Hey everyone, in today’s episode, I share the mic with Adam Callinan, the founder of BottleKeeper, a stainless steel container that is insulated to keep your beer cold longer. Adam is also a founding partner of Beachwood Ventures which is a venture capital firm based out of Los Angeles that connects the entertainment business with marketing opportunities for early stage businesses.
Listen as Adam shares how a simple product demo video that he shot took the business from $3,000 to $60,000 in monthly sales, how a ridiculous referral program (and the word “free”) skyrocketed their growth, and the one major change he recently made that impacted the business in a big way.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Adam Callinan Grew BottleKeeper to an 8-Figure Revenue with 0 Employees in 3.5 Years TRANSCRIPT
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 01:39 – Who Adam is and what he does
- 02:22 – Adam was in the medical field with the desire to be a doctor
- 02:30 – He realized coming out of school at 35 with half-million in debt was not ideal
- 02:36 – He went to a device startup where he was the first sales person
- 02:26 – Adam learned the difficulties and challenges of building companies
- 03:35 – In 2013, Adam started BottleKeeper with his cousin
- 03:59 – 3.5 years in the business, doing 8 figures in revenue with 0 employees
- 04:13 – They could grow their own company with their own money
- 04:43 – Systems and functions of BottleKeeper
- 05:06 – BottleKeeper started with a WordPress website and a drag and drop editor
- 05:26 – When you have an idea, your friends and family think it’s great but the reality is it might be awful and you’re getting bad advice
- 05:44 – Adam and his cousin wanted to make sure people wanted to buy this product
- 05:57 – They leveraged crowdfunding
- 06:13 – Raised $15,000
- 06:21 – Adam admitted his partner had more faith in the product than himself
- 06:48 – The crowdfunding was a huge eye opener for Adam
- 07:04 – Shipped first product in January 2014 and made 6 figures
- 07:11 – They did 7 figures in 2015 and this year, they are into 8 figures
- 08:07 – Adam played with Facebook and Twitter ads
- 08:51 – August 2014, Facebook launched their video platform
- 09:06 – The company changed overnight
- 09:09 – From $2,000 – $3,000 in sales per month to $10,000 to $25,000 to $40,000 and $60,000
- 09:46 – Adam stopped using AdWords and Twitter and focused solely on Facebook
- 11:10 – BottleKeeper’s referral program
- 11:34 – “You have to be ridiculous with your referral program”
- 12:08 – “Refer a friend and get a FREE BottleKeeper” worked amazingly!
- 12:39 – A/B Testing contributed to that
- 12:53 – Pinterest also works well for advertising BottleKeeper
- 12:59 – Highest converting audience—women between 35 and 60 years old
- 13:36 – Age of audience is because of income
- 13:55 – Women have more of a tendency to buy online, especially if it’s a good gift item
- 14:39 – Adam’s frustration with people who want to copy his product
- 16:17 – Utility and design patents
- 16:57 – Adam spends 5% of his time with Beachwood Ventures
- 17:36 – Adam’s partner is the manager and executive of Brillstein Entertainment Partners
- 18:02 – The concept is that they have a ton of entrepreneurs and they’re looking for access for high-level influencers
- 18:41 – The idea was to create a separate entity
- 19:03 – BottleKeeper and Beachwood Ventures almost happened the same time
- 20:03 – What’s one big thing that has impacted your life dramatically? “ I didn’t have the capacity to leave for more than a week…leaving that and creating a situation where we have an entity that can run with internet opens up most of the world.”
- 21:16 – For the entrepreneurs that can travel; if you can recommend one spot where would it be? “ South Africa. Go and spend a day or two in a Zulu village and then come back to the U.S. and complain about something.”
- 22:42 – What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your 25-year old self? “Write in a journal”
- 24:40 – What’s one big change you’ve made that has impacted your business in a big way? “Giving up responsibilities and outsourcing”
- 25:52 – How’s the team organized and what tools do you use every day? “There’s a defined line with my partner, Matt and my department. The rest of the team, I treat everybody like they are part of the company. I use Slack a lot and Zendesk”
- 27:52 – What’s one must-read book you recommend? How to Win Friends and Influence People
- 29:12 – Email Adam at [email protected]
3 Key Points:
- Your friends and family may not be the best people to ask for feedback because of the emotional connection you have with them.
- Create a business that will allow you freedom.
- Continually tweak promotions and ads.
Resources From This Interview:
- Beachwood Ventures
- Must-read book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Adam Callinan – LinkedIn
- [email protected]
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