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The Rough Road to an 8-Figure Ecomm Business
Josh Hadley is the Founder and CEO of an eight-figure e-commerce business called Hadley Designs. Hadley Designs is an online graphic design boutique where customers can choose, design, download, and print home decor and invitations. Josh is also an e-commerce business consultant and the host of the eComm Breakthrough Podcast, which is dedicated to helping brands exceed eight-figure profits.
Before starting Hadley Designs and eComm Breakthrough Consulting, Josh graduated with an MBA from the Lassonde New Venture Development program at the University of Utah. Josh then took his talents to Dallas, where he honed his business, marketing, and project management skills as an executive for American Airlines.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [03:30] Josh Hadley talks about his background and how he got into selling on Amazon
- [07:30] What it’s like having your spouse as your business partner
- [11:25] The journey of growing an e-commerce brand to an eight-figure business
- [16:43] How entrepreneurs can prepare themselves in case of a catastrophe
- [20:44] How Josh maintains a work-life balance
- [26:57] Tips for selecting the best products to sell on Amazon
- [30:03] The importance of managing your large SKU count
- [34:15] Josh talks about his team and his hiring process
In this episode…
Are you struggling to scale your e-commerce brand? What can you learn from an expert who has grown his brand to an eight-figure business?
According to Josh Hadley, growing an e-commerce brand is challenging. It’s a space that has millions of competitors, so business owners must be innovative to differentiate themselves and flourish in the market. Josh shares his journey from 2016 to now and how he has grown his brand to an eight-figure business on Amazon — from product selection and team building to the challenges he had to overcome.
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley and Pat Yates sit down with Josh Hadley, Founder and CEO of Hadley Designs, to discuss the process of growing an e-commerce brand to an eight-figure business. Josh talks about the experience of having his spouse as his business partner, how they built their e-commerce brand into an eight-figure Amazon business, tips to manage products and scale, and how they developed an outstanding team.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Josh Hadley on LinkedIn
- Hadley Designs
- eComm Breakthrough Consulting
- eComm Breakthrough Podcast
- “The Seven-Step Process Entrepreneurs Should Use When Hiring New Talent” on the eComm Breakthrough Podcast
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light on YouTube
- Joe Valley
- Mark Daoust
- Quiet Light Podcast email: [email protected]
- The EXITpreneur’s Playbook: How to Sell Your Online Business for Top Dollar by Reverse Engineering Your Pathway to Success by Joe Valley
- Pat Yates on LinkedIn
- American Airlines MBA Leadership Pipeline
- Helium 10
- Jungle Scout
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- Criteria Corp
Sponsor for this episode
This episode brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.
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Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.
Joe Valley 0:32
Hey folks, Joe Valley here, welcome to another episode of the Quiet Light Podcast. I’m not alone today in my hosting duties. I’ve got Mr. Pat Yates with me, Pat, how you doing?
Pat Yates 0:42
I’m doing great Joe, how are you today?
Joe Valley 0:44
Good, man. I appreciate you helping me out here. We’re interviewing Josh Hadley, Hadley Designs. So Josh is a podcast host. He and his wife run a 10 figure business. I’m sorry. That’s not right. An eight figure business. I’m getting all sorts of things wrong in the intro here today, folks. Because Pat is just his aura is so big. It’s making me confused, right?
Pat Yates 1:13
Yeah, I don’t know about that. Josh is an amazing guy. Tell you what you talked about a guy that, he was working in a corporate job, his wife starts something builds this amazing business then jumps in and they jump it up to 10 figure business. Absolutely. So much knowledge. You guys really smart. It’s doing an amazing job managing teams and hiring people. It’s really, really interesting.
Joe Valley 1:31
Yeah, we cover things in this interview with him. From his how was it working with a spouse? How do you survive a marriage with three kids and building an eight figure business. During COVID, he went from 1000 orders a day to I think one or two and then settled in at about 100 a day. And this is just after COVID hit right March 2020. They closed on a house February 28 2020 on a big new home. And then the floor fell out of their revenue. They survived that. And then they grew from, I think a million in 2017 to hitting eight figures in 2022. Yeah, but they really had to pivot a little bit during COVID. And they learned an awful lot they were launching, right, they were launching stuff off Amazon because that’s what they were told they had to do and put a lot of time energy and money into that and then had to pull back on that and really focus on pulling the right levers to accelerate growth getting to that eight figures. He talks a little bit about which I thought was just fascinating, the interview process, they’ve got 26 remote employees now and the interview process they go through, and how sometimes they’ll start with 1000 applicants. And they do no work to call that down to 100. And then a little bit of work to get it down to 30. And then he actually, in most cases has the applicants, choosing who the best person for the position is in a group interview process. It’s fascinating. He’s incredible. He’s full of knowledge. He’s got his own podcast called eComm Breakthrough. If you don’t like myself, and Pat just skip it and go right there. Because he’s just a smart guy. And if you want to learn stuff, you want to go there. But let’s jump to what he’s got to say. Here we go.
Pat Yates 3:20
Welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. Josh, it’s great to have you here today.
Josh Hadley 3:23
Hey, excited to be here, Pat.
Pat Yates 3:26
That’s great. So tell us a little bit. Where are you from, Josh, give us an idea of what you do and where you’re from?
Josh Hadley 3:30
Yeah, I’m in Dallas, Texas, and my wife and I own a stationery brand and eight-figure stationery brand primarily selling on Amazon. We’ve been in the Amazon space since 2016. Fall of 2016 is when we launched our first product. And we’ve been able to ramp up sales from then.
Joe Valley 3:50
Eight figures is pretty impressive. Oh, my goodness, you’re doing that with Happy Feet?
Pat Yates 3:55
No, we’re not doing that with that. That’s impressive. I looked over the side. Some of your stuff is really, really cool. Josh, how did you get into this business? Very curious.
Josh Hadley 4:02
Yeah, so my wife is a graphic designer. But she wasn’t coming out of college. We both graduated college at the same time. We’re originally from Utah, I got a job offer from American Airlines and their MBA Leadership Development Program. And I started working for American Airlines and was there with them for five years. But as soon as we moved down, my wife was dabbling in graphic design. She started designing some friend’s wedding invitations for fun. And she just kept getting referral after referral. And so for me at the in the nighttime, when I’d come home from work, I helped her kind of set up or create this wedding invitation business and I would run all the sales and processes for the business. And then she would just focus on designing and getting them shipped out to the customer. And so we did that, but it got to a point where we could not scale the business any further because my wife was is working day in and day out with just one on one wedding clients, which as you know, anything working with brides can be stressful. And so we then, there were a lot of people pitching the Amazon courses at the time. And I dabbled in Amazon and sold a few different things and try different private label product. And then the idea kind of clicked in our minds. It’s like, wait, why don’t we try to take some of these products that our customers are requesting these brides and send them or sell them on Amazon? And one thing that we kept getting asked repeatedly was, hey, can you create a recipe card for my bridal shower? And it’s like, okay, number one, you’re paying $1,000 for your wedding invitation to be designed. It’s about the same amount of work that goes into creating any type of design. And so for recipe card design, like you’re not going to pay 1000 bucks. So that ended up being one of our first products that we launched on Amazon. And we sold out within I think four to six weeks. And for the first time, we’re like, wait, we made something once we printed it, and now we can just reprint it and we’re off to the races like that’s when the idea that kind of heavens open so to speak, or and we were off to the races. And so that was the fall of 2016, 2017 was our first full year on Amazon. We did over a million in revenue on Amazon. So we knew the path was there.
Pat Yates 6:32
So getting into this niche, so she was obviously a designer but I mean, I look behind you some beautiful woodwork and stuff she a designer just a graphics or does she do like home stuff like that as well? Because you look in the back and can tell obviously it’s beautiful.
Josh Hadley 6:45
Yeah, well, yeah, you come into our home in our home looks great. That’s because of her. But there you go. Yeah. I mean, she’s a creative mind. She just has a good eye for design across the board. But yeah, for her area of specialty, she’s not an interior designer by trade. But I think they go hand in hand for sure.
Joe Valley 7:06
I can see this interview going two paths. One, how the heck are you able to survive the marriage while having your wife be your business partner? How do you scale beyond seven figures and get to eight? I want to hear about that as well. But you’ve got a successful marriage successful business? Is it successful because you stay in your own lanes? Or what’s the trick there?
Josh Hadley 7:30
Yeah, yeah, I think that is a great question and a good place to start. Because so many people, when they find out, oh, you’re working with your wife, like, I can’t imagine living and working with my spouse, significant other or even my business,
Joe Valley 7:45
It is spouse, folks, it’s not just working with wives where we all have to have wives. So we say wives, but it’s just as bad for them working with us. I’m sure. My wife says, I don’t know what yours is Pat.
Josh Hadley 7:57
My wife does say that. Yeah, they just have. My wife fortunately, has a lot of patience with me. But we have three kids as well. And they’re young. So we have a seven year old, a four year old and a two year old right now. And so we’re busy, we’re going a million miles an hour. But here’s I think one of the biggest principles that we’ve learned in our life that applies to the business and kind of the success that we’ve been able to create is, we’re always doing weekly and daily planning sessions. Because there’s so much going on with our family, I coached three different sports teams, I’ve got a hockey team, I’ve got a baseball team and a basketball team, I’m coaching for my son, and my wife just involved with the kids and their schooling as well. And so it all comes down to being able to set, what are our goals as a family? What are our goals in our relationship? And then what are our goals with our business, and then being able to backtrack all of those annual goals into monthly goals into weekly goals into daily goals. So really, it comes down to that communication, planning and being on the same page? I think that’s where most friction starts with any relationship even outside of a marriage.
Pat Yates 9:14
I’m really curious, I know you started this. And obviously she’s the one that started it. And then you came into the business. When did you all decide that that was necessary? Was it a growth phase? Was it a point of sales? What was the decision behind that? Or could you just add value at that time? And it just made sense?
Josh Hadley 9:29
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I was at American Airlines for five years, but my wife had started the wedding invitation business, like, literally, I think month two into me working at American Airlines. So we had always kind of been doing the side hustle thing from day one. And for me, I was the kid with the candy stand on the corner of the street growing up. So I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. And it was where my passion was. So yeah, we kept growing the business. Like I said, 2017 was our first full year on Amazon did over a million. But then it wasn’t until 2019 that I actually left American Airlines. And for me, it was a matter of seeing American Airlines as my venture capital, so to speak, because we didn’t have to reimburse, or I guess we were able to reinvest all of the profits into the business, and then just continue living off my salary. And it in addition to that, the lifestyle we had set up was come home from work, and we just grinded, we just worked. And fortunately, my wife is just as passionate about business, as I am. And in so it worked. I think that that could be an obstacle if she was always begging like, no, I don’t want to work with let’s just watch shows tonight. It’s like, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If we didn’t actually sit down and work is our hobby.
Joe Valley 10:59
How long did it take you to get where you are today to that eight figure range? I mean, hitting that million mark that seven figure mark? It’s hard, right. Obviously, most businesses fail. But once you start to see a path towards that you hit it. But the next step, I mean, you’re talking about 10 times the revenue to get to eight figures. How long did it take from 17 to when did you hit that first? eight-figure year?
Josh Hadley 11:25
Yeah, so we hit it in 2022. So we hit that eight figure mark there, we could have gotten there a lot faster. And that’s the intro on my own podcast that I run is, hey, it’s great. I made it to these eight figures. But I made a lot of mistakes along the way, that honestly made the path of getting to eight figures take a lot longer than it needed to. And we can kind of break down what some of those obstacles were. So one thing that we did, we immediately saw some success on Amazon. And one of the biggest mistakes that I made is I kept hearing all the voices out there in the world that kept saying, oh, you got to start diversifying your revenue from Amazon. Because you could wake up one morning, and Amazon’s just gonna shut down your account for no reason. And so this was like 2018. And we’re like, oh, my goodness, well, we’ve done so well, on Amazon. Yeah, we need to start diversifying our business. So we ended up spending, the majority, I would say, more than 80% of our time in the business focused on creating a new business. So instead of selling these physical products that we were shipping into Amazon, we had this genius idea of, hey, let’s create the digital file templates that people can go buy from Etsy or from our website, and they could just download them print them at home. That’s amazing. Right? Now, that is a good side hustle. And I know there’s other moms that do that at home and make a good six figure income, just from selling those templates. But as you compare that to the trajectory of what we were doing on Amazon, is like, dude, you’re bending over to pick up pennies when you’re being hit by this dollar bill is sitting out here, and you’re just completely neglecting it. And so, yeah, we spent so much time and we started hiring people to support this Etsy business, because we’re like, well, it’s not a million dollars yet, because we don’t have the marketing. Okay, so you’re the marketing professional, well, then we don’t have enough designs to support all of these, we just need more designs. So we hired two additional graphic designers. And so we had over almost $200,000 in salaries that we were paying to support this business that was not even making $200,000. And yet, Amazon, we would continue to feed Amazon, but it wasn’t our sole focus. And Amazon just kept growing and growing and growing. And so that was kind of the biggest principle that I learned is number one, like, focus on or you need to look at your business and identify the levers, that if you pull them provide outsized returns, and here’s the thing like in a business, there are so many different levers that you could pull, right? You could focus on marketing, you hear people killing it with Instagram influencers or TikTok ads. And back in the day, I was the squirrel, that’s like, oh, somebody’s doing this, I need to go start Facebook ads, oh, somebody’s doing this. I need to jump on that. And so it diverted my attention and completely eliminated the progress that we were making, or I guess, diluted the progress we were making. And so the big pivot in the business really came in COVID. So prior to COVID, so 2019 I think we did over think it was over 5 million. And then 2020 comes and most of our products because we were in that wedding space originally serve that events and party who will supply space, you must have been slaughtered. COVID happens and we just get punched in the mouth and we will 90% decrease in our business.
Joe Valley 12:02
Wow. Go that must have been a stressful time at home.
Josh Hadley 15:31
It was the worst time in my life because we had just purchased a new home as well. We closed on a new home. Nice, beautiful home. Lots of space for future family and all that stuff. We closed on February 28 2020. And COVID comes in and just decimates things, and I watched things just start to crumble overnight, going from 1000 orders a day to lucky if we could get 100. And I’m like, it’s all just starting to fall apart.
Joe Valley 16:10
Okay. So before we jump onto the going from 5 million to 10. Talk to us about just being an entrepreneur being a husband being a father. And what kind of recommendations you would give to yourself now knowing that shit happens. And your revenue could dry up. Sometimes your account does get suspended and you have to fix yeah, sometimes stuff like COVID hits, is it six months’ worth of cash expenses? What are you trying to do now? What safety nets are you putting in place for yourself and your family so that you don’t stress out?
Josh Hadley 16:43
Yeah, great question. So we work with kind of our wealth advisor. They’re kind of like a fractional family office, do well, somebody that we had met through the War Room Mastermind Group, and they do a phenomenal job of, you know, one of the biggest expenses for a business owner is taxes, right? And so the strategies that we’ve been able to employ to really kind of like shelter away money, not illegally, right, just following what the government really wants you to be doing. And investing there has provided us personally, with the safety net that we need. Now as it relates to the business. Yeah. Based on what I learned from COVID, there’s two things. Number one, having six months’ worth of working capital in a business can be your lifeline. Right, and that that’s definitely erring on the side of like, that’s, you’re probably more than good at six months. Yeah. That’s my level of comfort right now coming out of that experience. But in addition to that, I learned that having access and already setting up those kinds of credit lines, like you couldn’t go tap a credit line. when COVID happened. Right.
Joe Valley 17:55
So speaking my language right now. I talked to you. I said this on a call the other day, Pat? Yeah. Look, say it again, right now. Anybody that is out there running a business.
Josh Hadley 18:07
Set up a credit line? Even if you don’t need it?
Joe Valley 18:10
Yes, absolutely. If you don’t need it, someday you will, it’s gonna give you peace of mind to tap into it. Whether it’s a HELOC or a line of credit for your investment portfolio. Any way shape or form that you can get it, sign up for it, get it done. Real quickly, Josh what I did was I sold my last business in 2010, November 2010, we closed and then I got kind of lazy with my taxes and in file them and I found them by April 15 the following year, and I knew I was gonna buy another business, I had a ton of equity. In my house, I had a ton of cash on hand, but I wanted to buy a bigger business. I filed my taxes and then probably the first of May I went to the bank, a local bank where I know the manager of the bank and we sit we have coffee and we talk and I go in and I’m like, you know, Pat, I want to set up a HELOC. I’ll probably use some of it to buy business and she says Well Joe, that’s wonderful but you don’t have a job. Yes, you filed your tax returns and you don’t have a job you don’t have any income. But what about my portfolio? Now granted this was 2010 and things are looser now yeah, I couldn’t set it up because I didn’t have a job so people that are selling their businesses set up that line of credit first you’ll have some cash afterwards but get it done and get it done now as buyers because the right business may come along and if you can’t act on it and somebody else can you’re gonna lose out all right, sorry, Josh tangent there. So you set up your line of credits that’s peace of mind. You get six months of working capital in the business that’s peace of mind and then whatever you need personally, okay, I total tangent there and I took you off. Sorry, keep going.
Josh Hadley 20:01
I like it. I think those are important principles. You want to dive into kind of how we pivoted, then
Pat Yates 20:09
I do have a question before you pivot. You know, you mentioned something I meant to ask you about earlier. You know, I think you and I have something even more in common. You know, I coached high school basketball for 10 years and was kind of an escape from being an entrepreneur, I could go in and work with kids and be able to teach, do things like that. It’s interesting to me that you do that, especially as expansive as you are, most of my kids are out of the house. But how do you balance that as well? Because your time becomes really, really important, especially you and your wife, it’s a sports fall down on both of you even if she’s not coaching, she’s going to game so how are you all able to balance that I remember those times are not a bad boys as well.
Joe Valley 20:42
He’s just a bad coach. That’s what it is. Right?
Josh Hadley 20:44
Yeah, exactly. I just show up and like, wait, there’s a game today? No, it is a great question. And a lot of people do ask me, because it’s, I’ll coach the same group of boys across these different sports. And they’re always like, why? Like, you’re always so eager to do this coaching. Well, number one, to me, it is my outlet where it’s like, I just enjoy being around with my son. It’s a way that I build a relationship with him, like my dad built that relationship with me. At the end of the day, the main reason why I do it would be I love to kind of future pace myself. And look at me laying on my deathbed and saying what really matters, right? And at the end of the day, what really matters is, do I have family by my side that says, I remember doing XYZ with dad, I remember what dad taught me. I remember doing this. I don’t want them to say, all I remember about dad is that he made us a bunch of money, but I never saw him.
Pat Yates 21:50
That’s a great way to put it because I was in the same position. That’s an awesome statement.
Josh Hadley 21:54
Yeah. That’s what drives it.
Pat Yates 21:57
All right, well, back to what we were just talking about from five to 10 million, you got your credit line, like Joe said, I was just curious on the coaching thing, tell us what the steps were to get to there. Because that’s got to be a whole another layer of infrastructure, people and everything. So I’m curious.
Josh Hadley 22:10
It was Yeah, so COVID happens, right? We sales go down 90%. Obviously, at that point, we we lay off the team that was supporting this failing business endeavor of pursuing these digital templates. And so we’re back to square one. So my wife and I we’re sitting down, we’re like, where do we go from here? How do we make the correct pivot in our business? So Amazon kept hobbling along. And as the months went on past March, like, began to get a little better, not drastically, but a little bit. So there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. What we did do is that was finally our wake up call to say like, okay, everything else has dried up, except 100 orders a day on Amazon. Okay. This is where we can focus. And so all of a sudden, and what’s funny is I so I was part of the War Room Mastermind Group. So Ryan Deiss, Perry Belcher, Roland Frasier, all three of them. During that time I got on the phone with them. I was like, this is where I’m at, what should I do? And Ryan Deiss was like, as I walked through everything, he’s like, dude, you already know what to do. You keep talking about how you make the money on Amazon, and you want to give it more time that you’re scared, like, just go do it.
Joe Valley 23:30
So often, we know what to do. We just need to hear somebody else say it, reinforce it.
Josh Hadley 23:35
Yeah, it wasn’t even ground, game changing or earth shattering. It was just simple. And I was like, yeah, that’s exactly what we need to do.
Joe Valley 23:46
Did you expand the product line to not be so dependent on weddings?
Josh Hadley 23:50
So that’s when we said, okay, well, parties aren’t working on Amazon anymore. So what do we do now, at that time, homeschooling stuff was going crazy, right? So we dabbled into the educational space, we launched a product that became the number one best seller in a very competitive category is kind of our lifeline. And that’s when it all like clicked is like, okay, there’s more products like this that we could launch. All we need to do is just build our team around launching products on Amazon. So in the fall of 2020, we hired a project manager, and a new product development manager. And those were the two core pieces of the business that allowed us to say, hey, the process and the biggest lever we could pull as creating new products. And so from there, that’s when we began to scale the team. And now we’re up to 26 team members today.
Joe Valley 24:46
How many did you have back then? Was it just you and your wife and the two of them?
Josh Hadley 24:50
My wife and I, and then we had an assistant? It was my sister, and then once we added those to a project manager, and then we had the product research and development manager that we brought on.
Joe Valley 25:03
And how many products did you have then in the fall of 2020, versus how many you have now and 2023?
Josh Hadley 25:11
I think we had about 400 products. And now we’re over 1200 products on Amazon.
Joe Valley 25:18
How do you keep track of all those, do you manufacture? Or is it print here in the US? Or how’s it?
Josh Hadley 25:24
Yeah, yeah. So fortunately, everything’s printed here in the US.
Joe Valley 25:28
You didn’t have to deal with all this tariffs and all that other stuff as well. You’re probably pleased.
Josh Hadley 25:33
Yes. That wasn’t this shipping issues.
Joe Valley 25:36
Yeah. Pat was not happy.
Speaker 3 25:38
No, it was terrible.
Joe Valley 25:41
Yeah, like you got hit with COVID. And then you got hit with, you know, containers costing four times as much you got hit with COVID, Josh, but it sounds like you came out of it. Pretty, pretty slick.
Josh Hadley 25:51
Yeah. And it’s just been a process of focusing on that lever that actually provides the outsized return on the business, and not worrying about the Instagram influencers or the TikTok ads, those are well and good. And I think they have a place for some dabbling, but not pivoting my business, to where I’m focusing most of my time there. And so we realized, launching new products is where the lifeblood was. And that’s what we built the entire team around. Everybody supports, launching new products. That’s the number one priority in our business. That’s what we drive into the minds of all of our team members, that we will always prioritize supporting a new product launch rather than any other initiatives. Those are pet projects.
Pat Yates 26:38
That’s fantastic. Can you tell me a little bit? What are your best-selling designs? Because it seems as if when you expanded, you’ve more than doubled the amount of things you so how did you know which ones we’re going to introduce? Was it a beta testing, you do AB testing on certain designs? What made you narrow this down? And what are your best selling items?
Josh Hadley 26:57
Yeah, good question. So we’ve always had calendars has been a really good category for us. But it’s difficult because the supply chain is a little more challenging, right, you’ve got a product that actually expires, right? And so, doing a lot more like demand planning becomes very important there. But ultimately, what we did is we just kept, it’s the simple tools that everybody else uses in the Amazon space of the Helium 10s, the jungle scouts, where you go and identify, like, hey, what are specific product categories? And how much revenue are they doing? One thing that our r&d manager does right now, is they are always looking for 20 new product ideas to add to our list of potential products every single week. And so that’s a component of looking at what our competitors are releasing, it’s a component of, just typing into Amazon’s search box, seeing what’s trending and the top 100 each day, it’s also a component of one of the best things that we have found is go to other marketplaces, whether it be Target, whether it be Etsy, whether it be Wayfair, or any of these other websites, or even Walmart. And when you type in a search term, if you see something trending on Target, and you go to Amazon, you type that in, and that product is nowhere to be found, or the designs are kind of outdated, it seems, that’s where we’ve found the most opportunity is being able to just bring innovation. And I think that’s one thing that all the people that pitch the Amazon courses, it’s like, make a million dollars overnight, just by printing your brand name on this spatula, it’s like, oh, my friend, like that is not the name of this game. This game is come to the product and spurts come to the market and serve a customer with something that they need, provide something new, they don’t need nothing. They don’t need more me to products, unless you can provide them it at a lesser cost. So for us, we’re a premium product, because we’ve got unique designs that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. And that’s the core capability that my wife has. So I can’t really take much credit for any of this. Because if she weren’t part of this business, and she’s just creative in and of herself, she goes to Hobby Lobby, she’ll go to Target she’ll go to all these home goods supply stores, and she can just see and create things that are on the market. Like she’s not emulating anybody else but bringing just new stuff to the market. And that’s really where the magic happens.
Joe Valley 29:48
I’m curious with 1200 SKUs Josh, how often do you determine to reduce it? Are there any skews that are heroes skews and do you know have a minimum threshold that they have to sell on a monthly basis before you scrap it.
Josh Hadley 30:03
Yeah, another great question. So this year is actually the first year that we are actually paying attention to those metrics and those numbers, because the whole focus, like I said, has just been launch, launch, launch, launch, launch, which is well and good. And now you get to a point where it’s like, okay, how do I manage this large SKU count. And so we’ve been training some product managers that are actually going to oversee these products. And for the first time, we’ve actually created a SKU level profitability report. And it’s opened my eyes to say, Holy smokes, there’s products that are actually losing us money. And so yes, that is what we are working on this year is like, all right, now we can clean this up. And it makes us that much more profitable and easier to manage as well.
Pat Yates 30:53
I think some people out there in the audience, they may have a business three, four $5 million. And to them, it seems like going to eight figures, 10 million is like, no way they could possibly do it. I’m sure you had ideas of things you thought were going to happen when you’re moving to that? What was the thing that was most surprising? What’s something you expected to go really well, from five to 10 million, but then didn’t that you’d say, please don’t ever do this, if you’re moving in that direction?
Josh Hadley 31:16
Yeah. Probably one thing, I would say, I thought that you would just have to catch some big break, right? Something has to go viral, in order to get your business to that next level. To be honest with you, it wasn’t anything viral, that helped us get there. In fact, it’s been no social media, in and of ourselves, our journey has actually been pretty boring. It’s find the product opportunities, and go launch those products on Amazon, rinse and repeat over and over and over again. Now the one thing that has come from going to five to 10 million is the team that we have needed to create in order to actually facilitate all of this, because it used to be, I would be on Amazon, hey, here’s a new product idea. Look at my wife and say, do you think you could do this? Right? She’s like, yes, I could do that. And she would just design it, send it to her manufacturer print it. Now we’ve got a much, call it more corporate red tape, that you have to go through to have team members first vet the idea of looking at the keywords, looking at different manufacturers and things that we didn’t do in the hustle stages. And now my role in the business has shifted, instead of me working in the business and finding the Ideas and Brainstorming those and then sharing them with my wife. My job is more as the visionary and in a leadership management role. So can I help facilitate my team members and my managers to make the same decisions that I would. And so that has been the evolution that it’s continuous coaching with them, right? And it gets better day by day. And sharing my experience with them and watching them, asking them, hey, what decision are you going to make here? Sometimes letting them fail and making those decisions if there’s a decent safety net, and then providing instruction, where they need it? And who was I had on my podcast? The author of the E-Myth, so Michael E. Gerber. One of my favorite quotes that he had said was, you don’t own a business, sorry, and bought, I’m butchering this quote. But the long story short is, if you are working inside the business, you the business owns you. You don’t own the business. Right. And so that’s been kind of my goal is like, how do I own the business where I’m not working inside the business?
Joe Valley 33:58
Yeah, absolutely. Hey, I’m curious. On a staff of 26, where you’ve become the visionary and the coach and things of that nature. Are they all remote? Or do you have any folks that are at house that you go to an office and you get to see them face to face?
Josh Hadley 34:15
Yeah. So everybody is remote on our team, which is what I prefer, I enjoy working from home. And so everybody’s remote and most of our team, over 20 of our team members are over in the Philippines. And they’re not just VA’s, right. I think everybody talks about, oh, I got a VA in the Philippines. These aren’t VAs that work in our business. These are management level staff members that we have courted from companies like Coca Cola, IBM, and other big US players, how to find them, source them. I’ve got a whole podcast where I dissect how I go through that process. It’s something that I’ll go teach when I speak on stages.
Joe Valley 35:04
We haven’t touched on that, what is the name of the brand? And what is the name of your podcast?
Josh Hadley 35:10
Yeah, so our brand is Hadley Designs. And the podcast is eComm Breakthrough. So eComm with two M’s. And the purpose of that podcast is to help seven-figure sellers grow to eight figures, and beyond sharing tactical strategies and activities that they can implement in their business.
Joe Valley 35:29
Thank you. Thank you, as far as the employees in the Philippines, are they remote to each other in the Philippines? Or do they all work in one particular location or using the service over there? What’s the situation?
Josh Hadley 35:44
Yeah, they’re all remote. And they all work with us, right? So we don’t use an agency. So kind of the real quick nuts and bolts of how we go and source these candidates is we go to we’ll put up a job posting on the standard Upwork, we’ll do it on Indeed, we’ll put it on onlinejobs.ph. And our job and even a lot of those Facebook groups that are plentiful for Filipino VAs will put the job posting on there. And one of the key things that we do is we don’t just say, hey, we’re looking for a supply chain analyst, right, and then we just kind of leave it at that, we actually provide a very thorough like description, this is what success looks like in this role. Here are the KPIs that you will need to achieve. And these are measurable activities. And then from there, here are your daily tasks here, kind of some of your weekly tasks, the response that I’ve received from many of the applicants is like I’ve never seen somebody spend so much time on there job descriptions, this shows me like, there’s something different about your organization and everybody else is just kind of being lazy and just putting up a job post as quick as they can. So number one that attracts higher quality candidates. But then secondly, as soon as people apply, I have my executive assistant, she immediately will reply, say, hey, your background looks great, regardless of what their background is, your background looks great. Can you please take this assessment, this personality assessment. Now what this assessment does, is it does give them a personality assessment, that also gives them like an IQ score. This is facilitated by Criteria Corp. That’s who I use. And you send them that and it basically measures they’ve been able to predict it like the higher that score, the higher the likelihood that that candidate will succeed in any given role. So that’s kind of like our first cut off is like, you’ve got to score in the 70th percentile or higher in order to kind of move on to the next round. Then from there, what we’ll do is we’ll send, if we get, so here’s kind of like numbers will shoot to get 1000 applicants for every job. From there. Oh my goodness, like we’re talking like serious volume, right?
Joe Valley 38:10
Oh, you like big numbers. You’re like holy cow, man. I’m like, give me five good candidates narrowed.
Josh Hadley 38:20
Here’s the thing. Yeah, as a business owner, you’re like, I don’t want to look at 1000 resumes yet. Neither do I. But that’s why this process, it works because it’s on autopilot. And here’s how it works, right? You get 1000 candidates, you have them take this assessment, the assessment is going to weed out 90% of your candidates. So you’re gonna drop down from 1000 to 100 real quick, you haven’t had to spend any time looking at their resume or anything. Okay. Then from there, we’ll take those 100. And we’ll say, hey, we need you to complete a test project. And then this Test Project is an actual, like real life test project that we’ll come up with whether it’s something that we’ve recently worked on for that specific role, or there’s a case study that we could leverage from Harvard Business Review or something like that, right? And we’ll actually have them go and perform that test project. Now. This requires them to do actual work. Yes. And sometimes you get candidates back that’s like, I don’t work for free. And it’s like, I’m sorry, I’m not asking you to work. I’m asking you to participate in this interview process. Which side note tangent, the reason why I’m so confident giving them a test project. When I was hired on at American Airlines, they did the same thing. They gave me a test project. They said you have to or I think it was like yeah, you have two hours to complete this. We will call you when your time starts. And then we’ll send over the email. You start working on it and you’ve got to send that back before those two hours are up. I remember that like I was in college. I went into like a study room locked it made sure I was like all good to go. Right? But I was serious. And I didn’t question like American Airlines, how dare you, you’re gonna be billing me at the end, right? So I can charge you for my time. No, like, I wanted to work at a good organization, right. So that’s kind of where that idea came from. And we do the same. So you’re gonna take 100 candidates, you’re gonna get 30 to 50%, who will actually go do it, then from there, that’s the first time that somebody will actually like, start looking at their work. So we’ll review those test projects, then from there, you’re easily going to narrow it down to like your top 10 candidates, sometimes even five to 10. Then from there, a new thing that we added on is we do a group interview. This isn’t a group interview with our team. This is a group interview where we bring all the candidates together. And we kind of pitch them up against each other. And every single time everybody’s like, I’ve never done this before. I’m like, yeah, good, because it’s putting you in an uncomfortable situation. I want to see how you respond and act. And it is fascinating. So here’s the one like, magic question that we love to ask people. This is gonna be awkward. But I want you each of you need to respond with which candidate from this panel you would hire for this position. Oh, and by the way, you can’t say yourself. Okay. And every time I think we’re hitting 1,000%, right now, every time we have always ended up hiring that person, because those natural leaders and the best candidate kind of will shine. And then we’ll do like a one on one interview with that person, and kind of go from there. But that’s how we methodically go through and filter 1000 candidates to find one.
Joe Valley 41:51
That’s a lot, a lot to learn. You obviously, know what you’re talking about and speak very well. You share information for free on your podcast. So I want to tell everybody that is listening. You’ve got a six figure brand that I’m sorry, seven figure brand, actually six figures to write you help people go from seven to eight figures, but people with six figures trying to hire people can use that process. It’s all via your podcast, eComm Breakthrough and probably the content that you share there as well, right?
Josh Hadley 42:24
Correct. Yep, I dropped everything there. Don’t hold much back.
Joe Valley 42:28
eComm Breakthruogh, with two M’s, because some people spell e-comm. With one. I’ve had this conversation with Mike Jack this many times. And then Hadley Designs for all the stationery products as well. Josh, this has been great man. I really, really appreciate your time. How does other than the URLs that I just gave out? How do people get in touch with you? Or would you prefer them to go to those two?
Josh Hadley 42:54
Yeah, probably go to those two eComm Breakthrough. There is a website, you can visit me there. Sign up. I do strategy audits, with people as well. So you could reach out for a strategy audit there as well.
Joe Valley 43:07
It’s awesome, man. Thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at [email protected] Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.