, you know, hiring people figuring out if I want that to be remote or be you know, in an office with me, we have an office here in Oklahoma. And so I have a few employees here in the office now, and then trying to train them and figure out what their strengths are, they’d have to let people go. And it’s like, there’s so much and so you know, honestly, the number one thing that I would say is Help Help helping me currently, and has helped me get through that kind of stuff, is having a really a mastermind, a coach, you know, being part of programs like that, where I have people to go to that have been there before me. And then there’s also people in those programs that I can help pull up. And so it’s having that community having having somebody to go back to a coach community, ask questions, bounce ideas off of say, Hey, I’m going through this thing, hiring employees, it’s, it’s tough. You know, you’ve been through it. Can you answer some of my questions around that. And so that’s been huge for me just being a part of masterminds coaching programs for myself.
Tyler Jorgenson 23:07
I think that’s interesting, because that was one of your brother in law’s early pieces of advice was get a course or a mentor. Yep. And you’re like, I can’t afford it. I’m going to just figure it out. Right. Now that you now that you can, right now that there’s some revenue coming in, one of the first thing you did was go get, you know, courses, mentors, masterminds, that sort of thing. And that’s how we connected. So you know, I love that kind of stuff, too. I think there’s, there’s no shortage of information out there. But connection and being able to, like, share, shared, like the tricks of the trade. It’s amazing how much that can accelerate growth, right? In just taking shortcuts, man, it’s, it’s
Kerry Egeler 23:44
so interesting, because, you know, people underestimate like, you think you get in a course or coaching or masterminds, like get the information. But it’s, you build, you build relationships with people that are, like I said, above you, you know, below you at your level, and you learn so much gets so much opportunity through that. And so it’s there are so many ancillary benefits of, you know, being a part of programs like that,
Tyler Jorgenson 24:10
for sure. You’ve got that sign behind it. It says, Take imperfect action. What does that mantra mean to you?
Kerry Egeler 24:16
And that is, that is the motto or for everything that I do everything that I teach, that’s kind of that’s been my I feel like that’s been my, the road that I’ve taken to the success that I’ve had is is not procrastinating, not waiting for it to be perfect. But But going right now to you know, sometimes you get to launch before you’re ready. And the quote is from Harry S. Truman, he said, imperfect action Trumps perfect inaction every time. So yeah, that’s just become the motto for my community. I mean, I say it all the time. Try to get it into people’s mind because people even with a small t shirt, business people, you know, sit there for years on the same idea and not do it and it’s like, you realize you’ve withdrawn mean, you can throw up a few designs and be ready in a day, you know? So I believe you got to get out there and go, I am shocked
Tyler Jorgenson 25:05
at how many businesses are stalled because they like, well, what if it’s not perfect? What if the markets not going to receive it? So I always I always tell people is like, hey, just call it beta. For some reason, calling it a beta launch allows him to, like remove the pressure of it being perfect. Because my thing is very similar to done is better than perfect. That’s I mean, I quote that a lot. It’s on my saying, but same concept, you gotta you can’t wait for perfection or you’re never going to get anything launched. And your version of perfect might be different than what the market’s version of perfect is anyways. So I always say let the market figure it out. Alright, so Kerry first things want people to go find you at Kerry Hagler calm you can also find it join Kerry calm. For me, Carrie life, his business is great, but it’s about building the life that you love. What’s one item on your personal, not business, your personal bucket list you’re gonna accomplish in the next 12 months? You mean like something I want to buy? Buy have do go travel, whatever?
Kerry Egeler 26:05
Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I think I think the next thing that I want to do I guess financially I want to start investing in real estate. And so that’s that’s been something I’ve been looking into it’s that’s in the more near future rather than, you know, a long ways out. But I think that it’s one of those ways to bring in passive more passive income. And so that’s kind of something I’m looking at from a financial perspective.
Tyler Jorgenson 26:27
What so everyone should go please go find Carrie. He’s also on on Instagram. You can find him there at Kerry Egeler . And I’ll make sure if you’re listening where if you’re, if you’re on the website, I’ll link everything. And wherever you’re listening from my business pages, it’s your turn to go out and do something. Thank you for tuning in to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor. If this episode was meaningful to you, please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us is ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something