Andy Humphrey, aka ‘the Sprinkler Nerd,’ is our guest on the Niche Pursuits podcast this week.
He owns and operates SprinklerSupplyStore.com, an e-commerce business doing over $1 million in sales on Amazon, and multiple times this through their own website. He has started many e-commerce stores, beginning with his Christmas lights store ‘Super Twinkle’ all the way back in 2004.
Andy has almost 20 years of experience doing e-commerce, so he’s a wealth of information and advice. He was even one of the entrepreneurs on the second season of Shark Tank while looking for funding for his eco mower project!
This interview is great for anyone who is selling (or wants to sell) products online, and for everyone else with an interest in online business.
Watch The Andy Humprey Interview
In the interview, Andy shares the story of how he got started in online business.
He talks about the range of products and brands he has sold over this time. That includes everything from Christmas lights and Christmas tree covers, to lawnmowers and sprinkler systems.
He shares his experience on Shark Tank, but his biggest takeaway was ‘not to bank your business on one thing.’
Slow improvements over time is what make people successful.
Sprinkler Supply Store is his focus now, and is a ‘passion mash-up.’ He loves irrigation and e-commerce!
Here are some of the e-commerce topics Jake and Andy cover:
- Selling on Amazon vs selling on your own website
- Dropshipping and private labeling
- How much you need to know to get started
- How to find an e-commerce niche
- The pros and cons of Jungle Scout
- The benefits of selling ‘non-sexy’ products
Andy talks about the importance of controlling your audience and traffic (if you are only selling on Amazon, is it really your business, or is it Amazon’s?), and shares what it takes to be successful off Amazon.
Other topics covered include:
- Speaking to the individual when selling
- Building a niche and brand targeting a persona
- The intersection of commerce, content, and media
- YouTube and podcasting for e-commerce stores
Lastly, Andy imagines what he would do to transfer a straight affiliate site into an affiliate/e-commerce site, using Matt Giovanisci from Swim University as an example. There are some great tips!
If you want to get in touch with Andy, head to andyhumphy.com or check out the Sprinkler Nerd Community to see what he’s doing over there.
His final piece of advice:
Be someone who takes action on ideas!
Read the Full Transcript
Spencer Haws: Are you ready to jumpstart at your next big idea, then welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. It’s all about helping you find your niche, getting the motivation and strategies you need and growing your ideas into something
everyone spots here and welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. Today, I’m excited to introduce to you an interview conducted by Jake cane with Andy Humphrey. Andy owns sprinkler supply store.com and he’s a very successful e-commerce entrepreneur there. But as sort of actually goes back quite a bit further all the way back to like 2003, 2004.
That’s when he launched his very first e-commerce website, selling Christmas lights actually. And he’s continued to own that business, I believe throughout the years, but he’s moved on of course. And in fact, he was even on shark tank. The second season he was on shark tank and he had an. Eco mower was the brand that he had.
And I’ll let you find out whether or not he got a deal. But during this interview, you’re going to hear a lot of advice from Andy on how to become an e-commerce entrepreneur, how to find products and launch products, and specifically the discussion dives into how to avoid kind of the jungle scout trap of launching a product that everybody else is launching.
Right. And so how can you be a trailblazer and find those product ideas that are actually going to work? And then beyond that, how should you be getting more sales to your e-commerce store? Should you just be going on Amazon? Or are what are, what are some ideas for content marketing, YouTube and other things that Andy is starting to implement in his business and is starting to see success from.
So with that, here’s Andy Humphrey and Jake talking about. A whole lot of things about being an e-commerce entrepreneur. So I really hope that you enjoyed this interview. And if you want to follow along with Andy, of course, go over to sprinkler supply store.com.
Andy Humphrey: Hey everybody.
Jake Cain: Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jake cane and I’m your host today, and I’m really excited to welcome Andy Humphrey to the podcast. Andy’s got a lot of really. Exciting stories to tell us about his journey through e-commerce appearing on shark tank and kind of what he’s got going on today.
So we’ve got some really good stuff for anybody that’s trying to, or going to sell any products online. You’re going to want to listen to this full show. So without further ado, Andy, welcome to the show. How
Andy Humphrey: are you doing Jake man? Thanks so much. It took me 16 years, but I’m finally here on the show.
Jake Cain: You did it.
Congratulations. I know this is a pinnacle of your career. Now we appreciate you taking the time to be on. Why don’t you start out and give folks just a little bit of your professional background or educational background sort of before you even got into e-commerce. I know that’s going back a while, but give us a little bit of that journey that kind of led you into online business.
Andy Humphrey: Yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of, it’s such a funny thing to think back to your younger self, you know, and to me, I’m thinking back to when I first got out of college, got my job. I’m sitting there like, how the hell am I going to be successful? It’s like you, you’re in the job that you have. And you may be see either someone else you work with or someone else that you want to be like, or even a home that you want and you’re in your job.
And you’re like, God, man, this job, I don’t know if this job is going to get me there. Yeah. How’s it going to get me there? And so that’s what I was thinking. Always knew what I wanted and realized that it wasn’t going to be, you know, working in my day job that I was going to have to take control of that.
You know? So for me, control of that was like, how do I make a dollar outside of my job? Yeah. That’s where my journey started. Very cool.
Jake Cain: So what year was that approximately when you were starting to have these thoughts about, you know, how am I going to get out of this
Andy Humphrey: job thing? Yeah. So 2002 is when I graduated college in 2004 is when I sold my first widget online.
Jake Cain: And what, what was the, what was the first thing you sold online?
Andy Humphrey: The first thing was Christmas lights. Oh, very nice. Okay. Really super cheesy domain name called super twinkle.com. I am like so embarrassed, but Hey, it worked and it was catchy and I made my first couple of grand on super twinkle.com.
Jake Cain: Very nice. Yes. You always remember those first that first dollar that’s first sales online and it’s very energizing. So how did you, like, why Christmas lights? Like, how did you at
Andy Humphrey: the beginning going through that, I actually recommend that everyone look around them. So there’s things that we. Have in front of us or if we’re not right in front of us, they’re within like an arms reach either of ourselves or our network.
And so for me, I was working for a wholesale distributor of irrigation landscape lighting components. And then I was an account manager. So I was sales. And part of my job was to teach contractors. These would be irrigation and landscape type contractors, how to install Christmas lights as a service and the lights that we were selling at the time we’re this was before or led as well.
So these lights were supposed to be new, innovative. The wire gauge was thicker. They were brighter. They were, you know, lights that were better than what you could get at ACE hardware. Lowe’s home Depot box stores. Right. And so, and here I am like, my wheels are turning in my head because I’m wanting to do something.
And I said to the manufacturer, Hey, is anybody selling these lights online? And they said no. And that’s why I said that’s when I thought, okay, these lights are supposed to be better than you can get locally at any box store. And no one’s selling them online. Maybe that person could be me. Yeah. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Very nice.
So, all right. So you start selling Christmas lights online, the journey begins, right. Did you we’re going to go from there, like how, how big did the Christmas light business get? Like how long were you in that business? And did you start to see like, Hey, like Christmas lights, like this might be my path out of the nine to five, or did you like know like this probably isn’t it, but I’m getting a good, well, it
Andy Humphrey: definitely enabled me to see the path out.
Now the path out is also a journey. Cause I also recommend to people that they may not need to get out. So I also didn’t. Not like my job. I just didn’t like the ceiling on what the income could be. Okay. So I liked doing it, but I also knew there was a, there was an income ceiling that no matter how much time I put in or how much money I made for the company, there was going to be a ceiling where I was kept.
And so, you know, for that reason, I sort of kept, you know, the, the Christmas light business, super twinkle I guess you could call it on the side, but I, then I thought I’ve got two incomes now I’ve got my nine to five income. And then I’ve got my before nine after five weekend income. And what happened with the Christmas lights is that same manufacturer ended up inventing a Christmas tree storage system for artificial Christmas trees.
And then they came to me and said, Hey, you should try selling this this Christmas tree bag online. And I said, all right, And that worked as well because once you start to learn the systems, and again, these are the systems from 2004, right. Similar but different than today. And me personally, what I did is I mastered Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising.
And it was, it, it did not take me long to realize that part of earning income is about what you sell and the average order size shipping, sort of some of the metrics that go into what you sell, because you could spend the same amount of time, effort, energy, learning, all of that, to sell a $15 item as you can, to sell a hundred dollar item.
So I sort of learned early on, given the choice, I’d rather sell a hundred dollar item sure. Or more. So that’s what happened. I sort of gave up the Christmas lights number one, because the average ticket size was smaller. Number two, cause there was a fair amount of competition that started to develop around buying Christmas lights online.
And shifted at that time too, to selling artificial storage bags for artificial Christmas trees.
Jake Cain: Okay. Okay. So you started selling the storage bags for artificial Christmas trees. And so how did that, did that take
Andy Humphrey: off and I still do it today. The website is called tree keeper bag.com. Oh, wow. Okay. And I’m not, I don’t make the product.
You know, the original manufacturer still makes the product we’re, we’re just now sort of figuring out how to hitch our wagons together if you will. Because 15 years ago it wasn’t really a direct to consumer model. So the manufacturer really focused on, on the wholesale side of the business and I was focusing on e-commerce.
But that’s still running today. It’s it’s extremely seasonal of course. Sure. Wow. But the way I look at it is that I was able to learn the craft or learn the trade. I think that digital marketing e-commerce content writing video, any of these things they’re they’re trades and you got to learn the craft and once, you know, How it works, you can then start applying it to lots of different types of products or whatever your, your product interests might be.
Jake Cain: Absolutely. Yeah, no, that’s great advice. I so let’s, let’s talk about then. So you still got that going on, which is impressive. Like that’s a long time in internet world to have one thing that you’re still
Andy Humphrey: didn’t believe me, it’s been up and down. And at this point I really focus more and I’ve sort of learned this over time to focus on profitability.
So it was probably up until about three years ago that I just really actually cut back. You know, I’m like, I don’t need to be buying sales anymore. There’s not a huge lifetime value. People don’t buy a lot of things over time. And so what happened is I was essentially selling half my inventory at very low margin, but there was still burden on ordering inventory, warehousing it, importing it from China, all these things that just weren’t making a lot of profits.
So I said, you know what, I’d rather sell half as much product, but make the same amount of money. Sure.
Jake Cain: Yeah, that’s smart. So one thing I want to to get into a little bit is of course you were on shark tank many moons ago. Probably what? 10 years ago
Andy Humphrey: or so now? Yeah, it was season two, so actually exactly 10 years ago.
Jake Cain: Okay. So talk to us a little bit about, you know, you’re in the Christmas tree, light business and then Christmas tree storage business. I don’t think it was that product that was on shark tank. So
Andy Humphrey: you started
Jake Cain: at the same time and that’s what led you there.
Andy Humphrey: Yeah, basically, you know, I in my pursuit of niche products, let’s use the, the niche pursuits, which I think is fantastic.
And I’m a big, big believer in finding a niche. So in my pursuit of niche products, I came across the sort of old fashioned push reel lawnmower. Okay. I sort of, I don’t remember exactly how I came across it. But I found that there was a market for it. It was gaining popularity, relatively small package. So let’s say it was $20 to ship.
And on the higher end market of these lawnmowers, they were anywhere from 200 to $350. And they had a solid, like 50% margin and no one had created a niche around it. And so that was sort of my aha moment. I thought, all right. Not only are these sort of old fashioned mowers making a comeback, but no, one’s really put any branding, marketing or niche into this.
And I thought, this is, this is literally the most environmentally friendly or eco-friendly lawnmower on the face of the planet because there’s no batteries, nothing, you just push it. Right. And so that’s when I came up with the concept for eco mowers.com that was built all around these push lawn mowers.
Okay. And so I. Started to do really well. And actually the first year that the Fiskars corporation released their push real lawnmower. We, I shouldn’t say we work together, but I basically sold more of their push real lawnmowers than all their retailers combined. The first year was like, it was that niche.
So then I had this idea to make my own and brand it. And part of that was to capitalize on the intellectual property they have. So actually trademarked the name, eco mower and eco mowers for retail. And what I wanted to do is build not just push lawn mowers, but lots of battery powered or environmentally friendly lawn equipment.
And so that was like the model. That was the, my pitch that I presented to shark tank. And of course. You know, they saw me as the Yahoo with a push lawnmower that thought I could take over the world and eat me up and spit me out.
Jake Cain: Okay. So was it just then when you started out, you were just drop-shipping other
Andy Humphrey: people’s notes.
I was drop shipping and then I started warehousing. So what I found with drop shipping, this is drop shipping, you know, 10 years ago was that the data that they came back and forth from manufacturer or wholesaler or drop shipper to the retailer was pretty much non-existent. So there were many times I would send a drop ship order and it would literally not go out the drop shipper just would not ship it.
I’ve been selling products on Amazon since 2014.
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Wow. And so that customer experience that I wanted to provide, I couldn’t, I just couldn’t do it because I was then putting the customer experience in the hands of a third party. Okay. Expecting them to ship accurate on time, et cetera. And it just really wasn’t, it wasn’t happening. Or then an email me back and say, Hey, we’re sold out of that.
I was like, what am I supposed to do now? Go back and tell the customer. Sorry. And so we did that and it just felt like the only way for me to be in control of my business was to kind of be in control of it as close to end to end as possible. Okay. Okay. So then I started warehousing lawnmowers on my own.
Jake Cain: Okay. But at the time you went on went into the tank, you basically were dropshipping with this idea. I
Andy Humphrey: was actually already warehousing. Okay. I’m and what I was doing was I was using shark tank to sort of release my own mower. So up until then I was selling other people’s mowers or other people’s product.
And I wanted to, you know, you could call it private label. It wasn’t quite, it was sort of a mix, but develop my own line of mowers and equipment. Very nice.
Jake Cain: So let’s take just a minute. I’m sure. You know, I just have to believe I’m a big shark tank fan. I mean, probably the majority of people listening to us, watch the show, like the show, watch the reruns on CNBC.
So let’s take a couple of minutes and just tell us about the highlights of that experience. So you reached out to them, I assume they didn’t find you. Was it,
Andy Humphrey: was it fun? I mean, really I watched season one and was intrigued by the whole thing and I think I just ran a Google search, how to get on shark tank found what was, what looked like a random email address.
Okay. I don’t remember exactly, but it was something like shark tank [email protected] Don’t, don’t send an email to that. I totally made that up. It was something like that. And so I crafted an email one night, fired it off and completely forgot about it. Six months later, I got a random phone call. From a California like Los Angeles phone number late at night.
Totally ignored. It, woke up in the morning, listened to the message. And it was a casting agent from shark tank. Wow.
Jake Cain: Wow. So then you get a call back and then you I’m assuming there’s some layers you have to go through from there. Like, did you have to like
Andy Humphrey: yeah. And really the layers never end. What the, what, what happens is they do a great job of keeping the entrepreneur on the edge of their seat at all moments.
So if you’re going, if you’re a shoe-in, let’s say they’ll never going to tell you that they’re going to keep you on the edge of your seat, the whole, the whole process. I mean, literally even, you know, I think they said something to me like, Hey, Andy, it’s we know it’s Thursday, but would you be available next Monday or Tuesday to come out here for filming?
We don’t know that you’re coming yet. Right. But can you just like pencil in those days that they really kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time? Oh, my gosh. Okay. All right. So thank you. See anticipation up that keeps the entrepreneur like fully engaged and Yeah, it was, it was a awesome experience.
And my biggest win was I can go to any bar now and make a conversation with anyone. Right, right,
Jake Cain: right. Yeah. Any kind of like group setting, you know, where you would need an interesting fact or something like that. You’ve got, it made forever,
Andy Humphrey: forever. Right. Even if I got made fun of which I totally did. I own it now.
I’m not afraid.
Jake Cain: So you didn’t get a deal on this show. Right. But did it like. Did it go well, like when you saw an error, I always wondered this because I’ve heard from other sharks and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard like Damon speak and that the pitches go way longer than what you see on TV.
So they’re slicing like very small parts of that whole conversation. I just wonder how much in editing, like what is, what came out on TV, kind of how I, like, you felt like it went or was it like
Andy Humphrey: you watched it? Some of it, but it was definitely television magic. So that’s the way I described shark tank is it’s television magic.
And I think that if you’re listening and you think about why you like shark tank, if you really think about it, number one is because it’s entertaining. Right? And it’s, and what makes it entertaining is it’s relatable and they’re using concepts that are good concepts, but at the end of the day, their job is to entertain us and keep us watching.
And so that’s what they do. I mean, it’s literally, yeah. And this is my own opinion. It’s about the deals, but the deals are there to keep the viewers interested in, make an entertaining. And it’s really, television is entertainment. And so for entertainment purposes, they do a fantastic job. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not enough you can do in five minutes on television to go through these deals and everything.
So they do a great job of sort of yeah. Entertaining us. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Yeah. So you walk out with no deal. I, I guess maybe deflating, I don’t, I don’t know if you were expecting a deal, if you were just like thrilled to be a part of it, but what, what would you say? I mean, did you have anything you walked away with maybe just more confidence or anything you took away as like, like a really learning sort of opportunity from being on shark tank?
Like, did you feel like you grew from the, from that
Andy Humphrey: process? Well, I, yes. Yes, actually that, that you should not bank your business or any hope and dream. On one thing. Okay. It’s not, it is not about one thing. The business world is not a one thing world. And so I don’t know that I was, but that was my biggest takeaway was that I think that slow improvements over time are what makes someone successful, not a one hit and maybe music’s the same way.
Right? One hit wonders here today, gone tomorrow. Successful bands are the ones that have lots of, of great great music over time. And so that was sort of my, my biggest takeaway. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Very cool, man. That’s an awesome experience. So the show goes live. Did the what’s like the followup on the eco mowers?
Like what happened? Did you get like a, a shark tank bump? Like, are you still doing that business too? Is that business gone? Like
Andy Humphrey: what’s I was actually kind of disappointed by the bump. Yeah. And again, this was 2011, so. Yes. People were on the internet, but I remember thinking in my mind what that traffic would have cost me.
Yeah. And it wasn’t that much. So let’s say, I think there was maybe 15,000 views on my website or 15,000 visitors, which yes, it’s a lot, but that’s not like a hundred thousand or a half a million or a million. Right. So I just remember being slightly disappointed by the actual traffic that was generated.
Jake Cain: So did you like, do you stick it out? Did you stick with eco mower
Andy Humphrey: thing? Yeah, I did for a little while. Yep. I’ve made a, made a mower imported it and really just stopped doing it because there was other better uses for my time. And at that time I’d already started sprinkler supply store in 2010 and just knew that that was going to be a much bigger opportunity.
So kind of just phased out eco mower as the inventory went down. So there was really nothing left and I still have. A handful of mowers that I keep active because I do have trademarks for it. And I would now potentially at some point, like to sell or license the trademark out. So I’ve got some that that’s active, but the website itself is no longer.
Jake Cain: All right. So you already mentioned a sprinkler supply store and you got the sweet sign behind you there, which is super cool. So it sounds like that’s obviously going pretty well, and that’s a big part of your e-commerce business today. So why don’t you talk a little bit about that, of you know, the, the early days and then whatever you’re kind of comfortable with sharing with as far as how that’s going now and what all you’re doing
Andy Humphrey: for sure.
With, with sprinkler supply store. I usually describe it almost as a passion mashup. So just going back on the story we’ve already talked about, I was working for an irrigation wholesale supplier. When I started selling his Christmas lights. And I was trained as a landscape architect. Actually, my degree is in horticulture and landscape design.
So first job out of college, I was doing landscape architecture, work, CAD design. Then I learned the irrigation industry, like six months into my job. And so I made a, this was before e-commerce, but I made a decision not to be in landscape anymore, but to focus on that your geishas industry. And so that kind of led me down the path of working for an irrigation supplier.
Then I worked for a manufacturer that’s called Netafim. They make drip tubing. So I was a regional sales manager for Netta femme, and that sort of started my. Gave me gave me networking opportunities. So I got to meet lots of suppliers all over the country and I was still doing the e-commerce. So I had two passions e-commerce and irrigation or sprinkler and sprinkler supply store is basically like a, a passion mashup, if you will, of my two business strengths, irrigation in the sprinkler industry and e-commerce and no one was doing it.
And so I formed a partnership with a wholesale supplier, started sprinkler supply store.com and the rest is kind of history. Okay.
Jake Cain: So you saw then just that from being in the irrigation industry, was it just certain things that people just couldn’t buy online
Andy Humphrey: at all and you, I couldn’t really buy any of it.
And the thing that was my trigger was none of the the traditional wholesale players were, were in the game and they’re really still not in the game. We’re sitting here in 2021 and they’re still not really in the game. That’s how far behind. Sometimes the the traditional world is of non-sexy suppliers, right?
Wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers. They’re just catching up to e-commerce. Why do you think that
Jake Cain: is? I’m just curious, like, it
Andy Humphrey: just seemed change is tough, man. So that’s the that’s e-commerce is actually easy. So if you think about a big organization with 2,005,000, 10,000 employees, yeah. E-commerce is actually pretty easy getting somebody to do something different and their job is difficult.
And so the e-commerce and the digital transformation, it’s not really about e-commerce or digital it’s about change management. And so a lot of times these big companies have trouble changing their systems and processes throughout the organization. Wow. That’s why, man. It’s really it’s that, it’s kind of that simple.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Wow. So I don’t know what, you know, what you’re comfortable sharing, if anything, but give us a, an idea about the success you’ve had here with sprinkler supply store and kind of how business is going today, if
Andy Humphrey: whatever, and we sell what I call opp other people’s products and that’s by design because the irrigation industry has lots and lots and lots of different products.
And so, yeah, I could make a private label, you know, hose and lawn sprinkler probably put that on Amazon and it might be something that I consider in the future. But right now it’s trying, we’re trying to take the traditional experience of all of your parts and pieces for an irrigation system and bring it online.
And what I’ve been developing. There’s two parts. One is the sprinkler supply store.com the actual website. Then the hood, what I built that I referred to is the sprinkler fulfillment network. Okay. And I’ve strategically aligned with one of the large national wholesalers. And so we, we integrate and ship from seven of their locations around the country.
So it structurally looks like drop-ship okay, they’re doing the shipping, but it’s fully integrated. So we, our systems are all synced up. I can take in an order, it’s got 10 parts. I can send five parts from the New York store, five parts from the California location. And it’s fully integrated with inventory pricing orders.
And so I look at those as two separate pieces. One’s that sprinkler fulfillment network that we’ve built. And the other one is the, is the.com. Well, really just trying to, you know, change the way people buy sprinkler parts. And part of that is also the sort of the human part of it. Like what is the value?
Right? Yeah. The old wholesalers mentality was having parts on the shelf is the value, but you can get things today within two days. So just carrying an item and making it for sale, isn’t really value. And that’s part of what’s happening too, with these traditional distributors and wholesalers is that the value proposition is shifting.
So we’re having a lot of fun with it. We do sell over a million dollars on Amazon, you know, in seven figures on our, on our own store. Well, Amazon’s part of it, but I can tell you that we’ve tried and tried and tried and tried likely against terms of services to convert Amazon shoppers to our website.
And we just can’t do it. Really we’ve we’ve given $20 gift certificates, no minimums. And they won’t use them. Wow.
Jake Cain: Just as like product inserts, basically like,
Andy Humphrey: okay. Yeah. Yeah. And what we do find is on Amazon, somebody buy like one replacement part. So let’s say Mrs. Jones or Mr. Jones not to be stereotyped, typing backs over a sprinkler, they’ll go to Amazon and buy the one sprinkler on our website.
They’ll buy a whole cart full of product. And so we really look at Amazon is just cashflow. Yeah. It’s lower margin. It’s not our customer, the likelihood of repeat business, just isn’t there. And so if someone’s going to have that part available for sale, then that might as well be us, but it’s just simply a cash flow that I want to take and reinvest it in our.com business.
Jake Cain: That’s a good way to think about it. It makes sense. That sounds like a pretty slick, like intricate, probably automated setup that you have going, you know, I’m thinking about the early stories you were sharing with you know, wholesaling in 2005 or drop shipping, I should say. And, oh, Hey, we’re out of that.
And that kind of stuff, where it was a much more clunky process. It sounds like no, today you’re, you’re pretty dialed in which you know, for somebody maybe that’s starting out or whatever might sound a little bit intimidating, like man, you know, Andy’s got it all together and you do which is great for a lot of this stuff,
Andy Humphrey: but not how it started.
Like literally that is not how it started. It was because that became the necessity. You know, in order to grow, you have to scale, you have to figure out how the same amount of people. How you can get twice the amount of sales using the same amount of people. And so that, that’s how we sort of figured it out.
And I would say that when you’re first starting out, go for it. Like you don’t need any automation because you have time on your side. And so manufacturer could tell you were out of it, then you just write a personal email to the customer. You tell them, but if you only have a handful of orders, that’s okay because you can babysit them.
And so when you’re first starting out, you’re watching, or at least I was, I was watching everything and I babysat every customer interaction, every order. And then you can only babysit orders for so long before there’s too many. And now you just can’t babysit them all anymore and you have to have good systems, processes and automation.
Jake Cain: Yeah. So you were, you kind of worked your way up to it. I mean, in the end it looks, you know, maybe intimidating, but in your case, right? Like it started out kind of clunky and like you said, you know, babysitting customers and then you just kind of figure it out as you go, which is pretty cool. So it’s something that’s attainable, but you you’ve done it in steps, you know?
And you’ve been doing it for a long time,
Andy Humphrey: right? Yeah. Yeah. And I think that, you know, larger corporations can learn from this too. And I’m, I’m seeing this myself is a lot of corporations want to anticipate everything that can go wrong and try to build a system upfront for it. But what happens is they spend all their time building all these systems for stuff they think can happen.
And then when they do something, something else happens they didn’t plan for. And so what they really need to do is just start, take a risk, you know, put something out there, then get the feedback, then build a system for it. And instead they want to sort of protect themselves against all this potential risk.
And it’s like, So I sort of come up with that trailblazing concept because you could think that there’s lions and tigers and bears and snakes and quicksand and waterfalls and all this shit in the jungle. Right. It might not be there. You got to just start walking.
Jake Cain: Absolutely. Yeah, no, I love it. So let’s get into thank you for sharing that story and that’s it.
Congratulations on how well things are going. That’s fantastic. And so you’ve got a ton of experience and knowledge that you’ve sort of been talking about. And so I’d love to ask you some questions and so we can talk to people, listening to this podcast and get some of your advice. And some of the things they can, they can take away.
If you don’t care just for somebody who’s maybe listening, that’s pretty new to e-commerce. They’ve been thinking about it, maybe dipping their toe in it. You’ve mentioned a couple of things like drop shipping, selling other people’s products you know, private labeling, I think. You’ve, you’ve done a little bit of, so if you could just kind of set the stage for somebody that’s.
Beginning to sell on some of those options about how you can break into it. And then just sort of your thoughts on it. Like for somebody starting out, maybe some pros and cons or just how you think about those
Andy Humphrey: things. Yeah. The first thing I sorta think about is some of the soft skills that you need before you even sell anything.
And so typically the, the thing I tell people is just go build a website. It seems counterintuitive because you would assume, oh, everyone knows how to build a website, but a lot of people that want to get into e-commerce sell on Amazon, they have never launched a website. They may have at the minimum, maybe bought a domain and they might own that domain.
And of course, a lot of you listening that know how to do that easy, but that’s usually the first thing is some soft skills like launching a website that could be WordPress. That could be Wix. That could be Shopify. It does not matter launch a website. Right. Just so you can get those skills. Cause then it starts, you start to think, well, what kind of a logo do I want?
What I want the homepage to look for? How am I going to make that hero image or that banner, then you start to realize, huh? I guess maybe shoot. I got to learn Photoshop. I mean, I know I can get some stuff done on Fiverr, but what if I want to change it or tweak it? And so I usually recommend, you know, learning how to launch a website learning some basic photo editing skills.
And again, it doesn’t take much a couple of hours. You can learn the basics of Photoshop so that you are in control of what you can do, because I see a lot of times people will invest in a product. Then they’ll hire a graphic designer. What they do is they sort of hire an outsource, all of this stuff, which costs them money.
And then it, maybe it doesn’t work out. But if it doesn’t work out, you want to keep your cost to a minimum and then you have all the skills, right? So if you do this all yourself, you are the builder, then you can adapt to change more quickly. So that’s usually my recommendation is, do you want to build a house, be the builder, right?
You want to sell something online? You’ve got to be the web builder unless you have deep pockets and it doesn’t matter if it fails. That’s a completely different story. Absolutely.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Okay, cool. So, yeah. So start out by building it. That’s I think that’s great advice you know, get your hands dirty a little bit and learning through that for people that are thinking about, you know, should I be, should I be doing drop shipping?
Should I be trying to create my own product? That sort of thing, like for somebody that’s getting started, I mean, how do you, like, what are some questions people maybe should be asking themselves, like, how should they be
Andy Humphrey: figuring out what’s? So there’s two, two things. Number one is yes, you do want to sell something.
So, and it doesn’t really matter what it is. You’d be better off. Selling something and making 5% or even making zero, just to go through the process of having something, selling it, acquiring the customer, shipping it, just to go through the motions with all that in mind, I would look for something that has the potential to sell either the same thing again and again, to a customer or where you can launch more products and expand your product offering.
So for instance, with my eco mower, it was a one hit, one hit wonder one product. I mean, I could have sold other things, but they’re just, they came for the big ticket mower. I had nothing else to sell them. And so I wasn’t able to have this lifetime value in, in, in the customer. And so that is really something to consider.
Sell something and then ask yourself, what can I sell this same customer next? And ideally be able to keep that customer for life. But even if you can’t do that, the act of selling something for the first time is priceless.
Jake Cain: Yeah. No, that’s great advice. So let’s talk about you mentioned the term trailblazer earlier, and I want to get into that and I know I shared with you before we started recording that I did a little bit of Amazon selling FBA type stuff a few years back.
And I did that with when I was working for Spencer full-time. And so at the time you know, we used a lot of tools like jungle scout trying to find just product ideas, just stuff to launch, you know, something that was going to be, not over-saturated that sort of thing. But it was tough. I mean, I felt like it was really hard and this was four or five years ago, you know?
So what do you tell people in terms of being a trailblazer. And finding a product. How do you advise people that are going down that journey?
Andy Humphrey: Yeah. Oh man, that resonates because I’ve used jungle scout too. And ah, it’s just, it’s an interesting thing. I tend to think of it now almost when you use jungle scout, you’re looking in the rear view mirror, not forward because the data is something that’s old, but it’s not a full picture.
So you don’t know how many other thousands of people out there see the same thing. And they saw three months ago and their private label product is in a container about ready to land in long beach. So by the time you drop your money to buy that private label product, they’re already listed on Amazon.
Right. Because that’s what everybody’s doing, right? Yeah. And so I tend to want someone to, and this is just me speaking personally, to like what they sell. So don’t go looking for some random widget. If possible, find something that you already know something about or that you can speak to, or that when you write up the bullets, you know exactly what it is because you’re familiar with it.
You know, and to find stuff that is not where everyone is looking, right? So that’s with jungle scout, everyone’s going to be looking there, right? And so when everyone’s looking there, it’s going to, it will be competitive. If not next month, it’ll be competitive next year. And instead look at the things that are, that are around you, you know, particular things that maybe are, you know, what you might call non-sexy items more plain, Jane, you know, I’m sure that there are, you know, there are probably still products on staples.com that have a niche market for it on a, on someone’s own website.
Okay. Right. Just, just because someone’s selling staples is selling office products doesn’t mean you can’t take an average everyday office product and make it cool. Again, build a niche brand, build a niche site, give someone more use cases, really, you know, it’s not just about the widget itself. Okay. And to, and to niche down like that.
Jake Cain: okay. So if you are you know, somebody that’s going through this process and let’s just say we’re buying or bypassing jungle scout and any, any similar tools like that. It’s a great point. It was funny hearing you describe that because you basically just talked out what’s going through my brain about five years ago, as far as I wonder if somebody else is like already seen this and their product is going to launch next month and then were,
Andy Humphrey: were dead before it hasn’t happened to me.
So I’m just saying it because it happened to me. I launched a vinyl record holder. Okay. A bamboo vinyl record holder, because I saw this on jungle scout. It was great. No one was selling it, you know, and what I also didn’t realize is what that person or hadn’t thought through is what did that seller do to get in that position to get those sales?
Did they buy all those sales? Where did the traffic come from to boost their ranking? There’s there’s just more to it than what meets the eye sometimes. Yeah,
Jake Cain: absolutely. Where I was going to go with that was, you know, like you said, looking around you, so in your case you had kind of the irrigation background and that, you know, landscaping and the lawn mower, it all kinda ties together.
Just curious outside of that, anywhere else online. Like, I don’t know, like Facebook groups or I’m just kind of throwing things out. Is there any other way outside of sort of the traditional tools that you would tell people to kind of help them in the brainstorming process?
Andy Humphrey: I think you just mentioned a great one, you know, Facebook groups that are.
Focused around your passion, wherever your passion might be your hobby things you’re interested in. And then I don’t really use Reddit, but I have heard that groups and Reddit people will talk about, you know, maybe product enhancements, things like that anywhere you can get some real like user data, user feedback.
And then, you know, we’re in a, we’re in a place with media that’s different from 15 years ago. So all the social stuff today didn’t really exist. Like we know it back then. And I think right now, depending on your product, it may be a product that is really not meant for Google shopping or Google ad-words.
It might be one that’s really designed to sell well on Pinterest or maybe it’s really something that’s an Instagram, you know, really a social product. And so I think that how you sell it can be very product specific. Also if you’re an expert in Pinterest, Maybe find something that, that you can match up with your, your expertise in that social media platform.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Very good. So I wanted to ask, like, how do you balance this idea, which I totally agree with on, you know, being a trailblazer, finding something a little bit outside the box, that sort of thing. How do you balance that with. I guess knowing, or having some level of certainty that it’s going to work.
Like one thing about that, I like it. What about jungle scout or the reason that the people use tools like that is because you’re able to see, you know, sales rank and some of this data. Yeah. And I’m, I’m sure you get a lot more of this than I do, but I have friends, family, whatever, because they know that I’ve sold on Amazon before that come to me with invention type of ideas.
Hey, Jake, what do you think about this? You know, and they want to give my feedback. Like I’m some guru, but I found that a lot of times, and we’ve done this ourselves. As far as me and Spencer, when we were in the Amazon game, we would try to be. Almost too much of a trailblazer where you come up with something that we found out that nobody was really looking for.
So it’s like a new product. That’s like, you know, something that’s totally different and it just, it just didn’t sell. And so, I don’t know. Do you have any any input on, is there like too much innovation that’s possible? Like how do you kind of do something,
Andy Humphrey: ask yourself why didn’t it sell? So a lot of times we don’t answer that question and it might be that there was no market for it on Amazon.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a market for it somewhere. And it might’ve been that just wasn’t worth your guys’ interest to go figure out where that market was. And so that’s part of I’m a believer in having the passion for it, because then you’ll keep trying. Okay. So it might be, you gave up too early.
It might be you didn’t, I don’t know, but if it’s something that you’re really behind, you’ll keep on trying and eventually you will find them a market for it, and then you can decide, Hmm. I finally found the market. It’s not quite as big as I wanted it to be, but holy crap, that I learned all this stuff along the way.
And I like what you said about people come to you with inventions. That is so common. And if there’s, I wish somebody would come to me. After they’ve already taken lots of action towards their invention because it’s like, they want, they want to come to you with this idea and then think you’re going to turn around and like hand them the solution to getting rid of it.
Right. Great. Go do something. I don’t care what you do. Go take some action and then come back and tell me how it went. Yeah. Right,
Jake Cain: right. Yeah. No, exactly. There’s no matter what it is, there’s a long journey.
Andy Humphrey: Oh yeah, yeah, no, that’s really like it. And now that I’m hate to say it now that I’m getting older, I’m now realizing that I already have, I I’ve already, I’ve already made it to the end because there is no end.
It is literally all about the journey. Every piece of it, like what you learn right here right now, today, even when you’re listening to this, even if it’s in six months and you’re listening to this, it’s like, yeah, you can have a picture of what you want to get at the end, but that’ll always change.
There’s always another and another and another and another. And so you really have to almost like look within and be super happy with the journey and with where you’re at and enjoying, you know, the lessons and the learning along the way.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. I feel like I know you’re how you’re going to go with this.
But I want to ask you this question anyway, based on some of the things you’ve said about just start a website, get out there and sell something, those sorts of things, but for somebody that’s working a day job right now, maybe it doesn’t have a ton of savings to pour into inventory. How small do you suggest that people start?
Because that first idea who knows, you know, if it’s gonna work, if it’s actually going to sell through what, what advice do you have? I, I feel like that a lot of people. Get worried about, and again, just friends that I hear talk, you know, should I get a patent on this? Like that sort of thing where there, no, I feel like really far down the road
Andy Humphrey: and they haven’t sold it, like getting a patent, if you’re willing to defend it.
And most people would say, I’m not willing to defend it. Okay. Well then don’t get a patent. Right. So how
Jake Cain: small, I guess, do you tell people to start? Like what, what’s some of your advice
Andy Humphrey: as small as possible? I mean, literally, like, that’s why I say just, if you want to make, I’m just going to make a, if you want to make a grill accessory, let’s say you want to make a new grill, like cleaning brush, build a website, like start writing articles about it.
Cause now you’re taking steps along the way, you know? And maybe then you can think about what do you want your brand to be like, what colors, you know, jive with your brand. What’s the logo look like? Who’s the customer. And just start taking those steps instead of thinking about just the widget. A hundred percent widget widget widget, just take some steps by the website, build it, start we’re writing some content, make a logo, like take actionable depths anywhere but back like left right forward half a step run, like just start building.
And you’ll start to discover stuff and learn along the way. And if you had ordered that product, as soon as you had the idea, instead of letting it sit yeah. And, and sort of almost like trying it on. So that’s why I like to build, I encouraged them to build a website because it allows you, I’m just sort of try it on, see how it feels, you know, and typically the, someone has, isn’t where they end up.
And so by trying it on and doing stuff that’s low cost, but still taking forward actions. Is can be super, super valuable because it does a couple things. One, it, it solidifies some confidence that they can do this. Cause they’re taking steps second when they try it on, they could, if they go to a party at a friend’s house, I can say, Hey, check out my new website.
You know, it’s jigs, bbq.com. It allows them to like put some stuff out into the world. Right?
Jake Cain: Yeah. It’s great advice, man. So what, what would you say, I guess, or do you have any general rules or parameters when you’re looking for product ideas, because I’ve heard people, especially with like Amazon FBA type stuff set some things out there as far as how big products should be or price ranges that you want to retail at.
And it seems like you’ve sold everything under the sun from probably really tiny sprinkler parts to, you know, eco lawnmowers and shipped them. So you’ve, you’ve kind of been on all sides of the spectrum. So do you encourage people to have those kinds of parameters going in as you’re doing product research or just wide open anything?
Andy Humphrey: They should have some, again, I would take making the sale first, right. Whatever. They can find a, take a sale because you’ll learn a lot by taking a sale. But afterwards I think that. The dollar value does matter. So I would probably recommend nothing less than $25 on Amazon, you know, unless, unless you can kit it up and make a pack, but you want your average sale to be no less than $25, you know, unless it’s like 90% profit margin, that would be an exception.
Yeah. And then small as nice inside Amazon’s oversized dimensions. So small is nice. However, there are people that will do the opposite. I’m going to go for big because no, one’s doing big. But to me that comes with some, some risk because as soon as you have to start moving product around, if it’s not selling and it big stuff is just expensive to ship.
And I think that shipping is oftentimes something that can be hard to estimate ahead of time and could be something that comes back to bite you. If you’re not careful. Okay. So, you know, high price, good margin, small package would be perfect. And that’s something that people can buy a lot.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Okay. Okay.
Cool. Well, let me give you a one more Amazon question and then I want to get your take on e-commerce today and sort of where it’s headed and what’s your, what’s your vision is there? So I know Amazon, I think you said earlier is maybe 25% of your sales for your sprinkler supply store. What’s changed or what’s it like out there right now?
20, 21? You know, like I said, for me personally, it’s been a couple years since I’ve sold Amazon FBA with the pandemic and everybody buying everything on Amazon in my imagination, I feel like it’s probably gotten more competitive. But you know, for somebody that’s out there today selling a product on Amazon what’s changed or what advice do you have for launching and just being successful in general?
Like what does it take today to be a successful retailer on Amazon?
Andy Humphrey: Yeah, so there’s a couple things and some of it relates and some of it doesn’t relate to our sprinkler business. So with sprinkler, with the sprinkler business, we’re kind of going after the low-hanging fruit, when someone’s looking to buy something, you know, a model number we’re going to come in, we’re going to try to, we’re going to try to sell it.
It’s like what I would call bottom of the funnel. Okay. And as I mentioned before, those are Amazon’s customers. We can’t get them to our website. So it’s literally just positioning our product. For Amazon’s customers to buy it. If you want to make your own brand and your own product or private label. Yes.
You can get the flow of traffic from Amazon, but I would put a ton of thought into controlling your own audience, not relying on Amazon’s audience, but to figure out and build your own audience that you are in control of that you can send to Amazon. If you want to, or you can send them to your own website, if you want to, and not really be thinking about your business, like I’m going to have an Amazon business, because what that really means is it’s Amazon’s business.
It’s not your business. And so I’d focus on building and capturing and maintaining your own audience. Then you can, you know, maintain, gain and sell things to the, to your audience that they want. And you’re in control of it. Yeah.
Jake Cain: All right, Andy, I want to ask you one other question here. A lot of folks listening Spencer’s, you know, sort of bread and butter, I think, or at least background when he quit his job was from building niche websites.
You know, so it’s content websites that a lot of times, you know, you’re making money through ads and, or a lot of times maybe the Amazon affiliate program or other affiliate programs where you’re sending people to buy somebody else’s product and making a commission. So I’m sure a lot of folks listening maybe have already done a lot of that content piece that you talked about.
So almost doing it in reverse, you know, they sort of build up the content side and maybe they’ve got a site that’s getting traffic, they’re making affiliate income for people like that. What’s your advice on w would you suggest that they start private labeling a product or drop shipping a product or exploring things like that?
And I don’t know. W what would you tell somebody that’s already in that position?
Andy Humphrey: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question. And this will allow me to use a phrase I haven’t used yet, which is the company that kills you will look nothing like you. So the physical products companies are probably all worried about these content sites that generate all this traffic, because the person that’s in control of the traffic is in control of the commerce.
It’s to me, it’s much easier to make a widget than it is to build an audience and generate the traffic because the traffic is a longer term game. And so if you’re in control of the traffic, you are in control of that traffic. And so you should build a, you should make, build whatever you want to call it, the physical product to sit side by side with your content site.
And then you can start unhitching your affiliates because now you’re, you’re in the driver’s seats. And so for the commerce companies, the company that kills them will look nothing like them because they’re content sites. So I think that’s like a sleeping giant is the content sites wake up and turned into commerce companies.
And the commerce companies can’t react because all the traffic was coming from the content sites.
Jake Cain: Very cool. Very cool. So a quick up on that, I mean, just in general terms, I’m sure it’s going to look different. People could be in a thousand different niches, but you mentioned Matt earlier and we were just complimentary of Matt’s been on the niche pursuits podcast with his swim university site that he has a great YouTube channel for a great website.
I don’t think Matt sells any of his own products. But he’s been public with that site. So we can, we can just use that as an example. Let’s just say somebody like Matt who has a swimming, YouTube channel, and a lot of people about swim care and maintenance, like what’s the first step in that journey?
You know, let’s just say somebody, like Matt said, you know what, you’re right. I want to do that, but what does he do? Does he just start Googling like swimming wholesalers? Like where do you
Andy Humphrey: start. Well, what I w he, somebody knows their name unless they hired third-party you know, writers and they don’t know anything about what they’re talking about.
So we have to assume they know what they’re talking. Okay. And so then I would find products that are easy to make that don’t take any investment molds, you know, et cetera. And don’t don’t have liability. Right? So I’m thinking in swim items or products, there could be chemical liabilities for some of these products.
And I don’t know, I’m just thinking. Sure. I would try to find things that anyone could buy that is inexpensive to make and has benefits. So, like, in my spa, again, Matt would probably laugh at me. I put these like sponges, they’re like shaped, like fro like turtles, and they’re supposed to like collect the foam and.
It’s probably not a product that you’d want to sell because it’s inexpensive, but again, there’s no risk, no liability with the longer-term play being that swim university might be able to make the best selling, you know chemicals or maintenance products for pools and spas. But to just use the knowledge that you have about your niche or about you content site to make, you know, your first product.
Jake Cain: Okay. Cool. That’s super helpful. Thank you. So talk about, I mean, you’re sitting in this amazing looking studio. So maybe tell us a little bit about that. I’m assuming that this we shoot quite a few videos in there. But you know, with your success that you’re having kind of running your own brand and your own store what are some of the things like, what does it take to be, you know, as far as selling off Amazon on your own website what does it taking in 2021 to be successful, have a brand set yourself apart?
Do some of these things that you’re talking about and what are the things that you’re working on towards the future? You know, maybe a little bit of the e-commerce
Andy Humphrey: as you see it. Yeah. So maybe, you know, future-proofing, first of all, there’s no such thing, but I do think we’re seeing a shift. So let’s say when e-commerce first.
Became a way to buy products. You could just put it this pan on the internet. And if you’re only one with this pan, someone’s going to buy it from you. They don’t even give a crap who you are, what your brand is. Nothing, because you’re the one person has the pen. As soon as there’s two stores that have the pen.
Now they have a make a choice between two and when there’s 10, now they have to make a choice between 10. And then that choice becomes not dependent on the pen anymore. Same pen, 10 different places or 20 different places. So now you can provide them with more of an experience and you could speak to that customer because it could be that the way I sell this pen to a hunter might be different than a gymnast.
I’m just picking two random personas, right? Same pen, two personas. You can build your niche and your brand around the persona. And so what I’m feeling like is that there’s there always has been, but we’ve got commerce Content and you know, sort of like media and commerce and media are sort of like becoming one, like commerce companies are sort of becoming media companies and media companies are becoming commerce companies.
And so you sort of have to have more than just the commerce. And so for me, that’s why I decided to build this studio because I hadn’t focused really on the content or the community I’ve been focused only on the commerce making products available for sale. I wasn’t a writer I don’t like to write.
And so I hadn’t re written much of anything. And so now what I’m starting to do is we do take all of our product returns here to, out to my warehouse. And when products come back on return, I’m starting to make, you know, a quick YouTube video. So I’ll take a product like this and, you know, sort of show it off, explain it, talk about it.
And then I have a graphic designer that quickly edits it into a video. It’s not scripted. It’s on edited. It’s literally like a one-take, it’s got an intro, the content and the outro. And then I put it on the product page and put it on YouTube and we’re starting to get really good feedback and it holds two purposes, one we’re so used to seeing just like 25 images of a product, as it turns around that are just still fixed images.
And so seeing something on video is much more engaging and can be much more helpful. And then it allows me to sort of bring the personal, the persona to it, the transparency, the, the human element to it. So it doesn’t just look like some corporate sales video. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is add that, that human element to develop the content and the community.
Cause we’ve already got the commerce part of it. So I want to be working on those things. So that’s really what 2021 is about is, and again, it’s an experiment, you know, and for me, I’m having to figure out how to get comfortable with it. Yeah. Yeah.
Jake Cain: That’s so cool, man. I love it. I love it. No, that’s I can definitely see how in your world, you know, that that kind of sets you apart, you know, in the sprinkler supply, that’s probably not a lot of people of your competitors that are shooting videos like you’re doing right.
Are you sort of alone in that space?
Andy Humphrey: Like pretty much alone. And I, and I’m doing, what’s really simple. So again, these aren’t how tos, they’re really just product overviews with a simple intro, simple outro, anywhere from two to five minutes. And you know, it’s interesting is I think you guys know Matt from swim university.
Yeah. Yeah. So his videos are fricking incredible. Right? Right. He has the content just dial, but he doesn’t have commerce. Right. He does not sell parts on swim university.com. So I’m really feeling like if a commerce company could team up with swim university, they could be even greater. And that’s what I’m feeling like.
I don’t have the content, I’ve got the commerce, but it’s time for me to start making videos and putting us out there for, from that perspective. So we’re seeing those two things come together. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Have you talked to Matt about this? Do you know Matt briefly?
Andy Humphrey: Yeah. Briefly.
Jake Cain: Yeah. No, you’re right. His videos are awesome.
That’s very cool. So do you with yours, I’m just curious, like you talked about, you know, you get a return back, you shoot this little video, like, are you just kind of doing everything? So I would imagine you’d have to have a ton of skews and stuff. Like, are you doing any kind of research ahead of time?
Like, Hey, we should do a video about this, or you just kind of like. Little obscure parts and you shoot a little two minute video
Andy Humphrey: and you’ll just do it all right. Now. It’s kind of what comes back. But we did just go through some keyword research for sort of words that contain, you know, how to, that I might not even have a product I might just speak about because I know how sprinkler parts go together.
I know how to fix things that the next phase will be a more generalized keywords. And so I do, I think of keywords like a funnel, right? So when someone types in to Google a part number that you either want the instruction manual, or they want to buy it. And so all of our marketing efforts have been bottom of funnel.
I want them to type in the manufacturer and a model number so we can capture them, you know, when their intent is to buy and we’re going to be starting to move up funnel, which means they’re not going to buy it today, but they might remember us. And by next month, Next quarter next year. And that’s more generic how to sprinkler this, that, where they’re not coming in to buy something.
And so. Again, I would probably be advice for, for anyone starting out is focused bottom of funnel, especially with advertising and keywords, nothing generic that you really want to try to find someone whose intent is to buy something. Right?
Jake Cain: Yeah. So even if it is mentioned, like just some obscure part, right?
Like you don’t really care if there’s only a few people,
Andy Humphrey: right. Somewhere, maybe it was looking for this pen may not know the brand, but they want a red felt tip, find point pen. You know what, that’s the niche, right? The niche, like right down the bottom of the funnel. Yeah,
Jake Cain: I love it. That’s awesome, man. So anything, I mean, you’ve talked a lot about content and I love that advice.
Like it makes so much sense and it seems like that it’s working well for you, which is fantastic. Outside of doing the videos, like, is there anything else that’s kind of on your roadmap or strategies that you’re following as far
Andy Humphrey: as? Yeah, so the, the, the third one is that is that community, so I should restate content commerce content community.
And so we did just start, what would I call the sprinkler nerd community, which is for professionals, irrigation, contractors people that do irrigation and sprinkler work for a living. And really my intent right now is not to sell them anything. Actually it’s just to build a helpful community. Of of like-minded people basically.
And then there also people that would listen to my podcast, which is a sprinkler nerd show. And that just creates the other sort of pillar. If you will, that in five years, I feel like my business will be more sustainable. I have a more solid foundation if I have all these three, those three things bundled together versus standing individually.
Jake Cain: But so is that the the sprinkler nerd, you get the podcast going on?
Andy Humphrey: Do you have like a, that’s why I’m wearing this jacket. This is my nerd jacket. Oh man. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Look in the part. That’s hilarious. That is so awesome. I love that. The sprinkler it’s just like, you know, stuff like that to me. Cause I’m not into sprinklers surprise, but you know, you think that there’s this community of people that are passionate about irrigation and sprinklers.
It makes sense, but it’s
Andy Humphrey: right. That’s a niche, man. It’s there it’s like that. Sometimes you don’t have to look far from what you’re doing in your day job or your professional career to find ways to monetize that online. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Very cool. Well, this is awesome, man. I really appreciate your time, I guess.
As we’re kind of wrapping up any, anything else that you would give just, just parting thoughts to the niche pursuits audience, and then also feel free to talk about, you know, if there’s people want to get in touch with you or how they can kind of follow along with you how they might do that.
Andy Humphrey: So I think number one, you got to make a choice, whether you want to be someone who talks about ideas or someone who takes action on ideas. And so, like I said, just go build a website, do something, make a Facebook page, do anything to take the idea out of your head and make it more tangible so you can try it on because there’s so much you learned that you make, I don’t really, nah, I made this website and I’m not into it anymore.
Great. Then you can take the idea and actually like, make it go away. Other times, what I find is if I have an idea and I don’t do something with it, I can’t get out of my head. Yeah. And I, and so it’s like, don’t let that idea occupy space, unless you’re going to do something with it. And if you want to, then, then you right now, like go do something with it.
Yeah. Yeah. So that, that would be, my advice is take small action. I’m not saying you need to go invest and lose a bunch of money and all this, but just go take some small action steps and people want to reach out to me. They can visit Andy humphrey.com. They can contact me through there. They can listen to the sprinkler nerd show sprinkling or.com or find it on iTunes and a sprinkle supply store.com as well as LinkedIn.
If they want to hook up on LinkedIn, you happy to connect as well.
Jake Cain: Very good. Well, the Andy, thanks so much for your time, man. This was fantastic. Really appreciate you
Andy Humphrey: being on the show. Yeah, my pleasure enjoyed it.