In today’s episode, we are joined by Ethan Bachinski, an engineer that is just beginning his journey in the e-commerce space. Ethan played division 1 football at Western Illinois University and then continued his education at the University of Iowa where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering. In the last year, Ethan has leveraged his engineering skills to create products using a CNC Machine and 3D printer.
Let’s listen to Francois and learn from a product-sourcing blackbelt!
[00:01 – 04:57] Opening Segment
- Let’s get to know Ethan Bachinski
- Engineer-turned-eCommerce business owner
[04:58 – 13:11] To Fire or Not To Fire the Man?
- He breaks down the CNC machine and what you can do with it
- Be inspired with these goals from Ethan!
- Is Ethan trying to fire the man?
[13:12 – 20:48] The Key to Manufacturing
- Ethan’s experience with the self-manufacturing business model
- The key to manufacturing according to Ethan
- Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
- Promo code: FTM400
[20:49 – 32:27] From Idea to Product
- Ethan talks about the challenges he’s facing in his product launch
- Turn your idea into a product with these tips from Ethan!
- Build your business with these resources suggested by Ethan
[32:28 – 41:20] Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
- Join Ethan in our Coaches Corner!
- How to increase sales?
- Get to know more about Ethan in the Fire Round!
[41:21 – 42:49] Closing Segment
- Connect with Ethan! Links below
- Final words
“The endgame is obviously [to] fire the man and be my own boss.” – Ethan Bachinski
“There’s risk and reward in everything that you do.” – Ethan Bachinski
- Facebook Marketplace
- The Woodworkers Paradise
- Google Trends
- Book: Outliers: The Story of Success
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Real quick before we get into the show, I wanted to share a new service called Getida that Ken and I have been using that has made us over $10,000 in Amazon reimbursements. The service requires no monthly subscription, and getida collects a small percentage of the money they recover for you. It takes less than five minutes to set up and works on all Amazon marketplaces. Go to getida.com GETIDA, and enter promo code FTM 400. That’s FTM for firing the man 400 to get your first $400 in reimbursements commission free. How much money does Amazon owe you?
Ethan Bachinski 0:42
I know enough to be dangerous. But you know, at the end of the day, if you break it down like engineering, that’s exactly what it is. You solve problems that haven’t been solved before you figure things out that you’re like, Okay, you know, how can I make product a better how can I make product you know, what can I do to this to make it you know, fit in your hand more ergonomically? How can I make this so it cuts better? How can I make this so, inject any verb that you want. So like, how do you make it better? That’s exactly what it is. You figure out something, you take a problem, you find a solution for it. That’s the practice that you do. You know you practice Monday through Friday, Saturday’s are game day. You have five days to correct all your mistakes. And then Saturday’s game day where you try putting it all together. Here at work, you know, we’re a roomful of engineers. If we don’t know how to do something, you want to know what we do? We Google it.
Welcome everyone, to the firing the man podcast a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you are capable of more then join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your hosts, serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we are joined by Ethan Bachinski, an engineer that is just beginning his journey in the e commerce space. Ethan played division one football at Western Illinois University and then continued his education at the University of Iowa where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering and mechanical engineering. In the last year, Ethan has leveraged his engineering skills to create products using a CNC machine and 3d printer. Welcome to the show, Ethan. First things first, tell the listeners a little bit about yourself.
Ethan Bachinski 2:28
Well, Dave, and Ken, thank you so much for having me on. A little bit about myself. I always hate this question. Because my dad always talked about like, if you ever talk about yourself, you’re being what he calls a prima donna. He’s like, Don’t ever talk about yourself. And he was always big, like your actions speak louder than words. So I always hate this question. But like he said, I was actually a two sport athlete at Western Illinois. I did football and track and field.
Ethan Bachinski 2:57
Yes, yeah. So I was a two sport athlete i was a thrower I was not very fast. So I was a thrower at Western Illinois. I went there because like every high school athlete, I wanted to go play in the pros, which clearly did not happen as why I am working as an engineer now today. But yeah, I pursued my dream of playing football. And I chose football over the academics. And it was right about into my junior year, maybe my senior year when I was like, Alright, I really need to hunker down and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Because like I said, athletics is not going to happen for me after after college, or continuing, you know, on to the next level. So I talked to my father, and I’d said, you know, he’s like, what do you love to do? He’s like, what do you like, what are you good at? And I was like, well, I like to hunt and fish, I like to be outdoors. And he’s like, Okay, he’s like, Well, you know, they’re not really doing anything in that. So he’s like, what are you good at? I was like, I’m good at math and science. And he’s like, okay, go be an engineer. And I had always loved you know, solving problems, you know, like, tinkering is what I consider myself. I’m a tinkerer. So I, you know, I went down the road of engineering, and I decided on mechanical engineering, because it’s such a, it is a very broad spectrum in the engineering world, because there’s so many disciplines you can go into. And I feel that the mechanical aspect of engineering encompasses most everything. So like that saying goes like jack of all trades, master of none. I’d like to think that I’m a master or a jack of all trades and a master of none. But so yeah, and then while I was at the university, I was a teaching assistant in the manufacturing lab, and I ran the CNC which stands for Computer Numerical Control, the CNC lab, which also encompassed our 3d printing, so that’s how I kind of got my start in running a CNC machine and the 3d printer and I graduated, got a job and when the pandemic hit I had a lot more free time on my hands. So some stuff got cut at work, and I had some free time. And I was like, You know what, I’m bored, I want to do something more. So I bought a CNC machine, and I won a 3d printer, actually on this website that I bought my CNC machine from. So I got it was kind of like a, a two for one. So I got both of those, I got them set up. And the rest is kind of history. I just I started talking to you. And you’d said like, Hey, you can kind of do some of this stuff, and you know, sell it online. And I’m like, like we said in the beginning of my journey, and just plugging along having fun while doing it. So that is a little bit about myself.
Now for people that have no idea what you’re talking about when you say CNC. Can you describe loosely what this looks like and what someone would use a CNC machine for?
Ethan Bachinski 5:50
Yes. So in layman’s terms, a CNC is really it’s basically just a power drill, or a router that is controlled using coordinates on a computer. And you basically you draft something up in what’s called CAD, which is computer animated drawing, you draw that up however you want. And you can make anything you want signs, jewelry, little figurines, the possibilities are endless, you draw that up, then you export it to the software that then basically turns your drawing into just 10s of millions of points on a computer screen. And then you just basically hit start on your CNC machine and you just, it’s just a drill that kind of runs around. And you know, wherever there’s a point it drills a hole or carves it out. And my wife considers that super nerdy because I like I get all giddy when it starts running. And I actually, you know, when I was first starting and getting back into it, and kind of learning I was like, I was making so many mistakes, and she would just hear me just kind of like cuss in the background. I won’t cuss on your podcast, but I do cuss like a sailor. But yeah, she could hear me but then she’d hear me I’d be like, Babe Babe, come here, look at this. Come look at this. She’d come downstairs and she’s like, Oh, sweet, you drew a line. And I’m like, but I did it right, you know, it’s you know, the taking something from just your imagination, drawing it on a computer screen and then actually bringing it to life is what really drew me to not only engineering but to the, like the CNC world or like the computer based graphics design world, which in my full time career, I work as a product design engineer, also, which the e commerce business is supplementing my hobbies and habits and helping me out with that.
That’s awesome. Yeah, I really liked that, well for one that you won the 3d printer in a contest. That’s pretty badass. And two, that you’ve kind of you know, you’ve used your skills and your passion to start a business. I really like that. I think it’s gonna help you out long term for sure. Ethan, can you share a little bit about kind of what your goals are for your business?
Ethan Bachinski 8:06
Yeah, absolutely. So being in the beginning stages, I kind of, I’m trying to plan out exactly, you know, where I see myself. And in any job interview, they always ask you like, what’s your one year, your five year your 10 year goal? And I always thought like in an interview, I was like, why, what is the point of that, it’s like, I’m going to show up, I’m going to work, I’m going to get my, you know, I’m going to, in one year, I’ll be where I’m gonna be. In five years, I’ll be where I’m gonna be. In 10 years I’ll be where I’m gonna be. But thinking of it from like a business owner aspect. It’s like, Okay, what do I want to do? What are my goals? What do I need to accomplish in one year to reach step number one of that goal, step number two of that goal. So really, my goal right now is I’m thinking out to one year more hardly, I’m thinking out to the one year to my one year plan right now. And my goal for one year is to get, obviously get my Etsy page to a point to where I think it’s good enough to start scaling up to start increasing my listings, to buy, to increase my manufacturing, because right now my manufacturing is going to be, it’s a tipping point to where you start hitting your sales, to how much you can manufacture. And I’m at the point where I know how much I can manufacture. But if my sales start taking off and hitting that I’m gonna have to increase and expand into either, right now I’m running it out of my basement, I’m going to have to either go into a shop or you know, start demoing some walls in my house, which my wife would 100% not be happy about. So yeah, my one year goal is what I’m focusing on right now. And that’s to just increase and increase the sales and the traffic to my website and scale up from what I’m at right now. So I would say right now I’m at the, you know, the baby steps of everything of being like okay, this is where I’m at. I gotta you know coddle this baby, make sure I form it to what I want it to be. And then I can scale up from there. Once I set, you know, set the groundwork, then you can go.
Yeah, I really like that. And I like that, you know, you didn’t come out with world domination, you know, with this 100 stage, 10 year business plan, you know, I think a lot of entrepreneurs, we get tripped up on the too much. And I really like how you have honed in on what your goals are, and you’re at year one, and these are the things you need to do to get there. I really like that. That’s awesome. Now, one follow up to that now, you are a full time engineer working and you’re doing this in your spare time, now, you have production under control. And so when you get to that, so you have a number in mind of your machine, right, you probably have just a limited amount of machines. And so when you get to that point, then you’re basically in stage two, and obviously, well not obviously, but I’m assuming is that once you get to a certain point with scale, and you kind of go full time, leave your job, things like that, or do you see yourself doing both?
Ethan Bachinski 11:07
I really love what I do for my full time career right now. I do I love having the freedom that my company gives me. So at this moment, I’m not thinking leaving my career right now. But you know, the end game is obviously, you know, fire the man and, you know, be my own boss, and kind of take that and, you know, if all these, you know, the stars align, and my dominoes are stacked up correctly, that should happen. But you know, there’s always there’s those what ifs in the world that you know, you can’t plan for. And that’s, you know, there’s always there’s risk and reward in everything that you do. And I’m planning for the future. And I’m planning, you know, right now that I have a friend that has always said, he says, I have a friend that played in the NFL. And he had always said, you know, people would always say like, well, so he was not drafted. He wasn’t drafted in the NFL. He had always said he’s like, people would say to him like, well, what’s your backup plan? What’s your backup plan? What are you going to do if you don’t make the team? What do you do if you don’t make the team, and he had always said, and this is stuck with me for like, the seven years that I’ve known him, is he’s like, people that have a backup plan, don’t believe in themselves enough. And that had always stuck with me. And I was like, Okay, so I’m like, sitting here right now, today talking to you. And I’m like, okay, like, I don’t necessarily have a backup plan, like my plan right now is to grow my business, get to the point where I can run my business full time, you know, bring on more staff do this scale up production, and then you know, go from there, and then hopefully, you know, the sky’s the limit. Because like I said, if you can think it with the CNC you can make it. Same with a 3d printer, you can do you know, almost anything you can think of you can make those hands that are, Ken I’m looking at your screen right now. The hands on it, like you can 3d print those, you can make those on a CNC and there’s some amazing videos out there on YouTube, that I’ve found that have helped me, you know, hone my skills and be like, Oh, my God, I had no idea I could make that, you know, I just thought if I’d only thought about it one way slightly differently, that’s, you know, how I, you know, was able to accomplish that. So, you know, short story long for your question on the plan is, yes, I would love to grow this to a point to where this is my full time job. And, you know, take it from there. And hopefully the sky’s the limit.
Yeah, no that’s good. It sounds like you’re, you know, there’s some people that are scrambling to try to figure things out. And it sounds like you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Whereas you have a very stable career that you really like, you know, you have a good employer that you really like, and so there’s no pressure on you to do anything. This is kind of just doing it at your own pace. No, that’s great.
Ethan Bachinski 13:52
Ethan, one thing that I think makes your story unique is that you are going the self manufacturing route. And the typical business model in e commerce is go over to China or wherever. You source a product, you bring it into the country, and then you sell it. And so can you speak to you know, what has been your experience there in the self manufacturing space? And how do you see, you know, on a go forward basis.
Ethan Bachinski 14:21
So there’s a couple points I want to talk on, on the self manufacturing. And this you know, I know there’s a lot of people that they go out and they find somebody to make their product for them. I am very much I do this at my house and my wife hates this. I will never hire anybody to do anything in my house. And my reasoning behind that is like okay, I’m going to go pay. So, for example, right now we have drywall. We have somebody that needs to come and do drywall. My wife wanted me to get a quote. So I was like, okay, like, we’ll get a quote. So guy comes, gives me a quote, and I’m like, okay, it’s expensive, like it’s more expensive, more money than I wanted to pay. And I’m sitting there and I’m like, Okay, what can I do? You know, how can I do this? So I went on, you know, I went on YouTube, I went, and I looked online, and figuring out how to do this, like how to do, I’ve patched drywall holes in my old college house, I’ve, you know, I’ve painted rooms, I’ve never done insulation, I’ve never done, you know, a tar roof, I’ve never, you know, done any of this, but I’m like, damn it, I’m gonna figure out how to do it. Because if I hire somebody, and I’m not happy with the job, I’m gonna be pissed at them, I’m gonna be like, okay, I overpaid you because you did a shitty job. Or, whereas if I were to do it myself, the only person I can be upset with is myself. So that’s kind of why I’m like, okay, I want to do the manufacturing, because I can make the exact product that I want, I can make it to my own tolerances, I can make it out of whatever material I want, I can make it the size I want, I pretty much handle the power, like all of the constraints there are in my power. And I took on the manufacturing because I had the capability of doing it, I had the CNC machine, I had the, you know, the knowledge of knowing like, Okay, what does it take to manufacturer, XYZ, I knew how to do that I knew how to draft things up. The other aspect of manufacturing that I like taking on myself is like, you’re your own, it’s a blessing and a curse, you’re your own worst enemy. Because being a one man or one person shop, where I’m doing all my manufacturing I’m doing, I’m kind of taking care of everything, I can’t scale as quickly as somebody who’s like, I’m just gonna go over here, and I’m gonna get it from them. Now, I’m not knocking on anybody that’s doing that, because that is a very smart business move, but I’m like, I am making the best possible product that I can make. And I think I’m the only one that can make it that way right now. And some people might think that’s cocky, but, you know, it’s, I don’t know, I just, I think this is the route I want to take, because I think I have the tools. I sound like a douche saying that and I’m really sorry for that. But like, that’s the God’s honest truth. Like, I think that I have the skill enough to make it better than anyone, because I know how this machine works, I know how to draw it up, I know how to draft I know how to, you know, I know, there’s the umbrella over everything, I can control all these parts, and I know how to manipulate these parts to make it all work.
I think in your case, it makes a lot of sense to be in charge of the manufacturing, right, you know, in your day job, you know, you are working in that world, you have an interest in the CNC machine. And so I think that in your case that it makes total sense. And that is your superpower, right? Like the design and the CNC and so yeah, I absolutely, you know I’ve shared on this podcast the story of the cutting board company that I had, that lost money. And I ended up closing down and that was an example of self manufacturing. And i’ll go into that. I’ve went into it plenty of times on previous podcasts. But you know, if you look at like Steve Jobs, you know, he was the one building the computer.
Ethan Bachinski 18:13
You know, there’s this hunting brand that I like called mystery ranch. And the owner loves commercial sewing machines. And he still sews all the bags. And he’s like a hands on guy. And his superpower is like, different types of stitching. And he makes just awesome products. And so you can point to a lot of examples where businesses start off self manufacturing, and get that competitive edge.
Ethan Bachinski 18:39
Yes, the couple other things I want to say, like you said, if you have the capabilities of making it, and you can, you know, come up with these different kinds of stitches, or you can make something that’s unique, by all means, go do it. Also, with manufacturing, when you start launching new products, there’s a lot of headaches that, you know, that I’ve run into with some of the products that I make for people. It’s, you know, I tell them like, okay, you know, I give myself a deadline, when I first started this. I was like, you know, people would just kind of reach out to me and be like, Hey, can you make this for me? Can you make this for me? And I’m like, Sure, I was like, I could probably get it done in you know, four days of time. And that’s, you know, getting the wood, getting it planed down, getting it you know, put on the machine, getting it designed, getting it carved, out, sanded, stained, finished, you know, the whole shebang. But you find you know, when you’re doing this, you’re like, Okay, this is, A. this is something I’ve never made before. So you’re gonna make a few mistakes. And that’s a part of the game, in my mind. Like it’s, I consider it you know, being an athlete, like making those mistakes. That’s practice. That’s the practice that you do. You know, you practice Monday through Friday. Saturday’s are game. You have five days to correct all your mistakes, and then Saturday’s game day where you try putting it all together. So that’s kind of the way I look at it and just I realized It gets frustrating. And it can get frustrating in a hurry. But as long as you just, you know, keep telling yourself, you know, that one was, you know, 70% the next one’s gonna be 75% better. Next one’s gonna be 80% 90 95. And then finally, like, boom, 100%. At that point, you’re like, Okay, now I have, now I’m here. Now I have this product not necessarily mastered, but I have it down to where I can make it well enough to where I can sell this. Because I, you know, you make it once you know all the mistakes that you made, then you can, you know, you can replicate that. Replication, again, in manufacturing is the key. So, yes.
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Ethan as you’ve launched a couple of these, you know, initial products and you start getting some, you know, some momentum, what’s been one of the biggest obstacles for you to get a product launched?
Ethan Bachinski 21:43
The biggest obstacle that I’ve found, and Ken and I, we’ve talked about this before that I found is just figuring out how to reach my audience. What audience do I want? You know, I’ve brought my wife on board to start taking photos, because it doesn’t matter how good of a camera I have, I could try taking a selfie and it would still be blurry. Like, it doesn’t matter the camera I have, I don’t know what it is, but I am inept when it comes to using a camera, figuring out what keywords to use on on Etsy or on, you know, Facebook marketplace, whatever platform that I’m selling on. It’s difficult for me to figure out, okay, this is, you know, what keyword Do I need to use to hit this demographic? Because these are the people that are going to buy, you know, product x, these are the people that’s going to buy product y. And I found that there’s a couple of these online sites that, Ken you have talked to me about one being, and I don’t know if I can say this on here, but ones e rank, and then the other one is, what was the other one, oh etsy plus. Yeah, Etsy plus that I found that have helped a lot. But as far as you know, difficulty that I’m still running into is, you know, I’m getting lots of people to click on my ads, it’s just making that final that, you know, rounding third base, I can get them to third base. I just I can’t get anybody home.
That’s great, though. And, you know, and in all fairness, you know, you’re an expert at your craft, right, like making your products and doing those things. And then so the other side of it is like, how do I sell this? Or how do I reach people? I like that you’re, you know, you’re bringing some experts in on the photograph. That’s awesome. And as you expand, I would say, yeah, you know, anything that you’re struggling with, yeah, you know, bring in experts and stick to it.
Ethan Bachinski 23:34
To expand on that. So I’m a huge history buff also, and I was listening to this podcast about FDR. And FDR, his big thing was always, he’s like, being the president of the united states, he’s like, if I’m the dumbest person in a room, I did it right. Like his cabinet, he wants to surround himself with people that are smarter than him. And I am telling myself, I was like, you know, what, I don’t have an issue being the dumbest person in a room. If you know, this person’s an expert on photography, this person’s an expert on SEO, this one, you know, etsy ads, this one’s an expert on whatever it is in my business that I need to do. If I, you know, surround myself with the right people, you’re going to be you know, you set yourself up for being successful. And it you know, there’s not just one person that you know, ever makes it successful, like being successful, like, you know, there’s always a support team around you. And, you know, thankfully, you know, I have a very supportive wife who loves all of my, you know, they all start out as stupid hobbies. You know, she’s like, oh, boy, he’s in the garage doing something else. But, you know, she’s always like, you know, she’ll come up with project ideas for me to or, you know, things that I should sell on Etsy, and she’s like, this is a great idea. And I know when she’s excited about it, I know, it’s like, okay, we’re in this together, you know, we are a team, you know, let’s move forward and, you know, keep going with it.
Now Ethan, what advice would you give entrepreneurs that have a product idea that they want to build a company around? And if you can, try to answer this as a non engineer, right, you know, if you have an idea, you’re going to draw it up in CAD, and you’re going to put it on on the 3d printer or your CNC machine. But any advice to somebody with an idea in their head that they’re trying to get into production?
Ethan Bachinski 25:25
Yes. So do you want me to take them through like a step by step how I think they should get it from product to launch? Or do you want me to be like, this is how I would do it?
I would just say, any pro tips that you could offer, that would get them from the starting line to at least being in touch with the manufacturer pointed in the right direction.
Ethan Bachinski 25:43
Okay, so from a non engineer, point of view, I would say, you know, if you have an idea, and you feel very strongly about it, obviously pursue it, if you think it’s going to do something that could be big, it could be the next sliced bread, go for it, take it, do whatever you need to do to kind of take it there. And first thing I would do is I’d find a mentor, find somebody who has been in the game, because a, they can tell you what mistakes they made, and kind of lead you down the path to, you know, they started at step one, but they might be able to get you to start at like step four or five. Like, that’s not saying you’re not going to make mistakes yourself. But just taking that first step of finding somebody, kind of brainstorming with them, talking to them, reach out to them and be like, Hey, I have this idea. I have no idea how to make it or what to do with it. Like, what are your thoughts? You know, how do I take it, you know, move it, kick it down the path? And, you know, do your research online. You know, Google, I hear at work, you know, we’re a roomful of engineers, if we don’t know how to do something, you want to know what we do? We Google it. And it’s, people might say, like, oh you know, that doesn’t mean, you know anything, but it’s like, there’s some of the software that you use, and I’m sure like, Dave, you used to be an accountant. And Ken you were in IT correct? Like, I’m sure there’s software that both of you use that you’re like, I don’t know how to do this. Maybe I just Google it, or I asked somebody else that knows it. And if I asked somebody that, and nobody knows it, we sure as hell go to the Google machine, and we figure it out. So yeah, just do your research, figure it out, figure, you know, look up, you know, what material you want it made out of like, do you want it to be made out of wood? Do you want it made out of metal or plastic or, you know, not ferrous, or non ferrous, just Google manufacturers, and Google wood manufacturers, Google, metal manufacturers look up, you know, if it needs to be forged, or casted, which you don’t need to know that right now. Again, it’s hard to not look at it from an engineer’s perspective, and I’m sorry, but diving in, you know, figure out how it needs to be made. That would be, you know, a big step because then you can eliminate a lot of conversations where you talk to somebody, and they’re like, yeah, you’re in the wrong place. But they might tell you, you’re in the wrong place now. But they might be like, hey, but this guy, this, you know, john doe knows exactly where you need to go. So, it can be a good thing and a bad thing. Yeah, you might waste your time talking to this guy for five minutes. But those five minutes might have put you in contact with two other people. So that would be my advice.
So Ethan, you mentioned earlier on the show, podcast and mentors, what are some of the resources as you’re building your company that have been the most helpful for you?
Ethan Bachinski 28:32
So you know, obviously a mentor. So I know David, from my wife and David went to high school together. So that’s kind of how we grew that. So, David is a mentor of mine, Ken you’re a mentor of mine you and I’ve touched base a couple times, I consider you both mentors, you know, because you guys have been there, you’ve been in my shoes, and you know, you’re obviously much further down the path than I am. And you’re able to give me a lot of great advice. Other resources that I use for if I’m figuring out, you know, being my own manufacturer, if I’m like, stuck on something on how I don’t know how to make it, I go to Google, I figure out how you know, most of the times you can find something on YouTube, or a lot of the products I make are out of wood, you can go on like there’s woodsmith.com, there’s woodworkersparadise.com, and they have all sorts of dozens upon dozens of videos on how to set things up how to carve things, how to you know, they kind of take you from, you know, from setting a machine up all the way to a finished product. As far as figuring out what products I want. I start kind of with myself, and I think like okay, what do I like, what would I do, what you know, what things do I use around my house that I think I could improve on? Or what things in my house do i think is like, Okay, this I think is made poorly. You know, I think I can make it better or what do I, you know, what do I think is cool. So then I go to, you know, websites like Google Trends or yourank or, you know, again, on the Google machine, you just kind of you start at point A just kind of typing random things in, and then you go down this path and you find yourself kind of, you know, gaining knowledge on, you know what products are trending right now, what do you think you can sell? What can you make? Where can you find this, you know, you’re buying X amount of wood from menards. But you can get it cheaper here from this, you know, place 10 minutes away, and they’re a small time wood manufacturer that also kiln dries their wood and does all these other things, you know, like, why am I paying three times the price for wood at menards, when I can get it for this much cheaper at, you know, this community just down the road from me, like just do your research. And you can figure it out. And there are endless websites on, you know, pros and cons. And there’s positives and negatives on every single one of them that kind of help you. But YouTube is probably the number one thing I use for helping me grow my business, because there’s people on there all the time, just, you know, they’re vlogging about, you know, this is what I did here and it, you know, took my sales from A to B. And it’s like, yeah, you might not take your sales from $500 a month to $40,000 a month. But like, there might be bits and pieces of information in there that you’re like, Okay, I didn’t think of that. Let me implement that. And then you sit and you wait, and you’re like, Okay, what other pieces of information can I gain from this person from this person from all these other, you know, resources. The internet is like, just, it’s a library, there’s a lot of crap on there. But there’s also a lot of really good stuff. And if you just dig, you dig enough, you’ll find some pretty beneficial resources on there.
Absolutely. You know, Ethan, one thing that has been a common theme throughout this show, as we’re talking to you is you really seem to figure things out. And I really appreciate that. And, you know, it’s kind of frustrating to hear some people say, like, I don’t know how to do that. And, you know, as we stand here in 2021, like, you really don’t have an excuse, you can figure out how to do anything online. And it hasn’t always been that way. You know, back in the 50s if you want to know how to drywall or mud or tape, guess what, you got to know a drywaller. You got to go watch him. And so I really like hearing your story. And that ambition is something that is admirable.
Ethan Bachinski 32:16
I appreciate that. It’s a blessing and a curse. You know, my dad is the same way that I am. He’ll never hire anybody to do anything. But his famous saying is always, I know enough to be dangerous. You know, that means, you know, he doesn’t know when he’s in over his head, or he doesn’t, you know, he doesn’t know when, oh, I should stop here. Instead of being like, I’m going to demo the bathroom. And I’m going to branch into this. I know enough to be dangerous. But you know, at the end of the day, if you break it down, like engineering, that’s exactly what it is. You solve problems that haven’t been solved before. You figure things out that you’re like, Okay, you know, how can I make product a better? How can I, you know, what can I do to this to make it you know, fit in your hand more ergonomically? How can I make this so it cuts better? How can I make this so, inject any verb that you want. So like, how do you make it better? That’s exactly what it is, you figure out something, you take a problem, you find a solution for it.
So the next section of the show is called the Coach’s Corner. This is your opportunity to hit Ken or I with any questions that you may have as you navigate the world of e commerce.
Ethan Bachinski 33:20
Yes. So I was thinking about this earlier today. And I was like, what questions can I ask, you know, Ken and David on what I need to do. And, you know, the question that I came up with, you know, every single time I’d be like, Okay, this is my problem, you know, what’s a good question I can ask is, you know, my sales aren’t going up. So, what can I do to increase my sales? And you know, Ken and I talked about this in the past, I was like, Okay, first start with, you know, your SEO, the search engine optimization, figure out what keywords will get me to my right demographic, to, you know, find that person that will buy my product, and I was like, okay. I’ve started investing a lot of time into that and figuring out okay, what is my key demographic? How do I reach them? And then product photography, which is, obviously it’s still a work in progress. We’re still trying to, you know, get there and get better photos and stuff. And Dave, you’ve helped me with, you know, being able to take photos of myself and showing me some of these apps out there that they have that are like, it takes my you know, fuzzy selfie, and it turns it into, you know, Brad Pitt, you know, something like that. So, I’m not saying that, you know, Brad Pitt’s the best looking out there. But, yeah, I just, it’s been a little while, and I just, my sales are stagnant. So I’m just curious. You know, and I know that’s a super broad question.
I’ll tell you, um, let me throw in a couple things. And I’m sure Ken has a couple other things. But yes, there’s a lot of different directions that I could go on this. But one thing that I’ll say is, I think what you’re experiencing is normal, you know, on a lot of my product launches, like if you spent a lot of time on YouTube, you’ll hear these people talk about $100,000 product launches, or million dollar product launches. And do I think those exist, probably, but they’re not as common as you would think. And so, you know, I’ve had, you know, one thing that I would say is like, stick with it. I would say there’s like a three to six month seasoning period. And so that’s point number one. Point number two, and I think everybody can do this, is next time you’re shopping on Amazon, be really conscious of what decisions you’re making, and why. And I’ll give you an example, when I’m on Amazon, I look at the photo, I like, if there’s multiple photos, I’ll flip through them. And if there’s a video, I’ll flip through that. And so that’s something that, you know, if you tend to the things that you pay attention to, most likely other people are paying attention to that. And then the last thing that I’ll say, and I’ve been around you enough times when you’ve done this, where you’ll nerd out on, I do it with accounting, you do it with engineering, like really nerd out, like talk about types of steel. And I’ll tell you what, I think if you were to get in front of a camera, and you were to describe in detail the process that you’re going through, and show the pile of ones that you screwed up that didn’t make the cut, people like to see how the sausage is made. And I think like unveiling that curtain and showing people like Dude, not only am I making this, but I’m super passionate about making this. And this may look like a wood product. But let me tell you about the type of wood, why I chose it, who I got it from, it’s kiln dried, which means it’s not going to flex. And all of a sudden, you know, you’ve taken something that you’re passionate about and like get excited about, and like shown the customer that. So anyway, that’s a long winded Coach’s Corner response, but I do I think there’s some value there.
Ethan Bachinski 36:57
I wrote down nerd out.
So I’ll piggyback a little bit off of David and give a couple more things. So not to get super complicated. But, and you might already have a website or not. Do you have a website?
Ethan Bachinski 37:14
Ethan Bachinski 37:16
Just the Etsy page.
Sure. So I would definitely say that would be on your list of getting what we call, like a home base, or you know or a website. And then you can, I also saw, I really liked the what david had mentioned, you know, you’re an engineer, and you make these things and you have a story, right? So you have something that people really like. Like stories sell products, right. So if you could document, you know, your, you know, video, pictures, whatever, and then document that on your website, along with just a small catalogue of your stuff, it gives another avenue, another way to make sales, right. And then over the long term, you really want to drive your sales to your website, because you’re more profitable on there versus, so Etsy’s not going to get their cut. But, if you’re good with camera, or video, YouTube, absolutely. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, I think all of those, you could test them, you know, set up, you know, maybe you could talk to your, your partner, see if your wife, the one that does all the good pictures, you know, see if she could post them up onto some of those channels, see if you get traction, right, because at this point, you’re just kind of testing the waters here and to see which one of those channels is going to provide a lot of traction for the least amount of effort, right. And so if you find one, then you can go all in on it. But I really like that YouTube channel part and then you can also repurpose that, those YouTube videos on your product pages and your website and social media and you know, any other social media channels to share your story. Because once someone, you know, if someone’s typing up, you know, x x x, whatever your product is, and they see it on YouTube, YouTube is a search engine, right. So if they type up something and it pops up there, then they see a video, you know, of you in there on your machines and making this and then you know, you’re describing it and everything and then there’s a link right on there to go to your website and buy it, you know, that might offer you a, hopefully that’s a couple of little things. And then lastly, I would like to say kind of echo what David mentioned, you know, this is kind of a this is the long game, and it takes patience, and it’s not an overnight. So definitely give yourself you know, some credit for where you’re at now. And then just kind of, you know, get some plans in motion but definitely know that it takes a while for, especially if you’re in kind of a niche market and you’re just starting out it’s going to take a while for those sales to climb up.
Ethan Bachinski 39:42
Awesome. I appreciate that.
Ethan Bachinski 39:45
Advice always helps.
Absolutely.David, anything else or do we get into the fire round?
Let’s get into the fire round
Ethan Bachinski 39:54
Do I need to limber up for this?
All right before we get into the fire round Ethan, you said you were a two sport D one athlete What was the, so football? And then you said a thrower?
Ethan Bachinski 40:07
Yes. So I threw discus. Yes, I was a discus thrower.
Ethan Bachinski 40:12
Yes. So I played outside linebacker and defensive end and then I was a discus thrower.
Okay, so this fire round is going to be very easy for you then.
Ethan Bachinski 40:21
Alright, let’s see. Lay it on me.
What is your favorite book?
Ethan Bachinski 40:26
Okay, so I had told David a book already. But guess what I’m changing it up. It is the Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Reason being is because in that book is the rule of 10,000. And what the rule of 10,000 is is you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something before you become a subject matter expert on that. And I read this book in college, and it has stuck with me that it’s like, okay, in order to be an expert in something, you need to learn as much as you can about it. And they say that, you know, the rule of thumb is you need to spend 10,000 hours doing this before you become an expert on it. So that is why that is my favorite book, outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. There’s a lot of other things in there, but that part stuck with me in particular.
Excellent. I liked that one. What are your hobbies, Ethan?
Ethan Bachinski 41:12
Hobbies? I’m an avid woodworker. I like to tinker around the house. I love hunting and fishing, anything outdoors and anything that I can compete in, any sport. Those are my hobbies.
Awesome. Very competitive, huh?
Ethan Bachinski 41:26
Awesome. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started?
Ethan Bachinski 41:34
in that question alone, the successful e commerce entrepreneurs like you guys said, stick with it. Like, you said it yourself. It’s a long game. So you just you stick with it and you keep going, you know, you weather the storm. And once you can get through that and you start it’s like the snowball effect. You know, you start rolling with a tiny snowball. Once you get that going you know, you coddle the baby, you keep rolling, keep rolling, keep rolling eventually it grows into, you know, a massive snowball.
Ethan Bachinski 42:02
Very cool. All right, David, you want to close out the show?
Yeah, Ethan, how can people get ahold of you?
Ethan Bachinski 42:07
I will send you, email is the best way to get ahold of me. So you know, you can leave a link in the show notes. Otherwise, you can find me on social media. You just search my last name. I’ll be the only one that pops up.
Oh, very nice. Yeah, we’ll put links to all of that in the show notes.
Ethan Bachinski 42:23
Awesome. I appreciate it.
But Ethan wanted to thank you for being a guest on the firing the man podcast and good luck in your future endeavors.
Ethan Bachinski 42:31
Thank you for everything, Ken and David.
Yep. Thanks, Ethan.
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firing the man podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to firingtheman.com And check out our resource library for exclusive firing the man discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is firingtheman.com\resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, for that head on over to www.Firing The Man/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man and on YouTube at firing the man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer
and Ken Wilson. We’re out
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai