Joshua Chin 12:13
That makes sense. And what this what is your daily like day to day routine, if any look like right now what is the typical day look like for Ezra.
Ezra Firestone 12:23
So the thing about routine is routine is not the goal, the goal is the goal. And people get caught up in their routine. And they’re like, wow, you got to have a fucking routine. It’s like, sometimes routine is good. And sometimes it’s not routine is a tool that you use to achieve your goal. Now, I tend to follow consistent routines, but the thing about routine is you’re going to fall off. So let yourself fall out of it and have space from it and then get back into it. Right now. I have, you know, three companies with 113 employees and multiple 10s of millions a year in revenue. So I clearly need some structure to handle all of that. So so if you look at my current structure, it’s, you know, I get up at 7:30. actually more like I get it more like 6:45. And from 6:45 to 7:45, I make some tea, and maybe I write a few things down in my notebook, maybe write down some of my dreams. Maybe I you know, tinker around the internet and playing, do whatever. And then fight three days a week that that sort of 8am to 9am period. I’m doing a weightlifting routine with a custom, a personal trainer two days a week I’m doing a I’m running. So that sort of eight to nine is my time to move my body. And I do that every morning. And then nine to 10 I make breakfast with my wife, I hang out have fun, make her a drink, we cook a meal, we talk about our day, etc. 10am I start work. I work from 10 to two. And that’s usually I’m doing phone calls or I’m mostly I’m doing phone calls or if it’s Tuesday or Thursday, I have nothing scheduled I’m just going deep. I’m thinking about stuff. I’m looking at our five year vision, I’m making sure we’re on track. I don’t have anything scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays I just create 2pm I stopped I make lunch. And I break state from my heavy lifting, which I do in the morning. Two to three I eat, hang out with my wife, have a meal, maybe go for a walk outside and then three to five, sometimes three to six and do a lot more work more like less intense stuff that requires less brain energy. And I do that four days a week. Sometimes I work on Fridays, sometimes I don’t six I stop again I make dinner, cook a meal, put away all the technology eat and then spend the evening hanging out with my lady and doing stuff so that’s my structure and and you know Parkinson’s Law says that work will expand to fill the time that you give it. So if you don’t get really good at setting boundaries around your work life, you it’ll just permeate your whole world especially given them digital and virtual And available to you here. So what’s interesting is that when you set boundaries, you realize that actually, you’re wasting half your work life, you’re not fucking doing anything. And you really set strong container around it, you realize you could do all the shit you were doing and half the time. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall victim to that they feel like they need to work eight to 12 hours a day. And they don’t realize that either, they’re not delegating enough, or they’re doing too much shit that they shouldn’t be doing. or most of the time, they literally could just be working less and still achieving the same results.
Joshua Chin 15:36
I think we’re all guilty in some some shape or form. And I think growing up in my personal experience, working less is always frowned upon in some shape or form. But that’s not necessarily like, like you mentioned, that’s not the goal, the goal is the goal. Right? When you’re achieving is the goal, not necessarily what you do.
Ezra Firestone 15:58
Yeah, it’s not about how much you work. It’s about what you produce.
Joshua Chin 16:01
Exactly. And you know, as much as we try to emphasize that in the, in our company, as part of our core values, results over processes, it’s just hard to execute on keep front of mind. So appreciate that. My next question is about content marketing. So kind of shifting gears to the technical side of your business now, with marketing back in, I think was 2013. In a in a podcast that you did with eCommerceFuel, you mentioned that marketing is talking to people about experiences that they are having. Marketing is talking to people about experiences that they’re having, has that changed? Has your approach changed in any shape or form, given the epidemic and what I do,
Ezra Firestone 16:49
I just do a better and better job of that of like, what you’re doing here is you’re creating content that speaks to a group of people who are sharing a collective experience e commerce, business owners who want to grow their business via better tap tips and strategies, you’re putting that content out in front of them for free, with the hopes that they will find it valuable, think you’re cool and want to check out your services in case they want some of this marketing done for them. It’s a great strategy. It’s been working since 2011, when I started doing it. And it still works today. And now you’ve got, you know, Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and Apple podcasts. And, you know, Twitter and LinkedIn and Club House you got all these ways that you can engage you got live content, you’ve got pre recorded content, you got audio content, you got video content, you got long form written articles that you can put on your blog, and a lot of ways to do it. And I still think it’s the best business model in the world. I think it’s the best time ever to be in this business model. because more and more people are continuing to come online. So it’s only getting more powerful.
Joshua Chin 17:57
It’s awesome know, with what’s happening in in the world with COVID-19. And right now with the recent change, or the recent announcement with Apple and Facebook with iOS 14 and the ATT framework, what has changed in your advertising strategy?
Ezra Firestone 18:22
Nothing man, I’m still I’m still doing the same thing that I’ve been doing. And, you know, I wrote a whole article, I don’t want to get too deep into it. I wrote a whole article on my blog about what I think about iOS 14. So you can go check that out. But yeah, I mean, my ad strategy if you’ve ever seen it, you know awareness, retargeting loyalty, I kind of coined those phrases all the way back in 2015. And now they’re just industry standard. But I start with a top line video ad. And I use image ad and GIF animation ads, I got long form video and short form video, I got 15 second videos, I got three minute videos, I got images, and I have strategies for creating the best creative. And I run those ads. And those ads usually lead to a piece of content, sometimes a long form sales page. And if you watch the video and fall out, I retarget you if you visit the article and Fallout I retarget. You if you visit the product page and follow out I retarget you so on and so forth. Throughout the process. I’m trying to acquire your email address via pop ups and stuff like that. I also have ads running that are just designed to get your email address for the folks that that need a slower growth. Same audiences I’m targeting my conversion ads, I’m running email, opt in ads to to get people on my list and warm them up over time. So I’m using a slow growth approach there I’m targeting the same audiences I’m running conversion ads to with video views page post engagement, you know, catalog sales, traffic objective to be more in front of them with other objectives that are designed just get them to see my content. So the whole ad strategy that I’ve been teaching forever, still running
Joshua Chin 20:01
It’s amazing. What do you what do you think is the reason for that not shading? Is it because of fundamentals that you stuck to for just years, and then that just doesn’t change, no matter what happens in a court make side of things.
Ezra Firestone 20:17
Look, it’s simple. You’ve got areas where you can aggregate data points. So you know, Facebook, Instagram, Google, whatever. So you can aggregate data points on people and build audiences, then you got to put messages in front of those audiences that resonate with them and have them interested, you got to get them to click. And then once they’ve clicked, you got to get them to engage, consume and convert. It doesn’t matter where you’re advertising, it doesn’t matter what rules they have, or what kind of ads you can run, what kind of tracking is available, that shit has been the same. Since I started doing this in 2008 2005 was search find by was search ads. We’re not talking about that. That’s Amazon marketing. That’s Google AdWords that’s different. But contextual advertising has been the same. And so yeah, things change. But like the fundamentals, good, solid ad creative, good solid targeting, good solid, post click optimization, that stuff stays the same. And you’d have to keep doing it continually better than everybody else was doing it. And it’s not that hard. If you’re, if you’re, you know, working on it, ongoingly.
Joshua Chin 21:22
It’s awesome. And you mentioned, the SMS app that you’re developing, that you have been developing over the course of a year. What is that going to look like? What are you excited about it? And when can we expect that to launch?
Ezra Firestone 21:39
So it’ll be launched into the Shopify App Store on probably April 1, it’s pretty sweet. It does a lot of the stuff that you’re already aware of, if you know of SMS, you know, cart abandonment, text messaging, post purchase text messaging, you know, dynamic upsell, cross sell via text message based on what you ordered, you know, on site pop ups that open up to your text message that give you a discount, so it pops up, hey, do you want to discount? Yes, click opens up your iMessage allows you to text back broadcasting to different segments, split testing and flows and automations for different segments of how they subscribe or if they’ve been in the cart or whatever. You know, Apple business chat, Apple Pay integrations, I got all kinds of really fun stuff. So if you know about, you know, SMS bump, or PostScript or attentive or some of these big players in the space right now, think of it as a competitor to them, but with my own direct response, sort of flavor put on it.
Joshua Chin 22:34
Amazing. And is this going to be under the Zipify Apps umbrella?
Ezra Firestone 22:39
No, it’s an app called Konnect. Okay, and then connect like, Hey, we’re connecting and kin k i n. Family. So. So it’s not it’s gonna I mean, it’s brought to you by the team that brought you Zipify but not, not under the Zipify brand, if you will. And, you know, if you’re interested in beta testing it you can email [email protected] and say, Hey, I heard about connect on Joshua’s podcast and want to beta it. And we’ll we’ll set you up.
Joshua Chin 23:09
Gotcha. That’s Ezra[email protected] for beta. Now, given all the different businesses that you have, is there a grand vision, and you spoke briefly about your five year vision? What does that look like? And can you speak more about that?
Ezra Firestone 23:27
Um, well, I mean, first and foremost, my business philosophy is, number one, have fun, because you could die tomorrow, you don’t fucking know. You know, and I’ve had that happen, where close people to me have suddenly passed away. So if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, stop and find something you enjoy. Because it’s not worth it, no matter how much money you’re making, if you’re miserable. And that doesn’t mean you don’t work hard doesn’t mean you don’t grind doesn’t mean you don’t put it in it means you decide to bring some fun and enthusiasm and a positive attitude and make it joyous and have fun with it. You choose that path of you’re going to have a good time to make good products that truly serve the world, that serve your community, that have integrity, that you continually make better. And number three, be profitable. If you’re doing that. And in that order. I don’t care how much money you made, you won the game of business. That is the game in my opinion. So my vision is to keep doing what I’m doing. I like what I’m doing. It’s working. I’m gonna keep at it. I don’t really care how big it gets. Now, I also have wealth creation goals, right? I’m trying to make 100 million liquid in a bank account within 15 years. So given that I have wealth creation goals, I’ve got specific strategies attached to those. Now. Most people think about starting a business and living off of the money but it makes that’s not how wealth is generated. true wealth is generated through asset liquidation. You don’t make true wealth from a cash flow business. You make true wealth from building and then selling assets or buying and then selling assets. That’s where generational wealth comes. From you look at our parents generation in America, they took the money from their 401, K’s when those existed, and they invested in real estate, they left that real estate, an asset, they let that real estate to appreciate, and 20 years, 30 years later, they sold it for a game. That’s how they created their wealth as a generation. Well, I build businesses and buy businesses, grow them, and then sell them. And so for me, in order to reach my wealth creation goals, I’m going to need to continue to I’m going to need to sell the assets I have, build new assets and buy new assets, make them appreciate by growing them, and then sell them and that’s that’s my business strategy is is liquidation events of assets that I’ve built or bought
Joshua Chin 25:45
liquidation of assets. Now, if no, I know this is a, this is a question that can be relatively difficult to kind of wrap our heads around, especially at this stage of your business. But if you had to start all over again, knowing what you know, now, what’s the first thing that you would do?
Ezra Firestone 26:08
I would start an e commerce business. I mean, you look at look at an information publishing model, like Smart Marketer, he, like I said, three pillars, product support marketing, well, product with information goes out of style, super cool, you have to keep it updated every six months. So it’s kind of a nightmare to keep the product up to date. Support is hard, because the business, the people that are doing the support need to know more about the subject matter than the people buying the course. And marketing is the same for every business. But with information publishing, you’re only selling to business owners, so your pool is more limited. e commerce product is easy. It’s, you know, the components, the product comes in the actual products themselves, in my case, you know, cream, really, really nice, handmade, wonderful green, but green, and labels. So it’s like more components, more labels, more cream, products, scales, supports really easy because oh, by the way, you can’t sell an information business, because it’s usually based on your persona. So it’s not an asset, you can sell something casual business. Support for e commerce is easy, because it’s just questions about the product and refunds. And then marketing is great, because generally with e commerce, you got a really big audience you can sell to, instead of a small audience. So I think e commerce is the button they’re in, and they trade for high values, right? e commerce business is going to trade for, let’s say four times its yearly profit, which is a big chunk of money if you’ve got a decently sized business. Software is the hardest business because you’ve got a you’re selling code. And your code base is talking to other code bases that are constantly changing. So you need front end engineers and back end engineers and QA and project managers. Your support agents need to be more sophisticated than the people who are using the software and marketing it. Your pool like my software, I’m selling the Shopify business owners, there’s only a million of them worldwide. Let’s say only half of those people are making money. And let’s say only half of those people are on social media. So there’s a tiny group of people I can market to. So it’s really hard business. But software trades are a multiple of its revenue, not profit. So a software business that makes a million dollars a year in revenue is going to trade for three or four times that versus an e commerce business that makes a million dollars a year in revenue is going to sell for, you know, three or four times the 100,000 in profit it made. So software is the most valuable asset to build if you’re going to sell it
Joshua Chin 28:34
makes a ton of sense. No. If now here’s a here’s a fun one. What is the biggest challenge that you see coming up in 2021? For eCommerce marketing marketers,
Ezra Firestone 28:57
as a whole supply chain logistics. It’s harder and harder COVID shutdowns. Not able to get certain ingredients not able to get started, like I think supply chain is where redundancy is going to have to be built for most brands. And I think COVID expose that the global supply chain is really weak.
Joshua Chin 29:22
What’s in that in that same vein? Do you see Do you see a solution or do you see resolution to that to this challenge?
Ezra Firestone 29:31
Yeah, manufacturing your stuff, wherever you’re selling it instead of overseas. Don’t be manufacturing shit in China if you can avoid it. I think that I think that makes your life a lot easier.
Joshua Chin 29:44
We are Yeah, we are coming down to final two questions. final two questions. Number one, what is one thing that most people would not know about Ezra Firestone, the eCommerce market.
Ezra Firestone 30:02
One thing most people wouldn’t know, I once drank only water for 21 days.
Joshua Chin 30:08
Ezra Firestone 30:11
Joshua Chin 30:12
How does it work
Ezra Firestone 30:12
about willpower? Yeah, drink only water for 21 days, you got to have a very strong will to do that. I don’t recommend it. But extended water fasts are a thing that people do and can be done and I did one. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t recommend the experience, but I did it and it’s kind of interesting. Was it spiritual thing to have done? it like the reason for Yeah, no, it wasn’t, it wasn’t like I was going on some kind of spiritual journey. You you get high enough to where you’re having spiritual journeys, but that wasn’t my intention going in. I was doing it because a friend of mine convinced me it was good for a good health, health health thing to do. Turns out, it’s really great if you’ve got like, some kind of serious illness. But if you’re just like, normal, normally healthy, you don’t you don’t need that level of intensity.
Joshua Chin 31:01
Would you do that again?
Ezra Firestone 31:03
No, I would do maybe seven to 10 days. Sure. You know, I think that’s, that’s totally reasonable. And, you know, once every 510 years do a, a week long water fasts or something like that. Yeah. What I do 21 days now.
Joshua Chin 31:18
See, all right, and final question. What are some of the what are some other brands that you admire and why?
Ezra Firestone 31:29
You know, probably the ones you already know about Allbirds, Everlane you know, em, Jimmy morning brew, they’re really good content business. I think any brand that’s out there making a truly good product, doing good content, marketing, telling stories, running ads, I admire him all I look at all brands, see what they’re doing. I like to see you know, when when someone just takes off see what they did that really resonated with their audience, like I’m a student of the game, and I’m always paying attention. I do a segment on my blog called Buying Stuff and Talking About It, where I buy things and then talk about the experience. And I did have Dollar Shave Club. I did Harry’s, I did Allbirds. I did. I’ve done a bunch of them. There are a lot of times where I buy stuff from brands and talk about what I think they did well, and what I think they didn’t do well. So Google and YouTube, go to YouTube and put in Buying Stuff and Talking About it.
Joshua Chin 32:23
Buying Stuff And Talking About It, Ezra Firestone,
Ezra Firestone 32:25
yeah. Yeah, exactly. You’ll find you’ll find a bunch of episodes for me.
Joshua Chin 32:29
Gotcha. Is that on your blog as well in Smart Marketer? Or is it just an on Yeah,
Ezra Firestone 32:33
but the blog blogs not really easy to search.
Joshua Chin 32:38
Gotcha. Oh, yeah, I see a couple of them. Awesome. Well as her thank you so much for joining me in the show. hope you had a great day and I hope you have fun. And to those of you listening, Ezra can be can if people want to connect with you, how should they go about doing that?
Ezra Firestone 32:59
Or you can follow me on Instagram @EzraFirestone. That’s probably the best way.
Joshua Chin 33:03
Ezra Firestone 33:07
Or twitter @EzraFirestone. I’m on Twitter. I’m there I’m everywhere. Go Go to your favorite social network. Search for me. You’ll find me and ClubHouse among ClubHouse follow me over there. It’s going down on ClubHouse.
Joshua Chin 33:19
It’s a fun little lab. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. That’s right.
Ezra Firestone 33:24
Hey, man, happy to be here. Appreciate it.
Thanks for listening to the eCommerce Profits Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get notified of future episodes.