How to Overcome Saturation by Going Analog With David Wachs, CEO of Handwrytten

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About The Guest

A serial entrepreneur, David Wachs’s latest venture, Handwrytten, is bringing back the lost art of letter writing through scalable, robot-based solutions that write your notes in pen. Developed as a platform, Handwrytten lets you send notes from your CRM system, such as Salesforce, the web site, apps, or through custom integration. Used by major meal boxes, eCommerce giants, nonprofits and professionals, Handwrytten is changing the way brands and people connect.

Prior to his current initiatives, David Wachs founded Cellit, a mobile marketing platform and mobile agency. Under David’s leadership, Cellit became a leading player in the mobile marketing space and invented the concept of mobile customer relationship management (Mobile CRM). Cellit developed one of the most robust and widely-used mobile marketing platforms in the world, delivering millions of SMS and MMS messages to consumers on a daily basis. With a marquee client roster including Abercrombie and Fitch, Toys R Us, Sam’s Club, Chicago Tribune, For Rent Media Solutions, Pizza Hut and more, Cellit was recognized as one of the top 500 fastest growing companies in America, as #262 on the Inc. 500 in 2010, delivered many award-winning mobile campaigns, and built one of the best teams in the mobile industry. Cellit was sold to HelloWord (f/k/a ePrize) in January of 2012.

Talking Points

  • 14:31 — The mindset of an entrepreneur when starting a new company.
  • 19:52 — Inbound vs. Outbound & Sales vs. Marketing.
  • 24:27 — How to automate your sales process.
  • 32:06 — Advice for entrepreneurs.
  • 38:50 — What is “an entrepreneurial mindset”?

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

handwritten note, people, handwritten, HubSpot, company, business, robot, Zapier, called, inbound, big, entrepreneur, email, outbound, day, spent, create, sales, build, sell

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, David

 

Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story the most useful podcasts in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. That was my podcast network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to start and scale a business. HubSpot Podcast Network hosts act as on demand mentors to entrepreneurs, startups and scale ups through practical tips and inspirational stories, listen, learn and grow with the HubSpot Podcast Network at hubspot.com/podcast Network. Today, my guest is David Wachs. David is the founder and CEO of hand written it is a tool for direct mailing, you can use it for networking, you can use it for marketing, you can use it for sales, whatever it may be. I’m going to let David explain the nuances of what handwritten does. David is a serial entrepreneur, his first company sell it, he sold that off, he never had to work again, sell it was on the Inc fastest growing companies list. Now David’s actually a contributor on Inc as well. He has his own column, he jumped back into entrepreneurship, we’re going to unpack the entrepreneurial lessons as well as his origin story. And some of the things that he’s learned, starting multiple companies, we also go into some lessons that he’s learned at handwritten. So why in an oversaturated market, sometimes going analog is the solution. We spoke about some myths about entrepreneurship. We spoke about some emerging trends. In outbound. We also spoke about how you have to have certain mindsets, as an entrepreneur and things that you can do to gear yourself, get yourself ready to build your own things so that you don’t fall into common traps that many entrepreneurs fall into. David is an incredibly talented individual. And I’m really happy to got to sit down with him and unpack some of his entrepreneurial as well as sale and technical insights. He’s a very process driven and technology and software driven individual. He likes to build things that basically take the workload off of his shoulders, something I’m a big fan of as well. So we we speak through some of his tech stack. And hopefully, it’ll give you some ideas for your own company. Let’s jump right into it. This is David wax CEO, founder of handwritten.

 

David  02:18

Thanks, Scott. It’s really it’s really cool, how our paths kind of crossed and thanks for having me on your show. Yeah, so I’ll get into handwritten in a second. But I think there is a story to be told about the whole entrepreneurship thing. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And then after school, I went to school for engineering and business. So I always kind of thought, well, I’ll be an entrepreneur in tech, I specifically chose computer science, because it doesn’t take much to start a computer company versus you know, a software company versus a hardware company. Now I’m in hardware, which I’ll get into, but the whole idea was let me start a software company coming out of school. And then I came out of school had a crap ton of debt. I went to work for a consulting firm did that for a few years, worked for an investment bank for a few years. Then I worked I moved out to San Diego and worked in venture capital for the flat you know, a blink of an eye it was a really short period I actually turned down the job the first time I got it because the partner there seemed kind of Looney Tunes turned out he was and four months after signing after going there the following year, so that I said no, I’m not interested. They followed up with me a year later and said Are you still not interested? I’m like, wow, okay, I’ll come out I took the job. Four months later I was fired without cause I moved across the country from Chicago to San Diego spent all my money on you know, up until that point paying down school that which I don’t recommend always keep a nest egg you know, in Canada, I think it’s a little better in the states you end up with just a ton of debt. Yeah, so So anyways, so I had no no safety net i i relatively low debt at this point, but no safety net and nowhere to go and San Diego. So I actually moved home to Phoenix and started my first company which was selling and was sell it this was back in 2004. The whole purpose of sell it was to provide information on real estate. So you would drive by a house you text in you get in from the house, and then the realtor would capture a lead we were kind of the first ones doing that. There was a product called house for sell. Soon after starting house for sell. I realized I wanted sell it to be much bigger. And then we started a service called coupon zap which was really for restaurants and bars to send out drink notifications you know, hey, come in for half price drinks or happy hour whatever that is. Coupons app started attracting Abercrombie and Fitch and Toys R Us and Sam’s Club And really, really large brands, not interested in sending out drink coupons. But, you know, come in for a sale, whatever, whatever that is. And then house for sell that market kind of commoditize. Quickly, there were a bunch of little players doing real estate. But where we took it was we started doing text for information for Marie Claire magazine, where you would see an ad and Marie Claire magazine, one information text in or in Fast Company, you’d want information, you text and you get info back. So we kind of turned it away from real estate, which I found to be just a bear of a business, if you want, we could talk about that. And we turned it into something that was much bigger. By the end of sell it, we were doing over a million messages a day for these big brands. And then we got acquired by Hello World, which was a well used to be called a prize based in Detroit. And then that changed its name to hello world. And then it got acquired by Merkel, which is a big marketing automation company on the East Coast. When I left, hello, world Merkel. I thought you know, geez, this was back in 2014. I thought, you know, text messaging has kind of run its course, I kind of always felt that way. Even when I started the company, it kind of started selling out of desperation. But I wanted to do something. So I thought, you know, texting is kind of run its course, people are now inundated with 1000s of text messages a day, emails, people are getting 140 emails a day, they’re spending, like the average office worker spends about a quarter of their time just managing their inbox, right? Like they’re just overloaded with, with emails, nobody has any time to read them anymore. And it’s all just kind of becoming noise back in 2014. This is kind of before slack and teams and you know, all that. So it’s only gotten worse since then. And I when I left, I wanted to send my employees and my customers, thank you for sticking with me helping us grow this business, that type of thing. I didn’t want to send them an email, I wanted to send them a handwritten note, because when I walked into my sales, people’s offices, they had handwritten notes on their, you know, on their desks, that type of thing. So I sat down with pen and paper, I started writing these handwritten notes. And of course, my hand cramped, my writing sucked. I didn’t have enough stamps, I didn’t have enough stationery, you know, on and on. So I thought, gee, there has to be a better way. There has to be a way to scale handwritten note outreach, so that it’s as easy as sending an email. It’ll get noticed. It’s easy for me to do. And even better if we could automate it. And platform eyes the whole thing that’s that’s where we wanted to go with it. So pretty, very, very shortly after starting after leaving, sell, sell it. I started handwritten pretty much the next day. And now what handwritten is, is it’s a software platform where you can use handwritten comm or iPhone app or Android app, or integration into salesforce.com HubSpot, soon to be Shopify. So we have all these ways to get data in including Zapier and Integra mat, which are really big ones. Those are all ways to get the orders in. And then what we actually do is we have custom robots here in Phoenix, that actually write the notes out in pen. So I could grab my laptop and show you around the office. But we have 115 robots. Currently, each robot is custom built, I wrote the software that actually does the writing, but they all can and you can see pictures of these on Hendrick comm or go to YouTube and see him there. But each robot holds a real pen and writes out the handwriting in the most realistic handwriting available on the market today. There’s just nobody that comes close. And now we have 115 of them. So we’re doing about five to 10,000 notes a day, on average, for everything from realtors, again can’t seem to escape Realtors all the way up to luxury brands, car manufacturers car dealerships. You know, any large sales organization like we do a lot with solar panel, installers, our biggest client is actually a solar panel install company that sends 15,000 notes a month to their customers so so yeah, when you kind of came across US, it’s interesting because we play in the same realm as like companies like bonjoro that do video, email and stuff like that. It’s this whole notion that email is just junk at this point. And you know, sending somebody a text doesn’t really say I care about you. But when you receive a handwritten note in the mail, it’s really like it’s so unique now that what’s old is new again, right? You know, by everybody’s pivot to digital, so we pivoted analog, and that really stands out. So when you’re going through your mail, and it’s just Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill And then the last thing you see is this nice handwritten note, you save that you open that last. And not only do you read it, which is pretty much a 99 to 100% Read rate because everybody wants to know who took the time and effort write me this note, often you keep it, we actually have a company and loved this example. There are a piano tuner in Pennsylvania. And they’ve set us up through Zapier, where after they tune your piano, it automatically sends you a thank you note saying, hey, you know, thanks so much for allowing us the opportunity to tune your piano, you only need to get your piano tuned once a year, you know, that’s it, you don’t need it every three months or anything. So when he’s in your home a year later, that handwritten note is often still standing up on the piano, you know, it’s a folded note. So it’s standing there right on the piano a year later, is that going to happen if with an email, you know, if somebody sends you an email are you going to have it out, never a text message, you’re going to take a screenshot of that pronounced it never handwritten notes are totally unique. In the in the durability of them, they just stick around. So we’ll send out samples kits to people. And we won’t hear from for six months. And then they’ll contact us and they’ll say, you know, I’ve had your kit sitting on my desk for the last six months looking at it. And I finally determined it’s the right time to do it. So there’s this just, you know, they have this lifetime of their own, and people really treasure on with our service, you can obviously send gift cards and business cards and all that too, if you want to kind of make it a whole gift. But we think the handwritten note is the real gift. Because what a handwritten note, and pardon me for doing all the talking here. But a handwritten note, really, in this day. And age is the gift of time. Because people think it takes you a long time to write it. And nobody has any time anymore, right? Like everybody’s responding to 12 emails at once and their slacks going off with their teams or is going off their email, and nobody can sit down to focus and concentrate. Try to handwrite notes. So when you receive one, you realize time went into it. And that’s the gift that you’re receiving?

 

Scott D Clary  12:10

No, well, I’m gonna be quite honest, you, you knocked off a whole bunch of points that I wanted to go into anyways. So I really appreciate that. Yeah, no, it’s good. I want to I want to also just highlight if people do check this out, and at the end of every show, we do talk about like links and whatnot. But it’s hand written with a why not NIH. So that’s, so if you’re trying to just Google handwritten, you’re probably not gonna find their company did the traditional way it’s spelled, so make sure that you hit it with an eye. But so my question is, you’ve discovered, you know, hindsight is 2020. Everything’s working out now. But when you first started this business, yes, you’re writing notes by hand, it’s a nice thing to do. But almost everybody would say, who hasn’t needed that level of authenticity, real estate agents I get from them all the time. But I work in b2b, that’s how I discovered a use for your tool. That’s actually how we connected. And I found it to be one of the only ways that you can connect at scale, the same way a whole enterprise Account Based Marketing team would try and connect with, you know, fortune 100 decision maker where you’re sending them things, you’re sending them things that are not an email, not part of a marketing campaign. You’re not retargeting them, so they see your ads, you’re sending them something tangible, something physical. And in my experience, I’ve never found a way to do that at scale. That’s why you only ever did it for customers that were your largest, most prolific customers that could have, you know, want your wails so to speak. So now you can have that authentic touch with multiple customers, including, you know, all of your customers really, if you’d like to, which differentiates in a big way in the b2b in the business of business, sales and marketing space. But, you know, how did you? How did you know that going analog would be a solution to this over this oversaturation of digital email, text messages on LinkedIn. How were you aware of this? And how did you feel comfortable jumping into this? Because you, from my knowledge, didn’t actually have experience in any of the verticals that are actually using your product at any sort of scale, right? So I’m curious what your mindset was like when you did this.

 

David  14:31

It was truly just something that I wanted to use at the moment. You know, I just knew handwritten notes. You know, I sat down I ordered custom stationery off. I you know, some digital print shop online. It came I loved it. It was really high quality. I wanted to send all my clients and employees handwritten notes. And I just realized I couldn’t I didn’t have the attention span, you know, and I want it I thought wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this and include business cards or include gift cards? And I just thought, you know, nobody else is doing it. So what happened was, of course, somebody else started doing it. There was a company for a brief time called bond. And what happened was, I came up with this idea. And then my girlfriend at the time, like two weeks later says, Look what just happened, a company popped up doing exactly what you want it because it’s funny, like, in the zeitgeist or whatever. In the ether, people have ideas. At the same time, I was still kind of locked into a prize or hello world when when I started forming the idea. And I couldn’t really count on it. This other company did, they got venture funding and all that, and what happened to them, they basically spent all their money on marketing and none of their money on technology. And they ended up with a 3d printer with a pen. And the way 3d printer works as it moves, XY and Z, you know, move up, down, left, right. And so you can get it to right, we can talk about inertial mass, and it moves fast with this heavy gantry. So it creates very jittery writing. And they got around that with a felt tip pen so that you could kind of cover up all the jitters. But they got this thing to write. But what they did not get it to do was paper feed. So we spent years and your week came out, we started with the same off the shelf robot that they were using, which is crap. Then they move to 3d printers. And we moved to developing our own actual handwriting robot. So we were on a much slower path, they built a ton of these 3d printers holding pens. And when you do that, what you end up with is a room of people walking around changing every page. There’s a competitor of ours right now. And I go to their website, I’m like, How the heck are they gonna stay in business, because they’re doing the same thing, they have a pen writing on a clipboard, and then somebody’s gonna have to come and move the paper off the clipboard and do the next one. It’s just not scalable. So we spent years building our own robot. And it’s not an easy thing to build a robot, it turns out, it’s, it’s even harder to get the darn thing to feed paper than than it is to get it to write. So to get something to feed paper reliably, and shoot paper off the end of a conveyor reliably, is is actually quite difficult. So while they were blowing their their money on marketing, we were spending our money on on engineering. Eventually, they got acquired, and then they got shut down. So I it was it was very strange to me. But now so now we’re the big dog in town, you know, still a very small industry. But we’re the big dog in town doing this. And we’re the only ones that I know of that have this robot technology that’s that’s proprietary, that allows us to do it at a speed and a cost and a quality that’s on beat. So I don’t know if I’m answering your question. But basically, I saw the need, I wanted something like this, it didn’t exist. So I thought okay, well, you know, I was what, in my late 30s, I thought I’m not ready to retire, I sold my last company, let’s find potentially, arguably, my wife would now say a bad use of my funds. But I started handwritten with with the money I’d made off the last company and kind of just went in, you know, sought as my next adventure. So, but as far as how do you identify something, you just think about? What do you need? What unmet needs do you have? And that’s, I think, a pretty good place to start. You know, I didn’t want to start another email service or another CRM, there’s enough of those?

 

Scott D Clary  18:44

I think it’s no that you answered my question. Exactly. And that’s what I was trying to draw out. Now, I think that for many people, that would be at least listening to this podcast, the use cases, quite obvious for, again, that authentic interaction that can completely differentiate how you do your outreach, mostly because, you know, I’m coming from a sales perspective or marketing perspective. I’m going to ask you some some entrepreneurship questions. I think you have a lot there that I’d like to go into that one, I guess, outbound question that I would like to ask you. You mentioned Manjaro, we both know, you know, we both know Manjaro. You’re living in this in this industry of of differentiating how you do outbound. What are some other best practices or potentially emerging trends in conducting outbound in a way that’s meaningful and it works. It could be with writing, it could be with video, it could be something else that you’re looking into, or you’re trying to maybe even build into your own company. I don’t know.

 

David  19:52

You’re not gonna like the answer for us. The answer is not outbound, inbound and inbound marketing and I define It’s not my definition, I learned it from Joe Polish, who learned it from somebody else. But marketing is just really selling in advance. And we don’t know who our customers are going to be, we didn’t know our biggest customer was going to be a solar panel installer. But what we know how to do is to create an inbound funnel to attract people, and then send set them up in a drip campaign so and that drip consists of email, and it consists of handwritten notes, and it consists of phone calls, and it consists of a journal, and all these different ways to get in touch with people. So what we do is we have a very strong content marketing strategy for SEO, we certainly do AdWords, we do Facebook marketing, but really what we try to do is we try to get people to our website, and then for them to get free samples, free samples as our lawyer so always have something of value. You know, whether that’s a white paper, don’t just have a contact form, if you have a contact form, you know, good luck, somebody may or may not use that, but create something of value to create, you know, to create a lead capture, it has to be, I don’t think booking a demo was even, you know, that greatest something. So our item of value is the sample kit, because it’s physical, it’s in the mail has a bunch of stuff in it, people find that useful, and they want to see it so we drive everybody to the sample form. Once you fill out the sample form, then it’s a whole Zapier flow of the same handwritten notes go out all powered by Zapier, you’re assigned in our Pipedrive CRM system, we’ve created custom code that round robins and assigns those individual sales reps, it puts out a team’s notification, saying, you know, so we’ve created this whole flow to really track that lead from start to finish. I think that for us, has really been a game changer just creating this inbound marketing, lead machine really based off samples requests, where we could get better as probably like, like audiences, like I think that’s what it’s called on Facebook.

 

Scott D Clary  22:11

Yeah, like, targeting or look alike.

 

David  22:13

Yeah, look alike audiences. That’s an area we could get better. We could probably get better at LinkedIn marketing, but that’s too expensive for us. We could certainly get better by having cats crazy expensive. We could get better at having like webinars and stuff like that, that would be an area of growth. Kind of like what Bungie rose doing. We kind of want to create like, like, handwritten con or communication Yeah, and something like that.

 

Scott D Clary  22:39

Yes. Well, you’re gonna be that category creator for this. Yeah, right. Whatever this is, yeah.

 

David  22:45

Yeah, the handwritten note con, I don’t know, but, but really have kind of a community around it. That’s about handwritten notes and alternative ways to reach out like Bonjour. Oh, and, you know, whatever else to kind of round out, round out what you’re doing.

 

Scott D Clary  23:00

So what you’re doing, and I appreciate that, because I’m also a huge proponent of inbound. And I think that what you’re doing well, is the tools that traditionally could be very effective at outbound, like I mentioned, like, you know, you could use this to to do outreach to somebody and really elicit solicit a response, right, elicit a response using, you’re just using those in your inbound funnel, to have higher conversion rates on the leads that you’re already bringing in. So you’re sending out video, as opposed to if somebody is spending time sending it video and cold outreach, or sending a handwritten notes and cold outreach, you’re sending them video, when they’re already so many steps into your funnel, you’re sending them handwritten notes, or free samples, when there’s so many steps to do. So you’re just basically optimizing your inbound which is pure, like, you know, marketing qualified leads, that you don’t have to You’re not worried about hitting that wrong customer profile, you’re not worried about hitting people, when they’re, they’re not at the right buying stage. There’s no meaningful event in their company’s lifecycle, whatever, you’re not worried about that, because that’s all sort of accounted for when you’re optimizing this inbound funnel that’s driving all your business and then you just layer on those things, all those additional components, like you said, booking a demo is not meaningful, but perhaps sending them a video or, or sending them some free samples that’s meaningful enough to actually get them the inbound leads to care and to convert and if you can kill that, then you have a very strong, repeatable, inbound lead generation. system, right?

 

David  24:27

Yeah, we we are in a unique position where we’ve had to hire more people to spread the leads out. Because what’s been happening for years, honestly, is really shame on me. I’ve been we’ve been fully automating that process. So you go to our website, you fill out this thing, we send you the samples, then you get a whole bunch of persist IQ, which is our email platform of choice. You know, remind me did you get the samples? The samples are almost there. What did you think the samples you know? And we were closing You know, a really small percentage of that, because the sales reps are getting so many, it was only spread over a couple sales reps of the time, they weren’t following up on it. So now we just hired another salesperson yesterday, we’re spreading those late those leads Much, much thinner to make it more of a scarcity. So that they really have to harp on you know, and I apologize for anybody that asked for samples requests now if they’re if they get too many calls, or whatever, but we want to make it a scarcity. So that they’re really paid attention to when we’re trying to raise our percentage close there, we actually do on our website, if you got a handwritten calm, and that’s handwritten with a Y, and you go to the Resources tab, we have the outbound marketers playbook, where we walk through everything we do to reach out to somebody with a handwritten note. I mean, it involves using Upwork. And collecting their address, you know, having somebody in Indonesia scrape their address, and then they send the address back, and we put it into handwritten, and then it’ll send them a handwritten note, and then we’ll follow up the email, you know, so it’s a long process. So that is on handwritten comm slash resources if you want that. But for us the big thing because doing a lot of, you know, if your product is very, very, you know, is expensive, like you’re a consultant or something like that, sending out 10,000, cold outreaches maybe isn’t a big deal. But when our product cost $3.25, quantity one, it gets expensive to send handwritten notes to all these people, if you don’t know if they’re going to use it or not. So, you know, I would say handwritten notes aren’t always the best outreach. But they are are the best outbound platform. But they’re a very good outreach platform. So once they are your client to get them to repeat by to notify them of special sales, a Winback opportunity is a huge one, we have a client, they’re a snack box. So they every month or twice a month, they’ll send you a box for your office full of snacks, we actually use them here. And what they learned was if they screw up and they send you the wrong snack box, and they forget to send you a snack box, they send you another snack box with extra snacks. And they include a handwritten note saying, you know, sorry that we screwed this one up. Obviously, the extra snacks goes very far. But the handwritten note doesn’t hurt. And what they found was, they’re their consumers that received a screw up note and a screw up box actually have a higher lifetime value than those that never screwed up in the first place. So then the next logical step is just screw up with everybody send everybody. And that’s what they’re doing. So it’s crazy. But But that’s an extreme example of Winback. Yeah, and that’s, that’s what some of our clients do.

 

Scott D Clary  27:45

No, very, very good advice. So you, you know you’re operating at a level that would be more in line with like a smaller SAS or a smaller the like, say, monthly recurring service that has a small, a small price tag associated with that sale. So that’s, I appreciate the insight. Now, it’s just something that some people can take into consideration. So it doesn’t matter, whichever market you’re playing in, or whichever market you’re selling to. If it is enterprise or a high ticket item, maybe you can do outbound. But if it’s too expensive, then just use that, build it into part of your your inbound funnel. And it’s still it’s still it’s still it’s something it’s going to differentiate your company so much more than just sending them that six email asking them if they want to book a demo yet, or if they have, if they want to come to a webinar, or if they are just a reminder, here’s the link to download your white paper. It’s just as impactful, right? Just using an inbound funnel instead. Okay, so a couple. Very, very helpful. Thank you. So questions about lessons building companies, because a lot of a lot of individuals on this on this show. They are entrepreneurs, they’ve built companies have had failures have had successes. So what are some, what are some lessons that you’ve learned? Building, perhaps handwritten, or even you know, sell it? What what are best practices or building companies that you perhaps didn’t realize when you first started? I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode, HubSpot. HubSpot is a CRM platform that is easy to implement, and is even easier to get your team to adopt and ask anybody that’s implemented new technology in a company, the biggest issue is not finding it or buying it. It’s getting your team and your company to actually use it and adopt it. And when it’s a piece, like a CRM, one of the most critical pieces of your business infrastructure and your tech stack, if people don’t adopt it and use it, that means you’re getting incomplete data, you’re getting missing data, you’re getting garbage data, it could impact quite literally everybody in your company as well as it could negatively impact your customers and your revenue. So how does HubSpot solve for this with their CRM platform? There’s two components that they focus on that allow for organizational work. Adoption. This is the contact timeline as well as the mobile app. So the contact timeline gives a historical context for all of the data that is associated with a certain contact in the CRM. That means that anybody across the organization can see all the actions and all the interactions that have taken place against that particular contact. You can also use that timeline to make calls to these contacts, enroll them in sequences, put them into marketing or sales campaigns, schedule a meeting open tickets, the historical timeline makes it easy to take action as well as to track the action that’s been taken against all of your contacts. And it’s not a pain to enter the information, which means that it doesn’t take somebody a long time to put in great data, which can again positively impact your whole company. The second piece is the access from anywhere meaning if I have a phone and I’m on the road, the world’s opening up a little bit more now people are traveling again, I can use the HubSpot app to access my CRM anywhere on the go on the fly doesn’t matter. So I have complete access to the CRM, I have access to my spreadsheets, my calendars, my notebooks, all of my contacts, I can send messages across my team with the HubSpot keyboard. I can access my contacts, call them through the HubSpot app, I can take quick notes, I can take contact information. I can all log it into my HubSpot app so that I can pull it up later on my desktop when I’m back at home. It’s simple. It’s intuitive, it’s meant to make it easy, frictionless, so that your team sees the value in properly using the CRM to the fullest of its capabilities and gives them the tools and the tack to allow them to do it without spending too much time and causing them more headache. The best thing about HubSpot is that it can be set up for any size of business. And it will scale with you. If you’re just starting out, you can take advantage of certain features. And then as you scale your business, you’ll notice that HubSpot will support almost anything you need as you grow. So if you do want to learn how to scale your business without scaling complexity, go to hubspot.com.

 

David  32:06

Yeah, so obviously, don’t be afraid to pivot. That would be which I you know, was pretty obvious but with with sell it pivoting out of real estate and into Abercrombie and Fitch and you know, that type of thing was a big, a big change for handwritten what it was, is we kind of switched our whole focus. And it was always, I always wanted to be business focused. But when we started this, the tagline was quality cards, your words and pen and ink. Because it was much more consumer focused with these bespoke letterpress cards and everything like that. Now it’s quality cards, or sorry, your words and pennink, you know, we want to put the words and pennink front and center and it’s more business, you know, you can go on our website, create your own card with your logo on it. So it’s nice, but it’s not letterpress. So we’ve pivoted there slightly. A long time ago, I had the opportunity to do dinner. And this is always the humble brag, I did dinner with Conan O’Brien. And what he said was always get in over your head. And that is like the advice that I’ve taken with me for 20 years, you know, you can’t, you can’t grow, if you don’t, if you don’t try to overextend yourself and do things that you didn’t think, was possible. So that is that’s been, you know, something I’ve thought about for the last 20 some odd years. And, you know, I think it’s, you know, universally applicable. Other things, you know, making sure. And I think it’s gotten even worse today, from a generation perspective, worse, better, you know, whatever, how you look at this, from a generational perspective, people are very sensitive now. And I think a lot of this is COVID, too, but being very cognizant of your team, the happiness of your team, you know, I used to be a grinder and I grind my team pretty hard. Now, I kind of bite my tongue as I as my team plans, another game and another outing and blah, blah, blah, you know, it’s like, it’s a lot of that. But having a team that’s having fun is so important. Just to keep the wheels moving, because because they know come Thanksgiving and come Christmas, they’re not going to be having fun, they’re going to be in this office working their tails off getting all the notes out the door that come with those that cyclical period. So you know, it’s again that work hard play hard, but it’s so important to stay so focused on that we have tools that we we use to kind of do customer satisfaction employee sat surveys, and we’re constantly taking a pulse on that. You know, when I sold my last company Funny, the owners did like a whole survey on me with my employees. And most people really liked it liked me rather, and I’m friends with a lot of them to this day. And they reached out to me on LinkedIn saying, you know, you changed my life, you helped me help focus me in a career path. But there were like one or two that had some very harsh words for me. And that, you know, I’ve taken that to heart, and I’ve really tried to adjust myself. So I’m not seen in those ways, which is hard. You know, as the hard driving entrepreneur, you’re always trying to, you know, move the move the ball forward, and everything else. But it’s one of the reasons I have a private office, like, I’m not the HR person, I’m not a salesperson, always on the phone. I mean, I am on podcasts and stuff. So it makes, it does make sense for me to have an office. But one, either one of the reasons I have an office is because I know my energy impacts people. And so I’m trying to protect them from that energy. So, you know, so So that’s one thing I’ve learned is that I need to be very, very cognizant of my face, because everybody’s faces public property, right? Like when you walk into a space, people see it, and they get positive or negative energy based off that public property. So as the head of the company, you have to be especially cognizant of that. And so I always try to come in to a lap around the office, you know, try to be super bubbly David Wachs even though inside I want to, you know, maybe I’m not so bubbly the

 

Scott D Clary  36:32

million stressor on yeah, there’s a million things on your mind. Yeah,

 

David  36:35

yeah. So that’s, that’s a real big one. I’m getting real technical and you know, feel free to tell me to shut up. The for us what it was crazy, you know, no technology. I think anybody in sales needs to know technology, whether that’s duck soup bonjoro, handwritten, obviously, course why would you want to use that Zapier, which is critical, I think, you know, learning Zapier and what it can do, it has revolutionized our business. If I didn’t work for handwritten, I’d want to work for Zapier, just being an evangelist, I think Zapier is the coolest thing ever. You know, being in any job these days, you have to have a tech, inclination and understand the tools that can make you a more effective salesperson. Because coming in knocking on somebody’s door, calling somebody over and over again, you know, isn’t gonna that’s not how people interact anymore. So you have to have a, you have to know how your customer wants to interact. So learning about technology. And for us what that meant, was learning about additive and subtractive manufacturing, because now we’re building these robots. When we started, they were all made of metal. And then I brought in people that taught me how to 3d print them. And then we went too far in 3d printing, and now we 3d printed we laser cut. And I mean, I could just talk to you about modern manufacturing techniques for all day long. And that that was out of my view

 

Scott D Clary  37:59

went into it and figured it out. You gotta figure it out. He figured it out. You Yeah, yeah.

 

David  38:04

Yeah, I love surrounding myself with people with to figure it out gene, as I call it, you know, my Director of Operations, if you you know, at first glance, they might not, you might not go, wow, that person looks like they have to figure it out gene, they, she probably has the figured out gene more than anybody else I’ve ever met. You know, and trying to find those people that have that figured out gene and put them to work on your team. It’s like the greatest thing. You know, you don’t need to, it’s great to have smart people in your team. But a lot of smart people will give up if they don’t figure it out right away. But if you have somebody that just will not quit, those are the best people to have on your team. And I’m super lucky to have those people on the team.

 

Scott D Clary  38:50

No good, very, very good lessons. And I think that that figure it out people, I’ve heard it called different things. But whatever that person is, I think that’s probably the most important asset to truly be successful. Okay, that’s couple more just, I guess, one more startup question, then a couple rapid fire questions. mindset of an entrepreneur. And you’ve done this for a while now, if somebody wants to start their own thing, what type of mindset should they should they have? What they have to set themselves up for? Or try a new skills they have to potentially build into their persona?

 

David  39:32

Yeah, so I’d recommend everybody read the book if you haven’t already. And you know, there’s a lot of business books out there. This one is very thin, easy to read, called the E Myth by Michael Gerber. Have you read that one?

 

Scott D Clary  39:45

I haven’t actually. That’s that one. Cuz I haven’t read that.

 

David  39:48

Yeah, it’s an easy book. And I what I like is it’s very practical, but um, the EMF, E stands for entrepreneur not like email or not electronic but the the E Myth talks about how you have to, when you’re when you become an entrepreneur, you have to an entrepreneur gets into the business because they like, often they get into the business because they like doing the thing. But as the entrepreneur, your job is not to do the thing, your job is to build the company that does the thing. So you want to work on the business, not in the business. So, you know, day one of starting your company, you’re going to be working everyday in the business. You know, if you’re starting a pie company, which is the example on the book, everyday, you’re going to be baking pies. Probably the worst thing you can do in that business is bake pies. You know, I’m guilty of it, too. I still programmed the robot, sometimes, you know, I’ve hired everybody else. But programming the robots is my baby. And I should not be doing that the guy, the CEO should not be debugging robot issues. So it’s really about how do you separate yourself from the day to day? How do you define your business as a franchise, even if you don’t plan on franchising it? So what I mean by that is creating, creating a doc a book of roles. And we’re currently doing this at handwritten, just, you know, who what is the job description for robot operator? What is the job description for head of operations? What is it, you know, and having everything clearly defined there, and then also having everybody in place to do those jobs. So you as the entrepreneur, are running around doing podcasts, doing the big thinking that you can’t do if you’re debugging robot issues? Or handling? Like I was until like, four months ago, doing the bookkeeping, you know, you can’t do it. So I need to swallow my own advice. And I just recently, for seven years I’m doing here. Yeah, yeah, it’s super tough. And you know, your budget constrained and you know, budget constraint is the big one, you know, well, I have $2 to spend, do I want to spend it on hiring a bookkeeper? Or do I want to spend it on another Google ad, that’ll get me another client, you know, so. But you have to make those investments and create the team, so you can scale much faster. And that’s what we’re really working on now is working on the business and not in, and my goal is to do nothing. You know, when somebody asked me, What are you doing, I know all these people, my goal is to do nothing, because when you do nothing that gives you time to think about stuff and actually do the heavy thinking, as opposed to the grunt work of sales, finance, you know, robot debugging, etc.

 

Scott D Clary  42:35

And that’s, that’s as an entrepreneur, that doing nothing, and that pursuing a vision is the most important thing, because an entrepreneur that is in the weeds in the day, you can’t have a vision, you’ll never get it, you’ll never you may have it but you’ll never you’ll never get any any closer to it. Right? So exactly. Okay, let’s see, let’s do a couple rapid fire ones. This is really good. I appreciate this. Okay, so a myth about entrepreneurship that you want to debunk.

 

David  43:06

It’s not an overnight success. You know, I think a lot of people are, you know, they see Silicon Valley. And they think, oh, you know, everything’s popping up overnight, and everybody’s a billion dollar company overnight. You know, those are the exceptions rather than the rule. Most businesses don’t ever get venture financing, you know, let alone that overnight success factor. So, you know, minimum of two years of grinding it out more like three, four years, probably sell it, my last company did a two year ramp, which was good because I was broke. And I couldn’t afford to keep it going much longer than that. Handwritten took four years. Luckily, I could afford to stick with it. But you really have to stick with something. And things typically aren’t overnight successes, it takes a lot of grit, and you have to have a real motor to get through it all.

 

Scott D Clary  43:59

Good. One lesson that you would tell your younger self.

 

David  44:02

Same thing stick with it, um, especially this. Yeah, just stick with it. Because I, you know, I’d be complaining to everybody is this worth it as it’s going to happen? Blah, blah, blah, and just really stick with it. The other thing is start as soon as possible. Because if I were to start this journey today, of journey, a little bit of a silly term, but if I were to go and become an entrepreneur today, it would, it would never happen right now. I have two kids. I’ve got a wife. I’ve got commitments left and right. So you know, start as young as you can. There’s no better day than today it is to start your next venture.

 

Scott D Clary  44:39

What would be outside of that one book that you mentioned a resource podcast person that you’d recommend somebody go check out?

 

David  44:48

Well, I gotta say I love what you’re doing. I think the market really do. I think the inbound success podcast with Kathy booth. No, we’re talking about this before the show, not me. Every episode is a gem. Maybe every other episode and there’s a lot to glean from that has done a great job of creating actionable, you know, not just having people on that have great SEO. But how did you do it? You know, what did you do? Give me the steps 123 I really admire her for that. I think she’s done a great job. I also do a lot of the Reddit growth, growth hacking groups on Reddit, I learned a lot from Reddit. And then app Sumo is a great, I don’t know if you know, app Sumo, but it’s a great resource. I love it. She’s been Johnny there. I know. But it’s great. You know, just talk about the different types of tools available to get in on the cheap, like really cheap. It’s a tremendous tool.

 

Scott D Clary  45:49

Good, good. And last question, what does success truly mean to you?

 

David  45:55

For me, it’s about employee development. Um, when COVID hit in March of last year, I had I throw at least two webinars, Zoom calls I had with my team where I broke into tears. And it was a tough, it was a very tough time. And right after I shut down, and we shut down for a couple of weeks, one of my I don’t know, it was like, I don’t know what caused him to reach out. But one of my employees from my old job from cell it contacted me on LinkedIn, just to tell me how I changed his life and set him down a career, he had no path before. And now he was really happy in what he was doing. And you know, everything like that. And it just meant so much to me to play a part in my employees lives and really set them on career paths. Like my director of operations, the one with the figure it out drain gene, she hasn’t even finished college, she was coming to me. I found her on Craigslist, which is like your Kijiji. And she has progressed just tremendously when she came to me, she was operating two robots that we had store bought. And now she manages a team of 10 people 15 people and manages 115 robots, you know, through those people. So it’s really, it’s been amazing to watch their their growth. I have other people that you know, their job is to, we call it quality assurance, but they take a note and they take an envelope, make sure they’re right stuffing in the envelopes. They’re an envelope stuffer. And it’s a low paying job. But I’ve had people come into my office saying that it changed their life financially, taking them out of poverty, you know, money, if money is your end goal, regardless of entrepreneurship or anything else. The reason I think, and I was talking about this yesterday with my director of ops are excited with my director of finance. The reason I think you see so many drug overdoses, and that type of thing was celebrities, is because, and I know this a little bit, not with drugs, but just making bad decisions in my life, after selling my last company, because you think money is the angle, and then you get a pile of money that’s bigger than anything you’ve ever expected. And you’re still not happy, right? Like your life’s not any different. And you’re like, that leads to depression. It’s a weird, you know, people like Oh, poor little rich boy with your big pile of coins, you know, poor little guy, but you know, don’t make, don’t make money, your target of happiness, because when you’re getting eight, you’ll never get there. Because there’s always more money, you’re gonna want that type of thing. And be when you do get to a point, that’s some threshold, whether it’s your first million or your 10th, or whatever that is, and you get there, you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna be like, you know, same people surrounding me that don’t make me happy, or, you know, whatever that is, you’re not going to be happy, it’s the money does not make you happy, you’re gonna look around, you’re gonna think it’s just the same crap going on. So you got to figure out what is going to make you happy and do that, whether that’s employee development, or whatever else. But money in itself, I think has led a lot of people to depression at the end of the day.

 

Scott D Clary  49:25

That’s good. That’s good life advice. I didn’t expect that to come out at that was a good answer to a question, though. That was a very good answer. I hear that a lot with entrepreneurs because I asked that question everybody, like what define success, and it’s been a resounding 0% have said money or financial gains. It’s been other things. It’s been freedom. It’s been spent more time with family friends, it’s been built up. I’ve heard this we’re building businesses building things, entrepreneurs have this gene where they just like to build things, make an exit, and they’ll just keep trying to build new things right. And no, it’s a very good answer and it’s a it’s a good point to always consider, because if you grind at something for a very long time, you will probably be successful at it. But just don’t let that one thing that you’re grinding at, ruin the rest of

 

David  50:14

your life. Right? Yeah. All right, you know, what happens is? Oh, yeah. Did Can I get one quick story. So what happens is, and

 

Scott D Clary  50:25

I know, of course, yeah,

 

David  50:26

so when you sell your company, that when you sell your company, somebody else takes it over, they’re gonna make stupid decisions, they’re just not as smart as you. And they’re gonna run the company in a way that you’re going to disagree with. And typically, like I did, I had a two year earnout, where I sit there and watch them do this for two years. And that’s depressing, too, because I had spent eight years or seven years building the thing. And then I watched them dismantle it for you know, it’s like, kind of, like, if you’re rebuilding an old Corvette, you know, and you got the thing perfect and shiny and waxed, and all that. And then the person that buys it is your next door neighbor, they park it on their lawn, so you see it every day, and they grind at it with a, you know, like a, like a sanding sanding wheel or something. Yeah, and it’s just like, causing cringes. So, you know, that’s the other thing is when when you do don’t take too much ownership that when you do, when it is time to walk away, you know, separate yourself, just, you built it, all your employees are probably going to leave, hopefully, they’ll go on to better things. You know, so just be happy with what happened and understand that they’re probably going to drive that thing into the ground. You know, it’s, it was insane to me what they did, you know, they spent a lot of money on the company, and then they drove the thing into the ground.

 

Scott D Clary  51:49

And it’s just, it’s just, you just can’t place that much value in in something that is monetary. And even if you built it up, like it’s just, you know, it’s part of the game. If you’re going to sell it, you’re going to cash out, like you just have to, I think it’s actually probably even more important just to move on. But like no, like, expect that expect these huge emotional things that are going to come your way whenever you have this level of success or whatever in your life. And again, it’s not meant to diminish the fact that is not easy to achieve. But if people are going to achieve it at some point, and a lot of people a lot people don’t, but a lot of people do as well. Be cognizant of that, right? Anyways, so the only thing that I wanted to ask you before we finished is because it’s always very important. Where do people go to connect with you to learn more about handwritten social website? Your social, whatever?

 

David  52:43

Sure. Yeah. I mean, honestly, the best place to go is handwritten, calm, HNDWYTTN Calm, get those samples, you can always opt out of the emails when they start coming in. You can also find me on LinkedIn, David wax, just look for David at handwritten. I’m the only one on Twitter at handwritten. I personally don’t tweet too much. I’ll retweet stuff that handwritten tweets, but at handwritten is a great place to but we’re on all you know, Facebook and Instagram and all the rest.

 

Scott D Clary  53:17

Very good. Very good. Alright, that’s all I got.

 

53:19

Thank you

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