I appreciate a good side hustle story.
Someone slogging away in the cubical but slowly building up an audience on Twitter on the weekends. I’m sure you know all about the “build in open” movement, and today’s guest really shocked me with that.
See, maybe like you, I’ve listened to Dave Rodenbaugh on his podcast (with my boss Craig) Rogue Startups, for years now. But what really got me in today’s story, is that he was never really even “part-time” into his business Recapture.io.
In fact, the way he put it, he was only devoting 10% of his energy into the business while being contracted at a corporate gig he recently had the chance to exit from.
There’s lots of fun stuff in today’s episode covering everything from managing a day job to which marketing skills you need as a developer to kickstart your business. I hope you really enjoy it.
Recapture – Dave and Matt – Matt Report
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[00:01:52]I appreciate a good side hustle story. Someone’s slogging away in the cubicle, but slowly building up an audience on Twitter on the weekends. I’m sure you know, all about the building open movement and today’s guest really shocked me with that. See maybe like you I’ve listened to Dave Rohde and bond his podcast with my boss, Craig rogue startups for years now.
[00:02:12] But what really got me in today’s story is that he was never really even part time into his business. recapture.io. In fact, the way he put it, he was only devoting 10% of his energy into the business. While being contracted at a corporate gig, he recently had the chance to exit from there’s a lot of fun stuff in today’s episode, covering everything from managing and day job to which marketing skills you need as a developer.
[00:02:38] To kickstart your business. I hope you really enjoy it. You’re listening to the Matt report, a podcast for the resilient digital business builder. Subscribe to the newsletter[email protected] slash subscribe and follow the podcast on apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Better yet.
[00:02:54] Please share this episode. On your social media. We’d love more listeners around here. And side note, [00:03:00] I had to rerecord with Dave after some Zen caster snafoos so we’re picking up from our conversation a little bit, warmed up. Okay. I hope you enjoy.
[00:03:09] Matt: [00:03:09] One of the things that I caught you at a great time last time because you were only, I think like two weeks a free man on your own you get out of that sort of day job slash consultancy that you were in. I had you at an interesting moment where you were like, everything’s coming at me. This is exciting.
[00:03:28]I, I’m kind of like looking to go to the next chapter of, of running recapture. Is that feeling still here or now that we’re like a month into it, things have settled, like, oh my God, you
[00:03:39] Dave: [00:03:39] know, it’s kind of funny. It hasn’t really, I have not felt that euphoria lift yet. I imagine at some point it probably will.
[00:03:48]No, th this is, this is definitely the honeymoon phase, right. And at some point the honeymoon phase will always go. But I still feel it. In fact, I was just having breakfast with my wife this morning. We were sitting outside and, I noted her. I said, Hey, it’s been, almost two months since I left the freelance job.
[00:04:03] And she went, I know. And I was like, and it’s still great. So, I still, I still get up in the morning and we go do our walk and I come back and I have breakfast and coffee and I’m like, I get to spend my day on whatever the hell I want to today, which is of course recapturing my business, but there’s something still very energizing about that.
[00:04:27] Like, it’s all, it’s my own experience. I’m not really beholden to anybody other than the customers. I don’t have to do. Stupid bullshit meetings and phone calls and status reports and just all of that stuff that I had to deal with in the corporate world. It’s just all gone like that lift that sh that weight has still lifted off my shoulders.
[00:04:47] And I am just as happy then as I am. One
[00:04:51] Matt: [00:04:51] of the things I think you hide really well. And I don’t know if this was intentional or I maybe just never even saw it because I’ve always been just looking at what you were doing with the recapture. You’ve been on the show, my podcast, before you have the podcast with Craig, who’s a happens to be my boss.
[00:05:07] I never knew how much. And then we had our discussion more in depth. I never knew how much that freelance gig. Was sort of like weighing you down or how much it consumed when you and I chatted. I think you, throughout the, the ratio of like, it was 90% day job in 10% recapture, and that was kind of mind blowing, like how you manage that, how did you manage like so much of recapture with only 10% of energy.
[00:05:37] Dave: [00:05:37] That’s an excellent question. And some days I’m amazed that things were able to progress along as well as they had because of that exact issue. And in fact, that was one of the main things I think that sort of drove me into this direction, like recapture could be doing so much better and here I am barely giving it enough oxygen to survive.
[00:06:00] [00:05:59] Why, why can’t I do more? So, but it wasn’t always this way. The freelance thing, it was probably at one point it was like 40% freelance and 60% everything else. But at the time that 60% was a good chunk of the WordPress plugins. I had that I sold last year and recapture, that was the directory, a business directory plugin that was business directory and AWP PCP.
[00:06:25] So. Those were things that all consumed my time. And I think when you said, hiding, I think that’s an excellent observation because I. I definitely compartmentalize when it comes to things like here’s this chunk of my business, here’s this other chunk, here’s this other chunk. And, I could operate in each of those worlds fairly separately without letting them bleed into each other.
[00:06:52] But there came a point when the freelancing just was such a mentally taxing thing to deal with. I had. Just all kinds of toxic stuff going on in the corporate culture that I was there and the project that I was working on and the direction that it was all going. And it just, at some point I was like, this is too much.
[00:07:12] I can’t deal with this anymore. I can’t keep it in the box. It’s bleeding out into everything else. So usually when I got onto podcasts, like the Matt. It would give me an opportunity to express the enthusiasm for that box that I didn’t get to really express any other way. So, it was like my brief window into positive energy venting, if you will.
[00:07:34] And then it was back to the slog of the corporate world and yeah. So
[00:07:39] Matt: [00:07:39] that’s tough. How much of the success of recaptured thus far? Is because you chose, these are my words. These are not your words. So obviously I hope for you to color in the lines here, but how much of the success of recapture is the market and the product that you chose.
[00:07:58] And I’ll preface that with saying is like abandoned cart problems are or solutions. I should say. There’s a lot of them. I feel like it’s a big space, which is. Some people might look from the sidelines going, God, I don’t want to get into that space. There’s so much competition, but I feel like maybe in your case, it is, and was a good thing.
[00:08:19]If you look at I think cart hook probably was where you were at and then just matured into a much larger product and solution, I think right on the heels of. Recording that we had Jilt shut down, which was a sort of like another, I guess, benefit to you. How much of the success do you think has, has leaned on, Hey, I picked the right product and the right market, because sometimes I think that could be something that kind of goes under the radar.
[00:08:44] That a lot of people aren’t aware of.
[00:08:47] Dave: [00:08:47] Well, I talked about this on other podcasts and I’ll mention it here as well. I believe very heavily in the notion of luck, surface area. So just quick definition for [00:09:00] somebody who might not be familiar with this, basically. Everyone in business is going to encounter some level of luck and whether you’re prepared for that luck or unprepared for that luck has to do with the surface area that you’ve created.
[00:09:17] So in other words, can I capitalize on this lucky opportunity that comes around at this time because. I’ve made some kind of preparation for it. I’m ready to accept it. I’ve got the bandwidth to deal with it. Like all of these things have to kind of line up. I’ve had opportunities that appeared in my space and I wasn’t ready to capitalize them.
[00:09:37] So they weren’t within my luck surface area, but being, being ready for those opportunities makes a huge difference in whether you’re successful or not successful. So, there were definitely lots of. We’ll call them lucky moments. We all want to think that entrepreneurship is solely about hard work and hard work is a piece of it.
[00:09:57] And you can’t succeed without the hard work, but at the same time, every element of luck that you encounter that you can capitalize we’ll will level up your business. And the more of those that you can do, the better off you will end up. The same thing is true of Castillo’s when Craig and I have talked about this on the podcast.
[00:10:15] I Craig, you and Craig have encountered many lucky moments in Castro’s getting into tiny seed, him having an opportunity to hire you when you were available. Each of these helps build on all of the previous moments that you’ve had before. And the same thing is true with recapture. So like for example, When I was able to acquire a recapture back in 2016, that was a lucky moment for me because I happened to have the money to do it.
[00:10:41] And I was looking specifically for something that was, e-commerce SAS, recurring revenue. And it was in a space that I understood and it was a space that I could be passionate about. So that is a lucky moment where all of those things that kind of I’ve been preparing for came together in one shot.
[00:10:58] And then after that, like the pandemic was another lucky moment. I know this is not lucky for a lot of people that lost loved ones, but if you were in e-commerce. Everything kind of took off in certain verticals and certain services, right? Capture was one of those services. And because we had been spending a lot of time, integrating with woo commerce, integrating with easy digital downloads, integrating with restrict content pro being on Shopify at that point and optimizing our listing all of these things, when that massive uptick in e-commerce store interest went on.
[00:11:33] We were there and able to capitalize on it because we were available to people. We, we had enough interest and awareness in the community that people were able to take us and, and use the service at the time that they needed it the most. So that’s another lucky opportunity we were able to capitalize on.
[00:11:53] And, it’s just building on moments like that again and again and again, in your business. [00:12:00] Entails, like I said, a lot of hard work and you’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to do the homework. I had to network with, the, I have a relationship with nexus and liquid web, and I think I was trying to, I was badgering poor Chris lemma for life.
[00:12:14] 12 months, no joke. Like every two months, I just like ping out and say, Hey, what’s going on? Are you guys ready to integrate this yet? And they were like, yeah, no, not talk to me in a little bit. And I just kept doing that and kept doing that and kept doing that. And eventually it turned out. Initial relationship and then Jilt shut down.
[00:12:31] And now it’s a bigger relationship cause they were relying on Jill. So again, it’s about timing and persistence and hard work. And the more you can make that surface area, big, these lucky events that come flying through your space, you can grab a hold of them and, let it ride your busy.
[00:12:49] Matt: [00:12:49] Where do you rank the priority of.
[00:12:52]Like developing features versus being. Social and networky and markety in the grand scheme of your luck surface area, like if you were sitting in front of a class of one year WordPress plugin entrepreneurs who are mostly developers, Would you tell them to increase the lung surface area by creating those integrations or, Hey, you got to blog more, you got to outreach more, maybe start a podcast.
[00:13:24] Where do you set those priorities to, to increase that luck surface?
[00:13:30] Dave: [00:13:30] I would never prioritize features on that list until I had some understanding of what’s out there in the space. Like we didn’t integrate with WooCommerce and easy digital downloads because I love those two so much. It happens that I do, but that’s not why I integrated with them.
[00:13:48] I integrated with them because there was a huge market opportunity and doing that. That I can go after those opportunities and it allows me to be in other spaces. So I understood the market well enough to know that those were good plays, but part of what I would say to that, younger group of plugin authors, is that the reason that I knew those things is that I created relationships first.
[00:14:14] So I had attended events, like word camps, and PressNomics where I talked with these others. Hosting companies and plugin authors and agencies and all of these other things to understand what are their concerns, who are the people in the space that are the movers and the shakers that I can learn more from that.
[00:14:34] If I connect with it’s going to, improve my sphere. Of being able to do better things in the world, right? It’s not about, me personally, it’s about how can I improve my impact on the world and that, you’re not going to get that sitting around typing features out on a keyboard.
[00:14:50] So those things matter, but they don’t matter first. Like you need to get the other things before you can get. The features, because you won’t know the right features [00:15:00] to build until you’ve talked to people, talk to your customers, talk to other people that are going to use your tool. Talk to hosting providers that might find a way to use you to improve the offerings to their customers.
[00:15:10] If you can make somebody better with your product, then they’re going to be interested in you, but you’re not going to know that unless you get out there and talk to other people and find out what the hell they’re doing, right. Podcasting is another great way to do that.
[00:15:22]Matt: [00:15:22] I forget which episode of. Rogue startups.
[00:15:24] It was, but it might’ve been a more recent one when you were talking about the new SMS functionality of the product. And you’ll have to remind me of like what the context was, but you said something like here I am working on something else. And like the SMS stuff is just sitting, waiting to go, or at least that’s how I kind of remember it.
[00:15:45] And you were, you were like, oh God, if I just, I just got to get out there and launch this, like, what am I doing? Spending all this time in this area when I can just, this features almost kind of ready, let me just launch it. I think that that’s. Such a common, well, first of all, am I getting that right?
[00:16:00] Am I remembering this, this tug of war you had at one point with releasing that feature and other things you were doing?
[00:16:06] Dave: [00:16:06] I think so. So there was a, a combination of forces that were coming in at the time. And we were talking about trying to release SMS first. It was going to be an April, then it was going to be in may and then it was going to be in June.
[00:16:16] And it finally got released on July 1st. So I don’t have to say that anymore, but thank God. But it. I got distracted by a bunch of other things. And one of the things I think that kills us as entrepreneurs is lacking focus. So you see, and I, I’m as guilty as anybody else. Here’s a new shiny object over here.
[00:16:34] Ooh, look at that. If we develop that boy, that would really make a move on MRR. Oh wait. But we could be doing this marketing hack right here instead. And all of those things are just constantly coming up in your, your field of view and you’ve got to, nail it down and say, look, I did this. If I don’t shove it out the door now I’m in big trouble.
[00:16:54] So, for me, with the SMS stuff, what that came down to was that I was distracted by content marketing. And I spent like a month trying to hire a content marketer. And then the Jilt shutdown came along in June and all of a sudden everything got shuffled. Right. So then it was like, oh, geez well, SMS, isn’t going to really move the needle with Jilt customers because Jilt didn’t support SMS.
[00:17:15] So now what do I need to do to make it. Jilt customers would be better served by recapture. Well, I gotta add marketing emails, broadcast emails. And so we were really close on that one too. So we just bundled it all together. SMS was done. And so we just put these two and said, all right, July 1st is when we’re launching.
[00:17:32] We finished that up inside of a week in June and then pushed it out the door. But yeah, focus was killing me there and that was totally my bad.
[00:17:42]Matt: [00:17:42] Back to, I guess, the, the luck surface area. And you hinted about this before too, is, you have a plan. And we, everyone says good, create a plan, create a calendar, like have these automations in these processes and everything will be running smoothly.
[00:17:56] And then suddenly it’s like, okay, well maybe this. [00:18:00] Yeah. And it blows up and you’re like, oh, maybe new feature. And then like you start building a new feature, then suddenly Jill shuts down and that’s just a matte, like now you have to be like, okay, I literally have to drop all this other stuff because this is just now a massive opportunity.
[00:18:16] And, and this is not really a question, but more of a statement just to frame it. Like we went through this, we’re going through this at and I’m only bringing it up because you talked to Craig every week, but it’s like, we’re doing all of these things where new products, new features, new things are rolling out new enhancements, and then suddenly it’s.
[00:18:36] There’s an opportunity to buy another company. Well, that’s pretty big deal. And like, now we do that. So it’s just like, there’s that? And then there’s right. Craig working in is working his butt off to raise money and he raises money for the company. And then it’s just like right back to the feature grindstone have finished the migration.
[00:18:59] Now we’ve got this app that just launched literally yesterday. Yesterday. Yep. Monday. And now there’s just like right back to the feature grindstone and you’re like, wow. Like things move at a pace. That’s it’s exciting. But also, man, there’s no plan for this. There’s no playbook, there’s nothing, there’s nothing.
[00:19:17] Dave: [00:19:17] There’s no question. Yeah, no. There’s, there’s a certain chaotic insanity to the whole entrepreneur journey. And in some ways you can do all the planning you want, but no plan survives first contact with the customer. And in many cases, no plan survives first contact. Random events that happen out in the real world, acquiring companies, getting funding, Jilt shutdowns, all of these things, just things happen.
[00:19:47] And the speed at which you can react to something is definitely whether your business lives or dies in these events. And it definitely is also whether the business grows or fails in these times as well. Those that were not able to. Advantage of the dynamic nature of the e-commerce, if they weren’t pivoting hard during their vertical, like if you were in the travel vertical during COVID shutdown, people were just pounding on you with a sledgehammer into the ground, like six feet deep.
[00:20:16] They didn’t stop, but if you were in like like a lounge wear sweat pants, hoodies, things like that, you couldn’t keep the stuff inside. Your warehouse long enough to sell it. So, you had to be reactive to the act of circumstances there, or it kills your business and, that’s what Craig’s doing with Castillo’s and that’s what I’ve tried to do with
[00:20:36] Matt: [00:20:36] recapture, for sure.
[00:20:37] Yeah. I want to go back to talking about partnerships which will eventually segue into word PR into woo commerce versus Shopify. But before we get to that flaming ball of chaos, Navigating partnerships in WordPress. I’m interested to hear just your opinion on it. Sometimes. I think, especially for somebody like you with a product that could [00:21:00] really latch onto a hosting company, those are very tricky waters to now.
[00:21:04]I know I used to work at Pagely and it was just like, man, like people wouldn’t even say WP engine around me. Like it wasn’t like,
[00:21:13] Dave: [00:21:13] like we don’t talk about that. No. Yeah.
[00:21:16] Matt: [00:21:16] It wasn’t on any of those podcasts where there were other web hosts. Like, it is a very, I feel like in the hosting world, maybe it’s getting a little bit better that it was like, you gotta be in a camp and that’s the camp you’re in and there’s isolation there.
[00:21:28]Any thoughts around navigating. And also just like critical feedback on products and services in the WordPress space. I feel like doesn’t exist in the normal zeitgeists like, I’m looking at my Sony camera right now. And like, if you went online to YouTube and you looked at, or a forum and you went to Sony versus Panasonic and there would be like great debate.
[00:21:54] Like critical. Like, but every, at the end of the day, everybody’s fine about the two companies. But I feel like in the WordPress space, you don’t get that like damn EDD for doing this. And this is why I’m woo commerce. I don’t have the right phrase for it, but I feel like that partnership slash criticism in the WordPress space doesn’t exist.
[00:22:14] Maybe. We’re all too friendly with each other. Can I say that like, we’re all friendly? I dunno, it’s just a weird thing. Like I feel like if you walk down the hall. And talked about your favorite brand of anything else. There could be clear debate, clear, concise, love it, hate it. I could go without it, but in the WordPress space that doesn’t exist.
[00:22:33] Am I making sense with that? Like, do you feel that thing in the air, like I do. I, I
[00:22:37] Dave: [00:22:37] totally hear what you’re saying on that one and I know exactly what you mean. Yeah, there’s, there’s definitely this weird space where it seems like. You can talk about one hosting company, but you can never say hosting company a versus B, right.
[00:22:50] Or if you do like that discussion gets shut down real fast. And I don’t think it’s a conscious thing, but I’ve seen it on chats. And just over the years on blog posts, like it’s very rare that somebody sits down and truly compares one to the other. Head to head and say, look, if you really like these things, this hosting company makes a lot of sense.
[00:23:11] And if you like these things, then this other hosting company is a better fit for you. But yeah. So, you were talking about navigating partnerships. I think it’s kind of the same thing. Like as soon as you declare allegiance to one. It’s almost like the others kind of look at you with a little side eye and with a little bit of stink-eye on top of it.
[00:23:32] And they’re like, well, you’ve already got them in your camp, so we can’t be in your camp at the same time. I think that goes to the detriment of all WordPress users. Like there’s nothing that says you can’t be friendly and competitive in the same thing. And I think when you say that they’re overly friendly, I wouldn’t characterize it like that.
[00:23:55] I would characterize it. Yeah. Unwilling to criticize in general, it’s something about the [00:24:00] community. I don’t know what it is. If they are looking not to drum up drama and they feel like that’s going to create unnecessary drama or unhelpful drama, it probably could. I definitely could see that that could get into some real nasty debates that just degenerate into ad hominem attacks.
[00:24:16] And, you suck because you picked oh, well, okay. Yeah. Back off, man. That’s it. That’s that’s not necessary. So yeah, I don’t know. I’ve, I’ve felt that and it’s weird, but the partnership thing.
[00:24:31] Matt: [00:24:31] Because it’s farther back now. Like, I’ll say, well, you can do, you can define it. Is it a, is it a partnership with nexus?
[00:24:38] And if so, like, do you feel like one, maybe you can’t because you’ve signed something or two, like, do you feel like, ah, man, it’s gonna be a little bit harder for me to knock on the door, WP engine to do this because they see me over here with nexus and Chris. So like that kind of friction that you think that holds you back.
[00:24:55] Dave: [00:24:55] It doesn’t hold me back. Let me say that. Okay. To sign because like the stuff that I set up with nexus, it wasn’t exclusive anyway. And it was very friendly. Like, look, I’ve got this thing, your customers can use this thing. You got this offering and it makes it more valuable to your customers. If we say we put this on your dashboard here, like, it was very much like how can we make this a win-win thing and like help.
[00:25:15] I will be happy to help create content to make your customers more successful. Like at the end of the day, That story should play well with any hosting company, right? If I can give you something that helps your customers be more successful and you help me bring more customers, and we’re both winning in this relationship, it shouldn’t matter how many people I’ve set that deal up with because your customer success should be the foremost thing at the top of your mind.
[00:25:42] But, I don’t know from if I have this deal going on with nexus, does that make me. A bit of a hot potato with WP engine. I don’t really know. I noticed that before I had any deal in place of any hosting company at all, like just getting to the right person who was interested in what I had to say, and that saw the value of it.
[00:26:02] Was kind of a non-trivial thing to navigate, especially when, folks are coming and going and coming and going. Even if you have the right contacts at these companies and the network relationships I’ve made gives me some ins to most of these hosting companies where I can say, Hey, I want to talk to so-and-so.
[00:26:20] It still doesn’t necessarily mean that that company is interested in your offering or that they’re thinking about things the same way that you are. So. It kind of is another thing where it has to all line up. They’ve got to be thinking about this the same way that you’re thinking about this. And that’s where I’ve met.
[00:26:39] The most resistance, I think is that, I say, Hey, are you thinking about a managed WooCommerce hosting? And I’m like, okay, well, we’re, we’re already missing this each other here. And I don’t, maybe it’s going to be a better fit in a year or two years or something like that.
[00:26:53] So with nexus, they were very much like, yep. We’ve got that. Yep. We want this. All right. Let’s make it all happen. [00:27:00] With a little bit of persistence. It’s so.
[00:27:02] Matt: [00:27:02] It almost, and really almost makes you appreciate like a bigger business. Right. You kind of have an appreciation for it. And, and again, I’ll frame that is when you look at somebody like Austin, like SIADH from awesome motive.
[00:27:16] Right. And you see. Well, the, the sheer size, the competency of business and you have a relationship there because that’s where you sold the plugins to. Right? So you kind of see there’s a trust there. And then you can kind of make sense, because if you’re just solo developer, Dave knocking on the door of, big web hosting conglomerate.
[00:27:38]They’re going to look at you and be like, well, man, we can’t, this is way too much of a risk to just take your software, slapping it in front of 30,000 customers potentially. And we are just going to trust you. You start to kind of appreciate, okay. The bigger businesses can kind of win. There’s more sustainability, there’s better trust.
[00:27:56]There’s just more invested in the whole thing. And as a small business owner, like you kind of get it once you start going through the throws of, of navigating those, I dunno, corporate waters, enterprise waters whatever you want to call it. Kind of appreciate a little bit more, at least I do anyway.
[00:28:11] Dave: [00:28:11] no, I would agree with that. And it’s interesting. These larger companies. Because they’re so big, like, it’s the difference between moving like a cheetah and moving like an elephant. You’re the small start-ups. So you can navigate pretty quickly make the fast sprints and turn quickly. They’re kind of plotting along in a very straight direction and they’re not going to change their direction very quickly.
[00:28:34] So it takes them awhile to get going in a direction. And then once they’re going in that direction, it takes them a while to change directions. And the bigger the company gets, the bigger the elephant gets, right? Yeah. So by bringing in small companies, I think a lot of them want to increase their agility in that sense.
[00:28:53] But of course, there’s that whole trust aspect. Like we know you’re smaller than us, but are you big enough that you can handle what we hand the hand over to you? And if that trust isn’t there, then yeah. That’s, that’s all gone. So again, this is part of the networking aspect. If you can have that relationship with another person and that they get to know your business and they’re like, oh yeah, you’ve been around for awhile.
[00:29:13] Oh, look, you’ve got some customers. Oh, look, you served a lot of customers. Oh, you’ve done a pretty decent volume. Hey, maybe you not, might not be a fly by night. Business and we might be able to trust you like that. Trust isn’t something that just happens overnight. Right? You got to build it slowly over years.
[00:29:28] Matt: [00:29:28] Yeah. Shopify versus a woo commerce when we chatted. Yeah. Forget
[00:29:33] Dave: [00:29:33] it. We’re done. Now. I have a lot to say about this. Go ahead.
[00:29:37] Matt: [00:29:37] We chatted last time. I think one of the things now, look, I have only set up a handful of Shopify. Generally out of just helping some friends and some local entrepreneurs in my area do it.
[00:29:47]I think one of the things I’ll try to make this a quick question. Like one of the things I really appreciate from Shopify is. On the outside anyway, like their partnership program looks more mature. Like the way they work with [00:30:00] agencies looks more mature. And generally, I feel like they’re willing to work with the freelancers of the world versus.
[00:30:07] WordPress and WooCommerce is kind of just like, see you later. Bye. Like, we’ll see it at the end of the road, by the way, we’ll sell $5,000 [email protected] Right. And to me, that’s like, man, like I look at it Shopify and I’m like, yeah woo commerce, WordPress should have something like this. But I guess at the end of the day, it’s not all roses and rainbows from the outside because Shopify is going to.
[00:30:35] I guess watch like a watchful eye of, what you’re doing as an, as an app, as an integrator, as an agency. And if they see something that’s super profitable, I guess they could just go. Yeah, we’ll just do that. We’ll just do that in house and just demolish your app, I guess in the matter of seconds is what they could do.
[00:30:52] So again, sharp road to navigate. I like it from the outset. Like it’s an opportunity for a freelancer or a small agency to get more work. But curious on your thoughts on partnership program in generally working with a Shopify versus a WooCommerce.
[00:31:09] Dave: [00:31:09] Yeah. So you wanted a short answer, right? Well, I
[00:31:14] Matt: [00:31:14] was, I was trying to make a short question,
[00:31:16] Dave: [00:31:16] which is okay, so I can have a long answer.
[00:31:18] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So. Let me talk about the platforms first in general. So I think when you’re picking Shopify versus woo, there’s a lot of things that go into that decision in general, that should make you, focus on what are the strengths of each of those platforms. So with Shopify very easy to get started, low tech threshold, to understand there’s lots of stuff that you can do without being a full stack developer.
[00:31:47] Integrate apps and just basically get a store up and running. So if you aren’t sure, like you’re doing it drop shipping or it’s a new product and you’re trying to find product market fit or product audience bit or whatever it is. I think Shopify gets you up and running quicker to something that’s pretty polished that comes at a y’all are costs.
[00:32:10] So, the hosting that Shopify, the apps that you’re adding on and all of that, but. That can be managed and I think it’s simplifies things and gets you going pretty well to where you want be. With that said, once you reach a certain point and you’re like, now I want my store to do this. And I want my checkout to have this in it.
[00:32:32] And I want to use these payment methods, but not these other ones. And I also want this post purchase, checkout flow to be going on. And I want these kind of abandoned cart emails, and I want this, and I want that like for somebody who knows exactly what they want, Shopify can be incredibly expensive and very frustrating because it has been traditionally difficult to cut it.
[00:32:53] So, this is where Woo’s strength comes to play. In my opinion, is that, if you’re on the right hosting provider [00:33:00] and you have a good agency that you can work with, that knows what they’re doing with Boone. These are out there. You can do a nice build and you can customize the hell out of it.
[00:33:08] Yeah. And get exactly what you want. And if you’ve got a good developer on Wu, you can make it run as fast or faster than a Shopify store. So performance, isn’t an issue necessarily if you’ve done the right things and you’ve done your homework. And, there are plenty of smart wound stores that do that.
[00:33:25] The downside to that, of course is complexity. And you got to have a higher threshold of technical knowledge either for yourself or a team to put that together. And, you’ve got to find the right agencies and the right developers. And if you’re talking about the energy and the Wu space and the energy.
[00:33:43] Shopify space. They’re pretty different. And there’s a lot of energy in Shopify and it’s hard to ignore that and there’s energy and Wu too, but to like sort out the wheat from the chaff is a little more challenging because those really good Wu developers aren’t necessarily out there trumpeting themselves, talking about how great their agency is.
[00:34:04] I can tell you the top five shops. Development agencies right off the top of my head because of what I see on Twitter, because of what I see in their blogs and just general social media activity, I would have a harder time doing that for woo commerce based on those factors. I know a few of them, but they’re harder to pick out.
[00:34:21] Matt: [00:34:21] Right. So do you think that’s because Shopify helps prop those agencies up to part of their marketing and sales?
[00:34:28] Dave: [00:34:28] Yes. So WooCommerce as a platform, doesn’t do enough for partners and agencies, not the way that Shopify does, like here at Shopify at unite announced that they were abolishing the 20% at a revenue share on all of their partner apps up to your first million dollars a year.
[00:34:49] So basically it’s like everybody on the platform got a 25% raise, including recapture, which I was thrilled about. WooCommerce. If you want to go to their store, there was this discussion in post status that I was contributing to. If you are exclusive to the woo commerce store, 40% revenue share. If you’re non-exclusive it’s 60%.
[00:35:09]I understand why WooCommerce didn’t want. To just let every person possible onto the platform and turn it into the repo, like the repo turned out to, it’s kind of a, we’ll call it a mixed bag. I think that’s the, the most politically correct way I could say it. Yeah. There’s a lot of garbage out there and there’s a lot of good stuff and it does take some time to sort through it and figure out, I think they were trying to curate the woo commerce store experience to be a little higher quality than that.
[00:35:41] But I think they went about it wrong. And it’s
[00:35:43] Matt: [00:35:43] been it’s 60% to automatic
[00:35:45] Dave: [00:35:45] or 60, 60% to automatic. Yes. Wow. Which is, like, come on really. You’re taking more than half of my business. How am I supposed to be profitable at that point? It’s not this isn’t a charity to you. So these numbers are just [00:36:00] wrong in my, like, they don’t encourage
[00:36:02] Matt: [00:36:02] catches a lot of flack for 30%, right?
[00:36:05]Dave: [00:36:05] Come on, apple, apple at 30 bucks percent is considered untenable and you all at WooCommerce that are doing 40 and 60%. Come on, give me a break. That’s why my plugins are never going to be on the WooCommerce repository. I know I’m not alone in this. So, there are some plugins that are there, but guess what?
[00:36:23] They’re all free. 40% of zero is still zero. So you’re good. They’re, they’re asking for me to share my revenue 60% a month. You just killed my profitability to the point where I can’t run my business anymore. So it’s that sort of mentality. That I think is hurting the Wu commerce ecosystem. Like there isn’t an agency support program.
[00:36:44] There isn’t a big conference every year. That has the energy of Shopify unite. There isn’t a partner program that really nurtures everybody along. Like with Shopify partners. Like you sign up, you’re getting an email a day for like 30 days telling you here’s some partner tips. Here’s this development thing.
[00:37:01] Here’s this resource. Here’s this? Here’s this here’s this guess how many times we got from WooCommerce? Zero. Yeah. Yeah. I, it they’re very different ecosystems and I think it’s to the detriment of WooCommerce, that they are not putting more energy into that, that piece of it, because that is a big part of why Shopify has been successful.
[00:37:23] Matt: [00:37:23] Yeah. I agree a hundred percent. And again, I have very little experience from the Shopify side. I just know from what I don’t receive from support from WordPress and seeing what everything else is happening. And I guess look at when you. Zoom out and take a look at the sheer size of WordPress compared to Shopify just I’m talking like installed platform based like that kind of thing.
[00:37:46] Yeah. The, the, the play for WordPress and automatic is when it comes to open source. How are you going to monetize it? It has to be done through like that trust factor. So it’s open source. It’s super flexible. It’s the same message. Automatic and you and I can go out and tell a customer and they’ll just win by having the most trusted plugin, a jet pack or a premium ad-ons from woocommerce.com or something like that.
[00:38:17] And they’ll win. On that trust level where Shopify, you’re just going to go there and spend money. Like you’re choosing that platform. So you’re you, you’ve made the decision to go there and they’re telling you, the whole platform is trusted with WordPress it’s. Hey, it’s great. It’s open source. Do whatever you want.
[00:38:34]But by the way, Jetpack is the most trusted way to secure and manage your site. And that also comes with whatever WooCommerce add ons that you buy for those bundles that they have for like 2 99, 3 99 or whatever. And their argument will be you trust it because it comes from ashore. You can go get Dave’s go ahead and get Dave’s.
[00:38:53] But you know, you’re going to trust us better because we’re the, the company behind it kind of thing. So I can’t fault them [00:39:00] for it. It’s just, one of those things. So many people have pushed towards jet pack or excuse me, to WooCommerce and WordPress because they love the software and there’s no, there’s that love doesn’t come back to us.
[00:39:15] What are we going to do?
[00:39:16] Dave: [00:39:16] Nothing we can do. There’s nothing we can do, unfortunately. And the other thing. I, I don’t like, is that w well, so to contrast this, let me say, oh, Shopify does this. So Shopify does do acquisitions on things, but not like, not at the same level that I’ve seen automatic do it, where they pull in things like mail poet, right.
[00:39:35] Or there pull all this stuff in and turn it into Jetpack. Like Shopify is not doing that. They build stuff and they’ll build it to a level like, there was a year, I think it was like the first unite I went to and it was me. Two years after I’d acquired recapture and they released the abandoned cart emails.
[00:39:52] And those that knew me at the conference were like, so how do you feel about abandoned cart emails on Shopify now is like, I feel okay about it because they’re just, they’re 60% solution and I’m a hundred percent solution. And I can tell you like all the shortcomings, it’s great for people getting started out and it gives you those tools to get going and get your store off the ground.
[00:40:14] It’s never serious enough to like take you to the next level. So it’ll get you to like the 5,000 a month rate. But after that, it’s going to break down pretty quickly. Cause you’re just not doing as good of a job as you could be with other apps that are more professional. And I’ve seen this a little bit in big commerce, too, where they build in these features and then know they’re okay, but they’re not great.
[00:40:35] And you build your store up to a certain level and then you get these other things and you use them instead. I don’t see that with WooCommerce. They’re trying to pull in everything and say, okay, we’re going to be really good at email. We’ve got mail poet now, but are you really the best at email? Because you got all these other things you’re doing too.
[00:40:54] And you’ve got this team, that’s doing mail poet, and I don’t want them to fault the male poet folks. They’re a great plugin and they do a lot. It’s just, your priorities are going to be driven by the platform, not the customers that are using it. So. Is that going to make it the best it could possibly be and truly drive be driven by the needs of the customers on the platform, as opposed to the benevolent dictator for
[00:41:18] Matt: [00:41:18] life.
[00:41:19] Yeah. What’s next from, is there a next platform play for you to integrate with? I think I was looking at another W3C techs report the other day and it for specifically for, e-commerce and. I would have to go back and dig this report out. Maybe, I saw woo commerce and in the Squarespace, e-commerce almost like neck and neck.
[00:41:41] Is that true? Is there square? I was like, suddenly like what Squarespace e-commerce is this big and even realize it is that like an area you’re going into or another platform? That’s interesting.
[00:41:50]Dave: [00:41:50] We’ve, I’ve taken a quick look at Wix and Weebly and Squarespace, all kind of in the same breath.
[00:41:57]There is definitely a. [00:42:00] We’ll call it an economic shift on this platform where it is. It is aiming for a tier of store that doesn’t want to pay as much as you get in Shopify, or you want to get in Wu. And it’s difficult for me to convince a customer who’s paying $4 a month for their e-commerce website to pay 29 for mine.
[00:42:23] And I know this because of how the pricing worked in Shopify, like the base level in Shopify as 29. And the fact that I aligned with that. It makes it easier for me to sell my product because they’ve already made that mental commitment for 29. They’re getting another 29. Isn’t that bad. But when you’re at four and you jumped to 29, that’s too big and that’s not a, that’s not a battle I want to fight.
[00:42:45] That’s not a set of customers that I think are easy to deal with in that regard. So, I’ve looked at other platforms where we can head up markets. So our other e-commerce spaces. So things like Salesforce, cloud commerce. Things like that, but it’s a little trickier to get into that because you kind of need to know some stores to have the testability.
[00:43:09] Cause it’s not like you’re just downloading this, installing it and testing it out. You kind of have to work in tandem with somebody else. So, I I’ve got some plans. We’re kind of cooking that up right now. I don’t see, I’m keeping an eye on Squarespace and Wix and Weebly. And if they start moving up market.
[00:43:25] Mid tiers, which is quite possible. They could, then it would make a lot of sense to integrate because there’s going to be a large customer base there, but right now it doesn’t look economically viable. Yeah, yeah.
[00:43:37] Matt: [00:43:37] Yeah. That makes, that makes total sense. I guess that’s probably why I was so shocked at the footprint of the Squarespace.
[00:43:42] Cause I was like, yeah, it makes sense. Because then you’re like, well, what are these people selling? They’re really seriously. Probably something like photo prints, and a couple of handmade things. That’s probably about it, certainly not an apparel line or kayaks, which you’ll probably find on Shopify, right?
[00:44:00] People who are manufacturing, things, stuff like that. Very cool. Dave wrote ball, recapture.io. Congrats on being a free man than the last time I talked to you running the business day to day. Where else can folks find you? What else can they look forward to from.
[00:44:15] Dave: [00:44:15] Well, we just did our big release the 1st of July for SMS card abandonment and order notifications on recapture.
[00:44:23] So if you’ve been itching to try that out or see what that’s like, come to recapture.io and check that out. We also have broadcast emails out after Jill announced their shutdown, we had to make sure that was working to be able to seamlessly migrate folks over. So if you’re. A former Jilt customer and you’re looking for a place to land.
[00:44:41] We’d love to talk to you at recapture and see if we can make things work for you. If somebody is looking to get a hold of me, you can find me on Twitter at Dave.
[00:44:51] Matt: [00:44:51] I heard you’re actually making phone calls too. Right? You’re calling people up, doing it the old fashioned way
[00:45:00] [00:45:00] Dave: [00:45:00] because your cell phone fashioned way, I would like, knock on their doors and press the flashes as it were, but that’s not happening.
[00:45:08] Matt: [00:45:08] Everyone else. Matt report.com maryport.com/subscribe. Join the mailing list. Don’t forget to tune in to your weekly dose of five minute WordPress news every [email protected] Thanks for listening. We’ll see you. In the next episode.