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Aaron is the founder of Pete & Pedro - a premium men's grooming brand. He also has one of the biggest men's lifestyle channels on YouTube with 6M+ fans.
When his first Shark Tank idea got crushed, he knew he had to get into something more tangible that he knew a lot about and could promote because it was in the lifestyle/image space. Hair products seemed like the perfect fit and I connected with a friend who ran a salon.
With a $5,000 investment, they created 5 hair products. The YouTube channel was smaller back then but it was a great help. (Remember that we’ve talked about the importance of building an audience in previous newsletters?)
They’ve grown around 25-50% each of the last 3 years and profitable from day 1.
The global male grooming products market reached a value of US$ 69.8 Billion in 2020, according to Business Wire. It’s a huge industry that is growing nonstop. It is normal that these dizzying figures attract your attention and get you thinking about starting a men’s grooming business.
Some of the starters that we have interviewed in the past have built incredibly successful companies by creating their own grooming products:
- Beardbrand is a bootstrapped business that went from a $30 investment to seven figures in a short period of time. How it all started? Posting content on YouTube and Tumblr to create a community for beard lovers that didn’t fit in the Grizzly Adams, ZZ Top, and Duck Dynasty stereotypes.
- In the first three years of the business, Doug’s grew from a homemade mustache wax recipe cooked on the kitchen countertop with a crockpot he stole from his wife to “making a million bucks” and a 10,000 square foot building with a whole fleet of crockpots.
- Rafael Hernandez began selling solid colognes after having many problems transporting liquid colognes while traveling (bottles breaking or spilling, to TSA officials discarding expensive colognes for being over the 3-ounce limit). After 8 years the company is making $19K/mo with just 1 employee.
Plugins and addons of all kinds are some of the best businesses to start as a tech solo founder. And Sam’s story proves it once again. The platform is not that relevant as long as it’s big and with a great number of users you can leverage, it can be WordPress, Shopify, Amazon FBA or Gmail. We’ve seen starters succeed in all of them (click the links to check their stories).
Finding a small problem and developing a simple solution that does just one thing is probably one of the best ways to start a business - you can always grow to different markets or platforms once you’ve validated your idea.
Sam is an engineer that loves side projects, so he started a dropshipping business to attracted by the ecommerce industry. That’s how he realize how painful it was dealing with sizing information.
Kiwi Sizing focuses on helping online stores with the “sizing problems”, which is a big challenge resulting in unhappy customers purchasing the wrong size because of incorrect sizing information on product pages.
There are overall 3 main things he has focused on: delivering the best customer experience, scaling my time, and finally building defensibility for the app.
Sam drops knowledge gems throughout the whole interview. Don’t miss it.
Quote of the week
"When it comes to mistakes, I generally believe that you feel that something is off from the beginning when you are making one. The important thing is to admit you made them and start working on fixing the issue as soon as possible."
Dávid Pásztor, Founder - UX studio ($160K/mo)
Sylvain and Sylvestre are the cofounders of Parseur, a tool that automates data extraction from emails and documents such as PDFs. Their target customers? Any business that is tired of doing too much manual copy-paste.
Once they had a working prototype (can you believe their initial landing page included a pirate?) they started doing the whole Product Hunt, Hacker News and Twitter routine. The result? A big flop. This wasn’t working because they were focusing on platforms that their potential customers don’t use.
Answering questions on Quora and publishing blog posts is what started the machine.
Nowadays, they attract most new customers organically via SEO from the content they published over time.
Other channels to get users from include:
- An affiliate program where they give back 20% of the lifetime revenue generated by referred users
- Backlinks from applications they integrate with, like Zapier, Integromat or Getswift
- Integration partners: They work with a few consulting companies specializing in automating business processes. They have Parseur as part of their toolbelt and regularly send new customers
After some time running the business as an agency, Ronny realized that the job would often become overwhelming and stressful. The deadlines are super tight and he would often find himself juggling 10-20 projects at a time.
That’s why he decided to create an online marketplace so that the entire process would be handled online. He was very hesitant to do this for several reasons:
- He knew the development costs for building a system so complex would be high, and
- When taking the business online, he wouldn’t be able to charge as much as I do offline.
Nevertheless, this was the only way to really scale up.
3 takeaways I love from Ronny:
- Automate whatever you can and delegate everything else.
- Don’t sit on an idea - bring it to life as soon as possible.
- Introduce balance into your life. Make sure you spend quality time with your loved ones and give yourself enough rest.
Pete & Pedro ($6M/year men’s grooming brand) needs writers for their men’s style, fashion and grooming blog.
Ark7 ($8M real estate investment platform) is hiring a Customer Success Specialist.
Digital Caramel ($150K/mo website monetization agency) is looking for a PPC specialist.
UX studio ($160K/mo) is hiring a UX researcher and a Product designer (Budapest).
Dope Dog ($25K/mo dog treats business) is looking for support in community building, for things like planning partnerships and managing their ambassador program. And also on the hunt for a co-host for a Dope Dog podcast.
Writing Income Accelerator ($10K/mo online course) is recruiting copywriters.
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