My Story: From getting fired from my day job to golfing whenever I want...
Hi, my name is Sully Tyler and you guessed it. I freaking love golf, am I any good? You would think I would be better by now.
No matter how high my score is, it beats sitting in front of a computer. Or working for the dreaded 9-5 day job!
Apparently, I wasn't cut out for those "regular" jobs. Let me take you way back in time.
Hop in and let's go back to Jan 9, 2012.
I was a regular guy, working my regular day job...And I had this idea. It hit me like a bolt of lightning, or maybe that was my 4th cup of coffee. I grabbed my sketchbook and started drawing.
Two hours later and 27 missed emails, the first BombTech Golf logo was born.
Did I know what I was doing, absolutely not. Was I bored at my day job, absolutely yes. Then I had another genius idea. I should make a website. I had nothing to sell but thought I needed one. You can see how bored I was at my 9-5.
Making a good-looking website in 2012 was challenging.
Nonetheless, I kept working on it whenever I could. How did it look you may be asking yourself.
Well, it was ugly, awful, and I mean totally outrageous in all the wrong ways. It even had a cartoon character flexing with a golf driver in his hand. Some claimed that I made this cartoon to look like me. I think I am a little more jacked and handsome than that, but I will let you be the judge.
The website was so bad, that my wife and her co-workers would go on the site while at work to take a "laugh" break. I don't blame them, it was hilarious. Flashing signs and cartoon characters don't usually make for a trustworthy website.
But, I actually started.
I'm posting the cartoon back on this site just so they can take a "laugh" break. The point is, we all start from somewhere. Take this as a lesson, flashing signs and flexing cartoon characters aren't the way to go.
Then something happened, after 6 months of playing around and doing all the wrong things. It finally happened.
I sold something from the website while I was on my boat! I wasn't in front of a computer "working."
How could I make money when I was on a freaking boat. This literally blew my mind.
This tiny glimmer of hope is all I needed to keep going.
This was not my boat, but my friends use to love watching me try to get to the boat in this inflatable kayak. I only sank it 50% of the time.
That's the boat! What's Cookin' was her name. We don't have to get into the fact that I could barely afford the $5k loan I took out to pay for it. (Trailer was included) I loved that boat!
I sold a few more clubs and then a few more, until I had an idea.
Why don't I design my own golf driver?
I was talking to a Fraternity brother of mine from college and told him my idea.
"Your not that smart." He replied.
He wasn't wrong, it took me 4 1/2 years to graduate college. It was the best time of my life, so maybe he wasn't smart for graduating on time.
"Why don't you call UVM and ask them if they would design one?" He asked.
Being that I wasn't smart enough myself to engineer a golf driver. I took his advice.
At my college you can apply to work with a group of engineering students through the Capstone project each year. I had nothing to lose, so I filled out the application. I was shocked to hear that I was accepted.
The entire story can be found here.
After many trips to the Engineering department, countless cups of coffee, and many designs; we finally a CAD drawing.
The cost to get it made wasn't cheap and I still had boat payments to make. There was only one move to make. I was all in!
I cashed in my 401k to pay for the tooling and 50 first-run club heads.
Ten months into the project and our first prototype was ready. I was so anxious to hit this thing, I was shaking.
I quickly assembled the club in my basement and sped to the driving range to test it.
I hit two drives quickly and stared in disbelief as they flew beyond the rock at the local driving range. Wow, I bombed it. I was so laser-focused on the golf club I didn't notice a golfer standing next to me. I wasn't ready for this.
He said, "Hey what is that?" I quickly said, "It's the Grenade, I designed it with UVM." He was shocked and said, "What do you mean you designed it?" I guess now is a good time as ever to practice my sales pitch. He asked to hit it, and I nervously said "Of course!"
He hit the driver a few times and didn't say anything. I thought he hated it. Then he said "How is that possible? I love it!" He truly did love it and ended up buying it. Talk about a confidence booster.
First swings and first sale, I said I may be onto something!
Then it happened.
It was the week before Thanksgiving and I just found out my wife was pregnant.
I was thinking to myself, things are going awesome. First kid on the way, still had my day job (where my sales were up 200%!) and my side hustle golf business was getting some traction.
I walk into work after my hour commute and sit down at my desk. This is like any other boring day at my job, until my new boss, comes into my office and says. "Hey, can you come with me?" I knew this wasn't good. I said, "What's up?" He said, "Let's go to my office."
We stroll down to his office only to see our HR person sitting down. They informed me that today is my last day and my final paycheck was last week! I took a deep breath and excused myself to get a glass of water. How could they do this to me I thought, sales are up 200%!
I walk back in and ask them, "What is my job?" He says, "To sell," I said, "How are sales?" He said, "They are up, but it doesn't matter...You're fired"
Even though I did my job, I was fired!
This changed my perspective forever and would be the last job I ever had. I was home early that day, and my wife asked why. I told her the news, she didn't flinch. She said, "Well are you going make this BombTech thing full time?"
We had no idea how it would work out, yet she had my back.
I don't recommend getting fired with a newborn on the way.
That year, I literally willed the business to make enough of an income so we could scrape by. Diapers aren't cheap.
798 diapers later I heard about Facebook advertising. I thought to myself, a lot of my customers come from Facebook maybe I should try it.
With a limited budget, I boosted my first post. It got 300,000 views and I think 1,000 plus comments. I didn't sell a ton of clubs, but I felt the urge to reply to every comment. If someone is willing to make a comment, maybe they could be a customer.
I replied until I felt like my thumbs were bleeding (this was on an old blackberry at the time). Ahh, I miss that phone.
I kept trying and testing new Ads with Facebook until finally figured it out. I was able to spend $1 and get $5 back. That seems really good, let's keep spending I thought.
27 days later (or 97 diapers) I looked at the website and saw a number that did not make sense to me.
$168,000 in one month. (Now we can do that in a day...And even did $238,740 during a recent product launch.
Man, was I busy. Between running the ads, doing customer service, sending the emails, making the content, posting on social media, and did I forget to mention assembling, packing, and shipping the clubs myself!
If I could fill my base model Subaru legacy with orders it was a good day! The post office didn't appreciate me always joking and saying "I am just dropping off more Grenades." I thought it was funny though.
I was so nervous, I kept thinking when will this slow down? I can't keep selling this many orders a day, can I? But, the orders kept coming in. I tried to thank every customer. It got harder and harder to thank them all!
That year, I cracked the million-dollar mark.
I was astonished, but I was also still broke. I didn't realize how much capital you needed to grow an inventory-based business. I took out my first working capital loan for around $97,000 and my parents chipped in $10k. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
At that time, I took my Frat brothers' advice again. I am not that smart, I should probably hire someone smarter than me. I hired and fired many experts until I found one legend that actually was an expert.
With his help, we grew the online business by 400%
This is crazy! I was so busy that I hadn't played golf in 3 years at that point. And now, I had another child on the way. I took a step back and decided that I needed to focus on my new family.
I made a plan to take off 6 weeks. Which at that time, seemed literally impossible. I started the company, no one else could do anything as well as I could, right?
I documented my systems and hired a couple more agencies to help out with things that were mission-critical. What do you think happened to the sales?
They went up! I essentially fired myself and improved the business. It only took me 2 kids and seven years to figure out the power of delegating to grow my business.
I still was working A LOT, but I wasn't working 20 hours a day 7 days a week like I used to.
I kept hiring experts and tried to get out of their way, it was harder than I thought. Then, the word got out that my online store was really growing.
These companies started reaching out to interview me on our success. I was surprised but happy to talk with them. Case studies came in from Shopify, Klaviyo, Bigcommerce, Entrepreneur magazine, and I was interviewed on a lot of podcasts.
Thanks to all the publications and podcasts that have had me on.
But, what happened next was even crazier. Companies and individuals started reaching out to me and asking for my help.
My immediate reaction was no way. I am way too busy with my kids and my golf game is rusty! After some convincing, my first employee Chris. He was one of the engineering students at UVM and my longest employee asked if he could help them.
This is another long story, but we built an email marketing agency together.
Now I had two companies...OMG, what was I doing? (update: now I have 3 companies... I just launched Big Hook Bowling! Because outside of golf, I love to bowl.
The marketing agency is called, Ecom Growers and Chris is smashing it! Thanks to Chris for being an amazing operator and running the day to day of that company!
Then I started to have some interest in buyers of my golf brand. I immediately said, no way! This is my baby. As my real babies grew up, I realized that the business is a business and I have been so fortunate.
In 2022, I got an offer I couldn't refuse and I SOLD IT!
It was a life-changing moment, a moment that was 10 years in the making. I am still operating the company but wanted to tell this story for one selfish reason.
To help more people build an online income so we can go golfing together. One of the best ways I know how to do that is to simply match you with the best marketing experts I know.
Now that I am technically semi-retired.
I wanted to try something totally different than my starting an eCommerce brand or an email marketing agency. I wanted to document what has worked in my companies to help you build an online income.
I am not sure where this will take me next, but right now I am trying to add value one blog at a time. I will also document and update what works and doesn't in this new journey.
Join me for the ride.
Prefer to listen to the story? Check out my story from the Start Here podcast below