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Heath Armstrong is an author, entrepreneur and the co-founder of Rage Create, an e-commerce marketing and publishing company dedicated to help bridge the gap between taboo, craving and spirituality. He’s also the author and creator of a range of affirmation cards and journals, designed to optimise happiness and health.
Listen in to hear Heath share:
- An introduction to himself and his businesses (1:47)
- His journey ‘from face down pants down to serial entrepreneur’ (3:35)
- How he got started in ecommerce and online arbitrage (09:58)
- How retail arbitrage lead to a digital subscription business (17:15)
- What he learnt about building a successful brand (19:08)
- How, and why, he launched his own affirmation cards and journals (20:12)
- How he got his first customers and sales – there’s some great tips here! (27:30)
- Running a successful Kickstarter campaign (33:52)
- His number one piece of advice for other product creators (44:04)
From Flat Out Broke to Ecommerce Success – With Heath Armstrong
Welcome to the, bring your product ideas to life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.
Vicki Weinberg (00:00:23):
Heath Armstrong is an author entrepreneur and the co-founder of Rage Create an e-commerce marketing and publishing company dedicated to help bridge the gap between taboo, craving and spirituality. He is also the author and creator of some affirmation cards and several journals, which are for optimizing happiness and health. He's also the host of the never stop peeking podcast. So I think that he was one of maybe the fair one of the first, if not the first person who approached me to ask if he could come on the podcast, which is always appreciated. And we had a really interesting conversation. He is someone who has a story of going from being like flat out, broke to starting out, you know, trying selling products.
Vicki Weinberg (00:01:06):
And he's gonna talk to you all about his journey and the deaf things he's tried. And now he actually has his own e-commerce company where he helps people to sell and market their own products, as well as having his own range of successful products, which he'll talk to you about too. So it's a really interesting story and I really hope that you enjoy it and that, and that you learn a lot from it. So without any further ado, I'm gonna introduce you to Heath say hi, Hey, thank you so much for being here.
Heath Armstrong (00:01:33):
Hey, I'm so gracious and excited to be here for sure.
Vicki Weinberg (00:01:38):
I'm super excited to say, can you start by giving us an introduction to yourself and your business please?
Heath Armstrong (00:01:46):
Yeah, I'm kind of a creative maniac. I've done quite a bit in the e-commerce realm, but that started from just some odd ball projects. That was a desperate attempt to find some side revenue from a, you know, concrete construction career that I was in and I've gone on to really become more of a writer than anything. So I'm the author of sweet ass affirmations, motivation for your maniac, creative mind, which is a really cool affirmation deck that has a lot of zest in boldness to it that helps people kind of bridge the gap between the realness of life and that kind of Wu spirituality that most people don't believe in, which there's a story as to how that came out as well.
Heath Armstrong (00:02:34):
But I'm also the co-founder of Rage Create that is the parent company of that plus a lot of different e commerce and marketing companies that we kind of have umbrella underneath that like seller
spaceship.com and FBA lead list.com, a lot of Amazon related stuff. And, and I've created several journaling systems, the Swedish journal to develop your happiness muscle in 100 days. And then a recent for
diabetics, which is the Swedish journal to optimize your diabetic lifestyle in 100 days, which I did with an amazing woman who, who runs a company called party like a diabetic. And then other than that, I just, I spent a lot of time working within a school in Africa for children that don't really have anything.
Heath Armstrong (00:03:23):
And that's been one of the most life-changing things for me. And I spent a lot of times outdoors, just kind of no matting around working on a van. And yeah, that's a good overview of who I am, I believe.
Vicki Weinberg (00:03:36):
Yeah. Thank you for that. So we've got so much we can talk about from the instruction you've just given, but I would like if it's okay to start from the absolute beginning because your bio really intrigued me when I did a little bit of reading on you before we spoke in your bio, you talk about hitting rock bottom. In fact, you call it your story from face down pants down to serial entrepreneur, which is intriguing. So can you share with us as much as you're comfortable with, you know, w you know, your life at that point and, and what changed and, and what happened for you?
Heath Armstrong (00:04:11):
Yeah, I mean, when you think face down pants down, sometimes that seems like a little bit of clickbait, but I legit woke up face down in my garage with my pants down. And I had a bottle of, it was just a tiny bit left of whiskey in my hand. And there was blood coming out of my nose that was, had run down. Like my head was up on a step leading into my garage, like the door inside of my garage. And I didn't remember, I had no idea what had been the task. Like, you know, 30 hours, my car was running in the front yard. I remember as I was like, trying to figure out what it just seems like a dream when you come out of something weird like that, you know, my dogs were just staring at me, thankfully, it didn't run away.
Heath Armstrong (00:04:59):
They were there for support or whatever, but I felt so bad. Like, what did I do? And then I realized that my, yeah, my car was running in the front yard. Like the keys were in it, it was parked in the middle of the yard, not in the driveway and it was running. And it was the most unbelievable, like, how did I get here moment? Right. I was under attack by resistance and fear because it was ruling my life. I worked in the concrete
construction industry because I went to school for that. And I started out, you know, making like $13 an hour inside of a factory where we made these receptacles that would carry human feces underground.
Heath Armstrong (00:05:41):
And like, that's what I was doing. I had a college degree and I did everything that they told me to do growing up, you know, you should be doing this and that, but like nothing was coming together to make me happy in any way. It was like I was doing boring work. I was around people that weren't inspiring. And that rock bottom moment was, was harsh. And I had a couple other ones and essentially came to the realization. Like if you, if you haven't been paying attention enough to realize that you have a job you hate and a relationship that you
don't want and a body that you don't like, and you're addicted to a bunch of to provide you with thrills so that you can forget about your lack of sustainable happiness. Well, then you're probably pretty right for a sledgehammer to the face from the universe, like a rock bottom moment or a warning or a transition.
Heath Armstrong (00:06:28):
And a lot of those are just opportunities in disguise, right? Because I really truly believe that life isn't about what happens to you. It's not about the beauty that happens to you, and it's not about that happens to you. It's about how you choose to react when it happens. So can in that situation, I was like, how do I find the silver lining and learn from this experience and use it as motivation to move closer to my dreams, as opposed to letting those sort of stress and fear gremlins come in and have a disco party in my brain, which may or may not have me end up, you know, face down cans down in the bushes next to a bottle of empty booze again, or worse.
Heath Armstrong (00:07:09):
You know, maybe dad maybe somewhere that I wouldn't be able to recover from. So we all have to make these decisions. How do we make decisions that are in support of our visions and our goals? And then how do we bring those visions to reality? And yeah, it's about attracting who you are and affirming the life that you want to live and allowing these experiences to motivate us. Instead of cripple us. I, I came out of that by opening a podcast app. Actually, this was the, you know, between that 2011, 2014 range was like that. I'm aware that I'm really not doing well. How am I going to pull myself out of it? It wasn't an instantaneous thing, but I, I heard a podcast with this amazing woman named Amber Vilhauer and her name was Amber Ludwig back then.
Heath Armstrong (00:07:59):
But her story seems so similar to like my psychological state of like doing a bunch of stuff and working into an industry that I had no passion for. But knowing that I could have passion and excitement, if it was the right thing. And I really wanting to explore that hero's journey. And she just was the first person, like, I, I got enough grit to send her a message, like what, you know, I would never do that before. But for some reason, the university's like send this lady a message. So I did, and she immediately replied and it was the first time I was like, wow, strangers, maybe these people aren't like unattainable these entrepreneurs or people making their own products or running their businesses. Like, it always seemed like they were in a glass house, you know, separate from who I was and what I could be.
Heath Armstrong (00:08:43):
And she sort of broke that house down and was like, Oh, Hey, let me call you tomorrow. And it was the most mind-boggling thing, but she called me and she just talked to me for like 20 minutes and asked me some questions. And like, I was like, yeah, I think you're going to be totally successful and just reframe my mind. And she introduced me to two people and one of them ended up teaching me how to podcast. And the other one was how L rod, who is an international best-selling author, he's famous for the miracle morning series.
And I think they just put a movie out too, but learning his morning routine changed everything for me, that was the biggest catalyst in helping me get out of my addictive slumps and my dependency on substances and things like that.
Heath Armstrong (00:09:29):
Waking up early and, and setting the tone for your day, which sets the tone for your life essentially. And then learning the podcasting aspect back then, I ran a show called the artsy now show, and I'm just pushing myself out of the comfort zone to talk to people that were doing things that I wanted to do was the Avenue that I needed to learn how to work myself away from that job and to create like an entrepreneurial lifestyle. So that's kind of how it went down.
Vicki Weinberg (00:09:59):
Thank you. That is an incredible story. So I would love to know that's what was it that got you started in e-commerce in particular
Heath Armstrong (00:10:11):
Twitter? Auto direct message is crazy as that sounds, I was trying to learn. So I was like searching for guests for my show. And I had like a bot, you know, back in before they'd put all these regulations in place of messaging and stuff. I had this like auto bot on my Twitter messages and it responded to somebody else's bot. And I thought it was hilarious. Cause it was like, I was like, Oh, that dude's messages definitely a bot as well. And I thought it was funny. So I just started like talking into that message thread. And then the guy who had it set up did also, and we started talking a little bit more and we became friends and he was the dude who ended up teaching me the beginnings of e-commerce.
Heath Armstrong (00:10:53):
And he's also now the co-founder of Rage Create my company. That's insane to think about from an outside perspective, but he was like, Hey, I just left my job. He was in a similar position. He did, he like sold bonds or something and was just miserable. And he, he was like, I'm trying to just figure out how to basically do resale, you know, on Amazon, like an arbitrage type business model, where he was going physically to stores and like scanning shelves for things, and then taking them home and packaging them up and sending them to Amazon warehouses to where they would sell. And then he would make a profit. And you know, that is a whole job in itself. That seems completely not interesting to me because as I was trying it with him, he kind of wanted to use me as a Guinea pig.
Heath Armstrong (00:11:39):
Like, would this work for someone else? Cause he was sending me screenshots that were like, Oh, I sold, you know, $5,000 this month. Now I sold $8,000 and his number kept going up. And one day I was like working, you know, with my boss and I got one, it was like, he did 16,000 in the month and I was like, whatever he's doing, he's scaling it. And I started looking at his system and then trying to think, okay, how do
I bring what I've learned about automation from these podcasting systems that I've set up into this e commerce system with him so that we can make this more scalable and actually efficient. So you're not spending so much of your time on it, but more so like setting it up to be something that can be quite passive in a way.
Heath Armstrong (00:12:23):
And that's how I got into it. Like I started doing retail arbitrage. I quit almost immediately because I felt like I was working at like a Walmart, you know, cause I was always at these stores, scanning stuff on shelves is awful. It was like the worst type of, you know, it's like the lowest level of entry for e-commerce that you could possibly have. It's like selling something to eBay. But that doesn't mean that it's not important to learn those skillsets for the next step. And I eventually came back to it with him and we figured out a way to do it all online through third-party websites and using softwares that basically would scan. Let's just take Walmart. For instance, it could scan the whole website of Walmart or categories over a period of time and then match those products with the Amazon listing for the products and then spit out all this metrical information.
Heath Armstrong (00:13:13):
Like what's the profit, if you resell this, is there a profit margin? You know, what's the ROI, how many of these sell per month? How many do you think you could sell per month type of thing? And that was when I really started getting interested in e-commerce cause it was like, Whoa, like if we set up a third party fulfillment center where we're not actually touching products, we can essentially automate the process of scraping all of these leads, buying them, sending them off to a warehouse that preps them for us and then ships them to Amazon, which sells them essentially. Cause we were adding onto listings that were already existing. They weren't my own products. It was a lot of sports and outdoor gear. Cause that was what I was really passionate about back then.
Heath Armstrong (00:13:54):
And it just, it started taking off so fast that I had no idea what was coming. Like I did not expect. I mean, I had this really intense vision practice of like, okay, I believe in my visions, I'm going to do e-commerce. I want to make my own products. That's the end goal. Like I want to make stuff that helps people that helps motivate people to make their own stuff. Like that's my life go. And it's a lot of what you're doing, which is why, you know, the connection here is cool. And how do I, how do I just get there by starting in this route? And yeah, like it was, I remember I started in an August, it was August, 2015.
Heath Armstrong (00:14:34):
I believe I officially set that company up in December. I did like 27,000 in sales by the next December I did a hundred thousand dollars in sales. I had a couple of back-to-back six-figure months and it was just like the most insane thing for somebody who was making $13 an hour in like a factory, you know? So that's how I got into it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:14:56):
Wow. That's really cool. And out of interest, are you still doing arbitrage? Is it called online arbitrage? What you work, what you got? Yeah.
Heath Armstrong (00:15:03):
The online arbitrage would be the version where you're not going to stores. And I think most people are kind of forced to do now, given the pandemic and stores being shut down, I do not. So I got to a crossroad where I was losing so much interest in the process because of the mass, you know, it's just mass consumerism. That much sales actually is an impact like thousands and thousands of products that I have things I really didn't care about anymore. It was cool to be able to supply people with stuff they needed, but there were, you know, Amazon kept raising fees. There were a lot of things that were happening in the universe was tugging me to be like, you need to start making your own stuff.
Heath Armstrong (00:15:45):
And that might come with a price of losing, you know, a lot of this business and this cashflow. But if you don't do it, we're going to take it away from you. Anyway. So I started having these like really conflicting months of like, okay, I know I can make this online arbitrage thing work better because it really, I mean, there's hundreds of thousands of sellers that use this model and make a lot of money in and make at least a living, you know? And, but to me, I just, I'm always looking at like, what, what do I want to do longterm? Cause we don't know how long we have on this planet and I could get stuck in that forever. And it was just getting to the point where it felt kind of like a job where I'm buying inventory for things I don't really care about.
Heath Armstrong (00:16:27):
And so I, yeah, I had some like really come to terms more rock, bottom moments with that because shutting it down was actually like a question of this might bankrupt me because there was so much overhead involved with it at that point. But I trusted my gut and yeah, I kind of re transitioned that whole aspect into a digital service instead. So I was looking at like, okay, I spent all these years becoming an expert in how to do this and I know how to do it. So let me teach other people how to do this, that want to do it while I move on to create some things that I really love, which is kind of how we got to the writing, you know, affirmation decks and journaling systems and things like that.
Heath Armstrong (00:17:15):
So I don't do physical online arbitrage. I do help some people on Amazon sell their affirmation decks and some other products like that. And of course we run our own deck listing and journal sales and stuff. But for the most part, that whole arbitrage thing has turned into a digital subscription business where we, we basically sell all of our information that we have spent years gathering. It's a, it's a subscription model where people pay $180 a month, $185 a month. And they get Monday through Friday, they get a spreadsheet to them with all the different leads and all the information for the leads. So we were able to figure out a way to use that skill set that we had to continue cashflow, but from a physical point, no, I don't, I don't do it
Vicki Weinberg (00:18:03):
Wow. Yeah. I can't imagine that. Must've been such a hard decision to walk away from a business that ultimately was doing well, even if it wasn't fulfilling you, but yeah. I'm glad if you weren't fulfilled that, that you did and it's, I think it's great that pivot you've made to now sort of turn that business into something that does work for you. Yeah. That's, that's really cool.
Heath Armstrong (00:18:24):
And it it's like, you think it's the end of the world. Like I remember being just like, Oh my, I did this huge pro and cons list. What happens if I shut this down? What happens if I keep going? And I think it was the best decision possible for me to shut it down when I did, because I kind of got completely out of it in February of this year. And then in March, Amazon froze all their warehouses and that was a big dagger for a lot of people that were depending on them. But here is e-commerce tip for anyone listening. Like don't, if you don't want to have a boss, don't be dependent on one market place. You know? And that was what I was like out to learn and teach myself as like, I'm way too dependent on Amazon as a marketplace and they are not everything.
Heath Armstrong (00:19:08):
And I want to learn more from the Shopify side and how to build a brand away from depending on a marketplace. And so, yeah, that's, that's kind of been the journey since, and it's a long journey and I guess a little bit at a time, but I know you do Shopify stuff as well. And I just think it's, it's the future, you know? And it gives a lot of power back to the people. Yeah,
Vicki Weinberg (00:19:30):
Yeah, absolutely. I don't ever recommend anyone puts all their eggs in one basket for marketplace and particularly Amazon because I'm finding from personal experience and from working with clients that it's just getting harder and harder, you know, the rules that requirement's it's, it's not necessarily an easy place to be. And I think in a way it's easier place to get it's a harder place to get started. Whereas I know when I got started selling online, I started on Amazon because it seemed like an easier option. Whereas now I, I don't, yeah, I just don't believe it is anymore, but let's change tack slightly because we've kind of got up to where the point at which in your, in your journey where you started creating your own products and I'd love to talk a bit more about that.
Vicki Weinberg (00:20:13):
So tell us a bit more about your reformation cards, your journals, how they came about. Yeah. I'd love to hear more about that.
Heath Armstrong (00:22:22):
Yeah. That the happiness journal came first. I, when I was interviewing people, all these creatives around the world, on the podcast, some physically, some via digital connection, I was still kind of, I was trying to figure out what kind of habits, these people that seem so Glasshouse to me had in place that allowed them to be so successful. And I ended up having like six different journals where I was like tracking all these different things that they did it just in their daily habit practices that were increasing their happiness and therefore allowing them to be more content with less stress to work on the things they truly loved and to not freak out about stuff and worry and let fear come in and have a disc, a party in their brain.
Heath Armstrong (00:21:10):
And I was, I had just, I had enough success going with the e-commerce that I left my job in dis I left my job in may of 2016. So it was like right after that first United started that e-commerce stuff in August, the previous year I was doing like 30 or 40,000 in sales, but that doesn't mean I was talking to much money obviously, but I was making enough to live off of, and I sold everything I had and I sold my house. I just kind of had this like clean, just fresh, like I'm going. And I moved to Washington and I that's across the country essentially.
Heath Armstrong (00:21:50):
Cause I was living in Kentucky, which is the Southeast U S at the time. And I moved all the way up to Washington state, not DC. And I was living in his house with my fiance at the time. We're no longer together, but she, she was a big catalyst and like, we kind of helped each other in this really development stage of our lives, which is really beautiful. And I had a black lab and I was like in this basement that all these worms kept coming through the, the windows and would always freak me out. It was like this weird, this weird thing that happened in that basement. Like you get down there every morning and there'd be like 30 more worms that somehow got through the windows into the basement.
Heath Armstrong (00:22:31):
And I don't like worms is freaky, but I was like meditating down there. It was like the only spot I had and I had all those journals laid out. You know, one was like to track my wins for the day. And one was to track the two things I was going to do today to move myself towards the visions. And it was just all these different aspects of the happiest journal. And my dog had peed. His name is Arlonzia is baloney. And because of this, he has
the forward in that first journal, but he peed or the dedication. I mean, he peed all over the journals and it was really assigned from the universe because right before that, I had been talking to this girl I'd hired to be sort of a life coach. It was the first life coach I'd ever used. And she was like, Hey dude, like you have a very unique way of communicating.
Heath Armstrong (00:23:15):
You've got to put all these systems that you're using that are clearly working for you into a system that other people can use. Of course, I had imposter syndrome as a creative, most of us do. It's like we don't know our worth. We try to be, you know, it's just a thing that happens with a lot of creative people. I was like, no, it's not going to work. But when I went down that basement to like to do my journaling and he had peed all over
all of them, I was like, Oh my God, like, I'm going to have to start all these into a new journal. And well, does it make sense to put them into one? Yes. Instead of having to carry around six. So that's how I got into, you know, over the hump of being afraid to put something out there that could help other people.
Heath Armstrong (00:23:58):
And that came in the form of the happiness journal that actually ended up doing really well from a self publishing launch that I really didn't know much about self publishing at all when I did it. It, yeah. I mean, it ended up selling. I probably sold, I don't know, like there's probably seven, 8,000 copies of that Roman around, which is pretty cool given from a self publishing perspective, it's a physical product, non Kindle, you know, when, when an agent picks you up home runs for them or to get an author that can sell like 10,000 books. So that was like a huge win for me to even sell a hundred. If I sold a hundred, I would have been happy. Right. So, but I saw how it was like working and people were reaching out and saying like, Hey, this is working for me.
Heath Armstrong (00:24:40):
And that led to the affirmation cards and some other systems and the affirmation cards were just like, I'm so sick of, of turning on or like walking by a television or driving down the road and seeing a billboard, like all these things, text messages, like social media, everything in this world is built to knock you off of your focus and redirect your focus with some sort of marketing so that you can like become a product of somebody else's empire essentially. And I'm like, what happened to like the fortune cookies? What happened to these? Like what were all the things that remind us of how magical we are? Just a couple of seconds that put us back on top of thinking about our vision and our dreams, as opposed to all these things that are pulling our attention away from it.
Heath Armstrong (00:25:25):
And the easiest barrier to entry was like, I was sitting there and I was looking at these affirmation decks that I had from other people that were kind of just like really woo and visionary, but Spacey, just like, yeah, I don't really know if I say I have an abundance over and over again that it's actually going to work. How do I, how do I make some more real zesty versions of this that, you know, might have a couple cuss words in, it might have a lot of situations in real life and then, and make it powerful enough to help people think deeply, but also laugh loudly. But most importantly, remind them of their magic and to go back to focusing on their dreams.
Heath Armstrong (00:26:05):
Every time they look at one, it only takes a couple of seconds to read a card. Right? So what, what, what happened if I can make a deck that people can like pass the cards out to strangers or like hide them around their house and just be reminders whenever they're feeling down of how to refocus. And that idea really started on Kickstarter and it took off as well. And I started thinking like, you know, longterm, can I do this with other products? Can I put affirmations on toilet paper? Don't steal my ideas. But
Vicki Weinberg (00:26:34):
No, I was just about to ask, have you done this yet? No, not yet.
Heath Armstrong (00:26:38):
I'm in, you know, some of these, some of these ideas are in the process, in the metaphysical for a while before they physically appear, but it's happening. Yeah. But like just, I want to put, I want to create as many things as I can that just using ordinary things in life that people use and just putting magical little messages on them to remind them, I mean, I don't care. It can be a salt shaker, you know, it could be your undies, like whatever it is, it's just, how do we combat this, this weird thing that's happened in the world where we're constantly being told we're not good enough or that we need something else to fix our problems when it's not true. Like you can literally have a note card and everyday use that note card to do just as much stuff as I've done with all of these different journaling systems and things like that.
Heath Armstrong (00:27:22):
So it all, it all comes internally. And that's kind of the focus of the, of what I'm trying to create, you know, from here on out.
Vicki Weinberg (00:27:31):
I liked that. I love the idea of just putting that a little bit of magic on just something you use every day and it kind of not being a big deal. It's just a, just kind of part of everyday life. I, yeah, I liked that. I'd, let's come back to when you first launched your journal, because you said that people use them and they love them and you have some good feedback, but how did you get those first customers? Cause, cause now I imagine, you know, you must have fads, you must have people who love what you do and what you say. I want to kind of wait in to see what you're going to do next. But with that very first product, how did you get so much traction in the beginning?
Heath Armstrong (00:28:05):
Yeah. It's this actually goes, this works well across the board for any platforms, whether it be launching on Amazon or Kickstarter or self-publishing through your Shopify site, the most effective thing that I've ever done and continues to show the same results. If you do it more than more is, is info. Like you've got to make, you got to get in touch with people who have audiences and share your product or your amazing idea that you're in love with, with these people and, you know, ask them, Hey, will you share this with your audience?
Heath Armstrong (00:28:46):
Can I do a giveaway with your audience? Can I be on this podcast? Can asking, seems like the scariest thing ever, but even if, you know, 3% of those people respond and you get one person that has a thousand people on their email list or 10,000 or more like those are the little things that it, that start adding up to really help you grow a brand or have success with a product. That's what I did with the journal. In the beginning. I, I
had some friends there, actually some podcasters that I'd been following, that they were in the travel niche. And I was trying to kind of, I made a digital version of the journal.
Heath Armstrong (00:29:25):
So for people that were traveling, because I knew that as someone who had followed them, like there were a lot of people that were working towards trying to create a travel lifestyle. Like how can I work from anywhere? And I knew a lot of the principles and the journaling system that I had created would work, but nobody wants to carry around, you know, a seven by 10 or a six by nine journal around the world that are quite heavy to get in they're printed from like, you know, KTP or Ingram spark or whatever. So I made a, I made a, a digital version of that. And then I made like this long form fillable PDF and all these different things that went with it with the paperback version that came in a digital package.
Heath Armstrong (00:30:08):
And there was quite a bit of stuff in there and it was a little bit of work. But by doing that, it actually allowed me to access a whole nother type of audience that I didn't think I would have a chance to access. So then all of a sudden, I, you know, I'm just asking them like, Hey, I made this travel version of this journal. What are you, what are you all doing? And they were just, you know, like, Hey, come on this show, let's talk about this. And then they did like a marketing bundle type sale called the paradise pack. And they featured it as one of the products in that, which got it to a lot of people through that aspect. And then it just all starts growing. I mean, unfortunately all the sales that you make through Amazon, you don't get any of the customer information to be able to contact or like say, Hey, I made some new products, which is another huge reason why Shopify is such a, a godsend.
Heath Armstrong (00:30:59):
So there's so many people out there that they have it, but for me to be able to recontact them, I don't know. But I, I know that a lot of them do come back and if you're a person who's created something or you have an idea for creating something, the best thing you can do is sit down and start just researching. And I would even go to the extent of getting some virtual assistants to do just a lot of research, pooling information on YouTube, others that are kind of in the niche of whatever you're making Instagram influencers are a big one. LinkedIn groups find people with big LinkedIn groups. Facebook is, is what it is. In some ways I don't, I haven't had a lot of success with, but with like group stuff there, but connecting with people, one-on-one for sure.
Heath Armstrong (00:31:46):
And finding people with websites and blogs and just having a mass approach to saying, okay, I've made this, this whole group of people, I'm going to try to get their addresses so I can ship them a version of this product and say, Hey, will you share this with your audience or review it or whatever. And just whatever you can do to
try to get access to their audiences. And that helps your launch more than anything. I mean, whether you're doing crowdfunding or just putting it on your site and hoping to drive sales back to it, if you like, I
always look at myself. If I do my podcast every single day, I'm going to be talking to my audience every single day. But you know, if we're, if we're collaborating and I'm talking to you here and you're on my show talking to me, they're like, we're just kind of swapping and getting to new people.
Heath Armstrong (00:32:30):
And that's the Avenue that I would, I would suggest for everyone.
Vicki Weinberg (00:32:35):
That's brilliant. Thank you. And I've never, no one's ever said that before. And it seems like such a so simple and so obvious, but I think it's a lot comes down to asking doesn't it? Because when you were saying that, I was thinking always put off of asking people, but, but you're right. I asked people to come on the podcast all the time, so to send them a product and say, Hey, use it and talk about it. If you like it isn't actually much of an ask, is it?
Heath Armstrong (00:32:60):
No. I mean, most of the time it's very receptive in, you know, you can always kind of tear the people and say, okay, these are the ones that I definitely want to send a physical product to because financially it might not make a lot of sense to be sending out hundreds of products, if you haven't launched and you don't have, you know, but if you could do some sort of digital thing, like, Hey, would you like this? And if you think they're big enough and they say, yes, then ship them one, you know? And a lot of times, if they're really big, like they'll say that they'll accept it, but they'll say like, you know, it doesn't mean that I'm going to share it and you kind of have to make that gut decision on your own. But yeah, it's been a, it's been a very big, helpful thing for me and all the things that we do and I'm not going to stop doing it.
Heath Armstrong (00:33:46):
I just think, I think having that access to new audiences is always really important.
Vicki Weinberg (00:33:53):
Yeah, definitely. And you've mentioned crowdfunding a couple of times, and I know that I read about you, that you raised a lot of money on Kickstarter didn't you was that for your affirmation cards.
Heath Armstrong (00:34:05):
Yeah, we did the affirmation deck there. It was, it was, it wasn't like a massive, I mean we raised $10,000, which was a lot of money to me for a product that we were like launching and the beautiful thing about crowdfunding. And I was actually thinking about this a couple of days ago because I just created a second deck and I was like, I wonder, do I, do I want to do this through crowd funding or not? Because I don't know the state of people's spending now. And if they're, you know, people are, they gotta be tight. So I don't know how crowd funding would go over. Like it did a couple of years ago. I don't know. It seems like e-commerce people are still just spending like crazy. But the beautiful thing about crowdfunding is it's product validation.
Heath Armstrong (00:34:46):
You know, if you do the work to set it up, correct, and you get all these people that have audiences in place to all share it, the day that it goes live, you know, whether you're sending them products to test or they're just your friends or, you know, they want to support you or another good aspect of you're doing Kickstarter stuff is to go find all the other Kickstarters that have been successful with similar products and contact the people who ran those Kickstarters. And sometimes you can do like a, a swap, like they'll have, they have access to all the people who supported theirs. And you could, like, you could ask them to share your link with their audience and then vice versa.
Heath Armstrong (00:35:28):
You could say, I'll share your product as their products probably now on the market with my audience that supports this as well. And, and yeah, we had some decent success that too, but it's it's that you can raise enough money to cover your costs, to manufacture something if you're doing a physical product. And that was huge. Cause to cost, you know, $5,000 to print a couple thousand decks, or maybe I think it was more like $7,000 or something on our first run. I knew I needed to raise that much money to be able to print that. But when you do it through crowdfunding and like you get that zest, like we were able to sell the equivalent of like 400 decks or something through that Kickstarter campaign, which allowed us to print 2000 decks.
Heath Armstrong (00:36:12):
So then we have 400 decks sold, but we have 2000 decks printed. So then we have a whole starting point of like, okay, now we have 1600 more decks that are paid for to start testing how to get this working on Amazon and other marketplaces. So I'm really happy that we put the work in to do that. I actually went to the Philippines to run that campaign, which was really cool because a lot of my team is out there. But yeah, it's grad funding is, is really, it's a really cool access point. If you can, if you can do it the right way, but you have to do it the right way. Like you, you can't just put it up and then put it live and expect people to find it through their site. Kickstarter will not promote you to anybody on their site searching unless you can prove to them that you're driving traffic and conversions first.
Heath Armstrong (00:36:59):
So if you can get like a big bang on day one and you can get, like, if you could fund it a hundred percent on day one, then it's likely, you'll at least double those funds over the next 28 days. But if you can get close, you know, if you can fund it like 70, 80%, and there's a lot of thought that goes into what you set your goal at, you know, maybe you set it a lot lower than what you actually want your target to be, but that's the way their algorithm works. It's like, Oh, your goal was $2,000. And you funded that with the people that you know, and they won. Now, we'll start showing you in our search results and see if we can help you out as well. So keep that in mind too. But the influencer thing with Kickstarter is bigger than ever because it's like, you want as many people sharing that as possible when it comes out.
Vicki Weinberg (00:37:44):
That's good to know. So you would, you was contacted in front of it and says, and tell them I've got this Kickstarter and just ask them to share the link out. Is that the way you would do it?
Heath Armstrong (00:37:52):
Yeah. Like you start early. I mean, you kind of want to start three months before your project so that you have time to say, Hey, I think your audience would like this. You can really get a good, if you sit down and write down everyone that, you know, in your life, like family and friends and like relatives, like all, all of these people can come in really handy when you do a crowdfunding campaign. Because if they're all sharing it on their Facebooks, you know, everyone, even, even like all the generations, like baby boomers, millennials, like everyone has a group of media that they share things too. And if, if they're your family and friends, they're probably going to share it for you. And even those little things can get it in front of a lot of people with quote unquote influencers.
Heath Armstrong (00:38:37):
And that that's such an interesting, you know, that word I use it, but I don't know what else. I don't know what other word to use people that have audiences they're a little bit harder to get to, but it's just, you know, if you're, if you do a podcast like you do, then it might be a little bit easier because you have had conversations and connections, but just do your best. And it's all you can do. It's like reach out and get as many of them in a list on a spreadsheet, as you can ask them for their address, send them the product
ahead of time, say, Hey, this is when this is coming out. Could you please share it? You know, if I'm a person and somebody sends me a affirmation deck or something in the mail and I get it, I'm like, Oh, this is really cool. And they just have a note in there that says, by the way, like no pressure, but we're launching this on Kickstarter in a month on this date.
Heath Armstrong (00:39:24):
I'll send you a reminder a couple of days before. Would you mind sharing it? If you, if you liked the product and you know, most people do, most people do. If they're around. I mean, you're going to get some who forget about it or they don't get the reminder. There's too busy, but yeah, those follow up emails are huge or this follow-up, I'm more of a fan of like sending video chats, like video messages and stuff. I think they're more effective than pitching people with emails. So I'll like actually add people on Instagram or like Facebook and then send a video message to them saying like, Hey, this is who I am, so they can see your face and see that you're real. And it's just, I think it comes off a little bit better and it's more successful.
Vicki Weinberg (00:40:07):
Yeah. I like that. Thank you. And do you know that the key thing I'm getting from everything you're sharing is like not to be afraid to ask, which I think a lot of us naturally are really hesitant to ask anybody for anything.
Heath Armstrong (00:40:19):
Vicki Weinberg (00:40:21):
But you're doing it all the time.
Heath Armstrong (00:40:23):
I know. It's the only reason I'm where I'm at though. You know, it was the, the second, the second person I ever asked to be on my podcast, the first one was just a friend. So it didn't count to me. The artsy now show that not my new shows called never stop peeking. It's, it's, it's different. But the artsy now show, which is still up and it's
hilarious to go back and listen to the quality and stuff. It was like, Whoa, it was a Hollywood director and it was the scariest thing ever. But Paul camp, the guy who was teaching me podcasts, he was like, you have to ask him, man. Like he was in the UK too. And he, he was like, dude, just, just reach out and ask like, just do it. You know? And I was like, so scared.
Heath Armstrong (00:41:04):
So I had, I'm an introvert, first of all, like an extreme introvert, even though my perception from the online world, everyone would be like, Oh, you're extroverted. It's not true at all. I'm actually extremely introverted. And yeah, I reached out to him and was like, Hey, would you like to be on this show that I can't show you any episodes for it? Cause it's not out yet. But I think it would be cool to talk to you about your story because he had won the New York international film festival and he was just 19 years old and a Persian guy and his, his uncle was a famous director in Iran. And like, it was just this really interesting story I wanted to learn about. And did he just, he just replied and was like, sure, that sounds awesome.
Heath Armstrong (00:41:46):
And that was the moment of like, Oh my God, like, well now here's my choice. I can just disappear and never be productive in anything again, because I'll just be thinking about that the rest of my life, how I didn't show up for that. And I'm a coward or whatever, or I can just suck it up and do it and prepare and like feel comfortable and get in there and really have an interview that I feel good about and talk to this guy. And I went with the second one. It was like, I'm just going to free write these questions and like, really know what I'm going to ask ahead of time. So I feel comfortable. And then we did the conversation and that guy changed my life. I mean, he, at the end of it, he said, you know, every, he said, he said, Hey man, like every day is a bonus round, just slow down and enjoy something beautiful.
Heath Armstrong (00:42:32):
That's it? It's all you got to remember. And I was like, Oh wow. You know, like it's blowing my mind. Like you're right. Every, every minute, every day it's just a bonus round. Like why do we complicate things and stress about things that really don't have any, you know, matter towards our highest being or self, like shouldn't, we all just really be sitting around a fire and looking at each other in the eyes and saying, Hey, I love you. And like, let's taste this meal that we're making over the fire together and really enjoy where it
came from and all the effort and energies of the earth that came together to make this meal possible. And this next sip of water, let's look at the stars and the moon.
Heath Armstrong (00:43:15):
And the more that I remember to just be calm and stay simple, the easier it is, you know, the sun's rising and it's shining down and that's kinda how I centered myself for sure. And it, yeah, it all came from over overcoming that big fear of asking this one person who I thought would be like, hell no, I'm not coming or are we just not respond? You know? So
Vicki Weinberg (00:43:38):
I really liked that. And I think, I mean, we were caught Dennis in December. I think that's going to be my goal for 2021. Just, just ask more because yeah. Really reluctant to ask anyone for anything. But I think they're definitely going to start doing more of that. So I'm being, trying to be really respectful of your time here, but if it's okay with you, I've got one more question I'd like to ask before we finish up.
Heath Armstrong (00:44:02):
Oh yeah, for sure. All the time.
Vicki Weinberg (00:44:05):
Thank you. So I would like to know what is your top piece of advice for other people who want to start creating their own products? Obviously you've given us loads already. Yeah. The advice she's given us been brilliant, but if there was one thing.
Heath Armstrong (00:44:20):
Yeah. So it goes back to I'm, I'm really serious about your ability to control your, your visual goal approach in your personal life and how that flows over into your business life. And the most effective thing for me has always been making sure that like my core values of who I want to be in life are in alignment with the actions that I'm taking every day and the habits that support those actions. So to elaborate on that a little bit, if you have, I mean, I can, I'll try to keep it a bit concise.
Heath Armstrong (00:45:04):
Cause it's, it's, it's very simple, but I just want to give a bird's eye view of how this works. This simple thing that I'm getting at is if you know your vision of who you want to become, like what's around you, what does it look like? Who's around you? What does it feel like? You know, are you on a farm? Are you in a, you know, do you have a barn? You have horses around, you have a child. What are you working on every day that really fulfills you or you making plant medicine, tinctures? Are you writing a book? Are you taking people on horseback rides? Are you Pogo, sticking across the country, in your undies? Who knows? What, what does that core value look like?
Heath Armstrong (00:45:45):
And then how can you align all of your, your actions and your goals to sort of support those core values? So to give an example of like a core value that I would use say, I usually keep like five or six at one, but I value passive income and financial freedom through writing, creating, speaking, and sharing my gifts of the world because money is an energy that allows me to expand all aspects of my lifestyle, right? That would be an example of one of my core values. Another one that's very simple would be I value unconditional love and truth within all aspects of my life. It's just these kind of these statements that, that sum up who you are and what you want to be as, as your living underneath that you would have your long-term visions, which are just things that are on your vision board, right?
Heath Armstrong (00:46:37):
You don't really have a finite idea of exactly how long it's going to take to bring something on your vision board to life. But you know, it's not too far away, but it's not right in front of you either. So like maybe you have an idea to write a book, you print or draw a cover of a book and put the title on it and then write my book across it. And you slap it on your vision board. You look at it every day. Maybe you're trying to make a transformation in your body or your health. And you Photoshop a picture of you with a more fit body, put your head on it or whatever, or, you know, you can use canvas or something that's much easier than Photoshop or just cut and paste the old school way and write my body on it. And you look at it every day. So those are just reminders of like, what you're trying to transform to that are also in alignment with your core life values.
Heath Armstrong (00:47:22):
And then underneath, that would be like your short-term goals. So these are trackable things that you're really working towards. What can I accomplish over the next 100 days? And that are going to bring me closer to those vision boards, you know, dreams, which also inner alignment with my core values and then on a daily basis, it's like, this is it. This is what, this is the tip. Just get a pack of note cards, that's it. I don't, you don't need to do anything else. Get it. Do you get a pack of note cards? I like note cards per se, to a journal because you can just slide them in your pocket and you're not likely to carry that journal in your hand, everywhere you go. But if you want to do it that way, you can, it's the same principle on one side of the note card, write two things.
Heath Armstrong (00:48:07):
You're going to do that day to move towards whatever those short-term goals that you're working on are. So like, say finish my rough draft of a book would be my 100 day goal, which is in alignment with like I have this book publishing out in the world, which is on my vision board essentially, because my core value is I am a writer, you know, that's one of the, so in that day it's like, okay, I have two, two things that I can do today to move towards getting this rough draft done. And you can do this for multiple goals. So like you could generally, if you wanted to, you could expand this as much as possible, but just for the sake of this, keep it simple, right? Two things you're going to do to move towards a goal. That's on your short-term vision in alignment with who you want to become.
Heath Armstrong (00:48:50):
And then on the other side, flip it over and write an affirmation like in the present tense, I am a self-published author that has sold, you know, 3000 copies. Just an I am statement. You can change it daily, or you can use the same one. I use the same one for a long time and I was trying to create a location, independent lifestyle. Every day I wrote I am location independent. And I wrote the date that I wanted to accomplish that by which what at the time was June 22nd, 2016. And I wrote two things. I was going to do every single day to move towards that lifestyle. And on June 22nd, 2016, you know, I was working for myself and I had sold my house and all my belongings.
Heath Armstrong (00:49:34):
And I was like, Whoa, that's vision to reality when it slaps you in the face, you know, it's like these things come true and you're just sitting there one day and you realize it. And you're like, wow, but that's the system. Like if you don't do the long-term vision and you don't your core values, then you're, you're, you're basically paying attention to things that you might have. You might not have intent to do forever. So make sure your intention and your attention are working together and make sure that whatever goals you're working on are in alignment with who you want to become. Long-term and just do two things per day on a note card, carry it around with you. And at the end of the day, pull that note card back out, check the boxes off of it.
Heath Armstrong (00:50:15):
Feel good about it, do a little celebration and then do it again the next day. If you can just do one small thing, it helps a lot. But if you do two things move a lot quicker than you'll ever imagine. So that might be contacting two people to share your product, you know, like that could be your two things, but that's it. I mean, it's simple, there's a little bit of a ramble, but I felt like it was necessary to kind of explain the whole perspective of it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:50:44):
No, that's really good. Thank you so much. And finally, where can people go to find out more about you and your systems and some of the products that you have?
Heath Armstrong (00:50:54):
Yeah, I'm at Heatharmstrong.com is my website or my, you know, my podcast is a good place to connect with me as well. And on Instagram, I'm just @hefistpumps. My company is called one of my publishing side is called fist pumps, LLC. So yeah, he, fist pumps is the Instagram is probably the easiest way to, to direct message me and get ahold of me. So yeah, that's an ragecreate.com. We have a new website coming up soon for that, which is exciting. So it's a Shopify store. Thank God we were doing woo commerce before and it was a nightmare. So I'm excited there.
Vicki Weinberg (00:51:36):
Perfect. Thank you. And I will link to all of the place people and get you in the show notes as well for anyone who's doing something that means I haven't got a hand treat or to drive things down. Well, thank you so much for all of this. I loved hearing your story. Thank you for sharing that and for being so honest as well. Cause I know, yeah, I guess are elements of your story that might have been hard to talk about what I really appreciate you coming on and sharing that and also for all of the sort of really practical advice you've given as well. I think it's really useful. So thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Heath Armstrong (00:52:07):
Yeah, no, I'm, I'm really grateful and I appreciate it too. So thank you.
Vicki Weinberg (00:52:13):
Thank you so much. Hi, thank you so much for listening as always. I would absolutely love to know what you thought of this episode. Please do remember to rate and review the show and also most importantly subscribe. So you don't miss out on any future episodes. And as a reminder, I release a new episode every single Friday. So take care and look forward to speaking to you again, then.