GE 178: How Adam Callinan Grew BottleKeeper to an 8-Figure Revenue with 0 Employees in 3.5 Years (podcast) With Adam Callinan

Adam Callinan

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:

  1. Your friends and family may not be the best people to ask for feedback because of the emotional connection you have with them.
  2. Create a business that will allow you freedom.
  3. Continually tweak promotions and ads.

Resources From This Interview:

Leave Some Feedback:

Connect with Eric Siu:

Liked it? Take a second to support Eric on Patreon!