This is a follow up story for Dick At Your Door. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 5 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Adam Hascall and I own Rain Parade, LLC. My main business and the subject of my first interview with Starter Story is Dick At Your Door. A prank company that, well, sends dicks to people’s doors anonymously as a prank gift. What started as a joke has turned into a years-long endeavor that has taught me so many things about being an entrepreneur and more than I care to know about the male anatomy.
The books on 2021 are still getting worked out, but it’s looking like we’ll be a little over 1.5 Million in revenue when all the chips are down. Slanging dicks is a wild ride!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since last speaking with Starter Story, we have grown quite a bit. I think we were doing a little over 20,000.00 per month at the time, I was making all the chocolate (eesh), and we were a little cottage business battling it out of a two-car garage. Everything was covered in a light film of chocolate and sadness/confusion and I was flying by the seat of my pants. Pan up four and we are averaging just a little over 125,000.00 per month in revenue, have a staff of six, almost tanked the businesses numerous times, and added quite a few gray hairs to my chest hairs. I’m a blonde dude. We only go white on top.
It’s been a crazy fun ride, with its fair share of incredible triumphs and horrible, horrible failures. I’ve made some great decisions, hired some amazing people, and have connected with some of the smartest people in E-commerce. I’ve also made a bundle of dumb decisions, hired Satan once, and have gotten scammed by more than five people who tell you they can “make you blow up bruh”.
Pro tip: if someone uses a sentence like that on a call, run...don’t walk the other way.
But I digress…
Some of the really amazing wins we have had since talking last have to be in our marketing strategies. As you can imagine, having the word “dick” in your URL doesn’t really lend itself to easy wins in PPC land. I’m convinced I have wasted more hours on Facebook chat support than any single human in the US. I say wasted because you’ll never see an ad by Dick At Your Door on any of their platforms. It ain’t happening.
What did work and continues to work to this day is the unsexy grind of SEO and link building. In the last four years, we have scratched, clawed, and scrambled our way into some pretty great positioning on the keywords we want to own in our niche. We’ve begged and pleaded our way into publications like Yahoo, The Chive, Men’s Health, Barstool Sports, Vice News, Cosmo, and about thirty other tier 1 publication through outreach and luck and weird connections. We’ve also trademarked “eat a dick” (had to be part of a Supreme Court ruling to get that - a tale for another day) to secure our safety from other competitors and copy cats popping up in the dick niche - it’s small...no pun intended. This has allowed us to secure licensing deals with other prank and gag companies which allows us a small amount of recurring revenue that we can count on during downtimes.
Another proud piece is that we genuinely try our best to build and release great products that we stand by. My pseudo motto has become,
“We may sell dicks, but we try really hard not to be dicks”
Back when we first spoke, I was doing everything I could just to pour chocolates into stupid silicone molds and flash freeze them so they didn’t have chocolate bloom (link). It didn’t matter what they looked like, as long as the product got out the door. Since then we have invested heavily in infrastructure and developing fun new products like our Giant Gummy Dong and Edible Anus Chocolates. We’re also in the stationary game with our Never Ending Pranks Cards now and thinking up ways to change the greeting card game has been a blast. This has helped our company go from a one-trick pony with a 5% retention rate to an actual storefront that had an almost 30% return rate in Q4 of 2021.
Oh….and I acquired a competitor. PranksAnonymous.com is now a Rain Parade Company. Someday, maybe we can do a story on taking over a company. What. A. Shit. Show.
All in all, we are incredibly proud to still be standing after six years.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Aside from the standard answer of Covid, supply chain issues, and delivery headaches, I have had some doozy mistakes and slip-ups in the last year. To sum things up:
- Don’t try to do too much. You’ll just end up doing everything poorly
- Make sure you do your research on consultants and agencies.
I spent the better part of two years chasing fast ways to scale. Marketing “geniuses”. Tricks to the algorithm. Shady telegram groups that sell Instagram ads. You name it, I have done it. All that time and money spent taught me that nothing works as well as grinding it out. There is no quick fix and I don’t have some unicorn company that’s going to explode. I sell chocolate dicks. It’s a slow build or a fast backslide. Master one thing, then move to the next.
I’ve learned to breathe a little easier during the low time and understand that e-commerce is cyclical. I know that I can’t do everything anymore and have started to delegate. I ASK FOR HELP. This was huge and such a relief. Being a solo entrepreneur (I refuse to use the conjugated phase) is scary and lonely and it’s easy to isolate yourself when things are messy. Being able to let people take things off my plate has allowed me to have some space while also letting people into my day-to-day a bit. Just having some people who understand the process and can talk shop is so important.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
My favorite part of this wonky little life is that I get to think up funny products all the time. That’s what makes me the happiest. We have tons of products in the hopper and will be releasing them on both DickAtYourDoor and PranksAnonymous throughout the year. New card designs and occasions, more chocolates like our Salted caramel chocolate nut snack (suck on my chocolate salty balls anyone), and expanding into some fun little merch projects. Some will do ok and some will fail miserably, but that’s part of the process.
I believe that those who succeed aren’t always the smartest in the room, but the most stubborn. The ones who “win” are the ones who can get beat to hell and keep going to work.
As for the future? I just want to remain profitable and grow responsibly. I’ve tried to sprint to the finish and the results are devastating. Now it’s slow and steady wins the race. That’s what excites me. That and getting to 5M a year in rev. I guess that’s one thing. That’d be pretty rad. Think I’ll get a penis tattoo like the ones we used to draw on each other’s notebooks in school if that ever happens.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I read to escape anymore, so I don’t have much on the personal and business growth front. Just over here reading fantasy novels and getting made fun of by my fiancé for it.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Two things that have helped me in downtimes or during periods where I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.
- You don’t have to be the biggest and best in your niche. This was such an important epiphany for me. I had spent years trying to become the biggest player in the gag gift/prank niche. I was spending money trying to scale on things that just weren’t able to scale because I thought I needed to have more visibility. More customers. More “clout”. Turns out that getting just a small piece of the niche means I have the ability to pay my employees and build a business responsibly. Being able to take a breath and slow down has made things so much more manageable.
- Persistence pays off. 99% of small businesses. Many of those businesses are started by brilliant people who have unique and beautiful products, services, or ideas. I believe that those who succeed aren’t always the smartest in the room, but the most stubborn. The ones who “win” are the ones who can get beat to hell and keep going to work.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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