June 2024 Update: Pup Labs, Publishing Company, Exits, Hard Lessons & More

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted an update. But recently been watching Californication, and my inner writer is coming back.

Which brings us to June 2024!

Holy shit, half the year is nearly gone. And before we know it, it’ll be Jan 2025. I hope to post a few more times before then. Maybe even a few split tests (although I’ve been keeping those close to my chest lately as we’ve had some serious scaling winners)

But let’s break down everything that’s going on because there’s some serious biz lessons for all the entrepreneurs out there.

Pup Labs

Ah the brand that keeps on giving. This has been one of the hardest business to crack, and we’re finally starting to make it work. We’ve successfully paid back our investor the initial 250k invested which means the company is effectively debt free.

At this point all that’s left to do is continue executing on what’s working while building the back end and brand. Here’s what that really means (and how I plan to get to this to a 2m/mo company in the next 12 months)

  1. Split testing on winning funnels. Improving AOV + CVR is the name of the game here. This will allow us to push our CPA further and scale the brand. We currently have 3 winning VSLs, and the more we can win here, the faster we will grow
  2. Back-end build out. That means optimizing shopify + amazon experiences to capture all the overflow and really build the profitable arms of the business. Also we need to figure out how to successfully create winning back end products for our list to improve LTV
  3. Secondary OSS. This isn’t a big focus, but something on my radar. Currently VSLs are our main OSS. They work. They’re proven. However, I’d like to find a secondary OSS to help make this business more anti-fragile. I’m thinking it’ll be some sort of advertorial funnel or influencer marketing. This will also help improve the valuation of the business (if we’re going to exit)
  4. Brand building. Again this is a secondary focus. But I’d like to continue to push the brand side of things of Pup Labs. While historically we’ve haven’t seen a direct ROI on it, I do believe there’s a massive indirect ROI. I’m finding our overflow and subscription stick rate to be higher than other similar business models. And a lot of the content we create, especially the viral videos, show us what are good angles to use on ads / market messaging to further push front end acquisition.
  5. Prepping for an exit. This is a little premature to put here, but it’s worth noting. My goal has always been to sell this brand. And it’s slowly becoming a reality. Once we hit that consistent 1.5-2M/month revenue mark, it’ll be time to really start prepping the business to sell. That means putting a lot of lipstick on the brand, crossing Ts, dotting Is, and stabilizing it for about 12 months straight. And then, we’ll see. I’d like to target a 50m exit. At 2m/mo, that’s about a 2x revenue. It’s certainly possible, but I’ve got a lot to learn (and share with you) before we get there. If it was on profits, we’d target 15% which is about 4M/year in profit. We’d need a 10x, which means we better have a very good subscription rate going. I think it’s likely we will need to approach 3m/mo to hit the 50m sale. Time will tell.

Publishing Company

This publishing company started late last year and has been on a tear. We’re currently publishing a variety of health offers as well as financial under two different entities. All the offers / brands are built on the premise of get a scaling OSS and then build a brand around it. For reference, the goal is to get the run rate of the entire company (all offers & Brands) to 1M/week (revenue), targeting 15-20% profits. So how are we doing that?

  1. World class copy. We have the best copy team on the planet. And faster than almost anyone else. More swings = more chances at success. More importantly, better, faster swings = more chances at success. The target for every offer is about 50-100k/day in sales consistently or 3M/month. Capping out at 15-30M per offer (depending on niche size, some can go as high as 50M+).
  2. World class video. In 2024 and beyond, if you don’ have the best conversion based video, you lose. That’s why I’ve built the best direct response video team on the planet (see below).
  3. World class media buying. This comes down to the right partnerships and team. We have that.
  4. World class tech. By far, we have the best tech team on the planet. Being able to design and code a page in under 24 hours puts us light years ahead of the competition
  5. World class innovation. This is the secret sauce. We are targeting underserved niches (from a marketing standpoint)and innovating on the marketing messaging. Effectively we are making better mouse traps than the competition instead of knocking people off (which is what shitty marketers do).
  6. World class team & leadership. One of my superpowers is team building. A useless power as a solopreneur, but once the brands and revenue start scaling hard, this can make or break companies. I intend to take over the market with this unfair advantage.

I won’t be sharing specific numbers / split tests to protect the brands and my business partners, but I will give as much as I can.

At the end of it all (18-36 months from now), I’ll do a giant write up and potentially even give a live, closed door, very expensive (50k/head) seminar in Medellin breaking down how we went from 0-9 figures in sales annually in less than 2 years.

Video Production Company

The most stable business I have ever started. My business partner, Stefan and I, have successfully grown this brand that simply prints cash. But beyond that it gives us a lot of access to data from our competitors. Now could I get this data by simply looking up their VSLs, ads? Sure. But there’s nothing like constantly getting a flood of VSLs and scripts to look at and seeing whats working and whats’ not, from the copy to even the video formatting (hint try 4:5 instead of 9:16 for mobile).

We’ll continue to scale this company up as it becomes a monster video production asset for every and any kind of business. I see it capping out at about 150k/month though. Hard to scale service businesses. And likely before that happens, we will shut it down and just make it an internal video team for the publishing company. Which is kind of sneaky way to bottle neck the market and competitors ;).

There’s no other video team I know that actively has top scaling VSLs on click bank, buygoods etc., and is run by a team of marketers and copywriters who understand conversion based video production (very different from standard cinematic production).

Men’s mental health Clothing Company

Ah the brand that keeps on bleeding cash. This brand is currently in limbo as I try to understand the primary OSS (read: Ready, Fire Aim) and customer acquisition system. I also made the executive decision to turn this into a non-profit business, which means we will never make a dollar from it! However, the point of this business is far beyond money. It’s about spreading a message. And cultivating status and connections that we can leverage later on. And starting a movement so powerful, everyone pays attention.

Modeling Agency (rebranded)

This month the modeling/talent agency went under a rebrand as one of the former contractors was stealing from the company. I have a tendency to trust people too much, and this mistake bit me in the ass by not vetting that contractor.

It was also a lesson in jealousy. Having a ton of beautiful women around with jealous men who are interested in power dynamics is a recipe for a complete disaster. Thankfully the total amount stolen was under $5k but it was a tough lesson. One I will not make again with future business partners, employees and contractors.

And a word of caution: if you’re ever going to be involved in a modeling agency, and you’re a straight male, it’s wise to ensure your photographers and assistants are females. This helps eliminate a lot of the jealousy and power dynamics. Also don’t go into business with desperate people / people in poor financial situations.

As a note, my goals for this business (if you can call it that) are simply to expand my social circle and help with influencer marketing strategies for the brands. It isn’t and has never been cash. Money is only one form of currency in this world.

Upgraded Formulas (exited)

In November of 2023, I took on a fractional CMO role for a rising supplement company called Upgraded Formulas. The founder and I are good friends. But as I got to understand the needs of the company,

It was clear to me this opportunity is better suited for someone less experienced and with more time on their hands. As such, I have parted ways of the company. However I still use and recommend their products.

This was a lesson in opportunity cost. I have too many other scaling business to be focused on something that wouldn’t yield me the financial goals I’m looking for. Furthermore, Barton and I’s work style clashed hard. Upgraded formulas was too corporate for me. Which made it very difficult for me to work there. And like I said, there’s someone better suited for that role (if you’re interested, I can make an intro)

Sex Chocolate

As an investor in this company I’m not anti very involved. It’s a good way to practice other forms of business for me and evaluate the skills of others. Currently this brand is moving extremely slow. I’ll update as things change.

Pour Conclure

A lot of things change, and a lot of things stay the same. The one thing I’m learning is that I am really being forced to double down on brands I’m heavily invested in (emotionally, financially, and with high equity). No mater what I do, the universe keeps pulling me back into them.

As such I’ve stopped fighting and decided to go all in and make some seriously heavy bets on a few (hopefully) winners during the next few years. There’s a time for chaos (taking a lot of swings) and a time for order (doubling down on winners). I spent probably 10 years in the chaos stage. And now the next phase of my journey is unfolding. And its requires unrelentless order and execution of the fundamentals. And a sprinkle of chaos here and there.

No matter what happens, it’s been, and continues to be, one hell of a ride. There’s nothing like the drug of entrepreneurship. All I hope for you, is that some of my writing helps you avoid a few of the stupid mistakes I’ve made. You can buy me a Guinness as a thank you.